Summary: The fourth in a series of walkng worthy of calling ourselves Christians. We are called and commanded to be a people of forgiveness.
WALKING IN FORGIVENESS
[ OUR GREAT KENOSIS ]
INTRO: There is an old story that came out of the Korean War. Some officers had a Korean man cooking for them. They treated him rather badly, constantly playing practical jokes on him. They nailed his shoes to the floor. They put buckets of water over the doors to spill on him. They put Vaseline on the doorknobs.
But finally they became ashamed of themselves, & decided to apologize. They told him, "We have never seen anybody like you. You have been our cook all this time & we have done all these things to you, & you have never even once tried to retaliate. So we want to apologize & ask your forgiveness."
The cook was visibly moved by this. He said, "You mean no more water over the door?" "That's right." "No more naillee shoes to the floor?" "That's right." "No more Vaseline on the doorknobs?" "That's right." Then he said, "All right, then no more spittee in the soup."
[ Melvin Newland, Christians are supposed to be different, sermon central ]
. It seems we all have a hard time forgetting the wrongs that people do to us.
. Today we are going to get back into our Walk Worthy series.
. How we are to walk worthy of calling ourselves Christians.
. Today we are going to explore Walking In Forgiveness.
. I heard about a man who really loved dogs. He devoted his life to them ¬ he read about them, studied them, and even gave talks about them to other dog lovers. One day he decided to pour a new sidewalk in front of his house. His neighbor watched from his window as he smoothed out the last square foot of cement.
Just then, a large dog appeared and walked through the fresh cement, leaving paw prints behind. The man muttered something under his breath and smoothed out the damage.
He then went inside to get some twine so he could put up a fence around the sidewalk. But, when he got back outside, he discovered some more dog tracks in his fresh cement. He smoothed out the cement and put up the fence.
He then went into the house. Five minutes later he looked outside and saw some more paw prints. He was really mad now. He got out his trowel and smoothed the cement one more time. As he got back to his porch, the dog reappeared and sat right in the middle of the sidewalk.
He went inside, grabbed his gun and shot the dog dead. The neighbor rushed over and said, “Why did you do that? I thought you loved dogs.” The man thought for a minute and said, “I do, I do like dogs. But that’s in the abstract. I hate dogs in the concrete.”
That’s how many of us feel about our theme for this morning. We love to hear about forgiveness in the abstract, but when it hits close to home, we hate it in the concrete.
[ brian bill, the standard of grace, sermon central ]
. We can talk about forgiveness when there is no need for us to give it: but when it hits home, it gets a little harder doesn’t it?
.If we are Christians here this morning, we have all been given forgiveness from the sins of our past present and future by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross at Calvary.
. While we love to talk about our forgiveness, many times we can’t seem to give forgiveness.
. John MacArthur in his commentary on MT 18 writes:
“Forgiveness reflects the highest human virtue, because it so clearly reflects the character of God. A person who forgives is a person who emulates godly character. Nothing so much demonstrates God’s love as His forgiveness. A person who does not forgive is therefore a person lacking in godly character and without Christ like love … An unforgiving Christian is a living contradiction of his new nature in Christ. It is central to the heart of God to forgive, and only the Christian who radiates forgiveness radiates true godliness.”
. Our scripture this morning teaches that we are to be a forgiving person, no matter who or what the offense is against us.
. When we become Christians or strive to be Christ like, we don’t really have any other choice other than to forgive for the wrongs or trespasses against us.
. We go through a great Kenosis much like Jesus did . We find this recorded in Philippians 2:5-8:
You should think in the same way Christ Jesus does.
6 In his very nature he was God. 6 But he did not think that being equal with God was something he should hold on to.