KACOU 17 : THE PUBLIC CONFESSION

(Preached on Sunday, August 10, 2003 in Locodjro, Abidjan - Ivory Coast)

1 The great battle of this Message has not only consisted in unveiling the serpent, the seduction but also in crowning the work of sanctification, both carnal and spiritual. And we are at an important apostolic element: the public confession.

2 And this sublime doctrine is unavoidable even for very minor sins, that is to say, involuntary or by mistake. For example, if someone asks you for some money and you give it to him without any question and he goes to play lottery, buy cigarettes, buy some alcoholic drink ... or if you murmur or sing a pagan song by mistake... you are guilty. If you associate, even for one second, with a person of these Catholic, Protestant, evangelical and Branhamist churches, including all these so-called revealed or restored churches, or these missions and ministries to pray, you are guilty, just like the one who consults a diviner or fetish priest. If you are somewhere without a Bible and there is a Louis Segond or Scofield or Thompson or King James version, you shall look on that as a trap of Satan.

3 You cannot use street words or expressions. And neither for a dead person nor for a party, or a wedding, for nothing… shall you enter any of these churches, their vigils or their prayer cells. If you sin slightly in words with someone you knew to be a mocker or a gossip, it is a sin similar to one who goes into the house of a prostitute. These are sins to which we must be confronted, for at the point where we are now, whoever indulges even once in masturbation, lies, fornication, politics, adultery, or who does not pay the tithes and offerings ... is for us a redoubtable enemy and the subject of our troubles, he is like a leper in the camp of Israel.

4 But know that if someone torments us like Achan or unworthily follows this Message, he is under the curse of 1 Corinthians 11:27-30. If you are sitting there with some sins and people are confessing around you and that does not tell you anything, know at least that you will be filled with demons and with curses. Know that you came into the house of God just to return from it cursed rather than being blessed. Beware because sin is not a second nature for the sons of God and God said to Moses: "Those who have tempted me ten times will not enter into the promised land." Every time you sit there with some unconfessed sins in your heart, this goes up before God in the Heaven. [Ed: The congregation says, “Amen!”].  

5 Likewise, you cannot confess with a smile on your lips. And you must take off your suit jacket before you confess. The public confession must not be some preaching, a testimony, a settling of accounts or a justification, but the confession with regret. Also avoid details except if the congregation asks for them. If you have sinned against someone and he still speaks of it, even if it was prior to the baptism, confess it to him then before the congregation. You see?

6 And If you have sinned, do not come and stand there to say: "Oh Brethren ... understand me, the Bible says that the flesh is weak, I did such a thing ..." It does not belong to you to say that to your Brothers. It should be something like: "Brothers, I have sinned against God and against you, I lost strength, I have betrayed you, I am not even worthy to be called Brother! This thing happened to me ..."

7 Also, let all those who have something to confess do it together one after the other and let there be one prayer for all of them. After all the confessions, the floor will be given to the congregation by the one who leads the public confession so that the congregation may intervene on the confessions. But a brother who has confessed is not worthy to intervene on another one’s confession.

8 But, there are things which cannot come to the confession. For example, if you have not been able to speak before someone who tries to contradict the Message, the solution is not to come to the public confession, but you must call that person back to tell him what you have not been able to tell him before coming to confess. Similarly, one who has not paid the tithe only confesses after he has refunded that.

9 Well. The auricular confession, that is to say the confession of the sins to a priest or a pastor, is a human institution. The Apostles, since the time of the Lord Jesus-Christ, instituted the public confession by the power that the Lord Jesus-Christ Himself had given to them in John 20:23. The public confession was abolished by the end of the 3rd century and was replaced by the auricular confession, which was established by Saint Benedict, founder of the Benedictine order, but not with remission of sins. In the year 1215, the auricular confession was imposed at the Council of the Lateran and made obligatory, then, two years later at the Council of Trent, it became an absolute dogma. It was in the year 758 that the auricular confession was introduced in the West by the religious orders of the East in replacement of the public confession.

