Forgiven to Forgive
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Psalm 86 8-13 Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.
9 All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. 10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. 11 Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. 12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. 13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.
Throughout September we have been talking about forgiveness- first to understand it is the very nature and heart of God to forgive us-this is why He sent His only Son to die in our place on the cross and provide a way for us to be redeemed from sin and fully forgiven of our sin-as believe in Him by faith and ask for His forgiveness. Incredible! Then to learn how to live as one who is forgiven-to walk in that freedom we have as we repent and ask for forgiveness. This is our Father’s great desire for each of us to live FREELY forgiven-made new in Christ Jesus!
Today we’ll end this series bringing this full circle-our willingness to forgive others. Forgiven to Forgive.
Oh, we get excited about the forgiveness God gives us-we sing about it! We just sang about it! It feels so good to release and know He forgives us! Thank You God!
But when it’s our turn to be on the forgiving side of things, oh that’s not so fun-we don’t rejoice and sing about that nearly as often, do we? No, we brood on the wrongs people commit against us, we hold on to them and store them up even so we have ammunition to bring against them later. We let their wrongs fester in our hearts and we play them over and over. We might even give limits and say, “That’s it-I can’t forgive this, I can’t forgive you anymore.”
Can’t…. or won’t? I can promise you, that our unwillingness to forgive comes straight out of a pride issue in our heart. It is pride that tells us we don’t need to forgive them. It is pride that says we are better off without that person. It is pride that says, if I forgive I am saying what they did was ok and it’s not ok. You can wrap it up in any package you want to but it will circle back to pride, and pride is not of God and it is not of His Kingdom. Forgiveness is.
If Jesus who was without sin, could willingly put Himself on the cross and die that awful death even while we were still sinners; so we might be forgiven for our sins and experience the freedom that comes through redemption; who are we to decide who is worthy of our forgiveness or not? And yet we do it all the time. Let’s hear His message today and step fully into the freedom that is only found in a pure heart that freely forgives as Christ has forgiven us.
I just was at our national IMA conference messages built for pastors and other ministry leaders-LEADERS-hear me on this. Do you want to know the very first message God ordained for us to hear? The speaker was Aeneas Williams- a pro football Hall of Famer, who is now a pastor. Unforgiveness in our hearts and the great danger this poses to not only our health and well-being but the very health of the Church. Do you hear me? WE ARE THE BODY of Christ. If any of us are walking around with unforgiveness in our hearts towards a brother or sister, we are hurting the Body of Christ, we are causing it to become sick, to not be able to function, and to break down. You know this and have lived it either in this church directly over the years or in other churches. This is sadly so prevalent in the Body of Christ and God gave a powerful message to all of us who were there and said we can’t have this anymore. This is MY Body whom I love and we need to ensure our hearts are pure before God, so His anointing might freely flow in and through us.
This is not just a message about you and what you are doing in your life. This is a message about the Body of Christ and what we are doing to strengthen or weaken the body of Christ. Here’s some truth message that goes beyond just you and me, and is always about the Body of Christ as a whole. We must remember we are joined together and affect the whole.
I share this because God put this on my heart a while back, I was preparing this message before I went to the conference and then God laid it all right out there in His loving way- and said GET THIS. It’s so important we GET THIS. We will never experience the fullness of Christ and life abundant when we hold unforgiveness in our hearts. I will never bring anything to you that God has not first dealt with me in my own heart. I would never ask anything of you that I am not also willing to do. Let’s get this vitally important message today and let us heed God’s commands, for in them we are protected and healed. In His Spirit, we find life and peace. The peace that is lasting and surpasses all understanding. Peace that washes into our hurts and wrongs and lifts us higher to eternal joys.
Luke 6: 31-38 NIV
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
- Emulate the Father.
Luke 6: 35-36 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. This is counter-cultural. Mercy comes from God. In fact, his Word in Malachi teaches us to LOVE mercy, as He does.
Matthew 18: 21-22 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Look at what Jesus taught following His answer:
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had to be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt, and let him go.
When the forgiven servant left he saw another servant who owed him just 100 coins-he grabbed and choked him demanding he pay back what he was owed. This servant fell to his knees and begged for mercy, be patient with me. The forgiven servant would not show mercy and threw him into prison until he could pay the debt. The other servants who saw told the king what happened. He called that forgiven servant back and he said you wicked servant! I canceled all your debt because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had on you? He was handed over to the jailers until he could pay back the debt.
Look at what the Father says to us:
Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
Who are we to withhold mercy to another when God has shown endless mercy towards us?
Spouses, isn’t this a great trap to fall into? Storing up all the wrongs the other one has committed and just waiting for the prime time to drop the bomb and lay it all out there? Let us not be those people. That is so dangerous and unhealthy. That will create great divides that will become very difficult to close. Let us instead follow the Lord’s heart and model blot them out and remember them no more. Let us be people who are merciful.
THIS IS the Kingdom of God.
Colossians 3: 13-14 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
How do we emulate the Father we put on love? Not our love that has conditions and limits- His love that is pure and without sin- His love that binds us together in unity. His love forgives. Unity is what Jesus came to bring to the people of God. If you are not in unity with someone there. Come into agreement with them again through the Holy Spirit’s working, by remembering you are brothers and sisters in Christ-bound together. Unity will only happen as we choose to forgive others. Love is what brings us back to unity. Come into agreement with one another.
