[Illustration - A
visitor from across the mountain leaned on the rail fence, watching his old
friend plow. "I don't like to butt in," he finally said, "but you could save
yourself a lot of work by saying 'gee' and 'haw' to that mule instead of just
tuggin' on them lines." The old
timer pulled a big handkerchief from his pocket and mopped his brow. "Yep, I
know that," he agreed, "but this mule kicked me six years ago, and I ain't spoke
to him since."]
Forgiveness Is . . .
A Practice That Must Be Repeated (vs 12;
Matthew 18:21-22) [- And forgive us
our debts, as we forgive our debtors. -
Forgiveness is essential for each and every Christian.
It is a great comfort for us to know that we have been forgiven by God.
But it is equally essential that we understand that we must learn to
forgive as we have been forgive. It
would be virtually impossible for someone to be a Christian and for them not to
know that God commands them to forgive.
That’s right forgiveness is commanded in the Bible.]
[The apostles of our
Lord, in walking with Him through His earthly ministry heard Jesus teach about
forgiveness. They watched Jesus practice and demonstrate forgiveness.
They saw the power and persuasion of forgiveness.
They came to understand that while God commands us to forgive, there are
far greater and more compelling reasons to forgive.
They learned to desire to forgive by waking with our Lord Jesus Christ.
So much so that the Bible records,]
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me,
and I forgive him? till seven times?
saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times
[Peter thought he was being extraordinarily generous with his
offer to forgive seven times. But
our Lord said, don’t just be extraordinary in your forgiveness be supernatural
in your forgiveness. Jesus said
forgive and repeat, forgive and repeat, and forgive and repeat up to 490 times
in a day. Now that’s a lot of
[Jesus is not trying to set a number upon our forgiveness.
What our Lord is really trying to say is that we need to have a character
of forgiveness within us. We just
need to be ready and willing to forgive and forgive again.
Why? Because that is who God
is, it is our Heavenly Father’s character to forgive, and we are His children so
it should be in our character to forgive as well.]
[We must forgive and repeat because our Lord forgives and
the word “repeat”
will help you remember some of the essentials of forgiveness and taught in the
The Offense (Matt 5.23-24) - [What is sin?
Sin is a debt that is owed. Sin
is a trespass (fall away). Sin is to
miss the mark or fall short. Sin is
iniquity or lawlessness. Sin is
anything we do that offends God. It
is because of our sins that we need God’s forgiveness.]
[What is and
offense? An offense is
something someone has done that offends us or offends another person.
When there is an offense, then forgiveness is required.
5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring
thy gift to the altar, and
that thy brother hath ought against thee;
there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy
brother, and then come and offer thy gift.]
[Our Lord is saying in these verses that if you come to
worship God, and remember that there is an offense between you and another
person, any other person, go get things right first and then come worship your
[This teaches us that an unforgiving spirit will hinder
your relationship with your Heavenly Father.
Have you ever noticed that when you are in a conflict with another person
that your difficulty will rob you of your peace of mind and your peace with God.
People, all people, matter to God.
Every person is extremely valuable to God, therefore they must be equally
valuable to us.]
[God says if there is
between you and another person, get that right so you can be right with
your Heavenly Father.]
The Offender (Matt 5:44) [- This deals with placing the right value upon
other people as just previously mentioned.]
But I say unto you,
Love your enemies,
bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them
which despitefully use you, and persecute you; ]
[In 1960, Adolph Coors III, of the Coors Brewery, was
kidnapped and held for ransom, and later killed. His son, Adolph Coors IV, then
15 years old, developed a hatred for the killer Joseph Corbett. In 1975, young
Coors became a Christian and divested himself of his interest in the family
brewery business. One day, he visited Corbett at the maximum security unit of
Canon City penitentiary. Corbitt refused to see
him. Undeterred, Coors left a Bible for him, inscribed with this message: ]
["I'm sorry we could not meet. As a Christian, I am
summoned by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to forgive you. I do forgive you.
I ask you to forgive me for the hatred I've held in my heart for you."]
[Later, Coors confessed that:
"I have a love for that man that only
Jesus Christ could have placed in my heart." -Don Maddox]
Your Offenses (Matt 7.1-5) - [Is there a beam in your eye?]
7:1-6 Judge not, that ye be not
with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete,
it shall be measured to you again.
why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye,
but considerest not the
beam that is in thine own eye?
how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye;
and, behold, a beam is in thine
own eye? 5Thou
hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see
clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.]
