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There Is Power in Forgiveness—and to Withhold That Is Evil | Luke #100 Sermon Notes
From the 100th and final sermon in the Luke sermon series, "Kiss the Feet," preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll out of Luke 24:36–53.
The resurrected Jesus teaches and commissions his disciples before he returns to heaven. Because Jesus is alive, because the Bible is true, and because we believe the gospel—the good news that Jesus died for sin and rose for salvation, and that no one comes to the Father but by him—we should witness (preaching repentance and forgiveness to everyone by the power of the Holy Spirit) and worship. Luke’s great biography of Jesus’ life closes with Jesus’ people worshiping him—literally kissing his nail-scarred feet.
3. Because Jesus is alive, because the Bible is true we must get the gospel out by the Holy Spirit’s power, everybody needs to know about Jesus. Everybody. That’s exactly what he says. Luke 24:47–49 "And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed" —or preached— "in his name" —whose name? Jesus’ name— "to all nations." What about the ones that have a different religion? Yes. What about the ones who disagree? Yes. Why? Because the ascended Jesus is Lord over all. All people, all times, all tribes, all tongues are under his sovereign rule and everyone needs to know him. Isn’t that unloving to tell them they’re wrong? No. It’s unloving to allow them to worship a false god and then die to stand before the real God. We tell people about Jesus as an act of love.
"Beginning from Jerusalem," the place of his resurrection and, "you are witnesses of these things." So, the Bible is written by those who are eyewitnesses to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. "And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you." That is God the Holy Spirit. "But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
What he says is this message has to be proclaimed. This gospel, this good news that God loves us, that he came for us, that he lived the life that we have not lived, that he died the death that we should have died, that he rises to conquer the enemies we cannot defeat—his name is Jesus. It’s all finished. He’s alive and well. That the nations need to know. That everyone needs to know. And he says it must be proclaimed.
And let me say this—this is at the heart of conviction at Mars Hill Church: The good news, the gospel of Jesus, is not something that can be shown; it must be said. It cannot be shown, it must be said. Because the good news is about the life, the death, the burial, the resurrection of Jesus. Yes, we believe in justice. Yes, we believe in mercy. Yes, we believe it is good to seek the physical healing of people. Jesus healed them physically. Yes, we believe it is good to feed the hungry. Jesus fed the hungry. Yes we believe it is good for those who are marginalized and poor and outcast to be loved and cared for as image bearers of God and Jesus did that and taught that but in and of itself that is not enough to save. People don’t need just good deeds, though they are helpful, they need good news. They need to learn about Jesus. And one of my great concerns is a cowardice among some who would say, "I don’t want to talk about Jesus, I just want to love and serve people and I will assume that somehow they will make a connection to Christ." They won’t. That’s our job. Not just our job, that’s our joy. That’s our joy.
There was a saint many years ago and there is a saying that is attributed to him that some would say perhaps he did not say but it was, "Preach the gospel at all times, and use words when necessary." False. Preach the gospel. Preach the gospel. Tell people about sin and a Savior.
And yes as we love, and yes as we care, and yes as we give, and yes as we serve, we can then say, "This is on behalf of Jesus. He loves. He serves. He gives. He is good. He is God. Anything that you appreciate in my affection for you is a reflection of him"
And so I am not saying that good words and good deeds are to be divorced. But I’m saying that good deeds without good words can lead to damnation. And if we want people to experience salvation, we can’t just do good deeds; we must tell the good news: That Jesus died for sin and he rose for salvation and that he is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father but by him, and he says that we should preach repentance and forgiveness and he says it should—very important word—should be proclaimed.
Then it hangs in the air as to whether you and I will actually do so. "In his name," it says. We’re to be talking about Jesus—not just God, or Lord, or Christ, or Savior or Creator, or some word in which a lot of meaning gets imported that is not from Scripture—talking about Jesus and talking about the love of God and the death and resurrection of the Son of God.
How many of you don't really repent? You don't really ever talk to God about your sin. You may complain to him about other people's sin, but you don't repent of your sin. Or, how many of you don't repent well to others? You don't just go to them and say, "I am sorry. It was wrong. Please forgive me." Let me say that that is so powerful.
It starts when you're young. Parents, model this for your children. You parents should never have a culture in your household where your children never hear you repent of your sin, because they'll just grow up to be religious kids who talk about everybody else's sin but not their own because they will have learned that from their mom and dad.
Dads, you wanna know how to be the spiritual leader of your home? Repent. When you're wrong, tell the kids. "I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me." It's powerful.
Because sin leads to death. It kills marriages. It kills families. It kills friendships. It kills Community Groups. It kills churches. So the sin will either kill the relationships or Jesus' death will allow the sin to be put to death so that the relationship between God and the person and God and other people can continue.
