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Father, Forgive Them... (1 of 6)
Series: 7 Last Sayings of Christ on the Cross
Luke 23:1-25, 32-34
INTRO: It is quite revealing to see that Jesus' first words from the cross were about forgiveness! Christ reveals the heart of God in this expression.
This is the kind of forgiveness that can transform a human heart! There is nothing like this kind of love and forgiveness in the human spirit, only the divine! Christ's desire to forgive springs from His heart as Savior and if we invite Him into our life we not only experience this kind of forgiveness but also the strength to overcome hatred and prejudice to forgive others!
ILLUS: A young soldier was going off to fight in World War II against the Japanese. As his father put him on the train and waved good-bye he turned with bitter tears and said, "If my son is killed I hope every Jap in the world is killed!" Yet the fact that the father was a Christian made it difficult to feel that way in reality. He had a fierce struggle with himself and finally realized that it was not Christian to hate, whether his son lived or died. He declared rather, "I will not hate. I refuse to be destroyed by hate!" A year later the son was killed. Soon life insurance money arrived. The father did not really need the ten thousand dollars so he sent it to the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board and designated it for missions to the Japanese. How could the father do that? Only by the miracle of Calvary! Only God can change bitterness and hate into love. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 220-221.
We would do well to wonder at a God who can forgive those who spit on Him, who beat Him, who rejected Him, who killed Him! Can you really sit here today and ignore that kind of love? Where in this world will you find that kind of love and grace?
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that God desires to cleanse us from our sins, the only thing holding us back from great peace is great pride! The only truly Holy person who has ever lived calls us to experience His forgiveness and life.
I. CONDITIONS OF THE HUMAN HEART Luke 23:1-25
A. Self Luke 23:1-7, 13-25
1. Pilate is a tragic story of a man who put his own self interests above everything else that was right and decent!
a. Much like those of this world today!
b. Rather than do what is right he does what the crowd wants in order to keep his own place intact.
2. Pilate at least 3 times affirms the fact that Jesus is innocent; yet he gives in under pressure just to get the crowd off his back!
a. Political expediency ruled over moral fortitude!
b. "Give the people what they want" became the rule of thumb for his political office.
c. There was no courage to do what was right!
d. Does this sound like a picture of today!!!?
3. Pilate was so focused on his own needs that he failed to understand who was standing before him!
ILLUS: A book collector ran int ...
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