Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 609 · 2 months ago

The Gospel of Luke #11

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Luke 3:1-14

Heavenly father, we come to your word with trembling, for it is the very word of God that is given to us and, Lord, by ourselves and our carnal natures, we could not understand it, nor know what it means or says to us. But through the Gift of grace you've given to us, Lord, it speaks to our heart, it ministers to us, it gives life to us. The entrance of your words give light and, Lord, we are so grateful that you have given us the gift of your word, that we have it, that we can learn it, that we can read it, that we can study it, that we can memorize it. We thank you, Lord, for that ability and we pray now this morning that as I deliver the word you have given to me this week, that I would be faithful to the text, that your people would receive edification, that your people would be drawn closer to you and that Jesus Christ would be magnified in our midst and that the Gospel of Christ would be clear. Open our eyes, Lord, that we may behold wondrous things out of your law. We pray these things in Christ's name. Amen, going to read to you from Luke, Chapter Three. I'll explain why in a little bit. Beginning with verse one, I'll be reading through verse fourteen and again, I remind you, what I'm reading to you now is God's most holy word. In the Fifteenth Year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, conscious pilot being governor of Judea, and Harrod being Tet trark of Galilee and his brother Philip, Tet track of the region of Tigeria, and Raconitis and Lisanius, tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zaca, riot in the wilderness, and he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming the Baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Has It is written in the book of the words of Isaiah, the Prophet, the Voice of one crying in the Wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight, every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hills shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. He said therefore, to the crowds that came out to be baptized him, you brewed of vipers who warned you to flee from the wrath, to come bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves we have Abraham as our father, for, I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now, the axe has laid to the wood of the trees. Every tree, therefore, that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. And the crowds asked him, what, then, shall we do, and he answered them whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise. Tax Collectors also came to be baptized and said to m teacher, what shall we do, and he said to them collect no more that you're authorized to do. Soldiers also asked him, and we what shall we do, and he said to them do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages. Thus ends the reading of God's word. Man, allow me to make a few opening comments today, since this is my first time speaking to you and being with you. I think there's some things you should know about me, know...

...about this time that we're entering into in our coming to Tucson, here into the church here. My wife and I have commented to each other several times about what a wonderful church you have here and how wonderful the fellowship seems to be among the people here, what a wonderful pastor and family you have here who is labored faithfully here for several years and God has blessed the work in the last ten plus years. So you have grown and we've noticed all of this stuff, all of the wonderful fellowship and the love that you have towards each other. It's very evident. So, having said that, I have one charge that's given to me. Don't mess it up. Okay, that's what I have to do now. I say that a little bit humorously, but it actually is a legitimate prayer I'm making to God, that I'm asking God that I do not thing to hinder the work that God has done here. So if you ever feel like there's something I'm doing that is hindering please feel free to come up to me and talk to me about it, because I do not want to do that now. There will be differences in ministry. I will mess up like when you should stand and sit like I did today, but there there will be different things and and the preaching it will be different than the preaching you're used to. But I ask you to think as this goes on. It's only four months, so if you can just keep that in your mind, I think we can make it a little background now to why I'm preaching from the text that I'm preaching from this morning. Um, when I left the church I was working with the Wisconsin Um. I had been going through the book of Luke and the Book of judges. Every other Sunday. They did not have an evening service, so I was alternating between these two books, and so I had finished the second chapter of Luke at the Church and the fifth chapter of judges. So I have decided here I'm just going to begin where I left off. Um, I know that that might leave you a little bit hanging, but I'm going to do that. So I'm starting the third chapter of Luke this morning and then I'll be doing the sixth chapter of judges this evening. If you want to catch up, and I'm not recommending this, but there are. Most of my earlier messages on this are out on a sermon. audio not a requirement, probably a burden, so don't worry about it too much. Um. The second thing I need to tell you that you probably already noticed, I'm not good at coming up with real catchy titles. Okay, to my sermons, Um and UH, my best one, in my opinion, the best title I ever came up with was based on two cartoons that I thought was brilliant, but realized afterwards that apparently nobody but me had ever watched those cartoons, Um, which was bow winko and Pinky in the brain, and I just thought it was a brilliant title, but nobody else laughed at it, so I'm I gave up on that. But so today you'll notice you know the gospel of Luke. Number Eleven. Okay, that's catchy, Huh, and I'll give you one week to try to figure out what next week's message will be called. But you can think about that. Well, let's get into God's word and let me expositive to you and then we'll make some map. I'll make some applications to you. In verses one and two. Luke gives us six time markers by which we can identify the time of John Baptist Ministry, and these time markers concern various leaders, governmental or religious leaders. At the time. Can't hues note that these names all invoke wickedness and intrigue. Tiberius, Caesar, conscious pilot, Herod Anna, Annas, Caiaphas. Most of them will have a part, and the reason that they invoked that to us is because most of them will have a part in the death of Christ, and so most of them are going to have to make some kind of...

