Challenged to Change
Condemned or Really Forgiven?
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
We’re all probably in the same position this morning. There isn’t one of you who have not at some time stolen something from somebody even if it’s their reputation. There probably isn’t one of us here that has not in some way stolen. There is probably not one of us here who has not at some time born false witness against our neighbor. We’ve said something about somebody that isn’t really as true as the way we expressed it. And I am sure there isn’t one of us here who has not expressed some anger at times to somebody or has not thought an evil thought at some time in our lives.
I think most of us are in that spot. Most of us are in that spot where we have sinned in one way or another. We have sinned and we know that. We don’t need the Bible to tell us that all have sinned, we can say, “I have sinned. I know that and it weighs on my conscience.” And many of us here know that the Bible states very clearly that God cannot endure sin and that He has to destroy everybody who sins.
I don’t know if you know that there’s another verse that says, “Even if you disobey the law in just one point, it’s as if you’re guilty of disobeying the whole law.” Because some of us, of course, have been brought up on church all our lives and think, “Well, yes but I don’t sin the way the criminals sin or I don’t sin the way grossly amoral people sin.” Yes, but the Bible says if you sin even in one point, you may as well have sinned in all of them.
Of course, then it says “the wages of sin is death” and most of us who feel guilt, feel it because of that. Even if we don’t know that verse in the scripture, we know that we aren’t pleasing to our Maker and we aren’t in a position where we could meet Him face to face and we do feel that we are under condemnation. So there are many of us I think that know that very realistically and very really. Loved ones, the truth is this; that you deserve to die for your sins but God has already, in a miraculous event, put you into His Son Jesus and killed you there. And He regards you as dead in His Son. So He is not after your blood. He’s not after your blood any longer. He is not.
If you sit there and say, “Well, I find it hard to feel that God forgives me for what I’ve done.” Loved ones, whether you feel it or not, the facts are here in the Bible and in history. Christ has died for all of us therefore God regards all of us as having died. And so He has nothing against you this morning. He hasn’t. And if you say, “Well, what is this that I feel?” Well, it’s Satan trying to condemn you and make you feel that it doesn’t apply to you. Loved ones, it does.
The unbelievable thing is that even if you have no love of God at all, even if you have no desire to please God, the fact still remains as long as you’re alive in this earth, God has already forgiven you and regards you as His own child and will continue to so regard you until the end of this life. Then what you choose is what in fact you will get. But until the end of this life, God is not condemning you here.
I know this sounds wild, but even if you’re continuing in fornication, even if you are continuing to take heroin, even if you’re continuing at this moment to hate and have a vendetta against somebody in the office, your Father, who made you, loves you and has already forgiven you and accepts you as
His child at this moment. Yes, and any condemnation that you feel is Satan pointing out to you what you’ve done and saying that you’re going to die.
In fact, God has already forgiven you and He has opened to you all the benefits that His Son has. He will actually answer your prayers, if you pray honestly to Him. He will answer your prayers. He will give you all the benefits that His Son Jesus gives you. He will, at this moment. Yet, if you continue to go on sinning and doing what you’re doing, eventually there’ll come a time when you too will die and your breath will cease and your heart will stop beating and then, God has to allow you to choose the hell that you chose or the heaven that you chose.
But at this very moment, the Father’s heart is open to you and His love is upon you and His smile is on his face to you. He says, “Look, I accept you. I have destroyed you in My Son Jesus. I don’t want to destroy you again. Come on, come my child, come up onto my knee, and let me put my arm around you. Let’s talk this over now and let’s plan out what I want you to do in this life.” That’s what the Father is saying to you this morning.
Loved ones, all He is asking you to do is to believe that. Of course if you really believe that, you’ll know in your hearts what you ought to do. We all didn’t have great dads but we all know what a good dad is. You know that if any loving father says that to you “Whatever you have done, I forgive you. Come on, let’s sit together here and let’s start doing something together.” You know, that if you really believe that’s his attitude to you, your heart breaks before you, and you say to him, “Dad, I am sorry for those things, those things that I have caused you pain with, those sins, Father I have done with those. I can’t sit here on your knee; I can’t have your arm around me and continue to be stabbing my knife into your stomach. I can’t. Dad, I am going to have done with these things. I’m turning from them now and Father, thank you for your love. Will you now help me, and teach me how to live the way you want me to.”
Now, loved ones, that’s faith. And it’s that faith that will save you and enable you to go to heaven and will enable God to begin to make His miracles available in your life today. But that’s it. You don’t have to win your Father’s love. Your Father’s love is already pouring over you. You don’t have to win your Father’s forgiveness or your Father’s mercy, it’s pouring over you. You have to either ignore it or you have to believe it. And if you believe it, there’s only one thing to do with a kind father like that. That’s to say, “Father, I am having done with the drugs, I am having done with the over expansion, I am having done with the fornication, I am having done with the anger and I am putting those aside Lord. If that’s your attitude to me, if You are prepared to let Your Son die for me and then regard His death as my death, then Father, I am coming to You now and I am going to confess these sins to You and have done with them once and for all.”
So that’s what we have to do this morning. That’s what communion is. If you have any sins in your life that you know have brought Jesus’ death and have caused your Father this agony, will you see that your Father forgives you for those? And He is saying to you, “Come on, come on let’s have done with those things. I have borne the pain for them, now let’s have done with them. Come up now and be finished with them.” Finish with them today, do that, just in your seat there, just finish with them, just finish with those sins, loved ones. It’s foolishness. It’s a mockery. Why carry on with those things when this dear God has shown us such mercy?
Have done with them. Just stop them today. Some of you might be in a position where you see, “I have some things I need to leave on that altar.” If so, then when the organ is playing and we’re all praying, then just come up, kneel there and leave the thing on the altar. Some of you that have
fought some sins for years just need to make a step and say, “I am leaving those on Jesus’ altar” — then do that. File out from your seat, get up here some way and make a stand here. Just kneel down, give it to Jesus and then go back to your seat.
So loved ones, that’s what we need to do. While the organ plays quietly we’ll have a prayer time and you can have done with the sins in your seat. You don’t need to move at all. Let’s go over things that God has shown us are wrong in our lives and let’s just turn from them now, confess them to Him, repent of them and just tell Him you’re sorry and say you’re going to go with Him.
Those of us who have other things that have been clinging to our fingers but can’t get rid of them, can’t get them off — you should come up. Nobody will see, as we’ll have our eyes closed, but come up and just leave them on Jesus’ altar.
So loved ones let’s deal with our God about our sins. Let us pray.