Summary: A classic sermon by Edwin Louis Cole on the forgiveness that sometimes must occur between fathers and sons.

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1. John 20:22-23

2. Ephesians 6:1-4

How Forgiveness Works

1. Forgive yourself: If you’ve committed a sin and God has forgiven you of that sin, but you have not yet forgiven yourself, then you’ve made yourself greater than God.

2. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven or released; whose sins you retain are retained.

3. “Generational sins” pass down by the binding of unforgiveness.

4. In order to be free from the sins of others, you have to forgive them and release them out of your life

Becoming Free from a Father’s Sins

1. Many men’s problems come to them from their fathers. We want to be free from the sins of others and not bear their sins.

2. Streetwise and churchwise are hard of heart, manipulative, con parents, insolent in manner, deceptive in spirit.

3. Provoking children instead of protecting children

4. Emotional deprivation instead of affectionate balance

5. Provoking not to good works but to evil works

6. Forgive our fathers so we can be good fathers.

I want to bring you a teaching from out of the book Courage. It’s a teaching on a principle of release. Jesus gives it to us in John 20:22-23. So, if you want to get your Bible out and turn to it while I talk to you, you can do so at this particular time.

I’ve tried to put this principle in every single book that I’ve ever written. I’ve tried to put this in every single teaching that I’ve ministered because I consider it to be one of the most important principles in the kingdom of God. In fact, Jesus said when He was on the cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

The Bible says He was delivered for our offenses and raised for our justification. That simply means that when the Lord said, “forgive them, they know not what they do,” that forgiveness opened up heaven to those for whom Christ died and for whom He was going to be raised from the dead. Interesting, isn’t it, that he could have gone to the cross, but if He had not said Father forgive them, the redemption of the cross would not be effective in our lives. We have to understand how important that particular principle is.

So, let’s take a look at it. If you have the King James Version with you at this particular time, why don’t you read along with me. Here’s where we are in John 20:22-23:

22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

23Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

Now, in Ephesians the 6th chapter beginning with the 1st verse, here’s what we read:

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:

3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

In this particular principle that Jesus gives us, He is telling us to forgive people’s sins. Now, He gives us a qualification. In the 22nd verse, He says, “receive ye the Holy Spirit.” The reason He says that is because you cannot forgive as God forgives unless you do it by the power of His Spirit.

Let’s start with ourselves. You have to forgive yourself. In the book, Potential Principle, as I talked about this principle of release, I made mention of the fact that if you’ve committed a sin and God has forgiven you of that sin, but you have not yet forgiven yourself, then you’ve made yourself greater than God.

I’ll never forget one time in Phoenix, Arizona, as God was moving in the hearts and lives of the people in that congregation. There was a tremendous spirit, a reviving spirit of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. I can recall one man who was sitting in the second row who just was not in the meeting. He looked depressed and he looked saddened. Finally, I went up to him and said, “What seems to be the problem? You don’t seem to have your joy. You don’t seem to have that effervescence that the Spirit of God brings from the very nature of Jesus Christ. What seems to be the problem?” He said, “Well, it’s my sins. I said, “What’s the matter with your sins?” He said, “Well, they’re just too heavy.” I said, “Have you asked the Lord to forgive you?” He said, “Yeah.” So, we talked a little bit more and I asked him point blank. I said, “Have you ever forgiven yourself?” He looked at me with amazement and said, “What do you mean?” I said, have you ever forgiven yourself as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you? Have you ever forgiven yourself?” He looked at me and he said, “No, I don’t believe I have.” I said, “Well, that’s your problem. You’re not released from the burden of your sins, because God’s forgiven you, but you’ve never forgiven yourself. So, what you need to do is to forgive yourself. Let me lead you in a prayer!” And I did. His life changed. Today, he’s a buoyant Christian. He and his wife are in the ministry together just having a great time in the Lord. It’s very important that you understand to forgive yourself. The qualification is, receive ye the Holy Spirit. To forgive as God forgives, you can only do it by the power of God’s Spirit.

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