Intro: From our studies in Acts we learn that Paul returned to Jerusalem from his third missionary journey to the Gentiles. At Jerusalem as Paul teaches in the temple, the Jews stir up a crowd against Paul’s teaching which resulted in his arrest. Before being hauled into jail Paul persuades the Roman soldiers to let him address the people at large. He recites the story of how Jesus had appeared to him in a blinding light from heaven and called him to take the gospel to the Gentiles. When Paul said to his Jewish countrymen that the Lord Jesus had sent him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles the bible says,
The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, "Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!"
Following this Paul made his case to Felix, procurator of Judea, and witnessed to the fact of the
resurrection of Jesus. At that time, Festus, another Roman ruler was visiting Felix. Festus wanted to hear Paul’s account since he thought Paul might offer him a bribe. Paul made an elaborate defense for himself, again and again witnessed to the resurrection of Jesus and to the resurrection as the historic hope of Israel. Paul could have been set free but since appealed his case to Caesar they had no choice but to hold him over to be sent to
Caesar. In the meantime yet another dignitary came on the scene, King Agrippa. King Agrippa was very curious upon hearing of all this and said, "I would like to hear this man myself."
This brings us to our text this morning, as Paul makes yet another case for himself and for the gospel. Again the resurrection is central to his message and even puts this question to King Agrippa who was well versed in the religion of the Jews, "Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
As Paul tells his story to the King he
rehearses what our Lord said to him and specifically the mission he gave to Paul. I love it when we have the very words of Jesus. Here is our subject matter for this morning.
I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them
to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place (inheritance,
KJV) among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
Friends, would you agree that this is still the purpose of evangelism today?
To open eyes, to turn people from Satan to God? Why? So that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance with all the saints. This "inheritance" is what we plan on considering next Sunday.
FORGIVENESS, A MATTER OF FEELING GUILTY?
Forgiveness. What’s it worth? Why do we need it or want it? Is it because human nature so overburdened by guilt as to be desperately unhappy? Guilt, we understand, certainly does plague many people cripple their lives. But does it plague everyone?
No. The Pharisees felt quite good about themselves
... "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
 Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
They needed forgiveness, but did not realize it.
Is guilt our God-given conscience?
a) Romans 2:14
(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law,
It is also conditioned by home
a) Romans 7:7
Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet."
Varies according to personality.
a) Some have seared their conscience. 1 Tim. 4:2
Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, ...
Also varies according to what a person has done.
"Forgiveness" seen as a matter of guilt
Guilt brings unhappiness and suffering
Therefore we need forgiveness
Indeed it is a major factor with some but not with all
So why must it be a part of the gospel message?
FORGIVENESS IS A MATTER OF BEING GUILTY
All have sinned
1. Romans 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
It has a lot to do with judgment.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We’re not talking here just about alienation from God. We’re talking plain ol death. Lights out. When life is
zealch, zero, nadda, ca-put.
So, although some may feel the need of forgiveness keenly others may not. But all desperately need it.
FORGIVENESS IS A MATTER OF FAITH AND GRACE
A. Galatians 3:22
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Forgiveness is granted to those who BELIEVE
Remember, those who see the light and turn to God.
GOD’S FORGIVENESS IS AN ONGOING CONDITION
Just as faith is an on going condition
Not a matter of keeping the law.
a) Romans 3:19-20
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:
... rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
a) Romans 3:21-22
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,
... Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ
Forgiveness is a "remission" of the sin and the cloak of God’s righteousness!
For all whose eyes are opened, believe and turn to God
How important is the gospel message?
FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM
A. "Forgiveness" from word that means
freedom; (figurative) pardon :- deliverance, forgiveness, liberty, remission.
And that BEFORE GOD!
More than removal of the oppression of guilt
Confidence of salvation
"Jesus’ death on the cross is a "propitiation" – the appeasement of the wrath of god – in the sense that it fully satisfies the demand of law – not the demand of God – for the punishment of transgressors; in so doing, Jesus’ blood empties the law of its condemning power: the legal debt has been paid in full and, thus, the authority of the law to condemn has been terminated. If the blood of Jesus has paid for every transgression, then the law, its legal demand for payment having been fully satisfied, can no longer condemn God’s people for any transgression."
1. Col. 2:13-14
... He forgave us all our sins,  having canceled the written code,
... he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
"And so the cross of Christ changes the relationship between God and his people, from a relationship governed by the coercion of law, or "letter," to a relationship governed by the persuasion of faith, or "spirit"
3:3) The blood of Jesus frees (italics mine) believing hearts from the condemnation of law –"the letter kills"
3:6) by persuading believing hearts to accept the forgiveness of sins and, thus, to joyfully anticipate the day of judgment as the day of salvation – "the spirit gives life"
"The day of judgement will be, for lthem, not the day of destruction, as it will be for the unbelieving world, but the day of salvation, the day of their resurrected entrance into the kingdom of God. This eschatological persuasion is essential for the community of faith to embrace the resurrection-hope of life in the coming kingdom of God; for faith of Jesus, the messianic faith, to truly take root in Christian hearts and bear fruit hrough Christian live, the fear of punishment must be cast out
4:15-18). And God has done so through the cross of Jesus, effective through faith in the gospel." –THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH by Robert Hatch presentated to 2000 Theological Conf.