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Summary: Forgiveness brings three signficant rewards: makes you more like God, draws you closer to God, and recaptures the freedom of your soul.

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SERIES: “DISCOVER FORGIVENESS: Finding Freedom Through Forgiveness”

TEXT: SELECTED

TITLE: “THE REWARDS OF FORGIVENESS”

OPEN: A. Good news and bad news this morning:

1. Bad news

a. People have let you down

b. Because of that, many of us are carrying around scars and some even have fresh wounds

from other people who have offended us or let us down or hurt us in some way

2. Good news

a. God has provided a way for us to find healing from all the pain and hurt

--It’s called “forgiveness”

b. Nothing is more basic or central for finding hoy and peace in our lives than forgiveness

B. As we’ve studied over the past several weeks, forgiveness is not an option for the Christian

1. Jesus said, “If you don’t forgive others, my heavenly Father will not forgive you.”

2. In His model prayer to us, Jesus taught us to pray: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive

those who trespass against us…”

C. As we can all testify, forgiveness is not always easy

--There is a cost to forgiving someone else

1. Forgiveness essentially means that we have cancelled a debt

2. It means that we’re letting go of the wrong that was suffered

3. It means that we’re putting away the desire for revenge

4. It also means that we’re releasing the entire situation and allowing God to take care of it

D. This morning I want to do two things

1. I want us to look at the rewards of forgiveness

2. Then I want to answer some questions that have been asked concerning forgiveness

E. When we forgive another person, we have experienced Christianity at one of its highest levels

--During the process of forgiveness, we discover that we’re allowed to participate in a supernatural

event in which:

1. God not only gives us the command to forgive

2. He provides the power to forgive

I. Reward Number One: FORGIVENESS MAKES YOU MORE LIKE GOD

A. You are never more like God than when you forgive

1. When God saves us, He wipes out our past

2. The moment you become a Christian, you’re forgiven

--completely and permanently

3. But also recognize one thing: God never leaves us the way we are

a. We come “Just As I Am” but God loves us too much to leave us that way

b. God begins a lifelong process of making us more like Jesus every day

c. 2 Cor. 3:18 – “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed

into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

4. When you begin the pilgrimage of forgiving another person, you begin a journey that leads you closer

and closer to resembling Jesus

--Eph. 4:32 – “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God

forgave you.”

B. The first reward of forgiveness is that you begin to look like Jesus to other people

1. When you forgive

a. You’re extending the same forgiveness you’ve received to the individual who needs to be forgiven

b. In that capacity, you begin to resemble Jesus and you become more like God

2. Satan’s whole agenda is destroyed by forgiveness

a. When we refuse to forgive, we’re right where the Devil wants us

--proud, unmerciful, and disobedient

b. But when we begin to forgive, we begin to look more and more like our Great Forgiver – Jesus

Christ

--Rom. 8:29 – “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his

Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

3. On a wall near the main entrance to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, is a portrait with the following

inscription: “James Butler Bonham – no picture of him exists. This portrait is of his nephew, Major

James Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle. It is placed here by the family that people

may know the appearance of the man who died for freedom.”

a. No literal portrait of Christ exists either

b. But the likeness of the Son who makes us free can be seen in the lives of His true followers

II. Reward Number Two: FORGIVENESS BRINGS YOU CLOSER TO GOD

A. I have definitely learned that it is impossible to have a good relationship with God if there are problems

going on in my relationships with other people

1. We like to think that we can have a breakdown in a human relationship and go on and relate to God

like nothing happened

2. In my own home, if I came in after being gone all day, I knew immediately if the kids had been

arguing and bickering

--They could pretend like nothing had happened but I certainly picked up on the cues that tell me what

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