Amen, let’s go to God in prayer.Father, we’re so grateful for songs that remind us of your ever present nature in our hearts and minds. God, we do ask you today, as we consider our dear brother Carlos and Lord, I know there’s no real transition out of death into life but we can kind of think about or out of like difficulty and to sort of like preaching and singing. And God, I pray, Lord, that we’ll have a sense of the resurrection today, Lord, that that even in the midst of sadness, we can be joyful, that even in the midst of trials, that we can find peace and mercy, that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel because you are there and you are risen and you are alive.
And as we think about Easter next week, God, I pray that that will be in our hearts and minds. Father, thank you that you go before us, that you are around us, that you are within us, and that you do not leave us on our own, that there is no no sense of us being left alone or left abandoned to be taken over by the ways of the world, lord. But you give us a way out, a way of protection, God.
And we pray, Lord, that our hearts and our minds would be focused on you would be sort of giving you glory and giving you praise for times like this. We could sing to you. We love you that we praise you. Jesus name. Amen. Let’s give a hand to the worship team. Thank you guys.
As always, you’re amazing. And I love you. It’s impossible to transition out of some of the stuff we talked about, and so we’re just going to jump in. Good morning. And you can go in and turn your Bibles if you have one to Exodus Chapter thirty six. If you’re watching us online, watching us online, you can go in and flip your Bible over there as well. If this is your first time with us or maybe your first time back in a while, you’re catching us in the last part of a series that we’re calling Who is the Lord?
We’ve been looking at God’s self disclosure statement. It’s a statement where he first describes who he is. It’s an exodus chapter thirty four, verses six and seven. And if you haven’t watched any of the earlier sermons, I do encourage you to go back and take a listen or watch them, because I never want you to miss one again. If you’re watching this right now on YouTube, why don’t you just go ahead and hit the subscribe button so that any time we go live or have new content, you’ll be notified.
Also, I want to be able to invite you guys back to Easter next week. We have some special stuff planned for Easter. There’s an Easter egg hunt on Saturday for the kids. And we have two services, one at 11:15 and one at nine. And the wings will be open because we expect many more people than we’ve been getting over the past couple of weeks. During that time, we’re going to talk about something that I think is really important and valuable.
I’m not going to spoil it right now. But what I just want to encourage you to bring a plus one. If maybe you’re watching online, have somebody come over your house and watch it with your family, or if you’re coming in person, bring someone with you and treat them to some good lunch afterwards. So let’s let’s dive in. We’re talking who is the Lord Exodus chapter thirty four versus six and seven. We’ll do it together like we’ve been doing it the whole time.
Let’s read the verse together. Here we go. The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished. He punishes the children and their children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation. Are you ready for the end? Today, we’re going to talk about the closing line, the only reason why you’re still listening to the series, why does Yahweh punish the children and their children for the sins of the parents?
And I know this is the part that everyone wants to hear since day one. And so here we go. But but here’s the question. How can Yahweh be compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love, but also punish children? That’s the question. What does this passage telling us about God’s character? What is it telling us about his nature? And let me just say before I dive in that we don’t get to pick and choose with scripture.
As disciples of Jesus, as people who choose or wanting to choose to follow him, we have to take the scriptures very seriously and we should take it very seriously.
As followers, we allow ourselves to come under the authority of the Bible as an expression of our submission to God and also as an expression of our submission to Christ. And so we don’t skim the Bible and pull out the parts that we like and and put those up on our walls and sort of disregard anything else that doesn’t fit our modern Western progressive viewpoints. When we get to something like this, something that’s a little bit more difficult, we deal with it.
Maybe we question, we probe, we study, we wrestle, maybe we even protest it. But at the end, hopefully, we say yes to it, even if it’s a difficult pill to swallow. All I’m saying is that if we shape our theology of God from bits and pieces of the Bible, along with kind of a mishmash of our own biases and and a collection of our own pop culture references and whatever is kind of whatever the the tide says is OK, then we’ll we’ll end up doing is forming a God who is simply a projection of our own wishful thinking.
We’ll have created God, he’ll be made to order in a laboratory, he’ll not be from the soils of reality and this made up God will always agree with you on whatever you think. He will always allow you to do whatever you please. But unfortunately, these types of gods don’t actually exist. They’re just a figment of our own imagination. As Abraham Abraham Joshua Heschal I don’t know his last name said A God who can be fashioned, a God who can be confined is but a shadow of a man. A God who can be fashioned is not really a God at all.
And that’s the bad news with difficult passages, is that they tempt us to form and fashion God into our own thinking and making. We go, God can’t be like that. God shouldn’t say this. God shouldn’t look like that. I will instead choose the passages I really enjoy and really feel like they fulfill me or make my life better. But I will reject the stuff that the Scriptures actually teach as God’s word but here’s the good news about this passage, and I’m actually confident about this, is that this passage is actually good news. As we unpack it, we’re going to see that it’s good, that it’s quite beautiful. However, there is a lot to get through. A lot, because before we were doing like one line or one, one word or two words, this is like a whole verse. For us, that’s like a whole bunch. So we’re going to get into it.
We’ll work it out, we’ll figure it out at the end. I believe what you’re going to find is quite beautiful. So we’ll start with the very beginning. It says, Maintaining love to thousands. Once again, we hear of Yahweh’s hesed. Josh did a great job last week didn’t he? He did awesome talking about God’s faithful covenant love. And so he says, hey, abounding in that love. But he also maintains love to thousands. Maintaining is a word, the root word of that word it means protection or to guard. There’s a allusion given by the Psalmist and Psalm Chapter 40, verse 11 says, Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord. May your love and faithfulness always protect me. That’s that word, maintain me, may it protect me. The poet is praying for Yahweh’s character to be his protection, to watch over him, to keep away from evil. He’s a strong wall of defense against the wickedness of the world. He wants to make sure that God’s hesed His love is always and ever protecting him.
So God, what God says about himself is that he has a protective love. We learn in the week one that that that I am, that name means that he’s steadfast, that he’s steady, that he’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. That is compassionate, like his father.
Gracious, which means he’s merciful. And then he’s abounding in this love and faithfulness. And then we hear later on that that love doesn’t just kind of act like an emotional feeling, but instead it’s a protection. It’s a strong wall against the difficulty of life. But it’s not just to the individual. What does it says to say he maintains love to thousands.
Thousands, this is the scope of Yahweh’s love. There’s no ceiling, there’s no bottom, he shows his abounding love to thousands. And how does he show that love? The next line says, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. A lot of people believe that forgiveness was something that Jesus invented. But forgiveness is actually talked about throughout the entire entirety of the Bible in Exodus, chapter three four, verse seven, the Hebrew word translated to forgiveness could be translated, to lift up, to carry, to take away. And what does he lift up, what does He carry? What does he take away? He takes away wickedness, rebellion and sin. These are the three most common words for the kind of human depravity. Wickedness is kind of a junk drawer word and basically means everything that’s bad, everything from road rage to genocide. Rebellion is disregarding God’s law or breaking his law. And then the last word is sin, and that word means basically to miss the mark.
And so you put all these three words together and basically he’s saying that God forgives all things your way is a forgive sins of all shapes and all sizes.
Maybe it’s the smallest kind of what you would consider little sin, God forgives that, or it could be the largest sin. God also forgives that. His love is protecting. He forgives from the littlest to the biggest issues. Notice, it’s not just that he forgives, but the Bible says that he is forgiving. He keeps going and keeps going. He keeps going. In a poetic allusion to Exodus Chapter thirty four the Prophet, Micah speaks of God’s forgiving nature.
He says this, who is a God like you who pardon sins and forgives transgressions? You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy. You delight, to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us, you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea, who is like you, God, who is like you? You continue to forgive man’s sin over and over and over again, even though they do not deserve it.
There’s a commentator I read out of the book from from Exodus, he said he does not reluctantly forgive sins, sins against himself and others sorry he does so eagerly as a manifestation of his character. God is eager to forgive sin. It’s kind of like every morning he wakes up and he’s like, who can I forgive today? Who can I show mercy to today? Who can I help today? Who can I show that the weight of their sin doesn’t have to be a weight on them any more?
It’s amazing, but this is the stuff we’ve been talking about the whole time. God’s compassionate nature, and then he kind of stops and hits the counterpoint: yet he does not believe the guilty unpunished. Another translation says, but who will by no means clear the guilty? The idea here is that Yahweh is forgiving in nature, but he’s also just in his nature, he doesn’t let the guilty off the hook.
You know, it’s becoming more and more apparent in the world that we live in, especially kind of this secular world that that we have begun to deny human sinfulness. The idea out of the Book of Romans that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God is an idea that is kind of lost its impact. We don’t believe no longer that the world has a bent, at least our modern culture doesn’t believe that we have something deeply rooted inside of us that is evil and that is warped and that is destroyed.
