Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 627 · 2 months ago

The Gospel of Luke #20

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Luke 5:17-26

Of that Song Man. Well, so we come to God's word this morning. Let us prepare our hearts by praying for illumination on God's word. And now, Lord, you who indeed inspired the words of the prophets as they wrote, the apostles as they wrote. Lord, you who gave life to these words, you, God, to whom many of us here, if not all of us here this morning, can attest to the fact that your words gave light and life to us. And so, Lord, we come to you because you are the founder and the author of these words, and so, Lord, we desire to understand them. Lord, we look at a very familiar story this morning. But yet I pray, God, that in some way I may be able, through your grace and that you may, through my words, illuminate your people, that something about this story that's so familiar may still resonate in our hearts as new, or, if not new, at least anew, that we may be thankful for it. It is your word, God, and you can enlighten it and illuminate it to us, and we asked you would do so in Christ name. Amen. Our passage this morning comes from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter Five, making our way through that chapter. We look last week at the Lord's healing of a leper and we're going to see another healing this morning, beginning in verse seventeen. Here is God's word. On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law we're sitting there would come from every village of Galilee and Judaean from Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him to heal and behold. Some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed and they were seeking to bring him in and land before Jesus, but finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, man, your sins are forgiven you. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who could forgive sins but God alone? When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them. Why do you question in your hearts which is easier to say your sins are forgiven you or to say rise and walk but that you may know the son of men has authority on Earth to forgive sins. He said to the man who was paralyzed, I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home. And immediately he rose up before them, picked up what he'd been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And Amazement sees them all and they glorified God and we're filled with awe, saying we have seen extraordinary things today. Thus, sins, the reading of God's please...

...be seated. Well, we have been looking through the weeks here on the gospel of Luke, specifically as it relates to Christ authority and victory over every enemy that he faces, whether it's temptation in the wilderness, whether it's a leper that comes to him, whatever we have come across in the ministry life of Jesus, he has shown he has ultimate authority over it. And so now this morning he comes to perhaps our most persistent enemy that we have and here again will show that he has become the victor over even that enemy. If you're a Sunday school student, or were once a Sunday school students as a child, I should say, but the chances are that you're familiar with the story this morning. I don't know that many Sunday school curriculums can get by without putting this story in it. And perhaps you can remember the pictures and your workbooks or if you're old enough like me to remember flannel boards and, uh, the things that the teachers were put up there. We probably remember seeing the pictures of the man being brought through the roof and being brought into the presence of of Jesus and UH, since I didn't grow up in a reformed church, we actually had Jesus and the pictures at that time. But nonetheless, you probably remember that this is one of those stories that is found in all three of the synoptic gospels. Matthew, mark and Luke all give us this story. They don't all tell us everything. Matthew actually eliminates the part of how the man comes before Jesus. He doesn't mention at all that going through the roof or any of that. So he does tell the story, however, has do mark and, of course, Luke, which we have just read. So let's begin with verses seventeen to nineteen. Luke doesn't give us the location of the healing, but Matthew tells us that it is in his own city, which we presume to mean Capernaum, because that seems to be where Jesus had his headquarters. Wouldn't be Nazareth or anything out of that, but but copernum was where Jesus had his headquarters of Ministry. And again, regarding the time, I've noticed with you in the past weeks here that Luke isn't real concerned about the time. He's not concerned about giving us a chronological account of the life and Ministry of Jesus. So don't get all bent out of shape. And you read this story in another Gospel and said, well, wait a minute, this happened after this and not before this, because Luke isn't concerned about that. He wants to give it topically. He has his own reasons for telling the stories in the order that he does so. Instead of being definite, as we've seen all along, he just says as one of those days, that's all he tells us about the timing at that point. And then, for the first time in the gospel of Luke, were introduced to a group of people called the Pharisees, and I told those of you that have been in the Bible Studies. If you need to remember when the Pharisees are just remember they're the ones that look in...

