Father Forgive Them – Forgive Who?

Luke 23:34

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

The King of Glory spoke these words from the cross.  These were among some of the last brief statements that He made.  Who exactly was He speaking to?

  • Of course He spoke to the Roman Soldiers.  They were standing there jeering and cursing having just nailed Him to the cross.  Of course it was their job.  They had been commanded to do so.  It was probably not the first crucifixion detail they had been assigned.  But this One was different.  This One claimed to be the Son of God.  He had stated that He would build the temple back in three days if it were destroyed.  The man was mad.  It had taken forty years to build.  They gambled for His clothes at the foot of the cross as they watched Him die.  Was it really the Roman soldiers He spoke of in His prayer to the Father?
  • Maybe, it was the Jewish crowd that He spoke to that was gathered there that day.  They had swarmed around Him as He had healed their sick, their blind and lame, cast out demonic spirits, fed them on occasion, and told them all types of parables and stories of God and His kingdom.  Now they had turned on Him because He did not fulfill their desires of who the Messiah should really be.  They had just recently shouted, “Hosanna, Hail King of the Jews.”  Then they shouted, “Crucify Him.”  Was it really the Jewish crowd He asked His Father to forgive?
  • Or, maybe it was His disciples, especially the ones who had fled and were afraid and in hiding.  Only John was present there with His mother and some other women who had been part of those who had followed Him from town to town and around the countryside.  Peter, especially, was always boasting and speaking all kind of big statements.  He obviously did not really know what he was saying.  Was it His cowardly disciples He asked His Father to forgive?
  • Or, maybe He saw ahead in time and saw that crowd as they were stoning Stephen to death, and especially that Saul of Tarsus character who was standing by as the stones killed this first martyr to His cause.  That crowd that was so full of hatred against Stephen.  Surely that is who He meant that forgiveness for.
  • Perhaps it was further on down in time when the early Christians were martyred in the coliseum of Rome by wild animals and killed by hanging, and torture of all kinds.   Surely their persecutors were included in His statement from the cross.   And on down thru the Inquisition and throughout all the persecution of the Middle Ages.  What about John Hus who was burned alive and all the others who where killed in nearly every country of the world.  Surely His statement was meant for them. 
  • What about all the wars fought in the name of religion, the Crusades, the Protestants against the Catholics and the Catholics against the Protestants?  Surely He had these in mind when He prayed His Father to forgive them.
  • What about the barbarians throughout the world who committed wholesale slaughter of whole groups and nationalities of peoples simply because they were different.  Men like Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin, and the butchers in Rwanda.  Certainly He was speaking of them.
  • Or maybe He was speaking of all those native tribes and people in other lands, who because of their ignorance, killed missionaries and many other innocent people who were there just to preach to them the good news of salvation.  Surely that is who He meant.
  • Or maybe He looked out to our time and saw you and I when He was there on the Cross.  “Was it for crimes that I have done, He groaned upon the tree.  Amazing pity, grace unknown and love beyond degree.”  I ask myself, “Was it me He was speaking of as He hung there with His life’s blood ebbing out drop by drop”.  When He was there hanging on that Cross, could I have been on His mind?  Was my sin that I commit day by day, year by year without regard to my own eternity what He had in mind as He spoke that day.  Am I so calloused by my constant denial of wrong that I fail to grasp the total sacrifice that was made for me that day?   Surely He was speaking of me from the cross that day. 

Each of us alone can respond to that statement and cry out to Him in forgiveness. 

“Yes Lord, I need your forgiveness.  Yes Lord, I am guilty.  Yes Lord, I repeatedly do the same thing over and over again and I do it because I want to do what I do.  I know better.  I know right from wrong.  I am guilty.  I should have hung on the cross…not you Lord.  Father forgive me for I do know what I do.”

Fruits Worthy of Repentance

Luke 3:7-9

(The Message) – Brood of snakes!  What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river?  Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to deflect God’s judgment?  It’s your life that must change, not your skin.  And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as ‘father.’  Being a child of Abraham is neither here nor there–children of Abraham are a dime a dozen.  God can make children from stones if he wants.  What counts is your life.  Is it green and blossoming?  Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.”   

When crowds of people came out for baptism because it was the popular thing to do, John exploded: 

Luke 8

(The Amplified Version) – Bear fruits that are deserving and consistent with (your) repentance (that is, conduct worthy of a heart changed, a heart abhorring sin). 

The message that John was preaching to the people is the same message still being preached today.  You call yourselves Christian, then behave like a Christian, act like a Christian, conduct your affairs each day like a Christian should.  Live like a Christian should live, talk like a Christian should talk.

