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← The Forgiven Forgive - Craig Mussulman

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Showing Revision 8 created 04/03/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Colossians 3.

  2. It will be just two verses today.
  3. Beginning in verse 12.
  4. "Put on then (Paul says)
  5. as God's chosen ones,
  6. holy and beloved,
  7. compassionate hearts,
  8. kindness,
  9. humility,
  10. meekness,
  11. and patience;
  12. bearing with one another,
  13. and if one has a complaint against another
  14. forgiving each other,
  15. as the Lord has forgiven you,
  16. so you also must forgive."
  17. Let's pray.

  18. Father, You know.
  19. Lord, You know our need this hour.
  20. Father, I believe in the Holy Spirit,
  21. and I pray You'd meet with
    Your people this hour
  22. and bless Your Word to us all.
  23. I pray You'd use it
  24. to help Your people.
  25. Father, that we would genuinely be helped.
  26. That You would speak to us.
  27. Lord, perhaps there's even one here
  28. who this very subject matter
  29. is what stands between You and them,
  30. and I pray You might bring that wall down
  31. today, Lord, if it would please You.
  32. We ask You to meet with us
  33. and bless us by Your Spirit.
  34. We ask it for Jesus' sake
  35. and in His name, Amen.
  36. Well, the last time we were in Colossians,

  37. we were looking at verse 12 here
  38. where Paul transitions from
    this putting to death,
  39. or putting off of those things associated
  40. with the old man or the old self.
  41. And we discussed how Paul presents
  42. these five virtues,
  43. as he calls them garments or clothing
  44. that the Christian is called to put on.
  45. And we discovered that these really
  46. are none other than the virtues
  47. of the Lord Jesus Himself
  48. that flow to us and through us
  49. by way of the Holy Spirit
  50. as we set our minds and our eyes
  51. upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
  52. And so Paul continues to
    build upon these virtues here,
  53. moving from what are
    primarily attitudes to actions.
  54. Really, that's what we have here in v. 12.
  55. Heart attitudes.
  56. Heart attitudes that really are essential
  57. prerequisites if you will to these actions
  58. or participles that follow in v. 13,
  59. bearing and forgiving.
  60. Bearing with one another
  61. and forgiving one another.
  62. In our text, the ESV says
    "forgiving each other."
  63. Bearing with another and
    forgiving each other.
  64. That requires a heart of humility.
  65. That requires a heart of compassion.
  66. It requires a heart of patience.
  67. There's a progression in Paul's teaching
  68. really at the beginning of the chapter,
  69. but particularly from v. 12-13.
  70. Paul takes us from the individual adorning
  71. or putting on of Christ's virtues,
  72. to the public application of them.
  73. More particularly, the application of them
  74. within the church body.
  75. These "one another" statements
  76. we find strewn throughout
    the New Testament are unique.
  77. They're unique to the church.
  78. We would do well to do our own
  79. little word study of all these
  80. New Testament phrases,
  81. these "one another" phrases.
  82. I think Tim, at one point,
  83. you made a list of those, didn't you?
  84. There was quite a few of them.
  85. There are like 50-something of them.
    There's a lot of them.
  86. I didn't look them all up.
    But very significant.
  87. Very significant in church life.
  88. If you thought church life
  89. and your relationship with
    your brothers and sisters,
  90. it's kind of take it or leave it;
  91. doesn't really matter.
  92. I mean, they're nice people and all.
  93. I like it. I enjoy spending
    time with them.
  94. But my involvement or
    interaction with them
  95. is really not all that important.
  96. Well, you'd be sadly mistaken.
  97. We'll discuss that more in a minute.
  98. But these are two huge imperatives
  99. here in v. 13.
  100. These are not secondary items.
  101. These are foundational
    to Christian living.
  102. They're foundational to
    church relationships.
  103. That's really what Paul's addressing here.
  104. Although it certainly
    has broader applications.
  105. These are not optional.
  106. They're commands.
  107. We as the people of God
  108. are commanded by God
  109. to bear and to forgive.
  110. Let's look at this first one briefly.