And this you know, this whole idea is kind of out of step with our times. And because of that, it’s interesting because we deny that all have sinned. We live in a culture that feels like it’s forced to blame everybody else for the evils of the world. Any time there’s an evil in the world, we blame somebody else for the evil of the world, just listen to talk radio for like five minutes. It’s nonstop blaming. Whatever the issue, the economy, terrorism, health care coronavirus.
Everybody is getting blamed for everything. It’s always somebody else’s fault because nobody feels like they themselves are also evil. Look, and there’s a primary problem with sort of the development of our country like this. I guess it’s divulging into something terrible. But it also the denying of wrongdoing also fractures our relationship with God. It’s really destructive with your relationship with God, because if you refuse to admit that you are sinful, then why would God ever forgive you? How can you forgive somebody who doesn’t need forgiveness or doesn’t believe they need forgiveness?
There’s a problem here. Our world has kind of lost this idea that we are, in fact in, I don’t know, in the crosshairs of a just God. But there’s another side of it. Some are well aware of how messed up human society is, they just don’t care. They don’t deny human sinfulness, they actually they brag about it. They’re unapologetic and unrepentant. They live in wrongdoing no matter the collateral damage they cause to others or to God himself.
But the point with the statement is that God doesn’t turn a blind eye to either camp. If you don’t believe you’re bad or if you believe you’re bad, but you don’t care, God doesn’t care, he’s not going to turn a blind eye to either of those things.
He doesn’t wink at sin and go, you know, boys will be boys. You know, just they’re just growing up. They’re going to get it, you know, it’ll be OK as they grow up. Instead, as a portion of God’s character, he says simply he does not leave the guilty unpunished. Even if you’re a Christian, this is kind of terrifying, you may ask why, you know, why can’t God just send everybody to heaven?
Why can’t everybody be forgiven? Why can’t God just go, look, everyone, it’s OK. We’ll wipe the slate clean because remember, God is after a world with no evil. That’s the whole goal, right, and so and so Yahweh’s justice isn’t about retribution or payback, it’s about healing and renewal of the world. And you’ll remember from all these weeks of study that God’s justice isn’t so rigid. In fact, he wants all people to be saved.
Second, Peter, chapter three, verse nine. The scripture tells us about that when we repent. The Bible says God responds with mercy. But if we don’t repent, he’ll only wait for so long before he puts a stop to our rampage. Yahweh, and this is the most important thing I’m going to say today, the God of the Bible is after a world with no evil. That’s what he wants, which means that God wants a world with no more garment workers in China slaving 12 hours a day for less than a living wage.
You know, I’m saying also that we could buy a saying he wants no more cruel dictators who create this kind of ethnic cleansing so their culture can be clear.
No more abuse, no more mass shootings as we see it again and again, no more violence at all. God wants no more misogyny, no more racism, no more no more anxiety. No more depression. No more mental illness. No more divorce. No more betrayals. No more fatherless homes. No more breakdown of families, no more evil at all. And this is why the Bible says that he will not leave the guilty unpunished. If he’s after a world with no evil, he makes sure that as the evil continues and grows and billows into the nightmare of a mess we have now, that he will one day take care of all of it.
And honestly, this is good news. It’s part of the gospel of Jesus. Look, there are two parts of the gospel of Jesus. One is that every sinner, the worst sinners can make it to heaven. That’s beautiful. All of us should embrace that idea. But there’s a second part, which is that there will be no more sinners. At the end, no more people, at least they haven’t repented, there’ll be no more Hitlers, no more women thrown across the room in anger, no more slave trade, no more genocidal maniacs, no more suicide bombers. No more predator drones.
Nobody who is hostile to the way of Jesus. No more. As the prophet Amos said, let justice roll like a river one day it will roll like a river, but for now.
God’s justice is just the kind of a small stream. One day it will be a river and then it will be an ocean that blankets the whole of the earth. It’s beautiful, unfortunately, as you’re listening to this, you’re still thinking, what about the kids? So let’s talk about it. He punishes the children and their children for the sins of the parents. Here’s the question that pops up in your mind. Is the Bible saying God’s punishing kids for their parents wrongdoing?
