"Lord, I Am Not Worthy!" Unworthy in Yourself, But Deeply Loved by God
- Summary: “Lord, I am not worthy!” That should be the universal cry of every man, woman, and child in our lost condition of unforgiven sin. Like King David of old (Psalm 51:5), we all must acknowledge, “Surely I was sinful at birth.” The prophet Isaiah (53:6) confirmed this: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.” The apostle Paul gave his ‘amen’ to the prophet’s words: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Every human being ever born can say to God, “I am not worthy! I don't deserve your goodness. Have mercy!” So, is there any hope? Yes! Come see how you can go from death to eternal life and hear the Lord Jesus say to you, “You are worthy! I’m not ashamed to call you My brothers and My sisters.”
Matthew 3:11a [John the Baptist said,] “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one [Jesus] who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.”
Later Jesus said of John the Baptist: “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist” (Luke 7:28, KJV). The Savior Himself said of John that there had been no greater prophet. What a tribute! Yet that same John was able to say, in the light of comparison to Jesus, “I am not worthy!”
Luke 7:6-7, NASB …when [Jesus] was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed."
The centurion recognized his own unworthiness as he faced the prospect of being in Jesus’ presence. The publican in Jesus' parable likewise (Luke 18:13) was properly aware of his lost, sinful condition before God, and he simply cried out, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
This should be the cry on the lips of every person prior to their being born again through repentance and faith in the Savior Jesus Christ — “Lord have mercy on me, an unworthy sinner!” There are no exceptions, since the Scriptures clearly say that “all have sinned … [and] the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 3:23; 6:23).
If this is the desperate condition of all men and women separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:2), what is the answer? How can we pass from death to life (John 5:24)? From the power of Satan to God (Acts 26:18)? From our inherent unworthiness to acceptance by God? The verses we just looked at (Romans 3:23; 6:23) give us the answer:
- • There is “eternal life” available to “all [who] have sinned."
- • It cannot be earned; it is “the gift of God.”
- • And where is that heavenly gift of life found? “…in Jesus Christ our Lord”!
How do we take hold of this glorious promise? By coming to God in His prescribed way:
- • Believe in Jesus Christ as the crucified and resurrected Savior of all mankind (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The apostle John wrote: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1). John included this theme of faith in Jesus in what may be the best-known verse of the New Testament — “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” (John 3:16, KJV).
- • Repent of our sins — “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). In the apostle Peter’s great Day-of-Pentecost message, he heard the people’s question, “What shall we do?” The first word of Peter’s answer was: “Repent…” (Acts 2:37-38). We are well advised to take heed to Jesus’ warning to His listeners: “Unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3,5).
- • The faith we profess in Jesus must not be just a passive faith. It is not merely intellectual consent to what the Scriptures say. No, rather, there must be an active embracing, a choice to receive Jesus as one’s Savior — “To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13). I did this in 1969 and have never regretted the decision one moment since then.
- • Then as soon as we have believed sincerely in Jesus Christ and have repented of our sins and received Him as our Saving Lord, we are born of God, as John wrote above (1:13).
Having now come to Jesus our Savior, in contrast to our previous state of being separated from God by our sins, God Himself now calls us His children — “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18).
Now that we have come to Christ for salvation, things have changed dramatically. By virtue of our new birth by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8) into His family, the Scriptures assure us that we are “…of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call [us] brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11).
Revelation 3:4 [Jesus said] Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.
- • Amazing! Once we were lost sinners, completely separated from God by our sins. Then the grace and mercy of God touched our hearts and led us to “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21, NASB). We were converted … saved … born again … newborn children of God Almighty … partakers of eternal life with God.
- • And as we live as the Christians in the Sardis church lived — that is, walking with Jesus, not “soiled” by unforgiven sin — we too will hear His gracious words: “You are worthy!”
If you feel Jesus speaking to your heart about coming to Him in repentance and faith, this can be the greatest day of your life, the day of your salvation! Let evangelist Billy Graham help you become a son or daughter of God by following a few simple Steps to Peace with God.
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©2016, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.