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Forgiveness-Living in Forgiveness

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Introduction.  God wants his children to be free from resentment and critical and unforgiving attitudes.  An abundant, victorious, overcoming life is your inheritance as a member of God's family.  The promises of God's Word which provide an abundant life will be hindered in their flow to you if you refuse to forgive others.

I. Wiped out Bitterness.

A. Lack of forgiveness between people can cause a deterioration in relationships.  Example: a father's deteriorating relationship with his children.  (A true illustration.)

1. A father becomes saddened by his children's behavior.  Communication between the father and his children becomes more and more difficult.  Bitterness develops between the father and his children.

2. Discussion with the father reveals that since becoming a Christian (a few years earlier), he has done the following:

a) Disciplined his children according to the Scriptures.

b) He has taken the authority over Satan in their lives.

c) He has prayed and confessed God's word over them.

3. Even so, his children are antagonized by all that he says and does.

4. Discussion reveals that many times the father was unfair to the children.  He never asked for their forgiveness.  Offenses remained unsolved.

5. Suggestions were made to remedy the situation.

a) In prayer, the father was to ask God to reveal to him those things that through the years could have brought bitterness to the children.

b) The father was to share these revelations with the children.

c) The father was to ask for the children's forgiveness for each offense.

6. This action of asking for the children's forgiveness brought the following results:

a) the children for gave the father for the times when he was unfair to them.

b) A miracle happened.  There was a warm, beautiful growth of love in the family.

c) All bitterness was gone.

7. The father and the children did what the Scriptures have told you to do.  The father asked for forgiveness and the children forgave.

B. Forgiveness wipes away bitterness and restores fellowship.

II. God Forgives You.

A. Forgiveness is important in every area of your life.

B. God has provided a perfect plan whereby your past can be cleared and you can be forgiven.

1. You have no past in God's eyes-Isaiah 43:18-19; 43:25.

a) He completely forgives and never remembers your past sins.

b) Nothing in your past is held against you.

2. When you are born again, you have a fresh new beginning-Psalms 103:12.

a) God cast your sins into a sea of forgetfulness.  It has been said, "He places a sign there that says 'No Fishing'."

b) If you ever hear of your sins again, it is Satan reminding you because he wants to condemn you.  You resist his evil thought by saying to Satan, "God has forgiven me.  Be gone in the name of Jesus."

C. If you sin after you are born-again, you can have instant forgiveness from God-1 John 1:9.

1. God wants you to follow his Commandments and avoid sin, but if you do sin, His great forgiveness is there for you.

2. If you hold on to sin in your heart, God will not hear your prayers-Psalms 66:18. The word “Regard” means “Consider, perceive, or see” sin in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.

a) Pro 15:29, “The Lord is far from the wicked, But iHe hears the prayer of the righteous.” [1]

b)  28:9, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.”[2]

(1) “Abomination” means “detestable or hated by God.”

(2) John 9:31 “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.”[3]

c) 1 John 5:14-15

(1) Listen to it from the Amplified, “And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. (15) And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.” [4]

D. Sin in your life does not affect your relationship with God; it affects your fellowship with him.

1. When you entered God's family a he became your father and you became his child.  That is your relationship.

a) You are part of his family.

b) Your relationship with God is settled.  He will not put you out of the family.

c) You have eternal life.

2. Because of the relationship between you and God, you can fellowship with him.

a) Fellowship it is the open line of communication with the father.

b) Your fellowship can be broken and interrupted if you hold sin in your heart.  Sin does not affect your relationship; it affects your fellowship with him.

(1) Sin hinders fellowship.

(2) Your line of communication with God is cut off.

c) When there is unconfused sin in your life, you may feel as if you have lost your salvation.  However, you just need to ask for forgiveness and your fellowship is restored.

3. Lack of forgiveness for your sin breaks off your fellowship with your father.  Here is an illustration of broken Fellowship with your child.

a) You tell your child not to go out to play after dark.

b) You have to leave the home for a while at night and a child goes out to play anyway.

c) When you discover that he has disobeyed, you correct him using Christian principles, assuring him of your love, letting him know that God expects you to train him.

d) The child may feel that you have been unfair and may say, "God does not know what he is talking about.  I played and I am not hurt."

e) Your words ring in the child's ears: "You could have been hurt.  Some could have harmed you.  I know best.  You were wrong to disobey me."

f) You may not know that the child is having this conflict.

g) A terrible feeling of tension is in the home.  Father and child are out of Fellowship with one another.

h) Later, the child decides that you were right and comes to you, asking for your forgiveness.

i) You say, "I will forgive you."

j) Now the terrible tension and strife are gone.  Fellowship is restored.