Or maybe we’ll pick some other passages and see if it helps us clarify. Deuteronomy chapter twenty four verse 16 parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents. Each will die for their own sin. Is this a contradiction, maybe Jeremiah can help us flesh it out a little bit. Remember, the Bible is translated from Hebrew into English, and so sometimes it’s hard to make these translations, but sometimes reading more of the passages will give you a bit of a clarity about the passages study that are a little bit more difficult.
Jeremiah, chapter thirty two, verse 18 says this You shall love to thousands. This is a quote of Exodus Chapter thirty four. But bring the punishment for the parents sin into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty great are your purposes and your mighty, mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind. You reward each person according to their conduct and their deeds as far as their deeds deserve.
Jeremiah is quoting Exodus Chapter thirty four, and he says really two interesting things. The first thing is that he says God rewards. You can also kind of fill in the idea that God punishes people according to what they do. So, OK, each person is punished or is praised according to what they do. The second thing is that the sins of the parents are in the laps of their children. So what is God saying? Well, there’s several layers to this, stick with me. The first layer is that that parents sin has consequences for children’s future. You know this. It’s in their laps. This is obvious, this is the kind of the axiomatic meeting and we all know it’s true, if your dad or your mom runs a Ponzi scheme and the police decide to arrest that, your dad or your mom, it’s the it’s the child who will suffer the most. Right. If dad or mom run a Ponzi scheme, the kids suffer.
They’ll end up in a foster care system. I’ve been talking to four kids for a long time, and I know the stories. They’re horrible. Kids pass from one home to another home with no stability at all. And if they don’t get placed in a good family, they could easily end up dumped on the side of the road when they’re 18.
And even if they land in a healthy family as they enter adulthood, they’ll enter with some handicaps. Sin has consequences for their children, for the children’s future, or to bring it closer to home.
If dad or mom get a divorce, the child will suffer the fallout. Regardless of how our culture is kind of, I don’t know, ridiculous. PR campaign selling divorce as a danger free zone for children, by the way, that’s a scam. The mop up from marriage has gone awry is grief, trust issues insecurity, economic strain, messy holidays, the fear of commitment later in life when a parent sins the children are the collateral damage.
And it’s a ridiculous statement to believe that my sin only affects me. You are dead wrong. It’s an awful lie. There is punishment for your children. The parent sins. The children are punished. That’s the first layer. But he’s also saying that sin runs in the family, sin is like your DNA or your eye color or that quirky personality you have, it’s passed down from one generation to the next. If you’re familiar with the biblical patriarchs, you know about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who are all known liars passed down from generation to generation, one generation sin often becomes the vice for the next generation and the next generation and the next generation.
As my friend John Lewis once said, dysfunction is the gift that keeps on giving.
We believe that little babies born are innocent, they’re not really innocent, they’re not a clean slate. Everyone comes into the world carrying the baggage of their own last names. You know, we vow I’ll never be like dad, I’ll never be like my mom. And then we end up exactly like them, often to our dismay. But we see the exact same dysfunctional patterns surface again and again and again and again. The same like father, like son.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree are very true.
So we have that, you know, the sin of the parents. Affect and impact the child in the way that they have to deal with it will also affect them because sin runs in like like DNA. But the third thing I think this is the main idea of this passage is that because Yahweh is just he will continue to punish sin in every generation until it’s completely gone.
Put another way, don’t think because God punished your daddy’s adultery, that he won’t punish your adultery. Or for the victim kind of mentality of some of us don’t think that because you’re a victim of sin, that you are given the liberty to be sinful.
Like, wow, you know, I was abused or I was whatever, and all that stuff is horrible and I could hear the stories for days and cry with you. All that stuff is horrible. However, it does not give you the liberty to be sinful. God will punish you the same way He punished your father, the same way he punished your grandfather and your great grandfather. And even if your been done wrong, you are still responsible for your own actions.
Why? Because as I mentioned before, God’s goal is to end sin forever. He won’t stop until it’s totally and completely eradicated. And if you’re listening to this and it’s kind of unnerving to you. Listen to the last part, because it’s my favorite, he says, punishing the children and their children for the sins of the father to the third and fourth generation. The ending is kind of a surprise and it’s really cool, the word generation, this this word here isn’t actually in the Hebrew, it’s a word in English to make sense of this kind of bizarre Hebrew idiom.
I’m going to show you something that is way too nerdy, but just embrace it with me. This is an interlinear. I don’t know how to say this. I say it wrong all the time. So you have to read from this way. Left-to-right, right. So keeping is the first word in English.
