Summary: This message is a first-person sermon from God’s point of view. It is his view on forgiveness and the cross.
Thank God I’m Forgiven!
I have spent many hours reading and studying different preachers and their styles. If you will allow me today, I would like to take an example from the greatest preaching manual there is, the Bible. In the pages of the Bible there is a preacher. His style was flawless. It reached across generations, across borders and across religious backgrounds. He executed his messages well and without fail, there was a response to his message. Hundreds of people followed him everywhere he went. His name was Jesus, the greatest preacher of all-time. Allow me if you would to make an attempt at recreating for you a message in the style that Jesus might Himself use if He were here preaching for us today. The majority of my message today will be taken from Mark 15:16-38 if you would like to follow along.
(Switch to first-person character)
Come on in, don’t be shy. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jehovah, Yahweh. Most of you call me God or Father. I know why you’re here. You have heard about the dilemma I was in and you wanted to hear the story for yourself. Well, allow me to explain the whole situation to you.
I was watching people the other day. I love to watch them. I love to listen in on their conversations. I love to know them more and try to get them to know me. I was watching people and that’s when the dilemma started. You wouldn’t believe the things I saw as I watched people the other day. I saw the most despicable acts of mankind being done as if they were normal behaviors. I watched as men turned their desires toward each other. I watched as everyone around them just allowed it to be considered normal or just as an alternate lifestyle. I watched as men and women broke up their families by divorcing each other because of “irreconcilable differences”. I watched as unwanted children went into foster homes and adoption agencies, because people don’t want to take responsibility anymore. Children live with dozens of other children as they just wait and see if someone, somewhere in the world will want to take them home. I watched as governments ruled over their people with a cruel hand and punished them harshly for no real good reason. I watched as kids began experimenting a little too early. The result was teenage pregnancy on the rise within the culture. I watched as one man shot a man for cutting him off in traffic. Murder runs rampant in many cities. I watched as people began experimenting with different forms of drugs in order to find a high or some sort of spiritual place. I watched as people looked around the world for a god to believe in. Some sought out weird forms of gods. Some sought to reject the idea of Me or gods all together. They want to be completely free from what they consider to be just a bunch of rules given to them by a god. I watched as hopelessness rose in many people’s souls. They looked everywhere for fulfillment in life. They looked to their jobs, their careers, their spouses, their children, alcohol, drugs and other forms of self-indulgence. Yet, they couldn’t find fulfillment in any of those things. The result, suicide is on the rise in nearly every culture, especially among teens. I watched as children, little girls are sold as sex slaves so that their parents can make money to live a better life. My anger burned inside of me. I was disgusted at what I saw in my creation. You see I have to be just. It is in my nature. When someone sins, it is required of me to find someone to pay for that sin. In order to restore the relationship between me and my creation, someone has to pay the price. I looked around at all the terrible things that were happening in my world and do you know what I thought to myself? I thought about how much I loved each and every single one of those people. I love the teen who is pregnant. I love the murderer. I love the alcoholic. I love the worst of the worst. I love every color. I love every race. I looked at them and I loved them all. My feelings of love and passion for all people runs deeper than anyone realizes. Because I loved them so much, I wanted to find a way to forgive them for these sins that they had committed. This is where my dilemma begins. How can I be a just God and at the same time justify my creation and provide for them forgiveness.
A long time ago before you were probably around, I had a covenant with the Israelite people. They were my people. I loved them and they were my children. I guided them out of Egypt. I led them through the wilderness. I established laws with them and a relationship with them. I gave them a beautiful land flowing with milk and honey. All I expected them to do was obey me and keep the commandments I had given them. They chose to be a rebellious people though. Because I knew they were going to rebel I needed to set up a system that would restore the relationship between me and my people. So I allowed them to make sacrifices to me that would reconcile our relationship. The biggest day of sacrifice was held on the Day of Atonement, otherwise known as Yom Kippur. It would take place on the 10th day of the month of Tishri, which falls between September and October depending upon the year. It is a day that I designed to cover over the sins of my people for the previous year. The day was a complete 25 hour fast for my people. On that day my people would come from all over the land to worship in my Temple. The high priest would choose two goats. One goat would be a scapegoat and sent into the wilderness alone while the other would be the sin offering for the people. The high priest would slaughter the goat for the offering and take its blood into the Holy of Holies. He was to then sprinkle the blood on the atonement cover. When this happened whatever sins my people had were atoned for, covered over for the previous year. This is the system that I established with my people in order to reconcile them to me. This system was temporary though. It wasn’t a perfect system. I was going to develop a plan that was permanent; a plan for all people for all time.