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Ephesians 4:25-32 - A Lifestyle That Honors God

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Thomas S. Myers

A Lifestyle That Honors God

Ephesians 4:25-32

FIND NOTES ON EPH 4:17.

            The story is told of a little boy who went to the funeral of an atheist. There in the coffin was the man who professed not to believe in God, and, of course, God's heaven. The little boy studied the well-dressed, lifeless figure for a few moments and said, “What a shame. All dressed up and no place to go.” Well, Christians are certainly not “all dressed up with no place to go.” There is a good reason why we have “put on the new self.” We are now to begin to live in a new way. Paul turns for his case from upright living to the character of upright living. Here he details the areas of restored responsibility.

ILLUSTRATION OF EXCHANGE

TRANSFORMATION

FIRST -- EXAHANGE LYING FOR SPEAKING THE TRUTH.  

Ephesians 4:25

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (KJV)

           

            The devil is the originator of all lies.  And when you lie you are acting just like the devil.  You are never more like the devil when you are telling a lie.  And you are never more unlike Jesus Christ, the faithful and true witness when you

are bearing true witness.  Think about this for a minute.  What is the very first thing that you see the devil doing in the Bible?  In Genesis 3:1 the very first act that the devil is seen doing is slandering the truth of God.  Take a good look at it in Genesis 3:1 and notice what the devil does. 

Genesis 3:4

4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. (NIV)

SECOND -- THE FAMILY OF FALSE WITNESS. 

            Who is in this family of false witnesses?  

A.  THE PURGER.

            The purgerer  is a person who DEF

Exodus 23:1-2

1 "Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. 2 "Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, (NIV)

            Now what does that mean?  When you stand in a court of law and you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing about the truth and you lie, the wrath of all mighty God is upon you.  I want you to know that there is another court coming, when the grave will give up their moaning, schricking, groaning dead and they will stand one by one in single file before almighty God and be judged.

B.  THE RUMOR MONGER. 

                The person who spreads rumors is among the family of the devil.  Did you know they used rumors to crucify Jesus?  It was rumored that Jesus planned to destroy the temple.   I heard someone say, "Pastor, It's not me who starts all these rumors, it's the people I tell them to."  Maybe that is you.  A small town news paper had section that listed who went to the hospital.  The paper said, "Gladys went to the hospital for the removal of a rumor."  Now it was a misprint, but I wish there was such a hospital. 

            I heard of a church that recently hired a new youth pastor.  The congregation did not really know him that well.  Word had circulated around the church that he forced his wife to leave the church in tears.  He knew he had to address the problem.  Finally he said in the morning service, "I have heard this rumor and I have 4 things to say about it.  First, I never interfere with the choice of my wife.  She may attend whatever service she wishes.  Second, my wife did not even attend the service in question.  Third, I was not at the meeting in question.  And fourth, I do not have a wife.  It's easy to get rumors started, but it's even harder to stop a rumor. 

C.  THE FLATTERER. 

                The flatterer is the person who used insincencere flattery. 

Proverbs 26:28

28  A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. (NIV)

 

                Notice that from Proverbs 26:28 that God list flatterer with ling.  You see the flatterer wishes to use people.  They make merchandise of people.  They are not really trying to praise or flatter you.  Now there is nothing wrong with giving honor.  The Bible says,

BIBLE VERSE. GIVE HONOR TO WHO HONOR IS DUE

           

D.  THE INSINULATOR. 

            Look at 2 Corinthians 12:20 and notice the word "gossip" (NIV), "whisperings " (KJV). 

 

20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. (NIV)

            The Greek word for "gossip" means secret slandering.  Did you know that Jesus Christ had to face secret slanders all his life.  Notice in John 8:41 the insuation of the Pharisees.

John 8:41

41 You are doing the things your own father does."  "We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself." (NIV)

  

            Do you see the insinuation?  They are saying , "We know who our father is, but you don't know who your father is."  They were inferring that Jesus was the illagetament son of Mary.  They said it with an insinulaltiohn.  You can lie with the one of your voice.  You can lie with the arching of your eye brows.  You can

lie with the way you word your words.  