...decision concerning Christ and who he is, and, as you know, the results are not going to be good. Have you ever asked yourself the question, outside of Jesus, what name do you think is uttered most often and Sunday morning services across the world? Now, I can't prove this to you, and and and I think, though, a very good case can be made for the name conscious pilot, and if you think about it a little bit, it'll probably make sense to you that that might be the name that might be said the second most often as any name outside of the Deity. Even with all the information luke gives us as to who is in power at that time. We still can't quite agree, according to the dollars, as to when exactly John's ministry began. Lucas being very meticulous. He's a great historian and he wants us to know that he's not just wing in it, but he's he studied us out. He knows he can tells us exactly what's going on, and so he tells us here that what the timing is by the various leaders. Now most are in agreement. Again, there's not entire agreement, but somewhere between the years twenty six and twenty nine Um a d that John began his ministry, and we would therefore, if we can take the earlier day, we would probably put the death of Christ somewhere around thirty a d. Now there was one thing that people might notice that that seems a little bit wrong or maybe a false thing, but there's a very good reason why luke does it. He mentions the fact that, uh, both Annas and Caiaphas were high priest. Now Luke knew that Annas had been deposed as high priest in fifteen a d and he was no longer the high priest. However, he really was the high priest because he was the power behind the throne. He got all of his sons and sons in law into the office of high priests because Rome required this rotating thing. But nonetheless, uh, really, he was the power. You see that when you come to the trial of Christ and you see that Uh anus is involved in that. Now, John the Baptist is certainly a great historical figure. In fact, I could say outside of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the greatest historical figure. You'd say, well, how can you say that? Well, because Jesus did, and I kind of trust him. UH, he says in Luke. I tell you, among those born of women, women, none is greater than John. Yet the one who was least in the Kingdom of God is greater than He. Some believe that John was a nazarite because he did not drink alcohol or wine or strong drink. This was said to the prophecy, originally uh in concerning his coming birth, that he should not do that. And also Jesus will speak of it also, that John came not drinking, and any he'll compare it to himself as to what he did. But I don't think we can prove that he was a NAS right one who had taken the Old Testament numbers vow of being a NASA. Right, there's always things in the text that are things, I should say, that aren't in the text that we wish were there, that we want. We'd want to know. Now, you're probably not carnal like I am, but sometimes I think, and I don't know if I actually uttered this to the Lord, but I do think it. They say, Lord, couldn't you skip maybe one chapter of genealogies and put a chapter about who should be baptized at what tongues are, you know, just just to add to that in there. We would not have saved a lot of trouble through the years and a lot of problems if you would just done that. But don't jump up yet. I do believe the word of God to be perfect and I believe everything that's in there is what God wants to put in there, and God is much wiser than I. So I accept what is what is there. But we're not told exactly when did John Go into the Wilderness? When did he go? Some believe he actually went as a child. Remember, his...