  111. What exactly does it mean
  112. to bear with one another?
  113. The ESV folks chose to go
    with the word "bearing,"
  114. which has multiple definitions
  115. depending on how it's used.
  116. While the King James guys went
    with the term "forbearing."
  117. That's the English
    language for you, right?
  118. Where bearing and forbearing
  119. can mean the same thing.
  120. And they do.
  121. The Greek word here is anecho.
  122. It's a word that literally means
  123. to hold up.
  124. To hold oneself erect and firm
  125. against something.
  126. It's also a word that conveys this idea
  127. of enduring or tolerating.
  128. That is a load bearing wall.
  129. That means it's a wall that holds up
  130. under the weight that's placed upon it.
  131. And it does so in an enduring fashion.
  132. It doesn't give way.
  133. At least, we hope it doesn't.
  134. That's what the Greek word means here.
  135. Relating to one another,
  136. it means to enduringly hold up
  137. what another places upon you.
  138. Simply put, tolerating them.
  139. Maybe you might be doing
    that this morning with me.
  140. In a more negative tone,
  141. to put up with them.
  142. In fact, a handful of translations
  143. including the NASB,
  144. actually use that phrase,
  145. "put up with," in Matthew 17:17,
  146. Mark 9:19, Luke 9:41.
  147. When Jesus says,
  148. "How long shall I put up with you?"
  149. The ESV renders it,
  150. "O faithless and twisted generation,
  151. how long am I to be with you?
  152. How long am I to bear with you?"
  153. There it is. That's our term.
  154. Bear with you.
  155. Or put up with you.
  156. Having clothed ourselves with the virtues
  157. of Jesus Christ in v. 12,
  158. Paul says now see to it that you
  159. bear with one another.
  160. Put up with one another.
  161. Put up with each other's
    faults and shortcomings.
  162. Put up with each other's differences.
  163. Put up with each other's dislikes.
  164. Put up with each other's annoying habits.
  165. Put up with people who are slow to learn.
  166. Put up with people
    that are just obstinate.
  167. Put up with people that are
    just plain difficult to deal with.
  168. Put up with them Paul says.
  169. How long, Jesus says,
    am I to bear with you?
  170. What was the answer?
  171. His whole life, right?
  172. You think about being the
    holy Son of God on earth.
  173. We're talking about pure perfection
  174. personified in the midst of
  175. just woefully imperfect people.
  176. He calls them faithless and twisted.
  177. Think about it.
  178. This was every day of His life.
  179. Every day of His life He was surrounded
  180. by this constant reminder.
  181. Everywhere He turned,
  182. faithless and twisted.
  183. Twisted and faithless.
  184. Jesus lived daily bearing
    with the likes of such.
  185. Nobody had to bear more than Jesus.
  186. No wonder He ran off to
    the mountainside to pray.
  187. Get away from it all.
  188. Get this. The answer to His own question,
  189. "how long shall I bear with you?"
  190. The answer for Him is
    the same for you and I.
  191. Till we die.
  192. That's how long.
  193. Jesus states in a question
  194. what Paul, by the Holy Spirit,
  195. puts in a commandment:
  196. Bear with one another.
  197. Brethren, it's part of God's purposed
  198. design in your life,
  199. to put difficult people in it.
  200. That doesn't happen by chance.
  201. It doesn't happen by accident.
  202. It happens by divine design.
  203. It's God's methodology of fashioning you
  204. more and more like His Son.
  205. See, that's the problem
    we have in life, right?
  206. We're not enough like Jesus.
  207. But God, you see, has set us in motion.
  208. He has set us on this life-long mission
  209. of becoming more and more and more
  210. like Him.
  211. And that is wonderful, isn't it?
  212. I trust you can look back
  213. and see from today going back
  214. in your life, you can see those realities.
  215. Though it feels like we've
    got a long way to go.
  216. It's wonderful, but the process
  217. can be, and I'd say, often is
  218. a painful one.
  219. The command of bearing with one another
  220. necessitates that such types of people
  221. are placed in our life
    that will require us
  222. to bear or put up with, right?
  223. The same with forgiveness
  224. which we're about to talk
    about here in a minute.
  225. But that reality of having such people

