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Good News Week 43: The Good News Of Forgiveness

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The Good News Of Forgiveness

What does it mean to forgive someone?
Can I tell you a story?
It’s a story of me learning to forgive.
Forgiveness isn’t always easy.
Actually, if someone needs forgiveness, by the very nature of the need to forgive means something hurtful was done.
CS Lewis said, “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”
About 10 years or so ago my parents divorced.
They’d been married for 35 years or so.
They’d been in the ministry my whole life.
Pastoring, evangelizing, serving the church in multiple ways.
This is about them though, it’s about me.
When they divorced, I had a difficult time forgiving them.
I remember after they had been divorced for several months I was going to preach on a passage in 1 John about love and walking in love.
It convicted me to write that sermon.
I knew before I could preach it I had to meet and forgive.
So I called or texted the parent I was most upset about in the situation to meet for lunch.
I had to sit down.
I had forgive.
I had to learn what forgiveness meant.
And here is what I learned, and what I said.
i said I don’t condone the divorce, but I don’t stand in judgment over you.
Forgiveness is releasing them from your judgement.
It’s recognizing that God will ultimately judge them in righteousness and justice.
It’s recognizing that God is the perfect judge and I am not.
It’s releasing my from the weight of being their judge.
It doesn’t mean agreement with sin, it means turning the sin over to God for God to handle.
It means turning them over to God for God to work.
It means turning my own hurts over to God for God to work in.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing sin.
Forgiveness means releasing your claim to be their judge.
Forgiveness means releasing yourself to carry their judgement.
Forgiveness means releasing them to God for God to deal with.
A God will deal with them with both righteousness and justice.
Unforgiveness leads to bitterness.
There’s a quote that gets attributed to multiple people, its something like this, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die.”
Unforgiveness is the same.
Holding on to unforgiveness doesn’t bind the other person it only binds you.
Learn to let go.
Jesus is asked about forgiveness is Luke 17.
Let’s look together.
Luke 17:1–10 CSB
He said to his disciples, “Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,” the Lord said, “you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. “Which one of you having a servant tending sheep or plowing will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? Instead, will he not tell him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, get ready, and serve me while I eat and drink; later you can eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did what was commanded? In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we’ve only done our duty.’ ”

You Will Be Offended

Hear me.
Hear Jesus.
Offenses will certainly come.
Why?
Because we live in a broken world.
It’s why we need need Jesus.
It’s why Jesus came.
Someone will lie about you.
Someone will take something from you.
Someone will turn their back one.
Someone will use you.
Someone will treat you unjustly and unfairly.
Someone will sin against you.
But hear me, Jesus wont.
Jesus will not lie about you.
Jesus will not take something from you.
Jesus will not turn his back on you.
Jesus will not use you.
Jesus will not treat you unjustly or unfairly.
Jesus will not sin against you.
Jesus will instead, take your sin, your guilt, your punishment, and give you mercy and grace.
Jesus will do it.
Yes, you will be sinned again, but not by Jesus.
Their is hope in Jesus.

Jesus Takes Judgement Seriously

You see Jesus’ words here.
He doesn’t take unrepentant sin lightly.
When someone acts unjustly Jesus sees that.
And we see that Jesus stands ready to judge those harm the innocent .
But He also offers hope.
What is that hope?

Repentance

Rebuke the one who sins against you.
Forgive the repentant.
What is Jesus saying?
Look with me at Luke 17:4
Luke 17:4 CSB
And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
I don’t think this is the same sin seven times.
If someone is committing the same sin seven times in a day that person hasn’t repented.
Repentance mean a change in your mind that leads to a change in your behavior.
Repentance means to agree with God about your sin and change you behavior to match God’s nature and character on the sin.
So if the person is committing the same sin 7 times in a day that person hasn’t actually repented.
Repentance is evident in behavior.
You can’t have repented from stealing if you go back to steal some more.
You can’t have repented from gossip if you immediately find someone else to gossip about.
There is fruit of repentance.
The fruit matches the root.
But if the person has repented your forgiveness should be limitless.
What do I mean by limitless?
I mean you should no longer sit in judgment but release them to God.
I want you to hear this, there are offenses that you can forgive but you should also remove yourself from relationship with that person.
Forgiveness isn’t an expectation to be sinned against.
I would say that if a person continues to sin against you that is a sign of their unrepentant heart.
You may have to separate yourself from relationship with them and release them to God.
That is why their are biblical grounds for divorce, sometimes the sin is so great is separates fellowship between people.
But you can still release them to God.
Now listen, God hates divorce.
He hates divorce.
He doesn’t hate you.
He hates divorce because its a witness to the hurt and brokenness and betrayal and abuse that happened.
He hates divorce because its the final breaking of the marriage covenant.
He hates divorce because of the wake of sorrow it leaves behind.
He grants divorce because He loves the one who has been sinned against.
But He hates that divorce became the solution.
But repentance, repentance requires forgiveness.
Forgivess should be limitless.
But don’t confuse releasing them from their sin with placing yourself in a situation that fosters abuse.
Now here’s the disicples reponse.