...the mirror and say, Oh, I'm fair, I see so if you remember that, remember the Pharisees and UH. Anyway, Um, I am guessing that most of you, when you hear that word Pharisee, you don't have pleasant thoughts. It's kind of like a couple of weeks ago when I asked you to think about a lot and asked you what was the first thought that came to your mind. I don't think it was pleasant thoughts. Well, I don't think coming to mind about the Pharisees, you'd have very good connotations as well. And Uh, it's probably uh this way and there's, there's. There's really a good cause for this? Of course it's not that. Well, we do that for no reason. Uh, there's a good reason why. We don't have much good to say about it. Jesus has actually several bad things to say about them. We might particularly think about later in the Gospel of Matthew when Chapter Twenty three, when Jesus gives an entire series of woes upon the scribes and the Pharisees for how they live. But I need the side. We actually do have some good pharisees in the Bible, don't we? There are some good ones. Say. Oh well, let's start with the Apostle Paul. That's pretty good pharisee. Now again, he was changed, of course, but he was a Pharisee. He says in Philippians, three, five, as to the law, pharisee. So that's a good pharisee. Probably the most famous pharisee outside of Saul would be Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night and although we're not specifically told exactly the state of his soul, it appears from the end, where he does come and help in the burial of Jesus with Joseph of Arimathea, that he had come around. And he also defends Christ before the council, and so we could also think about him. And then there's a Pharisee by the name of Gamilio who, although may not have been a believer, nevertheless he comes up in acts five and stops the consul from killing the apostles. So they weren't all bad. But the name Pharisees seems to indicate separated. One or maybe even holy one. They seem to have arisen between the testaments, basically around the maccabean revolt time, around one BC. Josephas, the Jewish historian, tells us the Pharisees were extremely influential among the common people. They held them in very high regard. And Uh, there's one particularly good thing that Jesus says about the Pharisees, and I don't know if you'll remember what that is or not, but in that Chapter I spoke about Matthew Twenty three. As he begins it, he says this. The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you. So that is the good thing that our Lord says right there. We should listen to what they taught because they were Orthodox. They were the Orthodox Presbyterians of the day. They they believed in the Orthodox teachings. They believed in the resurrection...

...of the dead, which the SADDUCEES denied. They believe in the existence of angels, which others denied. They believed in the sovereignty of God, they believe with man's responsibility and they they were Orthodox believers. And there was about six thousand of them at the time of Christ that were there. Of the other four Jewish groups that inner uh have some some kind of action, interaction with their Lord, Luke will only mention two of those, the Sadducees and the zealots, and he will only mention each of them one time in his gospel. The other two he doesn't mention at all. But the Pharisees he will mention Twenty Five Different Times in his gospel. But sitting with the Pharisees is another group that Luke originally describes as teachers of the law, but later would describe them in this passage by our more familiar name, that of the scribes. In Verse Twenty One, he mentions that the scribe was known to be an expert in the law. That's why Luke calls him a teacher of the law. Ezra, who was ascribed in Ezra seven six and said this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was ascribed skilled in the law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. Scribes were very respected by the common people in those days. They had the chief seats in the synagogue and whenever they entered a room people would rise to honor them and the phariseeasons and scribes had come, Luke tells us, from every village. That's again luke not being very specific. Doesn't necessarily mean it's like we say, everybody came from everywhere, and we know it doesn't mean they came from everywhere. But again, they came from most of the villages around about captain purliament at that time. And Luke is a kind of unusual sentence that were not quite prepared for. It says and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. You might think, we'll wait a minute. Wouldn't. Wouldn't anywhere Jesus was. Wouldn't? Wouldn't power the Lord be present wherever Jesus was? Well, yes, but the one thing we have to remember, which Jesus will tell us, is that he always does the things which please the father. He doesn't do anything on his own initiative. He says, he does what the father has commanded him to do. So when Luke says the power of the Lord is present to heal he's simply saying this is the time when the father is uh allowing his son or telling his son that this is a time when when indeed healing should take place, and so Jesus is doing uh an obedience to the father, even though really, of his own accord, he could heal whenever he wanted to. And so in verse eighteen we are introduced to the men carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. Luke doesn't tell us, but mark tells us that there were four men. That would make sense, that they always think of this as kind of a cot,...

