I Believe in the Forgiveness of Sins!
I BELIEVE IN THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
THE APOSTLES CREED
- I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
- I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
- I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic [universal] church, the Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life Everlasting.
Palm Sunday: SAVE US! WHAT do We Need to Be SAVED From?
Today is Palm Sunday – the day that we remember Jesus coming into Jerusalem to prepare for His final mission of giving His life on the Cross to save humanity. Every Christian is familiar with Palm Sunday – but I am afraid that most Christians have the wrong picture in their mind. Most Christians think of Palm Sunday in terms of the hymn Hosanna, loud Hosanna the little children sang. Gives us the picture of a May Day parade – peaceful and joyful.
To get a more historically accurate picture of what Palm Sunday was really like – you need to envision something like the end of World War 2 and what it was like for Jewish prisoners in the concentration camps to see their liberators coming. It was not a May Day parade – it was people shouting at the top of their lungs – Save Us!
In the case of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Jewish people had been under Roman domination for over 100 years. They were outraged at the brutality of the Romans. When the people saw Jesus coming in to Jerusalem – they weren’t waving branches and having a picnic – they were shouting and putting everything they had into a political protest. They were cutting down palm branches to declare that this was their king. When they saw Jesus riding on a donkey to fulfill the prophecies of the coming of God’s Kingdom, they believed that Jesus had come to save them from the oppression and brutality of Rome.
Mark 11:8-10 (MSG) The people gave Jesus a hero’s welcome, some people spread out palm branches. They were shouting… Save Us God! …God in highest heaven — Save Us!
The crowds were half right. Jesus had indeed come to save them – and all people for all time – but Jesus didn’t come to save them from the Roman Empire as horrible as it was. If they had been listening more carefully when Jesus was born – they would have remembered the real reason that Jesus came to save us – was by saving us from sin.
Matthew 1:21 (NLT) The Angel Gabriel told Joseph, “Mary will have a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus – God Saves – for He will save His people from their sins.”
This morning as we celebrate Palm Sunday – we are preparing ourselves to celebrate Easter by focusing on the Apostles Creed – and celebrating our belief in the forgiveness of Sins. Since Jesus came to save us from our sins – I thought it would be worth our time to spend a few minutes asking ourselves – What is Sin?
What Is SIN? Hamartia = Missing the BULLSEYE
Sin is probably the least favorite topic for anyone to talk about. It’s such a downer and so discouraging. Why can’t you talk about something happy and uplifting? It’s important to remember that we don’t talk about sin – so that we can be morbid and depressing. We talk about sin so that we can understand the dangers it poses and how we can protect ourselves and stay alive. It’s like Penny and me talking with our sons about the importance of not walking in front of a car when they were young. We didn’t do it to depress or discourage them – we did it to protect them and keep them alive.
The Bible teaches us that sin is missing the bullseye of God’s target. God does everything He can to focus us on hitting the bullseye of life. Sin is dangerous because it causes us to miss God’s target and leads us into death.
We can all agree that sin is dangerous. The hard part is agreeing on what sin is? It used to be fairly simple. Most people agreed that you could figure out what sin is by looking at the Bible and if the Bible said it was wrong, then it was wrong. But people no longer agree that the Bible has authority over their lives. Our society is much more focused on freedom and independence. Nobody can tell me what to do – not even the Bible. Society tries to convince us that if you’re not hurting anyone else – you should be free to do whatever you want.
Judges 17:6 (LB) Israel had no leader; so everyone did whatever they wanted to do – whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
Jesus was clear that sin is real and it is deadly. He wanted people to know that He didn’t come to say that sin is no big deal. Jesus was willing to die on the Cross – to fulfill the purpose of God’s Law – and save us from sin and death.
Matthew 5:17 (NLT) Jesus said, Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses… No, I came to accomplish and fulfill their purpose.
Sin is not a popular subject – but it is a real problem for every person on our planet. We see the damage of sin causing school shootings, terrorist killings, a drug epidemic, lying, adultery, gossip, anger. There are thousands of ways that people sin – but all of those sins lead to the same destination. Everyone has sinned and everyone needs to be helped.
