1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said about him, “Here is a genuine Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” Nathanael asked him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are God’s Son. You are the king of Israel.”
Most of us have a GPS, for anyone that doesn’t know what that is it is a global positioning system device. In the old days it was built into a Garmin so we could get directions, we bought one and now they are on the smart phone. For me it is invaluable if I need to find your house for the first time. Read them right and chances are you won’t get lost and also know that everyone can find out where you live.
Did you know that God developed the first one and it is the only prototype product that never need tweeked, updated or made better. Since God made the original map of the world, he never needs an update to his GPS, it works perfectly. Not only does he use it but guess what, it’s designed so you can use it too. God’s positioning system is designed to help you know where you’re at… and where you’re going.
The first time it was used was in Genesis 3. You know the story. Adam and Eve were created and they get to live in the garden of Eden and there is only one command: Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden. Should be an easy command to follow…until one day the serpent comes along and convinces Eve that God has incorrectly advised them. The serpent says that God had denied them the great blessings of that fruit because He really didn’t want what was best for them.
Eve takes a bite of the fruit… then she gives it to her husband and he eats. Once they take the bite from the fruit they know something’s wrong, they become ashamed. They’ve taken a wrong turn back at that tree and now they know they’re lost. AND they remember that God told them not to eat of that tree. They remember that God said “… if you eat from it you will die. (vs. 17) They’re lost. They’re going to die.
And here is what else happened in Genesis 3:7-8: “Then they both saw clearly and knew that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made garments for themselves. During that day’s cool evening breeze, they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God in the middle of the garden’s trees.
They try to hide their nakedness with fig leaves! And then they try to hide from God behind the trees of the garden. They try to hide the fact that they’ve messed up and they tried to hide the fact that they’re lost. And then they hear the voice of God. “Adam, where are you?”
Now wait a minute! Doesn’t God KNOW where Adam is? (wait for response) Of Course He Does. He’s God! So why ask the question? God asked the question because Adam needed to really know where he really was at. That’s God’s GPS in action.
This is undeniable: You can’t solve a problem in your life until you know there’s a problem. You can’t know you’re lost until you realize you’re lost. Why change directions if you think you’re not lost? Now Adam’s got a problem. He’s sinned. And he’s going to die. But he’s fooled himself into thinking the problem has been taken cared. He’s covered his shame and his nakedness with fig leaves. And he starts hiding from God.
There’s two basic problems with his solution. First, I don’t think fig leaves are efficient for covering much. Adam realized that because when God asked why he was hiding he responded:
“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:10 The fig leaves weren’t really hiding his sin and his shame and in the same way, the Bible tells us our cleverness will not hide our sins and shame.
You can’t hide your sin, it can’t be done. Why? Because you can’t hide from God. David said so in our Psalm 139 today: Where could I go to get away from your spirit? Where could I go to escape your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there. If I went down to the grave, you would be there too! If I could fly on the wings of dawn, stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean, even there your hand would guide me; even there your strong hand would hold me tight! If I said, “The darkness will definitely hide me; the light will become night around me,” even then the darkness isn’t too dark for you! Nighttime would shine bright as day, because darkness is the same as light to you!
You and I both know we can’t hide from God. But when we sin… what do we do? All to often we try to hide from God. We try so many things to hide from God. The number one way is to fill our lives with all kinds of activities and noises, so we are never silent and still, to hear God. Or we fill our time with games or work or other activities so we won’t have the time to be think about the things that make us uncomfortable or we often ignore God altogether.
It’s like we think that if we close our eyes, God has closed his…and He won’t see our sin. We often think if He doesn’t see, our problem is solved. You can ignore God all you want but the problem is NOT going to go away. Ignoring God will not solve our problem because God is the only One who can help us with our problem. Again, we must admit we have a problem. This isn’t to be a general admission, or broad admission, God wants you to acknowledge specifically.
And so God asks “Where are you?” If you don’t know where you are at… you can’t get to where you want to be. The Bible constantly tries to help us realize where we’re at. The Bible repeatedly confronts us with the fact that we ALL have a problem. Romans 3:23 “ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
God knows that unless we come into His presence we’ll always find a way around that truth. And one of the ways we try to find a way around the truth is by comparing ourselves with someone else who’s not as “pure” as we are so our sins don’t look as bad as they really are. In fact, that’s just what Adam did.
