PULPIT TODAY SERMONS
Robert D. Pace
The Bible is clear: There’s a pronounced command for an outspoken religion. Psalm 107 asserts: “let the redeemed of the Lord say so”! The New Testament word confession carries connotations that are far richer than the secular word confession. Kingdom confession involves three things: the acknowledgment of sin; a declaration of faith; and praise toward God.
(Transition) I want to discuss each of these points, because they are essential to our Faith. First, it’s imperative to understand that Kingdom Confession asks us to acknowledge sin.
I. Kingdom Confession Acknowledges Sin
John the Baptist was the man God used as a forerunner to prepare people for the Messiah. He told them who the Messiah was and then he told them how to prepare for Him. There were no frills to John’s ministry. His message of preparation for the Messiah was one word, “Repent”! How do you think John’s hearers responded to his message of repentance? Mark 1:5 says they responded to him in this fashion: “The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”
There was something about John’s method and message that caused people to feel the burden of their sins, confess them, and repent. And when the people confessed their sins it opened the door for Christ to walk into their life with His blessings. This type confession that John and prophets preached takes a preeminent place in the Bible; and it should! That’s because the only way God can pardon our sins, is when we are willing to admit we are sinners in need of a Savior. The Bible says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That means we stand ”Guilty” before Heaven’s court. And despite our objections to God’s charges, the judgment against sin is certain! Its judgment is death!
But there is a way to escape this judgment. When we confess our sins and recognize our guilt for breaking God’s Law, Christ steps in and acquits us of our sentence. Yes, our confession of sin and faith toward Christ wipes away the charges! I want you to notice the emphasis Scripture places upon our need to confess our sins:
David said: “I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”—and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (PSA 32:5).
Romans 10:9 says: “if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Psalm 28:13 says: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
Do you see how God honors the confession of our mouth when it matches a sincere heart? Our sincere confession literally helps us regain a right relationship with God. That’s why Roman’s 10:10 says: “it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” As Proverbs 18:21 says, “The power of life and death lies in the tongue.”
You say, “Does God really want to hear me confess my sins? Let me answer that like this: For centuries, verbal testimony in a Court of Law has been binding. An “oath” or a “sworn statement” can either convict or pardon a defendant. Before testimony is given in Court the witness is asked to raise his/her hand and tell “the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Testimony assumes a prominent place in a Court of Law.
(Example) Consider your matrimonial confession. You stood at the altar with your fiancé. Then each of you verbalized your vows. That solemn, testimony, verbalized before witnesses, enacted a legal covenant between you and your spouse. Thus, your marriage vows illustrate the power of the tongue!
You see, the Covenant of Redemption is enacted as we confess our sins and acknowledge that Christ’s Blood redeems us from sin. And did you know every major Covenant of Scripture came by God’s verbal enactment?
In Genesis 9:17 God made a verbal commitment with Noah to never again flood the earth.
In Exodus 31:18 God called the Ten Commandments “the two tablets of the Testimony.” The Book of Moses was actually read aloud in the hearing of Israel.
The New Testament Covenant has been enacted by God’s mouth too. Remember, Jesus Himself “fulfilled the Law” and everything that regards the New Covenant. That’s why we hear God Himself confirming the New Covenant through Christ when He said: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Confession authorizes a covenant and that’s why it’s necessary to confess Christ’s Lordship and renounce our separation from God. It’s the means of claiming the terms of salvation and entering into right relationship with Him. And the Lord wants you to make that confession today. “Today is the day of salvation.” Don’t wait until it is too late.
Did you know the Bible says the day is coming when everyone will acknowledge that “Jesus is Lord”? But for many people it won’t be a confession of salvation; it will be an acknowledgment of truth. Here’s what I mean: When Christ returns to earth He will gather the entire sea of humanity before His throne and everyone from Adam to the last person born will be there. When that happens the apostle Paul says, “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” But it will be too late for many! That’s why the Lord wants you to confess your sins today and dedicate your life to Him.
(Transition) It’s not only necessary to confess our sins to God, secondly, we must understand that Kingdom confession involves a willingness to affirm our faith to others.
II. Kingdom Confession Involves a Declaration of Faith
Scripture says both types of confessions are important to our Faith. Jesus said in Matthew 10:32, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 1 John 2:23 says: “No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”
(Illustration) We’re often proud of the acquisitions and unashamed to “say so.” A teenager proudly speaks of his sports car. A husband and wife express their fondness of their new house. If you’ve ever been to my house I guarantee you didn’t escape before I took time to show you the pieces of furniture my father crafted for me. And need I acknowledge how grandparents dote and drool over their grandbabies?