  226. in our lives,
  227. that's one of the major reasons
  228. why "lone ranger" Christianity
  229. is an unbiblical concept.
  230. I don't need the church.
    I've got a mission from God.
  231. He's called me to preach
    or He's called me to do this.
  232. I don't need to commit
    myself to the church.
  233. That's not biblical.
  234. Isolation is not God's
    will for His people.
  235. God created us for relationships.
  236. He created us for relationship with Him
  237. and relationship with one another.
  238. And the great tragedy of the fall
  239. was that relationship with Him
  240. was completely severed.
  241. And in our broken, fallen condition,
  242. we've replaced that relationship
  243. with everything under the sun,
  244. primarily to self-consumption
  245. and self-worship.
  246. Jesus came to fix that.
  247. In fact, the chief end of the gospel
  248. is to restore that relationship.
  249. To bring estranged, separated sinners
  250. to Himself;
  251. into relationship with
    God Almighty Himself.
  252. Martin Luther said it was John 3:16

  253. which I won't argue with.
  254. That's a great verse.
  255. But I think one of the greatest
  256. one-verse summaries of the gospel
  257. is 1 Peter 3:18.
  258. "For Christ suffered once for sins..."
  259. Hallelujah!
  260. "...The righteous for the unrighteous."
  261. For what purpose? For what end?
  262. "...That He might bring us to God."
  263. That's it, brethren.
  264. What a glorious reality that is.
  265. You think about eternity.
  266. You think about glory.
  267. What do we know?
  268. Not a whole lot.
  269. We know this though,
  270. God Himself will be there,
  271. and His children will be there, right?
  272. That's what matters.
  273. Not a whole lot we know more than that.
  274. But that's the glorious
    reality we do know.
  275. That's where God's going to be.
  276. This thing is all about relationships.
  277. Eternal relationships.
  278. Those eternal relationships, however,
  279. they don't start when we physically die
  280. in this life.
  281. They don't start when we pass
  282. into the next realm.
  283. They start the moment we die with Christ
  284. and are given the gift of eternal life
  285. through faith in Him.
  286. God in His gospel gives us eternal life
  287. and thereby brings us
    into eternal relationships
  288. with one another that start right here
  289. in the here and now.
  290. And that's significant.
    That's very important to grasp.
  291. Church relations are not secondary -
  292. not in God's Word.
  293. Listen to this - Romans 12:5,
  294. "So we, though many, are one body
  295. in Christ and individually members
  296. one of another."
  297. That's pretty intimate.
  298. There are several places
    in the New Testament
  299. that speak this way.
  300. Christ laid down His life for the church.
  301. God created marriage for
    that primary reason,
  302. did He not?
  303. To display His love;
  304. to display this inseparable union.
  305. Make no mistake about it,
  306. homosexuality,
  307. transgender,
  308. same-sex marriage,
  309. casual sex,
  310. the porn industry,
  311. divorce rates through the roof,
  312. at the base of it all,
  313. at the bottom of it all
  314. lies one grand satanic design
  315. to mar this beautiful, wonderful picture
  316. of Jesus Christ and His bride;
  317. of Jesus being made one
  318. with those undeserving people,
  319. those undeserving individuals,
  320. yet the most privileged
    in the entire universe.
  321. It's wonderful.
  322. Yes, most certainly,

  323. salvation is personal.
  324. It's at an individual level.
  325. But it doesn't stay there, you see.
  326. It doesn't stay there.
  327. When God saves a sinner,
  328. He deals a death blow
  329. to that old self.
  330. And I emphasize self.
  331. He transfers them out of
    that kingdom of darkness.
  332. He places them in the
    kingdom of His dear Son.
  333. In that kingdom, they're
    pursuing His will.
  334. It's a new realm.
  335. Everything's new.
  336. New life, new clothes,
  337. new community.
  338. God intends for His people
  339. to function together
  340. in this new community He calls the church.
  341. And texts like this one
    before us right here,
  342. just these few sentences,
  343. are reasons to be convinced
  344. of the importance of church membership.
  345. All of these one another
    statements in the New Testament,
  346. they point to a clear, identifiable
  347. body of believers committed
  348. and united in fashion to the service,
  349. worship, and commission
  350. of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  351. One of the surest proofs
  352. of regenerate church membership
  353. is found in the ability of
    the members within it
  354. not to preach,
  355. not to evangelize,
  356. not even to pray.
  357. Now, those things are
  358. absolutely essential and very important.
  359. But the devil has his cohorts doing that
  360. all over the place.
  361. The reality of redemption
  362. is most clearly expressed
  363. in the demonstration of God's grace
  364. being worked out relationally
  365. with His people in the church.
  366. It is.
  367. And so when difficult people are placed

