Summary: This is our Easter 2014 Sermon. It launched a 4 week series on forgiveness and has mixed live and video content.
Amnesty - Part 1, Pastor Rob Ketterling
PASTOR ROB: Well, I want to say welcome to all of our campuses as we celebrate Easter together. I, along with our teaching pastors and our campus pastors, are going to be doing an interactive sermon that will be live and on video and have video testimonies. And it will all be part of a four-part series that we're calling Amnesty. It starts here on Easter weekend, but it will go the next three weeks.
As we look at that word "amnesty," how many are familiar? Here and at all of our campuses, raise your hand. You're like, okay, I've heard the term amnesty. All right, yeah, I kind of know it. But I want to define it a little better. Because we are familiar with it with famous groups that talk about it. We are familiar with it with the legal system, or we're kind of wondering maybe, "Does amnesty mean I get into the country for free? I'm not sure." "Does it mean I'm forgiven?" That's close, that's really close. But I think it means so much more. We are going to realize this as we look in this series.
But the definition for amnesty is simple. It means "a general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses against a government, often granted before any trial
or conviction: So in law it means this: "An act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole." Okay, so we as think about it, that's amnesty.
But if you think about it in a spiritual sense, I think it fits very well with what Jesus Christ did. He made a way for us to be forgiven. He made a way by dying on the cross, by coming back from the dead, and paying the price for our sins so that we could be forgiven.
If you're like me when I was thinking about this, I thought, wait a minute, it said to a government and to a group of people. But think about this. What's one of the terms that we use for Jesus Christ? King of kings. Another one is Lord of lords. We talk about
his kingdom. And if you think about it, it really fits because it's against the King of kings that we've sinned. It's against his kingdom that we've done wrong. And because of that the Bible says we need forgiveness. So it fits very well.
The Bible says in Romans 10:13 that "Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." So we can receive amnesty, we can receive forgiveness. And that whosoever is an entire group of people that would say, "I want in on that forgiveness."
And I think forgiveness is beautiful. I think forgiveness is absolutely beautiful. And I love receiving forgiveness. I love to give forgiveness. But when I was younger how many know that a lot of us struggle with giving forgiveness? Especially if you have a younger brother or sister. Right? How many know? But I can remember my mom and dad saying, you know, "Give your brother forgiveness. Say that you forgive him. He said he was sorry."
And I think we believe in forgiveness, we do, to a point for a lot of us. If it's a minor offense, we'll give it. If there is an excuse for people's behavior, we're more inclined to give it. If the person is really, really, really sorry and they regret it, we do it. But let's be honest, we all need forgiveness.
And that's what Easter says. It says God had a plan for us to be forgiven. We could have this forgiveness. And the plan was that Jesus would live a sinless life. That he would live on this earth. That he would die on the cross. That he would pay the price for
our sins. And then when he came back from the dead, it meant everything that he was promising, everything he said was true.
That's what the apostle started to preach right after Jesus rose from the dead and he commissioned them to go into all the word. We see in Acts, Chapter 5, just soon after the resurrection of Jesus, Peter was preaching. It says, "Peter and the apostles answered...The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, the One you killed by hanging him
on a cross. God set him on high at his side, Prince and Savior, to give Israel the gift of a changed life and sins forgiven."
And I love the way the Bible says it there. I love the way it says it there. He says he gave them "the gift of a changed life and sins forgiven." Because I believe when we're forgiven, it's a gift that leads to a changed life. And I believe all of us, all of us can say, "You know what? I need to be forgiven. I need to be changed. I've hurt people.