            In the ships log the captain wrote down that the 1st mate was drunk today.  The 1st mate begged the captain not to let that be in the ships log, but the captain said, "The ships log, stands as it is written."  The next day it was the 1st mates turn to take charge of the ships log.  He made this entry, "The captain was sober today."  Now that was true, but it has insinuation. 

THIRD -- THE FOLLY OF FALSE WITNESS.

Proverbs 14:8

8 the folly of fools is deception. (NIV)

            The most foolish thing that you can do is to be dishonest.  Why is it folly to be dishonest? 

First, because it is so hurtful. 

Illustration.   In 1690, the British fought the French for control of the St. Lawrence River.  The British commander ordered Admiral Phipps to take eleven ships and anchor outside Quebec.  They were to wait for the British land forces before starting the joint naval-ground attack on the city.  Admiral Phipps arrived early on the river, and saw the statues of saints on the roof of Quebec's Roman Catholic cathedral.  He spent the next several days firing at those statues with his ship's guns.  When the land forces arrived to attack the city, Phipps was out of cannonballs.  He had used his ammunition shooting at the saints!

            When you counter fix money, that money can always be taken out of circulation.  But when you slander someone, those words can never be taken back.   Did you know that God took the time to write in His word the things that he hates? 

Proverbs 6:16-17

16  There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:

17  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, (NIV)

Second,            because God hates the sin of a lying tongue.  His anger burns against it.  Do you know what is the end of all liars?  The bible says

Revelation 21:8

8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  (NIV)

  

            God has a place for liars it is the lake of fire.

E.  THE SLANDERER.

           

            The Bible says in James 4:11

11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. (NIV)

SECOND -- EXCHANGE UNRIGHTEOUS ANGER FOR RIGHTEOUS ANGER.

 

Ephesians 4:25

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (KJV)

SECOND -- EXCHANGE UNRIGHTEOUS ANGER FOR RIGHTEOUS ANGER. 

LOOK UP NOTES ON ANGER.

Ephesians 4:26

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (KJV)

            God is saying, "Get angry."  Did you know that Anger is a God given emotion.  And that anger is not always sinful.  In the Old Testament the anger of the Lord is mentioned 18 times.  In the New Testament we find that Jesus is angry on at least 2 occasions. 

            Two safegards for anger.  First, do not prolong anger.  Do not get the idea you can deal with anger later on.   

            Do you know the reason people give you gossip?  It is because they believe you're the king of person who wants to hear it.  It is not a compliment to you that people want to use your ears as garbage cans.  Perhaps you have sent out the signal that you're the kind of person who loves the hear juicy gossip. 

THIRD -- EXCHANGE STEALING FOR SHARING.

Ephesians 4:28

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (KJV)

            Do you know who some view staling?  As long as they can do not get caught  they do not view themselves as a thief.  But I want us to look at stealing from God's perspective.  First, I want us to think about stealing from others.  Second, I want us to look at stealing from God.  Third, I want us to think about stealing from ourselves.

FIRST -- STEALING FROM OTHERS. 

A.  ROBBING OTHERS IS STEALING.  This is where someone thinks it is O.K. to steal so long as

1no one is looking.  The test of a man's character is what he will do when on one is looking.  Several years ago when New York city lost its electricity and the lights went out, 3,500 were arrested for looting.    But the Bible says,

 

Psalm 139:12

12        even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (NIV)

            Today people will use any excuse for stealing.   A young man was arrested for stealing a car.  He had the year's most novel excuse.  He said he found the automobile in front of a cemetery.  He explained, "I thought the owner was dead."

            Is does not make any difference if anyone sees you or not, because God sees what you are doing.  I heard of a bank robber who went into a bank, took a note and passed it to the teller.  The note said, "Give me all of your money.  This is a stick up."  The teller wrote a note back to the thief and the note said, "Straighten up your tie stupid, their taking your picture."  God's camera is always running.  Whether it is night or day,  God says, "You shall not steal." 

B.   DECEPTION IS STEALING -- Many consider fraud as not stealing.  People who fraud others never think of themselves as thieves.  For example, the person who refuses to do an honest days work never thinks that they are stealing.  But the Bible clearly says

Colossians 3:22

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. (NIV)

           

            There is another side of this.  There is the employer who cheats his employees by not paying proper wages. 