...you know, the top part of a COT, and that they're all each one of them is holding to one corner of the COT as they come at that time. In Verse Nineteen, they're told that as they come they are given a problem because they cannot approach Jesus, we're told, is in the house and the accounts and therefore they can't get in because the crowd has blocked the way for them. Uh is mark who tells us that Jesus is actually teaching in a house, and Matthew only deals with the healing itself. But mark and Luke give us how this man comes into the presence of Jesus. Our text says Um finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. Mark says it a little different. He says when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him and when they had made an open and they let on the bed on which his paralytic lay. Now neither of the text tell us how they got on the roof, but it was likely there would be a staircase. It would lead up to the roof of many houses. Could be that there was even a staircase on the house next to them and then they had to step over on onto that and apparently, once they'd remove some of the roof tiles, uh, they lowered the man through the roof into the presence of Jesus. Now, if you're one of those people who might get bothered when somebody comes to your house and spills something on the carpet, how would you feel if they started taking your roof apart? Um, I think that would be even a little tougher to do that. Um, I know as as a preacher Um sometimes in the middle of what you think is maybe your best point in the sermon and all of a sudden the baby lets out a whale in the service and and all your momentum goes down the drain and it's not so dramatic and and all of that. That that that you said, well, that could be a will bother some. I mean we're glad the babies are there and gred babies are crying because it means they're alive. But but still sometimes it can kind of throw you off a little bit. But but I have never ever been interrupted by someone taking the roof of the church apart. Uh, and so I have not been that affected in regards to that. But as we don't know how much did they take apart? We don't know. We have we always have the idea, perhaps I know I did that, that they took all of the way so they could just kind of lower him down with ropes on each corner. But you know, you can jiggle a bed kind of and put it at a thing like this. They might not have had to make quite as big of a whole as as we oftentimes, I think. But anyway, you get the point. So we look at versus twenties. It says there in twenty that Jesus when he saw their faith, and that seems to relay, particularly to the four men who are bringing the man, but probably also to the paralytic himself. And this is the first occurrence. We already had first occurrence of Pharisee. Now we have another, the important word that appears for the first...

...time in the gospel of Luke, and that is the word faith. And so we have that. But we have something that might bring a question into our mind this. Why is it that in this particular healing that our Lord does, he speaks to the forgiveness of sins and not to the illness, to paralysis itself? Now we know in the Bible that there are times we know that sin causes sickness. King Ziah was a leper to his death because of the sin that he committed, and so we know that sin can cause illness, but we also know in the Bible that people's illnesses may not indeed be caused by sin at all. Remember the brilliant question of the disciples of the man born blind who did this sin this manner? His parents that he was born blind. I was wondering about that. That what you know? He was born and what? What kind of Sin Doy you think this guy did? was He in the womb. What you know, what was he doing that that would have been sinful in the womb? I'm not exactly sure what that was, but again, Jesus makes it clear that it had nothing to do with either his sin or the sin of his parents. So it seems to lead many to believe that in this instance, perhaps indeed sin was the cause of this man's illness. But we don't know, because, personally, I think there's another reason why Jesus, in this instance, uses that line son, thy sins are forgiven thee and that is because present that day are the scribes and the Pharisees and he knows that this saying is going to elicit some criticism and give him an opportunity to tell them something. So I think that might be the reason why. Well, in Verse Twenty One, a statement indeed does what the Lord intends it to do, and the scribes and the Pharis start saying, who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone? And so what? You know? What do we guess? What do we get from that? Now, the better response from that would have been to maybe just ask a question. You know now, Jesus, we know that only God can forgive sins, and I'm sure you know that too. So you know maybe you're making a mistake and what you're saying here maybe intend something we don't understand. Maybe you could explain that nicely. But they don't do that. But there is nothing wrong with their theology. And the second part of that statement when they say who can forgive sins? But God only. And of course someone might sin against you and they may come to you and say please forgive me it. I mean to do that and then you forgive you. We have the ability to do that. But all sins are eventually and essentially against God, and so god alone has the prerogative because all sins are against none of us can claim to forgive...

