Summary: A sermon on forgiveness of God. Examples of forgiveness from the Bible. Introduction to Philemon, a letter on forgiveness.
Complete Series on Philemon: http://www.cityharvestagchurch.org/category/sermons-and-sermon-series/philemon/
Are you dealing with hatred and bitterness in your life? We have a society filled with bitterness, vengeance, anger, and hatred toward others. This can be seen in the retaliatory kind of crimes that takes place in our day. One of the major contributors to hatred and the destruction of relationships is the absence of forgiveness. Our culture pushes us to be unforgiving. It celebrates and exalts people who are not willing to forgive.
Forgiveness – Restoring Relationships!
Of all of the human qualities, forgiveness is the virtue that makes men in any sense like God.
God is a God of forgiveness.
Exodus 34:6-7 6And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.
We are to forgive as the Lord forgives us.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
God forgives to us is based on our capacity to forgive other.
When we are born again we are forgiven by God. But then in our day-to-day life we come across situations where we are hurt by others and God's forgiveness to us is measure on our ability to forgive. Remember how Jesus taught us to pray. Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. God’s forgiveness of us is based on our forgiveness of others. James 2:13 Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.
See the beatitudes: Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. You want mercy? Give it. You want forgiveness? Give it and forgive like God forgive you.
I. What does Unforgiveness do?
1. Unforgiveness imprisons you in your past.
Proverbs 19:11 A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
When you fail to forgive someone who hurt you, you are chained to the past. Unforgiveness keeps that pain alive, it keeps the sore open. Unforgiveness never lets that wound heal and you go through life reminding yourself of what was done to you. Unforgiveness imprisons you to your past. On the other hand, forgiveness opens the door and lets the prisoner out. Forgiveness sets you free from your past. As soon as you forgive it, it’s gone, you’re free.
2. Unforgiveness produces bitterness.
The longer you remember the offense, the more bitter you are to that person. Bitterness is not just a sin. Your bitterness it is a cancer and it will infect your whole life. Anger begins to rage in you and it can easily get out of control. You entertain continuing thoughts of revenge. And what happens? Even casual conversation becomes a forum for slander and you lose control.
Unforgivness is the main reason for marital problems. Two Christians married to one another should never be separated or divorced. They should enjoy a happy relationship. That’s God’s design. Now, when I got married I married a sinner, so did my wife. So in marriage, it is impossible for us not to offend each other. It happens quite regularly. But where forgiveness operates, an offense is one moment in time, come and gone. Where there is no forgiveness, there is the accumulated bitterness that begins to turn you against your own partner. Forgiveness, on the other hand, dispels bitterness and replaces it with love.
3. Unforgiveness gives Satan an open door.
Unforgiveness throws the welcome mat out and invites the demons in.
Ephesians 4:26-27 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 10Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
4. Unforgiveness hinders your fellowship with God.
Matthew 6:14-15 14For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
In the ongoing relationship with God, if we don’t forgive others, He doesn’t forgive us. So if I’m not right with you, then God is not right with me.
You see the idiocy of an unforgiving attitude? It makes us a prisoner of our past, gives us a cancer of bitterness, opens the door for demons, and alienates us from our fellowship with God.