MY STORY AND MY PASSIONS #2: FORGIVENESS AND FREEDOM
(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)
To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.
OPENING TEXT: “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” (Acts 20:24, NLT).
- I’m here to tell you that Jesus has been good to me! I love Him, and want you to know how good He is! Do you know the goodness of God today? PREACH.
INTRO TO TOPIC: “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39, NKJV).
- The first message I ever preached in this church: Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness.
- The two most important things we can learn to do is to love God and love people.
JESUS TEACHES ON FORGIVENESS:
“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22, NKJV).
- Jesus goes beyond any kind of reasonable human standard: “Don’t keep score!”
- He wants us to keep on forgiving even when their offenses are too many to count.
- THINK ABOUT IT: What standard of forgiveness do you follow?
- Do you refuse to forgive at all?
- Are you forgiving according to what you think is reasonable?
- Or, are you following Jesus’ command: to forgive lavishly and unselfishly?
THE BIG IDEA: People who have experienced God’s grace and freedom in their lives will walk in love and forgiveness towards all others.
- THE FORGIVING KING:
Jesus told a story: “23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.” (Matthew 18:23-27).
- The King reveals God’s heart to us. We have sinned and owe God a huge debt:
- But, if we confess our sins to Him, He loves us, releases us, and forgives us.
- He does for us what we could never do for ourselves!
- This amazing act of grace should fill us with grace and forgiveness toward others.
- THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT:
“28 But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.” (Matthew 18:28-30).
- In the Kingdom of God, He is the King, and we are His servants.
- In this story, the forgiven servant was owed around $10,000. That was nothing compared to his debt that was forgiven by the King. Yet, he still refused to forgive.
- THE JUST KING:
“31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:31-35).
- Jesus gives a very serious warning to those who refuse to forgive!
- PERSONAL ILLUSTRATION: I know what it’s like to be hurt by someone!
- To forgive doesn’t mean what they did was right, and it doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.
- It simply means that you are ‘settling accounts’ and releasing them from the debt.
- You are saying, “You don’t owe me anything.”
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15, NLT).
- Forgiveness is such an important principle in the Kingdom of Heaven!
- Jesus’ example: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
- Why are we to forgive? Because we’ve been forgiven. It’s that simple.
- Who do you need to forgive this morning?
BEWARE THE DEVIL’S TRAP OF OFFENSES:
“1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! … 3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” 5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:1-5).
- The disciples said, “It’s hard to forgive!”
“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
- Most people that are in the trap of offense don’t even know it.
- A hunter, to catch a prey, must lay a smart, subtle trap. Offense is the devil’s trap!
“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” (Matt. 24:10).
- Progression – offense leads to a betrayal, leads to hatred.
“A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city.” (Prov. 18:19).
- An offended person has built walls – called strongholds in the N.T:
- The person who can hurt you the most is the person that is closest to you.
- If we set up expectations, if they don’t meet them, they offend us.
David said: “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, And walked to the house of God in the throng.” (Psalm 55:12-14).
- This is why people say, “The world treats me better than most Christians!”
- When you build walls, you are no longer seeking to give, but to protect.
- A person with the walls up is the perfect candidate for betrayal.
- Betrayal = when I seek my protection or benefit at the expense of another
“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15).
- Hatred = love less; have no love; no love of God.
- Jesus is coming back for a church walking in extravagant love.
HOW TO DEAL WITH OFFENSES:
“15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17, NKJV).
- Talk to God about it first in prayer. Pray that God would heal your brokenness.
- If you feel you need to talk to that person about it, let your goal be reconciliation.
- DO NOT talk to someone else about it! That’s gossip and sin.
“A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.” (Pr. 16:28).
“A gossip tells secrets, so don’t hang around with someone who talks too much.” (Pr. 20:19).
- Gossips are troublemakers who destroy friendships.
- God COMMANDS us: DO NOT hang around with people who gossip!
- NOTE: “If someone will gossip TO you, they will also gossip ABOUT you.”
- Make a commitment to never say something negative about someone again.
- Refuse to be offended.
- Choose to forgive.
- Never gossip about someone.
- Forget the past and move forward into the future.
- Extend grace to everyone you meet!
Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/