1 John 1:3-10 (NRSV)
The apostolic message of forgiveness
We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
In today’s scripture reading the author has some very pointed words for followers of Christ. He writes, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Oh my! This sounds like terrible news.
I don’t want to lie to myself! I don’t want to deceive myself! And I know I can’t lie to, nor deceive God, Omniscient, Knower-of-All-Things.
On this second day of Lent, we might as well keep it real with ourselves and with God. Lent is all about confessing our sins and seeking God’s forgiveness.
Now you may be thinking, I’m not really a sinner. I don’t murder, steal, or commit adultery. Isn’t it easy to get into the mind set of believing that some sins and people are worse than others?
But, when we pause to think about it, I believe it is safe to say that we must arrive at a very simple conclusion; sin is sin in God’s eyes. God hates sin, but loves the sinner, and wants us to confess our sin so that God can forgive our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
So, let’s say it out loud! “I am a sinner, saved by grace. Lord, have mercy on me.”
Then insert your sins like this…
God I have sinned against you by not loving you as I should. I have sinned against you by not treating my neighbor right. I have sinned against you by not respecting my spouse the way I ought. I have sinned against you by judging and gossiping with my tongue. I have sinned against you by being impatient with your time table. I have sinned against you by turning my eyes away from injustice and prejudice. I have sinned against you by being jealous of the blessings you have chosen to bestow upon my friends. I have sinned against you by leaving so many things undone such as feeding the hungry, helping to house the homeless, or visiting the sick or imprisoned. I have sinned against you by failing to recognize your holy presence with me day by day.
Oh my! I could go on and on—and so could you. The list of our sins is long indeed! And sometimes we find it hard to make confession because we are carefully taught to cloak our sin in darkness and anonymity. But, today’s scripture reminds us of some wonderful GOOD NEWS! “God is light and in God there is no darkness at all.”
There is no such thing as true darkness my friends. God sees and hears everything that we do. So we might as well confess our wrong-doing, receive God’s forgiveness, and restore a feeling of true fellowship between ourselves and our ever-loving God.
Just think about it, my friends! God loves us so much that God gave Jesus upon the cross all in order to bring us out of darkness and into the marvelous Light! God loves us so much that God was willing to sacrifice ALL, in order to restore friendship and fellowship with us. Jesus was God’s penultimate “passing of the peace.” Isn’t this GOOD NEWS?!
If we fail to take note of our sin and to confess it before God, not only are we lying to ourselves, but we are calling God a liar—right to God’s face! God says, “all have sinned…” God can’t be wrong—RIGHT?
I know that none of us wants to call God a liar, because we know that God is Truth. Truth says we have some things to make right with God and with our neighbors. Go ahead--make things right. Tell the truth on yourself and become aware of God’s forgiveness, love, and grace. I dare you!
And one more thing…Once you are done making confession to God—go out and seek the forgiveness of the people you have wronged as well. Go tell somebody what God has done for you, my friend, I double dare ya, in Jesus Name!
What “secret” sin do you need to bring out of the darkness and into the Light on this day?
Merciful God, have mercy upon me for I have surely sinned and I have tried to hide my sin from you. How silly I have been! Please help me to stop hiding from you; I know that you love me and will help me to make things right. I agree with you today, Lord. I am a sinner in need of your grace. Thank you for forgiving me and restoring to me the joy of your salvation! You are an awesome God and I love you. Help me to share that love with others. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Fred Hammond’s “Glory to Glory,” Martha Munizzi’s “Renew Me,” and Donnie McClurkin's "Create in Me" can be purchased by clicking the words Good News Living at the top of the red box to the right. You can find your favorite songs under "Pastor Yolanda’s Favorite Music."
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We now have enough people interested to start the Good News Living Book Club! Yay God! On the first day of every month I will share a book for us to read together. On the last Saturday of every month at 9:00am CST (USA & Canada) we will have a “chat room” book club meeting. I chose 9:00am because this time will allow us to share with our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world! It will be early in the United States but evening in Africa, China, and elsewhere! Please mark your calendars for our very first book club meeting! It will be held Saturday, March 28, 2009.
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Pastor Yolanda extends a very special welcome to our friends reading outside of the United States of America! We are honored that you are sharing with us today.
from Pastor Yolanda's blog http://aintathatgoodnews.blogspot.com