This morning I’d like to start by taking a look at why Paul wrote the book of Romans in the first place. Some would say it was to rally support for his upcoming mission in Spain that he hoped to go on. (That’s where he was headed after he left Greece, where we wrote the letter, and then went to Jerusalem.) Still others would say he was concerned about the health of the Church of Rome, and that’s why he wrote it. (I mean he was concerned with the church, and rightfully so, he helped start it.) I think that both of those reasons could be true. However, I believe his main purpose was the passion he had to see his fellow Jews accept their Messiah. I would even go on to say not just the Jews, but the whole world. You see, Paul starts off Romans by telling what the Jews already knew, that you should serve God. You should be serving God in whatever aspect He has called you too. If you haven’t accepted His will for your life, and you haven’t committed one hundred percent to Him, then eventually you will backslid. If God has called you to do something, and you’re still doing things your own way, then you will eventually slip back into sin. If you are not serving God, and you haven’t committed your life to Him, then you are living a sin filled life. Paul then goes on to talk about the knowledge of God, and the sinful fall of all humanity, not just the Jews. (By one man sin entered the world, and by only one Man sin can be forgiven. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.) Well, then we get to the part of his writing where these verses come in, that we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ. This is where not only the Jews, but some of you here today have trouble, and you won’t let Christ come and bring justification to you. You see, because of Jesus Christ, you can be forgiven of sins, and have peace in your heart and soul. The price Jesus Christ paid for us on the cross was too expensive not to cover our sins.
You say, “Brett that just doesn’t make sense. Why would any father in their right mind give their son to die? Furthermore, why would any son be crazy enough not to fight against him for wanting him to die?” Well let’s look at what Paul said, and you would be right. It is extremely rare that someone would die for someone else. If you were standing at the bank one day, and all of a sudden someone came in and starting shooting a gun, you would most likely hit the floor, and hope the bullets miss you! (That’s what I wound do!) It is very rare that some random person would jump in front of a bullet for you, so you’re going to try to get out of the way. Now, Paul goes on to say that for a good person one might dare to die. Let’s say at that this bank there’s a teller and a security guard, and they’ve been working together for five or six years, and they know each other very well; they are best friends. This guard thinks of that teller as a “good” person. It would be possible that he might jump in front of that bullet to save them. He thinks of that teller as a good person, remember, Paul said for a “good” person maybe. However, this would be very rare, but more likely than the first incident where a perfect stranger took the bullet for someone else. Now at this same bank a husband and wife are standing in line. This couple has been together for fifteen years, and they are madly in love with other. They’re more in love today than yesterday, and more so than last year, or two years ago, or when they first got married. Now some of you are sitting out there saying, “Brett, I know where you’re heading, and yes, I would do the same thing.” I would say this morning that husband, without a moment’s hesitation, would jump in front of that bullet to save his wife. “But Brett, they’re married to each other, they’ve been good to each other, and the husband is only doing what someone who loves someone would do? How come God through His Son Jesus did that for sinners?” That’s what Paul is saying. We weren’t even serving Christ, we had in fact turned our backs on Him and God, yet still, Christ came and died for sinners. Why? Why would He do that? The answers clear: He did what someone who loves someone else would do, He died in their place. You see God loves you so much. The kind of love that man had for his wife doesn’t even come close to the love He has for you, and for me, and for all the lost people. He wants to be with you, to comfort you, to forgive you, and much more then all of that He wants you spend eternity with Him in Heaven. I want you to think for a moment about someone that has passed away, and is now waiting in Heaven for you. I think of someone who was really close to me like—my Great Grandma Thomas. See grandma couldn’t drive, read, or write, and as soon as I was big enough, I would go over to her house, and spend the night when I had no school the next day, and I would help here with her grocery shopping. Grandma was a very special person to me, and I to her. Now think of someone you’ve never met that’s in Heaven this morning. My Great Grandpa Thomas who died in 1981 before I was even born. He accepted Christ only months before he died. There’s coming a day when those of us who’ve accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour will get to see those people that have gone onto Heaven. But more than all the people I’m waiting to see and who are waiting to see me; I’m wanting and I’m waiting most of all to see Jesus. To thank Him personally for dying on that cross just for me. And the only way He could make a way for us to get to heaven, was to make a way to get rid of our sins. He has to forgive you, because a Holy God cannot, and will not be around, or tolerate sin. And the only way to forgive sins was to have someone who was without sin, take upon our sins, to live, and to die to bring us to a place where we can have eternal life with Him. The songwriter said:
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
They went on to say in the third verse of that great hymn:
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill
And ev’ry man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Tho’ stretched from sky to sky
I wish I could explain it better, but our human minds just can’t understand God’s love. No person can explain, or write the full love of God. All I can tell you is that it extends all the way from wherever Heaven is, and it comes all the way down to Earth. It extends to the most awful person you can think of, and it’s their just waiting for us to claim. If all the water on Earth was ink, and the sky one big piece of paper, and if every branch on every tree was a pen, and every human on this earth a writer. To write the love of God on that paper, it would drain the ocean dry. (Can you imagine all the water in the entire world if it were ink wouldn’t be enough to try and write God’s love?) Nor could that paper contain the words used, even if it was stretched across the sky. Friends that’s how big God’s love is for you. And because of that great love, He wants to forgive our sins.
