Sunday, March 6, 2011

7 Sayings Of The Cross – Part 1 - “Father, Forgive Them”

Temple Baptist Church - 3-6-2011

Luke 23:26-34


A. As we approach Easter, I normally preach on the cross of Christ. In 24 years, I have never preached on the 7 sayings of Christ from the cross until now. There is so much to preach about concerning the cross that it would take a lifetime to deal with the subject in its entirety. I do not believe that we can fully comprehend all that transpired at Calvary.

Russell B. Jones, “Gold From Golgotha”

“This is the place where the contrast between the Savior's heart of grace and man's heart of rebellion is most striking. Golgotha is the focal point of revelation and history and experience. There God did His best and man did his worst. There, faith is justified, hope assured, and love conquers."

Ralph G. Turnbull, “The Seven Words From the Cross”

“In the harrowing experience of Jesus, the seven cries are like the opening of the windows for the soul. We gaze with reverence and awe as we dare to look in. We see bared before us the inner thoughts and secrets of that bleeding heart of incarnate love."

B. Seven times our Lord spoke from the cross. These seven sayings speak volumes concerning our salvation. The first saying of Christ from the cross was a petition for forgiveness. How appropriate! The cross of Christ is all about the reconciliation of sinful man with a thrice holy God.

C. At Calvary, we find the love of God for each and every one of us. Calvary is the ultimate proving of the love of God for sinful mankind. If you want to know how God feels about you, go to Calvary! Greater love hath no man than this: the one should die for his friend. Calvary’s love is the greatest and most compelling of all loves as the Worthy died for the unworthy; the Holy died for the unholy; the Righteous died for the unrighteous.

D. The reason for forgiveness is sin. The fact of sin is what compelled the Father to send forth His only begotten Son. This morning, I want to look at the forgiveness of God.

1. The Purpose Of Forgiveness - The foundational truth of forgiveness is this: sin has taken place! Those who have not sinned have no need of forgiveness. Those who are not sick have no need of a physician. The truth of sin is that we are all guilty and have need of God’s forgiveness. I believe that virtually all of mankind would agree that sin takes place but the problem is not the fact of sin but rather the direction of sin. Yes, we can sin against each other; yes, we can sin against mankind but the direction of sin is toward the laws and person of God. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Most of the world will acknowledge the reality of sin but not the direction.

Psalms 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (In order to have forgiveness, we must acknowledge that our sin is against God and He gave His only begotten Son—Jesus Christ—for that sin.)

2. The Person Of Forgiveness – Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary! There is much deception concerning the remission of sin in the religions of the world. Forgiveness is not found in the church or in our confession to man. Forgiveness of sin is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Eternal forgiveness is found only in the shed blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (If a sinner ever finds true forgiveness, it will be found in the person and work of Christ alone: plus nothing, minus nothing, and mixed with nothing.)

3. The People Of Forgiveness – Christ died for all! I love the fact of a “whosoever will” gospel. I am glad that I am one! The thief on the cross , who died beside of Christ, was glad to be a “whosoever will!” I really don't want to go into much depth with this man because the second saying of the cross is dealing with him. He received these words from the One who had the power to give them. The Roman centurion needed those words. He glorified God. He would never know what forgiveness was if it had not been for this day. He was used to cursing, spitting and hatred given from the cross. He was not hearing words of forgiveness like this. I would probably correct to say he never heard before or after words like "Father forgiven them, for they know what they do."

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (If you want forgiveness, come to Christ! He and He alone can forgive and He has already paid for yours.)

4. The Power Of Forgiveness – Christ died for and can forgive all sin! No sin too large and no sin too small; no matter how many our sins are—Christ died once for all!

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (I’m glad that He came into the world to saver sinners! From the “guttermost” to the “uttermost!” At this point, my mind goes back to Manasseh in 2 Kings 21:18. If you stopped reading there, Manasseh was as wicked as a man could get and died without further commentary. In 2 Chronicles 13:12-20, we find the Manasseh got right with the Lord in his latter days and God blessed him. God is able to save the wickedest man in the world.)

5. The Permanence Of Forgiveness – what God forgives, He forgets! We may remember our past sins and people, as well as the devil, may remind us of them but God is faithful and just in His forgiveness.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Confess your sin, get your sin right, and put it in its place—your past!)
6. The Prerogative Of Forgiveness - this prayer is not a blanket pardon. That would go against the freewill nature of man. God never forces Himself upon anyone who does not want Him. When a person goes to hell, they go to hell with their sins died for!

Acts 28:24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.

Conclusion: The first of Christ’s sayings from the cross was that of forgiveness. Aren’t you glad that He died in your place?

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

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