When Adam admitted to God that he was hiding because he was naked God asked him: “Who told you that you were naked? Here is how Adam responded: “The woman you gave me, she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.” It’s not really my fault!!! It’s Eve’s fault.
Adam was doing his best to be ANYWHERE… other than in God’s presence. He tried hiding with fig leaves, trees in the garden and finally he tried to hide behind the sins and shortcoming of someone else. Tell me you haven’t done that! But it wasn’t going to work. Because you can’t hide from God.
I can’t help but wonder if the story would have turned out differently if Adam hadn’t tried to hide. Adam’s sin had been bad enough but he seemed intent on trying to avoid taking responsibility for it. And it’s almost like, by asking His questions, God was trying to give Adam an opportunity to come clean.
Parents, grandparents, how many times have you asked your kids to come clean when you know they’ve done something wrong? You give them an opportunity to confess and if they just will confess, you probably won’t punish them so mush.
Guess what God in the Bible says about that? Listen to the words of David in Psalm 32:2-5, “The one the Lord doesn’t consider guilty, in whose spirit there is no dishonesty, that one is truly happy! When I kept quiet, my bones wore out; I was groaning all day long, every day, every night! because your hand was heavy upon me. My energy was sapped as if in a summer drought. So I admitted my sin to you; I didn’t conceal my guilt. “I’ll confess my sins to the Lord, ” is what I said. Then you removed the guilt of my sin.”
Just confess your sins, God says, and I can forgive you. IT’S A PROMISE! 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Now we can confess our sins to God at any time. But the concept is so important to God that I believe He led us to put a special place in the worship service dedicated to remind you to do just that. This is why we have the Sacrament of Holy Communion. This is why we should cherish this event and time in our life.
In 1 Corinthians 11:28, God says “Each individual should test himself or herself, and eat from the bread and drink from the cup in that way.” None of us DESERVE to take communion, we all have sinned. But God says that before we take of the Lord’s Supper, we need to examine ourselves, confess our sins and partake of His forgiveness… and of His supper.
Especially at the Lord’s Table… we ought not to be hiding from God. Since we don’t do communion every Sunday, or for that matter every day, what should we do? I propose that each day you should find a time to acknowledge the sin in your life and lift it up. I make an effort to begin my day praying the scriptures from this book. After an adoration scripture, there is confession. Today the section began with: The heart is deceitful above a things and incurably sick. Who can understand it? You, Lord, search peoples hearts and test peope’s minds to reward them according the their ways, according to the fruit of their deeds. Jeremiah 17:9-10)
Then is says, “Ask the Spirit to search your heart and reveal any areas of unconfessed sin. Acknowledge them to the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness.” Confession opens your heart up to the Lord. Confession brings you straight to the Lord, confession let’s you walk with God.
Because if you’re not walking with God… you’re gonna get lost. But if you walk beside Him, admit your sins and ask forgiveness you’ll not only NOT be lost ….. you’ll be able to enjoy the blessings and the pleasure of being beside your Father.
A father was walking in the woods with his little boy one day and he wanted the boy to begin to understand how to find his way out if lost asked him: “Do you know where we are?” The boy said no. After a bit dad asked: “Do you know how far we have gone?” “No.” A little farther dad asked “don’t you think we’re lost?” The boy smiled and said to dad: “I can’t be lost – I’m with you.” You can’t be lost if you stay with your Father, for us, God the Father.
So the question for you this morning is this: Where are you? Have you been trying to hide from God? Have you been trying to cover your guilt and shame with flimsy excuses? Have you tried comparing your sins to someone else’s? Maybe you’ve even tried just ignoring God, hoping He’ll go away and leave you alone. Do you realize all those don’t work? If you’re a disciple of Jesus… the time has come to confess your sins. If you’re a disciple of Jesus and you are not walking with God, the time has come to start walking with Him.
One final point about Adam and Eve and the fig leafs. That was man’s attempt at covering sin but then God gave Adam and Eve garments of skins. Skins are much warmer and offer more cover than fig leaves can. But there was something significant about those garments of skin:In order for there to be skins for the covering of Adam and Eve’s sin… something had to die. Something had to die to cover their shame and guilt. Something had to be sacrificed to deal with the sinfulness of man. In the same way, there had to a sacrifice to cover your sins and mine.
Someone had to die to cover our nakedness. It was Jesus who died for our sins and whose blood covers all our iniquities. Won’t you accept that powerful gift from God and receive His healing from the sins of your past today?