Summary: Loving the Lord through the Forgiveness of Others
Loving the Lord, Part 3
Loving through Forgiving Others
In your bibles, go with me to the book of Ephesians, Chapter 4.
Last week, we began the series on love with a message titles “Loving our Enemies”, then on Sunday we continued with discussing “Loving one Another” without reservation or without any added conditions – just as Christ loved us.
Remember that the life of the believer is to be lived in servitude to God, with love for one another.
Anything less is allowing our own flesh to rise up and control us – which is in direct disobedience to the commandment Jesus, given to us in John 9:12, which says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
The sacrifice of the cross that Jesus made was worth more than any of us could ever pay, and so his example of surrender is what we have to follow.
Tonight, we continue focused on ourselves, in the forgiveness of others through the expression of our love for God.
Ephesians 4:32 is our focal verse for the evening which says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”
Point 1 - Do not look for revenge
By a show of hands, how many have had things go wrong in their lives at the hand of someone else?
Now, consider in your minds how many times have you desperately wanted to grab the nearest blunt object and take them to the woodshed.
I realize this may be extreme, but revenge is something that all humans deal with because of the war of the flesh against right and wrong.
Remember John 15:19 (from Sunday) which says, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
This verse gives us a foundation that once we belong to the King; we no longer belong to ourselves.
Once we have given our lives to Him in submission and in service, from that moment on a believer is called to live a life that truly honors God.
Paul writes in Romans 12:19, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.”
Forgiveness however, means understanding our own emotions as well.
We get angry, things get under our skin and make us annoyed, mad, or even furious – however (here is the life application): Have you ever considered when someone hurts you, to pray for that person?
Have you ever considered looking into your own heart and asking God to remove the anger so that it will not consume you?
Matthew 5:44 says, “"Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
Another verse spoken directly to me in prayer time on Tuesday morning was 1 Peter 3:9 which says, “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it."
Application: The greatest weapon the enemy has to use against us is our own willingness to take control of a situation – to lash out due to emotion – and because of that we have to rise above it.
Go to Romans 2
Forgiveness means not taking action against another, even when you want too.
Let me show you a perfect example of what happens in the Spiritual realm when we do not forgive, but we continue to hold onto anger and allow it to build and consume us.
This is Paul writing and telling us what judgment through revenge does – Romans 2:1 says, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”
(Expound on this verse)
“You” – very specific
“Have no excuse” – nothing you say will justify what you are about to do
“You who pass judgment” – if you do it right now
“For at whatever point” – or whenever you take the action (catch-all)
“You are condemning yourself” – warning to the believer
“Do the same things” – because we are just as big a sinner
The high and mighty attitude will not do for the believer – the proud, arrogant, “I am better than you” will destroy a believer faster than you could ever imagine.
Consider for a moment, the forgiveness we have received (through Jesus at Calvary) came at a price (His life) that none of us has ever had to pay (no one has ever asked you to give your life willingly).