Summary: This is part of a series on "one anothering." This sermon focuses on forgiveness as part of our Biblical community
Forgive One Another
Series: One Another
Meridian Church of God Seventh Day
April 5, 2003
Good to see you (welcome all + visitors)…
Hope all is going well for you…
Illustration: Happy to Go
Series Introduction SLIDE 1
For those of you who are visiting, or missed the last couple of weeks, we have started a series on fellowship, or genuine Christian community.
We are looking to see what the Bible has to say about what community should look like and how we should treat and interact with each other. To do this, we have been looking at the “one another’s” in the Bible – the commands that tell us how we should relate to one another.
In the first couple of messages, we laid some groundwork down. We looked at the foundation of community.
First, we saw the need to accept one another, Paul wrote: even as God accepted us in Christ Jesus. We should accept one another.
That means we accept each other as we really are. We accept the real person. This comes from an understanding that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. None of us are perfect – each of us has his or her own flaws and weaknesses.
With that knowledge should also come the understanding that we are all on a level playing field.
What I mean by that is that none of us are perfect – therefore we should not expect it. I am not perfect, nor are you.
Again, that does not mean that we condone sin, or even accept sin – what it does mean is that we understand that each one of us sin and we accept each other anyways.
We all stand, apart from the blood of Jesus Christ, guilty before the Lord. It is in Jesus Christ that we are accepted by God – who is the One we have truly sinned against.
We will look at this concept more today, but if God accepts us, shouldn’t we accept each other?
That lead us to our second one another: to be real with one another. This is where the masks come off and the façade goes down.
When we have an environment in our church that accepts one another, then we are free to be honest about where we are really at and turn to the church – our community – for help.
This takes coming to terms with where we are really at. Something that is key to Christian growth, I think.
When we continue to wear the masks, it becomes easy to get caught up in that image and to believe that the mask is really who and what we are.
Removing the mask can be a scary thing.
Our pride tries to stop us.
We want people to believe we are great people. Full of holiness and godliness.
It takes great humility to admit your weaknesses and your struggles.
We see that example in the Apostle Paul.
The thing that has always struck me in that verse is the present tense of what Paul says among whom I am foremost of all.
Our fear holds us back.
What will they think – those in the church? That question – will I be accepted? If they knew the truth about me – would they continue to love me – or would it be criticism and condemnation?
While these things make it difficult to take our masks off, we need to, we are called to in the Bible. The Bible calls us to speak the truth to one another.
Masks are not the truth. Their purpose is to deceive. That is not consistent with Christian values and truths.
The next foundation we saw is that we are called to agape one another – that is to love one another.
In that message, which was last week’s, we saw what it meant to have this agape love, in comparison to the other types of love.
I think it is important to understand the contrast between this type of love, the agape love, and the other types of love.
If you were not here last week, or if you need a refresher, the sermon is available on-line at our website, or we have it on CD or VHS – I would encourage you to listen to it.
We are called to love one another – the Apostle John felt so strongly about it that he wrote that if we do not have agape love for our brother, we do not have it for God.
Those three “one another’s” that we have talked about lay down the foundation of a true Christian community.
Everything from here, we could say will be built upon these truths, but I guess I prefer to look at it that everything from here will be an expression of these truths.