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Small Group Study:
Read John 3:19-21 “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Read 1 John 1:7-10 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

How would you define “shame”?

Often we find ourselves more ashamed that people would know our sins than God (John 12:42-43). 

Is that sometimes true for you? Why do you think we sometimes fear people’s opinion of us more than God’s opinion of us?

Jeremiah 16:17 [The Lord said] “For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes.” God has seen every thing we’ve ever done and knows every thought we’ve ever had. Knowing who we truly are, did Jesus come to condemn us? No (John 3:16-17)! Rather Jesus willingly embraced the shame of the cross in order to help us (Luke 18:31-33; Hebrews 12:2). Belief in this, the gospel, is the first and foundational step to living a life in the light.

Why do you think trusting in the gospel allows us to confess our sins to God and others? 

Gospel-centered confession leads to liberation from the habitual slavery of our sins through trust in God’s grace and hope that God is more satisfying than sin. Man-centered confession motivates us to quit sinning because of a fear of peoples’ opinions of us. Such man-centered confession is powerless and hurtful.

Why do you think gospel-centered confession is more effective to liberate us from habitual sins than man-centered confession? 

James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” 

Let’s do exactly that. 

How are you doing, really? Are you wrestling with depression or stress? Are you struggling with pride,  selfishness, or immorality? What is keeping you from a joyful walk with Christ? 

Not only is it important to have a habit of confessing to others, we need to know how to hear a confession and remind one another of the gospel. As needed, remind one another of the following gospel truths. Romans 5:8; 8:1, 8:14-16, 8:31-39; 1 John 1:7-10 (above).