...parents were very old when he was born. UH, some of the most aged parents since Abraham and era, and so it's very likely that his parents could have died very early in his life and if that is the case, he might have went into the wilderness early. Gamble Morgan postulated that he was twenty years old and I don't know how he gets that. I don't know that we can, but again we don't know exactly. But the most important phrase in verse two is the Word of God came to John. Now he's been noted that people often say this, that John Comes on the scene when the prophetic voice in Israel had been silenced for over four hundred years. And I don't want to quibble, but I think the Luke, the book of Luke, proceeding what I read to you this morning, tells us we've already had several prophetic voices. The first was John the Baptist himself, but much earlier when he was in a womb of his mother Elizabeth. When Jesus came into the house in the womb of Mary, he leapt in his mother Elizabeth Womb. Now it's true he didn't say anything, but I think his action was prophetic. Then we have his mother Elizabeth, who gives maybe the most amazing words in the gospels outside of our Lord Jesus. I don't know if you've ever thought about this. Think about what she said when Mary comes in. She says, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Think about that, the faith that's required, the prophetic things to say the mother, in other words, that child, very early, that child, and you, Mary, is my Lord. That's amazing. Think about that. She recognized by an encounter with the fetus that this was her Lord. So we have two babies still in the womb, one very early, that are still doing actions that we would associate with human means. You're as Thomas Brooks, the Puritan, would say. You are wise and know how to apply it. Then we have the message of his father, Zachariah, who said concerning his name, he said his name is John. He didn't say his name should be called John. He didn't say I think John would be a good choice. He said his name is John. prophetically, that's what he was saying. There's no other choice in this. His name shall be John. Then we have Simeon and Luke too, who says, behold, this child is appointed for the fallen rising to many in Israel and for a sign that is opposed, and the sword will pierce to your own soul also, so the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. Immediately after that we have a prophetess by the name of Anna, who says in verse Thirty Eight, and coming at that very hour, she begin to get thanks to God and to speak of him to all who are waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. So the prophetic voice has been in existence now for thirty some years at this time, although it's been few and far between. Verse Three tells us, Interestingly enough, that John Appears into and goes into all the region around the Jordan's you say, well, I don't understand what's interesting about that. Um. Well, the interesting thing is that is a word for word, Um Translation, basically of how the Old Testament describes the land uh that Sodom, that lot chose when Abraham gave him the choice. This is the same thing, in other words, John...

...the Baptist ministries apparently involving that area of Sodom, or Sodom and Gomorrah. Once we're now John Goes into the wilderness. We don't know the name of the Wilderness. I don't know if John went into the Wilderness on a horse with no name, I don't know. But but this is where God begins the preparation for the appearance of his son. And then there's a phrase in verse three we need to mention at least because it seems a little odd perhaps to somebody. says, proclaiming the Baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. Now we we said that niceeing creed here this morning and I had a couple of families come to me in the church that I passed through a couple of churches ago and, uh, they said, uh, you know, we have a real problem with that phrase and I don't think we can say it. So we're just being silent during that. I said, well, you can be silent if you want, but I want to let you know that that phrase is not from the nice seeing paid first, it's from the scriptures first. Uh, so you might have trouble reading the scriptures as well. Um, we know that we don't believe that baptism is that which cleanses our sins. We do not believe it. But what we believe is that baptism is a sign of that. And that what what we have often in the scriptures and what we call sacramental language, where the thing itself is spoken of has uh the sign has spoken of as the thing itself, as doing the thing itself. And for example, when Jesus stands before the disciples in the last supper, he says this is my body as he gives them the bread, but of course his body is standing right before them. But again this is sacramental language. Even the Jewish history of Josephus, who has a reference to John The baptist, says they must not employ it baptism to gain pardon for whatever sins they committed, but as a consecration of the body, implying that the soul was already thoroughly cleansed by right behavior. Now I know that's not an Orthodox statement. That Joseph fitzmaiden and he was not a believer, but it does speak to the idea that they recognized in John. It wasn't the baptism they gave forgiveness of sin. Even our repentance doesn't merit forgiveness of sins. By grace. I saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It's the gift of Godless to anyone should boast. But of course repentance is necessary and it is a consequence of God's work in us. Now, verses four through six tell us that John the Baptist Ministry is a fulfillment of prophecy and it's a direct quotation out of Isaiah, chapter forty, versus three through five, and one of the strongest proofs we have of the inspiration of scripture. Of course it's not the ultimate proof of our confession would tell us, but one of the strongest evidential proofs we have is the fulfillment of prophecy, and here we have exactly that fulfillment of prophecy should always make us be amazed of what God has said and how he has brought it about. There was an old evangelist by the name of Gypsy Smith, and he was once asked as he was coming across the Atlantic on his way to a preaching engagement. They said, how do you do it, Mr Smith, how do you stay so fresh in the things of the Lord? And Gypsy Smith replied because, my friend, I have never lost the wonder of it all, and May that be true of me and you as well, that we don't lose the wonder and by applying this prophecy that John the Baptist Lucas telling us that this isn't the Messiah that people are looking for, but he is one sent to prepare the way for the Messiah. He is the forerunner of the Messiah. He proceeds Christ in several ways. He is born before Christ, he ministers before Christ and he points people to Christ and he will die before Christ. These verses seem to indicate from Isaiah the fact that when a great...