  368. in your pathway,
  369. it's not for the purpose of teaching you
  370. how to repel;
  371. how to keep your distance;
  372. how to avoid them;
    how to run from them.
  373. It's for the purpose
  374. of letting God's grace -
  375. these virtues of Jesus Christ here -
  376. shine like the blazing sun
  377. in the midst of a dark - in Jesus' words -
  378. twisted and faithfless generation.
  379. So the next time you're finding it
  380. hard to bear with someone,
  381. be it your brother or sister,
  382. just remember the kind forbearance
  383. that God has shown you.
  384. Do you remember how
    patient He was with you?
  385. How long-suffering?
  386. Oh, how He tolerated all your ugliness?
  387. All your annoying, backward ways?
  388. Not only did He bear with you
  389. in all your overtly evil ways
  390. prior to your salvation,
  391. His forbearance has continued
  392. throughout all your
    stumblings and failures
  393. that you have incurred despite all
  394. the innumerable blessings that He's poured
  395. over your head.
  396. God's people have every reason
  397. to bear with one another
  398. in whatever fashion He calls us to do so.
  399. And bearing with one another,
  400. while it most certainly is
    a virtue of Jesus Christ,
  401. it's not exactly the most flourishing
  402. demonstration of those virtues.
  403. Douglas Moo points out in v. 12,
  404. he suggests that "bearing with one another
  405. does not even require the greatest display
  406. of Christian kindness and patience.
  407. But it is a necessary first step
  408. in establishing community."
  409. And it's a step that's followed

  410. by this next progression.
  411. Paul adds, "And if one has a complaint
  412. against another, forgiving each other."
  413. Some translations stick with the common
  414. "one another" phraseology here.
  415. They mean the exact same thing.
  416. I prefer using the "one another,"
  417. as the King James does.
  418. But let me just stop here.

  419. I'm going to grab this pen.
  420. I just want to get three or four.
  421. I want you to tell me.
  422. I want to hear somebody tell me
  423. what does it mean to forgive?
  424. I want to write three or
    four definitions down.
  425. Anyone. What does it mean to forgive?
  426. Even if it's one word.
  427. Yes, brother?
  428. To let go.
  429. Okay. We've got let go. Anyone else?
  430. Reconcile. We've got that.
  431. Two more.
  432. Or one more.
  433. Release a debt. That's a good one.
  434. Release a debt/cancel. Okay.
  435. We're all on the same page.
  436. It's pretty much what we all were thinking
  437. even though we didn't say it.
  438. That's what we understand
    the term to mean, right?
  439. To pardon, to cancel, to excuse,
  440. to let go, reconcile.
  441. Forgiving here in our text -
  442. the word translated forgiving -
  443. is the Greek work charizomenoi,
  444. which I'm probably not
    pronouncing correctly.
  445. Charizomenoi.
  446. And it might surprise you -
  447. it did me, it took up
    a good part of my day -
  448. the meaning of this Greek word is this:
  449. to gratify.
  450. To bestow in kindness.
  451. Grant as a free favor.
  452. That comes directly out of
    my Mounce Greek Dictionary.
  453. Thayer's Lexicon:
    "to do something pleasant
  454. or agreeable to one.
  455. To do favor to;
  456. (again), gratify,
  457. universally to show oneself gracious,
  458. kind, and benevolent."
  459. Now, I didn't realize
    before I got into this text

  460. that there's actually
    three Greek words
  461. that get translated "forgive,
    forgiving, forgiven, forgiveness."
  462. And the primary one
    is the word aphiemi.
  463. That's our word forgive in about 80%
  464. of the times in Scripture you see it.
  465. And that's the word that primarily means
  466. to send away, but it conveys the same idea
  467. that was just aired, right?
  468. Let go, reconcile, pardon, cancel, clear.
  469. It's forgive as we know the term forgive.
  470. But that's not our word here in the text.
  471. It's the word charizomenoi.
  472. And it's a word that shows up 23 times
  473. in the New Testament,
  474. half of which are translated forgive,
  475. depending on the translation.
  476. Most of the other times,
  477. it's give or grant.
  478. And that's what this
    word primarily conveys.
  479. To give or bestow kindness.
  480. To grant free favor.
  481. To do something pleasant, gracious,
  482. kind to another.
  483. As one Greek scholar stated,
  484. "while it's not the common word
  485. for remission and forgiveness,
  486. it is one of richer content,
  487. emphasizing the gracious nature
  488. of the pardon."
  489. Jesus uses this term

