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Sunday, February 23, 2014 am 

“I HAVE SINNED!”

 These are words that if we are honest with ourselves we admit we have said.  Perhaps we have had to say them over and over.  We are certainly not alone.  The Bible is clear in saying that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).  We are even told that if we say we have no sin, we lie (1 John 1:8-10).  But when we have to utter these words, especially publicly, it is not an easy thing to do.  But at times it is necessary.

In the Bible (NKJV), the expression, “I have sinned” is used some 19 times.  This morning we want to take a few moments and notice some of these.  We will also make some observations about those who used the expression.  You might be surprised to consider the various attitudes that accompanied this expression.

 I.                     Pharaoh said it – twice

a.        Ex. 9:27, 10:16.  In both instances, Pharaoh was dealing with the plagues from God.  The first time was the 7th plague of hail.  As the land was being destroyed he called for Moses and said, “…“I have sinned this time. The Lord is righteous, and my people and I are wicked.” (Exodus 9:27)   But we read further that as soon as the hail ceased, Pharaoh again hardened his heart again.
Then as the 8th plague of locust devastated what the hail had left, Pharaoh again says, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the Lord your God, that He may take away from me this death only.”” (Exodus 10:16-17)

b.       While he admitted his sins, there is no evidence of repentance.  He said what he did to get relief.  His statement was superficial and his actions immediately demonstrated that. 

c.        Is it possible that today there are some who only will confess their sins only to get immediate relief?  Perhaps one has been told that if they don’t repent they will be withdrawn from so they confess that what they have done is wrong.  But as soon as things calm down they revert to their old sinful conduct.  THEY know that they never truly repented or their acknowledgment was half-hearted.

d.       TRUE repentance demands that one demonstrate true godly sorrow and change of conduct (2 Cor. 7:10-11).  We shall see this more as our lesson progresses.

e.       NOTE: We realize that we cannot read one’s heart so our response to one’s confession must give the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.  The scriptural teaching on confession, repentance and forgiveness demands that. (Jas. 5:19-20, Matt. 18:22, Luke 17:4, Col. 3:13, etc.)  And that is often a challenge for us.
BUT my point is that YOU know YOUR heart when you say, “I have sinned.”

 

 II.                    Balaam

a.        Balaam has been hired by Balak, king of Moab to curse Israel in the wilderness.  But the problem was that Balaam was a prophet of God.  As a prophet he could not speak anything contrary to the Lord’s will.  But he wanted to help Balak.  After finally being given permission with warnings he heads out.  On his way to see Balak we are told the anger of the Lord was aroused because he went.  The angel of the Lord was sent and stood in Balaam’s way.  His donkey saw the angel when Balaam could not.  He becomes angry with the donkey who eventually talks back (a miracle within itself).  Then the Lord opens Balaam’s eyes and he sees the angel ready to slay him.  Num. 22:34 says, “And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.”
Balaam is told to go on but be careful what he says.  Balaam obeys.

b.       BUT, we learn later that Balaam sought a way to circumvent the plain speaking of the Lord.  He was responsible for immorality among the Israelites ( Numbers 25) Num. 31:16 record that it was through the counsel of Balaam that this sin happened.

c.        The New Testament reveals the attitude and actions of Balaam. 
2 Pet. 2:15 – it is described a s a way that loved the wages of unrighteousness;
Jude 11 echoes this point;
Rev. 2:14 identifies how Balaam taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel.

d.       The problem with Balaam saying, “I have sinned” is that he did not really want to obey God.  And while he could not do what he wanted, he sought a way to get around it.

e.       How many today, when confronted with sin will “repent” and “confess”, but then they proceed to find a way around that which they confessed?  They look for a loop hole so that they can get the result they wanted in the first place.  Such an attitude is a demonstration of a lack of sincerity. 

 

 III.                  Achan

a.        When Israel finally entered Canaan, they were given specific instructions about the defeat of Jericho which the Lord gave them.  All that was in the city was consecrated and belonged to the Lord (Josh. 6:19).   Joshua 7:1 says that Israel committed a trespass because Achan took some of the accursed items and hid them in his tent.  His sin became known when Israel was defeated by Ai, a town that was much smaller than Jericho.  Lots were cast as the Lord instructed and Achan was found out.  When Joshua demanded that he confess we read in Josh 7:20, “And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done:   He then explained what he stole and where it was. 
The items were found and Achan and his family were stoned to death and his possessions were burned. 

b.       Achan’s confession came only after he got caught.  Was he sincere?  I cannot answer that!  But we do know that when one confessions “after the fact” there is always room for questioning motives (and we need to be careful in so doing).   If you are genuinely remorseful of sin, take care of it BEFORE you get caught and there will be no question that you are trying.

c.        But whether he was sincere or not, it didn’t change the consequences.   When we sin we need to confess it.  A part of repentance is making restitution when possible and accepting the consequences of our conduct.  There are some who want a “soft landing” which hinders them from admitting their sins when they ought to.

