TEXT: John 20:19-23:
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 347.
D.L. Moody said, “The voice of sin is loud, but the voice of forgiveness is louder.”
At the conclusion of His first meeting with the disciples after His resurrection, Jesus Christ gave an interesting statement regarding the forgiveness of sins. In verse 23, He told the disciples who had just received peace from the Lord, purpose from the Lord, and power from the Lord, “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” The word translated as “remit” means “to let go, to give up a debt, to forgive.” The word translated as “retain” means “to hold fast, to not discard or let go, to keep.”
Some have interpreted this verse to mean that Jesus gave His disciples the power to forgive or not forgive the sins of others. However, that is not the case. Dr. John Walvoord states, this verse “must not be interpreted to mean that Jesus gave to a select body of people the right to forgive sins and let people into heaven. He was not setting aside the disciples (and their successors) as a ‘spiritual elite’ to deal with the sins of the world… The eminent Greek scholar Dr. Julius R. Mantey assures that the correct translation both here and in Matthew 16:19 should be: ‘Whosoever sins you remit [forgive] shall have already been forgiven them, and whosoever sins you retain [do not forgive] shall have already not been forgiven them.’ In other words, the disciples did not provide forgiveness; they proclaimed forgiveness on the basis of the message of the Gospel.”
The message of God’s forgiveness is great news for mankind because it means that God no longer holds our sins against us. If we take another look at the word translated as “remit” in the King James Version, we will see that it also means “to send away, to depart, or to disregard.” If we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, God forgives us of our sins. He sends them away. He disregards them. He does not allow them to hinder us from getting into a right relationship with Him. Through the Blood of Jesus Christ, He sees us separately from our sins.
When Jesus died on the cross, all of our sins were brought before God. Jesus’ shed blood is sufficient payment for all of the sins ever committed in the world. When we come to Christ, in faith, believing in His completed work on the cross, God regards our sins as being under the blood. He does not even see them. As one Old Testament prophet put it, He “casts all our sins into the depths of the sea.” The Psalmist wrote, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions [our sins] from us.”
Oswald Chambers wrote, “Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. The cost to God was the Cross of Christ. To forgive sin, while remaining a holy God, this price had to be paid. The revealed truth of God is that without the atonement He cannot forgive — He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God through the atonement of the Cross. God’s forgiveness is possible only in the supernatural realm.”
Jesus gave His apostles the responsibility to proclaim this great news: that God would no longer judge those who accepted the atonement of His Son. This was the message of the angels upon the birth of Jesus: “Peace on earth; goodwill to men.” God sent Jesus to make peace with mankind. Jesus was a demonstration of the goodwill of God to us. He made sure that His followers recognized the total forgiveness that rests in Him. Outside of Christ, there is no forgiveness from God. All those who reject Christ and His work on the cross will have their sins “retained” or not forgiven. For those who choose to go their own way, God will continue to hold their sins against them. The main purpose of the church is to proclaim this glorious Gospel message.
H.W. Baker wrote:
Redeemed, restored, forgiven
Through Jesus’ precious blood,
Heirs of his home in heaven —
Oh, praise our pardoning God!
Praise him in tuneful measures
Who gave his Son to die;
Praise him whose sevenfold treasures
Enrich and sanctify.
God wants to forgive you of your sins today. But He can only do that if you accept the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross as the payment for your sins. Will you give your life to Jesus Christ today and experience the forgiveness that only comes from God? Here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him today.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at email@example.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.