- God Forgives as We Forgive Others.
God’s Word teaches us if we want to be forgiven by God, we must also forgive others. We must examine our hearts for anything we are withholding before we come pleading to God for His mercy in our lives.
Take a look at the Lord’s Prayer. Many of you know this by heart and have spoken it much of your life. How closely do you pay attention to the words you are praying? How aware are you of what you are asking God to do and what you are confessing?
Let’s look: Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name-bless Your name Almighty God! Your Kingdom come-bring it here on earth Lord-just like it is in Heaven. Bring it here.
Matthew 6: 11-12 1 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Do you see the words? I love that as I was preparing this message before I left for the conference conference speaker Aeneas pointed out this very same truth- forgive us our debts AS WE FORGIVE our debtors or those who do wrong to us. This means- forgive me Lord when I mess up and fall short, just as I am also forgiving those who fall short with me.
The prayer given to us as a model by Jesus Himself is “Forgive me, AS I also forgive”. You don’t receive one without the other.
Matthew 6: 14-15 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Do you hear this today? We are forgiven to forgive others. As we do, we can trust and have confidence knowing our Father will forgive us freely. But if we don’t, we can also expect the same from the Father for He will respond to the condition of our heart.
Do you have bitterness in your heart towards someone? Forgive them. Do you have hate in your heart towards someone? Forgive them. Has someone offended you? Forgive them. Has someone cheated on you? Forgive them. So that your Father might also forgive you.
Mark 11:25 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Release your unforgiveness because when we release unforgiveness, we open the flow for God’s anointing upon our lives again. Unforgiveness puts a block on His anointing and life gets hard and messy. With His anointing freely flowing, it becomes easy to do what we are called to do. God desires for us to be in His anointed flow.
Aeneas said, “Unforgiveness is the kryptonite to the saint.” Isn’t that true? In times you have held unforgiveness in your heart, it slowly kills you; it depletes your strength; steals your joy, and keeps you from living life abundant in Christ.
When we choose to forgive, we come back into the peace of Christ. This is our reward that is worth far more than any right we want to hold on to the right to be offended, the right to be angry and bitter, the right to condemn someone, the right to be judged and jury-listen we all have rights as human beings and even more as Americans we cling to dearly. I’m not saying they aren’t important to me today. It’s when we make our rights more important to us, than our surrender to God that we step out from His peace. We start trusting our heart as our protector more than the love of God- and friend the heart is deceitful. What we are choosing is division over unity.
The Gospel is a Kingdom of Peace. You will never have peace or promote peace with unforgiveness in your heart.
- Our Reward is Peace.
Ephesians 4: 31-32 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
We might wrongly think if we forgive someone we are weak or we give up power. That is not true. Forgiveness takes incredible strength to release hate, and anger and choose the love of God-this strength comes through Christ-not us. We are giving power back to the One who holds all power Jesus and placing our hearts in His hands.
When we choose to forgive we reflect God’s love and nature. We build the Kingdom of God and we play a role in preserving it.
Luke 6:36 Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High,
This is who we are called to be, children of God, set apart from the ways of the world to show them the nature and love of God. To show the world the mercy of God.
When we forgive, we are confirming we trust God to mend our wounds caused by another and we begin to let God heal them. God cannot bring healing to our hearts when we have unforgiveness. This also humbles us to allow God to show us the other person from His perspective. This is important. God will show us their heart, and their brokenness and we can move from bitterness to compassion; from cursing them to praying for them; from anger to peace, joy, and hope.
It is the prayers of the righteous who are heard and answered. Not the bitter and hate-filled.
Unattended wounds remain raw, they can get infected and grow deeper. The more we play our hurts and offenses over and over, the they grow deeper into our hearts. We must choose to forgive quickly and let God tend to our wounds.
If we don’t, we develop a distorted view of truth. We look at the world through our wounded lens and we are looking for people to hurt us-expecting it and therefore drawing it into our lives over and over again. We look at God through a distorted lens and we fail to trust Him.
Forgiveness is not excusing wrong behavior or acting like it never happened. It’s acknowledging it, and choosing to show an act of mercy, just as God has been merciful to us.
John 14:27 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Forgiveness towards others plays a huge role in keeping our hearts free from trouble and glorifying God.
Conclusion: It is inconsistent for those who have been forgiven by God to hold grudges against anyone. Let us look to the cross as our guide. May we like Jesus, show mercy, and extend forgiveness to those who wrong us. For it is YOU who will be set free! It is YOU who will know the peace of Christ.
Invite others to release and forgive now-don’t leave here holding on to it. Let’s deal with this today.
Invite others to receive the gift of salvation and be forgiven.
Speak the Lord’s Prayer and let us be fully aware of what we are praying and let us pray from our heart:
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, Forever and ever. Amen.
Let us give from our hearts to the WHO IMA-they are taking the Gospel to the changing lives, bringing salvation to the ends of the earth. We increased our budget and hope to support this great mission. Over 40 missionaries who need this monthly support prayed and felt led to give $1000 to this mission this year we need your help and generosity. Help us bless this ministry and have joy knowing you are part of what they are all doing in the jungle, the desert, in Europe, Africa, middle east-YOU are making an impact for people to know Jesus and be set free! Give by faith.
Let us follow this also with our general fund for this church- let us live by faith.
Final Blessing: 1 Thessalonians 5:23 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.