[What might be
a beam in your eye? - An unforgiving heart.]
14 For if ye forgive men their
trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. ]
[We might wish
to think that we haven’t got a part in the differences with another party, but
if there is a dispute then there is more than one person involved and there will
be offenses on both sides. We must
look for and perceive those things that are on our side of the dispute.]
the damage (Heb 12.14-15) - [Elude the damage created by anger or vengeance.
An unforgiving spirit will cause you great harm.
It will hurt you spiritually and physically and will damage you more than
the person you fail to forgive. We
must be diligent to forgive.]
Follow peace with all men, and
holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;
lest any root of
bitterness springing up trouble
thereby many be defiled; ]
Luskin, a psychologist from
Stanford University says, "Holding on
to hurts and nursing grudges wears you down physically and emotionally.
Forgiving someone can be a powerful antidote."]
van Oyden Witvliet concurs. She is an assistant professor of Psychology at Hope
College in Holland, Michigan who conducted a study with 71 volunteers
that showed people who don't forgive experience "steep spikes in blood pressure,
heart rate and muscle tension." Forgiveness, Witvliet found, helps people to
remain calm. Forgiveness isn't about condoning what happened," Luskin said, "It
is about breaking free from the person who wronged us."]
- In 1982,
Stephen Watt was
a sheriff’s officer with the
misfortune of pulling
over in a routine traffic stop. What he didn’t know is that Farnham was speeding
for a reason—he’d just robbed a bank. Farnham shot Watt five times and left him
[Watt recovered, but lost the sight in one eye, and
still carries a bullet near his spine. As you might expect, Watt became bitter
towards Farnham. His anger grew until his wife intervened. She encouraged him to
forgive his assailant, if he was ever going to be a true Christian.]
[In 1986, Watt attended a revival service at the prison
and spotted Farnham across the room. He walked over to Farnham and hugged him.
Watt says, “ I had basically been dead from the time I got shot until 1986.”
When he forgave Farnham, Watt says, “ It was just like God picked up a
semi-truck right off me and I actually started living.” From all appearances,
the forgiveness was complete; today the two men are best friends.]
In 2002, Republican Stephen Watt was a candidate in the
gubernatorial campaign and had promised that if elected, one of his first acts
would be to release Farnham from jail.]
The Hurt (Acts 9.4-5) - [Seek God's help, turn it all over to God.
Who are they really attacking?]
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why
persecutest thou me?
he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:
it is hard for thee to kick
against the pricks. ]
The Offence (Heb 10.16-17) - [Send it away, move away from it.]
is the covenant that I will
make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their
hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17And their sins
and iniquities will I remember no more. ]
["Maturity is revealed by how you
handle offenses and offenders."][Sam Boyd]
A Person That Must Be Realized (vs 14-15;
Eph 4.32) [- For if ye forgive men
their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
But if ye forgive not
men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
- We must forgive because we have been forgiven.
We must forgive if we are to be forgiven.]
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's
sake hath forgiven you.]
[Have you been forgiven by your Heavenly Father?
Did you deserve His forgiveness?
Did your transgressions cost God dearly?
If you have been forgiven, then you ought to love one another and ought
to harbor a readiness and willingness to forgive within your heart.
You ought to forgive at the same level that Jesus forgave you.]
[When you received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and
Savior, He came to dwell right inside of you.
Now, the master of all forgiveness lives within you and He is compelling
you to forgive and be forgiving.
You will never have peace within you until you allow His character of
forgiveness to Guide you.
Jesus is the person of forgiveness in
you that is guiding you to be forgiving.]
[So what does the Lord
of all forgiveness teach us about being forgiving?]
Jesus is a
Comfort to every person (Matthew 11:28) [- Those who are in the
depths and despair of sin are asked to come.
Jesus sees them in the midst of life’s storms and says to them,]
Come unto me, all
ye that labour and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest. ]
[Jesus, in His forgiveness, is the Lighthouse of hope
and the harbor of refuge for all of life’s stormy turmoil.
In the midst of their despair, our loving Lord reaches out to our world
with compassion and forgiveness.]
[Let us learn to be like our Lord.
Let us learn to be lighthouses of hope and harbors of refuge through the
persuasion of forgiveness.]
Cleanses every sin (Isaiah 1.18; 44:22; 1 John 1.6-7) [- But our Lord
does not just offer them a place of comfort and safety in the midst of the
terrible storms generate by sin in ones life, our Lord also offers the
incredible gift of total cleansing from all of one’s sins.