  490. in sharing the story of forgiveness
  491. with Simon the Pharisee
  492. as he's sitting in his house, reclining
    at table, you remember that?
  493. Where He talks about the money lender
  494. who had two debtors.
  495. One who had a massive debt,
  496. and one who had a small debt.
  497. And he forgave them both,
  498. and He asked him who's going to love most,
  499. and of course, the one
    who was forgiven most.
  500. And using that word,
    Jesus was underscoring
  501. the gracious nature or kind bestowal
  502. that the money lender
  503. had towards these debtors.
  504. (unintelligible)
  505. It wasn't just a legal
    act of removing debt.
  506. It was heartless.
  507. But a very gracious, kind act
  508. of removing the obligation
  509. for those men to pay him back.
  510. And the response, of course, was
  511. the one who owed the most,
  512. loved the most.
  513. And he was using that illustration
  514. because a prostitute was
    wiping her hair on his feet.
  515. And the Pharisees in
    their self-righteousness
  516. were having some problems with that.
  517. But Paul uses this word in Romans 8:32.

  518. Well known verse.
  519. "He who did not spare His own Son,
  520. but gave Him up for us all,
  521. how will He not also with Him
  522. graciously give us all things?"
  523. There's our word: give.
  524. The word "give" is charizomenoi.
  525. Charizomenoi.
  526. In other words, how will God
  527. not also with Christ,
  528. graciously charizomenoi us all things?
  529. And while the word there in that context
  530. of that verse is not
    communicating forgiveness,
  531. it is communicating the magnitude
  532. of the giving.
  533. The magnitude of the kindness
  534. and gracious favor God is extending
  535. in this open-ended promise.
  536. Another instance is Paul's letter

  537. to the Galatians.
  538. In Galatians 3:18, Paul says,
  539. "For if the inheritance comes by the law,
  540. it no longer comes by promise,
  541. but God gave it to Abraham
  542. by a promise."
  543. The word gave - that's our word.
  544. Gave what?
  545. The inheritance.
  546. Again, the word's being used to convey
  547. an unbelievable bestowal of favor
  548. and gifting.
  549. Something that is just freely
  550. and wonderfully given.
  551. And I share those verses to help us

  552. get a better taste of the breadth
  553. and depth of this term here: forgiving.
  554. And it is translated "forgiven"
  555. even in this letter.
  556. If you look over to chapter 2:13,
  557. Paul says, "And you who were dead
  558. in your trespasses,
  559. in the uncircumcision of your flesh,
  560. God made alive together with Him,
  561. having forgiven us all our trespasses."
  562. Paul here elects to use the word:
  563. charizomenoi,
  564. instead of aphiemi -
  565. the word standardly used for forgiveness,
  566. and I think he does so to underscore
  567. the incredible kindness of God
  568. in such an act as forgiving
  569. all our trespasses.
  570. Okay, so now we have a clearer scope

  571. of this word "forgiving,"
  572. used in the text before us.
  573. Let's look again at what
    Paul has to say here.
  574. "And if one has a complaint
    against another,
  575. forgiving each other."
  576. Paul rightly assumes there's going to be
  577. problems in the church.
  578. You gather a few hundred people together
  579. on a regular basis,
  580. and they're still dwelling
    in their mortal flesh,
  581. you're probably going to have a
    problem or two pop up, right?
  582. There's a pretty good
    chance that someone's
  583. going to have a complaint
  584. as Paul calls it against another.
  585. Legitimate or not,
  586. complaints or going to happen.
  587. If and when they do,
  588. Paul doesn't say,
  589. just seek to avoid that person
  590. as much as you can.
  591. No, he says forgive each other.
  592. Have a charizomenoi mindset
  593. with one another.
  594. Be gracious.
  595. Bestow kindness.
  596. Forgive that thing and move on.
  597. Not separate. Move on together.
  598. Don't begrudgingly or mechanically
  599. say the words, "I forgive you,"
  600. and yet your heart is still
    holding on to that thing.
  601. That's not biblical forgiveness.
  602. That's biblical bitterness.
  603. The biblical term here is telling us
  604. to return that complaint or offense
  605. with something pleasant.
  606. Freely give it. Don't withhold it.
  607. Graciously grant the pardon.
  608. Release that thing. Let it go.
  609. Meet it with kindness.
  610. Yeah, but if you only knew brother...
  611. I don't.
  612. But the Lord knows.
  613. And He says let that thing go.
  614. In fact, not only let it go, but do it
  615. in such a fashion that it communicates
  616. a gracious and a kind spirit.
  617. Yeah, but this isn't the first time
  618. they've done this to me.
  619. "Seventy times seven," Jesus tells Peter.
  620. When he asked Him, Lord,
  621. how many times shall I forgive my brother?
  622. Okay, well, maybe that's for little sins.

