Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

How Can I be clean? (Zechariah 3; John 6; Rev 7)

December 16, 2015

“Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments,”  Zechariah 3

The longer one lives he or she, without doubt, has more and more deeds that they would like to forget.  For example, when I was a teenager, there was one moment that I would love to forget, but it is edged in my mind as one of my greatest failures. On that dark day, I denied my Lord before someone who desperately needed to know Him.

This morning that memory flooded my mind as I read Zechariah 3.  This is the prophets fourth vision given to the people.  Israel is back in the land and she is being called to live a holy life before God.

In this vision the High Priest is being accused of sinfulness, of which he is guilty.  In this dramatic scene we view a people who have two common to man distinctions:

  • They are covered in iniquity.
  • They are desperate to be cleansed from their iniquity.

The glorious part of this scene is in the prophecy given of a branch that is to come who will cleanse those who are willing to be cleansed.  Who is this branch?  His name is Jesus.  On the Day of Atonement, He made possible our cleansing, Hebrews 9:14; 10-18!!!

As I read the following words I began to rejoice, “I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day.”

Because of what Christ did, I have been made clean.  There is no record in heaven of the dark moments in my life.  This is why we see the church passionately praising the Lord in Revelation 7:11-17.

Think it through:

  • God has prepared His people for worship.
  • God’s people are passionately worshipping Him.

Today, I have been made clean by the blood of the lamb.  Today, if you are a Christ follower, you have been made clean by the blood of the lamb.  Isn’t it time that you and I stop what we are doing and spend some time passionately worshipping Him.

We serve The God who has made us clean!!!

What Hope Is There For The Sinner? (II Samuel 12, II Corinthians 5)

September 16, 2013

“David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’  And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”  II Samuel 12:14

“That ism in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”  II Corinthians 5:19

Brothers and sisters, there was no use in denying the facts.  This man was guilty.  All that remained was the official sentence to be handed down.  Question, “What type of sentence would you render in this case?”  Answer, “It’s according to what the crime is.”

The crime:  “Rebellion against God.”  The accused, “every man.”  The verdict:  “guilty as charged.” The sentence, “Eternal separation from God in eternal fire under the wrath of God.”

In this moment the weight of the human predicament is clearly felt.  “What hope is there for the sinner?”  Before us in our More For Christ readings is the answer.

Consider II Samuel 12.  Here we see a sinner, David, who is confronted with his sin against God.  In this confrontation we discover the path to hope:

1.  We see David’s strong rebuke, Vs: 1-11

David is rebuked for this sinful thirst for more than he needed.  David is rebuked for taking what was not his.  David would face continual turmoil that was not needed in his life.  But so is the fruit of sowing sin.

2.  We see David’s sincere repentance, Vs: 12-15

David replies, “I have sinned.”  In this chapter it seems like a simple statement of fact.  But if you read Psalm 51, you will see a full disclosure of his godly sorrow and repentance.

In this moment, it looks as if all is lost.  But a closer look reveals the grace of God.  “The Lord has put away your sin.”  In this moment, our Lord extends grace to a repentant man.  How does this happen?  Jesus comes and offers His blood as payment for our sin, John 1:29; II Corinthians 5:19-21.  Because of Christ condemned men can be forgiven.

Think it through:

1.  Yes, there are always consequences for our sins.  The greatest is the cross.

2.  Be thankful for God’s reconciling all of our sins.

3.  Make sure, every sin is confessed and cleansed by God.

4.  Make it your aim to share with broken people about the hope they can have for a future in Christ.

The Christian Answer (Philemon)

October 16, 2012

“Confident of your obedience, I  write to you knowing that you will do even more than I say.”  Philemon 21

The choice was before him, “If he preferred charges, it would mean certain conviction and crushing judgment.”  All he had to do was to say, “I make the following charge against him.”  But to the shock of the judge and jury he said, “I make no charge against this man.”  Here was a guy who had been beaten by a neighbor, but in an amazing fashion, he held no grudge.  In this moment we ask, “What made the difference?”  The difference was Jesus and the love that Jesus had placed in the offended parties heart.

