Abbotsleigh Chapel – 1 John 1:8-9

Thanks for all your prayers for my talk at Abbotsleigh.

For anyone who is interested here is my talk. This was for high school girls, most of whom are not Christians, but who hear the gospel in chapel every week. If you have feedback you would like to give feel free to email rather than post it here. Thanks

If you could be anywhere right now where would you be?
If I were you I‘d want to be almost anywhere but in chapel.
I would especially not want to listen to who ever was doing what I’m doing right now.
My mind would probably be wandering, thinking about all the better ways I could be using my time.
I could be hanging out with my friends, lying on the grass in the sun sleeping or getting a tan, I could be planning my weekend; I could probably even find some school work to do that would be better than this. Perhaps I’d even be wondering would any one notice if I fell asleep right here.
So if your thinking that – first let me say – I’m onto you!
Now the reason I can say all this is that if I had chapel when I was at school, that’s exactly what I’d have be thinking. I didn’t have chapel at my school, but my parents took me along to church every week – which I think was worse cause it went for twice as long! And I have to get up early on Sunday mornings!
Every week I went and heard the same story – Jesus died blah blah blah
And I would think – I know this, I hear it all the time. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand, I’m not stupid, I got it – I just didn’t care, I wasn’t excited by it!
So you can imagine how happy I was when I turned 18, had a car and a licence and some independence – it wasn’t long before I stopped going to church – after all I knew all the answers.
So no church meant I felt free to go do what I want – so that’s exactly what I did.
I went out and partied as much as I could, got drunk all the time and basically didn’t care about anything.
But gradually I would hear a little voice in the back of my head saying – what are you doing? This is the ‘sin’ stuff you have been hearing about all your life. And I slowly realised that I was completely ignoring God and this was hurtful to God. And it was hurtful to me as well. It was not a good way to live.
And more and more I realised that this was what sin was and it was putting a barrier between me and God – a big one!
Then I started to worry about this. I thought that God would never be able to forgive everything that I had done, and remove that barrier.
I knew that Jesus had died so that God could forgive me – but I didn’t think it was enough to forgive everything.
But one day someone read something to me – it said

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

I was amazed that this didn’t say he will forgive us our sins to a certain point, or he will forgive some of our sins. But it didn’t say that – it said he will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness.

Why does he do this though? Its so beyond what I would thought God would do – I had ignored God, so why would he forgive me for everything?
It tells us why – because he is faithful and just.
God showed his faithfulness to us by sending Jesus to die on the cross.
Jesus died to take the punishment for ours sins and this is what enables God to forgive us for everything.
Jesus says that if we believe in him we won’t be punished but instead will have eternal life.
God is faithful to that promise – so when you hear that he forgives ALL your sins you can trust that he can and will do that, no matter how bad you might think your sins are.

And this sentence also tells us what needs to happen for him to forgive us – it starts by saying ‘if we confess our sins’.
So God is faithful and will forgive EVERYTHING but we need to be prepared to admit and confess those things to him.

There may be some of you thinking that this has no meaning for you and that you don’t need to confess anything to God.
Let me read the sentence before this one to you.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

If you think you don’t have sin that is a barrier between you and God, you’re kidding yourself.

If that’s you – I want to say two things to you.
First is that God is faithful. He loves you and you have no reason to be afraid that he won’t or can’t forgive you. He has told us that through Jesus he will forgive us and he is faithful to that promise – and that is great exciting news!

The second thing I want to tell you is that you’re not alone. Your Christian friends and Christian studies teachers have all been through this too. If you want to confess your sins to God I’m going to give you a chance to do that in a moment and then your friends would love to celebrate your forgiveness with you.

Forgiveness is a great thing! But God doesn’t just forgive us – he also promises to purify us from all unrighteousness. God cleans us from the stain of sin and guilt, so that we are acceptable to him. Because he shows his goodness to us we need to stop ignoring him, and instead start following him.

The truth is that everyone in this room has sin between them and God.
If you have admitted your sin to God, you have been forgiven…. Completely and for everything.
Everyone else is deceiving herself.

If you want to be in that first group of people I am about to pray a prayer that you could pray with me.
First I tell you what I’m going to say and then I will pray one line at a time so you can repeat it in your hearts and minds after me.

Here’s what I will pray.
Dear God,
I am sorry that I have sinned. I know that this puts a barrier between you and me.
Please forgive me.
Thank you for sending Jesus so that I can be forgiven.
Amen

If you would like to pray that then you can do that with me now. If you don’t want to pray that’s ok but I’m going to ask you to bow your head and close your eyes anyway.

Lets pray.

If you didn’t pray that with me but you have questions then your Christian studies teachers would love to hear your questions and help answer them, or I will be here for a while and would also love to talk to you.
If you prayed that prayer that’s great and I know that your friends and teachers would love to hear that, and I would like to encourage you now by reading again what was once read to me –

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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