Hopefully you had a blessed Christmas and you got to spend some time with those you love and call family. Tomorrow is the start of a New Year and typically around this time of year I like to look back and look ahead. This year I want to jump right in and keep plugging along and the reason for this is that January 19th and 20th we have Kerry Skinner the co-author of the The Heart of the Problem book who will be here. The reason we are asking him to come is to do some training on becoming a Biblical Counselor. You heard my heart at the end of a message this year about doing more Biblical counseling and so this is the follow up to how the Spirit moved in that service.
I want to encourage you that if you don’t have any interest in Biblical counseling that you would consider attending this training just to learn more about Jesus and his Word. The cost will be $10 and it will be a Friday night and Saturday training. Kerry will then preach on Sunday morning. This is a phenomenal opportunity for our community and I don’t want you to miss it. Sign up in front of the office window to let us know you are coming.
So the next few weeks I am going to preach a series of messages that will lead us up to the Kerry Skinner training.
This morning we start with the topic of Forgiveness
Forgiveness: Freeing a person from guilt and its consequences
Forgiveness is the desire and unwilling to forgive is the sin or unwilling to free a person from guilt or its consequences.
accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.
Imagine this morning with me 2 sons who just lost their parents. The parents had a will in place and the oldest son was to get the parents house when they passed, but after they passed the youngest son saw the opportunity to take what legally belonged to the oldest son and make it his own. The parents desired that the older son have this house but the younger son came in not too long after the parents had passed and stole what belonged to his brother.
How would that make you feel?
In my flesh, I would not be happy about this. I would struggle with forgiving the brother who stole from his own brother.
I chose to start this morning by dealing with being unwilling to forgive because of all the sins I see this one having the ability to hold you in to bondage to other sins.
As we jump in to the unwillingness to forgive you must first know this.
Jesus Forgives Sin
Jesus Forgives Sin
When He entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that He was at home. So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and He was speaking the message to them. Then they came to Him bringing a paralytic, carried by four men. Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the scribes were sitting there, thinking to themselves: “Why does He speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Right away Jesus understood in His spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic, “I tell you: get up, pick up your mat, and go home.” Immediately he got up, picked up the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
I believe that it is the desire for many to walk and live in forgiveness. In the example of the two brothers I gave you earlier I believe it is the desire that after all this has settled and even in the middle of the conflict the true desire of the brother who was stolen from is that he would have the desire to forgive his brother.
When it comes to forgiveness or the ability to free a person of guilt and its consequences, I believe true forgiveness is only available through Jesus Christ.
I believe real forgiveness has always been rooted only in Jesus, is rooted only in Jesus today and until he takes us home it will always be in Jesus.
The good news is that Jesus has made a way for us to receive forgiveness and to extend forgiveness to others.
It was never the desire of our Father in Heaven for us to have to cope or learn to deal with those who have hurt us or the people we have hurt. Jesus died on the cross to free us from our sin. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that we could manage our sin problem. Jesus died on the cross to set us free.
I love this in scripture where Jesus says so that you may know the Son of Man has the authority to forgive sin he says your sins are forgiven.
Unwillingness to Forgive Controls You
Unwillingness to Forgive Controls You
Has a grudge ever helped you?
As you are turning there let me give you some background to this passage we are going to look at. Jacob and Esau. Esau was the older brother. Esau being the older brother had two things. He had the birthright and he had the blessing.
BIRTHRIGHT (בְּכֹרָה, bekhorah). The special privileges granted to a firstborn son
blessing. The authoritative pronouncement of God’s favour.
One day when Esau came in from hunting. Jacob had been at home cooking stew. Esau was hungry and exhausted and wanted some of the stew so Jacob said first sell me your birthright. Esau was so hungry and said he was about to die so he sold the birthright to his younger brother Jacob.
Then later in life it had come time for Esau being to older son to receive the blessing from his father. He was about to receive this pronouncement from his father of God’s favour in his life. His father called Esau in and told him to go out and hunt and come home and make him a delicious meal so that he could bless him before he died.
Their mother Rebekah heard their father say this to Esau so after Esau left to go hunt the game she called her son Jacob in and said listen to me and obey every order I give you. She said you go out and get two young goats from the flock and I will cook them in to a delicious meal for your father and then he will bless you instead of Esau.
Jacob responded look my brother is vary hairy and I have smooth skin and my father will know that it is not him.
His mother said just do what I say and so she had him put the skin of the goat on his hands so that his father would not know.
He did this and then went to his father and his father questioned him and said is that really you Esau and Jacob lied to his father and said yes it is.
Jacob’s father then gave him the blessing that was intended for Esau. Later Esau comes in and finds out that his brother Jacob has stolen the blessing that was intended for him. Esau pleaded with his father to give him another blessing but his father said he could not do that and Esau wept loudly.
Esau is the victim and Jacob is the one who stole from Jacob.
Esau says this in
Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. And Esau determined in his heart: “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
I will kill my brother Jacob.
Jacob hears about Esau wanting to kill him and so he leaves.
Here in they have been apart and established their own families and the two brothers are about to meet again.