...ruler would come into a city, that the people would go out and try to make the road smooth so that there would be no tripping or falling or stumbling of the horses as they came into the city with the great ruler, and and so they would be very careful that the road going in to the city would be level like that. And then all flesh will see the glory of God, which of course, would be the appearance of Christ. And this doesn't mean that all flesh is going to be saved, but it does mean that all kinds of flesh will be saved. Then let us notice versus seven to fourteen. We have a very bold pick preacher in John the Baptists, as you can tell by the words that he speaks. Philip Riching, in his commentary tells the story of an evangelist you may have heard of by the name of Peter Cartwright that went around preaching. One Time Cartwright was preaching and before the service they came up to him and they said, Mr Cartwright, you need to know that tonight President Andrew Jackson is in our service and you must be very guard did in what you say. So when a sermon Cartwright said, I understand that Andrew Jackson is here. I have been instructed to be guarded in my remarks. Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he doesn't repent. After the service, President Jackson actually went up in Chok Cartwright's hand and said, sir, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could conquer the world. And so the boldness. Well, John the Baptist is such a preacher. He addresses the people that came up to him and he calls them a brood of vipers. Now, you may have noticed I didn't use that phrase in addressing you this morning and there's a reason, because I didn't want my visit to be too short here, but it is the phrase that Jesus used to describe, describes and Pharisees. Now we don't really have vipers much in Minnesota, but you do have a few of them down here, don't you? So that picture might be more vivid to you than it would be to me. But the point not everyone who comes to a religious ordinance or religious service is coming from right motives. There are people who are coming to John who are not really sincere, just as there are people who come to church, not saying this church, but the church in large, who are not really sincere. John asked WHO's warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Kelvin says here. All the center gains from by fleeing from God is to provoke more and more the wrath of God against him. In Verse Eight, John Preaches against the idea that our our our hereditary heredity, will put us into heaven. He speaks specifically of the Jews, saying that they had Abraham as their father. As Kelvin puts it, they believed that God had adopted all the posterity of Abraham. William Hendrickson says the reason why these people were headed for damnation. was that for their eternal security? They were relying under dissent from Abraham. But this can equally apply to people today who rely on their posterity, or their their ancestors, as should say, for their Christianity and religion. Some of you know I came from the pentecostal world. After several years there was an old pentecostal minister who said very phrase. I think it's pretty Orthodox. He says God has no grandchildren, and that's true. God has children, not grandchildren. Now I understand covenant, but these people were claiming they were a part of the Covenant with Abraham because they descended from him. and John said that's not enough. And here we have one of those statements about what God can do to stones and uh and so this is one of many that will find in there. He can, he can raise up people out of stones. I mean he did raise people out of dirt right Um, so I think he can raise people out of stones. God has done some some wonderful things with stones.

When we came in here, coming in from Minnesota, Arizona, we passed us the parts of of UH. I think it was New Mexico. Not. Maybe its Arizona. You don't know what I mean, but there's a part where you go on in the in the freeway and there's just stones piled upon another in beautiful formations and they're just I'm taking pictures. I can send them to my kids because just so glorious and beautiful. So so God can do wonderful things. Satan used that as a test for Christ. If you be the son of God, turned the stones into bread, which he could have done, but he didn't in the ninety in response to the Pharisees who criticized the disciples were praising, and he said, I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out. So yes, God can do great things with stones. Here we have one of the fifteen references to Abraham and the book of Luke, so he does play an important part. In Verse Nine, John Gives a picture of pending judgment, the axes laid to the word of the tree, in other words, the time to bear fruit is now. Just like the parable Jesus, we're telling Luke about the tree that not bears fruit, that you should cut it down, and so we must bear fruit. And maybe John is referring perhaps to the instruction of Jerusalem. That will come in in versus ten to fourteen. John gives instructions to various groups of people, to the people in general here, just generosity. If you have more than you need, share with one in need. To the tax collectors, he told them they shouldn't take any more money from people than what was authorized, which was actually a very common practice among tax collectors. The pillar commentary says that an honest tax collector was a starving tax collector. I probably don't need to tell you about tax collectors being despised in those days, on like tax collectors today, which are greatly beloved. But it was permiss it was permissible by Jewish law to lie to a tax collector. I'm not saying you should take that law into your own practice, but it was permissible in Jewish law to lie to a tax clicker. But the interesting thing is worth missing here. What we might expect to be here. What doesn't John Say? He doesn't say go out and get a new job. He didn't say that. He just says do it right, do it honestly. To the soldiers. Here's his contentment and again not taking from people what was rightfully there's which soldiers would do. And again notice he doesn't say that it is unlawful to be a soldier. He doesn't say that at all. And the common link in all these instructions is money. Not that any of us have problems with that. Today, Martin Luther said that a man needs two conversions, one of his soul one of his pocketbook. Well, I'm gonna talk about that in a second, but so let me get into that. There's more I could say in the text, but I want to try to keep in the bounds of the time that your pastor is set. and Um, I tend to go longer. My wife would tell you that I try to make up for it by speaking faster. But anyway. So John's advice to the people would revolver on money, and the issue was where people being generous. As Calvin points out, John Wasn't telling the people that they were sinful if they had two quotes. Okay, probably not a big issue here in Tucson, but where I come from in Minnesota that can be an issue. UH, mightn't be pretty handy to have two quotes. The issues that John's giving is are we people that are willing to share Paul says enrollments twelve thirteen contribute to the needs of the saints. In Second Corinthias, ninety seven. He says everyone must give as he's decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Now, I don't know if you're like me or not, but I'm gonna be honest. I struggle with generous I don't know if I struggle being generous,...

