Psalm 103:10-12  So comforting

Message Scripture:

Introduction:

Good Afternoon Everyone.  I hope everyone had a fantastic Sunday, and that you had the opportunity to encounter Jesus.  It’s been strong on my heart to redo this series I did back in the beginning on Reconciliation, and to get back to the basics of Christianity.  So, I believe that these are right now messages, and I believe they’re anointed to be redone for such a time as this. So, let’s continue to get back to the basics of reconciliation, and see what the Lord has to say to us today.

Let’s Worship Jesus:

I guess we can’t have a message like this without one of my favorite songs by Casting Crowns.  I mean the whole message of this song is basically the message of this…well…entire message.  So, let’s raise our hands and worship Jesus as we thank and praise Him for knowing just how far the “East Is From The West”.

He Got What We Deserved

Does anyone else ever feel just a little bit of guilt when you read the account of what happened to Jesus before and during the Cross?  Okay…I feel a lot of guilt and shame and remorse and anguish because…I mean…if you can watch the Passion of Christ without understanding that every punch, every strap of the whips, ever step, every drop of blood, and all that He endured…He did that for you and I.  Then I would seriously question whether you are actually saved or not because I know that my Jesus endured the wrath of God with His body so I wouldn’t ever have to face it myself.  So, when I think about what Jesus went through for me…I can’t help but feel disgusted because I know Jesus got what I deserved.  You see, friends, most when they read Psalms 103 focus on the fact that God removed our sins as far as the east from the west…but very few think about the fact that God dealt with Jesus according to how He was going to have to deal with us.

Friends, what Jesus did is the equivalent of you or I getting sent to the electric chair to be executed for committing someone else’s murder…but the catch is the person that you are being executed for actually deserves the electric chair.  What’s worse is they KNOW that you are paying the price for them, and not only do they reject the sacrifice of your life that you are making for them…but they continue to mock you.  The worst part of all of this is those that know what Jesus did for them, and still try to earn it with their own efforts basically telling Him that what He did on the Cross wasn’t enough to save them.

The point is that Jesus took the punishment of your sin, my sin, all sin…and He never even had a wrong thought.  Not only was Jesus innocent…He really was the only person in the history of the world that has truly never even had a hint of evil in Him…He was as the Word says the perfect, spotless, blemish-free Lamb of God.

We continue our study on reconciliation in the book of Psalms. In Psalm 103:10-12 we find a familiar passage of scripture that I believe most Christians know, but few Christians know. Some of you will understand what I meant, and some of you will be confused.  That’s the point of this study. To get you from knowing about the scriptures to knowing the scriptures…in a personal way. I can’t tell you how many pastors I know who teach that the longest journey in a Christian’s life is getting everything we know and believe from our heads into our hearts.  Our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west, and if you know the Casting Crowns song…you know that’s from one scarred hand of Jesus to the other. In other words, the distance between God and our sin is immeasurable. Why? Because in His eyes our sin doesn’t exist.

One of the main goals in the Christian walk is to get to a place where God isn’t someone we know about…but someone that we KNOW personally and intimately. It’s the same goal with the Word of God.  It’s important to get the Bible from being something that we know about, and nonchalantly talk about having on our nightstand.  We need to get from a place where we know about the Bible to where we KNOW it intimately.

Listen.  We have two offensive weapons when it comes to the Full Armor of God (Ephesians 6:12-18 KJV).  Prayer and the Word of God.  The Bible calls itself a sword…but as a US Marine…I see the prayer as our rifle and the Word of God as our bullets.  The devil hates when we pray, but when we pray the Word of God…there’s absolutely nothing he can do against us because praying the Word of God is praying God’s own words and when we pray the Bible we are praying the will of God.  Praying the Word of God will always get results…especially when it’s prayed in faith.  See…prayer is our rifle, the Word of God is our ammunition, and our faith…well…our faith is our scope.  Our faith is how we are able to see what we’re praying about…and when our faith, our prayers, and the Word of God match up…that’s what really shakes hell to the foundations.

So, we are talking about all of this as it relates to reconciliation.  The Bibles says that our sins are removed from God’s remembrance as far as the east is from the west.  The Bible uses phrases like the sea of forgetfulness.  That doesn’t mean that we serve a forgetful God…in fact it’s quite the contrary.  God doesn’t have some kind of spiritual amnesia, but the Bible says that the Blood of Jesus washes away our sins so cleanly it’s as though our sins don’t even exist…and that’s because they don’t.  There is only one thing that stands between you and eternal life in Heaven…it’s whether you accept or reject Jesus.