4. It is a terrible feeling to be out of fellowship with your father.

a) Suppose that you have refused to forgive someone.

b) Bitterness enters your life.  Pride arises and you begin to defend yourself in your mind.

c) Your spirit within you, who is filled with the Holy Spirit, tells your mind that it is wrong.

d) Your mind may try to argue with your spirit and the Holy Spirit.

e) You need to agree with your spirit and go to your Bible.  Turn with me again to 1 John 1:9.

(1) The Greek word translated as "confess" is 1 John 1:9 is homologeo.  Homologeo means "to say the same thing."

(a) Homo means "same."

(b) Logeo means "speak."

(2) When your spirits says, "You are wrong, God's word is right," your mind and mouth need to agree.

(3) When your words to the father agree with God's word and your spirit, that is homologeo; that is confessing your sin.

f) Just say, "Father, I am wrong.  I confess my sin.  I refused to forgive this person.  I forgive him now.  Will you forgive me?"

g) The father says, "I give you complete forgiveness."

h) Now, your fellowship with the father is restored.

5. It is a serious mistake to avoid asking for forgiveness.

a) Fellowship with the father is broken.  Prayers are not answered.  The lines of communication are broken.

(1) When telephone lines are down, you cannot use your telephone.

(2) The same is true with your father.  When the lines of communication are down, you cannot fellowship with him.

b) God is a holy God.  He will not listen to you while you are in sin, unwilling to ask for forgiveness or to forgive-Isaiah 59:2.

c) He wants you to walk in his paths of righteousness.

d) The way to restore fellowship is the same in this case.  Confession our sin and ask for forgiveness.  Then, Fellowship is restored.

6. Refusal to forgive is a sin.  It is a sin as serious as murder, adultery, stealing and cheating.

E. In Old Testament times, the priest took the people's sins before the Lord.

1. The people's sins were only covered by the blood of animals.

2. The people had to wait in line to confess their sins to the priest.

3. This all changed when Jesus established the new covenant.

a) Now all believers are priests-1 Peter 2:9.

b) You can personally go to the Lord for complete forgiveness.

(1) You come in the name of Jesus, and he is always ready to listen.

(2) You confess your sins and ask for forgiveness.

(3) You receive instant, complete forgiveness.  God forgives your sins it will never be remembered.

F. God wants you to forgive in the manner that he forgives-Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12-13

1. God's great forgiveness is yours.

a) You have been forgiven of your past rejection of God's holy Son, your past nature, and every evil deed.

b) You are to forgive just as God forgives you.  Forgive as Christ forgave you.

2. Your father does not remember your past mistakes.  Do not remember the mistakes of others.

a) Some say, "I will forgive but I will never forget."  That is not true forgiveness.  That is holding on to resentment and remembering the hurt.  It creates fertile ground for bitterness.

b) To forgive completely means:

(1) To give a fresh start.

(2) To never discussed the matter.

(3) To never allow yourself to dwell on the matter.

c) If Satan brings the matter to your remembrance, remind him that all is forgiven and forgotten, and tell him to leave in the name of Jesus.

3. Great forgiveness continually flows to all mankind from God.  Therefore, you must become a forgiving person; one who forgives immediately and completely.

4. How often should you forgive?-Matthew 18:21-22

a) Jesus said 70 times seven.

b) That is 490 times each day.

c) 30 times an hour (in a 16 hour working day).

d) Once every two minutes.

e) This provides no time for resentment or bitterness to enter into your life.  You will be walking in forgiveness, living a life of instant forgiveness.

III. Why You Need to Forgive.

A. Your Lord said that as you forgive others, He will forgive you-Matthew 6:9-15.

1. Verse 12 makes a solemn statement, "Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors."

2. The New English Bible reads: "Forgive us the wrong we have done, as we have forgiven those who have wronged us."

3. Notice what versus 14 and 15 say: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

4. God does not forgive you for wrongs you have done unless you forgive others.

5. The Scriptures are saying that unless you have forgiven every person who has wronged you, you are saying, "Lord, do not forgive me."

a) This puts the responsibility on you.

b) You must do your part and God will do His part.

6. In this Scripture, the Lord did not say that you should forgive others as He has forgiven you.  He said that you should forgive others so that you may be forgiven.

