“I apologize if I hurt anyone
As we strive to live the spiritual journey we will sin, we will make mistakes and fail, and the remedy to that isn’t to cover up our failures and pretend like everything’s all right, but to confess our sins to God.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
In 1818 one out of six women who delivered a child also died of something called “childbirth fever.” A doctor’s daily routine back then started in the dissecting room, where he performed autopsies, and from there he made his rounds to examine expectant mothers. No one even thought to wash their hands…at least not until a doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis began to practice strict hand washing. He was the very first doctor to associate a lack of hand washing with the huge fatality rate. Dr. Semmelweis only lost one mother in fifty, yet his colleagues laughed at him. Once he said, “Childbirth fever is caused by decomposed material conveyed to a wound…I have shown how it can be prevented. I have proven all that I’ve said. But while we talk, talk, talk, women are dying.. I’m not asking for anything world shaking, only that you wash your hands.” Yet virtually no one believed him.
Mark Alderton, a pastor in Bloomington, MN preached it this way on July 22, 2007.
“When we confess our sins, we will experience the forgiveness of God which became ours the moment of our salvation.
It is in the confession of sin with repentance and a desire to change that God meets us with the assurance of his forgiveness. That’s where the forgiveness of the cross becomes real to us. It is when we experience guilt for sin, and have that guilt removed by God’s continual assurance, that his Son’s sacrifice paid for our guilt.
It’s like knowing you have a million dollars in the bank, but it’s just knowledge until you actually go to the bank and withdraw green dollar bills. Then you experience the reality of your wealth.
And God has said that he has limitless “wealth
I grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous short stories of Sherlock Holmes. I loved trying to discover with him who were the bad guys. In hindsight that fun exercise helped me with reading comprehension and Bible study. It taught me to ask good questions and to look beneath the surface.
That is what we are doing as we read I John. The reason why he was writing was to encourage a struggling people whose church had just come apart. They were confused, wondering if they had believed the wrong thing. The really smart people were leaving the church. They needed encouragement to continue the journey God had set before them and to do it with joy.
Today the question is, what happens when we finally confess individual sins?
· God promises to forgive us of our sins.
· The basis of this promise is God’s character. God is faithful in the sense that he’s dependable; he’s dependable to keep his promises.
· This means that God isn’t going to change his mind about forgiveness, he’s not going to look at you and say, “Oh that’s a terrible sin, there’s no way I can forgive that one.” God’s made a promise to always forgive any sin that’s confessed, and his character is such that he’s dependable to keep that promise.
God is also “just” or “righteous” to forgive us. Now we usually think of God’s forgiveness as an act of mercy, not as an expression of God’s justice. Yet John is telling us that it’s morally right for God to forgive our sins. Forgiveness is not a matter of God compromising his righteousness, but it’s an expression of his justice. This is only true because Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for all of our sins–as we’ll see in more detail in a minute–and because of the cross it’s just for God to forgive our sins.
When we confess our sins, God forgives and purifies.
· The word “forgive” is a legal term that describes God breaking down the barrier between God and us because of our sin.
· The word “purify” describes a removal of the stain caused by sin, a washing away of the defilement caused by our rebellion.
Notice that John is writing to people who are already followers of Christ, the churches of Asia Minor.
What does this have to do with being a Sports Chaplain? You have the privilege to share this truth with athletes that really think that no one could ever forgive them. They desperately need this gospel. Believe it for yourself – you are not 99% forgiven – you and your athletes can be 100% forgiven today!
The Biblical Chaplain told me to tell you!
Our Biblical Chaplain, the Apostle John, was the last of the apostles living. An old man that as a young man leaned on the breast of Jesus. He loved Jesus with all of his heart. In this letter to the church in Asia Minor he deals with issues that truly affect us as chaplains today!
The Apostle John give us a series of “if” statements to reveal God’s call to authenticity.
The first one is that we all struggle with sin, because we have a sin nature that will not be finally dealt with until we physically die as believers and God takes it away.
C. S. Lewis has said that it’s when we notice the moral filth in our lives that God is most present in our lives. Have you been pretending, putting on an image that your battle has ceased? Then it’s time for you to respond to God’s call to authenticity.
The second “if
Have you ever been involved in a heart wrenching church split? (Is there any other kind?)? I interviewed a fellow Sports Chaplain the other day and in a sad voice mentioned having gone through one. It devastated him, the emotions and sleepless nights. The memory obviously still hurt. The realization that there would be many that he would never worship with again this side of glory. And some he did not want to worship anyway.
I have seen the pain, experienced the pain too. Mostly, we remember the pain. In our culture there is a prevailing passion to “keep the peace.
- was the only one of Jesus Christ’s original apostles not to be murdered by the Roman government. Not that they didn’t try! John was a codgy old man who didn’t die easily.
- was banished by the Roman government to an Island called Patmos.
- was an eyewitness of Jesus Christ, one of the first of Jesus’ followers, and he wrote five books in our New Testament: The gospel according to John (the fourth book of the New Testament), three letters–1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and finally the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible.
- served for many years as an overseer for all the churches in ancient Asia Minor. Asia Minor is located in modern day Turkey, and there John lived as a kind of spiritual mentor or chaplain–the last living apostolic witness to Christ’s life and resurrection–so he kept himself busy helping the Christians in Asia Minor develop into fully devoted followers of Jesus.
- most likely wrote his Gospel for use among these churches in Asia Minor, to give them an accurate account of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- wrote 1st John, as some Bible teachers believe, because a difference of opinion arose about how to correctly interpret John’s Gospel, with some people advocating new and novel ideas contrary to what John intended in his gospel (Brown, Burge). Soon the Christians in Asia Minor became bitterly divided between those who held to the apostles’ teaching about Jesus, and those believing new and novel ideas about Jesus Christ. John wrote his first letter in order to correct these misunderstandings about Jesus Christ and the Christian life in the face of this terrible division that was destroying the churches and causing Christians to take dangerous side trips in their spiritual journey.
There was a Division in the house! Have you talked with disillusioned people lately?
Shortly before 1st John was written some of the more talented or intellectual members of the church had withdrawn from First Church of Asia Minor and started, More Enlightened Church of Asia Minor.
You see, the Christians in Asia Minor had reached a major fork in the road in their spiritual journey. With John as the last remaining living apostle beckoning them to follow the orthodox view of Jesus and at the same time false teachers enticing the church to depart from the Christian path to follow their new esoteric ideas. Eventually this painful split would deeply wound the churches in Asia Minor, causing terrible division, and leading many into a false religion that later became known as Gnosticism (http://carm.org/gnosticism). That church has daughter churches near where you live by the way!
John is writing this letter as a roadmap to help the confused and troubled Christians in Asia Minor navigate these unexpected twists and turns in the Christian journey, to help them stay focused on the true Jesus and not be led astray down a different path.
For many athletes, you are the modern day Biblical Chaplain, called on to answer some of the same questions John answered in 1st John.