I took a bit of liberty in transcribing this sermon from the 19th: Coming Up Higher Through Obedience. I just thought it was a great sermon that deserved a bit of extra publicity. This will be hitting the airwaves this coming weekend. Feel free to either get a glimpse of next week's televised sermon or pick it up afterward for closer reading.
God has a great plan for all of our lives. His dream is that we continually be rising to new levels. But how high we go in life and how much of God's blessings and favor we experience will be directly in relation to how obedient we are. It will be in direct proportion to how quickly and willingly we obey. And one of the ways God leads us is through our conscience.
The Scripture says in 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us." When we make mistakes, three things we need to do. Number one, admit it. Don't try and justify it. "Well Joel, I was under a lot of pressure." "I was dishonest, but everybody else was doing it, too." Don't make excuses, don't beat around the bush, just call it like it is: "I was wrong."
Number two; we need to confess our sins. It's not enough to just think about it. We need to go to God in a private moment and just say, "God, I'm sorry. I made a bad choice. I hurt somebody. God I need your forgiveness, I need your mercy."
The third thing, very important, we need to repent. Repent means we turn around and we don't do it again. It means we go off in another direction. We cannot just say, "God, I'm sorry" and keep doing it again and again and again. We have to change our ways. And some people are sorry that they did wrong. They're sorry that they hurt somebody. But they're not sincere enough to turn away and not do it again. Really, they're just sorry they got caught.
Hmmm ... sin? ... confession? ... repentance? Aren't those the sorts of thing that people claim Joel never talks about?
Anyways, the transcript could use a bit more organization, but I'm not a professional transcriber. It's enough that I managed to get it done and formatted to the extent it is. It's also edited very minimally, so that it reads as delivered, not as a perfect standalone booklet. There's a lot of references that come across far more clearly in person than they do reading this quietly in the study. If I wanted to take greater liberty, I could rework it so that it served that purpose better. But then it really wouldn't be a transcript, I suppose. Be that as it may, let the Good News go forth.