...sins because of that, because only God could do that. God assigns that prerogative to himself in several scriptures. In giving his essence to Moses and Exodus, thirty four, six and seven said the Lord passed before him and proclaimed the Lord The Lord a God merciful and Gracious, Slow to anger and abounding and steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity to fathers and the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation. God says, that's my prerogative, I am the one who forgive. So on one, Oh, three, two and three, we read this psalm last week. Bless the Lord O my soul. Forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity. It is God who must forgive our iniquity, and so every sin we do, even if it involves someone else, is ult a sin against God. So David Praise in the midst of his adultery against Bathsheb and your Rya and his murder against you, Riyah. He prays and says Lord, against you and you only have I sin so all. I can sin against you, I certainly can, and and you may forgive me, but there is another party with whom I have to do in regards to that sin, and that is God. I must always ask forgiveness of him, for he is the source of it. The Pharisees are right to forgive sins by a mere creature is equivalent to blasphemy and thus, by the old testament standards, was equivalent to being killed by the death penalty because of blasphemy. They're right in that point. They are missing, however, one piece of the puzzle, one thing that makes what Jesus says actually a wonderful statement and not a blasphemous statement, and that is that of course only God can forgive sins, but Jesus is God and that changes everything, doesn't it? And so in verse twenty two, it's interesting. I love this verse, coming right on the heels of verse one, it says Jesus perceives their thoughts. What does that tell us? There, right there, who can perceive thoughts? Only God. Jesus now is God who has forgiven sins, now perceives their thoughts. And so again he gives to them. Not only by perceiving their thoughts. What should have astounded them to how did he know what we were thinking? But he also says to them, in a very logical argument, what's what's easier to say to someone? Your sins are forgiven you, or rise and walk. Now we have to understand what Jesus means by that. Of course, US in a sense,...

...either statement can be said. I just said both little statements to you. So they were both equally easy to me. But of course the point Jesus is making is if you say your sins are forgiven you, if you go to a man and that man says your sins are forgiven you, you know you can, you can think what you want, but you know there's it's easy to say any anybody can say it if they want to say it, and and nobody could really say. Well, I don't know if that's true or not. I mean weekend by Bible standards, but nonetheless, but if somebody says rise and walk, we're gonna Watch, aren't we? We're gonna look and say, okay, or maybe you know, maybe there's something to this guy. I'm not sure, but it looks like it. And then Jesus says, to make it even more emphatic, to the cripple rise, pick up your bed and go home. So let's look at the last two verses. Verse Twenty Five, we see the first reaction, or the reaction of the paralytic to the words of Jesus. He rises up, picks up as that he was lying on and he goes home, glorifying God, as he does in the reaction of the crowd. In verse they are amazed, they glorify God and they're filled with awe. We need to look at some Greek words here because they're kind of important. The Greek word for amazed is the word where we get our English word ecstatic. They were ecstatic, the crowd is ecstatic and they glorified God, the word where we get doxology. They doxologized God, they gave praise to him, they glorified him and gave and gave him that. And then they make this statement we have seen extraordinary things today, and that's an interesting word. You may or may not know what that word is in the Greek. That that phrase that the S V says extraordinary, that word that. That's a good translation and there's nothing wrong with that. The King James says we have seen strange things, and there's nothing wrong with that translation either. In fact, I think I like the King James Translation better. They're strange things, spurgeon said. No Man ever spent the day with Jesus Christ without being filled with the sight of strange things. But the Greek word is very interesting to us because we have the same we we take that word from the Greek into English and it is the word paradox. Now that doesn't mean to doctors, but paradox, as you know, means that there's something and in fact, strong says the word means contrary to expectations, and I think that's what the word strange denotes. And the King James something. Sometimes something will happen to someone and and there'll be surprised and about it happening and you might have said, well, you should have expected it. Then they might say, well, I never expect that,...

