“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy”(Proverbs 28:13, NKJV)
[Thought questions for The Conditions of Revival August 9, 2013]
1. The gift of repentance. If repenting of our sins means feeling sorrow for committing them, how can repentance be a gift? What are the benefits of repentance? Without repentance, where are you and I bound? Why? What is there about sin that requires us to repent in order to be sin free? Have you asked God for the gift of repentance? Will He honor your request?
2. Receiving the gift of repentance. How does the Holy Spirit work on our hearts to prepare us for repentance? How should we respond? Why? Is there anything we need to know or understand before we can repent? We hear about false repentance in the everyday world. In a religious setting, is it possible to repent without being truly sorry for our sins? How could that happen? What should we do to prepare our hearts for true repentance?
3. What is true repentance? Do you ever get depressed thinking about the sins you have committed? Should you? What happens when we focus too much on our sins and our unworthiness? What is “godly sorrow? (1 Corinthians 7:10). Compare godly sorrow over sins with the “sorrow of the world” as described by Paul in this verse. Is it ever a temptation to you to immerse yourself in regret and bad memories of your sinful past? Or for a sin you just committed? What is a better way to deal with reminders that we have sinned and the sorrow for sin that follows?
4. Repentance and confession. Why is confession a necessary part of repentance? Or is it? What’s wrong with kneeling in prayer and just saying, “God, forgive me of my sins today” before you go to sleep at night? Can God love us more when we confess our sins one by one in great earnestness? If not, then why should we take the time to consider and confess our sins? Have you ever had someone come up to you and ask forgiveness for something that person has done? What is a good Christian response when that happens?
5. False repentance. Were you surprised in this lesson to read that some people whose stories are told in the Bible repented but were not forgiven? Consider Pharaoh, Balaam, Esau, and Judas. Would you call these people’s response to being made aware of their sins a “false repentance”? Why? In your opinion, what must be involved in the process of repenting besides being sorry that you did things that were wrong?
6. The healing power of confession. Is it wrong to feel guilty for our sins? If sinning hurts the heart of our Savior, shouldn’t we be nearly overwhelmed by our guilt? I once had a teen-aged student who believed that her sins were so great she could never be forgiven. Is that possible? What can you and I say to a person burdened with a sense of guilt? How can God free us from guilt’s weigh and pain? Is there someone you have wronged, someone to whom you should confess? Will you also ask forgiveness?
7. Confession, repentance and reformation. How definite is Scripture about the need to turn from sin as well as to confess and repent it? Without reformation, of what use is a fuller awareness of our sins? Is it possible to hurt someone while confessing a sin? What are some suggestions you would provide for the process of confessing? Would you be willing to share stories you know are true about people who finally confessed a serious crime or wrong doing because of religious conviction? Can those stories have meaning to each of us?