B. If you do not forgive, you shut off the power of God in your life.

1. You lose your victory over sin.

2. You close off God's help.

3. You open yourself to sickness and disease, for bitterness brings disease.

C. Forgiveness and prayer are closely linked.

1. When you refuse to forgive, you're prayers are not answered.

2. If a man does not honor his wife or holds grudges against her, his prayers will be hindered --- 1 Peter 3:7.

3. Jesus taught about the direct link between forgiveness and prayer-Mark 11:24-26.

a) Great faith is nothing if you do not forgive.

b) Forgiveness is love in action.

4. As you see in the parable in Matthew 18:23-35, the Lord deals sternly with those who do not forgive.

D. It is not always easy to forgive someone who has wronged you, your family, or loved ones.  However, forgiveness is exactly what God ordered for a spirit, soul and body that are out of harmony with others.

1. You must forgive instantly and completely.

2. Say, "Father, I forgive them completely, right now."

E. God has some very practical and important reasons for forgiveness.  These reasons concern your health.

1. God gives you wisdom.  He says that obeying His Word brings "health to your navel and marrow to your bones" (KJV)-(Proverbs 3:7, 8.) (Pro 1:7 fear of the Lord beginning of knowledge) and (Pro 9:10 say that the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom)

a) The navel is part of the connecting cord that gives life and nourishment from a mother to an infant child within her.

b) As you follow the principles of life given by the father, you will receive life giving nourishment each day.

c) You receive spiritual, emotional, mental and physical nourishment by practicing God's Word.

2. Morrow would be better translated as a refreshing drink.

a) I like how the New Revised Standard Version puts it.  It says, "It will bring healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body."  (Proverbs 3:8).

b) Also it is in the marrow were millions of red blood cells are manufactured caring oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body.

3. However Proverbs 3:7 tells us to, "fear the Lord and depart from evil."  Unforgiveness is sin and should be classified as evil.

a) The way to maintain life and to walk in the refreshing power of the Lord comes as we walk in forgiveness.

4. Proverbs 15:13 "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but, my sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."

a) You cannot have a merry heart and unforgiving attitude at the same time.

b) You are told to pursue peace with all men-Hebrews 12:14, 15.

c) When you are not at peace with someone, bitterness may arise toward that person.  Failure to seek forgiveness or offer forgiveness can also cause bitterness.

d) The result of bitterness is a broken spirit (Proverbs 15:13).

(1) A broken spirit can be defined as: being wounded in some way from words or deeds that are not appropriate.

(2) When you hold on to resentment, rather than instantly forgiving, resentment festers and grows within you.

e) The Greek word translated as defiled in Hebrews 12:15 means contaminated.

(1) Contaminated (defiled) food is poisonous and will make a person sick.

(a) Read NLT

(2) A life that is contaminated with bitterness also experiences bitterness.

(a) This life no longer has the best health.

(b) This life begins to deteriorate and takes on impurities.  Both body and mind are affected.  The body experiences weakness or sickness.  The mind thinks evil thoughts.

(c) The reborn spirit of the person is no longer ruling the person's life.

f) Also this word "Defiled" in Hebrews 12:15 according to the theological dictionary of New Testament words can also mean "Infection."

(1) Bitterness will also infect others around you and begin to spread like an infectious disease.

5. Proverbs 17:22.  "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones."

a) Dry bones are brittle bones that are easily broken.

b) When you do not forgive, your health can be, in danger quickly.

c) Resentment sends poison into your body which destroys your health and steals your joy. 

d) Walking in God's forgiving love strengthens life and health.

6. Holding grudges, bitterness, and resentment towards others puts stress on your nervous system.  This stress, as well as the resulting disease and afflictions, remains on many people because they are unwilling to admit that they are wrong in harboring bitterness.

a) Your physical health is connected to your emotional health.

b) It has been stated by medical doctors that the cause of a large percentage of disease and suffering can be traced to worry, fear, conflict, unclean living, immorality, and unwholesome thinking.

7. A person who is not at peace with himself, with God, and with others is a willing target for disease and affliction.

8. God's ways of forgiveness brings health to your spirit, soul, and body.

F. No relationship can survive when the people involved continually refuse to forgive.

1. Husbands and wives who are unforgiving and resentful cause their children to be insecure and fearful.  Instead of bonds of love binding the family together, there will be tensions dividing the family.  Emotional scars result.

2. James 3:16.  The King James Version words it like this, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." 

3. Satan inspires unforgiveness.  Unforgiveness breeds evil.  Satan wants you to be unforgiving and selfish.

4. Romans 12:18-19.  The phrase in verse 19 that says, "but rather give place to wrath," literally means, "to let the wrath come from God."

a) You are to promote peace, live in love, and live and act following Jesus' example.

b) God is love.  He is your Father and you have His nature.  He has forgiven completely, so you must forget completely.

