The Shape of Worship 3: Confession and Assurance

For Meditation

“Happy is the one whose sins are forgiven.” That’s how Psalm 32 begins, boldly stating that happiness begins by knowing you are sinner and knowing that your sins will not be held against you. The weekly practice of confession–when in our gathered worship we admit both individually and together that we are sinners–is just about as counter-cultural as the Christian community gets. By confessing together week by week we are first of all rejecting the secular gospel that says we are basically good people and should accept ourselves. In the face of that, we say, "No, we are not OK, and at heart we are rebels against our Creator."

Secondly, we also hear in our culture that when there is something wrong with us it can be fixed with a new gadget, a new weight-loss program, or a new relationship. In the face of that, we say, "No, we are fixed by a merciful God who covers us with his grace and forgives us eternally through Christ."  It is remarkable how such a basic yet counter-cultural practices as confession and assurance have the power to shape us into an extraordinary people who can live both humbly and boldly in the world.  

For Reflection

For more on this Summer Series, click HERE.

Special Guests

This Sunday two of our Makers Series guests will be participating in worship with us.  At the 8:45 and 11:15 services, actor and playwright Richard Everett will read scripture, and at the 10:00 service, gospel trio RESOUND will present a prelude and provide our offertory music.  Richard Everett will also join in discussion and present a piece of his dramatic work at the 10:00 Sermon Chat Sunday school class.  Click the image below to read more about these friends of Third Church.

Psalm 32:1-7

1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.

3  When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

4  For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

5  Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

6  Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.

7  You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Our Worship Guide for Sunday's Services can be viewed by clicking the image below: