Thursday, April 7, 2011

7- Part 1 "Forgiveness"

It was nice to get back to a regular Wednesday Night Worship setting this week and we began a new series called "7" as we take a look at the seven times that Jesus spoke from the cross.  While it could be possible that Jesus spoke more than this, I believe that these 7 quotations are all that he spoke.  The number "7" represents perfection and completion in the Bible and we know that Jesus' death on the cross was perfect and complete in providing salvation to those who accept Him.

It would have been very difficult for someone being crucified on a cross to speak.  In order to speak they would have had to push up on their feet that had one nail going through their ankles, as well as pull up on the wrists that had nails going through them.  After being upright it would have allowed them to exhale and speak.  It would have been an extremely excruciating thing in addition to the extreme excruciation they were already  experiencing.  One thing we must remember is that it was not Jesus' weakness that held Him to the cross, but was His love for sinners.  This first message we actually looked at two of the things that Jesus said and focused on the theme of "forgiveness".

1)  "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."- Luke 23:34.  At a time when Jesus was hanging on the cross and experiencing the ridicule of being spat on, His clothes being ripped off and gambled for, abusive words and insults hurled at Him, along with the terrible beating He had experienced, He looked up to heaven and asked God the Father to forgive them.  Wow!  How amazing!  Here is what we must consider.  Not only was He forgiving those who were there right then, He was also forgiving us!  It was our sin that held Him to the cross and in that moment He was forgiving each of us as well.
2)  "Today you will be with me in paradise."- Luke 23:43.  As one criminal ridiculed Him, the other realized that Jesus is the true Son of God and asked for His forgiveness.  Jesus did such and that criminal received salvation that day.  Jesus was living out the forgiveness that He taught many times.  He not only taught and spoke it, but He lived it out as well!  Just a couple of examples of what Jesus taught on forgiveness can be found in Matthew 5:38-39 and Matthew 5:44.

So there are three areas of forgiveness that we focused on.
1)  You need to forgive those who have hurt you.  This can be so difficult, but at the same time is so freeing for us.  This is definitely a struggle for me.  In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus talks about the severity of not forgiving.  He says this directly after teaching the disciples how to pray in what we call "The Lord's Prayer".  I believe this was Jesus putting the exclamation mark on this example prayer and highlighting the importance and necessity of forgiveness.
2)  You need to seek forgiveness from anyone you have hurt.  Jesus teaches us in Matthew 5:23-24 that we must seek forgiveness before we even worship Him!  Something that is so important but we choose to ignore many times.  It can be difficult to ask forgiveness, but something we must do.
3)  You need to accept the forgiveness of your sins from Jesus that was made possible through the cross.  If you have never given your life to Jesus and made Him your Savior and Lord, then I encourage you to please do that today.  Please do not wait any longer.  It is the most important decision you will ever make.  If you have questions about salvation then please contact me.

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