Summary: A sermon on the salvation which comes from forgiving others.
“Forgiveness and Redemption”
Beginning with a clip from the movie: Spider-Man 3
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace UMC, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
A friend mentioned to me this past week: “I once spent 6 years angry at another person.
It didn’t do a thing to them, but boy, it sure ate me up inside.”
Peter Parker has allowed this sin-stuff—this lust for vengeance and revenge—this hatred…get the better of him and it has transformed him into someone he doesn’t know—even into someone he doesn’t like.
His girlfriend, Mary Jane, asks Peter, “Who are you?,” to which Peter replies: “I don’t know.”
Have you ever felt so lost and confused that you didn’t even know what was controlling your actions.
You didn’t even know who you were any longer?
Have you ever spent so much time in the fog of anger and despair that you finally cried out: “I want to see the real me!”?...
… “Who am I?”…
… “Where am I?”…
… “What am I doing here?”…
It’s a wake-up call, really.
The founder of Methodism, John Wesley might call it Prevenient Grace…
…that is, the grace and love of God working in our lives in order to awaken us to our sins and our need for a Savior…preparing us for repentance and thus forgiveness and reconciliation!!!
And so Peter Parker walks out into the darkness, and he hears God calling through the clanging of the church bells.
And he spends the night as the sin-stained Spider-Man…
…on the roof of a church, underneath a Cross…repenting.
And the grace becomes justifying grace when Peter enters the church by way of the bell-tower…
…and allows God to tear the black ooze out of his body in the form of the black suit…
…It is almost a near-perfect metaphor for repentance and redemption.
Parker even ends up in the shower—a metaphor for baptism.
And we see that the sin—or the black suit is transferred to Edward Brock who is, himself, filled with anger, hate, and the lust for revenge…
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.
When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins for we also forgive everyone who sins against us….”
Do we really?
Do we really forgive others the way we want and expect God to forgive us?...
…The way God has forgiven us?
Do we really?
In Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus instructs us that if we have an un-reconciled situation with one of our brothers or sisters and we have come to worship God…
…we are to first go and be reconciled with our brother or sister and then come back and worship God.
We can’t worship God and knowingly harbor grudges and hate and anger at the same time?
And what should we do if someone asks forgiveness for something they have done against us?
Should we accept their forgiveness and move on…
…truly forgiving them…
…or is it just too hard to forgive?
Is it just too much for them to ask of us?
Peter asked Jesus this very same question.
In Matthew 18 we are told that Peter “came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?
Up to seven times?”
“Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Which is a metaphor for every time into eternity!!!
After that, Jesus goes into talking about a parable where a king forgave the debt of a man when that man could not repay it, and had come to the king falling on his knees before him…begging for mercy.
But after that, the forgiven man was not forgiving of others when they owed him and could not repay.
Jesus says, “He refused. Instead, he went off and” had the people thrown in prison!
The parable ends with the unmerciful man losing his ‘salvation’, and Jesus says “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
So this forgiving of others stuff is pretty serious business!!!
As more than one person has said, “It’s not worth losing your soul over!”
Are you angry at anyone?
Are you harboring grudges?
Do you have a lust for revenge?
What ever you are mad about…
“It’s not worth losing your soul over!”
We can’t live as forgiven Kingdom People—unless we forgive others!
It just doesn’t work!!!
When we do not forgive, our hell is of our own making!
We have freedom of choice, and the right choice is not the easy choice…but it is the only way we can be saved!!!