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3-31-24 Forgiven!

Forgiven!

David Peterson / General

Easter; Forgiveness / Acts 10:34–43

Sermon type: Topical Textual

Proposition: The resurrection of Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament message that God will wipe away all our sins.

Introduction

Key Text: Acts 10:43 NIV1984

All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

I. We have a judge (v. 42)

1. Explanation

2. Application

Little Things, Tremendous Consequences

Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.

—Bruce Barton, U.S. writer and politician (1886-1967)

In the movie Gladiator, the Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe) prepares to go to battle against a barbarian Germanic tribe. Just prior to ordering the charge, he encourages his troops. Sitting atop his horse, he looks out over his cavalry and yells, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”

Source: Gladiator (DreamWorks, 2000), written by David Franzoni, directed by Ridley Scott

3. Illustration

II. The Judge appeared among us (v. 38)

1. Explanation

“Something” Happened

Many treatments of Jesus get bogged down in a discussion of the possibility of miracles; properly speaking, that is a philosophical rather than a historical or even a theological problem. … [A]ll that need be noted is that ancient Christian, Jewish and pagan sources all agreed that Jesus did extraordinary things not easily explained by human means. While Jesus’ disciples pointed to the Spirit of God as the source of His power, Jewish and pagan adversaries spoke of demonic or magical forces. It never occured to any of the ancient polemicists to claim that nothing happened.

Source: John P. Meier in the New York Times Book Review (Dec. 21, 1986). Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 16.

2. Application

3. Illustration

III. The Judge took the Judgment for us (vv. 39-40, 43)

1. Explanation

a. All the prophets testify. How?

What does God do when forgiving? Consider the various metaphors Scripture uses.

God doesn’t “reckon sin”, wrote the apostle Paul echoing the psalmist (Romans 4:8; Psalm 32:1 – 2). We incur debt, but God puts nothing in the debit column of our life’s account. We owe, but we don’t have to pay.

God “covers” sin (Psalm 32:1; Romans 4:7). We’ve sinned in plain sight of all, but God hides our sin under the cover of impenetrable obscurity. We’ve committed it, but it’s nowhere to be found.

God puts our wrongdoing “behind [God’s] back” (Isaiah 38:17). God looks at us, the wrongdoers, and doesn’t see our wrongdoing because one can’t see what’s behind one’s back, as Søren Kierkegaard says of God’s hiding of our sin.9

God removes our transgression from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Our transgression seems permanently stuck to us, but God gently removes it without harming us and takes it to a place that neither we nor anybody else could ever reach.

God “blots out” our sin (Isaiah 43:25). We have spilled ink on our new white outfit, but God makes it disappear as if it were a drop of water on a hot stone in the middle of a sunny summer day.

God “[sweeps] away” our sins “like mist” (Isaiah 44:22). At the dawn of a new day, the landscape of our soul is enveloped in the cold, thick, wet mists of our nightly failings. But then the sun of God’s forgiveness comes up, the mists are gone, and all we see is the spectacular beauty of a wintry day, with surfaces of snow and water dancing at the touch of the sun’s countless rays.

And then, miracle of miracles, God doesn’t even remember our sins (Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17). They are just gone, gone from reality and gone from memory.

olf, Miroslav. Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (p. 170). HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Kindle Edition.

2. Application

3. Illustration

Conclusion

Jesus is risen,

the victory is won,

sins are forgiven,

praise God

for His Son!

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