The Bible says,]
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:
though your sins be as
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like
crimson, they shall be as wool. ]
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy
sins: return unto me;
for I have redeemed thee.]
[1 John 1:6-7
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do
not the truth:
if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with
the blood of Jesus
Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. ]
[The Lord Jesus Christ offers to remove the vary sins
that brought life’s storms upon you in the first place.
He will wash all of your sins away, relieving you of all of the penalty
for your sins. He will cleanse you
today, and wash all of your sins away, through the power of His precious
Jesus is a
Concealing for all time (1 John 1.9; Jeremiah 31:34, Psalm 103:12) [–
When you come to the Lord Jesus Christ and confess your sins, God faithful
forgives and cleanses you of that sin.]
[1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins, and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness. ]
[What does it
mean to confess our sins?]
(Gk) - from
homólogos (n.f.), assenting, which is from
together with, and
légō (3004), to say. To assent, consent, admit, as used commonly in
Class. Gr.; to promise, i.e., to agree with or consent to the desire of another.]
[Hence to confess means to say the same thing as.
It means that we must say the same thing as what God is saying about our
sin. When we look at our sin the
same way as God we will find it impossible to continue to live in our sin.]
[When we say the same thing as God about our sin we are
confessing our sin and God responds with forgiveness to our sin.]
[When God forgives our sins, what does He do?
The Bible says,]
31:34 And they shall teach no
more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord:
for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them,
saith the Lord; for I will forgive
their iniquity, and I
will remember their sin no more. ]
As far as the east is
from the west, so far hath he
removed our transgressions from us. ]
[God’s forgiveness is absolute and complete, He
remembers our sin no more. Our sins
[Why is it important for us to know about the absolute
cleansing that accompanies God’s forgiveness?
Because this knowledge give us comfort and hope.
But it is even more important for us to understand God’s forgiveness
because to be like God is our ultimate goal, and for us to learn to forgive like
God ought to be our goal as well.
Your goal should be to forget sin when you forgive sin; because this is what God
does with sin.]
[Someone might say, “But I am a mere human being and I
find that I cannot forgive and forget like God forgives.”
Indeed, but do not use your human nature as an excuse to redefine
forgiveness or only partially forgive.
If you find it hard to forget then treat the sin as if it has been
forgotten, never hold it to the offenders account again.
Then decide that you will forgive as God does and strive to develop the
forgiving character of God including His forgetfulness.]
[Our Lord Jesus Christ not only forgives our sins, but
He is our example for forgiveness.
Will you forgive as our Lord forgives?
Praise God for the forgiveness we have received through our Lord Jesus
Christ, now let us learn to follow His example.]
A Performance That Is Rewarded (vs 14-15;
Matt 18.15-20) [-
"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also
forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive
not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
– Now, we know we ought to forgive and we ought to forgive repeatedly.
We also see our Lord’s example in forgiveness.
But what should we do in striving to forgive someone?
Our Lord gave us specific instructions concerning forgiveness when He
gave us what we call the Discipline of the Church.
This passage reads,]
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell
him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast
gained thy brother. 16 But if he
will not hear thee, then take
with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every
word may be established. 17 And if
he shall neglect to hear them, tell it
unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as
an heathen man and a publican. 18
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in
heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of
you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be
done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there
am I in the midst of them.]
Prevents Alienation (Matt 18.15) [-
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass
against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone:
if he shall hear thee,
thou hast gained thy brother. – God does not like to see division
within His body, within His Church, or within His family.
If you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and
Savior, then you have become a part of the family of God and God wants His
children to be right with each other.]
Promotes Reconciliation (1 Pet 4.8; Rom 15.5-7).
1 Peter 4:8
And above all things
have fervent charity
among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward
another according to Christ Jesus:
ye may with one mind and one
mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
- A certain man had spoken in an uncomplimentary way of Billy Graham. In
a conversation one night Billy said, "Deep down in my heart I was beginning to
resent the man. Resentment is sin. I couldn't go on the platform with resentment
in my heart. I couldn't ask those people to repent and love their neighbors if I
had sin in my own heart. One
afternoon, alone in my room, I told God that I was going to stay on my knees
until He instilled a genuine love in my heart for the man. I stayed there,
asking God to do what I could not do as a human. After considerable time, God
answered my prayer, and when I stood to my feet, I had a genuine love for him.
Only God can turn resentment into love." -Mrs. Paul Evans]
CrossRoads Baptist March 23rd 2009