The Watergate scandal began with the arrest of five men for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Office complex in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972. Investigations conducted by the FBI, and later by the Senate Watergate Committee, House Judiciary Committee and the press revealed that this burglary was one of many illegal activities authorized and carried out by Nixon’s staff. They also revealed the immense scope of crimes and abuses, which included campaign fraud, political espionage and sabotage, illegal break-ins, improper tax audits, illegal wiretapping on a massive scale, and a secret slush fund laundered in Mexico to pay those who conducted these operations. This secret fund was also used as hush money to buy the silence of the seven men who were indicted for the June 17 break-in. Nixon and his staff conspired to cover up the break-in as early as six days after it occurred. After two years of mounting evidence against the President and his staff, which included former staff members testifying against them in a Senate investigation, it was revealed that Nixon had a tape recording system in his offices and that he had recorded many conversations. Recordings from these tapes revealed that he had obstructed justice and attempted to cover up the break-in. After a series of court battles, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the President had to hand over the tapes. With certainty of an impeachment in the House of Representatives and the strong possibility of a conviction in the Senate, Nixon resigned ten days later on August 9, 1974, becoming the only US President to have resigned from office.
He was in serious trouble, and upon conviction faced multiple years in prison. However, on September 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford granted Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he may have committed while President. Nixon was free again; no one could ever hold what he did against him. Friends, that’s what Jesus want to do for you. The Love of God’s first verse ends:
The guilty pair bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin
Jesus wants to pardon you from your sins. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never believed in Him. If doesn’t matter how many other gods you’ve served, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve said, “Oh my God,” or used his name some other way in vain, or how much filthy language you’ve used. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done something else you Sunday, instead of coming to church when you had the opportunity. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve disobeyed your parents, stole, lied. It doesn’t matter if you’ve cheated on your spouse, or looked someone else’s spouse with impure thoughts. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve murdered someone, raped someone. If doesn’t matter how much alcohol you’ve drank, or how much drugs you’ve done, or how much pornography you’ve looked at, or how much sexual sin, or premarital sex you’ve had, or how much homosexual activity you’ve participated in. It doesn’t matter to God how much sin you’ve committed. The price that Jesus Christ paid on the cross was too expensive not to cover your sins. (Pause) Jesus wants to add your name to the pardon He signed at Calvary. Christ died for sinners; He died to save us not in our sins, but from our sins. You can be free from sin. You can spend eternity in heaven with God; all you have to do is let Christ justify you through your faith in Him. Faith is just trusting in God’s promise to accept those who come to Him, admitting their wrongdoing and (here’s the important part), forsaking sin, and clinging to the Lord as their only hope for deliverance. He is the only path to forgiveness of sins, and Heaven.
Lastly, once you accept Christ you have peace in your heart and soul. I like what Max Lucado says: Christians now have peace with God because they have been forgiven. They rejoice because they are assured of their salvation.
Ah soul are you here
Without comfort or rest
Marching down the rough pathway of time
Make Jesus your friend
Ere the shadows grow dark
Oh accept this sweet peace so sublime
Peace Peace wonderful peace
Coming down from the Father above
Sweep over my spirit forever I pray
In fathomless billows of love
Oh, Satan’s going to tell you that things won’t be any different; you aren’t any different, that you’re not right with God that you are the same as you’ve always been. Now don’t get me wrong, just because you have peace in your heart, and you’ve accepted God, and become a Christian, that doesn’t mean that bad things aren’t going to happen. The Bible says that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. The difference is, you’re not alone anymore, and you now have someone to talk about it with, to comfort you, and to help you get through it. He’ll carry you through the valleys, all you have to do is let Him. You know what I tell Satan when he comes to me with that “you’re not any different junk”? I tell him exactly what God’s Word says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! You cannot be the same person you were before you met Jesus. God’s love now fills your heart, your mind, and everything you do.
