12-10-17 – “The Greatest Gift – Forgiveness”

The GIFT… Christmas Sermon Series.

The Greatest Gift ever given was given by God!  And He GAVE HIMSELF!

 

G – God so loved that He gave…

1 John 4:9-10 NCV – This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. 10 This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins.

 

“I” – The Incarnation of Christ… God in the Flesh…. God with us!  Jesus Christ left Heaven gave up his divine rights and privileges to be the Sacrifice for us, and our Sins…  that through Him we could be restored to God!

John 1:14 NCV – 14 The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth.

Phil. 2: 6-8 NLT – Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

 

F – God’s Forgiveness!  The GREATEST Gift that’s ever been given is the Love of God in Jesus Christ that provides our Forgiveness and purchased our FREEDOM from Sin! 

 

Forgiveness =  To wipe the slate clean… the debt you owe is paid in full. The mistakes you’ve made are erased.

 

No one “deserves” to be forgiven…  We’ve all sinned.  Every one of us… And the Justice of God demands that someone pay the price for the sin.

 

Forgiveness is an act of love, mercy and grace.  It’s a decision NOT to hold something against someone despite what they have done nevertheless someone has to pay the price for the mistake, for the sin!

 

Forgiveness is our Greatest Need!

 

  • If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator/teacher.
  • If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
  • If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
  • If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.

 

But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Sacrifice… a Savior.

Colossians 1:13-14 – For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

1 John 2:2 – He himself is the sacrifice that atones (pays) for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

Matthew 26:28 (At the last supper before Jesus crucifixion) For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 24:46-47 –  “This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47 and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

 

When we think about God’s Gift of Forgiveness & Freedom in Christ we need to make sure we have the “right” perspective.

Forgiveness has absolutely NOTHING to do with usThe only reason there is “Forgiveness of sin” the only reason there is Freedom is because of the Gift of God in Jesus Christ!

 

Ephesians 1:7 – In HIM we have the forgiveness of sins…

 

Oswald Chambers: “Never build your case for forgiveness on the idea that God is our Father and He will forgive us because He loves us. That contradicts the revealed truth of God in Jesus Christ. It makes the Cross unnecessary, and the redemption “much ado about nothing.” God forgives sin only because of the death of Christ. God could forgive people in no other way than by the death of His Son, and Jesus is exalted as Savior because of His death…

The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!” (John 19:30). That is the final word in the redemption of humankind.

 

We are Forgiven…   We are Free…  Because of the Finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross!  

 

 God draws all men to Himself.

John 16:8 – The Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.

Whether you’re a Follower of Christ or not, the Holy Spirit convicts us concerning Sin, Righteousness and Judgment.  And it’s up to us to respond to that conviction.

 

How do we respond…  We A.C.T.  in order to receive the Gift: 

Acknowledge our Sin… that we are in need of a Savior!

Romans 3:23-26 NCV – 23 Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard, 24 and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ.

 

Confess our sins! Stop making excuses, and playing the Blame game. 

1 John 1:9 NCV – But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.

 

There must be sincere, heartfelt sorrow for our sins.

2 Corinthians 7:10 –  10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

 

Trust: (Faith in Christ & Repentance: Two sides of the same coin.)

Faith in Christ – Romans 3:23-26 NCV – 23 Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard, 24 and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ. 25 God sent him to die in our place to take away our sins. We receive forgiveness through faith in the blood of Jesus’ death. This showed that God always does what is right and fair, as in the past when he was patient and did not punish people for their sins. 26 And God gave Jesus to show today that he does what is right. God did this so he could judge rightly and so he could make right any person who has faith in Jesus.

 

Romans 10:9-10 –  If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

 

We’re saved by Grace through faith apart from anything we do (works) however, the faith that saves us always changes us. 

 

Repentance = A Change of Mind… that leads to a change of Behavior and Will.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.  Old things have passed away.

Romans 12:1-2 So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.

Eph. 4:22-2422 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

 

John 8:31-36 – Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  [Obedience leads to our knowledge and understanding of Christ which leads to Freedom!]

33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”

34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

 

CONCLUSION:

The purpose of God’s Gift in Jesus Christ is our Forgiveness… our Freedom! 

Romans 8:1-2 – So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.