Jacob went on his way, and God’s angels met him. When he saw them, Jacob said, “This is God’s camp.” So he called that place Mahanaim. Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. He commanded them, “You are to say to my lord Esau, ‘This is what your servant Jacob says. I have been staying with Laban and have been delayed until now. I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male and female slaves. I have sent this message to inform my lord, in order to seek your favor.’ ” When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau; he is coming to meet you—and he has 400 men with him.” Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; he divided the people with him into two camps, along with the flocks, cattle, and camels. He thought, “If Esau comes to one camp and attacks it, the remaining one can escape.” Then Jacob said, “God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Go back to your land and to your family, and I will cause you to prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness You have shown Your servant. Indeed, I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two camps. Please rescue me from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid of him; otherwise, he may come and attack me, the mothers, and their children. You have said, ‘I will cause you to prosper, and I will make your offspring like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’ ” He spent the night there and took part of what he had brought with him as a gift for his brother Esau: 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 30 milk camels with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, and 10 male donkeys. He entrusted them to his slaves as separate herds and said to them, “Go on ahead of me, and leave some distance between the herds.” And he told the first one: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to? Where are you going? And whose animals are these ahead of you?’ then tell him, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau. And look, he is behind us.’ ” He also told the second one, the third, and everyone who was walking behind the animals, “Say the same thing to Esau when you find him. You are also to say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.’ ” For he thought, “I want to appease Esau with the gift that is going ahead of me. After that, I can face him, and perhaps he will forgive me.” So the gift was sent on ahead of him while he remained in the camp that night. During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female slaves, and his 11 sons, and crossed the ford of Jabbok.
Unwillingness to forgive or to seek forgiveness causes us to do some crazy things. Here Jacob is about to meet Esau and Jacob send his men to seek favour with Esau. They come back and report that Esau is on his way with 400 men.
Unwilling to seek forgiveness causes distress and fear
Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; he divided the people with him into two camps, along with the flocks, cattle, and camels. He thought, “If Esau comes to one camp and attacks it, the remaining one can escape.”
This unwillingness to seek forgiveness dictates his actions.
Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; he divided the people with him into two camps, along with the flocks, cattle, and camels.
This unwillingness to seek forgiveness dictates his actions.
The Heart of the Problem says you are slave to the person you hate.
Jacob’s actions are being dictated by Esau. Esau is living in freedom because of forgiveness but Jacob is not. He is arranging everything of value to him and putting them in order.
Esau is living freely but Jacob is over here stressed out worried and driving himself crazy.
Remember what drove him to this he heard that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men and that is it!!
When our heart is unwilling to seek forgiveness we have a hard time discerning truth in our life. We start to think here he comes to kill me and I know he is angry with me. Our heart will start to fill with other sins as well worry, fear, bitterness, yelling, lying, drunkeness, or sexual immorality. Being unwilling to forgive roots itself in our lives and leads us in to so many other sins if we are unwilling to deal with it.
Notice that the fear of Esau dictates the actions of Jacob. He starts to divide the camp.
“I have enough, my brother,” Esau replied. “Keep what you have.”
You say well I don’t fear anyone. Fight rather than flight well guess what when you decide to fight then the fight is dictated by someone else’s actions. You are also being controlled by the actions of the other.
Jacob and Esau meet
Jacob and Esau meet
Now Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming toward him with 400 men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two female slaves. He put the female slaves and their children first, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. He himself went on ahead and bowed to the ground seven times until he approached his brother. But Esau ran to meet him, hugged him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. Then they wept. When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he asked, “Who are these with you?” He answered, “The children God has graciously given your servant.” Then the female slaves and their children approached him and bowed down. Leah and her children also approached and bowed down, and then Joseph and Rachel approached and bowed down. So Esau said, “What do you mean by this whole procession I met?” “To find favor with you, my lord,” he answered. “I have enough, my brother,” Esau replied. “Keep what you have.” But Jacob said, “No, please! If I have found favor with you, take this gift from my hand. For indeed, I have seen your face, and it is like seeing God’s face, since you have accepted me. Please take my present that was brought to you, because God has been gracious to me and I have everything I need.” So Jacob urged him until he accepted. Then Esau said, “Let’s move on, and I’ll go ahead of you.” Jacob replied, “My lord knows that the children are weak, and I have nursing sheep and cattle. If they are driven hard for one day, the whole herd will die. Let my lord go ahead of his servant. I will continue on slowly, at a pace suited to the livestock and the children, until I come to my lord at Seir.” Esau said, “Let me leave some of my people with you.” But he replied, “Why do that? Please indulge me, my lord.”
Jacob is getting them all in live from the least important to him to the most important to him to meet Esau and when Esau gets there he runs up and hugs his brother and says what was this all about?!?
Look at verse 10 again
But Jacob said, “No, please! If I have found favor with you, take this gift from my hand. For indeed, I have seen your face, and it is like seeing God’s face, since you have accepted me.
Jacob says to Esau I have seen your face and seeing your face is like seeing God’s face since you have accepted me.
Esau went from angry and wanting to kill Jacob to at the point of their reunion his face looks like the face of God.
What if the person you are unwilling to forgive could see your face in forgiveness and it looks like the face of God?
This is the desire when it comes to forgiveness that we would experience the freedom so much that those we may have hurt say our face looks like the face of God.
Esau moves from a heart full of anger to look at verse 15
Esau said, “Let me leave some of my people with you.” But he replied, “Why do that? Please indulge me, my lord.”
We don’t have to suffer, learn to deal with or find new ways to cope with our unwillingness to forgive. The Son of Man came with the power to forgive sin and He died on the cross to set us free from our sin. Jesus did not die so we could learn to manage our sin problems but he died to set us free.
Jesus desires for us to be free from sin. Jesus desires that we are not controlled by fear. Jesus wants us to fix our eyes on him alone and receive his forgiveness.
What if this morning your children looked at your face and saw the forgiveness you extend to them and the forgiveness you have recieved and by looking at your face they see the face of Jesus through your forgiveness.
Here is the good news! This is all possible through Jesus this kind of freedom is possible.
Steps of Repentance