10 And after the auricular confession, the priest said: "I absolve you as much as I can and as you need it." Instead of saying: "May God forgive your sins and mine!"

11 And in collusion with the priests, some kings and emperors took advantage of the auricular confession to commit crimes. King Louis XI used to confess once he had committed a great crime and he had, therefore, his heart relieved and a free conscience. And he often confessed, and yet if it was the public confession, he would not do it. And in that same time, this practice was protecting their throne. In Normandy, a young man confessed to a priest saying that he had intended to kill king Francis I. The priest informed the king and it followed what you know. And if it was in public confession, the king could not do anything to that young man. You see?

12 Confessing the sins to a man, whether he be a priest or a pastor, it is not correct. That comes from the devil. [Ed: The congregation says, “Amen!”].

13 Check history and you will see that in Israel, at the fast of Yom Kippur, that is to say great forgiveness, the confession was public. On that day, all the Jews would gather and publicly confess their sins during a quarter of a day. Not a quarter of an hour but a quarter of a day, one after the other ... Read Nehemiah 9:1-3 and you will see that! You see?

14 Saying one’s sins to a priest or to a pastor is not called confession but confidence. You have made a confidence to a priest or pastor to ease your conscience but do not say it is confession. The auricular or private confession is a Catholic heritage.

15 Here is what the Littré French dictionary, volume 2, page 633 says, "Private or auricular confession: confession which is made to the priest's ear, as opposed to the public confession, which was in practice in the early Church." Now, here is what the Larousse of the twentieth century, volume 2, page 404, says: "auricular or private confession: one which is made in secret to a priest or to a pastor, public confession: one which was made before the Church in the past." You see? From the apostles until the 4th century, it was the public confession. Then the Roman Catholic church put an end to that and instituted the auricular confession. God cannot listen to you unless your confession is public because it is a commandment. Do not confuse to make some confidences with  to confess.

16 In the Gospels, in John 8, an adulteress should be stoned but she was able to reach the crossroads of the law and the grace and there, the grace prevailed. You see? All the people wanted to stone her in accordance with what was done under the law of Moses. It was Moses who ordered that because any sin is against the people. Why did the Jews want to stone that woman if her sin was not against them? You see? All the people stoned Achan in Joshua 7. Achan’s sin caused prejudice to them because it was their sin too. Achan's sin was imputed to them. And it is the same thing today. As soon as you believe in the Message and you have received the baptism, you are members of the body of Christ. We all form the body of Christ and the sin of one member is the sin of the whole body. And therefore, if a member hides his sins and comes and sits here, he is an enemy like Achan. You see?

17 Moses gave the Jews the power to stone but the Lord Jesus Christ gave us the power to forgive. But we cannot forgive except if you confess before the assembly, before everyone. If you are scared or ashamed of the assembly, so do not sin. [Ed: The congregation says, “Amen!”].  

18 We believe that after the baptism, we are one body and that the sin of one member is the sin of the whole body. And Matthew 18:18 says, " Verily I say to you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on the earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on the earth shall be loosed in Heaven." And in John 20:23 when the Lord Jesus Christ said, " whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted to them; whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained". It was to humans that He was speaking. And these humans, it is us, the living Church. [Ed: The congregation says, “Amen!”].

19 In Matthew 16:19, the Lord Jesus-Christ gave this power to forgive to Peter. But as soon as the Church was formed, this power moved and went to the Church. Thus, Matthew 16:19 speaks of the one who has the keys of the Kingdom on earth. The one who has the keys of the Kingdom; only one person whose prayer is received before God, more powerful than the prayer of the whole earth gathered together. In time of distress, in 2 Kings 19, king Hezekiah sent Eliakim the chief priest, and Shebna, the scribe, and the elders of the priests to Isaiah, the prophet, in order that he might lift up a prayer for Israel. And they must have said, "Oh king, we inform you that all the priests of Israel have decided a Jehoshaphat fast for the whole country and an Esther fast is in view with the agreement of all the churches and their presidents and up to eight hundred prophets have seen success in advance". But the king said, I prefer Isaiah. Go toward Isaiah, the prophet who is alone against all the men of God! [Ed: The congregation says, “Amen!”]. I prefer Isaiah, the one that everyone fights. In history, I have understood that the one that everyone fights, it is him who has the Words of eternal Life. Amen! The good kings of Israel have always acted this way. 

