Hope in the Lord’s Forgiving Love
Farmer Joe decided his injuries from the accident were serious enough to take the trucking company (responsible for the accident) to court.
In court, the trucking company’s fancy lawyer was questioning farmer Joe.
"Didn’t you say, at the scene of the accident, ’I’m fine’?," questioned the lawyer.
Farmer Joe responded, "Well I’ll tell you what happened.
I had just loaded my favorite mule Bessie into the..."
"I didn’t ask for any details," the lawyer interrupted, "just answer the question.
Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, ’I’m fine’!"
Farmer Joe said, "Well I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road..."
The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine.
Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client.
I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question."
By this time the Judge was fairly interested in Farmer Joe’s answer and said to the lawyer,
"I’d like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule Bessie."
Joe thanked the Judge and proceeded, "Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side.
I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other.
I was hurting real bad and didn’t want to move.
However, I could hear ole Bessie moaning and groaning.
I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans.
Shortly after the accident a Highway Patrolman came on the scene.
He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her.
After he looked at her he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes.
Then the Patrolman came across the road with his gun in his hand and looked at me.
He said, "Your mule was in such bad shape I had to shoot her. How are you feeling?"
It was then that I said, "I’m fine."
Today we may say “I’m fine” but honestly that is not the case
We are not fine because we are wracked with sin
Sin that the only payment for is death
And we can never be cleansed of this sin, except for the blood of Jesus that washes away all sin
How many of you have ever used SC Johnson’s Scrubbing Bubbles?
That stuff has never worked like the commercials.
Just spray it on and those scrubbing bubbles will do the work.
Today our text deals with the incredible power of God’s forgiveness.
We, however, often think that God’s forgiveness is like SC Johnson’s Scrubbing Bubbles, the bottle says it removes tough soap scum easily, but instead takes a lot of Scrubbing elbow grease to make it work.
Have you ever asked God to forgive you of your sin, but then felt that He had not?
Or, have you ever asked God to forgive you and then thought that you must beat yourself daily for His forgiveness to take place?
Today, we are going to learn the reality of forgiveness as found in Psalm 130.
SO, let us learn together the Hope of the Lord’s Forgiving Love
Read Psalm 130
Our God forgives sin and forgiveness begins with a cry for freedom
We first see the
I. Urgent Prayer of the Psalmist (1-2)
“Out of the depths I cry”
In order to begin this cry for freedom you must first see the circumstances you are in
In the depths of despair the psalmist cried out to God
Out of the depths is a figurative expression of severe distress
Despair makes us feel isolated and distant from God
But this is precisely when we need God most
The author of this psalm is unknown and some suggest Hezekiah wrote it
I tend to think it is another great Psalm of David
We read the words of a brokenhearted man who is struggling with the problem of guilt
We hear the cry of this man as he deals with his haunting sense of guilt that stems from his past
You remember David and his sin
His sin of adultery that led to lies, deception and even murder
And one day the prophet Nathan came to David and told him “Thou art the man!”
At this David admitted his sin and was restored to fellowship with the Lord
And even though David had repented and his sin had been forgiven by God
The scars and marks of sin were still there
He must have still carried his guilt with him
Despair over sin should not lead to self-pity, causing us to think more about ourselves than God
Instead it should lead to confession and then to God’s mercy, forgiveness and redemption
When do you get serious with God?
Do you ever get serious with God?
The psalmist here is not focused on his feelings but rather on his circumstances
He is in a place where he has no control
Only when you get to the place where you know you are not in control will you be able to find help
This is when we get serious with God
As our cry for freedom begins when we see our circumstances, living in sin
This cry is fulfilled when we turn to the living God
The psalmist knew who to turn to
“I cried to thee O Lord. Lord hear my voice”
Twice he makes it clear to whom he turned
He says Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy
That is what he is saying when he mentions supplications
A cry for freedom is a cry for mercy
This is a cry for repentance
Many years ago, executives of the Time-Life publishing organization discovered that the company’s profit margin had shrunk to an alarmingly low level.
Consequently, they began an intensive effort to try to cut costs.
Efficiency experts suggested that substantial savings could be affected in the renewal department.
There were 350 people working full time sending heartbreaking pleas to readers whose subscriptions were about to expire.
(For example, "Will you dare face your children without "Time” magazine on your coffee table?")
In any case, enormous quantities of these letters were being prepared manually.
It was calculated that if a machine could be found to replace the manual labor, millions of dollars in overhead would be saved.
In time, IBM came to the rescue with an enormous computer, delivered to Time-Life in a blaze of lights and fanfare.
Then the New system was installed.
The name of each subscriber was put on a separate little plate and run through the vast machine.
Whenever a nameplate came along that was within six weeks of expiration, a series of dots and dashes at the top of the tab triggered an electronic impulse that caused it to drop into a slot.