The message that John was preaching to the people has the same reaction from people today.  Some genuinely repent of their past sins and change their way of living.  Some repent of their past sins and go on unchanged.  There is more to repentance or salvation, or the born again experience than kneeling down at an altar and repenting of sins.  Genuine repentance means turning and forsaking those things that are contrary to the Word of God.  Genuine repentance means changing your way of living.  Genuine repentance means following after Christ.  Genuine repentance means giving up old dead, sinful habits that will bring you back into bondage again.  Genuine repentance might mean that you have to change your dress style, your reading habits, your television viewing habits, your music listening habits, possibly even changing your old friends or acquaintances.

Remember the story of the prodigal son…he left the pig pen…he was given a new place to live, new clothes, new habits, and new friends.  The scriptures tell us that “he had spent all that he had on riotous living.”  The word riotous living means wasteful, wantonness, recklessness, reveling, dissension, insurrection, sedition, uproar.  Now, was this guy in bad shape or was he in bad shape?  And some of us here today were in the same shape.  But, now we have been saved, changed, been renewed in the spirit of our mind.  Our heart’s passions are different.  We don’t want the old lifestyle, the old living habits, the things that once held us in bondage.  We are a new creation in Christ. 

Remember the story of the rich, young ruler.  He approached Jesus and wanted to follow Jesus but something got in the way of his following Jesus.  We could debate all day and never come to a sound decision of what it really was that kept him from following Jesus.  Oh, we know it was money or was it the love of money, or was it the life-style or prestige that money could buy?  Was it pride or was it selfishness?  What was his was his and he was going to keep it as his.

There is no written evidence that this young ruler ever changed his mind or his lifestyle.  Although we know he was obedient to all the commandments, one thing kept him from following Jesus.  That one thing was simply this:  total surrender

A story of two friends is told where one man was converted to God.  He went to tell his friend who was surprised and made fun of him.  The new Christian stated he had something that was bothering him and he had to tell it.  Six years previous, the new Christian had stolen four sheep from his friend’s flock and had branded them with his own brand.  They and their offspring were in his field and he was now having trouble sleeping and had to talk to him.  He stated that he would go to prison, pay for the sheep or restore the property. The non-believer stated he did not want the sheep as he trembled in fear.  He went on to say he did not want anything from the Christian, that something strange had got ahold of him and he did not understand it.  The Christian insisted that he had to settle the theft issue.  He counted out the value of the four sheep, plus interest, and then gave his friend double the amount.  True repentance will cause one to make things right.  

The Fruits of Repentance

Change of habits, change of life style, change of attitude, change of living, change in the way one talks, change in the places we frequent, changes in the way we dress, change of friends and many more changes that confront us every day are fruits of repentance that must not be ignored. Whatever it might be in our life that separates us from complete surrender to Jesus Christ, it must be discarded, given up, and surrendered.  Some of these changes may cost us dearly but if not made they will cost us eternal life with Christ.

Bearing fruits worthy of repentance indicates that we might have something to carry, a cross perhaps.  Jesus spoke several places about carrying a cross.  In fact there is a logical step-by-step progression to cross carrying. 

Matthew 16:24 – If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 

Luke 14:27 – Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 

Matthew 10:38 – He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 

(The next passage goes on to say that whoever loses his life shall find it.)

Jim Elliot, missionary to Ecuador, and three other missionary friends lost their earthly lives but gained eternal life. He said “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to obtain that which he cannot lose.“

John 15:13-14 – No greater love has any man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.

What change must you make following repentance?  Do it.  Your eternal destiny depends upon it.

Denying Jesus

Matthew 26:69-75

Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”  But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”  And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”  But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”  And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”  Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”  Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.

Peter’s denial would be what we refer to in theological terms as “Apostasy.”  By definition it simply means “a turning away”. Denying Christ is serious.  It is a tragic and terrible sin, yet Christ forgives each sin, no matter how terrible it might be.  Christ forgave Peter, and in forgiving Peter He has demonstrated to us, you and me, His love and compassion. 

The cause of Peter’s denial was “apostasy.” He “sat without in the palace.”  He sat down with the crowd which represented the world of rejecters.  Peter was failing Christ and failing Him miserably.  Sitting down with the crowd was the last place he should have been.   Of course, he should have never forsaken Christ.  But having done so he should have been off some place seeking God in prayer, seeking answers and understanding from God.  Or, he should have been with the other followers of Jesus seeking answers from God so that they might understand and have direction in their lives. 

