Summary: Peace and freedom comes from this command - be forgiven.

5. BE FORGIVEN (Psalm 51; 2 Samuel 12:13,14; John 4)


Objective: Preach the awesome news of forgiveness which seeks to set people free from their past and empower them to live in the present thankful, honoring God, and ministering to others. I intend to teach the process of forgiveness. There is an inadequate view of forgiveness. It’s like some people think that a simple, “sorry” is enough. Often there is no change of life – no remorse. Sadly there is often no joy, sense of new freedom, and a desire to glorify God with a new dedication and commitment.

Strategy: I want to use several stories – beginning with David, to a psychiatrist’s statement to Billy Graham. I plan to use the Samaritan woman’s story to point out the liberating power of God’s forgiveness. I may also use Ms Smith’s story.

Pastoral Concern: Shallow conversions leads to shallow lives. Shallow repentance results in shallow forgiveness. I find unhappy disciples, unsure about their standing before God, keeping these loved ones from giving their all to God – the result is shallow worship and praise.

Welcome back to God’s Word. Today I want to proclaim God’s awesome news of forgiveness. Jesus told his disciples at the close of Luke’s gospel that “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (24:47 NIV). This good news is for everyone. Nothing could be sweeter, nothing heals us more, nothing sets us free more, nothing makes us want to love God more, honor him more, avoid sin more, commit to His grace more, live for His honor more, invite others to him more - than to hear that our sins have been forgiven by God.

A London psychiatrist once told Dr. Billy Graham that 70% of the people in treatment in England could be released if they could find forgiveness. Their problem, he said, was guilt, and they could find no relief from the grief and pressure under which they lived.

Often people today are told they have nothing to be guilty about, and in some circumstances that is true. Some people feel guilty about things they have not done: things that have been done to them by responsible adults, who have abused and misused them. They need help to see who is to blame. But most people with guilty consciences don’t need to be told that they are guiltless. Deep down they know there something to be guilty for, and what they need is not to hear that they are guiltless, but that they are forgiven.

This message is based on two stories. The first is David’s story (2 Samuel 11-12; 22 and Psalm 51). Known for his heart for God; he walked with God all his life. He is described as a man after God’s own heart and the sweet singer of Israel. He is known as a prophet – someone who understood the things of God; and by the sovereign hand of God has been brought up from being a lowly, unknown shepherd to be the king of all Israel. But then he plunges into sin.

The other story is that of an unknown woman. She is known as the Samaritan woman at the well. Her story is recorded in John 4. This chapter does not mention the word forgive but it is a story of forgiveness and restoration to God. John records such a fascinating story of someone whose sin and past is forgiven so well that she becomes an evangelist to her hometown. God tells us through her how empowering, how life giving, and how life changing is God’s forgiveness.

1. The first fascinating truth about God’s forgiveness is that God initiates it - CONVICTION

Both characters cover up their sin – at least initially. After David committed adultery and learned that Bathsheba was pregnant he came up with a plan: RECALL the woman’s husband from the battle field, so he would sleep with his wife, and think the baby is his. The husband turns out to be a loyal and a great soldier. He will not do anything for himself while his fellow soldiers were still away from home fighting. He loved the king and his country so much that he denied himself the pleasures of a married man. He refuse to sleep with his wife. The King tried to get him drunk, so he would change his mind. He would not.

So Uriah goes back to the battle field, and so David decides that the only way to solve his problem is to get rid of him. So Uriah instructed his battle commanders to put Uriah in the front line to ensure he gets killed. He gets killed. David thinks he’s escape. He thinks nobody will ever know. Not until one day the prophet Nathan comes and tells him about a gross story of injustice. This makes David angry and issues a decree that whoever did this terrible injustice must die. Then Nathan pointed his finger on David and states, “You are the man, David!”

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