Sunday Evening English Worship
February 4, 2018 - 5:00 pm
Messenger: Don Frank
God's Special Valentine's Gifts
Bible Passage - Luke 7:48
Introduction - Valentine's Day is coming the week after next. I'm looking forward to eating some sweet, delicious chocolate that day. Now it maybe "giri choco," but it's still going to taste wonderful!
It's a day of hearts and love and romance. And that's the direction that I'd like to take you in our Bible study this evening. I would like to share with you (and myself too!) - this is one of those I'm-preaching-to-myself kind of messages - I'd like to share with you God's Special Valentine's Gifts!
1. Freedom from Sin - There's a special story in the life of Jesus where He used the phrase, "Your sins are forgiven" and it's in Luke 7:36-50 (NLT), the story of the Sinful Woman. I'd like to read this story with you, so get your Bibles open or follow along with me as I read from the screen.
Jesus said to this sinful woman, a prostitute, that her sins were forgiven. When God says it, then it's 100% true! Why? Because He is God and has the power to forgive. He's the ONLY One who can do it! You can't do it. I certainly can't do it! And this is where we humans fail. We forget so easily. Think about these statements slowly... God Loves Us... God Died For Us... God Forgives Us. Are you catching the weight of these simple but deep sentences? Don't forget this. Meditate on this daily. Come back to it again and again and again!
And in this story, there was somebody there that questioned Jesus' ability to forgive sins. How do we know that Christ forgives sins? Just look at the cross! There it is... plain and simple. The first words that Jesus said from the cross were, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." The first thing that came to Jesus' mind as He was crucified on the cross was forgiveness. Isn't this amazing! God is giving us His Heart this Valentine's Day!
When Jesus forgives us, what does He do?
(1) Jesus forgives instantly. - Psalm 103:12 - There's no delay. He doesn't want us to suffer first and then He'll forgive us. No. Christ already suffered FOR us! Should we ever feel guilty for sin? Yeah, about 10 seconds - as long as it takes to confess and receive forgiveness from God! We often make the mistake that feeling guilty makes us a better person. It does not. It's not going to make you more holy. It only makes you miserable - and God doesn't want you to be walking around all the time feeling miserable!
(2) Jesus forgives completely. - Colossians 2:13-14 - When Jesus died on the cross for your sins, which ones did He die for? All of them - even the ones you haven't committed yet! He wipes the record clean and takes away the black cloud that was hanging over our heads. He annuls our sins. Now, that's like God taking the list of all of our terrible sins and shredding it! And if that's not enough, then He burns it up!
(3) Jesus forgives repeatedly. - Matthew 18:21-22 - Jesus taught Peter this lesson about how much God forgives. This is just like we talked about at the beginning of January. Every time we sin, God applies the blood of His dear Son, Jesus, to wash away that sin! No matter how many times we fall back into an old, bad habit, God never gets tired of forgiving and loves to give His Grace and Mercy.
(4) Jesus forgives freely. This is our greatest need - and this also happens to be God's greatest gift. You don't deserve it. You can't earn it. It's a rich gift from God's kindness and grace. And it was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus Christ. God bought the ticket for us and now just gives it to us!
2. Freedom from Guilt - Now, here comes the problem that every single one of us has experienced. What about all the guilt that we carry around, day-by-day. It is so heavy and bends us over and bows us down! Is this what God intended for us as believers? And the answer is a big "NO!" If you are still carrying around a lot of guilt, then here are a few things that I have found that will help you.
First, make sure you've actually confessed your sins to God. Bring them to him like a package and hand them right over to Him. That's what He most wants you to do. Then second, if you still have a heart full of guilt over a sin that you've properly confessed to Him, then you just pray and give God your guilt. No matter how many times it takes, never quit bringing it to Him. Then finally as we're coming to the end of our study tonight, please never forget God's promises. They are a treasure beyond compare that will help you so much every day! Let me share quickly 5 promises from Scripture that you can take to the Bank of Heaven as often as you like when you're feeling weighed down with guilt.
(1) I will never again remember their sins. (Hebrews 10:17) (Jeremiah 31:34) It doesn't say that God forgets our sins like the English expression, "forgive and forget." But it does say that God chooses not to remember those sins. When He looks at us, all He sees is the righteousness of His Son, so He doesn't need to remember what His Son paid for already! And this is where the devil will try to trip you up. If you keep recalling some sin that you've already confessed, then it's not God talking to you. It's Satan! He'll say, "I don't think you've really been forgiven. How could God forgive such a bad thing that you did? You're remembering that sin, so that must mean that it's not forgiven!" But don't forget, Satan is a liar! Trust God when He promises, "I won't remember your sins!"
(2) Talk to God about everything. (Philippians 4:6) This includes all your guilt! God loves it when we talk with Him. I truly believe that God is a conversational God. Sure, He knows everything that we're going to say, but He just loves it when we talk to Him - often! He is keenly interested in everything about us. He created us. No matter what it is, He wants us to share it with Him.
(3) God never gets tired. (Isaiah 40:28) We may think, "Oh man, I just confessed this to God 5 minutes ago! I bet God is thinking, 'Not again, will you?! Can't you come up with something original?!'" But He never gets bored of talking with us. God has unlimited patience. He cannot get tired of you.
(4) Come and give your burdens to me. (Matthew 11:28) Jesus Himself told us, "Come to me" when you're tired of carrying all your heavy guilt "and I will give you rest." Give Him every single worry, frustration and guilty feeling. He has promised to carry them for you!
(5) We have received His fullness. (John 1:16) And the final promise is that from the rich treasure of God, we have received grace on top of grace on top of grace, infinitely. It just keeps flowing into our lives everyday from the fullness of God! All we have to do is receive it and give God thanks!
Conclusion - As our evening's study draws to a close, let's sing one more song together and then we'll finish with our closing prayer. Then it will be fellowship time for those of you that can stay around for a while.
Closing Prayer - Our final Bible passage tonight is taken from the song that we just sung. It's Isaiah 40:30. Let's read it together. "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Now let's transform that into a prayer that we'll pray back to God. "Dear Lord, it's a joy to be with You tonight. We're happy to wait on You. Please give us new strength when we feel guilty. Help us to know that we can fly through the skies of our spiritual lives just like eagles. Help us to run to You when we are weary. Take us by the hand and walk with us, talk with us and take away all of our heavy burdens this day. Thank You for loving us so much. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen."