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The Authority to Forgive

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2022 12:01 am

The Authority to Forgive

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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February 6, 2022 12:01 am

When several men carried their friend to Jesus, Christ healed him of much more than his paralysis. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his expositional series in the gospel of Luke to display the divine authority of Jesus to forgive people of their sins.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind. They're trying to lose the juicer stage or hugging on every word and all of a sudden I see some dust falling down from the ceiling and they look up before you know it there's a little hole but appears in the ceiling see this man on the stretcher lowered in front of them and in front of Jesus story from five dogged determination of some devoted friends. They knew that Jesus could help their companion so they literally broke through the roof to get to the stories about more than ingenuity and resolve the threat we see definitive proof that Jesus is the son of God. Let's listen as Dr. RC Sproul continues his first clever series from the gospel of Luke is about 30 years ago that I small movie production studio in Hollywood contacted me and asked me if I would please write a screenplay for a book that I had written that they may produce a full-length Hollywood motion picture and I kind of giggled at the invitation because I told them I didn't know the first thing about writing screenplays and they said that's all right will help you and show you the basics that you have to do so I agreed under duress to make the attempt. And of course as you all know as a result of that exercise I was awarded an Oscar for best screenplay is a terrible thing to live from the pulpit. The movie the screenplay was finished, but the movie was never produced for lack of interest in the story, but in any case in writing that screenplay.

What we learned we had to do was to try to imagine the story through the lens of the camera. And so every shot of the camera had to have a particular perspective or what the Hollywood people called a POVA point of view and as I read this story this morning of this strange incident that took place with the healing of the paralytic as I thought about it I thought there were all these different people involved in this incident in the life of Jesus. And so what I want to do this morning is look at this narrative from the various points of view of those who were participating in it, and so let me begin with the point of view of those who brought this paralyzed man to where Jesus was teaching the crop.

Obviously they were man who not only had compassion for their friend who was paralyzed but they want out of their way to do something about it. I had a little X substantial response to this because in my high school years. My father, who had been a very popular man in the community was stricken with a terminal illness and all he could do was to sit in the chair for three years without being involved in any external activity and during that whole time. Not a single one of his friends came to the house to visit him and I was disillusioned by that I couldn't understand and I would say to my mother where her dad's friends. Why haven't they come and she tried to call me down and she said well you have to understand that it's difficult for them to see your father in this condition for may be difficult for them but is far more difficult for him to be in this condition, and I have no one come to see him and so that bothered me, and in stark contrast to that I read what happens here where this man who was paralyzed had friends who not only said their prayers and say God bless this man and not only sent over meals or other such things, but they went out of their way to do something to help him. Ultimately they heard about Jesus, perhaps some of them had even been eyewitnesses of the miraculous healings that he had performed in their region and so these fellows got together and those that we got to take our friend to Jesus and so that God stretcher a letter and they placed the paralyzed man on the stretcher and of course they didn't take him in an ambulance and have ambulances they probably walked if they didn't rig up some kind of oxen drawn cart and in any way they were able to transport the paralyzed man to the house where Jesus was teaching, but if you look at it from their perspective. Can you imagine how their hearts sank when they saw that not only was the house in which Jesus was teaching building capacity, but there were large crowds milling around outside, so that there was no possible way they could even get near to Jesus, to seek his healing power for their friend, but they were not to be denied the homes in the Jewish land at that time the most part were very small.

They had flat tiled roofs where much of the family activity took place on the roofs because the rooms within which they slept were very small and again traditionally access to the roof, came from outside stairs and so attached to the walls and up then to the roof and since nobody was standing on the roof.

These men went over and said let's take him up to the roof and so they had the difficult task of carrying this man on the stretcher, up the stairs to the roof. When they got to the roof. They set the stretcher down on one side and then they began to take the roof apart. They had to take a large portion of the roof apart, removing many tiles, not just a little slot that they could slide the man down on the stretcher but they had to make a room big enough that they could lower the man with ropes on the stretcher down into the presence of Jesus. Or you can look at this story from the perspective of the man I was paralyzed friends gained when one day and they said we got good news. There's a man in the land whose healing all kinds of diseases the blinder saying the deaf or hearing and we want to take you to because we believe that he can and he will heal you just as he had most recently in the case of the leper and I'm sure the man was afraid the belief afraid to try one more possible remedy that might free him from his paralysis and give him the opportunity to walk again and to be productive again and however weak or strong. His face was at the moment. His friends said come on, were going to take you on a stretcher and whatever it takes. Were going to bring you to this man Jesus so obviously hope began to be born in the breast of this paralyzed man.

He allowed himself to be lifted up in placed on the letter and they wonder what was going through his mind as they bumped along in he was being carried on the stretcher sure from his vantage point when they came to the house were Jesus was. He could see that the place was a teaming multitude of people were so crowded that he thought, well, this was a wasted trip. There's no way in the world.

I'm going to be able to see this man called Jesus then you wonder what was going through his mind when his friends started carrying him up the stairs and they obviously would have a difficult time keeping the stretcher balance the wood so that he wouldn't slide off the back of the front of it and he's riding on this stretcher until I get to the roof and they set them down on the roof in the midday sun and the thinking what good is this I still can't even see Jesus he can't see may then he saw his friends start to take the tiles apart from the house and from the roof and he saw his friends take ropes and attach them to the four corners of the stretcher.

I had to take a deep breath and crushed the strength of his friends as now they picked up the stretcher with the ropes and they began to lower him down through the roof in front of all these people. I doubt of this man in his entire life ever was more self-conscious than he was at that moment that he was being lowered in front of this group, but what about the people who were there there there there trying to loosen the Jesus teach there hanging on every word and all of a sudden I see some dusts falling down from the ceiling and they look up before you know it there's a little old but appears in the ceiling. They wonder what that is may still try to return your attention to the words of Jesus and then there's more debris starting to fall down from the ceiling and they look up on the holes braggart really gets bigger and bigger and bigger understanding on their knowledge can't even pay attention to Jesus. Everybody looking up at the ceiling facing this man on the stretcher being lowered right in the midst people are scrambling to get out of the way of this man whose being drop-down now in front of them and in front of Jesus and then there's Jesus. Jesus is looking at this we don't know exactly what he was thinking but he had to be thinking lasting people go to desperate measures to come in the my presence.

The kingdom is being taken by force, by these people who are pressing into my kingdom but I never saying things like this and all of Israel and his eyes are now on this poor man whose paralyzed sissies lower down from the ceiling in front of him so often, were told in the in the New Testament writings that when Jesus looked upon people who were suffering. He looked upon them with compassion and so was he saw this man now on the stretcher in front of him, and he knew that every I and the room and those who could pierce through the windows were watching to see what he was going to do and he knew that the scribes and the Pharisees who were gathered there were also watching carefully, not only to see what he would do but to hear what he would say. And so we read in the gospel when he saw their faith, he said the paralyzed person man your sin's are forgiven you can hear the ripple through the crowd sent what they say. He said the man's sins were forgiven. What to do with this whole event.

This man didn't come here to get his sins forgiven.

He wasn't company can action he was coming to be healed in Jesus said your sin are forgiven. What about the point of view of the scribes and the Pharisees who were gathered, they had come from all the places in Galilee from Judea, from Jerusalem themselves to examine the work of Jesus to catch him in some unlawful act. They were skeptics that were hostile towards him. We know that another looking at this and they see this practical of the man being drop-down from the roof and they think that's an insult to proper decorum.

I'm sure and then when they heard the words of Jesus. What you say. He told that man that his sins were forgiven.

Coders this Jesus think that he gets way no but only God has the authority to forgive sin that was one point that which their theology was sound. Ultimately that's true, that only God has the authority to forgive sin he may delegate that authority to his representatives to speak in his name, but the ultimate authority rests with God himself and even at the time of the Reformation. When the sacrament of penance was so much in dispute between Rome and the Protestant reformers. It was that section of the sacrament, that called for works of satisfaction and giving merits of congruity that was the point of dispute not the point that the priest can give absolution and say tabs Volvo after somebody made a confession of their sense, because I recognize that the church had taught that the priest does not have the authority to forgive sins inherently but that only God can ultimately forgive sins. And that's they had given that Christ the son of God had said to his disciples that whatever sends you remit on earth will be remitted an avenue so on and so it was Jesus who delegated that authority to the church and when the church gives the assurance of pardon for the assurance of forgiveness is not doing its own authority, but only on the authority of Christ, of whom all authority was given by the father on heaven and on earth just last night I talked a woman who grew up in Eastern Europe and in Orthodox Church and it was their practice to go to confession on a regular basis and she told me that her priest was kind and compassionate but that always bothered her to have to go to confession and she said to her mother one day. Why can't I just confess my sins to God.

Why do I have to confess them to a man of course he came to conclusion that you didn't have to confess and to manage he could have direct access to God or least indirect access through our mediator, our high priest in heaven, but the scribes say who is this who speaks blasphemy who can forgive sins but God alone know Jesus back to his point of view, he perceived their thoughts. He knew what they were thinking and so he answered and said to them, why are you reasoning this way in your hearts, which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven you, or to say rise up and walk. Now you asked me why Jesus said that I don't not that he was responding to what they were saying and thinking.

He said not come on, which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven or rise up and walk know what the answer Jesus doesn't tell us what the answer is that we read all commentaries. They are divided about which is easier to say in one sense, both are easy to say anybody can say, your sins are forgiven and anybody can say rise up and walk. That doesn't make it happen. But, on the one hand it's easier to say, your sins are forgiven that to say rise up and walk. Why well it's easier to say it because there's no way that anyone can prove that what you've just said is true or can refute it because forgiveness is something that takes place in the invisible realm. It's hidden from our view. On the other hand, if the preacher says rise up and walk you're going to know very quickly whether what he says is true or false because the proof will be in the putting in of Jesus. What are said rise up and walk in the man was not able to rise up and walk. Then Jesus would be in a real pickle. So in one sense it would be much easier to simply say, your sins are forgiven. However, on the other hand, for Jesus to say rise up and walk was not a difficult thing he had done much more difficult things in the past, but the say, your sins are forgiven in front of the Pharisee in front of the scribes is to risk your life and so I personally think given the circumstances that Jesus did not take the easier tactic here, but the far more difficult. One when he publicly pronounces that this man's sins have been forgiven and he said, but that you may know that the Son of Man has power or authority on earth to forgive sin.

He then said that's what I did this so as you might know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins which is saying that you may know that the Son of Man is also the son of God, the son of man who dissents from heaven, from the throne of judgment who will judge the earth is also the one who has the authority and the power to pardon the center. You may know that.

And then he said to the man I say to you, take up your bed and walk the second he sent the paralyzed man's legs were filled with strength and he got up from that structure, and he didn't need his friends to carry him or the stretcher. He took the stretcher that had been his bed and he started to walk on his own free from the paralysis free from sin no. What about your viewpoint.

If I don't want to spiritualize this Texas man wasn't spiritually paralyzed. He was physically paralyzed but each one of us who deals with unforgiven guilt suffers the most paralyzing force there is on this planet. Nothing paralyzes people more than guilt that is not been forgiven, and if you suffer from that kind of paralysis.

If there's a sin that is haunted you for years and years has spoiled your liberty as a Christian. This text tells you what to do about it because there's only one cure for guilt and that's forgiveness. And here is the one who has the power and the authority ultimately save time so I the good news of the gospel are you experiencing that weight of guilt today thinking that you sins so badly that you'll never receive forgiveness and find that relief. You can go to the one who is proven that he has the power to forgive sin you're listening to the Lord stay addition of Renewing Your Mind and we just heard a beautiful message from Dr. RC Sproul is from his series from the gospel of Luke were making our way. Verse by verse through the book and and were finding it to be so helpful to study God's word.

This way we get to know the context of each passage that's that's vital to understanding it.

We like to help you continue your own study of Luke. If you contact us today with a gift of any amount. We will send you the nearly 600 page commentary on Luke that Dr. Spruill wrote our offices are closed on this Lord's day, so that our staff can worship with their families, but you can give your gift and make your request online. When you go to Renewing Your and is a wrap up today like to encourage you to take advantage of the great teaching that's available on ref that we designed it to be a source of faithful Bible teaching throughout your day. You'll hear teaching and preaching Scripture reading, audiobooks, and more. 24 hours a day and you can listen for free at any time when you go to ref net.FM or when you download the free ref net app, healing the sick was part of Jesus ministry but there was another critical element that will learn about next week calling and training of his apostles. I hope you'll join us next in his Jesus calls Levi to follow is here on Renewing Your Mind

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