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Summary: Why are Christ’s last words on forgiveness so crucial for us today? Learn more about forgiveness in today’s message.

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INTRODUCTION

“On the day that Karl Marx died, his housekeeper

came to him and said, ‘Tell me your last words, and

I’ll write them down.’ Marx replied, ‘Go on, get

out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said

enough!’” He was wrong as last words can be very

revealing and important. P.T. Barnum said, as he

was dying, “What were today’s receipts?”

When the noted philosopher and infidel Voltaire

was upon his deathbed, he said, “I am abandoned by

God and man!” The emperor Napoleon uttered these

words, “What an abyss between my deep misery

and the eternal Kingdom of Christ.” And the famous

preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Jesus died for

me.” Sir Thomas Scott. Former Lord Chancellor of

England, was facing his own imminent death when

he declared, “Unto this moment I thought there was

neither a God nor a hell. Now I know and feel that

there are both and I am doomed to perdition.”

In the Lenten study which we begin today, we will

be considering Christ’s last words. They are referred

to as His seven last words. “These words are very

important, not only because of the person who

spoke them but also because of the place where they

were spoken. When our Lord was doing His greatest

work on earth, He was uttering some of His most

powerful and life-changing words. These seven last

words from the cross are windows that enable us to

look into eternity and see the heart of God.”These

words spoken as Christ was dying reveal truths we

need to know for living.They are absolutely crucial

to our well-being.Without them we cannot possibly

experience life in all its fullness.

The first of these seven statements is found in our

text for this morning. Brought to trial and unjustly

condemned, Jesus was led to Calvary by Roman

soldiers. He was mercilessly nailed to a wooden

cross. He was crucified between two common

criminals.The sinless Son of God was mocked,

tortured and left to die.Nevertheless, lifting His

head to heaven, He cried out saying,“FATHER,

FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW

WHAT THEY ARE DOING.” (Luke 23:34)

Astoundingly, He asked forgiveness for His

enemies. Can you imagine that?

FORGIVENESS IS AVAILABLE

Forgiveness is one of our greatest needs. Without it

we cannot get on properly with our lives. As guilty

sinners we all fall far short of God’s expectations.

Max Lucado says, God “tells us to go north and we

go south. He tells us to turn right and we turn left.

Instead of seeking His will, we seek our own.We

disregard and disobey Him.” In our natural state we

are lost; alienated and separated from God.. Romans

3:23 declares that “ALL HAVE SINNED AND

FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.”

Knowing our need for forgiveness, Jesus’ first word

from the cross speaks to this great need.He offers us

that which “In one bold stroke…..obliterates the

past and permits us to enter the land of new

beginnings". Fortunately, “God is more concerned

for the future than the past.

He is more interested in what we can yet become

than in all the things we used to be.”

Forgiveness is available simply because Christ paid

the just penalty of our sin. Being holy and just, God

cannot just close His eyes to our sin. If He did that

He would not be true to Himself. He would betray

His holy and just nature. Being holy He cannot

tolerate sin. Being just He cannot allow it to go

unpunished. Yet He is love and doesn’t want to

inflict upon us the just penalty of our sin. Therein

lies the dilemma. The only solution was for God

Himself to pay the just penalty of our sin. So He

sent His Son to earth to die on the cross for you and

me.1 Peter 2:24 declares that “HE HIMSELF BORE

OUR SINS IN HIS BODY…”

As a result of Christ’s dying for you, God can

forgive your sin. This forgiveness, however, is not

automatic. You must personally receive it by

receiving Christ as your Savior.“The story is told of

a time when a father and his daughter were walking

through the grass on the Canadian prairie. In the

distance they saw a prairie fire which would soon

engulf them. The father knew there was only one

way of escape: they must quickly build a fire right

where they were and burn a very large patch of

grass. When the huge prairie fire drew near, they

could stand on the section that had already burned.

When the flames approached them, the girl was

terrified, but her father assured her saying, ‘The

flames can’t get to us. We are standing where the

fire has already been.’So it is with the forgiven

when they see the judgment of God approaching.

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