Confess and then dance.
JANUARY 16, 2024
Confess, and then dance. Let’s talk about it, on this edition of Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He’s an author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life, a program all about God’s radical grace. We’re committed to bringing you Bible teaching that’s honest, straight-forward, and street-smart. Keep listening to hear truth that’ll make you free.
Thank you Matthew. If you were listening yesterday, we look at Proverbs 6:16 through 19. And it’s a list of things that’ll make you wince because they’re things that God hates. And we looked at that, and I even did a semi confession for you, suggesting that with almost all seven of those, I’ve participated. And a lot of you said to yourself, I don’t believe I would have said that. Well, the reason I could say that is because I know you. You’re not as spiritual as your friends think you are, nor as good, nor as compassionate, nor as faithful. Nobody is, and the Bible clearly teaches that. And because it does, God is teaching us something that’s really important. I told you yesterday about my friend Ed Clowney, whom I thought I’d offended, but who never stopped loving me. And I said that Ed was like God where you are. Do you know how you get better? You don’t get better by trying harder. You don’t get better by joining the church and make it into a moral improvement society. You don’t get better when you say to yourself, if it kills me, I’m going to get better because you won’t. Now, I’m an old guy and I’ve tried it and I’ve tried it a lot and it simply doesn’t work. Paul said in Romans that it’s God’s kindness that leads me to repentance and makes me more and more like Jesus. And I didn’t have a thing to do with it. So, what I said yesterday as I ended the broadcast and ran out of time is that you should repent and then you should rejoice. Let me give you something that’s meant a lot to me. It’s a Reformation confession. Butcher, who was a friend of Martin Luther, wrote the confession. And it’s based on the Ten Commandments, and I’m going to read it to you because you don’t think so, but I like you. You’re going to feel really bad after you hear this Reformation confession. And then we’re going to talk about it in the context of this passage in Book of Proverbs, Proverbs 6:16 through 19. So, listen to this.
I, poor sinner, confess to you, almighty God, eternal merciful God and Father, that I have sinned in manifold ways and broken you and your will and your commandments. I confess that I’ve not believed in you, my one God and Father, but have put my faith and trust more in creatures than in you, my God and Creator because I have feared them more than you, and for their benefit and pleasure. I have done and left undone many things in disobedience to your commandments. I confess that I’ve taken your holy name in vain, that I’ve often sworn falsely and lightly by the name, that I have not always professed it, nor kept it holy as I ought, but even more, I have slandered it often and grossly with my life, my words, and my deeds. I confess that I have not kept your Sabbath holy, that I have not heard your holy word with earnestness. Nor lived according to the same. Moreover, that I have not yielded myself fully to your divine hand, nor rejoiced in your work done in me and in others, but have grumbled against it, stoutly, and have been impatient. I confess that I have not honored my father and mother, that I’ve been disobedient to all whom I justly owe obedience, such as father and mother, my superiors, and all who have tried to guide and lead me faithfully. I confess that I have taken life, that I have offended my neighbor often and grossly by word and deed, caused him harm, grown angry over him, born envy and hatred toward him, deprived him of his honor, and the like. I confess that I have been unchaste. I acknowledge all my sins of the flesh. And all the excess and extravagance of my whole life in eating and drinking, clothing and other things. My intemperance in seeing and hearing and speaking, and in all my life, and even fornication, adultery and such. I confess
remember this is a Reformation leader
I confess that I have stolen. I acknowledge my greed. I admit that in the use of my worldly goods, I have set myself against you and your holy laws, greedily and against clarity, have I grasped them, and scarcely, if at all, have given of them when the need of my neighbor required it. I confess that I have been a false witness, that I have been untrue and unfaithful toward my neighbor. I have lied to him, I have told lies about him, and I have failed to defend his honor and reputation as my own. And finally, I confess that I have coveted the possessions and spouses of others. I acknowledge, in summary, that my whole life is nothing else than sin and transgression of your holy commandments and an inclination toward evil. Therefore, I beseech you, O Heavenly Father, that you would graciously forgive me these and all my sins. Keep and preserve me henceforth, that I may walk in thy way, and live according to thy will. And all of this through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, and my Savior.
Now, if you didn’t wince while I read that, Remembering who wrote it, there’s something wrong with you. And yet, it is so important that we as Christians understand that we’re not Christians because we’re good, we’re Christians because we’re His. And as you read through the book of Proverbs, indeed the entire Bible, it is a book that cuts deeply into who we are. It reminds us who we are, and it is the pathway in the context of repentance that makes us better. And it’s the only thing that makes us better. The word repentance itself, by the way, I’m working on a book right now, as we speak, and the working title of it, The Lies We Believe: Dealing With Guilt, Shame, Fear, and Regret. And right now, I’m working on the fifth chapter of that book, and it’s on the subject of repentance. A number of years ago, I wrote a book. And a friend of mine, who likes me a lot, and I like him, and you would recognize the name if I brought it up. He wrote a wonderful endorsement of my book, which we put on the cover. And I saw him later, and he said, I really like that book, but I would have liked it more if you had talked more about repentance. And I said to him, that’s what the book was about, dummy. It was about repentance, and you didn’t even see it. What is repentance? It’s an attitudinal thing. It’s the recognition that God is sovereign, that He knows what is evil and wrong and what will destroy us, that we don’t get a vote. And when we’re in a different place than He would have us, we go to Him and we tell Him. That’s repentance. And then the ball is in His court, not ours. It’s the job description of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. And the Holy Spirit at that point, if God pleases and wants to, the Holy Spirit begins to work on us and we do get better. But we start and we remain in a place that we must remember because the most dangerous thing, right now, in our culture, in our Christian witness to this culture, is our obedience when we’re aware of it. And maybe, a la this Reformation prayer, the best thing about us right now is our sin when we’re aware of that. And if you’re wondering if I’m making this up, and I’m betraying God and country and the church and everything, go and read the 24th verse chapter of the Book of Matthew. It’s a harsh chapter in which Jesus himself says stuff about us that’ll make you wince. And you say, that’s awful. No, it’s good. It’s the source of the joy that the Christian has in this life. I’m his, I’m forgiven. You think about that. Amen.
Confess and then dance. Thanks Steve. Today, we continued our exploration of Proverbs with a little stopover in Matthew 24. And we’ll have more to discover tomorrow. Hope you will join us again then. Well, can I ask you something? When was the last time you were still and rested? The kind of rest that restores. Well, speaking of Matthew, Jesus did make us a promise. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. But how do we do that without a calm and quiet soul? Well, Steve speaks about this in an article called How to Have a Calm and Quiet Soul from someone who struggles with it. You’ll find that piece in the new 2024 edition of Key Life magazine. Claim your free copy now by calling us at 1 800 KEY LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. To mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of Key Life magazine. Oh, and one more thing. If you value the work of Key Life, would you join us in that work through your financial support? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or give safely and securely by text. Just text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word or two. It doesn’t matter, just text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. Both of those organizations assure financial accountability. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.