This is their best attempt. Right. And then you can see the Hebrew word and then this is the Strongs concordance. So if you want to really be a nerd, you can look at all the strongs numbers and find out where else it is. This is really cool. I think this is from Bible Hub or maybe Blue letter Bible. Don’t remember where, but keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving inequity and transgressions and sin and clearing. OK, you see these little brackets here.
This means it’s not in English. Sorry, I should go this way. I’m going to go this way so you can see it. All right.
This right here means it’s not in the Hebrew, it’s just in the English. And clearing, no by means, by no means clearing, right, that makes sense. The guilty doesn’t exist in the Hebrew, but they fit it there to make it make sense to us because there’s no such thing as a perfect translation.
So visiting the iniquity of the father upon the sons and children of the sons to the third and the fourth generation.
The word generation doesn’t appear in the Hebrew. Scholars point out that Exodus chapter thirty four versus six and seven has a poetic rhythm to it, and whatever comes after thousands may also come after the third and fourth. So it could read maintaining love to thousands of generations.
And he punishes the children and the fourth, I’m sorry, the children to the third and fourth generation, but more literally it would read maintaining love to thousands, he punishes the children to the third and fourth, do you see the picture? Isn’t this really cool if you caught it? It’s so beautiful. On one side, it’s like a scale. On one side, it’s Yahweh’s mercy. And the other side it’s Yahweh’s justice. Mercy goes for thousands. Justice to the third and the fourth, it’s a picture of how much God’s mercy triumphs over his justice.
It’s just like James chapter two, verse 13, where it literally says Mercy triumphs over justice.
Mercy, Yahweh is just. That’s certainly the good news. And that’s what we can look forward to, a future with no evil, a better tomorrow. But he’s also merciful, like beyond the merciful and forgiving. He can’t help but to show mercy. And so he goes, look, I’m going to punish the children for I’m going to keep punishing and keep punishing until sin is eradicated. But it’ll be to the third and the fourth. While I forgive for thousands of generations, I’ll forgive and forgive and forgive and I’ll forgive because mercy wins in God’s economy.
But here’s where I need to stop and just make a really important reminder. Yahweh is forgiving, but sin is not. You may be tempted to listen to what I just said and go, oh, thank you, whew I thought I was going to have to change. Oh, thank you. You know, I thought that that meant that I could I would have to actually deal with the sin in my life and in my history.
But the point is, you know, God will forgive you, but but sin is not forgiving. Sin is merciless. It’s petty. It’s cruel. Our sin has consequences. You can miss blessings upon blessings, upon blessings, you can end up like Israel. Lost in a desert wasteland because you chose not to be obedient. You chose to follow kind of your own ways, and I want to use and this is an overused analogy, but I won’t use it anyway, let’s say that I have an affair.
If I cheat on my wife, betray my family, profaned the very nature of trust itself, but then let’s say I want to repent and I decide to break off the affair, and I go crawling back to my family and back to God, I no doubt would be forgiven by God because God is merciful. But I would spend the rest of my life trying to pick up the pieces I broke at best because my wife is amazing. My marriage would suffer a catastrophic breach of trust for years and years and years.
I would have to figure out how to make ends with my children how to make amends, I should say, with my children. But at worst, it would just come to a swift, terrible, for good reason end. I would have messy holidays, I would have no respect for my children. I’m a minister. I would immediately lose my job and between my lack of skills and my need to pay alimony, I would probably become poor. I’m sure this community would love me and go, you know, you can do it, but my reputation would carry a stigma forever.
It would take me decades to build up a shadow of what my life was beforehand. And of course, I’m not planning on having an affair, but but but then again, who is? All I’m saying is that the temptation is to hear about God’s mercy and forgiveness and then take less take sin less seriously.
And what I’m telling you is you need to take sin way, way, way, way, way, way more seriously.
So does God forgive? Constantly. Every moment of every day, does he, in spite of the fact that, like, we are evil and terrible all the time, is there healing in Jesus name? Absolutely. But you and I will still need to deal with the weight of our own sin. So let’s close things out. There’s this tension, really that’s been throughout the entirety of the Bible, this tension between God’s mercy and God’s justice, it’s a tension that goes back to basically the beginning when man first sin and you can feel the tension in every page of the Bible.
