Summary: This sermon examines the second part of the fifth petition of our Lord’s Pattern for Prayer, "as we forgive those who sin against us.", seeking to explore our need for extend forgiveness to others.
A PATTERN FOR PRAYER
DON’T GO TO JAIL!
"… and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us … 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 6:12,14-15, NLT)
Do you recall the cartoon character Andy Capp? In one of the comic strips, Andy is up to his old tricks, dodging the minister because he is in the pub and not in church. Andy’s wife Flo has decided to take him back after one of his periodic expulsions from home. The minster marvels at this and says “Flo, I’m so glad you took him back again.” Flo answers, “There’s something about me; I just have to forgive and forget.” Andy replies, “There’s something about her, all right. She never forgets that she forgives.”
“Forgive and forget” says the old adage. But is this realistic, is it practical? No matter how hard I try, there are just some hurt I can’t forget. The hurt is too deep. The pain is too real. What is more, even when I do forget, something happens and those old painful memories of the wrong done are dredged up. Forgive, maybe; but forget … that’s almost impossible.
A further problem is … what if I forgive the other person but the person carries on regardless and does nothing at all to change or correct the behaviour that is causing the hurt. What then? Or what if the person’s behaviour toward me or someone I hold dear is so awful that I feel that they don’t deserve my forgiveness? What then?
These are very real problems that we encounter when we are confronted with the second half of the fifth petition of our LORD’S PATTERN FOR PRAYER “… as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” We do not seem to have too much of a problem with the first half of the petition. It is easy to come before God and seek His forgiveness but it is the second part that seems to hang us up …
In reviewing the fifth petition, we have been considering
THREE ASPECTS OF THE PETITION
Last week, we commenced by looking at
• THE PROBLEM – SIN
The question was posed “If I am a Christian and God has already forgiven me, why should I have to pray for His forgiveness daily?”
We answered the question by first making it clear that the Lord’s Prayer as we know it, is a prayer for those who are in an intimate personal relationship with Almighty God and not a prayer for ‘unredeemed sinners’ it is a prayer for ‘born-again’ Christians, who at the moment of accepting Christ as Saviour are …
• SAVED FROM SIN’S PENALTY
We no longer stand condemned by God, we no longer will be judged for sins past, present and future. However, sin does remain a problem in the believer’s life and therefore God is in the process of transforming us to be like Jesus and part of that process is to give us victory over sin that is spurred on by our old nature and so we are being…
• SAVED FROM SIN’S POWER
The good news is that one day, when we pass from this life, the process will be complete as we are changed to be like Christ and sin will no longer be part of the equation for us in Heaven and then we will be …
• SAVED FROM SIN’S PRESENCE
In the meantime … sin needs to be dealt with and therefore we looked at God’s way of dealing with sin and it’s consequences in our daily lives … We saw …
• THE PROVISION - FORGIVENESS
John says “… if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."
We suggested that this involves,
CONTEMPLATION as we allow the Holy Spirit to place the mark on our transgression through our reflecting on our thoughts, words & deeds
CONFESSION as we look at our sin through God’s eyes and enter into the pain our sin causes, acknowledging that we have broken God’s laws and He is justified in punishing us.
CONVICTION as declare our intention to turn from our sin and turn back to God’s way.
CLEANSING as we experience the freedom and joy of God’s grace
That brings us to the third aspect of the petition that we consider today …
• THE PREREQUISITE – FORGIVING OTHERS
“… as we have forgiven those who sin against us."
It is interesting that it is only on this aspect of the petition seeking GOD’S PARDON that our Lord adds an appended commentary to the entire prayer… "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)