Encourage0gram May 23, 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank my God always for you! You bless me by your love and your eagerness to grow in grace and in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ! Let us press on to know the Lord and to make Him know to all generations and all cultures!
This past Sunday we examined the prayer of confession and restoration in Psalm 32 and 51. Many told me it was a particularly practical message. As Luther said in the 95 theses, as Christians, we live a life of repentance.
I found some very insightful lessons on forgiveness in a book by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas. It is entitled “Five Languages of Apology.” While the authors apply these truths primarily to relationships with other human beings, I want to apply them to our relationship with our Savior.
1. Express Regret. “I am Sorry” When we confess our sins to the Lord we should express sincere regret. I have found as I meditate on the cross and the price Jesus paid for MY sins – I am overwhelmed by my regrets. It is healthy to take time to focus on the seriousness of sin. It increases our love for the Lord and the infinite value of Jesus’ sacrifice for us!
NIV James 4:8-10
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
2. Accept Responsibility. “I was Wrong” It is imperative that we take responsibility for our sins. Our society often excuses our flaws. We are taught to blame others but this is not wise or healthy for us. We are sinners by nature and by actions so let us admit to the Lord our irresponsibility in sinning. All our sins are lawlessness and express rebellion against the Savior.
NIV 1 John 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
NIV Psalm 51:3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
3. Make Restitution. “What can I do to make it right?” There are many sins against others that require us to make “things” right. If we steal, we repay. If we lie, we apologize and confess the truth. The list of required restitution is long, and the Holy Spirit will lead us as we seek restitution. In our relationship to the Lord, the blessing of worshipping Him is restored after confession. Our love for the Lord overwhelms us in worship! We cannot repay God for his gift of forgiveness, but we can praise Him for it!
NIV Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
NIV Psalm 32:6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
4. Genuine Repentance. “I will try to not repeat this.” This is the very positive side of repentance. Setting a new plan to follow Our Lord in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. We ask God to empower us to follow Him in obedience. In my opinion, this is my goal in life on earth and one day in heaven. I want to please my God and Savior. Each new step of obedience is a new blessing and reminder that God is still working in and through me. This is not self-righteousness by my new resolve to obey but submission to the Holy Spirit’s work in me as I abide in Him.
NIV Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
NIV Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
5. Request Forgiveness. ‘Will you forgive me?” Asking for forgiveness from God is such a blessing! I know my Savior forgives and it is good for me to ask in faith. Our Savior came not to condemn but to save. His blood was shed on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. We will celebrate forgiveness forever!! Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!
NIV Psalm 32:1-2 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
It is my prayer that these thoughts will be used by the Lord to strengthen your faith and trust in our All-Sufficient Savior. His work is finished on the cross but the application to our lives will continue forever! Hallelujah what a Savior!
Our current sermon series, “Gracious Conversations,” continues this Sunday. We will study the wisdom of Philip as he leads a stranger to faith in Jesus. You will find this story in Acts 8. I look forward to our worship together!