 

James 5:4

4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are

crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. (NIV)

            If you as an employer are not paying a decent wage, you will have to answer to almighty God about it.  If as an employer, you are taking advantage of someone who has to work you also will have to answer to God.  You may be thinking, "I'm a shroud business man."  But God calls you a thief.  And you will face God at the judgment.  We are to give an honest days work for a day's pay.  And we are to give an honest days pay for a days work.  Otherwise the Bible says we are stealing. 

            Some men are very proud of their business mind.  They know a good deal when they see it.  But for some men, the business deal is really just shrewdness.  Look at

Mark 12:40

40 They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely." (NIV)

            What does it mean by "They devour widows' houses?"  There are men who see a widow who does not understand business principles or finances.  These men steal away the widow's finances.  They say that business is business.   God says, "Such men will be punished most severely."  God is saying that at the judgment, the lake of fire will be very not no matter how religious you are. 

C.  GAMBLING IS STEALING.  

            Someone says, "What's wrong with gambling?"  Gambling is stealing because no one can win without another person losing.  You see, when you're gambling, it is profit and pleasure at the expense of someone's pain and lost.  It violates the concern and love of others.  You see, it is trying to get into your pocket what belongs to someone else without working for it.  We are not to take by chance that which belongs to someone else.  That's greed!  Some people try to justify gambling by saying that the stock market is gambling.  The stock market is not gambling, it is taking a risk. 

 

            One man may meet another man in the dark and with the point of a gun takes away another man's cash.  Two men meet each other around a table, each seeking to get what belongs to the other and we call that gambling.  The only difference is in the first case there was one man with a gun, and the in the second case there are 2 men with the spirit of thievery.  Someone has said, "When a man gambles and wins, he's a thief.  And when he gambles and loses he's a fool."    You can not win at gambling without someone else losing. 

Jeremiah 22:13

13  "Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labor. (NIV)

            What is wrong with gambling?  It is trying to get into my possession what belongs to you. 

D.  UNPAID DEBTS IS STEALING.

            When you refuse to pay your bills, you transgress the 8th commandment.  Folks, when the payment is due, then you owe it.  It costs you to be honest. 

            You also steal when you fail to return things that you have borrowed.  Think how many church library books that have not been returned?  Think of the hymnals that were taken and never returned.? 

E.  SLANDER IS STEALING.  

            There are more things you can steal than money or property.  You can steal someone's reputation.  Have you been guilty of gossip or slander?  God hates it.  Absalom, the son of King David, the Bible stays he stole the hearts of the people away from his father the king (2 Samuel 15:6).    

            In Robert Fulghum's book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (pg.17).  He gives the story how in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific some villagers practice a unique form of logging.  If a tree is too large to be felled with an ax the natives cut it down by yelling at it.  Woodsmen with special powers creep up on a tree just at dawn and suddenly scream at it at the top of their lungs.  They continue this for thirty days.  The tree dies and falls over.  The theory is that the hollering kills the spirit of the tree.   We do that with gossip.  We will kill the reputation of others. We will slice up an individual until there is no character left.  

F.  CHEATING IS STEALING.  

            You may say, "Everybody is doing it."  Well, than everybody is wrong in doing it. 

Exodus 20:15

                15 "You shall not steal. (NIV)

            I heard of a big football player, while attending college sat next to a Phi Beta Kappa.  He cheated by always copying the answers off the Phi Beta Kappa tests.  The professor suspected that this football player was cheating, but he could never prove it.  Then one day, the Phi Beta Kappa came to a very hard question.  He wrote down on his test, "I don't know the answer to this question."  The football player wrote on his test, "Neither do I."  

G.  STEALING SOMEONE'S FAITH.  

Matthew 18:6

6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (NIV)

            This is God's warning against false prophets, liberals, modernists, who don't believe in the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of God. 

            When Mark Twain married Olivia Langdon, she was a very religious person.  Her faith stood firmly in God.  But Mark Twain had no faith.  He scoffed at her beliefs and made light of her devotions.  Soon Olivia's faith began to diminish.  There was a noticeable decline in her prayer life.  What had been a fervent faith, cooled.  She did not seem to care any more.  Eventually, she forsook God all together.  A deep sorrow came over Olivia's life.  Mark Twain loved her, and never meant to hurt her -- but he discovered he had broken her spirit.  He said, "Livy, if it comforts you to lean on your faith, do so."  She replied sadly, "How can I, when I don't have any faith left?"

