Summary: Whether "wretches or worms" type sinners, Christ died so we could have forgiveness. No one can be so bad that the death of Jesus cannot forgive their sins.
In a few minutes we will be conducting the Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. It is a tremendous visual display of the love and work of Christ for us.
Jesus did not only give us insightful teachings, and incredible miracles --- He demonstrated His love. He put the message into action on the cross. Jesus combined talk and action into one wonderful message. In most sermons I give to you I use words to paint visual pictures in your mind. I use stories to relate the truth to life and try to help you grasp the principle or truth I am teaching. Sometimes I use video clips because I want you to understand the principle. With the Lord’s Supper we move into another level of teaching because we can add the senses of taste, touch and smell to the learning experience.
When we come to partake in the Lord’s Supper we are emphasizing the sacrifice and death of Jesus for OUR sins. It is a historical undeniable fact that Jesus died on a Roman cross. Why He died becomes a matter of faith. For some people they believe He died by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. For others they believe Jesus was a militant or revolutionary and got what He deserved by trying to change the Jewish religion or Roman government. What I believe Jesus did on the cross of Calvary was to pay the debt of my sins by dying. I believe Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Jewish religion and that as the Messiah He was fulfilling something that only He could do and that was to be the perfect Lamb of God and die a sacrificial death for mankind’s sin. For MY sin and for YOURS.
How does the sacrifice of Jesus death become your gift of salvation? To answer that questions turn to Romans 5:8 READ
“While we were yet sinners” is the simple truth I want to emphasize to you today. God did not wait until we became good enough to get saved. God knew we would never become good enough, so God took the initiative to provide a way for us to be made right with Him through the death of Jesus.
Occasionally I meet someone who feels they have sinned so much God cannot forgive them. When a person feels that way, it shows a lack of faith in the power of God to forgive and cleanse a person of sin. Understanding this truth is so essential, I am going to illustrate it to you in three ways.
1. Earlier we played the great hymn of the faith Amazing Grace. Turn to that song in your hymnal #330.
At the end of the first line is the phrase “that saved a wretch like me”. The dictionary defines “wretch” as a miserable person, a vile or base person. I can’t be positive, but it is very likely that John Newton who wrote the song may have read Romans 7:24 “what a wretched man I am!” In our society we don’t like using words like this because we don’t want to injure our self-esteem. However, in protecting our self-esteem we have insolated ourselves from honest evaluation of our unrighteousness before God.
I did some research on John Newton’s life to see why he would describe himself as “wretched”. He was a sailor beginning with his father from the age of eleven. At the age of 19 he became a Midshipman on a British man of war. Because of intolerable conditions he deserted and was captured and flogged and demoted. Later he became a slave. In 1748 through the help of friend of his father’s he was restored to become Captain of his own ship. Quoting from a biography by Al Rogers (found on the internet):
Although he had had some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.” He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.
For the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to a higher power. “Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’tis grace has bro’t me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”