Summary: Second sermon in a series dealing with the Tough Questions of Scripture. This message looks at forgiveness through the uniqueness of Christ on the cross, the provision provided through Christ, and the scope of that provision.
ANSWERING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS OF SCRIPTURE
Can All the Things I’ve Done Really Be Forgiven?
INTRODUCTION: Tough question! What we are really dealing with is two concepts – Guilt and Assurance. Two weeks ago we discovered that mankind is looking for a way to clear his conscience of guilt, because a guilty conscience convicts us of our guilt and in turn reveals that we are distant and under judgment. People are always looking for assurance. We want the sure thing. Assurance conquers guilt. Without assurance, we are always looking over our shoulders so to speak. Edgar Allen Poe in his story, The Tell-Tale Heart, writes this,….
“The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct: - It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness - until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.
No doubt I now grew very pale; - but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased - and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound - much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath - and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly - more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men - but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed - I raved - I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder - louder - louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! - no, no! They heard! - they suspected! - they knew! - they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now - again! - hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!
"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! - tear up the planks! here, here! - It is the beating of his hideous heart!"
If there is no way to provide assurance of forgiveness, and release from guilt, we are all waiting to be judged!
Yet in order to fully answer the question of forgiveness, we must first answer the questions of my approach to God, and the validity of sufficiency of Christ.
I WHY IS JESUS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD?
A Jesus Is The Only Way To God Because He Said So!
1 Jesus describes His relationship to both us and God in the “I Am” passages of Scripture
John 6:48 I am the bread of life.
John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
John 10:9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
2 Jesus makes an EXCLUSIVE claim as the only way to get to God
a Hinduism says – Do enough works, or learn enough knowledge, or give enough time to a deity and you will attain deliverance
b Buddhism says – If you understand suffering enough, suffer yourself, succeed in suppressing all desire so as to cease suffering, and follow the eightfold path, you will attain deliverance.
c Islam says – If you believe in the Iman (articles of faith) and practice the Din (religious duties):Recitation of the Kalima (there is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is His servent), Daily prayer recitation, Fasting, Almsgiving, and a Pilgrimage to Mecca you can attain heaven.