Summary: The power to forgive is found in the power of God's grace
The Power of God’s Grace – Forgiveness
Matthew 6:12, 14-15
I feel led to talk with you this week about the catalyst behind God’s grace and that is forgiveness.
Forgiveness isn’t something we want to talk about.
In fact, by the end of the service today, all of you may want to go out the right hand doors to avoid me.
Of all of the things that God asks His children to do, forgiving each other is the hardest thing of all.
We all know about people who have held grudges against others for years and never attempted to forgive the other person.
Family members go to their graves bearing grudges against each other because no one had the audacity to say “I forgive you.”
I have listened to people say things like “they never once said that they were sorry. All I want is an apology.”
My personal favorite is “I can forgive but I can’t forget!”
By the way, if you can’t forget, you haven’t forgiven either.
Jesus had a lot to say about forgiveness. While every other word He said wasn’t about forgiveness, it seems as if the most powerful messages He spoke were about forgiveness between God’s children was one of the main messages that Jesus wanted us to understand in order get our lives right with God.
So if you want to ever experience the power of God’s grace, you must first be able to forgive others.
Matthew 6:12 (NKJV)
12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
Right in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount was Jesus’ message on prayer.
If we look at Luke’s gospel, we see that what led to Jesus teaching on prayer was a request by the disciples to teach them to pray.
And right there in the middle of the prayer was verse 12.
Debt, in the Aramaic language means sin.
Sin is the debt that we could never pay.
Jesus was explaining to the disciples that if they were going to receive God’s grace, their sin debt would have to be paid.
And in order for God to forgive them, they in turn were going to do some forgiving of their own.
I’m fairly confident that when Jesus taught the disciples this part of the Lord’s Prayer, that the wheels started turning in all of their minds.
They probably all started thinking about people that they were holding grudges and resentment towards.
Let’s face it, there was a zealot and a tax collector as part of the 12 disciples!
These guys belonged to two groups of people that despised each other.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Forgive our sins in the same way we forgive those who have done wrong to us.
Aren’t our sins already forgiven?
Yes they are.
The truth is that when we allow unconfessed and unforgiven sin to fester in our lives, it can in and of itself create a very big problem in our walk with the Lord.
I. Unforgiveness is a roadblock to God’s grace
There’s a very good reason that Jesus put “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors” right in the middle of the prayer we know as the Lord’s Prayer.
Every person who ever confesses Jesus Christ as their personal savior is forgiven of their sins.
But we may have very well sinned 5 minutes after receiving Christ as Lord.
(It happens okay!)
When that happens, it creates a roadblock between us and God’s wonderful, unfailing grace in our lives.
And to be truthful with you, unforgiveness is a biggy.
You will never be able to have the relationship with God that you need if you are harboring a spirit of resentment towards another person who you just can’t forgive.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When we confess our sins, we are able to remove the roadblock to God’s grace and we are restored to a complete fellowship with God.
Our confession restores our complete fellowship with God. It isn’t that God stops loving us when we sin or that he’s angry with us when we sin.
It doesn’t mean that we’re going to hell. It means that we’re out of whack. We have “unfinished business” between us and God, until we fess up and admit that we’ve sinned and claim his forgiveness.
Being forgiven should work hand in hand with forgiving.
This verse says, God forgives us as we forgive others. That doesn’t mean that we are forgiven because we forgive others.
We are forgiven as we forgive others.
And the point is that we can’t have true fellowship with God if we are mad at someone who did something to us 20 years ago.