The name was then affixed to one of the "heartbreaking" letters which was then folded, stuffed into an envelope, labeled, stamped, and dropped down a chute to the basement where a United States Branch Post Office was set up--all without a single human hand touching the operation.
The system worked flawlessly for a while, until that fateful, hot, humid, sticky day in New York City when one of the nameplates stuck in the machine.
A few days later a lone sheepherder in Montana received 12,634 tear jerking letters asking him to subscribe to "Life" magazine.
The sheepherder, who hadn’t received a letter in years, took his knife, carefully slit open one of the mailbags and began reading his mail.
Three weeks later, red-eyed, weary and up to his hips in 12,634 opened pieces of mail, he made out a check for $6.00
Filled out a subscription coupon and sent it to the President of Time-Life personally, with the following note:
"I give up!"
That’s a story to remember, when you begin to wonder about the limit of God’s mercy.
You don’t have to plead or beg for it. You don’t have to ask Him 12,634 or 1,000 or 100 times for it.
God’s mercy is always there, always being offered, always present to you.
God has already said, "I give up: I love you; I forgive you.”
There is not limit to God’s mercy
Once we ask for it God gives us Magnified Forgiveness
II. Magnified Forgiveness (3-4)
In vs. 3-4 the psalmist basks in the glow of God’s never-ending forgiveness
“If thou Lord shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord who shall stand”
He is saying “If you kept records of our sins, no one could last long”
God doesn’t keep records of our sins
When He forgives, He forgives completely
Tearing down any wall between us and Him
But often times we still carry that guilt with us
Where does that guilt come from?
Our adversary the devil
Do you remember that short lived TV show from a few years ago “The Tick”?
The Tick was a superhero, based on a comic book
And he wasn’t exactly the brightest superhero around
But in one episode he figured out he needed an arch-nemesis
He felt he couldn’t be an effective superhero if he didn’t have a nemesis
So he set out to find one, and called one on the phone
We don’t need to find an arch-nemesis
We already have one, the devil
Satan is a lot smarter than we often give him credit for
He will find something in our past and continually beat you over the head with it
He might say things like “just go on and sin, God will forgive you
And then after you sin say
God will never forgive you for doing something like that
But if you will confess and repent of that sin God will forgive you
No matter how vile that sin may be
Romans 5:20 says “where sin did abound, grace doth much more abound”
Worrying about whether or not God has enough grace to forgive is like going to the beach and worrying about running out of sand for your sand castle
Don’t let the devil harass you and bring your past up against you
When he reminds you of your past - remind him of his future
God’s forgiveness is truly magnified beyond our comprehension
It is God’s very nature; it is within His character to forgive
v. 4 says “there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared”
You forgive us, and so we will worship you
Dr. Karl Menninger, a famous psychiatrist, once said that
“If he could convince the patients in psychiatric hospitals that their sins were forgiven, 75% of them could walk out the next day”
There is forgiveness of sins
God doesn’t keep records of our sins
If we go to Him and seek His forgiveness
Someone once asked Martin Luther “Do you feel that you have been forgiven?”
He answered “No! But I’m as sure as there’s a God in heaven.
For feelings come and feelings go, and feelings are deceiving; my warrant is the Word of God
Nothing else is worth believing”
Don’t beat yourself up with guilt
God has forgiven you
III. Waiting Patience (5-6)
“My soul waiteth for the Lord”
Patience is a virtue they say
A lost virtue I believe
An AP poll finds the U.S. is an impatient nation
We get antsy after 5 minutes on hold on the phone
And refuse to stay on more than 15 minutes
23% lose their patience if they have to wait in line at a store or office 5 minutes or less
50% refuse to return to a business that makes them wait too long
We don’t have patience
The people that we rely on don’t have patience
I was recently at Wal-Mart photo section printing off some digital pictures
And noticed how rude the ladies working the photo center were to the customers
I admit the customers were acting like idiots
But this lady had just dropped off her pictures in the one hour and had the slip in her hand
And asked is there something I need to take with me
To show which ones are mine when I pick them up
Its in your hand the picture lady said
Here is a story where patience did take place
Christian author and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada writes: I’m a quadriplegic, yet I can drive a van (my hand is secured to a big joystick so I can steer, accelerate, and brake). I enjoy being independent, so if there’s something I can do, I will - even if it means tackling the drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant by myself. Remember, my hands don’t work. That’s why last week when I cruised into the drive-thru lane to order hamburgers and Cokes, I prayed for the fellows at the pick-up window. "Lord, give them patience, and give me a smile." Then I moved to the intercom to place my order. When I’d finished explaining "no cheese" and "extra mustard packets," I told the voice on the intercom that I was disabled. There was a pause. Then, "Okay, no problem." I pulled up to the delivery window and smiled. Sticking my arm out the window, I asked the cashier to take the 10-dollar bill that was folded in my arm splint. That was a cinch. While he fished for my change, I asked him to place it in the paper bag along with the hamburgers. At that point, the server bagging my order looked over his shoulder. Both boys, confused, gave each other a look that said, "Do you know what she’s talking about? ’Cause I don’t!" I smiled and slowly repeated my instructions. They got the message - and even wrapped my change in a napkin before they dropped it into the bag with the food. Then they handed me my order. I had to ask, "Could you please lean out your window and wedge the bag between me and the van door?" Both boys looked at each other again. "I can’t reach for the bag. Remember?" "Oh, yeah," they laughed, then hung halfway out the pick-up window to lodge the package between my wheelchair and the door. "Are you set? Are you okay?" they asked in all sincerity. "Great job," I assured them. "God bless you guys!" They slapped the side of my van as I drove off. When I glanced in my rearview mirror, they were waving good-bye. Thanks, God, for answering prayer. That could have been awkward, but it turned out to be fun!
