Summary: In this lesson, we learn about the wonder of forgiveness, what it feels like to be forgiven, and witness the forgiveness of the sinful woman in Luke 7.
A. Once there was a man who carried a secret burden of a long-past sin in his heart.
1. No one knew what he had done, but he had repented and asked God for forgiveness.
2. In spite of this, he had lived with years of remorse over the incident without any sense of God’s forgiveness.
3. One day he met a woman who claimed to have visions in which God spoke to her.
4. The man was a little skeptical of her claims, but was desperate for help.
5. He asked the woman, “The next time you speak to the Lord, would you please ask Him what he thinks about that sin I committed so many years ago?”
6. The woman kindly agreed to do so.
7. A few days later the man came to the woman and asked her if she had spoken to the Lord.
8. She said, “Yes, she had.” He asked her, “And did you ask Him about the sin I committed?”
9. She said, “Yes, I asked Him about it.” “Well, what did the Lord say?” asked the man.”
10. She replied, “The Lord said, ‘I don’t remember the incident.’”
B. Ernest Hemingway wrote a short story about a father and his teenage son who lived in Spain.
1. Their relationship became strained. Eventually it shattered and the son ran away from home.
2. The father began a long journey in search of his lost and rebellious son.
3. After failing to find his son, he decided to place an ad in the Madrid newspaper as a last resort.
4. His son’s name was Paco, a very common name in Spain.
5. The ad simply read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the Madrid newspaper office tomorrow at noon. All is forgiven. I love you, Papa.”
6. Hemingway writes, “The next day at noon in front of the newspaper office there were 800 ‘Pacos’ all seeking forgiveness.”
C. Do either of these stories strike a deep chord in your heart?
1. Do you, like Paco, long to be reunited with God the Father? Do you long to be forgiven?
2. Or do you, like the man in the first story, struggle to accept the forgiveness of God and therefore continue to suffer remorse for things that God has long forgiven and forgotten?
D. One of the greatest truths God offers and one of our deepest needs is forgiveness.
1. Marghanita Laski was one of England’s best-known novelists and secular humanists; she was an avowed atheist.
2. Shortly before she died in 1988, she gave a television interview in which she spoke with surprising candor, saying, “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.”
E. One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the gift of forgiveness.
1. At the very heart of the Christian faith is the truth of God’s forgiveness.
2. That forgiveness was brought about at a very high price and given to us because of God’s love.
3. Forgiveness is something that every one of us needs, because all of us are sinners.
4. Paul declares in Romans 3:22b-24, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
5. Look at Colossians 1:13-14, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
6. And Ephesians 1:7-8, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”
F. So there is no doubt, we are sinners, but we can find redemption and forgiveness of sins in Jesus.
1. God loves us and wants us in the kingdom of the Son He loves.
2. And God has lavished on us the riches of His grace.
3. This kind of preaching doesn’t always get a lot of time in American churches today.
4. The reason is because it draws attention to our sinfulness.
5. It is not a popular notion for modern people to think of themselves as sinful.
6. We are nearing the point where it will be illegal to call sinful behavior, sinful behavior.
a. Greed and selfishness are called prosperity and ambition.
b. Pornography and obscenity are called art and free speech.
c. Abortion is called choice.
d. Adultery is called open marriage.
e. Sexual immorality is called sexual freedom.
f. Homosexuality is called simply an alternative lifestyle.
g. And the list could go on.
H. The truth of the matter is that sin is rampant, not just out there in the world, but in here in the church.