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Sermon Summary: Confessing Sin and Praying for One Another (May 1, 2016)

Last Sunday’s Sermon Summary
Pastor Chris Liu • May 1, 2016

Confessing Sin and Praying for One Another
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? 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 will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:13-16, ESV)

Confessing your sins to one another is not an easy thing. It puts us in a position of vulnerability and a place where others have the potential to judge us. However, God calls us to this kind of transparency with one another. This is another way we can love one another.

In James 5:13-16, we see a connection between our spiritual health and our physical health. There is something to be said about unconfessed sin that can lead to guilt, anxiety, bitterness, anger and all these things can have a negative affect on our bodies. Not all physical ailments are due to sin, but unconfessed sin can lead to physical sickness.

The Bible challenges us to confess sin and to do it right away. If we are in any broken relationship, God would rather us make those relationships right first, before even giving offering or serving Him (Matt. 5:23-24). Restoring broken relationships is a priority for us. If we have any of these types of relationships, let’s go and make them right… right away!

Remember that confessing our sin doesn’t mean that we go around telling everyone every single detail of every single sin that we’ve ever committed. I believe that there is such a thing as TMI (too much information) when it comes to confessing sin. We don’t want to stumble others or lead anyone astray by sharing too much. Instead, tell only those who need to be told and get to the heart of the sin.

Confession of sin is only the first step in a long process of restoration. The next step is prayer which can lead to healing. This is the way we can love them and build them back up.

The first challenge about prayer is to do it right away. So often, we hear people share their prayer requests and we say “we’ll pray for you”, but we never do. We put it off and then forget to actually pray for our brothers and sisters. When you say you’ll pray for someone, do it right away.

Secondly, the Bible challenges us to pray for our enemies and those who have hurt us (Matt. 5:43-45). The great challenge is that we are to actually pray blessing over our enemies. Not that God would judge them and strike them down, but to actually build them up. By praying for our enemies in that way, God can change our hearts and attitude.

Finally, don’t turn prayer time into a time of gossip and complaining. Make sure that we focus on building one another up and praying for healing and restoration. The goal of confession and prayer is for people to be right with God and others. Let’s focus on that.

There is great power in confession and prayer. It is not easy to do, but it is something God desires for us. Let us open up to one another and really support one another, keep each other accountable, restore broken relationships, and help one another grow in their faith through confession and prayer..


About Tim Tseng, Ph.D.

I am Pacific Area Director of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship's Graduate and Faculty Ministries. I'm also a historian, theological educator, and pastor.


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