Three things that cause us to deny Christ.  All three things are seen in Peter’s experience.

He turned away, deserted and fled from Him.

Matthew. 26:56 – But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.  “Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.”

He “followed Christ afar off”: not walking close to Him, not standing or being identified with Him.

Matthew. 26:58 – But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.

2 Timothy 1:7-8 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,

He was “sitting without” or sitting with the crowd, not being where one should be.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 – Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate”, says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Thessalonians 3:6 – But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.

Peter’s Denial was also by Pretension

Peter pretended to have nothing to do with Jesus, and even pretended to not even knowing him.  

Mark 8:38 – For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear

Pretending is one of the constant sins of men.

  • We are asked if we think something.  We do and deny it.
  • We are asked if we feel something.  We do and deny it.
  • We are asked if we fear something.  We do and deny it.
  • We are asked if we did something.  We did and deny it.
  • We are asked if we know something.  We do and deny it.

Too many believers deny Christ by pretension.  Very simply, they pretend not to know Christ when out in the world…

  • at their place of employment
  • at their school
  • at their social functions
  • among their neighbors
  • among their friends
  • among strangers

Pretension is two things: 

Pretension is hypocrisy.  It is pretending to be something we are not.

Pretension is denial of Christ.  It is a shying away from or lying about one’s confession of Christ.  Even in our silence we condemn ourselves because by our silence we are denying Christ.

Peter’s Denial was with an Oath

His denial by oath was strong and emphatic and strong.  He said: “I swear by God, I do not know the man.  I know nothing about Him.”  The denial that uses an oath downgrades Christ.  Here he says I never knew “the man.”  Earlier Peter had stated loud and clear “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Matthew. 16:16

Peter had sworn loyalty to Christ even if it meant death. 

Matthew. 26:33-35 – Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”  Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”  Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”  And so said all the disciples.

Matthew 10:33 – But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

2 Timothy 1:8 – Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.

In the first denial he was charged by only one person and he denied knowing Christ.  In the second denial he was charged by the crowd.  He felt more threatened; therefore his denial was stronger and more emphatic.  He used an oath.  The lesson for us is very clear.  The more we are among the crowds of the world, the more we are threatened with ridicule, embarrassment, abuse, and persecution for our profession in Christ.  And the more we are threatened, the more likely we are to deny Christ.

Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 – Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord.  “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.”

I John 2:15-16 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

There is a strong warning for us in Peter’s denial:

  • Peter was a strong disciple
  • Peter knew and had trusted Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God.
  • Peter had a strong profession of loyalty to Christ.
  • Peter had just partaken of the Lord’s Supper, the very first.
  • Peter had left all to follow Christ.
  • Peter had been taught about God, taught by Christ himself.
  • Peter had even been forewarned that the flesh was weak and that he would fail.
  • Peter’s Denial was with Cursing and Swearing

Peter’s denial were progressively worse:

  • In the first denial, he simply responded that he did not know the Christ.  He just evaded the issue.  He sinned. 
  • In the second denial, he used a socially acceptable oath (although it too was wrong and sinful).  He committed apostasy, and infidelity.  He sinned.
  • In the third denial, he declines swiftly into depraved cursing, totally unacceptable to righteous hearts and pure minds and clean lips.  He committed perjury and blasphemy.  He sinned.

Ephesians 5:11 – And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Titus 1:16 – They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

2 Peter 3:17 – You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.

Proverbs 4:14 – Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil.

The Answer to Denial – Repentance

He remembered the words of the Lord, for when he heard the rooster crowing, and eye to eye with the Lord he realized what he had done.

Luke 22:31-32 – And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren

Getting alone he left the porch or courtyard as fast as he safely could.  He rushed out through the gate into the night to get alone with God, and there he was broken and full of shame, pain and anguish, and he wept bitterly.

He repented and experienced godly sorrow.

2 Corinthians 7:10 – For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.         

I John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 8:22 – Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

Proverbs 28:13 – He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy

What Water Baptism is All About

Matthew 3:13-17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”

But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus came to John to be baptized. 

  • He identified with John’s message:  Repentance is necessary.
  • He identified with John’s message:  Take a stand for what is right.
  • He identified with John’s message:  Live a life of repentance and righteousness.
  • He came to be baptized:  To give us an example.
  • He came to be baptized:  In the form of sinful flesh.
  • He came to be baptized:  To fulfill all righteousness.
  • He came to be baptized:  To show humility.
  • He came to be baptized:  To show need.
  • He came to be baptized:  To show submission.