...and I remember, forgive me for this, but years ago there was a television show and and they have this little sketch where somebody would say, you know, well, you should have to expected and you and you would say, well, I never expected the Spanish inquisition. And then immediately a bunch of soldiers, Spanish soldiers, make their way into the door and said nobody expects the Spanish in position. But UH, anyway, that's beyond the scope of the sermon. But Um, but sometimes something happens and you just can't make rhyme a reason of it, you can't figure out what to make about it. And they say we have seen strange things. We have seen things para against Doc's opinion or things that we think about. We have seen things that are against what we normally think would happen this. These are strange things, you're not these are not the ordinary things we have seen. Well, let me make some applications as to close this morning. As I said, the Pharisees were the Orthodox of their time, as opposed to the other Jewish groups. The Pharisees indeed professed good and straight and right doctrine. The problem with the Pharisees wasn't what they believe, nor even really what they taught. The problem was how they lived, and this is something we will proclaim ourselves Orthodox as well. Have to be careful of one of the worst things Jesus ever said about the Pharisees, and these are very harsh words, in Chapter Twenty Three of Matthew, Verse Sixteen. Would you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites if you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves? What a terrible thought to make a convert and then make that convert twice the child of Hell. As they are correct. Theology is a wonderful thing, no doubt about it, the great blessing. But it's important to see where that theology leads us. And if we become at all Pharaceutical, which we can very easily in our lives, there's a problem. But with correct belief we need to walk in love and mercy and not be harsh to those who may disagree with us, but to be loving and merciful. And let me ask you another question. How does Jesus see? Says he sees the faith of the man. Well, he might say, well, he's God and he can see the heart, so therefore he sees the faith that way. And yes, that that's true. But I think it's also true that Jesus sees the faith in a way that you and I also see faith, which is by actions the men, the thing that these men did, which James tells us we also do that. He says, what good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him later? In Verse Twenty Four,...

James, as you see, a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. There was no mention this account of any words that are honored by either the men bringing the paralytic or the paralytic himself. Nobody says anything, but Jesus sees what they have done and their actions speak louder than words, and so he perceives it that way. When these four men go through everything they go through to get his friend there, we could we could look at that as well, right, we could see that and see someone going through the roof and bringing the bed down and say, well, man, those guys got faith. And indeed they do, and even the paralytic. I don't think the paralytic was they no, no, no, I don't want to get ill, don't take me to Jesus. I think they all. and Jesus sees that by by their coming to him, and so we observe it that way. But then we might ask, also ask a theological question here. Well, if the men bringing the paralytic had faith and Jesus sees their faith and heals the man, does that mean that their faith actually had an effect on the man being healed? Is that possible? So when it says Jesus saw their faith, we know it at least includes the four men, because otherwise it would have been singular. And so we see that faith. We do have instances in the Bible of other people coming to Jesus on behalf of someone else. Gyrus comes to Jesus because his daughter is at the point of death. The SYRO Phoenician woman comes to Jesus on behalf of her daughter who as a demon. We have the nobleman and John Forur, who comes to Jesus on behalf of his son, and in every one of those instances the Lord honors the faith are the people that come by doing exactly what they asked. James Edwards notes on the healing here. That critical element in this and similar encounters with Jesus seems to depend less on whose faith, whether the paralytics or as friends, then on faith itself. So faith is present and here we have a wonderful picture of intercessory prayer, that our prayers indeed can have an effect, that we do something, even though we're not coming for ourselves, that we're coming for our brothers, our sisters and and coming for someone else, that our prayers can indeed do something. And why else would we pray if we don't believe that? If we thought our prayer well, it doesn't do any good? We do it because we believe our prayers can do that and the faith that we have in our prayers. Calvin says we must hold a similar belief with regard to all believers that by their faith, the grace of God has extended to their children and their children's children even before they're born. That's why I've told you before I pray not...

