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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Forgiveness - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Forgiveness - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Forgiveness - Part 2
TOPICS: Forgiveness

It's a privilege to be with you today. We're gonna complete our study on 'The Spiritual Power Of Forgiveness.' There are few things that have greater impact on our lives in being forgiven and our willingness to forgive other people. It unleashes the power of God towards us and through us. Do not give yourself the luxury of harboring unforgiveness, either carrying guilt yourself or holding other people guilty. It will diminish what God can and will do in your life, let's make a different choice. Grab your Bible and get a notepad, but most importantly, open your heart.

We are a people in need of forgiveness. We need the spiritual power to be given as an expression of authority in our lives, to deliver us from the impacts and the influences of ungodliness. "Amen Pastor, that is really good teaching, we thank you for that". Now an important question to follow that up with is, why exactly is it that forgiveness is available? Does it come from governments? Does it come from constitutions? How do we process this? If it's essential, if without it we are not going to participate in the kingdom of God, just exactly why is it available? Well it's available because of a person by the name of Jesus. He exhausted the curse of sin, the account for humanity was settled once and for all. It speaks to the uniqueness of Jesus.

It's why it's a great lie to suggest, that all paths lead to the same place. That it doesn't really matter whether you believe in Buddha, or Muhammad, or Jesus, you just need to believe in something. That's deceptive, it may win you friends in the public square, but it isn't true. The incarnation, it's a fancy religious word. It means that the Son of God became one of us. He put on flesh and blood, he got an earth suit and he walked amongst us, so he could understand what it means to be tempted in every way just as we are, the scripture says "He led a holy life, even though he was tempted in every way just as we are".

It's in Hebrews chapter 4, you can check. It's not in your notes, but it is in the Bible. Yet without sin. There was a redemptive purpose to Jesus visit. It wasn't just to show us some clever miracles, and to demonstrate the power of God, and to get us all to hold hands and get along. He came because we needed help. We were bearing the consequence of our own failures, we were guilty and there was nothing we could do to redeem ourselves. We couldn't be good enough, or kind enough, or generous enough, or loving enough. We begin with a fundamental flaw, we are rebellious against the creator of all things. And Jesus came to offer himself as a sacrifice, and what he achieved for us was a total and a complete victory. There's nothing that can be added to it, there's nothing that can be taken away from it, he accomplished it on our behalf.

Hebrews chapter 9 verse 22. Says, "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, because without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness". Why the brutality of Jesus's circumstances around his death, he was tortured to death, tortured to death. Crucifixion was a cruel, cruel way to execute people. You typically would die of suffocation, nailing you to a cross, you'd have to heave yourself up to fill your lungs with air. Against the pain of being crucified. That's why they broke Jesus's leg, they were gonna break his legs to, to expedite his crucifixion, but he'd already died. They broke the legs of the others being crucified with him. You couldn't push up any longer, you couldn't even inflate your lungs. It's a brutal way to die.

Isaiah 53 and verse 6. "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all". There's an exchange being described there. God placed on him the Messiah, the iniquity that is due us. The reason Jesus died such a brutal death is that's what our rebellion deserves. See, there's a righteous holy God. He's not just a God of mercy, he's not just a God of grace. Why do we have an urgency to tell people about the goodness of God, and the mercy of God, and the grace of God, and that forgiveness is available? Because if you neglect the invitation to the forgiveness of God, you will face his justice.

If you're not motivated to share that story, if you're more concerned about what others will think about you, than you are inviting them into the grace and mercy of God, you haven't yet realized the depth of what you have been given. 'Cause your reputation is insignificant compared to the imagination of facing the justice of God apart from the redemptive story of Jesus. Do you understand the degree to which we sound like those churches in Revelation? You tolerate this. You say you're vital and vibrant, but in reality there's no life in us. I've spent much of this year visiting with churches and church leaders across our nation folks, we're in a desperate place.

Romans 4:25, "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification". There's that exchange again, if you're following the pronouns. He was delivered over to death for our sins, my sins, your sins. Jesus went to that cross because of who I am and who you are, and he was raised to life again, for my justification. Justification is another fancy religious word, it has a range of meanings. To be justified is to be acquitted, declared not guilty, to be absolved. It's an amazing thing. The plain language on it is to be just as if I'd never sinned, it's like it didn't happen. How do you arrive at that kind of a place with Almighty God, with the creator of all things? There's only one way. It's described right there, "He was delivered". Jesus was delivered over to death for my sin, and he was raised to life for my justification. Your position around Jesus matters, it matters. And we tend to make it about so many other things.

