Summary: Forgiveness requires a petition to be forgiven, a promise from God that we will be forgiven, and a proviso that we must also forgive others.
A. Regardless of what you want to build, there are several factors to consider. These factors apply to building a house, rebuilding a church family, building a community, or rebuilding one’s personal life.
1. You need some type of authorization from a higher authority.
2. A location is needed in which to place your building project.
3. Plans & tools are necessary to accomplish the task.
4. You need a method of payment in order to assure that the project can be completed.
B. The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) is a divine example of how the above factors relate to building our life as a Christian.
1. Authorization comes from our Father who is in heaven.
2. The location is on earth even as it is in heaven.
3. Plans & tools are the Lord’s will and our daily bread.
4. The method of payment is being forgiven of our debts, even as we forgive our debtors.
C. As we continue to examine how we are to rebuild when the foundations are being destroyed (Ps. 11:3), our attention is drawn to the method of payment: forgiveness. Jesus had more to say about forgiveness at the conclusion of His model prayer.
Read Matthew 6:14-15
A. Forgiveness is absolutely essential if we are to rebuild. Can we be justified as a child of God if the Lord does not forgive our sins? Can we build community, church, or family without forgiving each other? Can we maintain healthy Christian relationships with an unforgiving spirit?
B. Often when it comes to forgiveness we behave as if we are in a hockey game.
1. Illustration: The Washington Capitals were playing the Florida Panthers [Feb. 1997]. The Capitals Peter Bondra kneed the Panthers Ray Shepphard, who had to be carried off the ice. Bondra was given a 5 minute major penalty. The next period, Johan Garpenlov of the Panthers slashed the Capitals Joe Juneau, who needed help getting off the ice. Garpenlov was thrown out of the game. In sports his action was known as “pay back.”
2. Jesus taught a radically different approach: forgiveness. In Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, the word “forgiveness” (washboqlan) means to “return to an original state.” God’s perfect creation was disrupted by sin; we were separated from God. Through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ we have been reconciled to an original state with God. As we forgive others, broken personal relationships are restored.
THEME: The method of payment for our debts is through the forgiveness of sins. Our Lord taught us the three basic P’s of forgiveness:
Petition to God to have our own sins forgiven (v. 12)
Promise of God that we will be forgiven (v. 14)
Proviso by God that His promise is not fulfilled until we forgive others (v. 14-15)
I. Jesus taught that we must petition God in order to have our sins forgiven.
A. When Jesus spoke the word “debts” in Aramaic (khaubayn) it conveyed a sense of something coming from a hidden past. As a debt, it was legally necessary to be paid in full. Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven (Rom. 4:5).
B. Because God is our Creator, all of life is an obligation to the Lord. Often we rebel against His seemingly weighty and impossible commands.
• Some days we might be only 50% loving or 75% truthful, breaking our obligation to God with a debt we cannot repay.
• Even if we are 100% loving and truthful the next day, yesterday’s debt is not covered.
• Like Paul, we might press toward the mark in an effort to win the prize for which God has called us (Phil. 3:14). “Sin” is missing the mark; literally it means “to take a false step.” If you take a false step on Saturday and sprain your ankle, you still have the sprain on Sunday morning.
C. Instead of denying our sins, we are taught to petition for forgiveness. We cry to the Lord to be forgiven of our sins for His Name’s sake (Ps. 79:9). If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9).
II. God has promised to forgive us (v. 14). We realize that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:23).
A. A little boy, being scolded by his father, said “Give me a break. Why do you always blame me for what I do?” In spite of deserving punishment, God gives us a break. He still demands payment of the debt, but through Jesus, He offers a means of payment. Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
B. Forgiveness requires payment in full: for the sin itself and the penalty of sin. Sin is the act of disobedience to God’s commands. The penalty is separation from the Lord.