In this passage of Scripture there is an example of two baptisms.

  • John’s Baptism – repentance/water
  • Jesus’ Baptism – power & authority/Holy Spirit & fire

Historical significance

  • Washing with water
  • Anointing with oil

Exodus 29:4-7 – And Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash them with water. Then you shall take the garments, put the tunic on Aaron, and the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the intricately woven band of the ephod. You shall put the turban on his head, and put the holy crown on the turban. And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him.

Lessons from Jesus’ Baptism

  • Need of repentance and a life of righteousness.  Every man should repent and live the life of righteousness, and every man should proclaim such a life to other men.        

Acts 8:22 – Repent of these evil thoughts and ask God to forgive you.

Isaiah 55:7 – Give up your crooked ways and your evil thoughts.  Return to the LORD our God.  He will be merciful and forgive your sins.

1 Corinthians 15:34 – Be sensible and stop sinning.  You should be embarrassed that some people still don’t know about God.

1 John 1:3 – We are telling you what we have seen and heard, so that you may share in this life with us.  And we share in it with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

  • Righteousness.  Every man must determine to “fulfill all righteousness” just as Christ did.  God’s commands must be fulfilled in the life of each believer.

1 John 3:23 – And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.

  • Sacrifice.  Every believer should be willing to give of himself for the cause of Christ – even to the point of death.

Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world; but transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Luke 9:23 – And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.

  • Humility.  Every believer should show a willingness to serve others. 

1 Peter 5:5 – All of you younger people should obey your elders.  In fact, everyone should be humble toward everyone else.  The Scriptures say:  ‘God opposes proud people; but he helps everyone who is humble.’

  • Identification.  Every believer should be as one with others, excluding no one from his life or from his service.

Romans 15:1 – We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not please ourselves.

Galatians 6:2 – Bear you one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Hebrews 4:15 – For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

  • Ministry.  Every believer should minister to others.

Luke 10:36-37 – Then Jesus asked, ‘Which one of these three people was a real neighbor to the man who was beaten up by robbers?’  The teacher answered, ‘The one who showed pity.’  Jesus said, ‘God and do the same!’

John 13:14 – If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Galatians 6:10 – As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all amen, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Believe in the Gospel

Mark 1:15

Mark 1:15 – and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

  • Repent – The word “repent” in the Bible means more than being sorry.  It means “a turning around.”  It involves both turning from our old way of living and turning to God.  Jesus began His ministry with this call to repent.  The reason for this need of repentance (change of living) is that Jesus has come to usher in the Kingdom of God.  A total change of purpose and living would be required to be a part of this kingdom of God. 
  • In order to really repent and be a part of God’s kingdom required belief.  A total and complete confidence in the message of Jesus Christ.  The story of Charles Blondin illustrates what true belief in Jesus Christ is all about.  The story is told that Blondin walked 160 feet above the falls between Canada and the United States.  After crossing to the United States he then returned to Canada pushing a wheelbarrow while blindfolded.  It is said that he asked his audience “Do you beliee I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?”  The crowd enthusiacally shouted “Yes!”  Blondin then asked “Who will get in the wheelbarrow?”  Nobody was willing to do that.  Their faith was not total and complete.  Jesus is asking us to “get in the wheelbarrow” and trust Him to take us safely across.
  • Jesus declared that the time was fulfilled.  The perfect time for the Son of God to come..

Galatians 4:4-7 – But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

  • There are several reasons we might see that Jesus came at this particular time in history.  At that time there was an international language that all the citizens of the empire spoke – Greek.  The Roman Empire had created a great road system and there was peace making travel easy.  Although these are reasons that we might think made this the “fullness of time” ultimately we cannot know for certain why God felt this was the time.
  • God sent Jesus for one purpose – to make us his sons and daughters and to thereby have a relationship with Him.

BUT

  • We must accept that redemption
  • We must believe in the Gospel – the Good News
  • We must believe and receive

Galatians 3:26 – For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

  • Repent and believe in the Gospel
    • Repent – to change one’s way of living; to confess wrong; to change one’s mind or purpose – Turning from sin – turning to God
    • Believe – commit; entrust; agree; obey; persuade; trust; yield

2 Timothy 1:12 – For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Rejoice Now – Cry Later or Cry Now – Rejoice Later

(Seven Rules for Personal Revival)

James 4:7-10

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

YOUR PARTGOD’S PART
Submit to God – Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.He will direct your paths.
Resist the devil – James 4:7 – Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from youThe devil must go in the name of Jesus.
Draw near to God – James 4:8 – Draw near to God and He will draw near to youHe will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands – James 4:8 – Cleanse your handsHe will bless the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 28:12
Purify your hearts – Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.He will cleanse and restore – Psalm 51:17 – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.
Lament, mourn, weep – James 4:9 – Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  1 Corinthians 4:17
Humble yourself – 1 Peter 5:6 – Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,He will exalt you – in His time.