God is forgiving, but he’s also just. How is He going to work this thing out? How is it ever going to come to a resolution? And the resolution finally comes not by kind of a brilliant lecture or whatever, but by the death of Jesus Christ. One of the most stunning reflections of the meaning of Jesus’s death is found in the Book of Romans, where Paul writes, God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement through the shedding of his blood to be received by faith.
He did this to demonstrate his righteousness because in the forbearance, in his forbearance, he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. He did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time so as to be just and the one who justifies I’m sorry as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in in Jesus. With a clever play on words, Paul is saying that Jesus’s death is the solution to the tension and the dilemma between God’s mercy and God’s justice.
The cross is an expression of Yahweh’s mercy. It’s his way of forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. But the cross is also an expression of God’s justice. He does not leave the guilty unpunished. In that moment, we see clearly what God is like. The reconciliation of God’s mercy and God’s justice is the death of Christ. Christ is killed. His justice. Christ is killed for you. His mercy. It’s the ultimate expression of God’s character at the cross.
The tension is finally resolved. It’s it’s God’s nature to show you mercy, to let somebody else pay for your sin. But it’s also God’s justice to make someone pay. And these two things that seem to be at odds for millennia finally come to a head in beautiful harmony on the cross. Think about the scale one more time. I’m going to go back to it just for fun. Mercy, justice. Here’s the question, how many had to die, justice?
For all of us to have mercy? One. Everyone here is every disciple of Jesus who turns away from their sin and chooses to follow, and the only one up here. The only one who really had to be sacrificed for this is Christ Jesus, it’s the one for the thousands, the one for the million. He doesn’t make you pay ultimately for your own sin. Instead, he decides to pay for it. We’re going to far. He pays for it with the currency of his own blood, we sin, Jesus dies.
Jesus dies we live in relationship with the father. The punishment goes to the one and the mercy extends to the thousands. If you’ve never heard that, that’s basically the gospel. That’s it. The cross was the father and the son working together, both agonizing over the ripple effect and the evil of sin in tandem. They work together. They brought mercy and justice together to absorb the world’s sin and to kill evil forever so that you and I could have life. Maybe you just need to think about that for a second.
The closing line of Exodus Chapter 34 is both hopeful and a warning, the warning is that God deals with our sin, but the blessing is that God deals with our sin. Do you get it? You might need to take a look at this a little more seriously. You know, Jesus looked at sin Jesus, looked at sin and thought it was dehumanizing. There may be no better word than that. When we send we become less of a human being.
We missed the mark of our creator’s intention for us. That’s why God usually doesn’t lift a finger to have it doesn’t lift a finger for punishing us. He just let sin punish us because it’s so bad. But eventually, if you don’t turn, you will risk the hand of God against you. Maybe some of you listening today, you just need to repent, there is stuff that you just need- you’re rebellious or you’re wicked or you’re just missing the mark, you just need to repent. And I don’t mean feel guilty. I mean, like, genuinely repent. Change your mind that leads to a change of life. Bring your sin to Jesus. Don’t hide it anymore. Talk with it with some friends. Stop making excuses why your family was so sinful. That’s the reason why you’re so sinful. Stop it. You need to genuinely repent. Some of you need to also realize that as you repent, because you’ve been repenting and it’s been awesome that you can be forgiven and stop listening to the lies of Satan that says you cannot be forgiven. God will break a hold of your life, of your past life and set you free.
But again, some of you need to get off the hamster wheel, reclaim your humanity, don’t get stuck in the generational sin. Don’t get stuck in it. It’s true. You know, the sins of your parents are passed down to you, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can change the trajectory here and now. With Jesus, you can repent. You can break off the handcuffs of pornography, lying, gossip, greed, envy, bitterness, rage.
You got anger issues in your family member, your alcohol issues and your family. You can end that today. You seriously can stop. You can actually do it.
I ask you, have you really repented? Have you really repented? Have you ever made a decision for Jesus to decide, look, I’m going to follow him, I’m not going to live my old ways anymore? Have you ever been really baptized? If so, again, you’re forgiven like a God honest truth. You are forgiven. You are forgiven. That’s amazing. Like you need to think about that every once in a while you were forgiven. And if you haven’t been forgiven, let’s say you’ve been studying the Bible for a long time.
You really been repenting. Why not just be forgiven today? Come on, get baptized. There’s water right there. You can do whatever you want. Come on, bring it on and you can become a daughter or a son of God. Access to the father forever with nothing standing between you and him, your sins will be done. Finito. Finished. It’s awesome, and if you’re thinking, yeah, that’s great, I’ve already done all that, you know, I was baptized, I was changed, I did repent.
