Teachings / Sermons
Forgiveness - Door to the Future
The Christian faith is about forgiveness. God's forgiveness to us and ours to each other. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17). Jesus is the example of forgiveness. He experienced more grief than any man for the sake of sinful humanity and still said, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
SOME OF WHAT JESUS FORGAVE
- The religious leaders & Judas plotted against Him (John 26:3,16).
- His closest friends deserted Him in His darkest hour (John 26:35).
- He was betrayed with a kiss - a sign of affection (John 26:49).
- A sham trial. False witnesses. In the court he was beaten and mocked.
- Found innocent by Roman court he was still sentenced to death (27;24).
- He was flogged (27:26), struck with rods, crowned with thorns.
- Jesus was unjustly executed as a criminal while the soldiers mocked Him and gambled for His clothing (27:32-39).
The Lord's Prayer is THE teaching on "debts or sin" and forgiveness.
"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. ... 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." (Matthew 6:12-15)
Unforgiveness is possibly the most devastating sin. Without forgiveness there can be no;
- personal forgiveness from God.
- new life.
- renewed relationships.
- Love - God's greatest gift.
Historians believe that the single greatest cause for the Second World War was the punishment met out to Germany after the First. The Treaty of Versailles made them pay for their part in the war. The lesson was learned after the Second World War and Germany and Japan were rebuilt and became the second and third biggest economies in the world. It was as if forgiveness was on their minds the second time around.
WHY IS FORGIVENESS SO IMPORTANT?
It is in God's nature:
"Jehovah! Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." (Exodus 34:6,7)
Unforgiveness kills love. Unforgiveness allows bitterness and anger to remain and love, God's greatest gift, will not conquer in this environment.
Unforgiveness leaves us unforgiven and thus without God's friendship and power.
Unforgiveness says I'm better = pride = the opposite of God's humility.
Unforgiveness denies God's gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
Unforgiveness is a rebellion against God, because He demands it.
Unforgiveness robs us of the future because God can do no new things for and with us while we hold on to the past. Jesus said, “The ploughman who looks back is not worthy of the Kingdom” (Luke 9:62)
Unforgiveness means I do not understand salvation.
I receive God's forgiveness when I realise that I am in desperate need. I know that without the gift of forgiveness I am lost. When I realize I am lost I know I am no different from the worst sinner. Regarding myself as better than others shows salvation has not come to my heart.
If I deny forgiveness to others it shows I have not grasped my own need for forgiveness and hence have not received it from God. This kind of self-righteousness is the very thing that Jesus saw in the Pharisees and that angered Him so. They were so ready to judge the sinners around them when their own hearts were hard towards God and others.
By refusing to forgive what the Spirit brings to mind we reject the greatest gift of God, i.e. His Son on the Cross.
Unforgiveness Chains us to past pain and failure
Forgiveness is God's door to the future.
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