SECOND -- STEALING FROM GOD. 

            How do you steal from God? 

A.  By with holding yourself from God. 

 

1 Corinthians 6:19

19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (NIV)

            Notice that the Bible says, "You are not your own."  You don't even own yourself.  You belong to God.  Now suppose I take something that belongs to you and I abuse it to the point that I ruin it.  Then I give it back to you broken.  I become a thief.  When you take your life, that belongs to God, and abuse it and misuse it, you have robbed God. 

1 Peter 1:18-19

18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (NIV)

B.  BY WITH HOLDING YOUR TITHES.  

            There is another way to steal from God.  It is by withholding your stewardship.  Tithing is giving 10 percent of your  income to God.  When the Bible talks about tithing there are always those who protest.  They say, "Tithing was taught in the Old Testament but not in the New Testament."  Well, someone has said, "Abraham commenced tithing, Jacob continued tithing, Moses commanded tithing, and Jesus commended tithing.  Who am I to cancel tithing?                  

Malachi 3:8-10

8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.  "But you ask, `How do we rob you?'  "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse -- the whole nation of you -- because you are robbing me. (NIV)

            God's tithe is not God's way to raise money.  He already owns our money!  God's tithe is His way to bless you and to teach you to trust Him. 

Malachi 3:10

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (NIV)

    

        Tithing is the one area where God allows you to test Him and to stop stealing from Him.  I heard of a man who professed to be a Christian.  A pastor spoke to him and said, "Have you been baptized?"  "Oh no," he said, "I haven't been baptized."  "Why will not," asked the pastor?  The man said, "The dying thief on the cross wasn't baptized, so neither will I."  The pastor then asked, "Do you give your money to support the gospel?"  "Oh no," said the man.  "The dying thief on the cross didn't give his money.  All he did was believe."  The pastor looked at the man and said, "There is one difference between you and that thief."  The man said, "What's that?"  The pastor said, "He was a dying thief, and you're a living thief."  I want to tell you, that any man who is not rendering unto God that which is God's is stealing from God.  The Bible says:

Leviticus 27:30

30 "`A tithe it is holy to the LORD. (NIV)

FOURTH -- EXCHANGE CORRUPT COMMICATION FOR EDIFYING. 

 

C. INVISIBLE MURDER IS FORBIDDEN. 

            This is the murder that no one sees.  No real blood is shed in invisible murder.  But God writes it down as murder.  What is it?  Its murder that is in the heart.  Jesus put it this way:

Matthew 15:19

19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. (NIV)

           

            Read Jesus commentary the 6th commandment.  

 

Matthew 5:21-22

21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. (NIV)

            Jesus said, "If you heart burns with anger towards other people, in heaven they write it down as murder.  You can kill a reputation by your whispering criticism.  I heard of man who became angry at someone in his church.  So he started some hurtful rumors about the individual.  Soon there were a group of people who believed the rumors.  The man who's reputation was ruined suffered a heart attack suffered because of the false rumors.  As he laid on his hospital bed, in walked the man who started the rumors.  He apologized and asked for forgiveness.  He said, "I had no idea that it would hurt so.  Please forgive me."  The man forgive him and then asked if he would open the widow.  He opened the widow and then asked, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"  The man said, "Yes, would you get that other pillow over there."  The man picked up the pillow and then was asked to hold it out side the window and release all the feathers outside.  The wind blew the feathers in several hundred different directions.  The man then asked, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"  The man who suffered the heart attack said, "Yes, would you go and gather up all the feathers?"  The man replied, "I can't do that, it's impossible."  The other man replied, "And it is impossible for you to undue the damage that you heaped on me."     The apostle John put it this way:

1 John 3:15

15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. (NIV)

 1 John 4:20

20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (NIV)

 

            Its time we hand in America, a good old fashioned baptism of love.  One women went to the doctor, he looked very serious and she said, "What's wrong?"  He said, "You have rabies."  she got out a pencil and started to write and he said, "What are you doing, making out your will?"  She said, "No, I'm making a list of people I'm going to bite."  I believe I've met her. 