 

 IV.                King Saul –

a.         In 1 Samuel 15 we find recorded Samuel instructing king Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites.  He was explicitly told not to spare anyone or any living thing (vs. 3) 
Saul took his army and easily defeated them.  But he spared the king  and some of the livestock.  When he returns from battle he is confronted by Samuel who in essence asked why he had not obeyed God.  King Saul disagrees.  But when he finds that he has been “caught” and made excuses (blaming the people, supposed just reasons, etc.) and been told God rejected him as king, ““Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” (1 Samuel 15:24)  He begs forgiveness.  When it is not granted he further says in vs. 30, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.”
Sadly, this was the beginning of the end for king Saul.

b.       In confessing his sins, notice how Saul makes excuses.  He seeks to offset his guilt by passing the blame to others. 

c.        I become very concerned when someone confesses sins and then they say, “BUT…” and they proceed to blame someone else.  True repentance is about YOU making things right with God and others if you have sinned against them.  Passing the blame and making excuses is seeking to lessen the seriousness of one’s own sinful actions and attitudes.  It is an attitude that is very prevalent in our society where far too many do not want to be held accountable for their own conduct.
I have seen letters from preachers who would begin by confessing some sinful attitude or conduct that they were guilty of, but then they will proceed to attack someone else for their sins.  The intent of their letter becomes clear very quickly.  Such conduct is suspect!

 

 V.                  Judas –

a.        Judas is the apostle that will forever be known as the betrayer of Jesus.  For 30 pieces of silver, he was willing to sell out his Lord.  What was going through his mind we don’t know but later when he realized Jesus WAS going to be put to death he changed his mind.  Matt. 27:3-4 says “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Judas then throws down the money and goes out and hangs himself.

b.       With this example we begin to see the genuine attitude of repentance.  Judas was remorseful.  There is no need to question his sincerity.  But he did not take care of it properly.  He went out and hanged himself.

c.        When we repent and confess our sins, we need to do what we can to take care of it.  And we need to do the right thing!

 

 VI.                  Nehemiah

a.        Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes in Shushan.  He was a Jew in captivity.  When he inquires of the state of affairs in Jerusalem he is told the city is still in ruin.  As a result Nehemiah prays to God.  In his prayer he says, “please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned.” (Nehemiah 1:6)

b.       WE see here a prayer that involved the sins of Israel.  But we also see in this a personal acknowledgment of sin.  And that is where our confession needs to begin.

c.        We are told in Matt. 7:1-5 before we worry about the splinter in our brothers eye we need to deal with the plank in our own eye. 
True repentance is only going to come when those involve change.  You can only deal with your own personal sins.  You do your part – that is what matters to you.   The rest of the book demonstrates how Nehemiah took care of his part.

 VII.                King David

a.        David on more than one occasion sinned and had to confess his sins.

b.       One time was the sin of David and Bathsheba that he attempted to cover it.  His cover up only made matters worse and led to the death of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. 

c.        2 Samuel 12 records Nathan’s challenge and confronting David for his sin. 
2 Sam. 12:13 says, “So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.

d.       NOTICE how David doesn’t blame anyone else.  He confesses his own sin and is ready to accept the consequences. He has genuine remorse which is demonstrated in the surrounding text and in some of his psalms. Psa. 41:4 - “I said, “Lord, be merciful to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”
For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.” (Psalm 51:3–4)

e.        This is the attitude we need.  Our confession needs to be sincere and remorseful.  

f.         Another thought I have about David.  I wonder if he was relieved when he was finally exposed.  He could now move on and make restitution to the best of his ability.

 

 VIII.               The Prodigal Son

a.        WE have here another example of true repentance and heart felt confession. 

b.       This is a parable about a son who receives his inheritance and goes and wastes it all.  When he is broke and hungry he resorts to feeding slop to pigs.  While there “he came to himself” and realized his deplorable state and how his father could get him out of it.  But he knew that he had to confess his sins with humility.  Luke 15:18 finds him reasoning about this.
So he goes to his father who is waiting for him.  When his father  sees him he runs to him and kisses his neck.  The son confesses his sin (vs. 21).  His father forgives him and rejoices that he has returned.

c.        In this parable Jesus is ultimately making reference to our heavenly Father is waiting for us to truly repent.  When we do, He is there with open arms ready to forgive and to receive us to Him again. 

d.       This is the attitude that ought to accompany our confession of our sins.  TRUE repentance is demonstrated with his humility and a willingness to accept the consequences of one’s conduct.

 

Conclusion: When we are guilty of sin, we need to repent and confess that to God.  At times we need to make public confession.  But, as we have seen in this lesson, simply saying, “I have sinned” is not enough.  These words need to be accompanied by true repentance and obedience. 
If you are not a Christian that means obeying the gospel (Acts 2:38)
If you are an erring child of God that means confession your sins to Him (1 John 1:9)

Have you taken care of your sins?