Forgiveness Offered

Easter PM 2023   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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It is Easter Sunday. The day in which we celebrate that we serve a risen Savior. We do not serve a dead God tonight but we serve a living. Yes ,Jesus died on the cross to pay the high price for our sins but He rose again giving victory over sin and death.
It is not every day that someone who is not the pastor gets the chance to preach on Easter. So, thank you pastor. I understand that it has a lot to do with the timing of your trip but I am honored to speak tonight.


Tonight we are also taking the Lord’s table. As we do so we are doing what the Lord commands. “Do this in remembrance of me.” So, let’s remember. Let’s remember that forgiveness was offered the day Christ paid the price in my place.
For two decade, Wayne Messmer, 49, was an announcer and singer for sports teams in the Windy City. After singing the Star-Spangled Banner at a Chicago Black-hawks game in 1994, Messmer was shot by two teenage boys. One bullet passed through the singer’s throat, so the doctors were unsure if he would ever sing again. Amazingly, six months later, Messmer returned to the microphone.
Physical healing was one thing; emotional release of the hatred and resentment he felt was another. For that he had to trust Christ, his Savior, to help him reach the point where he could forgive. As he says in The Voice of Victory, “over a period of contemplative and reflective prayer and meditation, I was confident I had set myself free from the chains that had connected me to the incident.”
Although one of the boys had been released on a plea bargain, the other, James Hampton, was still in jail. To prove that he truly had forgiven his would-be killer, Messmer drove 225 miles to Galesburg Correctional Center and asked to see Hampton.
Several years had passed, but Messmer found the grace to say, “James, I’m here to see how you are doing.” After a two-hour emotional visit, Messmer turned to leave. Reaching out and touching Hampton’s forearm, he offered a benediction: “James, I bid you true peace.”
Forgiveness is what the cross was truly about. We all understand tonight that because of our sins deserve hell. Even at my best I deserve hell. But God. Because of His great love and grace stepped in and came down from heaven in the form of man in the person of Jesus Christ and died on the cross for me. I am forgiven.
But there are many who can’t forgive themselves or forgive others. As we look at our text in Luke tonight we will see that from the Cross Jesus offered forgiveness. If He can forgive those who had beaten Him, and those who had mocked Him, and even the robber on the cross next to Him. Then He can forgive you! So why can’t you forgive? You can forgive yourself and that other person you just thought of.
Luke 23:32–46 KJV 1900
And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
We picked up this narrative kinda in the middle of the story. But what we see here is that Jesus was already arrested in the garden and falsely accused in the “courts” then finally landing in front of Pilot where Pilot tries to avoid dealing with this problem. Then the weakness of this man caves to the crowd and beats Him and mocks Him, then leads Him away to be Crucified! And as they were placing the cross in the ground and raising Him up to suffocate. Jesus cries up. “Father forgive them!”
Did you know that you are forgiven?

You Are Forgiven

Psalm 103:12 KJV 1900
As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Isaiah 1:18 KJV 1900
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
1 John 1:9 KJV 1900
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
All of these verses support the words Jesus spoke here in Luke. Jesus is asking God to forgive those who had just nailed him to the cross. Who had just whipped Him with the cat of nine tails, so much so that he was barely recognizable. He was so weak that He couldn’t carry the cross up to the hill to Calvary. That is a significant detail about the state of Jesus.
Luke 23:26 KJV 1900
And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.
Why is that is that significant? because it was not normal for the Romans to let the one carrying the cross to have help. It was part of the cruel punishment to the one being crucified. they had to carry their own cross. Jesus was so weak He could carry it. But still he says father forgive them.
The responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus rest in varying measure upon the Jewish hierarchy, the Roman leaders, and the soldiers who handled the gruesome details. Then their were others in the crowd who even mocked Him. Were they all included in this prayer?
Jesus through all that was going on says forgive them! So why can’t you forgive yourself? Why can’t you let go of the burdens of guilt you carry around?
An attorney, after meditating on several Scriptures, decided to cancel the debts of all his clients that had owed him money for more than 6 months. He drafted a letter explaining his decision and its Biblical basis and sent 17 debt canceling letters via certified mail. One by one, the letters were returned by the Postal Service, unsigned and undelivered. Perhaps a couple people had moved away though not likely. Sixteen of the seventeen letters came back to him because the clients refused to sign for and open the envelopes fearing that this attorney was suing them for their debts. How profound! We owe a debt for our sin and God is willing to cancel it but too many people will not even open the letter that explains how.
Far too often we bring our guilt and sins to God and ask Him to forgive as 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we ask Him, He will forgive. we then walk away picking them back up to carry the guilt some more.
And you say, but Travis you have no idea what I’ve done. I have cheated or I am struggling with this or that. But listen Christ forgave those who nailed Him to the Cross! He can forgive you too!
There is a video that illustrate this well. In the video, A woman is carry a bag of Trash (Her sins) around, when she runs into Jesus. Jesus then offers to take the trash/sins away but before leaving the woman reaches in a grabs on to one thing to hold on too. What is it that you are holding on to, tonight? You are forgiven. Just bring it before Him.

