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Summary: This messages looks at the pitfalls of not forgiveing and the character of someone who forgives

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THE LITTLE BOOK WITH AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE

FORGIVENESS

THE BOOK OF PHILEMON 1:1-7

PART 1: THE CHARACTER OF ONE WHO FORGIVES

PHILEMON 1:1-7 PAUL, A PRISONER FOR CHRIST JESUS, AND TIMOTHY OUR BROTHER, TO PHILEMON OUR BELOVED FELLOW WORKER 2 AND APPHIA OUR SISTER AND ARCHIPPUS OUR FELLOW SOLDIER, AND THE CHURCH IN YOUR HOUSE: 3 GRACE TO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD OUR FATHER AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. 4 I THANK MY GOD ALWAYS WHEN I REMEMBER YOU IN MY PRAYERS, 5 BECAUSE I HEAR OF YOUR LOVE AND OF THE FAITH THAT YOU HAVE TOWARD THE LORD JESUS AND FOR ALL THE SAINTS, 6 AND I PRAY THAT THE SHARING OF YOUR FAITH MAY BECOME EFFECTIVE FOR THE FULL KNOWLEDGE OF EVERY GOOD THING THAT IS IN US FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST. 7 FOR I HAVE DERIVED MUCH JOY AND COMFORT FROM YOUR LOVE, MY BROTHER, BECAUSE THE HEARTS OF THE SAINTS HAVE BEEN REFRESHED THROUGH YOU.

PROPOSITION: CHRISTIANS NEED TO UNDERSTAND AND APPLY BIBLICAL FORGIVENESS.

INTRODUCTION: JOHN MACARTHUR WRITES, “WE LIVE IN AN EGO-CENTERED, SELFISH SOCIETY THAT KNOWS AND CARES LITTLE ABOUT FORGIVENESS. WE HAVE BECOME SO DECADENT AND NON-CHRISTIAN AS TO SEE FORGIVING PEOPLE AS WEAK, AND UNFORGIVING ONES AS STRONG. OUR CULTURE CELEBRATES AND EXALTS THOSE TV AND MOVIE HEROES WHO TAKE VENGEANCE ON OTHERS. POP PSYCHOLOGISTS WRITE BOOKS EXTOLLING THE VIRTUES OF BLAMESHIFTING, UNFORGIVENESS, AND MAKING THOSE WHO OFFEND US PAY. THE RESULT IS A SOCIETY FILLED WITH BITTERNESS, VENGEANCE, ANGER, HATE, AND HOSTILITY. RETALIATORY CRIMES AND LAWSUITS ARE RAMPANTLY COMMONPLACE AS PEOPLE SEEK VENGEANCE EITHER OUTSIDE OR INSIDE THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW. FURTHER, LACK OF FORGIVENESS IS PERHAPS THE LEADING CAUSE OF THE BREAKUPS IN FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.”

WE ARE SURROUNDED BY AN ENVIRONMENT THAT MINIMIZES FORGIVENESS. YET FORGIVENESS IS SO ESSENTIAL TO THE FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST. WE ARE TO SEEK FORGIVENESS. WE ARE TO OFFER FORGIVENESS. IN SHORT, WE ARE TO BE A FORGIVING PEOPLE.

TRANSITION: PAUL, IN HIS LETTER TO PHILEMON DISCUSSES FORGIVENESS IN SUCH A WAY, THAT WITHOUT USING THE WORD, BRINGS PHILEMON, AND HOPEFULLY US, TO THE PLACE WHERE WE WILL EMBRACE FORGIVENESS AND ACT FORGIVING.

BEFORE WE CAN EVEN BEGIN TO DEVELOP OUR TEACHING ON FORGIVENESS AND WHAT THE CHARACTER OF ONE WHO WILL FORGIVE LOOKS LIKE, WE NEED TO FIRST SEE THE RESULT OF NOT FORGIVING

I. THE RESULTS OF NOT FORGIVING

a. TO NOT FORGIVE PUTS US AT ODDS WITH THE GOD WE SAY WE LOVE AND SERVE

i. IT IS AN OPEN ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE

ii. IT IS AN OPEN ACT OF DEFIANCE

EPHESIANS 4:32 BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER, TENDERHEARTED, FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER, AS GOD IN CHRIST FORGAVE YOU.

COLOSSIANS 3:13 BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER AND, IF ONE HAS A COMPLAINT AGAINST ANOTHER, FORGIVING EACH OTHER; AS THE LORD HAS FORGIVEN YOU, SO YOU ALSO MUST FORGIVE.

iii. TO BE LIKE CHRIST SHOULD BE THE GOAL OF EVERY FOLLOWER OF CHRIST

iv. NOTICE THAT FORGIVENESS IS A COMMAND

b. TO NOT FORGIVE IMPRISONS US IN OUR PAST

i. TO KEEPS OUR SORES OPEN

ii. IT DOES NOT ALLOW WOUNDS TO HEAL

iii. IT ROBS US OF THE JOY OF LIVING AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST

iv. FEEDS ANGER AND RESENTMENT

a. TO NOT FORGIVE PRODUCES BITTERNESS

i. HEBREWS 12:15 SEE TO IT THAT NO ONE FAILS TO OBTAIN THE GRACE OF GOD; THAT NO “ROOT OF BITTERNESS” SPRINGS UP AND CAUSES TROUBLE, AND BY IT MANY BECOME DEFILED;

ii. NOTICE THAT BITTERNESS IS A ROOT

iii. BITTERNESS ACTS LIKE AN INFECTION

iv. THE LONGER WE DWELL IN UNFORGIVENESS THE LONGER BITTERNESS GROWS IN OUR LIVES

v. LIKE A ROOT, ONCE IT GOES IN DEEP, WE STRUGGLE TO GET IT OUT

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU REMOVED A DANDELION ONLY TO SEE IT RETURN THE FOLLOWING YEAR

d. TO NOT FORGIVE OPENS THE DOOR OF OUR LIVES TO SATAN

EPHESIANS 4:26-27 BE ANGRY AND DO NOT SIN; DO NOT LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON YOUR ANGER, 27 AND GIVE NO OPPORTUNITY TO THE DEVIL.

2 CORINTHIANS 2:10-11 ANYONE WHOM YOU FORGIVE, I ALSO FORGIVE. INDEED, WHAT I HAVE FORGIVEN, IF I HAVE FORGIVEN ANYTHING, HAS BEEN FOR YOUR SAKE IN THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST, 11 SO THAT WE WOULD NOT BE OUTWITTED BY SATAN; FOR WE ARE NOT IGNORANT OF HIS DESIGNS.

i. SATAN LOOKS FOR ANY OPPORTUNITY TO DISRUPT OUR CHRISTIAN WALK

ii. ONCE WE ARE OPEN IN ONE AREA, WE ARE WEAKENED IN OTHER AREAS.

e. TO NOT FORGIVE HINDERS MY FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

MATTHEW 6:14-15

14 FOR IF YOU FORGIVE OTHERS THEIR TRESPASSES, YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER WILL ALSO FORGIVE YOU,

15 BUT IF YOU DO NOT FORGIVE OTHERS THEIR TRESPASSES, NEITHER WILL YOUR FATHER FORGIVE YOUR TRESPASSES.

i. NOT SPEAKING ABOUT REDEMPTIVE FORGIVENESS

ii. THE ISSUE IS RELATIONAL FORGIVENESS

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