God wants us to confer that same excitement toward the Lord Jesus Christ and confess him before men! We have a divine commission to announce Jesus lives, loves, and forgives sins. The Great Commission wasn’t restricted to professional clergy. Christ gave every Christian that mandate. Christians are the only testimony this world has for the Gospel. It would have been much easier to disseminate the message through angels, but instead He chose mortals. And that brings a tremendous responsibility. We have a divine, weighty assignment to fulfill.
(Illustration) An air traffic controller at a major airport assumes a grave responsibility. If he/she misreads a coordinate or is derelict in reporting information to the control tower, it could create disaster. And Christians are levied with high responsibility too—“The power of life and death is in our tongue.”
If you’ve found the “pearl of great price” let others know it!
If you’re certain God inscribed your name in the Book of Life then encourage others to make the same claim.
If you have a heavenly mansion awaiting, then show the title-deed to others so they can reserve one.
If God has sunk your sins in the deepest sea, tell others so they can experience the freedom of forgiven sins. Don’t contain the message; communicate it.
I understand that personality differs from person to person. Some people are talkative and outgoing and others are introverted and shun the crowds. But God wants everyone to share their faith regardless of what their personality is.
(Transition) Let’s assume you’re naturally timid and find it difficult to express your testimony. How do you overcome timidity? There is an antidote; and here’s what you can do:
How to Overcome Timidity
1. First, pray for boldness. Ask God to infuse you with the courage to speak out! In other words, If you can’t say it, pray it!
When the Apostles were beaten and then commanded to cease from evangelizing, they went to prayer. Acts 4:29 says: “Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”
When you become reticent, fearful, or threatened with your testimony for Christ, pray! That’s what the Apostles did. And look at the results: Acts 4:31 says: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
Prayer vaporizes fear! There’s something about prayer that produces holy boldness. Prayer inspires confidence to stand up and speak out, so if you can’t say it, pray it!
2. The next thing you can do to overcome timidity is, “be filled with the Holy Spirit”! Acts 4:31 says: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” An overflowing experience with the Holy Spirit provides incredible boldness.
Let me take you back to the Old Testament for a moment. The Old Testament reveals that the one group of people the Holy Spirit rested upon was the prophets. I want you to notice how the Holy Spirit used the prophets when His presence and power was upon them. (1) The Spirit empowered them to be His representative in the world. (2) He empowered them to work miracles. And (3) He empowered them to speak His Word with boldness! And the prophets especially exemplified boldness to speak to whomever God sent them to—whether it was kings or common folks. And the Holy Spirit will furnish every Christian with that same prophetic boldness. That’s precisely what Jesus meant when He said: “You will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses.” Be assured of this: The Holy Spirit will always cover for your inadequacies. And if it’s boldness you need, He’ll supply it!
(Transition) There’s also a third type of confession that’s needed. Third, we must understand that Kingdom Confession involves doxology.
III. Kingdom Confession Involves Doxology
The word doxology means, “praise toward God.” God especially illustrated the importance of doxology in the book of Psalms. Turn to Psalm 107 and let’s read.
Psalm 107:1-3 (Read)
Scripture reveals that doxology produces three things: (1) It honors our Creator and Savior; (2) it edifies the one who offers the praise/doxology, and; (3) it blesses others.
It’s encouraging to hear the businessperson tell how God saved his business from floundering.
It’s strengthening to hear parents proclaim how God returned their prodigal from a life of destruction.
It’s a blessing to hear praise reports from the mission field.
A miracle-testimony of healing or deliverance encourages everyone.
Never discount the power of praise. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”
(Example) You remember the familiar story of Judah’s war against the Ammonites and Moabites, in 2 Chronicles 20. Judah was surrounded by masses of enemy warriors. Death was imminent. But King Jehoshaphat placed “praisers” in front of the army, and then marched into battle. When Judah lifted their praise to God, God lifted His sword against their enemies. (Pause) Once again, “the power of life and death is found in the tongue”!
Notice Psalm 107 again. It’s the perfect doxology for worshiping God.
Verse 2 says if God has “redeemed you from the hand of the foe,” then “say so.”
Verses 4-9 say if God has quenched your thirst and satisfied your hunger, then “say so.”
Verse 11 says if God reclaimed you as a backslider, then “say so.”
Verse 16 says if God has broken “down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron,” then “say so.”
Verse 19 says if you have been delivered from trouble, then “say so.”
Verse 20 says if you’ve been healed, then “say so.”
Verse 21 says if He’s lavished His love upon you, then “say so.”
Verse 35 says if your desert has been made a spring, then “say so.”
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” A depressed, despondent countenance won’t impress anybody. We must take our blessings, put them into words, and with Christ’s joy proclaim them to others. A verbal recounting like that will bless God, edify you, and encourage others!