A Sermon Delivered out of Church

1/16/2016

Is this you, dear one?

"They say that I am growing old,

I've heard them tell it times untold,

 

In language plain and bold —

But I'm not growing old.

This frail old shell in which I dwell

Is growing old, I know full well —

But I am not the shell."

Did John Robert's poem describe you today? Has the "frail old shell" made it difficult to gather in church on the Lord's Day as has been your joyful custom?

With you specifically in mind who are sick or shut-in, will you graciously permit me to be your pastor-friend for this moment? I'd love to lead you in searching the Scripture of Isaiah 55:7, and we'll sing a few familiar hymns together in spirit.

That verse says: "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

By the time I had grown up on a ranch in Cardwell and entered the Navy, I had already accumulated many personal sins before ever trusting in Jesus Christ for forgiveness. And yet, is Isaiah 55:7 possible? Could a holy God "abundantly pardon," as Isaiah declared?

God is able to "abundantly pardon" because his forgiveness flows from an infinite (without limits) fountain. The huge, sinless God-life of Jesus Christ is capable of paying for a huge number of sins. Truly, "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood" drawn from Immanuel's veins ... and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains. Thus, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," it's the death of "Christ, my God" that pardons abundantly.

This is an abundant pardon because of the abundance of sins God can blot out. Millions and millions of people have committed millions and millions of sins of thought alone — rebellious thoughts, proud thoughts, blasphemous thoughts, lustful thoughts, covetous thoughts, cruel thoughts, false thoughts.

There are also our sins of omission: actions and thoughts we failed to follow through on such as repentance, gratitude, reverence, apology, repayment and the like. Perhaps the sins we do not know of are more numerous than the sins we are conscious of.

And then there's our sins of the tongue; millions and millions of words against God and words against man.

Sadly, at center stage, there's our sins of action, some of which are hidden from public view.

And deeper yet, there's our sinfulness since conception (Psalm 51:5) out of which our many sins spring forth like a nest of spiders where the young spiders all come to life and pour out. So is sin; there's the thought of sin, the hating, the plotting, the malice, the coveting, the envy, the deceit. And yet, God can abundantly pardon, reaching even to the stained depths of our sinful nature. Truly, the three-in-one God (God who is Father, God who is Jesus Christ, and God who is the Holy Spirit) is the "Rock of Ages" cleft for me; let me hide myself in Thee ... save from wrath and make me pure. By way of repenting and believing (Mark 1:15), God can abundantly pardon. As a result, we are not ex-cons in God's eyes, but we become friends, joint heirs, nobility, priests ... "A Child of the King."

Only an abundant pardon can save like this to where our sins are not cast into the shallows to wash up on shore again. No. They are thrown into the deepest sea, never to surface again (Micah 7:19).

When we are honest with the Bible's plain speech, each sin requires being literally punished in a literal hell for a literal eternity. And yet, the eternal torment due millions and millions of sins was paid for in full during six hours on a cross "At Calvary." Only the infinite God-man, Jesus Christ, could shoulder such horrific punishment in our place on "The Old Rugged Cross" and abundantly pardon by his "Amazing Grace."

 

What an abundant pardon! It can be yours if it isn't already. The Lord is just a sincere prayer away. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be pardoned and inherit everlasting bliss, "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder."

"Then how can I be growing old,

When safe within my Savior's fold?

E're long my soul shall fly away,

And leave this tenement of clay,

This robe of flesh I'll drop and rise

To seize the Everlasting Prize.

I'll meet the saved on the Streets of God,

And prove that I'm not growing old."