Central Truth: Faith has no song when fellowship is broken
In our studies on the subject of confession we have covered the first two types: the confession of the sins of the Jews, and the confession of the sinner today. In today’s lesson we will deal with the confession of a believer who is out of fellowship with God.
In Psalm 137 we see a dramatic example of broken fellowship. As a result of sin, Israel had been carried away into Babylon.
1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
In this passage of scripture Israel laments her captivity. God’s people could remember Zion, but they are now in sorrow, and their harps are hung on the willows. They could not “sing the Lord’s song in a strange land.”
Faith has no song when fellowship is broken. We lose our testimony the moment we sin. Sin always puts the light out. Faith trembles in the darkness of broken fellowship.
Confession Brings Forgiveness
I John 1:3-10
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Notice that the word “fellowship” is mentioned four times in these verses. These words, which are written to the believer and not the sinner, were given, first, as a warning against broken fellowship, and second, to show the way back into fellowship with the Lord.
Verse 6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” In other words, if we are out of fellowship and declare that we are all right, we are not telling the truth. If we say we have not committed sin and yet the fellowship is broken, then our faith is feeble. But He says that if we will confess our sins, He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Many folks use these verses only when dealing with the unsaved. However, they were written to the believer and should only be used in connection with Christians who are out of fellowship with God because of sin in their lives.
One point that we should make clear here is that if you have sinned you will know it. If you don’t know it, don’t try to drag up something with which to condemn yourself. When you are always looking for something with which to condemn yourself, you rob yourself of faith. If you sin, you will know it. The instant you do wrong, something on the inside of you will tell you. The Holy Spirit, who dwells within the believer, will instantly let you know you have committed sin. If we miss the mark in some way, it is important that we not wait, but that we stop right then and ask the Lord’s forgiveness. He will forgive, and we will continue walking in fellowship with Him.
Forgiveness Restores Fellowship
When you have confessed your sins, He forgives you at that moment and you stand in His presence as though you had never sinned. It is not necessary to keep confessing those same sins over and over again, for this builds weakness, doubt, and sin consciousness into the spirit. If you confessed it once, He forgave you and He forgot it. He has no memory of it. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25). And in Jeremiah 31:34 we read, “… For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
If God has no memory of that sin which broke your fellowship with Him why should you? That is not the Holy Spirit that is condemning or convicting you. It is Satan trying to take advantage of you. If he can keep you thinking of that mistake, he has you right where he wants you. What you must do is erase that sin from your memory too. You must stop reproaching yourself for something which God has already forgiven and forgotten.
Psalm 103:1-3 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.”
Sometimes folks ask me to pray for them and say, “I don’t know if the Lord will hear me or not because I have sinned and failed.” However, if they have asked God’s forgiveness, He doesn’t remember that they have done anything wrong. So why should they remember it? They have talked themselves right out of faith, and there is no need for it. Although we may have sinned, if we have asked God to forgive us, then He did and He has forgotten it. The believer must be willing to forgive himself just as God is willing to forgive him. Too many people have robbed themselves of faith because they are not willing to forgive themselves.
Forgiveness in Healing
James 5:14, 15
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
These verses are often used in connection with prayer for healing, and rightly so. But let us not overlook the last part – “… and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”
Many times when we see someone become ill whom we know to be out of fellowship with the Lord, we think, “He’s done wrong; now he’s going to reap the results of his wrong-doing. He is sick because of his sin.” And sometimes broken fellowship will cause sickness. But the Word of God says, “… and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”
I have known people who thought they had to lie on the bed of affliction indefinitely because they had failed and sinned. This is not necessary, however, for the scripture says, “The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” There is forgiveness in healing.
1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
This is the story of the failure of the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Their blood could only cover it. It left the sin in the heart of men whom the blood had covered. And with the sin was sin consciousness. But in our redemption in Christ, God hath redeemed us from sin consciousness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John I :9). You should have no more knowledge of your sin. God doesn’t, why should you? Then we can see with what confidence and boldness we can come in prayer, knowing with a certainty that He hears us.
Memory Text: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
Faith in Action: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only ….” (James 1:22).
Previous Lesson – Kenneth Hagin – Confession: Key to Unlocking Faith
Next Lesson – Kenneth Hagin – Confession of God’s Word Builds Faith