I tell you, I had two of the more encouraging conversations of recent memory in this past week. And I won't divulge all the details, but it was two people who had sinned. They had sinned. And one person understood that they were sinning against their spouse in a way that was not yet devastating but was escalating. And people who loved them brought conviction from the Holy Spirit and started talking to them about it, confession. And there was contrition on their behalf, "Oh, you're right. Look what I'm doing—this is really dangerous." And they changed, in the grace of God. So I got to call them this week, "How are you doing?" "Good. Jesus has forgiven me. My spouse has forgiven me. Our Community Group has forgiven me. And I'm grieved by where I was, but I'm so glad for where we're going. And there's hope. And I'm not alone because I'm loved." Isn't that wonderful?
Another person I met with this week, there's sin in their life. Sat down, had a meal with them, looked 'em in the eye, "OK, I love ya, very much. I have a few hard words, I don't know how you're gonna take them. Here's what I see." This person responded very humbly, very kindly, and at one point, they said, "Thank you." and in the midst of the conversation they basically said, in their own words, I wanna be like Jesus so thank you for helping me be more like him. I started crying, they started crying—two guys at breakfast, publicly. I thought, Wow, OK, there's a conviction there. And they said, "I wanna repent." Praise God. So when we're done it was actually a deeper friendship. You know why? Jesus died so the friendship didn't have to. Then he gave me a hug. I'm not a big hugger, but I got a hug. You know that Jesus was involved when sin ends in a hug, right? You know that Jesus was involved.
And so, when Jesus says, "Go out and preach repentance!" he's inviting people to experience a whole new way of life.
Because for sinners we're supposed to repent and then [Jesus] says also to preach forgiveness.
Forgiveness is what the victim does. Repentance is what the guilty do. So when we sin, repent. When we've been sinned against, forgive. That's the only way you get reconciliation in relationship. You don't get full reconciliation unless the sinner repents and the victim forgives.And in forgiving someone, you are allowing them to live without the consequence and punishment of their sin. Now, this doesn't mean that if they break the law they don't have to go to jail, it doesn't mean that if they've stolen, they don't need to repay—but it is not choosing bitterness. It is not holding it against them. It is not constantly bringing it up, particularly if they have repented and you have forgiven. What you're saying is, "I don't need to punish you because Jesus was already punished. I don't need you to suffer because he suffered in your place." It's why Ephesians 4 says to forgive others as God in Christ has forgiven you. Dear Christian, we cannot say, "God please forgive me, but I refuse to forgive them." That's the height of hypocrisy. "I want forgiveness but I don't grant forgiveness." There is no such Christian way.
And some of you need to really hear this: when you're suffering, when you're lonely, when it gets hard, and the bad news comes, you will be inclined, because of the enemy's whisper in your ear, to think this thought: God is punishing me. He's not. God never punishes you if you are in Christ, because Christ has already been punished. It would be a travesty, an injustice, for Jesus and you to both pay for the same sin. To be sure, when we sin, sometimes we reap what we sow. Sometimes we just live in a sinful, fallen world, and we're not on the other side of the resurrection yet.
And sometimes … I think it's Proverbs and Hebrews say, that like a father corrects a child, so God will use circumstances to correct us, but never to condemn us because there is now no condemnation in Christ. You need to know that, so that when you sin you can run to Jesus because against you only Lord God have I sinned, says the psalmist. And you should run to others and come clean instead of getting caught. And when you have been sinned against, you can extend forgiveness. And as you do, you're echoing the words of Jesus who from the cross said to those present and us today, "Father" what? "forgive." There is so much power in forgiveness.
And I feel inclined of the Holy Spirit—I don't know who this is for, but I know it's for some of you: you know there's power in forgiveness so you've withheld it, and in so doing, you're in sin. And you are doing to do someone else what God in Christ has not done to you, and that is withheld forgiveness. If you are someone who is withholding forgiveness, you are doing something that is demonic. You are not allowing that person to experience the same kind of love that you experience from Jesus. It's an evil thing.I want you to hear, that when Jesus says go tell everybody they can repent and forgive, it's good what? It's good news. Because some of you are devastated in your conscience and your guilt and your shame. And you need to know if you bring that to Jesus, he forgives.And some of you have been sinned against and you are wounded and broken and damaged by those offenses, and you need to know that if you don't forgive, you will become bitter, you will become self-righteous, and you will become sad. And in forgiving someone, you're allowing them to repent, and if they don't, you're allowing God to deal with them. And you are freeing yourself of the pressure of being the lord, and you're leaving it up to the real Lord.
Note: due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the full transcripts will not be out until later in the week, hence the reason we put up the full clip transcripts here, but the full English and Spanish transcripts are indeed on their way.Miss a Luke sermon? Did you join the series partway through and miss the beginning? No worries: we've always got the entire series, all 100 sermons, right here in the media library.
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