TOPIC:“A Spiritual Journey from Fallen to Forgiven”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
TEXT:I John 1:1-9
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9)
I take part of my sermon title from the recent autobiography of Jennifer O'Neill, famous movie star, entitled, “From Fallen to Forgiven.” In this remarkable true-life story she tells about her spiritual journey into a life of faith and forgiveness. Once she graced the covers of international magazines and kept company with the rich and famous. It was a life that looked fantastic on the outside, but within she was tormented with failures, sadness, and emptiness.
She was propelled into a life that included broken marriages, abusive relationships, catastrophic loss, and life-threatening surgeries and injuries. Then came the unexpected! The Apostle Paul in his New Testament writings calls it “grace.” It was God's love stooping to meet her in her sin. After an international modeling career, Hollywood fame, and eight marriages, Jennifer O'Neill finally discovered what she was looking for - a true love affair with Jesus Christ. He claimed her, captured her, and converted her. She now shares this message of healing love with countless women through her speaking engagements throughout the country.
Jennifer O'Neill was on a road map to nowhere. The text I am using today is a road map that will lead us out of a life of defeat and into a life of victory. It is a spiritual journey into God's way of salvation. If you follow it, it will lead to your deliverance, if you stay where you are, it will lead to your destruction. From fallen to forgiven. Let's follow it as the Apostle John opens it up before us in the words of our text.
Consider, to begin with, our journey from fallen to forgiven leads us to SPIRITUAL CONVICTION. Notice John's words here in verse 9: “If we confess our sins.” Now before we can have confession of sin there must be conviction of sin. It is the Holy Spirit who does the convicting. Jesus declared regarding the Spirit of God: “And when He is come, He will convict the world of sin…Of sin because they believe not on Me” (John 16:8, 9).
We shall never receive the salvation of God until we are awakened to the reality of sin in our lives. And once we face up to the fact that our sins cause sorrow to the Holy Spirit, and not only that, but if we don't repent of such sins it will lead eventually to separation from God, then and only then, will we begin to feel our need of salvation. Be sure . . .