Do you know why that is such an unforgivable offense?  God sent Jesus to pay the penalty for your sins…and basically by rejecting God’s offer of salvation and complete reconciliation you are telling Him that you couldn’t care less how much it cost God to purchase your life.  It cost God His life, and the least we can do in return is accept what He did to save our lives from an eternal life in hell fire.

Listen, I don’t know about anyone else, but when I think about what I’m saved from because I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that Jesus took my place, He took my punishment, and therefore I need Him to be my Lord and Savior.  I am readily willing and able to admit that there’s nothing in me that deserves to receive what God did for me.  I surely am not prideful enough to think there’s anything beyond what Jesus did for me that I can do to earn what He did.

Come on guys, I don’t know about you…but now that I understand just a glimpse of what Jesus went through so that I wouldn’t have to face the wrath of God myself…there’s no way I can know that and reject what Jesus did for me.  There’s no way I can watch the Passion of Christ knowing that I should be there taking that abuse, taking that punishment, taking the anguish and torment that Jesus must’ve felt and experienced…for me.  He did that for me.  I didn’t deserve Him taking the stripes on His back for my healing.  I didn’t deserve the Blood being poured out of His body that washed away my sin.  Jesus got the death sentence that I deserved.  Jesus got the beating that I deserved.  Jesus got what WE deserved…and all we have to do in order to receive it is accept Him as our Lord and Savior.

For those of you that like to find good deals and bargains…I can’t think of a better deal than exchanging the punishment that we deserved for the right standing with God that Jesus purchased with His life.  That to me is the greatest bargain.  It’s greater than any Black Friday bargain we can find.  There’s no greater bargain in the world than being able to exchange our sin and punishment for Jesus’ holiness and righteousness. Amen!?!

Listen, I’m not advocating that it’s okay to live our lives anyway we want to as Christians. What I am advocating is that the religious mindset of being focuses on ourselves and our sin goes totally against everything the Ministry of Reconciliation is about.

When you preach and teach grace correctly you’ll get people who ask you like they asked Paul if we are just able to live our lives however we want regardless of sin or choices, and that whole thought is ridiculous.  Listen, you are free to rob a gas station, and yes the Lord will forgive you for doing that…however the justice system probably won’t be as forgiving. The Blood of Jesus was shed to forgive you for robbing the gas station, and even shooting the clerk…but don’t think for a moment that if you do that as a Christian that you don’t have to confess that to Him.  Listen, 1 John 1:9 was written to believers and for believers to understand that we are going to mess up and miss God…but we still have to confess that stuff to God for Him to be faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness.

Listen.  Chances are if you continue living like you aren’t saved then it’s highly likely that you weren’t saved because when we become whosoever’s that have called upon the name of the Lord to be saved…eventually the fruit of our lives ought to bear that out.  In other words, we eventually ought to look, talk, and act like God is our Father.  Look, here is the one thing that is misunderstood by people who are led to say some version of the sinner’s prayer.  It isn’t enough to ask Jesus to be your Savior…the thief on the Cross didn’t call Jesus “Savior”…he called Jesus “LORD”…and that’s the whole thing about being a whosoever that’s called upon the name of the LORD.  You see…we not only need Jesus to be our Savior…but we have to yield our will to Him to be LORD of our lives.  The fruit of that will be shown in how we live our lives after we confess Jesus as Savior AND LORD.

Listen.  I still mess up.  I still miss God.  That’s what 1 John 1:9 is all about.  It’s about asking God to forgive me for the times that I miss Him, the times I disobey Him, but what it isn’t about is asking Him to forgive me for the sins that Jesus paid for with His blood.  I am secure in my salvation, but when I say I’m sorry to God today it’s because I’m guilty of hurting Him and taking His grace for granted.  There’s also a little thing called willful sin that we still tend to be involved with, and those are the kind of things that we need to confess to God.

Listen if you are married and having an affair…how many of you know that is willful sin?  If you are having an affair I can assure you that you aren’t in the will of God for your life, and you are going to have to answer for that both to your spouse…and also to the Lord.  When you got married you made a covenant with God…and by having an affair you broke that covenant.  So, in order to restore fellowship with the Father…you will have to confess that to Him.  Of course, the Blood of Jesus was shed for that…but if you are having an affair don’t be deceived into thinking it’s okay with God because there’s grace to forgive you for it.  That’s not the kind of fruit a believer should have in their lives.  Amen!?!