...but but I do struggle very much trying to figure out when should I be generous and and how much should I give here or there? Now I notice down here you have the same people we do up in Minnesota, who said or stand on the crosswalks with a sign asking for money, and as I go by those people I always struggle and think should I give them something? Now? Again, you, being much more spiritual than me, would not have these thoughts go into your mind, but I would have thoughts like why don't they get a job? I mean there's jobs everywhere right now. Why? Why don't they just get a job? Or I've heard these people make a hundred thousand dollar a year doing this or I need to be discerning in how I give my money away and all they probably spend it on liquor anyway, and I would just be encouraging sinful behavior. These are the kind of thoughts that go actually go through my mind as I think about this and I wonder, Lord, and sometimes I've convicted enough I reach in my wallet and hand. Maybe it's wrong, I don't know, but Lord, I'm going to do it all my life. I was told you need to save up money for retirement. Maybe you heard that too. You need to save up money so when you come to retirement you have money to live on. So I did it. I saved that money. Now I'm struggling with that money, thinking what should I be giving that money? Should should should be using it for us right now, so other people don't have to waste money on us or and all these things. But I pray Lord helped me to be generous. It's a difficult thing for me to understand where the lines are, and I think it can be difficult for all of us to understand, but God loves generosity and cheerful givers. Second I want to be clear that John's message, though maybe some would not see it, it was really a gospel message. John Preached Repentance. But Repentance is part of the Gospel Ministry and Amount Gospel Message. The problem in much of the Church today is that the Gospel message has been lost. People are exhorted to come to Jesus but they really have no idea why they're coming to Jesus. The church I was a part of for about forty years in my life, not as a minister forty years, but in my life, was the assemblies of God, and we're talking about this a little bit in one of the fellowship groups this week and uh, the one thing I say the assemblies of God has in common with this denomination is that they do believe the Bible is the authoritative word of God. They interpret parts of it differently, but but they were a Bible believing, Gospel Preaching Church. But in the last ten years or so I've been very saddened by attending several funerals in these churches led by pastors. One week before we came to Tucson we attended a funeral of a man who had been a part of ice I believe God church for seven years and he had died of covid around Thanksgiving. But they had the funeral service several months later for him, and the pastor's message was kind of based on this man's life, about how he was always encouraging people not to be lukewarm Christians. And there's nothing really wrong with anything that he said. It's all fine. But what was wrong, and what I noticed in other funerals that I've attended is what wasn't said. There wasn't one mention of the Cross, nor one mentioned of the sacrificial death of Christ and the need there was for that. No, I'm not trying to be critical of another church per se, and I'm sure there's some that this is not true of, and the pastor who did the funeral has been a friend of mine for about forty years. But the Apostle Pausa of the Corinthians I determined to know nothing among you Save Jesus Christ and Im crucified. He also said, God forbid that I should glory saving...