Look at Romans 5 verse 6. It's a long passage, but it's worthwhile. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless". We're back to power and authority again folks, we're gonna have to be awakened to the reality of spiritual power. It isn't just the power of God, it's the power of darkness. Many casual reading of human history, screams at you that there is something indescribably destructive that is being vented on human beings. When Herod murders the children in Bethlehem the boys that are two years of age and under, just to try to eliminate a threat to his throne, you can't describe that as anything other than evil. That's not good politics, that's not clever, that's not drunk with power, that's evil.

How do we describe sacrificing 60 million children in our own nation? It's evil. It's not a right to choose. And that's still such a divisive topic that in polite company, most of us don't even wanna broach it. That's not really close. We've deteriorated further, now we're mutilating pre-pubescent children about points of confusion in their lives. That's evil. Evil exists in our world. "At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man, someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we've been now justified". Because we go to the right church and we read the right translation, no, we've been justified by his blood.

"How much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation". That's really a discussion for another day, that the majesty of being reconciled to a living God. To be able to enter his courts with thanksgiving and his gates with praise, not with fear, or guilt, or shame. How does that happen? Because we've been forgiven. The words in those verses to me are very significant. It says, "We've been justified before God, By Jesus's blood. We've been saved from God's wrath".

You know, the wrath of God towards ungodliness. Do you know why God hates ungodliness? This is not because he's mad at people, or he's angry at their behavior, God hates ungodliness because it destroys his creation. He loves human beings and ungodliness destroys them, so he is going to give full expression to his wrath against ungodliness. It says, "We were God's enemies". That's just not a fruitful place to stand. Now God's judgment is not always imminent, it's not always exemplary in that it happens in the moment when the offense is committed, but it's as certain as gravity. You don't wanna live your life as an enemy of God. One of the things that enables me to pray for people that oppose the message of God, is I have just the slightest inclination of what it would mean to be God's enemy, and I don't want any human being to find themselves ultimately in that position. And it says now, it's a timing word.

Now, in this moment, at this point in the unfolding story of time, we can be reconciled to God. Look in Galatians 2. "I've been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me". This is kind of the culmination of this discussion up to this point, I've been crucified with Christ. When Jesus was crucified on that cross, that old earthly, carnal, Adamic, me first, rebel of Allen was crucified with him. And I no longer live to give vent to those things, it's not me first, it isn't what I think, and I want and how I feel. Christ lives in me church. Now that doesn't happen automatically or we wouldn't have needed those messages to the three churches of Revelation, and we wouldn't be in this fine mess we're in right now, are we? we haven't been living this out very well.

Now it's available to us the life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Verse 21 is sobering. "I do not set aside the grace of God". Grace is undeserved, unearned, unmerited. It's something God gives to you completely apart from any choice or aspect of our character. "I don't set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing". "I was crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me". You see, that's not something that's fully achieved in practice when you recite the sinner's prayer. When you emerge from the waters of baptism, that statement is not just fully enveloped you to the point that it never has to be revisited. Growing up in the Lord, maturing, learning to understand spiritual power and the authority that has been entrusted to you and to me, requires of us to take that verse and begin to live it out experientially, day by day, choice by choice, opportunity by opportunity. We have to be able to say, "I've been crucified with Christ and I no longer live".

So how do we receive forgiveness? I got a couple of minutes, we'll start it, we'll come back. I gave you the process or at least kind of the boundaries on the process. We have to acknowledge our sin. But that's not enough, we have to repent. Repentance is a change of thought and a change of behavior, and then we have to accept the forgiveness. It's more than just intellectually believing it's there, we have to accept it. I meet people consistently that refuse to accept the grace and the mercy of God. They act as if they're special, that God would've to do something else for them. Do you understand when you refuse to receive the forgiveness of God, that what you're saying is the redemptive work of Jesus is not enough for me? I need a little special sauce. We have to accept it and then we have to live it out. We have to lead a new life.

Look at 1 John 1:9. "If," you need to circle that little word, it's a preposition, but it has enormous significance. "If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we haven't sinned, we make him out to be a liar and the Word that has no place in our lives". If we confess our sins, it's possible to be forgiven. Conversely, if you don't confess them, if you don't acknowledge them, I don't wanna talk about that. I'm just gonna outlive it, that's in the past. Your choices have an impact on the generations who will follow you. We have to begin by acknowledging our sin.

Proverbs 28:13, "He who conceals his sins does not prosper, whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy". You say, "Well I know some prosperous sinners". This whole story's not done yet. We take these short term views, we think of them in terms of the decades of our lives, God's eternal folks. Nobody is gaming the system. Maybe you've got somebody that you know that is ungodly, and immoral, and they're unconcerned about God and they've got more toys. I promise you, they're not taking them with them. They've got an appointment ahead of them, have compassion upon them, they're confused. Acts 3 this is Peter. He says, "Repent, then, and return to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord".

