INTRODUCTION: Let us start with the cross and with a few words He spoke from the cross and focus on these words, "Father, forgive them." This message is about how to make peace with your past and get on with your life. Receiving and fully accepting the forgiveness of God is the most important step you can take.
Forgiven. It's a word that carries with it mind-boggling questions. Forgiven by God for all my wrongs, all my mistakes, and all my sins seems too good to be true. God's total, unconditional forgiveness is tough to accept. We cannot fathom this kind of forgiveness. Forgiving you is God's idea and is made possible by Christ's death and resurrection. Ephesians 1:7 says, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Yes, it's completely mind-boggling, amazing, and true. No matter how awful your sins may have been, God forgives and forgets. God is better than you ever hoped or imagined.
I. GOD OF UNLIMITED SECOND CHANCES
1. The Jesus of Scripture is gracious, forgiving, loving. The Law demands penalty but grace demands another chance. Our God is a God of unlimited second chances. We as people have an infinite capacity to mess up, so we need a God of second chances.
2. Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.
3. Ephesians 1:7-8 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.
4. Psalm 86:5 For You, lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
B. SEVEN LAST SAYINGS OF JESUS
1. Jesus was crucified at 9:00 am but remained on the cross until 3:00 pm. From 12:00 to 3:00 there was darkness over the whole land. Jesus spoke seven times during those six troubled hours:
a. Father, forgive them.
b. Today you will be with me in paradise.
c. Woman, behold thy son.
d. Why hast Thou forsaken me?
e. I thirst.
f. It is finished.
g. Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.
2. Christ is still speaking from the cross, "Father, forgive them." Forgive you! We all put Christ on the cross because of our sin and our need for a redeemer. There was a gap with no bridge builder. Christ is the substitute lamb for my sin.
II. THE SEVEN STEPS OF EXPERIENCING GOD'S FORGIVENESS
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