A.  BY PROFANITY. 

            What does profanity show about an individual? 

            First, it shows an utter contempt for God.  Anyone who will take the Holy name of God and mix it with the sewer of this world shows a total lack of respect for God.  Sometimes after you rebuke an individual for profanity they will say, "Oh, I didn't mean anything by it."  What are they really saying?  They are saying, "God is meaningless to me."  God means no more to them than a dead dog.  That is what the word "VAIN" means for you who have the King James version of the Bible.  When you use profanity it shows an utter contempt for God. 

            Second, it shows who shall receive the judgment of God.  Why the judgment of  God?  Because the third commandment is just that, it is a command of God.  Take a good look at it. 

Exodus 20:7

7 "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God

            It is not a suggestion.  To use God's name in cussing or cursing shows absolute rebellion against God's law.   If you want to see just how rotten your character is, just listen to your speech.  When someone swears it shows they do not care for the laws of God, and God will judge that individual.  When a man sins by stealing, he may get what he steals.  When a man commits murder, he may get revenge.  But what does a man get when he curses?  He receives the judgment of God. 

Exodus 20:7

7  for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (NIV)

            The Bible clearly teaches us that we are to avoid profanity.  Look at:

                              Ephesians 5:4

4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (NIV)

            Jesus said, we ought to pray,

Matthew 6:9

9 "hallowed be your name, (NIV)

            A Christian lady wanted a parrot that could talk.  She looked in several shops before finding one.  The owner told her, however, that the parrot had been previously owned by a bartender and though he could say anything, he also on occasion used profanity.  She told him she would buy him anyway and teach him to say good things.  Everything went well for about a month.  He learned to say "Praise the Lord" and a number of other Christian words and phrases.  One day she forgot to feed him and when she came into the house she heard him cursing.  She grabbed him up and said, "I told you not to talk that way.  I'll teach you never to do it again."  So she put him in the deep freeze and shut the door.  A few minutes later she took him out and asked, "Have you learned your lesson?"  The bird shivered and replied, "Yes, Ma'am."  She asked, "Are you going to talk that way anymore?"  The parrot replied, "No, Ma'am."  About seven months went by and not a bit of bad language.  Apparently the bird was cured of his rascally habits.  Then one day she forgot to feed him, water him, or change his cage.  When she returned home that day he was carrying on worse than ever.  She grabbed him and put him back in the freezer but forgot him for some time.  He was almost frozen to death when she thought of him.  She had to lean him in his cage to thaw out.  Finally he began to move and talk a

little and she asked him again, "Did you learn your lesson?"  "YES, MA'AM!" he retorted.  Then he sat there quietly for a few more minutes shivering and said, "Can I ask you a question?"  She answered, "Yes."  The parrot said, "I thought I knew all the bad words there were, but just what did that turkey in there say?"  While we may laugh at that, using the name of God in humor is no laughing matter. 

Exodus 20:7

7  for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (NIV)

Third, vain praise. 

            When we sang, "My Jesus I love thee, I know Thou art mine, for Thee all the folly of sin I resign," do you mean it?  To sing, "Jesus you mean more to me than anything," Do you mean that?  If you don't mean that, then why do you sing it?  You take the name of God in vain.  We stand and sing, "I surrender all, all to Jesus, I surrender," then we go out and live for self and self alone.  We sing, "Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold."  And then hold it with all our might.  Jesus was right when he said,

 Mark 7:7

"They worship me in vain." (NIV)

When we sing we are to sing unto the Lord. 

Romans 15:9

9  I will sing hymns to your name." (NIV)

EPHES 4:32

FIRST -- 3 REASONS WHY YOU OUGHT TO  FORGIVE.

A.  THE GRACE FACTOR.

            God's grace has been extended to you.  God has forgiven you.

 

Isaiah 1:18

18  "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (NIV)

ILLUSTRATION - SPOT ON TIE

            Sam Jones was an evangelist.  But Sam Jones had trouble forgiving people when they had hurt him.  Then one day he though about the grace of God.  And he made up his mind that he was not going to fall out with anybody until that person treated him worst than Jesus had be treated.  What did Jesus do with those who were responsible for Him being nailed to the cross?  He forgave them.  Think about how our sins nailed Jesus to the cross and yet He forgave.  We need to forgive because of the grace factor.

