**Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached.**
Heart: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. – Matthew 18:19
How did Jesus forgive? Read Mark 15:12-32, Luke 23:32-34
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. – Romans 12:17-18
How are you (We) to forgive?
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:31-32
Why would Jesus command us to forgive?
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 36:26
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. – Ephesians 4:26-27
Unforgiveness is a tool of the enemy, something that he uses to destroy not only you, but your witness and your relationship with God and others. The enemy will cultivate unforgiveness in your heart and cause it to grow into a root of bitterness.
But because of your hard and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. – Romans 2:5
When we surrender our will to God’s then, through the empowering presence of the Spirit, we can “let go” of the offense. But any effort on our part to hang onto the least bit or our offense can quench the Spirit’s working in and through us to bring peace and reconciliation. Every step you take in doing what you know God has called you to do is a step in the right direction. We have to keep letting go, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Forgiveness can be a process as well as a one-time decision. But each step we take takes us closer to God and further from our sin.
Something, or someone, will have first place in your heart. If the forgiveness you received is so ineffective that you are bent on holding unforgiveness in your heart, then what has first place in your heart? Are you forgiven? The parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35): And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” If that makes you question your salvation, or scares you, then it should also provoke you to forgive as you were forgiven.
How can we carry the message of reconciliation, the message of God’s forgiveness – and be unforgiving? Are you Christ’s ambassador for reconciliation?
There is a Christian missionary who had been a Muslim, when asked about his conversion he said that a group of soldiers had led him to Christ. When asked what argument they used, what line of reasoning had persuaded him to turn from Islam to Christian faith, he said it wasn’t what they said it was who they were.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let (Allow) the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:12-15
We are to do these things in and through the Spirit of God—God is Love. Romans 5
Is the life you are living a life of repentance and reconciliation? Do others know you for your love of God and His Church? Jesus said that they (the World) would know that we were His by our love for one another (John 13:18). This is His plan to build the church – Through our love for one another. This is why we are to forgive. It is our responsibility. Spirit of God – God is love- Spirit of Love No matter what.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:8
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. – From 1 Corinthians 13 MSG
What if God forgives and blesses you like you want them to be forgiven and blessed? Read 1 John 4:7-12
Love and forgiveness are important in the Kingdom and yet, difficult. How do we go about it? First, don’t try to minimize or dismiss the offense as if it never happened. If it hurts, then we must face it and feel it. We are not to excuse their behavior, we are to forgive it as God in Christ forgave ours.
C. S. Lewis says, “Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness.” Hate the sin…
Second, forgiveness is not an emotional thing, it is a matter of the will (it can affect the emotions). It is deciding to take that next step and follow Christ in forgiveness… The Word of God is clear: choice is involved. No matter how you were wronged, choose out of a desire for love to forgive. But also keep in mind that reconciliation takes two. You are to reach out to that person, but they also must want that reconciliation. You are responsible for your actions not theirs. John 3:16, yet people choose not to accept Jesus, not to accept the forgiveness and reconciliation found in Him. Just as we must want it with God… Are they, are you, going to accept?
What if revival depended on you totally forgiving that person? What is your next step in the forgiveness of others? How did Jesus forgive those that mocked, tortured, and crucified Him? Totally. He then interceded for them praying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
- How did Jesus forgive?
- How are you (We) to forgive?
- What is your next step in forgiveness?
- Are you an ambassador for reconciliation?
Further Reading: Matthew 5:7-9, Matthew 6:12, 14-15, Matthew 7:21-23, 26, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:1-17, 1 John 4:7-12, 1 Corinthians 13