You can Forgive

Matthew 6:14–15 KJV 1900
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Jesus is speaking in the sermon on the mount and just after finishing the model prayer, He felt it necessary to go back and lift out one of the petitions and give it special emphasis. In this nearly all of us can think of some person we find it difficult to forgive. Someone who has hurt you or done some injustice to you. Sometime we say, “I can forgive, but I cannot forget.” No, we can’t wipe our memories. Forgiving at time will difficult. But often by that expression we mean that we are unwilling to forget and there are qualification in our forgiveness.
Someone has told of a man who was on his death bed. He called an old enemy in to see him and said to him, “I want to forgive you for the wrong you did to me.” But then he added, “but remember, if I get well, the old quarrel stands.”
Have you ever been so angry with a person that you wanted to retaliate? it is very probable that everyone has been there at some point.
Listen to the unwritten rules of our world:
If you hurt me I am going to hurt you even more.
If you steal from me I am going to steal from you.
If you take my promotion at work I am going to ruin your reputation.
If you gossip about me I am going to spread lies about you.
This list could go on and on. Many are used to carrying on day-to-day life with this kind of attitude. But no matter how much we have been offended, the true Disciple has been called to a higher standard of behavior. God has taken us out of the gutter of revenge. God has taken us our of the gutter of sin for a greater purpose - to set an example to those who are caught up in the plight of revenge. God has a much better way for His people to live. it is the way of forgiveness.
Dr. John R. Rice, a great evangelist now with the Lord, was asked to conduct a revival meeting at a Baptist church in Woodbine, Texas. Divisions and strife had broken the heart of the pastor until he had resigned and left. The county missionary, hoping to see the church revived and God’s work made prosperous, asked Dr. Rice to come and preach the revival services. He found the whole community divided. One or more deacons had had fist fights in the quarrel that had reached nearly every home. Many had taken a vow never to return to the little church.
Dr. Rice never did find out most of the details of the division. But with a burden in his soul, he preached against sin, urged God’s people to clean up their lives, and pleaded with them to make peace with their neighbors. Night after night he preached. Those who had been angry at others were now angry with him.
One morning, a woman in the community started to make a telephone call to tell Dr. Rice just what she thought of all his meddling in their affairs. But her nineteen year old son stopped her and said, “Mother, you are wrong! I have just been out in the woods to pray. I know Brother Rice is right. If we Christians do not get right with each other, we can never have a revival. I for one am going to try to get right.” His mother did not make the phone call.
In the next service, Dr. Rice called for a time of testimony. With tears streaming down her face, one woman rose to beg forgiveness of another woman with whom she had quarreled. The other woman swiftly rose and came to meet her. They put their arms around one another and wept in the aisle. Confessions came from all parts of the building. The deep moving of God was upon the people as they began to make restitution, ask forgiveness, and seek Christian fellowship again.
That afternoon the news went like wildfire. That night the little church building was crowded. People came to church who had not been there in months—some who had vowed they would never enter the building again. From the very beginning of the service the Holy Spirit was there. Dr. Rice preached the Gospel, and at the invitation men and women accepted Jesus as their Saviour with tears streaming down their faces. Dozens of people were saved, hundreds of Christians were revived, and people came from miles to fill that little church for the rest of the meeting that lasted four weeks!
Many today do as the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’s day they take verses like
Exodus 21:24 KJV 1900
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
As justification for hurting others. They use verses like this to seek revenge instead of justice. But when you do not learn true forgiveness you just become full of bitterness and you carry that your whole life. in our text we see that Jesus could forgive so we can learn to forgive as well.


We won’t take the time tonight to look deeply into the criminals in our text. But I want to point out as we come down to the close that The second criminal knew that they deserved the cross. the thief saw his own sinfulness and even recognized Jesus as Lord. And Each sinner must acknowledge their own sin and see Jesus as God. If you have never experienced the forgiveness of Christ it’s not too late for you my friend. The thief had not time to clean up his live first, he couldn’t get down and do some special act of kindness to pay for his sinful life. He just realized his sin and believed on Jesus. Jesus then says to Him, today you shall be with me in paradise.
Luke 23:43 KJV 1900
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
The fact that Jesus was in the middle of one who rejected Him and one you accepted is not due to chance. Jesus offers forgiveness through His death and shedding of His blood. The two thieves show the only two choices mankind has in regard to the Person on the middle cross - Accept or Reject.
Will you come and ask God to forgive you tonight? and not pick it back up. Will you forgive? Accept the challenge tonight or reject.
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