Romans 3:23-25 (NLT/NCV) Everyone has sinned… Everyone needs to be forgiven and made right with God by His grace…
As we think about what is sin this morning – one of the biggest areas of debate in our society today is figuring out what sin is in the area of sexuality? It’s a big debate – I know that we have lots of different points of view right here in our sanctuary. I realize we won’t settle the disagreements this morning. I would encourage you to consider that from the beginning to the end of the Bible – the Bible teaches us that the God’s purpose for sex is to unite two people, a man and a woman, in the most intimate of all bonds within the covenant of marriage. The Bible challenges us to use every part of our body to honor God.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (MSG) There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all other sins. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our bodies, that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. …God paid a great price for your salvation. So use every part of your body to honor God.
Jesus came to save us by forgiving our sins. We have to figure out what is sin – and do I really need to be forgiven?
WHY DO We Need to Be Forgiven?
It’s tempting to say, I made a mistake. It’s no big deal. We all make mistakes. Just forget about it and I’ll try harder the next time. But when we try to sweep our sins under the carpet and just forget about them – it doesn’t work. God wired our brains with a conscience to remind us that we need to be forgiven so that we can regain peace in our lives.
King David committed a lot of big sins. He committed adultery with Bathsheba. Then he had Bathsheba’s husband Uriah murdered. David thought he could sweep it all under the carpet. But his guilt wouldn’t go away.
Psalm 51:1-8 (NCV/NLT) God, be merciful to me because You are loving. …I can’t forget my sin, my guilt haunts me day and night. …Forgive my sin, and I will be clean. Give me back my joy again!
God wanted to set David free by showing David that he could be forgiven. And God wants to set you free by showing you that your sins have been forgiven.
Romans 6:23 (NLT) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sin is a cancer that continues to attack us – until we ask God to do His surgery – forgive our sins and give us the gift of a new life. Completely clean and forgiven.
1 John 1:8-9 (NLT) If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to God, God is faithful and just to forgive all our sins…
This morning God wants you to know that every sin in your life – no matter how small or how large – can be completely forgiven. And that you don’t have to remain a victim of sin all of your life.
Is Sin RESISTIBLE or IRRESISTIBLE?
Jesus came to save us from our sins – by showing us that we have been forgiven and by giving us the power we need to resist sin in the future. It doesn’t do me a whole lot of good to be forgiven of my sins today – if all I am going to be able to do is to go back and make the same huge mistake tomorrow, the next day, and every day for the rest of my life.
We need to know that we are both forgiven – and that we are also given the power to break out of the trap and resist and overcome the temptation to sin in the future.
When you think about Jesus coming to save us from our sins – you might remember people like the woman in John 4 – who had 5 failed marriages and she was living with another man who she wasn’t married to. Most people say 3 strikes and you’re out. Jesus said – you have 6 strikes – but you’re not out. God can still forgive you and restore your life. Or maybe you remember the woman in John 8 who was caught in the act of adultery. The whole village was ready to stone her to death right then and there. Jesus gave His permission to stone the woman to anyone who was without sin in their own lives. Everyone dropped their stones and walked away – because they knew they had sins. Then Jesus looked at the woman and asked her if there was anyone left who wanted to condemn her. No. Jesus told her He wasn’t going to condemn her either – and that He was giving her the power she needed to go forward and not sin again.
Jesus came to save us by forgiving our sins and by giving us the power that we need to resist and overcome temptations to sin in the future.
Romans 7:19-25 (LB) I want to do what is good, but I don’t always do it. …There is a war in my mind. …Who will free me from this life that is filled with temptations to sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
On Palm Sunday – we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem – as the King Who would save all people from their sins. I want to close our service by focusing on how important it is to celebrate the value of our forgiveness.
CELEBRATE the VALUE of Our Forgiveness
On Palm Sunday – we remember the excitement of Jesus riding into Jerusalem. People were cutting down palm branches and shouting at the top of their lungs – SAVE US! They thought Jesus had come to save them from the Roman Empire. Jesus knew that He had come to save them – and to save you and me from sin. Jesus also knew the price that He was going to have to pay to forgive our sins. Forgiveness of our sins is free to you and me. All that we have to do is to ask Jesus to forgive us.
But the forgiveness of sins was not free for Jesus was it?
Isaiah 53:5 (NLT/NCV) The punishment, which made us well, was given to Him, and we are healed because of His wounds.
Jesus knew that He was going to have to give His body on the Cross – to save us and forgive our sins. Jesus could have run away. He was tempted to run away. But even though He knew how horrible His suffering was going to be on the Cross. Jesus rode forward – because He knew that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Hebrews 9:22 (NLT) Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.
On this Palm Sunday – God is asking you two questions. First – do you believe in the forgiveness of sins? Second – Do you appreciate the price Jesus paid to forgive your sins?