Summary: 5th message in an 8 week series on the Lord’s Prayer. This one deals with the phrase: "Forgive us our sins..."
Can You Hear Me Now? Good! Week 5
Author Robert Jeffries writes about a couple who was going to dinner to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. As the husband was driving, the wife began to reflect on their early days and she said: “Honey, do you remember how it was when we were dating and then first married? It was so romantic. We used to sit so close together when we drove anywhere, and now look at us! .You’re on that side, and I’m way over here!” To which the husband smiled & replied, “But, dear, I haven’t moved.” So it is in our relationship with God. If you are not close to him, or have been and are no longer, it’s not because God has moved. He’s still there, still wanting to be close to you. But sin causes us to move away from Him. And that creates the deepest need of our hearts.. God’s forgiveness. As Roy Lessin writes: “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior.” And that’s why our Savior, Jesus, included in His teaching on how to pray this petition... “Forgive us our sins..” This phrase is quoted a number of ways: “Forgive us our trespasses,” “forgive us our debts,” “Forgive us the wrongs we have done,” “Forgive us our shortcomings.” But no matter how it is said, it is still our greatest need.
As we surround our study with the theme of cell phones, we get the phrase “anytime minutes.” In the world of wireless that’s a phrase of freedom because with “anytime minutes” means you can use your cell phone without looking at the clock and without fear of any additional charges. Well, God really wants you to hear him now when it comes to His offer. He wants you to know that He doesn’t just offer free minutes, he offers a lifetime of freedom! You can be free of sin, free of condemnation and free of guilt. His forgiveness, His “anytime minutes,” are available without charge to you and without any contract. In fact, as we’ll see, these “anytime minutes” cost us nothing, but they cost our Provider everything. Because when God supplied His forgiveness He spared no expense, for it cost Him the life of His Son. So, let’s see the greatest “anytime minutes” we could ever have as we look at these dramatic and dynamic words, “Forgive us our sins.”
I. UNDERSTANDING THE PHRASE: “Forgive us our sins...”
Let’s briefly begin, as we have each week, by dealing with the phrase in its context because the two words that Jesus uses here, have an interesting etymology or origin. Both words “forgive” and “sin” are from a financial background.
That’s very obvious in the versions that translate “sins” with our English word “..debts.” Most of us, unfortunately, understand the concept of indebtedness. And the word Jesus uses here literally means “that which is owed..” William Barclay, a historian and Biblical scholar, writes, “This word is always used to denote something which is due, something which it is a duty or obligation to give or to pay. At its narrowest it is a money debt; at its widest it is any moral or religious obligation which a person under duty must discharge.” To put it in a metaphor that we understand all too well. It is our dreaded phrase.. “Insufficient funds.”I like the way Max Lucado in his book on the Lord’s prayer, The Great House of God talks about this metaphor. He writes, “Forgive me for broaching the issue, but I must. I realize the topic is personal, but it’s time we went public. I need to talk to you about being overdrawn at the bank. Your paycheck was late. Your landlord cashed your rent check too quickly. You were going to make a deposit, but your aunt called from Minnesota and by the time you got to the bank it was closed and you didn’t know how to make a night deposit. Regardless of the reason, the result is the same: Insufficient funds... In the gallery of famous phrases, “insufficient funds” hangs in the same hallway with “The IRS will audit your account,” “A root canal is necessary,” and “Let’s stop dating and just be friends.” You are overdrawn. You’ve spent more than you had to spend. And guess who has to cough up the cash? Not the bank, not the store, not your boss, not your aunt in Minnesota. In the grand scheme of things you can make all the excuses you want, but a bounced check lands in the lap of the one who wrote it...”