B.  WE NEED TO FORGIVE BECAUSE OF THE GRIEF FACTOR.

            Someone once said, "The man who refuses to forgive destroys the bridge over which he himself must travel." 

            In Matthew 18:23-35 the Bible tells the story of a man owed his king several million dollars.  And the king sent his servant out to find the man and make him pay his debt.  Since the man was unable to pay his debt, it was determined that the man and his entire family be sold to pay the debt.  But the man threw himself at the kings servants feet.  He begged for forgiveness of the debt.  And the servant freely forgave him.  That same man who had been forgiven went out and found a man who owned him a few dollars.  He began to chock him and demand payment.  The other man begged for more time to pay the debt.  But he refused and threw the man into prison.  Word came back to the king what had happened.  Do you know what the king did?  He canceled the forgiveness of debt, and took that man who had been forgiven the several million dollar debt and put him into prison to be tortured.  Then Jesus gave this final statement:

Matthew 18:35

35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (NIV)

     

            When we fail to forgive, what we are really saying is that we are not a Christian and that God should send us into hell to be punished. 

1 John 2:9

9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. (NIV)

            Think of the grief that unforgiveness must cause God.  Do you know that you wound the heart of God when you fail to forgive?  Nothing causes Velva and I more grief than to know that one of our children will not forgive one of their brothers or a sisters.  That grieves our heart.  And how it must grieve the heart of God to know that one of His children will not forgive a brother or a sister. 

           

            And think of the grief that unforgiveness must bring to you.            

Hebrews 12:15

15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (NIV)

            Dr. McMillen said this and I want to quote from his book, "None of These Diseases."  He says, "That when you let somebody make you angry, when you get bitter towards somebody, you become their slave.  You become the slave of the person with whom your angry."  And I want to quote an extended passage from him.  I quote, "I moment I start hating a man I become His slave.  I can't enjoy my work anymore, because he even controls my thoughts.  My resentments produces too many stress hormones in my body and I become fatigued after only a few hours of work.  The work I formerly enjoyed is now drudgery.  Even vacations cease to give me pleasure.  It may be a luxurious car that I drive along a lake fringed with autumn beauty of maple, oak and birch.  As far as my experience of pleasure is concerned, I might as well be driving a wagon in mud and rain. 

            The man I hate bounds me wherever I go.  I can't escape his tyrannical grasp on my mind.  When the waiter swerves me porterhouse stead with French fries, crisp salad, and strawberry shortcake smothered with ice-cream, it might as well be stale bread and water.  My teeth chew the food and I swallow it, but the man I hate will not permit me to enjoy it." 

            Leonardo Da Vinci was painting "The Last Supper," he became angry with a man and lashed out at him.  He even threatened him.  Then he went back to his fresco and tried to paint the face of Jesus.  He couldn't for there was too much evil stirring inside him.  The lack of peace forced him to put down his brushes, go find the man and ask his forgiveness. 

Proverbs 15:17

17  Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred. (NIV)       

            You say, "Pastor, you don't understand how much this person hurt me!"  What you don't see is they are still hurting you because you will not forgive.  You don't forgive someone for their sake; you do it for your sake so you can be free.  Your need to forgive isn't an issue between you and the offender; it's between you and God. 

            You may be many miles from the person you hate, yet if you do not forgive them, innerspring mattress that you lie upon tonight will becomes a rack of torture.  You need to forgive because of the grief that unforgiveness brings. 

SECOND -- THE COSTLY REQUIREMENTS OF FORGIVENESS. 

            Did you know that it cost to forgive.  You see the Bible calls sin against another person a debt.  Remember what some have called the Lord's prayer?  It says, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12)."  Now if someone owed you a $1,000 and you, forgive that debt, then it cost you a $1,000. 

            It cost to forgive.  You see Jesus paid a price at Calvary.  For Jesus to forgive you it cost Him His life.  But don't you think it was worth the price He paid?  You don't mind paying a big price, if you get what you pay for? 

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