Summary: What forgiveness is and what it isn’t
This Series is based upon a series by Nelson Searcy and the Journey Church. This sermon is my own however.
The Challenge of Forgiveness
Forgiving doesn’t mean we Forget People’s Sins
Forgiving does mean we Remember God’s Sovereignty
Forgiving doesn’t mean Justice Denied
Forgiving does mean we leave Justice to God
Forgiving doesn’t mean we Return to the Past
Forgiving does mean we are Open to the Future
(FORGIVENESS, by eight20eight.com, available at WorshipHouse Media)
Slide after video
Forgiveness is everything.
Do we believe that?
Do we think forgiveness is that important?
I think when we need forgiveness and recognize it, we understand the importance of it.
But I wonder if we understand how important it is to forgive others.
We are continuing on in the New Testament Challenge this morning and we are going to be looking at the Challenge of Forgiveness.
I want us to examine the closing verse that was shown in the video we just saw and the verse after it.
It is Matthew 6:14-15 and it is up on the screen.
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
“Wait a minute!
Are you telling me that if I don’t forgive others, that I won’t go to heaven?
I thought that my salvation was not dependant on me or what I do, but only upon receiving Jesus Christ as my Savior, truly believing in Him from my heart.”
That is true. The only thing that your salvation depends upon is you truly receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior, by repenting and believing in Him as the Christ, that He died for your sins and rose 3 days later.
Those are the essential beliefs that bring salvation.
Then what are these verses talking about?
These verses are talking about the restoration of relationship. It is the same thing that is being talked about in
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
That verse is written to those who have received Jesus as Savior already.
That forgiveness that is being talked about is a cleansing and a restoration of relationship with the Lord.
We need to recognize that when we are unforgiving, we are sinning.
Sin breaks our relationship with the Lord.
We don’t lose our salvation, but we lose our
effectiveness, peace, joy, assurance, etc.
We are out of fellowship with the Lord when we don’t forgive.
We need to confess it and forgive so that we can receive the Lord’s forgiveness and be restored into fellowship.
This being out of fellowship is what Jesus communicates to Peter when he was about to wash his feet.
8 "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
9 "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"
10 Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean…
He is saying to Peter,
once a person has had a bath, (has experienced salvation by trusting in Jesus Christ) they are clean,
but you still need to wash your feet, to be cleansed from the sins that you commit from just being in this world.
You are still clean, still saved,
though those dirty feet, those sins that you commit while saved, don’t allow you to be walking with Jesus, to be in fellowship with Him.
While that person is still a child of God, still saved, they don’t experience the joy, peace, effectiveness, all the benefits of the relationship.
Unforgiveness makes our feet dirty.
And while we often think that our unforgiveness is hanging over someone else,
it is really hanging over us.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Well that sure is easy to say, but why is it so hard?
Partly pride, which we have to overcome
Partly because I that we misunderstand what forgiveness is
That is what we are going to talk about this morning.
What forgiveness is and what it isn’t.
To help us do that, we are going to look at an Old Testament story. I know this is the New Testament Challenge, but sometimes, we can find a New Testament principle greatly exemplified in an Old Testament story.
Turn with me to
Genesis 45:1-15 (p. 35)
We are going to see the principal of forgiveness as it is lived out by Joseph.
Through this story, I think we are helped to see what forgiveness is and isn’t and how we can truly forgive.