Summary: In light of having a NY firefighter, the Iraqi war, and Palm Sunday, this sermon talks about the liberation Jesus brought not only to Jerusalem, but also to us today through the forgiveness of sin (based on Ron Lavin’s Book “I Believe, Help My Unbelief: A
“I Believe in Forgiveness of Sins”
I Believe, Help My Unbelief Series ~ Luke 19:28-40
April 13, 2003 ~ Palm Sunday
Purpose: In light of having a NY firefighter, the Iraqi war, and Palm Sunday, this sermon talks about the liberation Jesus brought not only to Jerusalem, but also to us today through the forgiveness of sin (based on Ron Lavin’s Book “I Believe, Help My Unbelief: Another Look At the Apostle’s Creed).
I. On September 11, 2001 – Evil seemed to be everywhere. Planes were falling from the skies,
buildings and the people within them found themselves under attack, things looked hopeless.
But someone did something about it. First responders (fire, police, emt) came rushing to the scene as everyone else was rushing away from it. Many made it out of harms way due to their efforts.
But the evil did not win. Although many did lose their lives, it did not quench the American spirit as the high-jackers had hoped. New York is being rebuilt and its stronger than ever.
II. On our televisions over these past years – Evil seemed to be everywhere. The people of Iraq found themselves under a evil dictator. He put his image on pedestals. He starved his people while he lived in palaces. He built up his armies and invaded neighboring countries.
But someone did something about it. The men and women of the coalition forces rolled into Bahgdad this week and people cheered. The image on pedestals came down. Food and water began arriving, and the palaces, which represented the extravagances of a ruthless ruler, were stripped.
Evil has not won nor will it. Saddam has been removed and the people of Iraq are being liberated for the first time in decades.
III. In Jesus’ time, he came to Jerusalem when evil seemed to be everywhere. A puppet ruler by the name of Pontious Pilate served under direct orders from another puppet king, called Herod, who answered to the Roman emperor. The people were oppressed. The finest food, clothing, riches were always sent to Rome, and Pilate and Herod took their cut as the items made their journey westward.
But something happened in Jerusalem just before the Passover. Somebody, namely the carpenter’s son from Nazareth turned prophet and rabbi, was coming. To the people this mean true liberation. Pilate and Herod would be overthrown. The Roman Empire would be challenged and prosperity would once again return to Jerusalem and its surround areas.
“Hosanna!” was their cry. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” They wanted liberation, and Jesus was going to be their liberator. But that’s not quite how it happened.
Unlike the first responders of 9/11 and the coalition forces who brought and are bringing freedom from circumstances and dictators, Jesus was bringing a different liberation.
It was not a liberation just for the people of Jerusalem.
It was not a liberation just for the people of the kingdom.
It was not a liberation just for the people of the empire.
It’s a liberation that extends beyond New York and beyond the Middle East.
This liberation would be something much greater than anyone had realized. In fact, through the
forgiveness of sin, the penalty Jesus paid for us on that cross, our families and our friends, may still experience this liberation today.
Because you and I both know that evil is all within us. We know that in our own lives, we are the ones who have to do something about it. And when we do, by coming to the liberator of all liberators, then this evil within us will be vanquished.
Paul knew about this liberation. He told the church at Corinth, “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. Then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(selected passages from I Cor. 15:51-57)
The first responders on 9/11 were limited, but they gave liberation to everyone they could.
Our coalition forces are limited, but they are bringing liberation to everyone they can.
But Jesus Christ is not limited, so in Christ we have a liberation that can save everyone!
Which leaves us with the last question of the morning….from what do you need liberation from?
Illus. How many of us have ever sinned? (exercise in humility) How many wish they’d never
committed their sin and would like forgiveness for committing it?
Hear this good news…
From 1 John 1:9 - “If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will gorgive us our sins and