Jesus takes away our shame

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My sermon notes from yesterday on how Jesus takes away shame

New Year – look back and look forward.
Looked back over last year with a sense of great joy at all the Lord has done.
9 professed faith in Jesus Christ.
Grew from 100 to 122 with 187 at the carol service
Took on Sarah as part time administrator
Got our premises which we are using for office space, international cafe and youth club and soon the job club.
Took on Mike as part time youth and community pastor.
Held a big conference with Terry Virgo and some big socials – the comedy night and barn dance.
Multiplied the kids work into four age groups
Multiplied one of the small groups

Looking forward to pressing into more of what the Lord has for us and seeing that wave of the Spirit that is on its way hitting our shores. Are you ready?

It’s good to look back with a sense of gratitude, thanking God for what He has done in and through you.
But for many look back over last year or years with a sense of shame for what you have done, not done, or had done to you. You know you are forgiven but you carry shame for sin.

Shame and Guilt very different

Both negative emotions
Guilt is about the sin itself that you did. Shame is about the fact that YOU did it.
Shame is generally more painful than guilt
Guilt leads to tension, remorse and regret, where as shame makes you feel small, worthless and powerless.
Guilt leads to confession, apologising and repairing, whereas Shame usually leads to more hurtful behaviour like hiding, escaping and shrinking back.
Folks that get caught in a pattern of sin that makes them feel ashamed are too ashamed to deal with it, so often stay stuck.

Let’s see how it works in Gen 2:25-3:10

Start in the honour of God’s presence
No shame, no fear, enjoying creation
Satan challenges God’s honour by questioning His integrity and Word
Appeals to their pride – “You will be like God”
Wanted more honour – to be more like God
So they ate of the tree – disobeyed God by dishonouring Him.
Self aware of nakedness led to shame which lead to fear and hiding from God.
So they made garments of fig leaves to cover their shame and nakedness. They hid from God and ran away from intimacy and love toward isolation and death, propelled by shame. They were so scared of being found out they hid from God. Often people filled with shame can’t look you in the eye.

So often that Gen 3 patter n of sin-defilement-shame-hiding pattern continues today in four different ways people play out their lives.
Rom 1:18 tells us we often suppress the truth of what we have done.
First fig leaf is worn by the “good girl”
She is pleasant, successful and dependable – like a lake with no waves. She rarely gets angry, always apologises whether or not it is her fault and seeks to serve others and keep them happy at the cost of her own well-being. But she s essentially dead, devoid of passion, always smiling, being good and trying to convince everyone she is fine when really she is broken and devastated.

Second fig leaf is worn by the tough girl.
She has been hurt and so she projects to the world her confidence, anger and roughness so that no one will have the courage to hurt her again. She’ll be respected by many, but loved and known by few. She craves intimacy and love, but is so afraid of being hurt that she develops a hard shell around her that repels. She’s achieved the goal of not being hurt again, but is left alone and desperately lonely.

Third fig leaf is worn by the party girl.
The party girl is the life of the party, the centre of attention, fun to be with and prone to self medicate with alcohol, food and even drugs. She has learned to mask her pain with laughter and is adept at making fun of even the most horrifying parts of her life. Thus when she reveals to others who she truly is, she does it in a way that makes everyone laugh and not see the pain she suffers. She’ll turn anger into sarcasm and irony – which is violence by comedy. She’s always in a crowd, but syoll lonely – the parties and being surrounded by people are an illusion.

The fourth fig leaf is worn by the church girl

She hides behind religious piety, ministry and systematic theology. She reads books and learns, not for her healing, but to help others. She pours herself out to help others because it enables her to feel sorrow and grief vicariously while avoiding her own pain. She can be harsh, judgemental and moralistic. She’ll turn every conversation into an opportunity to judge, argue fine points of theology unnecessarily or spiritualise everything complete with Bible verses which are used as little more than a diversion from matters of the heart.

Shame is…
More obvious in Eastern honour/shame cultures – where a Muslim may kill a family member in a so called honour killing because they have brought shame on their family through their behaviour.
Shame in Eastern cultures is external, about behaviour and the community
In Western contexts shame is far more internal, hidden and about the individual and their feelings as seen by the fig leaves worn by the good girl, the tough girl, the party girl and the church girl.

We know the gospel deals with our guilt once and for all – We are justified, declared not guilty, righteous! But too many live with a continued sense of shame.

In the garden of Eden, God made the first sacrifice – to make lasting garments of animal skin, to cover the nakedness and take away their shame.

