Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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Jesus Offers Forgiveness
Luke 23:32-47

32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God." 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself." 38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." 44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last. 47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!" NKJV

Introduction
This passage of scripture demonstrates mankind can only die, in a spiritual sense, three different ways. One can die In Sin, To Sin, or For Sin. If you thinking quickly you will realize Jesus died, For Sin, and really He is the only one who could die for sin, because He is sinless. The repentant thief dies To Sin, and the unrepentant thief dies In Sin. Because He died For Sin, Jesus Offers Forgiveness.

1.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To. . Ignorant Sinners. 23:32-34

2.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To . . Insolent Sinners. 23:35-39

3.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To . . Inquiring Sinners. 23:40-43

4.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To. . Inspired Sinners. 23:44-47
 

1.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To. . Ignorant Sinners. 23:32-34

Introduction
The term ignorant may have an unwanted connotation, but all of us are ignorant about something.  A person could be ignorant about their sin, but nevertheless guilty.

A.    The . . Placement of the Cross by Ignorant Sinners. 32-33
    32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.

        1.    The Center cross reserved for the worst criminal.

B.    The . . Person of the Cross by Ignorant Sinners. 23:34 a
    34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

        1.    They were ignorant of Jesus Person.

C.    The . . Perception of Ignorant Sinners. 23:34b
    ". . . And they divided His garments and cast lots. "

        1.    Their perception of the cross shows complete ignorance. They play while Christ dies

Illustration
Leslie Strobel became a Christian in 1979 and modelled her faith in such a way that it influenced her atheistic husband Lee to begin his own search for God. In his book The Case for Christ, he tells of his 2 years of intensive research that finally led him to receive Jesus as his Saviour. With a law degree from Yale and an award-winning career in journalism at the Chicago Tribune, Lee had the ability to answer tough questions raised by unbelievers and cynics.

The change in his life also influenced their 5-year-old daughter Alison, who said, "Mommy, I want God to do for me what He's done for Daddy." Leslie's faith created a ripple effect that changed the whole family.

Illustration
A story is told of a large family living in Atlanta a few years ago. The family consisted of
13 children, ranging in age from 4 to 19. The mother hadn't worked in a number of years, because she felt it was her responsibility to stay home with the kids. So the father earned the family's wages, while the mother was a terrific housewife. The neighbourhood that they lived in was fairly new, and new homes were being built all around them nearly all the time. In fact, there was a new home being built on the lot right next to them, and the workers were working on the roof. There was a large vat of roofing tar sitting out in the lawn, and it attracted the interest of the youngest boy, Todd.

From inside the house, Todd's mom heard his little voice yelling for help. She ran outside, searching frantically for her youngest, and followed the sound of his voice to the large container of tar. As she nervously peered her head over the edge, she saw her son, who had fallen in, absolutely covered from head to toe with the thick, black pitch.

She pulled him up out of the vat, took one good look at him, and said, "It would be easier to start on a new one than to try to clean you up."

Application

Think of God's omnipotence, and the unlimited power that He holds. It would have been so easy for God to look at us, in all our nasty, thick, black sin, and just give up and start over. But He didn't; He loved us out of that vat of sin right into His arms.

Jesus Offers Forgiveness To. . Ignorant Sinners.
 

2.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To . . Insolent Sinners. 23:35-39

A.    The . . Allegations of Insolent Sinners. 23:35-37
    35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God." 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself."

B.    The . . Accolades of Insolent Sinners. 23:38
    38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

C.    The . . Arrogance of Insolent Sinners. 23:39
    39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."

Illustration Mercy toward those who are in the wrong
A small boy at a summer camp received a large package of cookies in the mail from his mother. He ate a few, then placed the remainder under his bed. The next day, after lunch, he went to his tent to get a cookie. The box was gone. That afternoon a camp counsellor, who had been told of the theft, saw another boy sitting behind a tree eating the stolen cookies. He said to himself, that young man must be taught not to steal."

He returned to the group and sought out the boy whose cookies had been stolen. He said, "Billy,
I know who stole your cookies. Will you help me teach him a lesson?" The puzzled boy replied, "Well, yes--but aren't you going to punish him?" The counsellor explained, "No, that would only make him resent and hate you. No, I want you to call your mother and ask her to send you another box of cookies.

The boy did as the counsellor asked and a few days later received another box of cookies in the mail. The counsellor said, "Now, the boy who stole your cookies is down by the lake. Go down there and share your cookies with him." The boy protested, "But he's the thief." I know. But try it--see what happens." Half an hour later the camp counsellor saw the two come up the hill, arm and arm. The boy who had stolen the cookies was earnestly trying to get the other to accept his jack-knife I payment for the stolen cookies, and victim was just as earnestly refusing the gift from his new friend, saying that a few old cookies weren't that important anyway.
James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, Tyndale, 1988, p.217.

Application

Jesus Offers Forgiveness To . . Insolent Sinners. 23
 

3.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To . . Inquiring Sinners. 23:40-43

A.    The . . Honesty of Inquiring Sinners. 23:40-41
    40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."

B.    The . . Humility of Inquiring Sinners. 23:42
42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."

C.    The . . Honor to Inquiring Sinners. 23:43
43 And He said to him, " I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise."

Illustration
The story is told in Spain of a father and his teenage son who had a relationship that had become strained. So the son ran away from home. His father, however, began a journey in search of his rebellious son. Finally, in Madrid, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in the newspaper. The ad read:

"Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven. I love you. Your father."

The next day at noon in front of the newspaper office 800 "Pacos" showed up. They were all seeking forgiveness and love from their fathers.

Application

Jesus Offers Forgiveness To . . Inquiring Sinners.
 
 

4.    Jesus Offers Forgiveness To. . Inspired Sinners. 23:44-47

A.    The . . Phenomena Observed by Inspired Sinners. 23:44-45
    44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.

B.    The . . Proclamation Observed by Inspired Sinners. 23:46
    46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last.

C.    The . . Praise Offered by Inspired Sinners. 23:47
    47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!"

Illustration
When the books of a certain Scottish doctor were examined after his death, it was found that a number of accounts were crossed through with a note: "Forgiven--too poor to pay."

But the physician's wife later decided that these accounts must be paid in full and she proceeded to sue for money. When the case came to court the judge asked but one question. Is this your husband's handwriting? When she replied that it was he responded: "There is no court in the land that can obtain a debt once the word forgiven has been written."

And that is the good news that the Gospel offers us this morning. God's attitude is not "I'll forgive but I won't forget," but rather, "Forgiven, Forgotten Forever." Across our debt has been written the words, "Forgiven--too poor to pay."

Once a debt has been cancelled there is no one who can collect on it. God wipes it out of his mind. Oh, if we could only do that. If we could forgive others like that; If we could forgive ourselves like that.

Application
 

Jesus Offers Forgiveness To:

    Ignorant Sinners. 23:32-34

        Insolent Sinners. 23:35-39

            Inquiring Sinners. 23:40-43

                    Inspired Sinners. 23:44-47

Where ever you are classified as a sinner; Jesus offers forgiveness.