We cannot be fully reconciled to God if there’s anything between us. How many of you know that if a husband and wife are trying to reconcile their marriage…they cannot do that if there’s hidden secrets between them. So, if the husband and wife are serious about reconciling their marriage all the deceit, secrets, and lies need to be brought out into the open.

That’s what the Cross did. It brought ALL of the sins of the world out in to the open. Jesus became sin. Every sin that the world, you, and I could or would ever commit was on full display for all to see when Jesus was on the Cross because for that moment…Jesus was sin. At the moment when God forsook His only begotten Son…it was at that moment that Jesus ceased to be His Son…and became the sin of the world. The past world, the present world, and the future world. In other words…the sin of our world right now…was nailed to the Cross over 2,000 years ago.

Jesus became our sin.

Think about that for a moment.  Jesus became murder, adultery, gossip, slander, theft, lying, and more.  Jesus became the very thing that made us guilty before God because of the Law.  Jesus became everything that stood between us, and a relationship with God.  Jesus became the very thing that made every one of us guilty with Adam…He became sin who knew no sin that we might become His righteousness.  He became the very thing that God despises in order to take the wrath of God upon Himself so that He wouldn’t have to take His wrath out upon us.  There are some that believe that talking like this is blasphemous…but that’s exactly what 2 Corinthians 5:21 says…He became our SIN so that we could become the righteousness of God IN CHRIST JESUS.  So…the person who is actually guilty of blasphemy is the one that leaves out that the reason we can have peace and right standing with God is because Jesus became the very thing that had us in wrong-standing with God in the first place.

All of that was nailed to the Cross.  All of that was judged at the Cross, on the Cross at one time, and so as I’ve been saying throughout this entire series and message there isn’t anything between us and God…anything other than whether or not we are willing to allow Him to be our Savior AND our Lord.  Salvation doesn’t work if Jesus is only allowed to be your Savior…we have to allow Him to be the Lord of our lives also.  That’s the only way this Christian life works.  We can’t separate the Savior from the Lord…because the Bible is clear that above all Jesus Christ is Lord…and therefore He must not only be our Savior…but we must accept His Lordship over our lives also.

So. When God says that He’s not counting people’s sins against them it is because He counted everyone’s sin as one sin…Jesus on the Cross. That is why today the one and only unforgivable sin is the rejection of His Son’s Lordship into and over our lives.

I know. You’re going to say the unforgivable sin is murder. Is it? Then how is it that God forgave David of murdering Uriah so he could have Bathsheba for himself? You do believe when we get to heaven David will be there right? So…I ask again if David is in heaven then how can murder be the unforgivable sin?

How about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? I’m glad you asked because the Holy Spirit’s entire ministry is to convict the world that they need Jesus. So, whenever you have an opportunity to accept Jesus as Lord & Savior…and you reject the opportunity…that is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Rejecting Jesus is the unforgivable sin.

We hear a lot about the unpardonable and unforgivable sin these days, and it’s almost always in connection to a sin that quite frankly is not the unpardonable sin.  God doesn’t have the same rank system for sin that we do.  We look at things like murder, child molestation, and even suicide as though those things are the unforgivable offense to God…but that’s not what the Bible says is the unforgivable sin.  I’ve said this several times now, and I’m about to say it again:  As long as our eyes open and we are drawing breath…we have yet to commit the unforgivable sin.  That’s because the unforgivable sin is leaving this world rejecting Jesus with our final breath.  So, if you are still alive and breathing and have yet to become a whosoever that’s called upon the name of the Lord (regardless of what you have done) you have not committed the unpardonable sin.

Listen, I wrote this a few years ago.  I know that we all believe that King David will be one of the many people who be in Heaven to greet us when we get there.  But, we also know that David had Bathsheba’s husband sent in to battle where he was killed so that David could have Bathsheba.  Just with that one-act alone David became a murderer and an adulterer under the LAW.  Yet we all believe that when we get to Heaven…David will be there with us.  Peter denied Jesus three times (as Jesus said Peter would), and yet we all believe that Peter will be in Heaven…if fact many believe that Peter will meet us at Heaven’s Gate.  Paul had Christians murdered (remember the stoning of Steven in the Book of Acts), and yet Paul wound up writing most of the New Testament and wrote more about reconciliation then anyone else in the Bible…and that’s because Paul understood the mystery (as he put it).  So…there are just a few of the most known people in the Bible…by rights they should all be in hell…but we know they won’t be. 