However, along the course of my life, I really screwed up. I really messed up. I came back to God. But I still have some issues I want to squeeze in one last illustration of Exodus, Chapter thirty-four last quote of it. It’s in Chapter two, didn’t really fit anywhere else in any of the sermon. So let me put it right here. Says, Even now, declares the Lord return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and mourning.
This is that idea of repentance. Hey, if your life is jacked up, return even now. Return just come on. Come back with fasting. I love these words. Fasting, weeping and mourning, action, somber emotion, turning away actual turn. Just come on back, rend your hearts. Turn it to me and not your garments. Clean your heart, not your garments. Returned to the Lord, your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. I love this. And he relents from sending calamity. Then he closes. Who knows. OK, sin has been destructive. But who knows, he may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing. Maybe you’re living in the stain of your own sin.
And look, there’s nothing you feel like you can do. You’re like, yes, I did have an affair, I did have whatever I am stuck on this. My trust is messed up with all that stuff. But but even now. You could turn and then who knows, he may actually give you some blessings. If you come back with your whole heart, you turn and you change and you respond. He may respond with mercy and the aftermath of your sin when the locusts have left and you’re standing there in the wreckage of what used to be your life and you could find your hands maybe with a handful of seeds ready to plant into an awesome, awesome new farm or a new village of new village or new fields, maybe, you know, God or even send some rain even after everything has been destroyed.
God’s like I may still bless you beyond measure. This is what God is like. We did this series in order to kind of illustrate this. He’s steady, the Lord, the Lord, he’s compassionate. He loves you like your like he’s your dad. And He’s gracious means he wants to forgive you, he’s slow to anger, he’s long of nostrils, he’s not quick tempered. He wants to be close to you. He doesn’t want to be mad.
But let me tell you, there comes a limit and a day. Don’t test God in that way. He’s abounding in love and faithfulness. It’s overflowing like the flood. His love just covers us. It’s a covenant, love. It’s a faithfulness. He maintains that love to thousands and he forgives all types of sin. And yet he will clear sin from the world. He does not leave the guilty unpunished punishes the sins of their of the children for the for the parents of the third and fourth generation, as a great reminder that his mercy outweighs his justice or not his justice but his judgment. We come to the end of this sermon series, and I just want to remind you not to form God into the image of our culture, not to form God into the image of your own opinions, but instead to take him at his word because he is the Lord, our God, the great creator of the world, and nothing is ever going to change. Let’s go to God in prayer.
Father, we have been blessed to be able to have a series where we get to talk about who you are, but I pray did a good job.
I pray that the words that that I said impacted the hearts of the people who are here. God, I know that this is not done. You can’t talk about you in five weeks and be over. But but I pray that we got a sense as to who you were that we captured a glimpse of your graciousness and your mercy. Father, I thank you. The way that at the cross you allowed those tents, that tension to be resolved, the way that you poured out your your wrath on your son.
And Jesus was a willing participant and you poured out your wrath on your son, but you also poured out mercy and grace on all people, god. I pray the Lord, that we will respond to that mercy and grace if today we need to repent, that we will do it and will actually change our ways. God, I know there’s some of us who are here right now who got some sin they got to deal with. Lord, you got some stuff they really have to deal with.
I will deal with it. I’ll just let it go and actually talk about it and deal with it and fight through it and not just talk about it anymore, but actually do something about it. Lord, I pray also, Lord, for those who are here today who have had so many scars in their lives that they feel like there is no resolution. I pray that you’ll be merciful to them. God, their families are destroyed. I pray that you can give them some blessings of a new family God or a restored family God.
I pray that if their lives have been ruined, if, as I mentioned, the locus have eaten their field, Lord, that you will give them some new seeds in a fertile land in order to rebuild God, even now maybe Lord as they turn God. Who knows? You can do something great with them, Father. We also pray and we were reminded just of Jesus that this time God thank you for his sacrifice that gives us life.
Lord, Thank you for taking on the punishment so that we did not have to. God, I pray that our hearts are stirred by that idea and that we will choose repentance, that we will choose righteousness over our own ways and our own desires. Father, we love you, Dad. As we eat the bread that represents your body and the Jews that represent your blood, let us just marvel at your graciousness and your kindness towards us. We love you in Christ name.