The fact is, “The Christian response” should always be love and forgiveness.  This is clearly illustrated in our More For Christ readings.  The Apostle Paul writes a personal letter to a Christian brother in Colossae.  His name is Philemon.  In this letter Paul teaches us about the proper Christian response to the circumstances of life.

1.  Paul addresses Philemon’s character Vs: 1-7

Philemon has opened his heart to the gospel and now he has opened his home for a church in the city of Colossae.  This man has also opened his hand to the community.  Paul is confident the word of the Lord will be forth.

2.  Paul addresses Philemon’s circumstance Vs: 8-16

Philemon had experienced the loss of  a slave by the name of Onesimus.  This slave had travelled to Rome.  He has encountered Paul and his preaching.  God opened his heart to the Gospel.  Now Paul is sending him back, “not as a slave but as a brother.”  Here is Philemon’s circumstance:  1.  Will he forgive the slave who wronged him?  2.  Will he forge a new brotherhood with the man who had been saved?  He is now to be considered a beloved brother.

3.  Addresses Philemon with confidence, Vs: 17-22

Paul believes Philemon will do more than he asks him to do.  Paul is even willing to pay for whatever this man has taken from Philemon.

In all of this we see the great picture of Christian love and forgiveness.  This is what Christ did for us and this is what we are to do for others.

Certainly I do not know your particular circumstances this morning.  But I feel compelled to ask, “What will be your answer to your circumstance?”  I have confidence that your Christian character will come through.    God be praised in your Christian answer today!!!

Who Can Forgive Sins?

May 22, 2012

“Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sons but God alone?” Luke 5:21

Every day we have opportunities to live out what we believe in regard to forgiveness.  For example, you are driving in crowded traffic.  You are trying to be kind and tender-hearted to the other drivers.  Suddenly someone cuts you off. In this moment you have an opportunity.  Either you can evidence forgiveness or you can evidence frustration.

Here is a little more intense illustration.  You have had a hard day at work.  You come home about the same time others are coming home.  Suddenly you realize someone in the group has had a bad day and they are evidencing their frustration.  You are tired and now you are offended.  In this moment you must decide, “Do you forgive or do you get even.”

The fact is, “Forgiveness is not and easy matter.”  Our More For Christ readings, Lk 5:17-39, teach us that forgiveness originates with God (II Cor. 1:4) and flows through those who are obedient to God.  Case in point:

4 friends have a friend who is paralyzed.  They seek to bring him to Jesus for healing.  Their faith is so great that they will not be hindered from getting their friend to Jesus.  The scene that follows never grows old even though it is very familiar.

Here in the text we discover several key forgiveness points:  1)  Forgiven people want other people to experience forgiveness.  These 4 men knew what Jesus could do and they carried their friend to Jesus.  Brothers and sisters, there are many people who have no understanding of God’s forgiveness.  It is our responsibility to help them understand what Jesus said, “He did not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners to repentance.”  

2) People who have not experienced forgiveness question it’s validity.  Here in the text the Pharisees question who has the right to forgive sins.  How often do I find people who only investigate and condemn others for their sins without any desire to see them restored.  Those who understand forgiveness want to see others restored.

3)  Only Jesus can forgive sins.  He alone has the authority and ability to forgive sins.  We must come to Jesus in repentance of our own sin and we must come seeking His working in others so that they might come to repentance for their sins.  When all of this is at work in our lives, be assured we will see the miracle of forgiveness.

As we close, I wonder, “Are their people around you who need forgiveness?”  Maybe it is a co-worker or maybe it is a friend or family member?  I challenge you to discover God’s forgiveness in its heights, width, and depth.  When you do, “Miracles will happen.”