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In the Sermon On The Mount, (Matthew 5:1-7:27), Jesus contrasts the New Covenant values with the Pharisee’s misuse of the Old Covenant Laws.  Jesus corrects two un-biblical extremes:  legalism and lawlessness.  You can take any valid truth to an extreme and it can become a falsehood.

Both the Jews and the heathen were operating in some faulty values concerning prayer.  The Jews had made prayer a religious show to impress others.  The heathen had turned prayer into a long series of repetitions in their attempt to impress God with their works.  Jesus taught that our focus in prayer should be on our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Some have argued that this model prayer is Jesus’ teaching on how to operate in the Old Covenant and is not for believers today because it happened before the cross.  This view is in direct conflict with the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18…..Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” NLT.  Part of Jesus’ commandments to the disciples is found in the model prayer that He gave us as a guide to praying.

Jesus was not teaching an old wineskin message.  The greatest evidence of that is the reaction of those living under the Old Covenant – after listening to His teaching they conspired to have Him crucified.  I’ve found that the gospel is very simple because Jesus Himself is the standard we live by, not the latest fad of the TV preachers.  This prayer contains new wineskin principles spoken to New Covenant believers.

Matthew 6: 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.[c] NKJV.    We know from the term “daily bread” that this prayer is a daily prayer.

When we do not confess our sins to the Father, our hearts become hardened to the Holy Spirit and we can become open to deception and false teaching.  In the next chapter Jesus concludes this sermon with a warning against lawlessness.  When we ignore God’s moral laws and say we have no sin, we commit the sin of lawlessness.  While we are free from the ceremonial laws and national laws of the Old Testament, we still have a responsibility to follow God’s moral laws and principles.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Build on the Rock

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”  28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.  NKJV

Jeff Burke

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Do Christians today need to confess their sins?

I heard a television minister this week say that born again believers do not need to confess their sins in prayer to God.  If you are exposed to a ministry that teaches this, you are being taught false doctrine on the most basic level.  I also understand where the misunderstanding originates from, because for many years I struggled with the issue of law and grace.  There are 2 false ideas being taught today:  legalism and lawlessness.

This new idea is that since Christians are no longer under the law, there can be no sin to confess without the law.  This concept is based on a basic misunderstanding of the 3 uses of law throughout scripture:

1) The National Law of Israel.  (Judicial laws for the functioning of a theocracy)

2) The Ceremonial Law (Connected with the Old Covenant system of priesthood and animal sacrifices)

3) God’s Moral Law (The knowledge of sin:  stealing, killing, lying, sexual sin, pride, etc.)

Legalism deals with going back under the ceremonial laws and adding ceremonial law (sacrifices, cleansings, feasts, etc.)  and national law (eye for an eye) to the gospel.  Paul makes his case against legalism in the entire book of Galatians.

Right now, I want to deal with the false teaching of believers not confessing their sin.  This is nothing new.  The early Gnostics taught the same thing (there were 2 basic types of Gnosticism).   Jesus dealt with this false teaching and the writers of the Epistles did also.  They called this error Lawlessness.  Here are some scriptures (NKJV except where noted)  that denounce lawlessness:

Matthew 7:23, And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Matthew 13:41, The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness…

Matthew 24:12, And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

Matthew 6: 12, And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (NLT)

1 John 1: 8, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

As believers, the bible instructs us to examine ourselves and confess our sins to God and to each other.  The Corinthian church is an example of what happens to a church that stops doing this.  The wrath of God rested on those believers because of unconfessed sins.  Paul’s solution was for them to judge their own sin and confess it so that God would not have to deal with their unconfessed sin in judgment.

Jesus gave us a model prayer to guide our daily prayer life.  Confessing sin is a part of the model Jesus gave us… so we’d better be doing it.  Unconfessed sin in the life of believer will result in hardness of heart and a love that grows cold. The letters to the seven churches in Revelation dealt with this very problem.  Where is this big push for lawlessness inside the church coming from?  2 Thessalonians 2:8, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”  This is nothing less than the spirit of the antichrist creeping into the church and confusing a generation of believers who do not know their bibles.  Stay in the word, examine yourselves daily and confess any revealed sin in your life daily.  Keep short accounts with God and man.  Jesus called this “watching and praying.”  Grace and Peace –  Jeff Burke

My recent history is that about five years ago I was much too busy, an owner of two companies and a pastor, all while I was turning fifty.  I hit a wall and had a mid-life crisis all at once.  I was burnt out and nearly broke.  I stepped down as pastor, sold one company and closed another.  For over three years our ministry involvement has been minimal and at times it seemed as if the Lord forgot me.

Almost as if a window has opened in heaven,  for the last few weeks, I’ve been getting divine appointments that look like this:  helping launch a friend into full-time ministry, someone giving me Spanish bibles a few days before someone shares a need for them, an impression by the Holy Spirit to give bibles (that I don’t have yet) to a pastor in Pakistan,  speaking a word in season to a friend struggling with major decisions, walking into a homeless ministry office to drop off a book and getting involved with fundraising.  And most of the open doors involve being a resource for the funding of other ministries.  This morning, the Lord gave me a special message to share with our bible study group that has broader applications to the pentecostal and charismatic churches.  I’ll share more about that in a later blog.

Serving God and others is the ultimate meaning of life, whether it’s on a public stage or unseen in the background.  I wake up every day to a new adventure, a new opportunity to serve.  – Jeff Burke

Through the years, one of our contributions to the lives of others has been sharing our experience as parents of two disabled children with those who find themselves in the same struggle.  As we learned to overcome difficulties through the fight of faith, the lessons learned have been helpful to others also.  On this blog we will be sharing videos on raising disabled children, video bible studies, and inspirational articles.   We will also be sharing ministry opportunities that you can be involved in.  Our prayer is that the message of God’s word will be communicated clearly with all who desire a deeper relationship with God.  This media ministry is not a substitute for the local church.  We attend a local church and support the pastor there.  Jesus said that wherever two or three would gather, that He would show up, and there in that small gathering is the church.  We gather together through the miracle of the world wide web to encourage one another and strengthen the local churches.   – Jeff Burke