...the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. If we leave out the message of the Cross, we haven't rightly preached the Gospel. If I finished a message here, and I'm gonna talk about this for a little seconds before I closed, if I finished the message here and I haven't pointed you to Jesus and the Cross, I haven't given you the Gospel. I need to do that. As much as we think of the Old Testament prophets, including John Perhaps as the last of the Old Testament prophets, we think of them often as people who railed against others and their sins and judgments that they proclaimed that God was going to give. But don't lose sight of the fact they also proclaimed forgiveness of sins. And my personal devotions this past week I read Jere my thirty one and these two verses, thirty three and thirty four. For this is the Covenant I will make with the House of Israel. After those days to play as the Lord. I will put my law within them, I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God, they shall be my people, and no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother say no the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and will remember their sin. No more Isaiah. Come now, let's reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as Snow Ezekiel. None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right. He shall surely live. My reading through the Puritan Thomas Goodwin this week I came across the chapter where he dealt with the phrase in First Peter Five ten, the God of all grace. Think about that for a moment, and Goodwin really expounded this. But think about the God of all grace. Whatever your need is this morning, God has grace for it. Do you need grace to receive forgiveness and believe and forgiveness? Do you need grace for a need that you're going through? Are you suffering? Is there some family need? You need grace? God is the God of all grace. Neomiah says you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding and steadfast love. God is a God ready to forgive. The Bible and Basic English says you are a god of forgiveness. This is God's nature, he said to Moses and extus thirty four. The Lord passed befom and proclaimed the Lord, the Lord of God, Merciful and gracious slow to anger, abounding and steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving the nicotine and transgression and sin, but who by no means clearly guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children to the third and fourth generation. If you are one who loves the Lord seeks to serve him with all your heart, but you fear that there are sins you've committed that are too great, or doubt that you have been forgiven, let me say he is the God of all grace. He is the God of forgiveness. In the children's books we need to Pooh the character tigger says bouncing is what tiggers do best. Well, forgiving is what God does best. As a young Christian, I struggled for a time believing I had committed the unpardonable sin and for a good period of time it hindered my relationship with God and I thought I was unique for the sin I had committed, the sins I had committed, and I thought nobody else struggles with this. And then they became a pastor and found out many people struggle with it. But I finally came to realize that the only forgivable sin isn't not coming...

...to Christ, because he said, he that comes to me, I will never, never, cast out. So we can take that promise. And so if you're concerned this morning that I'm not saying there's anyone here, but if you are that you've committed that sin, let me assure you the very fact that you're concerned shows you haven't. He said, whoever comes to me, I will in no wise. He didn't leave room for any exception cast out. In order to appreciate the message of forgiveness, you need to know you have sins to forgive, and John gave those sins to the people that came to him. But even the common people of that day would be very conscious of their sins because they had the Pharisees and of his adducies and scribes so lead them, who gave them all kinds of laws that they needed to live by and neglected many of the main ones. The message of some one, Oh, three twelve says as far as the East is from the West, so far does we remove our transgressions from us? We came from the Midwest the east to here, but that doesn't even begin that's not even a micro chipper, micro whatever, of of of what this is saying as far as the East is from the West. And so my job is to point you as John The baptist. I have the same ministry, not in the same power authority, but have the same ministry, and that ministry requirement is, Hey, point people to Jesus. That's what you're supposed to do as a minister, point people to Jesus. That's what John did. He said behold the lamb of God, and if I get to the end of a sermon and I haven't done that, then I failed. But I need to tell you to point to Christ, who is the God of forgiveness. There's a story I heard a long time ago, and you have to take the story in the spirit in which I'm giving it. I know it's not theologically accurate, but Um, a man was was struggling with the friend of his, it was Catholic, and going to a priest for confession and he said, you know, I don't really believe that that priest says any authority. No, I don't either, but nonetheless I don't believe the priest has authority. And he said, Um, you asked that priest, I committed a sin when I was a young man of sixteen years of age and that sin is really bothering me and I want you to ask that, if that that prince is really from God, would you ask him to ask God and if he can come to me and say what the sin is? I believe so. A period of time passed and the man met his friend again. He said, did just the priest what the sin was that I committed, and the priest said and a man said yes, yes, I did. Then what did the priest say? He said God said, I forgot. Now, I know that's not theologically accurate, but God forgets and forgivets and we can come to him, to Christ, the lamb of God, and receive all of the grace that we need. Let's pray now to God. We think of your word and pray this morning and in some way I appointed people to Jesus that if they hadn't gone to him, the Lord, they won't leave this place without doing so. Lord, I pray that your word would speak to the hearts of your people and help us to trust in you. Lord, we need the lamb of God, as we prayed this morning, lamb of God, we are burdened because of many things, but, Lord, there were is ample forgiveness, there is ample grace for us. We...

...can receive it from you. You, God, are the God of all grace and all forgiveness and, Lord, there is nothing impossible with you, and if any come to you, you will receive them, for you are a gracious and Holy God. Amen.

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