Summary: Sermon based on Matthew 6:12 - Challenges listeners with 3 questions regarding forgiveness
“FORGIVENESS” Matthew 6:12
FBCF – 3/14/21
INTRO – Unmarked tombstone outside Sydney, NY – has one 3-syllable word on it: “Forgiven.”
What freedom! What joy! What relief & release comes w/ that 1 single word: “Forgiven.”
Let’s talk about forgiveness today.
EXPLANATION – Matthew 6:12
One of the realities of the Lord’s Prayer is that it is so familiar to so many of us. One writer said that it “may be the single set of words spoken more often than any other in the history of the world” (Timothy Keller, Prayer, p. 109). We have to be careful & cognizant of how we can possibly allow its familiarity to cause us to lose the impact of it in our lives. It is THE PRAYER that Jesus Himself gave to us as the key to unlocking the deep reservoir that prayer truly is. But we may not realize that b/c of its familiarity.
Like when I preached at FBCF for the first time. All of a sudden in the middle of my sermon, a train roared by w/ its horn blaring just a block from here. Unnerved me. Thought, “How am I going to preach here every Sunday w/ that happening?” Now that I’ve gotten used to it, I barely notice it.
Same thing can happen w/ the Lord’s Prayer. We can get so used to it that we barely notice how precious & how powerful it truly is. Just as those freight trains roar through our town carrying their cargo to their destination, so the Lord’s Prayer carries us right into the presence of our Father who is in heaven.
The Lord’s Prayer is divided into 2 sections:
- First is all pointed God-ward
o Before we begin bombarding the throne room of God with all of our needs & issues, we need to make sure we acknowledge who we are talking to & praise Him for who He is.
- Second is all pointed us-ward
o Bringing our needs & petitions to the Lord is such a blessing when we know that we have a heavenly Father who loves us deeply & knows what we need every moment of every day. We may not always understand what He is doing, but we can always trust that He is working all things together for our good & for His glory.
One of the “us-ward” items that we ALL have to deal with is the issue of forgiveness – receiving God’s forgiveness for ourselves & granting forgiveness to others, including ourselves. And that’s what we are going to look at today in this sermon on “Forgiveness.”
There are 3 main words in the verse today:
“forgive” – to leave, leave behind; send away; let loose
“debts” – that which is owed; an obligation
“debtors” – one who must; a person who is under obligation
Sin saddles us w/ a debt that we cannot pay, & yet God demands that it be paid. You & I can’t pay that debt. All the animal sacrifices in the OT couldn’t pay the debt.
APPLICATION – We are to forgive others as God in Christ has forgiven us.
HOW TO WE RECEIVE GOD'S FORGIVENESS?
Children’s SS teacher asked class, “How do you receive God’s forgiveness?” Little boy answered, “You gotta sin!”
- And we all have b/c we are all sinners.
A famous psychiatrist once said that if he could ever convince the patients in his psychiatric hospitals that their sins are forgiven, 75% of them could walk out the doors the next day.
- Realize that you have a debt that has to be paid - "ALL HAVE SINNED"
- Recognize that ONLY Jesus can pay that debt - Jesus paid a debt He didn’t owe b/c we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.
- Reach out in faith & accept His payment for your sin debt
HOW DO WE FORGIVE OTHERS?
A man once said to John Wesley, “I never forgive.” Wesley’s wise reply: “Then, sir, I hope you never sin.”
- Point: You can’t expect & assume God’s forgiveness of your sins if you’re not forgiving others of their sins.
“WHY FORGIVE” (Elmer Towns)
- You are commanded to forgive – Mark 11:25 – “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings [against Him and others].” (AMP)
- The example of Jesus – Luke 23:34 – “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.’” (NCV)
- To prosper spiritually – Matthew 18:35 – “This king did what my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (NCV)