...only for my children and my current grandchildren and my coming grandchildren, but my great grandchildren and great great grandchildren, because our faith can have an effect. Calvin goes on to say it's beyond all question that earthly blessings are often, for the sake of the Godly, bestowed on unbelievers. Many years ago I was pastoring an assembly of God church and River Falls, Wisconsin, and I had a group of people come to do a service that were called accessibility, but there are a group of people who had special needs of all different kinds and I have to say it it's it's in all my life. It's a service I remember as one of the most beautiful services I was ever in. It's just a very touching and wonderful service to glorify God in. But I asked a local pastor of a word of faith church if he would like to have his church joined with us, because I thought this would be a great time. And he said no, he said I'm not to honor those people that don't have enough faith to get healed. And Uh, I didn't say it at the time. I wish it would have. Didn't think of it. I wish I'd have said, well, if you have the faith, why don't you come and heal them, you know, but I didn't say that and maybe that was God's providence that I didn't. But well, so many applications from this story, so little time as one of closed here, but one one of course. I've always spent a lot of time and but just mentioned it that it's been used before, oftentimes by people preaching on his passage, that the service these men do to bring their friend to Jesus, and that's that's our call as well, to those that we love that we we are to bring them to Jesus as well, that we should do that. But we see the reaction of the scribes and the Pharisees to the statement man thy sins are forgiven thee and they accused Jesus a blasphemy, and I've told you why they do that and what's wrong with it. But instead of looking at what they say, lettings, let us instead look at what they didn't say, which is really more amazing. What would have been the right reaction in that moment? Would have would have been the right thing I mentioned earlier. They could have asked a question at least, or something like that, but the better thing would have been to go to the Lord and say, Lord, not just that man sin, but my sins also. That would have been the right thing to do, but they didn't do that. Our Lord Jesus has the power to forgive sins, and I don't want you to walk away from here, if you're not a believer this morning without saying Lord, forgive me my sins. To do so, to walk out of here without that, would be as amazing as these men not saying at the Christ your sins can send you to hell, but there's one present who has the power to forgive you. It's an me, but the one who can...

...forgive you all your sins it is not me, but it is the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross. The only person in the world who has the authority to say what Jesus said was Jesus himself, because he is the only one who paid the price. It's like someone doing a favor for me and I thank somebody else for it. No, the only one we thank is our Lord. For our sake, he made him to be sin, who knew no sin, that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. And not only that, we are told he ever lives to make intercession for his people, as Hebrew says, that he's able to save those to the uttermost who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. The peril left glorifying God. Why? For his healing, Oh, I'm sure, but still I believe he glorified God even more for the forgiveness of his sins. Let me ask you a question. If you relying on your deathbed because of a terrible disease and you could have your choice of hearing the Lord say either be healed or your sins are forgiven you, which would you prefer? I know which one I'd want. Your sins are forgiven you. There's no greater message to ever hear. Yet healings a marvelous gift of God, but it's not the greatest gift. The greatest gift is the forgiveness of sin, and if we sincerely call upon God for that forgiveness, he will speak. Forgive this to us today. Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they are red like Crimson, they should become like Woa, and no longer so. Each one teaches neighbor and each his brother. Say No, the Lord. For this you all know me, from the least to them to the greatest, declares the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sins no more. SPURGEON and his sermon on strange things talks about when Martin Luther was in great distress of soul, a good monk said to him, brother, canst not thou'll say the creedle. Yes, Luther said, I can say it. Well, then, replied the man in the CREEDLE, they'll say yest. I believe in the forgiveness of sins. Yes, said Luther. I've often said that and then inquired the other. Do you believe in the forgiveness of your sins? For if you don't, how can you...

...utter? I believe in the forgiveness of sins. These four men. They love their friend, no question about it. They wanted him healed. They brought him to Jesus. But you know who else loved the paralytic? God loved him and, as Kent Hues Point points out in his commentary, God so loved us that he dug through the roof of this world to let down his only son into our presence to die for us, that we can walk away from here saying we've seen strange things. God has forgiven my sins and I am a new creature. Coming bow in prayer. Our God and father, we thank you for your word, thank you for the promise of forgiveness that you have said, if we will just ask and confess our sins before you, you are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all on righteousness. Those are not empty words, Lord, those are true words, because you have uttered them. And so, Lord, indeed, if there's any that are in doubt this morning, may they come to you today and cry out, Lord, forgive me, and may they know the peace and the assurance that comes from knowing you. I thank you, God, that you are God and that you have that ability to forgive us. And so, Lord we say, indeed as we will pray in a prayer in just a few moments, forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. We pray all this and Christ name, Amen.

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