Sermons

Summary: Unity, forgiveness, and peace.

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Luk 14:31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

Luk 14:32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

Luk 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Luk 14:34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

Luk 14:35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Most wars are fought over disputes to do with territory, religion, or resources, but sometimes wars are fought over something as simple as a soccer game. In 1969, a four-day war was fought between Salvador and Honduras after rioting exploded after second North American qualifying round for the 1970 World Cup. Emotions were very high in this qualifying round, so much so that there were many reports of fighting between citizens of Honduras and Salvador. While it may seem funny as a reason to start a war, this war was actually quite serious for both countries.

On July 14, the Salvadoran Air Force attacked targets in Honduras, including an airport and the dropping of 22 100-pound bombs. Salvador also launched major offensives on main roads that connected both of the countries. By July 15, Salvador was advancing into Honduras and had taken over the city of Nueva Ocotepeque and eight other cities. After this though, Honduras fought back, dropping bombs in Salvador, including oil facilities, an airport and the use of napalm. The next day, an immediate cease-fire was called and Salvador withdrew from Honduras. On July 20, the cease fire took full effect. It was not until 11 years later that both countries signed a peace treaty.

In all, 300,000 Salvadorans were displaced due to the war. El Salvador suffered 900 casualties, while Honduras lost 100 troops and 2,000 civilians.

Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England under Henry VIII, spoke the following words to the judges who had unjustly condemned him to death:

- “As the blessed apostle St. Paul . . . consented to the death of St. Stephen, and kept their clothes that stoned him to death, and yet be they now both twain holy saints in Heaven, and shall continue there friends for ever, so I verily trust, and shall therefore right heartily pray, that though your Lordships have now here in earth been judges to my condemnation, we may yet hereafter in Heaven merrily all meet together, to our everlasting salvation”

More’s statement exhibits the beauty of forgiveness.

- So also do the words of Stephen, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60);

- And of our Lord, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Philemon 19 – I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay; not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides.

As he closes his letter to Philemon, Paul gives insight into the motives for forgiveness.

- His gracious but pregnant words are meant to be the final push to move the heart of Philemon to forgive Onesimus.

- Each of his remarks contains the embryo of a truth that should motivate us to forgive as well.

In this passage, we can discern six motives for forgiving others:

• The recognition of an unpayable debt,

• The possibility of being a blessing,

• The necessity of obedience,

• The acknowledgment of accountability,

• The importance of maintaining fellowship, and…

• The requirement of grace.

Paul was taking a very personal interest in Philemon and Onesimus.

A debt was owed on both accounts.

- Onesimus owed a physical debt – Philemon a spiritual debt.

- Onesimus owed a temporal debt – Philemon an eternal debt.

• The point is: forgive because you have been forgiven much.

On May 27, 1989, [radio commentator] Paul Harvey reported that blue whales actually sing. The biggest mammal in the world doesn’t speak, but it does sing.

And that’s not all of the story. Blue whales sing the same song at the same time — all over the world! It is reported that the singing sound produced by the blue whale can reach 188 decibels — a volume level that exceeds the volume of a jet engine.

Not only do these amazing mammals sing the same song, but they also sometimes change the tune in perfect unity. When the Pacific Ocean blue whales change their “tune,” tests have proven that the song changes among the blue whales in the Atlantic, too. It is as if there is some “mastermind” orchestrating their music.

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