Sunday School Material 8-11-13: Community of Confession

(Nehemiah 9:2, 6-7, 9-10, 30-36; 8/11/13)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that the people of God confessed their sins. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to confess and turn from our sins

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Body:

Read Nehemiah 9:2

I. Confessing Sin. In our Sunday School material there are at least two groups. There are those of Israelite decent. And there are those who are not.

Those of Israelite descent separated themselves and confessed both their sins and those of their ancestors.

Applications -

- Dealing with sin. Notice in vs. 3 that sin is dealt with by way of separation and confession of sin. The confession of sin included the sins of the current generation and the previous generations.

First, we ought to get serious about our sins. Sin causes all kinds of trouble, when we ignore it or feed it. Second, dealing with sin may call for separation.

Sometimes we have to make some distance between those we hang around and ourselves because of the influence they have on our sinful behavior.

Third, dealing with sin calls for us being honest about our sins. We cannot sugar coat it. We must call it what God calls it. And sometimes, we have to come to grips with the fact that we had some help being as sinful as we are.

Sometimes we need to confess that those who went before us influenced (not caused) our current behaviors (e.g., gossiping parents, uninvolved churches, and lack of fellowship with the poor and working class).

Let's work on dealing with our sins, which may call for separation and often calls for confession.

Read Nehemiah 9:6-7

II. Acknowledging God. In our Sunday School material the Lord is worshipped. He is worshipped for being the Lord all by Himself.

He is worshipped for being the creator of the heavens, the Earth, and all that dwell there in. He is worshipped for His work with Abram.

Applications -

- Creator and source. Notice in vs. 6 of our Sunday School material that the Lord is the creator and the One who chose Abram.

First, since God is unchanging, He is still able to create, as He did in the beginning. This means that if God runs out of blessings, He can simply create some more blessings for His people. There is no need for envy or panic.

Second, all of those we admire have their source in God. God plus the worse person equals the best. Thus, we should be careful about discarding people based on how they look today.

The best person minus God equals the worse. There are many talented thieves and murders. Let's work on obeying God like He still has creating power and is the source of all that we admire in others. 

- Worship. Notice in vs. 6 that the multitude of heaven worships the Lord. If the heavenly beings worship God then surely we should worship Him as well.

When we think about how good God has been to us and the promises that He has made to us, it should be easy to praise and worship God. Let's work on worshipping God like we understand Him to be a great and worthy God. 

Read Nehemiah 9:9-10

III. Recalling Redemption. In our Sunday School material the Lord is said to have seen His people suffering in Egypt.

The Lord's signs and wonders against Pharaoh are acknowledged. The largeness of the Lord's name is mentioned.

Applications -

- God’s goodness. Notice in vss. 9-10 Nehemiah talks about how good the Lord had been to His people. In like manner, we can look back over our lives and make a long list of examples of how God has been good to us.

We cannot overstate the blessing of being saved. We cannot overstate the blessing of being permanently indwelt with the Holy Spirit.

Think about how blessed we are to have more food than we can eat, more cloths than we can ware, and a shelter over our head, while others go hungry, naked, and homeless.

Let's worship and obey God like He has been mighty good to us.

Read Nehemiah 9:30-36

IV. Admitting Truth. In our Sunday School material there is acknowledgment that the ancestors did not take heed to God's commands. When the Prophets were ignored, God allowed enslavement.

The righteousness and mercy of God are appealed to, since the people are slaves in the land they were supposed to be enjoying.

Applications -

- Pain avoidance. Notice in vss. 30, 31, 34 of our Sunday School material that it is so dangerous to ignore what God is saying through the one He sends. As in the text, too often we ignore what God says through His messengers.

Perhaps the messengers are not living up to our expectations or they are being repetitive. Whatever the case, ignoring God's word often leads to pain.

God can be gracious with His pain, as in vs. 31, but we would be better off simply obeying God and avoiding His pain all together.

Let's work on hearing and obeying God's word through His messengers, so we don't have to experience unnecessary pain.

- Honesty. Notice in vss. 33-35 of our Sunday School material that there was a noteworthy level of honest in the text. God did not change. The people failed to do what was required of them.

In like manner, a key to our moving closer to where God is calling us to be is to be honest about how we got here.

God has been faithful. The shortcomings have all been on our side. Let's work on being honest with God and one another, as we strive to be who God is calling us to be.

Conclusion: Let’s work on confessing and turning from our sins. God has much for those who obey His will.

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