Increase Our Faith

Do you see this?
The prayer of the disciples for Jesus to increase their faith is in response to their need to forgive.
That may be your prayer this moring too.
You feel like you have faith to trust God to heal, or move in your family, or work a miracle in your marriage, or give a financial provision, but it’s going to take a supernatural manifestion of the Spirit to give you the faith to forgive that person.
Well, here’s the beauty of Jesus, the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead is alive and at work in His people.
Maybe the sin against you was great.
I have no doubt it was.
Perhaps you were abused.
Perhaps you were abondoned.
Statitstics tell us that the odds of someone in the room being abused are high.
Were sin abounds grace does much more abound.
What does that mean?
It means that there is grace for you to forgive.
It means that their is grace for you to release them to God to deal with.
Faith is a grace.
Faith is a gift.
That’s what grace means in the original language.
Gift.
The faith to forgive is a gift to you from Jesus
Mustard seed size faith.
Mustard seeds are small.
But the produce a large plant.
The point is, even a small measure of faith when planted in the soil of our heart can produce a crop that gives grace and mercy to others in abundance.
If a measure of faith the size of a seed can move mountains imagine the work that faith can do it your heart.
Here’s the thing, forgivess is scary.
Forgivess requires us to trust God with our hurt.
Forgiveness requires us to trust God with the one who offended us.
Forgiveness requires us to let go off our judgement and vengeance and trust God to handle that person.
It also requires us to trust God with ourself.
We can find a false comfort in hold a grudge.
We can find a false comfort is seeking vengeance.
But we never find peace until we release the sinner and the sin against us to God.
You are not guilty of someone else's sin against you.
Let the guilt go.
Let the shame go.
God is not guilty of someone else sin against you.
You can find comfort in the arms of God.
Let the anger go.
Release the sin and the sinner to God.
Release the offense and the offender to God.
God will deal with them.
He has a millstone ready.
But he also offers mercy and grace.
And He tells us to trust Him to judge and commands us to forgive.
Colossians 3:13 CSB
bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.

Only Our Duty

Jesus tells this story of workers in a feild.
Luke 17:7–10 CSB
“Which one of you having a servant tending sheep or plowing will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? Instead, will he not tell him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, get ready, and serve me while I eat and drink; later you can eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did what was commanded? In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we’ve only done our duty.’ ”
Forgiveness is the food and drink at the table offered by the servant to his boss.
It’s nothing extraordinary.
It’s the servants job to prepare a meal for the owner of the house.
It’s simply our duty to forgive.
It’s simply a mark of belonging to Christ.
It’s simply a mark of being forgiven.
It’s simply a mark of discipleship.
It’s simply a mark of being in the family of God.
It’s simply a mark of repentance.
It’s simply a mark of being filled by the Spirit.
It’s simple what we do.
We have been forgiven so we forgive.

We Need Forgiveness

Let;s not forget our need.
Let’s not pretend as if we are not guilty.
Let;s not pretend that we have no need of forgiveness..
We have sinned by nature and volition.
We have treated others unfairly.
We have lied.
We have acted unjustly and unrighteously.
He have not done unto our neighbors as we would have them do unto us.
We have not loved the LORD with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
We have sinned.
We have fallen short of God good design and desire for His prized creation.
We are sinners.
But we aren’t merely sinners in the hands of an angry God.
We are sinners in the hands of a nail-pierced God who offers grace and mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation.
We need God to forgive us.
That’s Jesus.
Jesus is the forgivess of God in flesh and blood.
Jesus is the mercy of God on full display.
Jesus in the grace of God without measure.
Jesus is the love of God towards sinful humanity demonstrated for all of heaven, earth, and hell to see.
Jesus is God loving me to life.
I was a sinner, but in the hands of Jesus I am a saint.
Because of forgivess.
Because Jesus took my sin, my shame, my guilt, my rebellion, my curse, my imprisonment and set me free to live as a child of God.
He set me free.
Once like a bird in prison I dwelt No freedom from my sorrow I felt But Jesus came and listened to me And glory to God, He set me free He set me free, yes, He set me free And He broke the bonds of prison for me I'm glory bound my Jesus to see For glory to God, He set me free Now I am climbing higher each day Darkness of night has drifted away My feet are planted on higher ground And glory to God, I'm homeward bound He set me free, yes, He set me free And He broke the bonds of prison for me I'm glory bound my Jesus to see For glory to God, He set me free Goodbye to sin and things that confound Naught of the world shall turn me around Daily I'm working, I'm praying too And glory to God, I'm going through He set me free, yes, He set me free And He broke the bonds of prison for me I'm glory bound my Jesus to see For glory to God, He set me free
YES HE SET ME FREE
THAT’S FORGIVENESS
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