Summary: This is the 2nd sermon in the series "God's Terms And Conditions". What you have to do to receive God's forgiveness.
Series: God’s Terms And Conditions [#2]
RECEIVING GOD’S FORGIVENESS
We began a new series last week called “God’s Terms And Conditions”. There are numerous conditional statements in the Bible. If you do your part then God will do His. As we continue in our series, we come to a subject that isn’t real popular- Forgiveness. If I was preaching solely on God’s forgiveness of our sins, that would be fine; but when I talk about forgiving others- Not so popular.
Often times, I will “google” different key words for the sermon and this week, I “googled” forgive and forget. The result of this search was over 10 million websites. Why so many? Because, everyone has an opinion.
Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
The Disciples had asked Jesus how to pray and He gave them what we call the Lord’s Prayer. At the end of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus makes this conditional statement.
1. You forgive other people when they sin against you.
To forgive means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for (an offense, flaw, or mistake). So how do we forgive and does it mean that we have to forget it as well? Does the Bible tell us to forgive and forget? The phrase "forgive and forget" is not found in the Bible. However, there are numerous Scriptures commanding us to “forgive one another”. Forgiveness is a decision of the will. Since God commands us to forgive, we must make a conscious choice to forgive. This frees the forgiving one from the past.
In one sense, it is impossible to truly forget sins that have been committed against us. We cannot selectively "delete" events from our memory. The Bible states that God does not "remember" our wickedness. God is all-knowing. God knows that we have sinned. However, having forgiven us, He treats us as if the sin had not occurred. If we belong to Him through faith in Christ, God does not hold our sins against us. In that sense we must "forgive and forget." If we forgive someone, we must act as if that sin had never occurred. We remember the sin, but we live as if we did not remember it.
You cannot forgive someone if you hold resentment in your heart. You need to see this person through the eyes of Christ, which means that you show them grace and mercy. When you don’t forgive someone, you are allowing them to hold you captive. You need to forgive them.
As a side note, let me tell you what forgiveness is not.
Forgiveness is not acting. Kids are professionals at this. They say that they are sorry so they can get out of trouble; but they don’t mean it. Forgiveness isn’t denial. Just forgetting it and acting like it never happened isn’t forgiveness. Forgiveness is not revenge.
2. Your heavenly Father will forgive you.
Pretty simple- If you forgive those that sin against you, then God will forgive you. The opposite applies- If you don’t forgive those that sin against you; then God won’t forgive you. I not only want God’s forgiveness; but I need it.