All of this points to the simple truth that the only unforgivable sin is leaving this earth rejecting Jesus with your final breath.  Once we close our eyes to this world it’s too late to decide…and that’s why we must decide on this side of eternity what we’re going to do about Jesus.  If we accept Him as Savior AND Lord…we have just been forgiven of the unforgivable.  If we reject Jesus with our last breath…then we have just been found guilty of the unforgivable.

Which one will you choose?

When you understand that God’s not dealing with you according to your sin, and that He’s not counting your sins against you. Then you can comprehend what it means when you read that Love doesn’t take account of evil done to it, and it doesn’t even pay attention to a suffered wrong. Sin is evil or wrong doing not just against God, but against one another. All sin no matter whether it’s directly against God or against one another is an evil or wrong doing to God…and what He’s said in both of our first two verse…and part of another one is that He’s not counting that against us.

Why? Because He counted all of that as One. He counted ALL sin as One. He punished ALL sin one time. That one time was Jesus’ death on the Cross. Our reconciliation with God was perfect and flawless at that moment…because when Jesus died our sin debt died with Him. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, and we received His righteousness…AND we were reconciled with God.

We are just about ready to wrap this message up.  I realize it’s a pretty long message, and there is a lot of reading to do.  I can’t really shorten this message because there’s so much to understand about reconciliation.  It’s one of the core beliefs that we should all have, and yet it’s one of the things that’s sorely misunderstood (and often not even taught anymore).

In the original message I brought us to take a look at a few Bible verses as the Holy Ghost lead me on a bit of a side journey within the original message.  So, I think I’m going to have to include those verses, and then get back to the message.

Here. Let’s take a little side journey over to 1 Corinthians 13. Yes…the love chapter. In order to find this you need the Amplified version, and you need to read a little because once again…neatly tucked into verse 5 is written that love takes no account of evil dune to it (pays no attention to a suffered wrong).

If you’ve ever read 1 Corinthians 13 enough you come to realize that what your reading is the agape love or God kind of love. In other words…this is the way God loves each and every one of us.

Now, when you read Psalms 103:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:19 and you add to it 1 Corinthians 13:5 you get a much different perspective. Ready? Let’s try it.

Psalm 103:10: : He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

2 Corinthians 5:19: It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).

1 Corinthians 13:5: Love…takes no account of the evil done to it [pays not attention to a suffered wrong].

To make this even easier I used the Amplified version. (Brief side note…if you don’t have an Amplified version of the Bible I would suggest getting one…it helps when studying it really does.).

Okay.  Now we can get some where.  Again.  I’m sorry this message is going so long, but there’s a reason for it.  Stay with me.  I promise we’re almost done…but there is a lot of information we need to really get here…and if we skim over anything we’re going to miss the entire message.

When you understand that God’s not dealing with you according to your sin, and that He’s not counting your sins against you. Then you can comprehend what it means when you read that Love doesn’t take account of evil done to it, and it doesn’t even pay attention to a suffered wrong. Sin is evil or wrong doing not just against God, but against one another. All sin no matter whether it’s directly against God or against one another is an evil or wrong doing to God…and what He’s said in both of our first two verse…and part of another one is that He’s not counting that against us.

God is Love.  We all know that, don’t we!?!  So, when we talk about the ministry of reconciliation, and we take a side-journey over to 1 Corinthians 13 (the God-kind of Love Chapter) we find these words nestled inside of verse 5: “Love takes no account of the evil done to it.”, and God proves that He doesn’t again through Paul writing in 2 Corinthians 5:19 that He isn’t imputing (counting or holding against us) our sins, trespasses, or the evil that we do.  And as I mentioned when I originally penned this message that sin that God isn’t taking into account isn’t just our disobedience to Him, but the way we treat one another. 

Did you know that when we sin against one another we also sin against God!?! 