The Bible uses terms like atonement, cleansing and a purifying fountain to show us that God doesn’t just forgive us and deal with our guilt, HE cleanses us of our shame and restores us to a place of honour.
Here’s some of the Old Testament promises.
“For on this day of atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins.” Lev 16:30
“I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.” Jer 33:8
“on that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from their sin and uncleanness.” Zech 13:1

On the cross, Jesus dealt with our shame and guilt. He not only forgave all of your sin, but he cleansed you from all your shame and defilement.

That’s picture beautifully in the Old Testament Day of Atonement. The holiest day of the year for the OT Jew. On that day the sin problem between people and God was sorted out.
They picked two perfect goats (to represent the coming sinless Jesus the Messiah). The first one was slaughtered as a sin offering. That represented Jesus death on the cross where just wrath of God for sin was satisfied through death as a penalty for sin – theologians call that propitiation.
Then the high priest would take the second goat, lay his hands on it while confessing the sins of the people and send it off into the wilderness, symbolically taking their sins with it. The scapegoat! Theologically that is called expiation where our sin and shame is taken away and we are made clean through Jesus.

Jesus died on the cross for our sin and to take away our shame. Heb 12 says for the joy set before him “He endured the cross, despising its shame and is seated at the right hand of God.”
Jesus who was in the highest place of honour came and shamed himself as a man dying on the cross to take away our shame. When he rose again and ascended to the right hand of the Father – he was restored to the place of highest honour taking us with him. So that we are seated in heavenly places with Him!

Jesus was betrayed by someone He loved, his friends did nothing for Him in his moment of greatest need. They turned their backs on Him. He was humiliated in degrading ways, stripped naked publicly and beaten worse than anyone. He was disgraced, shamed and bled and died on the cross. He can sympathise with all our weakness and because He is God took all of shame and weakness onto himself.

Jesus expiating work on the cross means our sin and shame are taken away forever.

Here is a story that helps us…
A man was married to a woman that he dearly loved for many years. Yet they were never as close and intimate as he desired and he couldn’t figure out why. Truth is she was filled with shame – she had been molested as a young girl and been promiscuous through much of her teenage years. She even cheated on her husband during their engagement and didn’t share her dark shameful secrets with him. After many years she finally told him what she had done and what had been done to her.
The truth devastated her husband who would never have married her if he had known of her infidelity and may have walked away from her as damaged goods if he had known about her lifestyle. At this point she feared he would leave her and want nothing to do with her.
Then he did do the unthinkable: he left their home and she did not know if he would return.
But because he knew the gospel. He went to a shop and bought her a new clean white nightgown. He returned and asked her to undress in from of him and clothe herself in white, which she did. He then said he had chosen to see her not by what had been done to her or done by her, by solely by what Jesus had done to forgive her sin and cleanse her shame. He hugged her and prayed for her and she wept tears that purified her soul as her shame was despised by the love of Jesus and here husband.

This is what God does for us.
There will be three types of people today.
1) Many of you will understand this, know this and live in the goodness of being forgiven and without shame because you have grasped the wonderful grace of God and allowed it to permeate you. Wonderful – keep living in the good of it and help others to grasp the fact that the cross is our propitiation and expiation. And learn how to spell those words too!
2) Some here today haven’t yet experienced the forgiveness that Jesus offers. Perhaps you think that it is your good works that will get you to heaven. They won’t, even your best efforts are like filthy rags to God, because they are tainted by your sin. You can come to Jesus today – he has hands open wide to welcome you into His family.
3) Some here know you are forgiven by Jesus, but you are still carrying the shame of things that you have done and have been done to you. This morning Jesus wants to cleanse you and remove your shame. Some of you in this one have been Christians for years and some a few weeks or months. Yet you still carry shame at times or even daily.

We’d love to pray for you.
In the story of the prodigal son. He’d really blown it, disgracing himself and heaping shame on himself and his family. When he came to his sense and realised he need to come home, he began what he thought would be the walk of shame through the village with every eye on him. Instead he found his father running across the village (itself an act of shame as much as the shame of the cross) to cover the son’s shame with his coat, so he didn’t have to walk past everyone with eyes down.
I’d like to invite you to come forward for prayer for cleansing of shame. As you come it’s not a walk of shame – because the Father is running to you to restore you, cleanse you and cover your shame with honour.

Let’s stand and come forward if you would like prayer for Jesus to cleanse away your shame.

Fig leaf people illustration & nightgown story from “Death by Love” by Mark Driscoll




Andy planted the Gateway Church in Sept 2007. He and Janet love to gather different nations together to grow in Christ while eating good food! He also helps to shape and serve a couple of Relational Mission's church plants in mainland Europe. Andy and Janet run regularly, largely to offset the hospitality eating! He also runs a popular WordPress plugin Church Admin