Summary: Because our greatest problem is sin, our greatest need is forgiveness and our need to forgive.
What Jesus to His Followers
March 22, 2009
In our 11 teaching in our series—last week we spoke about our message and the world we have been called to take it to. The world needs our message because (as the Bible refers to it) it is a lost and dying world. Our message is one of hope and life—eternal life.
The world needs the message because it battles and defeats our greatest problem.
Listen, You can look at all our serious issues—all the things that ale us, lying, murder, selfishness, thievery, adultery, fornication, children’s disrespect of their parents etc. and find the root to be sin. The most popular Greek word in the NT translated sin is Hamartia, which literally means “to miss the mark.” It is stepping out of the bounds of God’s will. Our greatest problem is sin.
Because our greatest problem is sin, our greatest need is forgiveness. In fact because of sin we have two great needs that I dare not label 1 and 2 or A and B because they go hand-in-hand.
Let’s begin with our need for forgiveness.
When Adam and eve first sinned in the garden in the East of Eden, the perfect relationship they had with the Father was ripped in two.
Sin alienated us from God. The relationship we could have we cannot have because of sin.
Before sin entered the world the Bible says that God walked in the garden with man, but once sin came between us, man was barred from the garden and separated from God.
Sin separates us from God and sin separates us from each other.
Strained relationships between each other,
Children in a family may be alienated because of jealousy, selfishness, deceit, or hatred. Husband and wife struggle with lies, deceitfulness, adultery…
The Bible says,
Our salvation rests on the fact that: “The blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:8b NIV)
…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! (Romans 5:8-9)
Believe on Jesus and receive God’s forgiveness.
Forgiveness from God brings us back into a relationship with Him.
Our second great need is our need to forgive.
This is where I want to spend the most time today.
Jesus brought this out in His model prayer --- turn to Matthew 6:9-15
The prayer assumes we will forgive. It says, “Forgive us as we forgive others.”
The lack of forgiveness is a cancer to our souls
Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Your mother criticized your parenting skills. Your friend gossiped about you. Your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness and even vengeance.
Clinical studies show that if you hold on to these offences and do not forgive, you will experience things like:
• High blood pressure
• High stress
• Anger issues
• Higher heart rate
• Higher risk of alcohol or substance abuse
• Depression symptoms
• Anxiety symptoms
• Chronic physical pain
• Poorer relationships in general
• Poor spiritual well-being
• Poor psychological well-being
Often times people think that forgiveness follows request and or repentance. That is, I have no need to forgive until I have been apologized to. But this is not correct. In fact the apology may never come.
Forgiveness is a gift you give to the one who wronged you and a gift you give to yourself!
ILL. My mother spent years, even decades in grief and anguish over a situation with her father.
Her mother died when I was just three months old. My grandfather whom I called Pop, married my grandmother’s sister. My grandmother’s sister basically removed pop from my mom’s life. She did not like my mother, or my sisters. It seemed she did not like other women in pop’s life. She loved me, so I didn’t get it growing up. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I knew mom’s story and how she felt so rejected for decades. After I became a pastor we talked about it several times because I knew the importance or forgiveness. One day my mother called me. “I’ve got some news for you,” she said. I forgave my daddy. (Now, this was several years after his death). I cold hear it in her voice. The pounds and pounds of burden she had been carrying for decades had been lifted. She said, “I know he can’t hear me, but I looked toward heaven and said, ‘I forgive you.’”
Her years of anguish were over.