Summary: This sermon takes a look at the offers Jesus gives to us this Easter; namely forgiveness from our past, purpose for today, and hope for tomorrow.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It sounds to good to be true.” Some incredible offer that promises you great results with little cost or effort. A while back I was wanting to shed a few pounds and sure enough I was walking in Wal-Mart and saw this bottle that said, “Hollywood Miracle Diet…lose 10 in two days, guaranteed.” I thought 10 pounds in two days, this sounds great…and for only $20...I’d be a fool to not buy it, right? Well, when I got it home I realized that you couldn’t eat anything for those two days, and all this miracle diet was only a jar of fruit juice. Denise said, “Way to go Barry, you just paid $20 for a V-8. Amazing offer, yet it was to good to be true.
When we come to Easter, we hear of some wonderful offers that sound on the surface that our just to good to be true. Offers that are so outrageous that many scoff at the very mention. But what makes these offers different. Easily, you can trust the one who is making it. God Himself wants to make you an offer that you can’t refuse. And this morning, I want us to look at these wonderful offers that Jesus offers us this Easter. These are offers that Jesus offers you free of charge, because His grace has already covered the cost.
The first offer Jesus offers comes from the cross. And the promise is this…that you’re past can be forgiven. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or no matter how jaded your past may be, because of what Jesus did for you upon the cross you can be forgiven of all the wrong you’ve ever done. And many of us have committed many wrongs. And if you think you haven’t then I want you to think about this for a moment.
How many times a day do you think you sin? How many times do you neglect to do something you should do? Or when you do something you do it with a selfish motive? Or you think a lustful thought or angry thought? How many times a day? Lets say you are a super saint and you only sin 3 times a day: one bad thought, one neglected deed, one word you shouldn’t have said. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? But multiply that by 365 days and that is 1095 sins a year. If you live to be 70, you’ll have 76,550 sins against you. And to be honest, those aren’t just little sins…some of those are big ones. And did you know that just one of those sins is all that is needed to condemn you to hell, because if you break just one of the laws of God than that makes you a lawbreaker. And we are not guilty of committing one but of thousands upon thousands.
But because of Easter, the promise is that no matter how much you’ve sinned, no matter how awful of a person you’ve been up to this point, all that can be washed away because of what Christ did on that cross for you. In A Forgiving God in an Unforgiving World, Ron Lee Davis retells the true story of a priest in the Philippines, a much-loved man of God who carried the burden of a secret sin he had committed many years before. He had repented but still had no peace, no sense of God’s forgiveness.
In his parish was a woman who deeply loved God and who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ. The priest was skeptical. To test her said, “The next time you speak with Christ, I want you to ask him what sin your priest committed while he was in seminary.” The woman agreed. A few days later the priest asked. “Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?” “Yes, he did,” she replied. “And did you ask him what sin I committed in seminary?” “Yes.” “Well, what did he say?” “He said, ‘I don’t remember’“ Jeremiah 31:34 in the New Living Translation says, "And I will forgive their wickedness and will never again remember their sins."
That’s good news! And it’s much needed news. There’s a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in Madrid newspaper. The ad read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.” On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers. I wonder how many Pacos do we have right here with us today? You’re Heavenly Father stands ready to forgive, all you need to do is admit your need and come to Him in repentance, and all can be forgiven. Tabula Rasa-A clean slate. As if it never happened.