Hearing God’s Voice from His Word
James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Take a moment and turn your attention to God. Tell God that you desire to trust and obey Him. Ask God to speak to you from His word.
Psalm of the Day
Vindicate me, God, and champion my cause against an unfaithful nation;
rescue me from the deceitful and unjust person.
2 For you are the God of my refuge. Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about in sorrow because of the enemy’s oppression?
3 Send your light and your truth; let them lead me.
Let them bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place.
4 Then I will come to the altar of God, to God, my greatest joy.
I will praise you with the lyre, God, my God.
5 Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God.
Pray this Psalm to God. Ask God for the things that David asks for in this Psalm (Vindication, champion my cause, rescue, send your light, lead me). It is even okay to ask why. Praise Him as David says he will praise God. Ask God to give you strength to praise Him. Ask God for help to put your hope in Him.
1 John 1:5-2:2 – New Living Translation
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
2 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
Having God’s Ear through Prayer
- Express thanksgiving to God.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal sin to you.
- Confess your sin to Him and receive forgiveness.
(1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.”)
- Bring your personal requests to God.
(Psalm 62:8 “Pour out your heart before God”)
- Pray for someone in your small group.
- Join with others from River and pray for those who do not know God. Ask God to help you see the lost people around you and have compassion for them. Ask God for opportunities to build trust. Ask God to give you opportunity to have gospel conversations.
Living as God’s People by applying the Bible
Scripture Reflection from the Sermon
The second false claim John addresses is the denial that sin exists in human nature at all. This sounds absurd, but it is not uncommon. Many people believe that humans are born innocent and, in fact, remain so throughout their lives. The problem, they say, is not sin, but false guilt heaped upon them by outside forces. What this looks like in practice is that people spend a great deal of time and energy trying not to feel guilty for their sins. They are actually working against their own divine wiring. God has made us such that we have built in consciences. We can, Paul wrote, sear our consciences such that they become scarred and less likely to experience guilt, but we are born with the capacity to know that sin is sin. Some cultures may disagree on what behavior is sinful, but there has never been a human culture void of some idea of right and wrong. We can no more act consistently against the way God has made us than we can breathe water. To deny our sin nature is to waste energy fighting against reality itself. It will prove to be exhausting and in the end will make people into broken shells. They will usually end up lonely because if they cannot sin, they must find someone else to blame for their many problems. There is such freedom in recognizing our sinfulness. Especially when we realize that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 The remedy for our sin nature is not denial, but confession. We must learn to do “spiritual breathing.” Exhale confession, inhale forgiveness. I mean that literally. We confess our sins to God; we experience his immediate forgiveness. Such a wonderful promise.