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Summary: Our relationship with God begins with forgiveness; but forgiveness is at the heart of relationships with fellow Christians. Forgiveness is not a commodity that we receive. It impacts our life to the degree that we want to share what we've received.

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WAC2BL: Forgiven & Forgiving

Scripture Text: Colossians 3.12-14

INTRODUCTION

I’ve been thinking-about some of the most-highly-rated television shows over the past 30 years: Star Trek, M*A*S*H*, Cheers, Seinfeld, Lost. Of some-of these-shows, I’ve been an avid-fan ~ and watched most of the episodes. Others, I’ve watched a-few, here-and-there.

But, despite what I think about these shows, there’s little-argument that these are some-of the most popular shows in the past three-decades. I thought about the settings-and-back-drops for each-one: For Star Trek, the setting was space ~ the final-frontier. For M*A*S*H*, it was South Korea during the Korean War. For Cheers, the setting was a bar in Boston. For Seinfeld ~ an apartment in Manhattan. And for Lost ~ an island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

Hugely different settings. But they all have something in common. And that-common-element is what draws people to watch these shows. It has nothing-to-do with the setting, …and it has everything-to-do-with the relationships between characters!

Relationships are a significant-part of every person’s life. Boys-and-girls, teen-agers, men-and-women seek-out-relationships. People want folks in their lives who care-about-them; …people that are going to stick-it-out, come-what-may; …companions that are committed to the relationship.

This-desire-for-relationships is a universal-human-desire; …it-is-what-it-is because God designed us to be connected to-each-other ~ …significant, …lasting, …meaningful relationships with people. Incidentally… this is what stands behind the Second Great Commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus didn’t give that command as an arbitrary, …random-thing that He pulled-out-of-the-air because He thought it’d be a good-idea. No! He gave us that command because He knew that this-is-what-we’re-created-for! Not-only are we created to enjoy a loving, trusting relationship with God; …but we’re also created to enjoy peaceful, loving relationships with people.

That’s why almost the entirety of the Bible contains stories and laws, commands and descriptions relating-to human-relationships. And it’s-also-why the WAC2BL question is so-important: What’s a Church to Be Like? If it’s about pews-and-steeples, …if it’s about buses or billboard advertisements, …if it’s about productions and programs ~ …we’re missin’ the point! If it’s about professionalism and polished performances, …if it’s about organization and image, …if it’s about entertainment or about busy-ness ~ …we’re missin’ the point!

What’s a Church to Be Like? However we answer that-question, …it’s gotta-be-about relationships ~ …first-of-all, our relationship to God; …and secondly, our relationships to-one-another.

TRANSITION

Last-week, we listened as God spoke to us through Peter’s letter ~ …reminding us that we are God’s redeemed-children, …and as-such, we’re to live-out-our-redemption by loving-one-another sincerely, deeply.


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