THEREFORE…

James 1:21-22 – Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

THEN…

2 Chronicles 7:14 – If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

God’s Love and Our Response

Titus 3:4-7

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

  • Because of God’s love, we need to confess our sin.
  • Do you confess your sin by name? Or, do you generalize?
  • Do you confess AND then forsake your sin?
  • Are you willing to give up all sin for God?  To live a holy life

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • Because of God’s love, we need to always endeavor to keep our relationship with others free of offenses.
  • Do you consistently seek forgiveness from those who you wrong or offend?
  • Can you say that your conscience is clear with everyone?

Acts 24:16 – This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

  • Because of God’s love, we need to make sure that all we do, all we say, all we think brings glory to the name of the Lord Jesus.
  • Do you love what God loves?  Hate what God hates?
  • Do you value highly the things that please God?
  • Do I forgive others as God has forgiven me? 
  • Do I value the Word of God, taking time to read/study/absorb the truths in the Word?
  • Do I teach and caution others? 
  • Do I give thanks to God?

Colossians 3:12-17 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

  • Because of God’s love, we need to be sensitive to the conviction and prompting of God’s Spirit.
  • Are you quick to respond to the voice of God?
  • Are you willing to seek reconciliation with someone who is offended with you?

Matthew 5:23-24 – Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Titus tells us we have become heirs of God and have the hope of eternal life.  As we receive that great love and gift of God, our hearts should be so grateful that we will joyfully and lovingly want to follow God’s Word in all we do, all we think, all we say, all we are.

Names of God – His Name is Forgiveness

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

My Name is Forgiveness

Micah 7:18-19 – Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.  He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Nehemiah 9:17 – …But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.

Psalm 130:1-4 – Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!  Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.  If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.

Psalm 86:5 – For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

Quote of David Wilkerson – “Discovering the Lord as a God who forgives is the only way out of all our depths of despair, all the casting down of our souls brought on by guilt and condemnation.”

No hope – no hope – no hope – but then the shadow of a cross appeared.  The sun grew dark with misery, the moon was cold and chill.  But then the shadow of a cross arose upon a lonely hill.

  • Without Christ – hopeless eternity        
  • With Christ – eternal hope

A perverted concept of forgiveness is prevalent in the world today.

  • We recognize that God is good
  • We recognize that God is merciful
  • We recognize that God is longsuffering
  • We recognize that God forgives all sin

BUT

  • ·         There is no repentance
  • There is no change of heart
  • There is no attitude change

We feel sorry for the moment because we do not want God’s judgment and we do not want to go to hell, but we do not really change our way of living.

Isaiah 55:7 – Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord,
and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sin is seen throughout the Bible.

  • God killed animals to made clothes for Adam and Eve
  • Abel sacrificed
  • Abraham – the ram caught in the bushes
  • The sacrifices in the Old Testament revealed God’s nature of forgiveness
  • John 3:16 reinforced it
  • Jesus’ fulfillment of that promise completed the work

Hebrews 10:18 – And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

God’s continued call to repentance from beginning to end is proof that there is forgiveness in His name.  There is forgiveness through His blood.

Sin – Transgression – Missing the Mark

1 John 2:1-2

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

  • Sin
    • Transgression
    • Disobedience
    • Missing the mark
    • Overstepping the law
    • Rebellion
    • Not meeting God’s standard
    • Self-will – not God’s will
    • Ungodliness
    • Unbelief

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hebrews 9:22 – And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission for sins.

  • Repentance
    • Confession of sin
    • Forsaking of sin
    • Turning to God

Psalm 38:18 – For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin.

Luke 18:13 – And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

Luke 15:21 – And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

  • Faith
    • Know that faith works
    • Agree that faith works
    • Agree that “It’s for me”

Job 19:25 – I know that my Redeemer lives.

  • Propitiation – God’s demand that punishment for sin be satisfied
  • Adoption – made a part of the family of God
  • Redemption – price paid as a ransom
  • Justification – declared righteous with God because of shed blood of Jesus
  • Reconciliation – restored to fellowship with God
  • Substitution – we deserved death, but Christ died for us
  • Sacrifice (mediator) – one who gives what is necessary to bring God and man together.