20 Now let’s come back to our text. Public confession is a nightmare for the workers of sins in the assemblies. That is why they do not want it. They are sad when we speak of public confession. And a member of the assembly of gods’ church told me, "The Message is true and I really want to come but if you abolish the public confession, you will make many more converts!" Others say, "If I confess publicly, some church members will go and speak of my confession outside!" But, if so, do not sin then! You see? A so-called confession addressed directly to God is of the devil. You see? Every confession must be done publicly before the assembly. This is the commandment of God today. This is the Message and the revelation of Jesus Christ today. [Ed: The congregation says, “Amen!”].

21 And speaking of the public confession, what does Job say? Let’s read that, Job 31:33-34: " If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom, Because I feared the great multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me, so that I kept silence...". Now I am going to read verse 40, listen closely: "... Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and tares instead of barley!" You see? Job says that if, because of the multitude of people, if because of the contempt of people, he hid his iniquity in his heart, if he undertakes an activity, let that fail! If you have had the strength to sin and you are ashamed or afraid to confess that publicly like Job, then a curse will be upon you and upon what you will put your hand on! [Ed: The congregation says, “Amen!”].

22 And as for the reactions after a public confession, we are not in a classroom and we do not want bright analyzers of public confessions, some people who are like obliged to pronounce themselves on every confession, we do not want them. Every intervention must be with meekness, in order to bring back the sinner. But if that looks like an aggression, then that intervention is diabolical.

23 And as far as forgiving is concerned, the assembly is free to forgive or not to forgive in the virtue of the power that God Himself has granted to the Church in Matthew 18:18 and John 20:22. No one must say: "We are all sinners, so we must obligatorily forgive". Under the law, it was to humans like us that God gave the power to stone. And we have no right to twist the Word in relation to ourselves.

24 And if a brother, having no consideration for us and for the Message, goes and commits a sex sin, I ask that one to three months after the confession, he comes with the girl before we pray and it is right. You say, "What if she does not want to come?". She will come! Why won’t she come? Just as this brother was wise to take her to the hotel, he will be wise to bring her here. And if she agreed to go to the hotel to be undressed and defiled, it is not in a temple that she will refuse to come to be purified. He is obliged to bring her here so she may tell us that she is not pregnant and that there is no problem before we pray for this brother. But if it is a sister, she cannot bring this pagan. But she will come after the time of sanction and we will pray for her if during this time of sanction, she remained pure. But, at least, the brother or the sister will give reasons for his act since the sex sin cannot happen by surprise. Considering him as being weak, he can be given a time of observation of one to twelve months during which he will remain in the congregation and confess for the sins that he will commit. But for this sin, he will re-confess it after the time of observation.

25 But if it is question of a case of adultery with a married man or woman, the brother or the sister will go first to the spouse of that person and will ask him for forgiveness before coming to confess in the congregation. But if the brother or the sister is married, he will first confess to his spouse, then he will be accompanied by a witness, besides his spouse, towards the other couple. And it is after these steps that he will come and confess in the congregation. And I tell you that this is a commandment of the Lord, a revelation of Jesus-Christ for this generation. [Ed: The congregation says, “Amen!”].

26 It is not because we are strong that we follow this Message, but with the help and the grace of God, like Joshua and Caleb, we say by faith that we can! Let’s just praise Him! Let’s sing and praise his Name! Amen!

27 God dwells in holiness and the angels shout day and night, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord”. If you love holiness and sanctification, you will not reject the public confession. If you are a child of God, because of the public confession, you will say, “O God! If I had come across this Message since my childhood, I wouldn’t have lived a bad life, there are sins that I would have never committed.” For a child of God, the public confession is a gift from God and the elect say Amen to that.