How differently would we treat people if we realized that every person we cuss out is Jesus?  I can tell you this if those who call themselves believers would treat every person they meet as though that person was Jesus…the church wouldn’t be full of hypocrites…but it would be filled with people who are looking for real, true, genuine, authentic love…and they would find it in the place and from the people Jesus said they were supposed to be able to find it.  The problem is…we treat the world one way and people in the church another way…and some times the thing the unbelieving world finds the most unbelievable is the fact that we in the church don’t treat people in the church any better or worse than people in and of the world treat one another.

That’s another message for another time.  I could really get on a side journey and preach there…but I’ve already gone so long with this message that I need to get back to this one, and work towards wrapping it up.  

The thing is…whether we sin against God or one another…it’s all sin…it’s all evil…and the Bible says that God is Love…1 Corinthians 13 tells us exactly what the God-kind of Love is…and we read that Love bears no record of wrong done unto it.  So, not only is God not counting our trespasses against Him…He is also not counting our trespasses against one another…and He’s not holding any of that against us.

Why?  Because Jesus paid for it ALL.  Jesus paid for every sin imaginable.  He paid for every sin of that day, our day, and future days.  He paid for every evil, every wrong doing, and the only thing we have to do in order to be completely reconciled to God and completely forgiven is to accept what Jesus did on the Cross.  The only requirement is becoming a whosoever that’s called upon the name of the Lord…and we exchange our filth for His righteousness.

That is why John 14:6 is so powerful. Once you understand that reconciliation isn’t your responsibility…once you understand that when you fall short on a daily basis it’s not being counted against you…once you really come to understand what was purchased for you on Calvary…you realize why Jesus isn’t a way, a truth or a life…He is THE way, THE truth, and THE life.

It’s all about Jesus.  Jesus is the ONLY way.  That’s why I do this.  I do this because I know without a shadow of a doubt where I’m going when the trumpet sounds or I close my eyes to this world.  I do this because I want to help you have that same blessed assurance I have, and the only way to have that blessed assurance is by becoming a whosoever that’s called upon Jesus to become your Savior AND Lord.  I emphasis AND because it’s not enough to believe He’s your Savior.  As I have said earlier in this message we have to make Him the Lord of our lives.  We have to surrender the lordship of our lives to Him…and allow Him to lead, guide, and direct our steps as He wants.

Friends, if we do that then our lives should begin to display the fruit of being someone who has made Jesus Lord of their lives.  The moment you confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the moment you become reconciled to God, and that’s the moment God begins to work in you, on you, and through you to help you to become that new creation in Christ.

When it comes to God. We need to let our past go, and agree to move forward. We have read that God’s already forgotten our past…and He wants us to forgive ourselves for it, forget about it, and move forward with Him.

“For as far as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.” – Psalm 103:11 (KJV)

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, I know that the Bible says that I am forgiven by repenting of my sins and turning to Christ. I know that I am saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet I find that My thoughts constantly go back to my many sins and misdeed and I find that I can’t accept that I have been fully and unconditionally forgiven of my sin by You…I know that You have said that as far as the east is from the west, so far have You removed my sin from me, and yet I find that my joy in believing is often cut short as I doubt that it cannot possible be true… Help me Lord to believe what Your Word says about my forgiveness. Give me the grace to truly accept that You have forgiven all my sins unconditional: past present and future…and that my sins will be remembered no more.   Thank You Lord that I am forgiven. Thank You Father for sending the Lord Jesus to pay the price for my sins on the cross – I pray that in His strength I may live my life for Him every moment of the day – in Jesus name I pray,   Amen

Let’s Worship Jesus Some More:

As I was penning the rest of this message I came across a song that I believe will be the perfect song to go along with this message.  The song is called “How Can It Be”, and it’s sung by Lauren Daigle.  I realize I already had one song, but figured this message is so long it needed two.

Final Word From Pastor B:

I’m sorry this message went so long, but when covering a topic like reconciliation there really are no short cuts to take because really the ministry of reconciliation is one of the core beliefs that we should all have.  It’s what we should be preaching as ambassadors for Christ, and today there seems to be a whole lot more ministers of condemnation than reconciliation.  You know what that means!?!  There are a lot of preachers who are working for the devil…but that’s for another message and another time, Amen!?!  I’ve already kept y’all long enough…and so let’s just wrap this message up.

I hope you’ll join me back here again as we continue working through a seven message series I penned on Reconciliation back in 2012.  Thank you for joining me for this message, and as always for being a part of the Christlike Ministries NWA Family!

Blessings & Grace to you!

Pastor B