5. Turn each offense into a creative situation where you can allow God's healing love to flow from you.  Be kind to your offender.

G. Review of the reasons you need to forgive.

1. Jesus said that you should forgive.

2. In order to be forgiven, you must forgive.

3. Forgive so that your prayers a be answered.

4. Forgive so that you can maintain good health and prevent bitterness from destroying you.

5. No relationship can survive when there is unforgiveness and an unforgiving spirit.

IV. Asked for Forgiveness.

A. Those things that happen to you when you do not forgive also happens to those who do not forgive you.  You need to give others the opportunity to forgive you.

B. You need to ask others to forgive you for things that you have done which have offended them.

1. It is important to go to the person you have offended and asked for forgiveness-Matthew 5:23-24.

2. Forgiveness is love in action.

a) It is not important who is right and who is wrong.

b) It is important to restore the relationship.

3. If you have wronged someone, go to him or her as soon as possible and asked for forgiveness.

4. Think about what you are going to say before you go.

5. View the situation through the eyes of the hurt person so that you can understand how much you have hurt him.

6. As for forgiveness either in person or by telephone, rather than by letter, as this will enable you to receive instant forgiveness.

7. Wait until tempers are under control.

8. Go at a time that is convenient for the other person.

9. It is best to ask for forgiveness in private.

10. Be humble, repentant, and allow the person to see that you are truly sorry that you have hurt him or her.

11. Take the blame and make it right.  Say that you were wrong, and then asked the person to forgive you.  The best way to ask for forgiveness is to say, "I realize that I have been wrong in... Will you forgive me?"

12. Never use these approaches:

a) "We were both wrong," or, "I am sorry, but it was not all my fault," or, "If I am wrong, please forgive me," or simply, "I am sorry."  (If you say, "I am sorry," it should be preceded or followed by your admission of wrongdoing.)

13. Give the person time to respond.  Your goal is to solve the problem.

C. There are times when you do not need to ask a person to forgive you.  For example, it is not necessary to ask someone to forgive you when you have thought an evil thing about him or her.

1. In that situation, ask God to forgive you.

2. Pray that the person will prosper and be in health.

3. Pray the prayers found in Ephesians 1:16-19; 3:16-19 and Colossians 1:9-12 for that person.

4. Doing these things causes you to flow in God's love.

D. As you allow your children to see you live in forgiveness and you teach them how to forgive, forgiveness will become a way of life for them.

1. It will take time, training, and practice to teach them how to forgive.

2. When there is a conflict, it is important that you sit down and hear what your children have to say.  Listen in an unhurried way to everyone's viewpoint.

3. A child is a canvas on which you are painting.  You will create beauty and wholeness or emotional deformity and problems.

E. Perhaps you have made mistakes through the years as the father did in the beginning illustration I used at the beginning of the series.

1. Follow the instructions I gave you at the beginning of the series such as, in prayer ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where you have messed up.  Write down the things you did which might have caused bitterness in your children or others.

2. Go to the people you have offended and read your list.

3. Asked them if they would like to add anything.

4. Tell them that you realize you were wrong, and ask them to forgive you.

5. Bitterness and resentment will leave as you are truly repentant and ask to be forgiven.

F. God has provided his perfect plan of forgiveness for you; it is living in instant forgiveness.

V. Forgiving Yourself.

A. Some people find it difficult to forgive themselves.

1. If you cannot forgive yourself after understanding God's forgiveness, then you have not accepted God's forgiveness.

a) When you do not forgive yourself, you place yourself higher than God who has forgiven you.

b) You are allowing your word to be the last word.

2. After you have asked for forgiveness from God, He does not remember or hold it against you.  Why should you remember and think about sins that have been forgiven and forgotten by God?

3. Jesus said to forgive even as He has forgiven.  Forgive yourself, even as He completely forgave you.

4. If Satan brings your past to your remembrance, tell him that you are forgiven and his mouth and lies are bound, in Jesus' name.

VI. Conclusion.

A. God has a better way for you to walk than through the paths of bitterness, envy, and resentment.  When you find yourself on these paths, forgiveness is the key that releases you from the destructive bondage which plagues you.  When you are living in instant forgiveness, resentments are dealt and forgiveness is offered and received.

Forgiveness, living in forgivness.docx


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i Ps. 145:18; [James 5:16]

[1]The New King James Version. 1982 (Pr 15:29). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2]The New King James Version. 1982 (Pr 28:9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3]The New King James Version. 1982 (Jn 9:31). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4]The amplified Bible, containing the amplified Old Testament and the amplified New Testament. 1987 (1 Jn 5:15). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

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