A very rare case of patience, especially amongst difficult circumstances
It is hard to wait
Where does our patience come from?
My soul waits, and in His Word I hope
This gives us hope since God’s Word cannot fail
The watchmen mentioned here possible refers to shepherds with a night watch that ends with the sunrise
They know the sunrise is coming
This long, dark filled stint of guard duty will end
But I say more than they that watch for the morning
We have more hope than they
God’s Word cannot fail
He will forgive
He has no choice
Once you come to know Him as your Savior
You can know that He will forgive you
You can know that even stronger than the fact that you know the sun will rise tomorrow
Have patience, because God will fulfill His promises!
IV. Unique Hope of Israel (7-8)
The psalmist further demonstrates this hope by paralleling it with the unique hope the nation of Israel has as God’s chosen people
Israel is a picture of us as His children
“for with the Lord there is mercy”
For with the Lord there is loving-kindness
For with the Lord there is steadfast love, unfailing love
He is always merciful and with Him there is plenteous redemption
With Him is full abundant redemption
He has the power to save you
So let Israel hope in the Lord
Trust the Lord and like v. 8 says
He shall redeem you from all your iniquities
The Lord will save you from all of your sins
All of your sins
We tend to apply degrees of sin
We think one sin is worse than another
Murder is worse than hate
Adultery is worse than lust
Stealing is worse than lying
But sin is sin
And God can forgive it all
You can experience the soothing touch of God’s forgiveness
I heard the story of a preacher who was at a certain church preaching on the subject of forgiveness.
And in the crowd that day there was young woman whose heart was heavy with a load of guilt and shame.
And after he had finished preaching a few moments had passed by and every one had left the auditorium except for this young woman.
So when he seen her he went up to her and thanked her for coming and asked her if she had enjoyed the service.
Immediately she said she had.
She said however that “I don’t think the message was for me”
You don’t know my past
And she began to tell her story She told the preacher
When I was a little girl I got saved but my home life was such a mess
As a child my father repeatedly told me that I was ugly
He was an alcoholic and stayed drunk most of the time
My mother always told me that I was worthless and would never amount to anything
So when I became a teenager I met a guy that told me I was special
I had never heard words like that, nor felt that way before
And so in my ignorance I gave him everything
A month or two later when he found out I was going to have a baby
He left me and I have never seen him since
I could not go to my mother or father
So I went to a health clinic and did away with my child
And now even though it has been many years ago
I still feel so guilty and dirty over what I had done
Preacher can God really forgive me for doing something like that?
The preacher then with a tear in his eye and a broken heart began to tell her what Jesus could do for her
After they prayed she had a smile on her face
And a glow about her
God had removed all guilt from her heart
Maybe this morning you are a Christian
You come to church with a smile on your face
But deep down there is something that has been tormenting you
Maybe you have unconfessed sin
God’s promise is that He will forgive you of that sin
And no longer keep record of it
Bring that burden to Him today
Or maybe you are struggling with lingering guilt over something He has already forgiven you of
Ask Him to help you shed that guilt
To not allow the devil to burden you with this guilt any longer
Maybe you need to bring these things to the alter
And life those burdens to Him
Lay them at the feet of the cross where they belong
Or maybe this morning you carry that load of sin that you have never brought to Him
Maybe you don’t know or have not experienced His forgiveness at all
And do not know Him as Savior
With salvation comes forgiveness
If you do not know where you will spend eternity
YOU CAN! You can know!
You can experience the soothing touch of God’s forgiveness for the first time
I urge you to follow His leading
Come to Him before it is eternally to late
The alter is open
Respond to His call in whatever need you may have