Summary: A devotion on Forgiveness.
* As we come to the Lord ’s Table tonight, I offer this thought; “Divine forgiveness is the central part of the gospel.” Jesus left heaven to make provision for our forgiveness
• The word of God teaches that divine forgiveness is intrinsically tied to human forgiveness. Because God forgives, He mandates His crown creation forgive one another. (scripture)
• Ephesians 4:32- Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
• Luke 6:37 Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
• Col 3:13 Bear with each other & forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
• 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 “you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.”
• Forgiveness is mandatory as if we don’t forgive, it will alter our quality of life
• Karl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, says that if he could convince the patients in his psychiatric hospitals that their sins are forgiven, 75 percent of them could walk out the next day. So often we do not take God at his Word.
• Divine thinking into 5 thoughts-
1. ILLUSTRATIONS OF FORGIVENESS
* Consider Abraham & Lot. Every time wealthy Abraham gave his young nephew a inch, he took mile. After many problems Lot was taken captive and Abraham had to perform a rescue operation.
* Consider Joseph & his brothers. The brothers laughed at, imprisoned, and sold Joseph, telling Jacob his favorite son was dead. Some 12 years later the brothers walk in to find Joseph in a position to have had them put to death. Instead he forgave, took off ruling robe & embraced/
* Consider Jesus & Peter: After declaring his told allegiance to Jesus, he was told that he would deny Jesus. He disputed the claim and then gave his denial at a critical time. After the resurrection Jesus said, “tell disciples & Peter”
Forgiveness – Pg 2
* I read the story recently of how Louis XII of France treated his enemies after he ascended to the throne. Before coming to power, he had been cast into prison and kept in chains. Later when he did become king, he was urged to seek revenge but he refused. Instead, he prepared a scroll on which he listed all who had perpetrated crimes against him. Behind every man’s name he placed a cross in red ink. When the guilty heard about this, they feared for their lives and fled. Then the king explained, "The cross which I drew beside each name was not a sign of punish-ment, but a pledge of forgiveness extended for the sake of the crucified Savior, who upon His cross forgave His enemies and prayed for them."
• Is there a story about you? Someone wronged you? You could have taken revenge, but forgave or are you living in Unforgiveness
2. INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT FORGIVENESS
* Peter asked a significant question. The Pharisees didn’t put a great deal of emphasis on forgiveness. Under the Rabbinical system of law, the required forgiveness to be offered was 3 times. It was based on Amos 1 which says, “for 3 sins I will hold back wrath, but for 4 I will not”
* Peter doubled the 3 and added one to (for good measure). Quite likely he thought “Jesus will be impressed.” Yet Jesus responded with not plus 1 but times 70. Can you imagine their reaction?
* The Disciples probably thought this was unreasonable, unthinkable, and uncountable; which is the point!
* The reason I believe they were amazed is that He immediately supported His principle with a parable because He wanted them to have clear picture of forgiveness.
* Sir Walter Scott had difficulty with the idea of "turning the other cheek." But Jesus’ words took on special meaning one day when Scott threw a rock at a stray dog to chase it away. His aim was straighter and his delivery stronger than he had intended, for he hit the animal and broke its leg. Instead of running off, the dog limped over to him and licked his hand. Sir Walter never forgot that touching response. He said, "That dog preached the Sermon on the Mount to me as few ministers have ever presented it." Scott said he had not found human beings so ready to forgive their enemies. Jesus’ way means forgiveness is not option.
Forgiveness – Pg 3
3. IMPORTANCE OF FORGIVENESS
* Jesus took every opportunity to stress the Importance of forgiveness. In Matthew 6 (the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus taught us “how to pray” and gave Model Prayer. At the end of the prayer, he only spoke to the forgiveness part with these words, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” It doesn’t get much clearer than this.