You know what else? We have a God who not only forgives but forgets! Psalm 103:12 says, as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from Him. You know my dad and my Grandpa Reed have been in trucking almost there whole lives, and I’ve learned a thing or two about directions. See, no matter how far west you drive, you still keep going west. And no matter how far east you drive, you keep going east. They never touch! Folks, that’s how far your sins can be removed from you! Micah 7:19 says, You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing. You’ll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean. It just means that He won’t remember our sins once He has forgiven them. He doesn’t ever change His mind and be like "Oh, never mind, you messed up so badly that I am choosing to remember them again." No, what He’s forgiven, He’s forgotten, and now we have peace in knowing our sins are forgiven. Isaiah 43:25 says, "I, I am the One who forgives all your sins, for my sake; I will not remember your sins. We can take comfort in the fact that, yes our sins are forgiven, and that Jesus Christ is coming back to Earth again. Jesus tells us that Himself:
1 Jesus said, "Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. 2 There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going."5 Thomas said to Jesus, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going. So how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father, too. But now you do know him, and you have seen him."
Then Paul wrote a hope for all Christians:
13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then these words should encourage you. Take comfort in Christ when you’re having a bad day, or when things don’t work out the way you thought they should. When you suffer a loss, or going through a terrible tragedy in your life. Fear not! You’re not alone anymore; you have Christ on your side. If you haven’t accepted Christ then these words should make you uneasy, because you are not ready to meet Christ, and hell is all that waits for you after death.
The price that Jesus paid on the cross was too expensive not to cover your sins. Please don’t ever think that He won’t forgive whatever you’ve done. He paid too high of a price. He left his rightful throne in Heaven, came to this Earth, He lived without sin, He died the worst kind of death, that of crucifixion, because He loves you, and wants to give you a new life. He signed your pardon, way back before you were even a thought in your parents mind. He had you on his mind. While He was on the cross He thought, “My blood will be good enough to cover any sin, and my death will bring salvation for everyone that will come unto Me.” All you have to do is just let Christ add your name to the pardon He’s signed. It’s a big blank where names have been added onto that pardon. This morning He wants to put your name in that blank were it says: _____ has been pardoned from all sins. From ALL sins! Signed, Your Loving Savior, Jesus Christ. All you have to do is just let Christ right your name in the blank.
O love of God how rich and pure
How measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song
May I conclude with a story? There was a boy who spent a lot of time making a boat. He carved it out of wood, sanded it down, painted it bright red. Finally, the boat was done. So he took it out back, to the creek behind his house. He wanted to see his proud possession do what it was intended to do. So he placed it upon the water, and the boat began to float. Pretty soon it was going too fast, and the little boy couldn’t keep up with it, and eventually it went out of sight. Well the boy was heart broken, because he had spent a great deal of time, and put a lot of love into that boat, and now he thought it must be wrecked somewhere. Well a couple of weeks passed, and one day this same boy was walking home from school, and there it was in the store window, it was his boat! Well he went inside, just to make sure, but sure enough it was his, for he had wrote his initials real faint on the bottom. Well he ran up to the storekeeper and he said, “Sir I would like to buy my boat.” The storekeeper looked down at him and said, “Son, that’s not just any boat, that boat is very unique. See someone spent a great deal of time carving, sanding, and painting that boat and it’s not very cheap.” Well the boy reached around in is pockets, but all he had was a few cents. The boy looked at the storekeeper and said, “Sir, I’m going to buy that boat!” Well the boy spent the rest of the school year, and all summer long doing odd jobs, and collecting cans and bottles, and finally come the end of August he had enough money to buy the boat. (You see the storekeeper had arranged to let the boy make payments to him, and when it was all paid, he would give him that boat.) Finally that little boy had the last payment. He ran to the store, the laid the money on the counter and said, “Sir, I’d like to have my boat.” The storekeeper then handed the boy his boat. The boy was so happy; he couldn’t believe it was finally his. He looked at that boat and he said, “You know you are twice mine, for I made you, and I lost you, but I bought you back again.” God made us, through sin he lost us, but through Jesus death on the cross price was paid to buy us back again. All we have to do is come, admit we’re sinners, forsake sin, and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved! This morning Jesus wants to add your name to the list of those who have been pardoned. Come this morning and allow Him to add your name to the list. What He did on the cross was too expensive not to cover your sins. “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Would you stand as the worship team comes? With all heads bowed and eyes closed, as they sing, I’d like to invite you to come forward to this altar, and allow Christ to pardon you.