On Sunday, I preached from Acts 8:9-25. The main verses we focused on were Acts 8:22-23, when Peter rebuked Simon and said, "Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you."
The key idea was that most of our outward sins are driven by our deeper sin issues of the heart. We call those root idols and they are summarized by the desire to want: power, control, approval, and/or comfort. These deep idols are what we really want, but can only be met through Jesus. I challenged our church to consider what we are really desiring and to consider to be honest before God with our sin. Making up excuses or undermining our sin does nothing fruitful for us, but rather leads us further from freedom of our sin.
Here's a couple ways we falsely repent:
1. False Repentance says: I made a mistake...True Repentance says: I chose to sin.
2. False Repentance says: I would not have done _____, if you did not do ____. This is actually called passing blame to others. True Repentance says: I sinned against you.
3. False Repentance hides behind the phrase "I'm just struggling with sin," where true repentance says. "I'm making war with my sin and need Jesus to free me from my sin."
I gave about nine different examples of the ways we falsely repent of sin. I'd encourage you to take a listen.
Good News when we sin and find joy in our repentance:
1. Understand that we sin daily. There are things God says do and don't do. That's His law.
2. Own the fact you and I can not obey God perfectly.
3. Remember that Jesus did obey God perfectly.
4. Because Jesus obeyed God perfectly and now lives in us, we are freed to obey God now through His power and strength.
5. Look to Jesus constantly now for forgiveness of sin and deliverance of sin's power over you.