*This was a recent sermon. Many of the sermonic elements have remained in place.
In Acts 4 Peter and John embody discipleship and mission. Jesus changed them and they changed the world by proclaiming the message of Jesus. Yet, they were unschooled, ordinary men. The only explanation – these men had been with Jesus. Imagine if this church was filled with such people? As we reflect on Acts 4 we will discuss four dangerous prayers. These are dangerous prayers … because God answers them. What is the most dangerous prayer you’ve ever voiced? I believe many of us play it safe when it comes to our prayer life.
Lord, Heal Me! This is a dangerous prayer because we must come to grips with our need. This is a dangerous prayer because it involves confession.
Last week we discussed, “Lord, break me.” In discussing that prayer we looked at a few instances in which the Lord broke Peter down.
There is the scene in Mark 8 where Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ. Jesus then let the disciples know that the authorities will kill him and he will rise three days later. Peter then pulls Jesus aside and rebukes him. Jesus replies, “Get behind me Satan.” Peter needed some breaking. There is also the scene in Mark 14 when Peter claimed he would follow Jesus even if everyone else falls away. Jesus responded saying, “You will deny me three times.” Peter did deny Jesus three times and he hung his head and wept. Peter needed some breaking.
Yet, God does not leave us broken. He also heals us.
Peter had the opportunity to allow scar tissue to build up. After being rebuked by Jesus, after denying Jesus three times, it could have been easy for Peter to call it quits. Yet, I love in the resurrection scene in Mark 16. The resurrected Jesus says to the women at the tomb go tell of the resurrection to the disciples and Peter. And Peter! The last time Jesus saw Peter he was in the midst of his denial. This is a gracious act of healing.
Many of us don’t experience healing because we don’t have a routine practice of confession. You are broken but God can make you whole. You need to come to grips with your brokenness and seek God for healing.
The Bible is full of examples of confession and healing. Perhaps the most powerful and popular example is David’s confession found in Psalm 51. The Psalm is a confession as a result from David’s adultery with Bathsheba. It’s raw. It’s honest.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
It’s raw. It’s honest. And God answers it.
Confess your sins before God and receive forgiveness.
Confess your brokenness before God and be made whole.
I remind you of the words of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Lord, heal me!