Summary: How conviction should bring us to God
THE EFFECTS OF SIN THAT CAUSES CONVICTION AND GIVES FORGIVENESS PS 32:1-2
Some years ago, two teenagers with a long history of crime and misbehavior robbed a YMCA on the lowest East Side of New York City. On the way out they saw a young man at the telephone switchboard. They were frightened and assumed that the man must be calling the police. They held and beat him violently with brass knuckles and a black jack. They thought he was dead; they hid him behind the swimming pool and escaped. Later that evening, a woman who came to swim, was walking by the pool. She slipped in the man’s blood, screamed, and then found Donald Tippet’s body. He lived, but one eye was so badly damaged that it could not be saved. Meanwhile, the two teenagers were seized and brought to trial. Their past records assured that both would get long sentences. Donald Tippet did an amazing thing when he called for that the judge allows the two young men to be paroled to his charge. He wanted to give them another chance. He believed they could change. One of the boys committed another crime, was caught, and sent to jail. The other boy was receptive to Tippet’s kindness. He went to college and then to medical school. He became one of our nation’s leading eye surgeons. A reporter, writing about Donald Tippet’s amazing story of forgiveness, said of the surgeon’s deeds: “I wonder if he ever performs one of those delicate eye operations without thinking of that night in the YMCA and the young man whose forgiveness changed his life!”
FORGIVENESS is a word that we use quite often, but many have a difficulty in understanding what it means to be forgiven. Maybe one of the reasons we don’t understood forgiveness is because we really don’t know what it’s like to be lost.
Some think they are Christians because they were brought up in the church. They had Christian parents. They were raised in a godly home. They heard the gospel all their lives. They did miss not Sunday worship. At an early age, they knew every song by heart. They could pray the same prayer that others prayed because they heard the words which was mostly the same. So they did not know what it means to be lost and apart from God.
I did not have that experience and when I heard the gospel I knew I was lost. None of my family went to church. Luke mentioned something about this last week when he said he could make up excuses for not wanting to go to church. Two excuses I remember were “It starts too early and there are hypocrites that attend church. I found one more. By the time Ted arrived at the football game, the first quarter was almost over. "Why are you so late?" his friend asked. "I had to toss a coin to decide between going to church and coming to the game." "Why did it take you so long?” "Well, I had to toss it 14 times."
When I found church, I have never made an excuse for not going. One Wednesday evening we were to have what they called prayer meeting. My dad said I could not use the car so I took off to walk two or three miles to go to church. I once was in a church that I went to when the doors were opened and the preacher was not a great preacher. He would stand up to preach and argue with himself whether he should preach what he had in his sermon. I know Jesus would meet me in church and that was my desire to be there. My three children grew up in a Christian home and a preacher’s home. Two of them became Christians at an early age as they knew they were lost and in sin. The other one knew all about playing the part of a Christian but did not really come to Christ until she was at college. She wrote home saying I knew all the churchy stuff and I found I needed to change my life to being a believer.