You see, it's not just enough to acknowledge your sin. "Oh yeah, that probably something I shouldn't have done". Repentance says, "I'm gonna go a new way and I'm willing to say what I was engaged in was wrong". It wasn't my best option, I wasn't coerced into it, I wasn't immature, I was wrong, and I'm gonna go another way. I'm not gonna continue that, I'm not gonna rinse and repeat, I'm not gonna justify it or excuse it. Repentance is a change of thought and a change of behavior. We begin by acknowledging our sin, but then we have to repent. Psalm 32, "I acknowledge my sin to you and you didn't cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I'll confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the guilt of my sin.'"

Acts 2, it's Peter on the day of Pentecost, first public gathering, after the Spirit of God is poured out and the church has become an open story now. Peter replies to the crowd, he's accused them, he said, you murdered the Messiah in the streets of this city, that's harsh, that is harsh. We have a hard time with telling the truth these days, we get agitated at people that tell the truth. And they said, "What do we do"? And he said, "Repent, you have to change". He said. "You have to change what you think. You can't think what you've been thinking about Jesus, you have to change. And you denied him in these streets, you screamed, 'Crucify him' and now you have to say he's Lord," that's 180 degree change, but that's the requirement he said if you're going to be forgiven, otherwise you're gonna give an account for that behavior.

We've had this sloppy idea that we could just say, "O you know it's not that big, yeah I'm kind of sorry," woo-hoo. "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you'll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit". This next verse is wonderful. "This promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off". That's us. "For all whom the Lord our God will call. And with many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, Save yourselves from this corrupt generation".

Folks, that's our assignment. We need forgiveness, but it's available to us. You see, we have believed one idea that I think has been enormously debilitating. We have mistakenly linked repentance only to that initial need for forgiveness when we begin our journey as Christ followers. People who've led ungodly lives, unconcerned apart from God. Yes, we will say they should repent because they need forgiveness, but then we've imagined that after that, there's really not much need for that kind of stuff. And we do that in complete dismissal of the story of scripture. Those three churches in Revelation where we started today, the Lord was saying, "You are gonna lose what you have, if you don't repent".

I don't wanna enter into the debate about their security, I wanna enter into the discussion about the fruitfulness of their lives, and their rewards, and their inheritance. Stop dismissing the argument with some theological nuance. Let's humble ourselves, forgiveness. It requires the power of heaven to enable a human being to be justified before God. We can't do that on our own, that's the Jesus's story, it's the wonder of Christmas. It's the trauma, the drama, and the majesty of Easter. It's the miracle of your life and my life, that the creator of heaven and earth say, "I'd like to have a relationship with you, and you can come into my presence without guilt or shame. If you will acknowledge that you need forgiveness, and you're willing to repent, charge a new course. Let me show you, walk with me, receive it, and now begin to walk in a newness of life. You'll stumble, you have to get up and you gotta get clean again".

What an amazing expression of the power of God for you and me. We'll spend eternity in his kingdom, seeing his purposes brought into fruition through our lives, because of his love for us, and his mercy to us. Because we've been justified through the blood of his Son Jesus. Yes, I'm an advocate for Jesus. Yes, I want people to know about him. Yeah, I'm gonna say he's Lord, he's king of kings. No, there's nobody else like him, he doesn't have an equal or a parallel. He didn't have a stunt double. He's Jesus, do you know him? I know he's mocked, he told us, he said, "You'll be hated by everybody because of me". Why? Because there's another spirit at work in the world. But don't worry, focus your attention on the Lord.

I brought you a prayer, it didn't make it under your outline, but they're gonna put it on the screens. I ran out of room. I had a choice, you could read it as microfiche or I could put the prayer on your screens. Here's what I wanna suggest that we pray this prayer together, and then we're gonna take communion together. But before we come to the communion table, I'd like us to pray this prayer. So they'll put it on the screens, I think yes, God bless them. Let's just read this prayer together, can we do that? And then we're gonna take communion, don't run for the exit. We're early enough, we'll get there ahead of the Baptists, the restaurants not heaven. We're all going to heaven, you know that, right? There's not like a Baptist section, and a Church of Christ section, and a Presbyterian section, and a Pentecostal section, only God could work that out, but that's how that works. Let's read this prayer together:

Almighty God, forgive me of my sins. I have fallen short of what you created me to be. I acknowledge my rebellion and sin against you. I am without excuse. Cleanse me and I will be clean, pardon me and I will be free. I choose to forgive all those with whom I am entangled by unforgiveness and anger. I release them into your care and administration. I rejoice in my new freedom. All of Satan's claims against me have been canceled, I'm a child of the king. I have been justified, redeemed, sanctified and now serve the Creator of All Things, amen.

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