The Importance of 'We'
During Founder’s Week at Southern Bible Institute and College and on Thursday, I got to hear two of our alumni in the chapel. Michael wrestles with severe health challenges, but he certainly isn’t challenged in memorization. He quoted Revelation 7 in its entirety.
Then Johnny, our faculty TA and a graduate of our school, spoke to us about reconciliation from the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5, but these words in his introduction I can’t get away from. After sharing about going to church every Sunday with his grandmother as a kid, he said, “I hadn’t been in church in quite a while. As an Anaheim police officer, I was tough and the church-going practices of my childhood didn’t fit with my adopted
Southern California lifestyle. But my mother was going and I went along. The pastor began his sermon, ‘I’ve been studying this passage this entire week. It’s pierced my heart. It’s convicted me and this message is as much for me as it is for you.”
Johnny looked at the chapel audience, “I had never heard a preacher from the pulpit admit that he struggled with sin, like me. This honesty and authenticity captured my heart. It put me on a path that after my move to the Dallas area brought me through the doors of SBIC, And this is where I understood the Gospel about how I could be personally reconciled to God through Jesus’ gift of forgiveness.”
Like that Black preacher who grabbed Johnny’s attention, Daniel knew the importance of using that 1st person plural when it comes to confessing our sins.
“O Master, the great and awe-inspiring God, the One who keeps his covenant and expresses loyal love to those who love him and keep his commandments. We have sinned. We’ve done crooked and wicked things—things that bring pain to ourselves and others. We’ve rebelled and turned away from your commandments and laws. We didn’t listen to your servants, the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and to all the people of the land of Israel.” Daniel 9:4-6
From the top down, Israel’s prophets had confronted the political leaders, the tribal fathers, and all the people, but the entire group refused to listen. God’s commands demonstrated his love, but they rebelled. They weren’t supposed to murder because each human life reflected God’s image. They weren’t supposed to commit adultery because children deserve to have a dad and mom faithful to one another, and they weren’t supposed to steal because individuals had rights to their possessions. Instead of humbly obeying these life giving moral laws, they turned away.
When they broke their promise to God, he allowed Nebuchadnezzar to take Daniel and other royal princes captive in 605 BC and then allowed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and the deportation of the people in 586 BC. And Daniel doesn’t excuse himself from his people’s sins. When he confesses on his face before God, he use “we. ”
LORD, we have spent millions and millions trying to get the right leaders into power, the right judges in our courts, and the right laws on the book. O Lord, instead of angrily accusing our secular culture, I’m crying out to you about my own sins and the sins of my brothers and sisters in Christ. We confess our pride, lying, immorality, and anger against one another in our local churches. Forgive us and powerfully help us to prove by our actions that we have received the resurrection reconciling life only your Son can give.
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