  623. What about when they're big sins?
  624. And they're multiple times?
  625. Paul has the answer for that
  626. right here in our text.
  627. "As the Lord has forgiven you..."
  628. "As the Lord has forgiven you,
  629. so you also must forgive."
  630. Wow.
  631. That's a stunning statement.
  632. You know, in a verse like this,
  633. we're apt to focus on the
    conclusion of the matter.
  634. Okay. You also must forgive.
  635. I need to be a forgiving person. I get it.
  636. Not so fast.
  637. Look at the beginning of the statement.
  638. It's really most remarkable.
  639. Notice the "as so" construction here.
  640. As the Lord has forgiven you,
  641. so you also must forgive.
  642. As - in the same manner;
  643. to the extent that God has forgiven
  644. your sins against Him,
  645. so you need to likewise
  646. forgive other sins against you.
  647. That's what's being said here.
  648. This short phrase here:
    "As the Lord has forgiven you..."
  649. That phrase represents the basis
  650. and foundation for all
    Christian forgiveness.
  651. Christians forgive
  652. because they're a forgiven people.
  653. Forgiven people forgive.
  654. In fact, that's what I titled my message.
  655. Forgiven people forgive.
  656. You want an acid test as to who's real;
  657. who's not.
  658. Let a man or woman be wronged.
  659. Before long, you'll find out the extent
  660. to which they've been forgiven.
  661. People who get all hung up
  662. over little insignificant matters of life
  663. and can't seem to let such things go
  664. have a very, very small view of God,
  665. and a very, very small view
  666. of themselves before a holy God;
  667. their sin before a holy God.
  668. Now, I'm not saying -
  669. I'm not even suggesting forgiveness
  670. is an easy thing.
  671. And I'm not saying
    it's an automatic thing.
  672. But by Scriptural authority,
  673. I can assure you that forgiven people
  674. do forgive.
  675. We perform what we call

  676. the adhesion tape test at work.
  677. We build ground support equipment
  678. for military aircraft.
  679. And unfortunately, they fall under
  680. the same specifications the aircraft does.
  681. And some of the stuff we do,
    especially the paint and finishes,
  682. so we have all these hoops
    we have to jump through
  683. and all these certain
    tests we've got to run.
  684. And so, basically, what it
    is is you get a test panel,
  685. you mix up your paint.
  686. There's all kinds of variables
    that can throw this thing off.
  687. The whole point of the
    test is to determine
  688. if there's true, genuine adhesion
  689. of the paint to the component.
  690. You've got to have that.
  691. You can't have that flaking off.
  692. It's got to be quality.
  693. It's got to meet a certain quality.
  694. So what they do is you spray this panel,
  695. let it dry, apply this military grade
  696. masking tape basically,
  697. and you take a razor blade
  698. and you start scoring that masking tape,
  699. and you let it sit for awhile.
  700. You come back and you pull that tape up.
  701. You pull that tape up.
  702. And if there's any paint on that tape,
  703. it's not proper adhesion.
  704. That piece needs to go
    back and get blasted.
  705. You start all over.
  706. You pull that tape up and it's clean,
  707. you have perfect adhesion.
  708. A good, quality approved part.
  709. It can move on.
  710. I was thinking about that in
    relation to the Christian life,

  711. particularly this - forgiveness.
  712. It seemed like a good analogy
  713. of whether we have genuine adherence
  714. to Christ.
  715. When the Lord presses on you
  716. the tape test of forgiveness,
  717. and allows you to be scored and cut deeply
  718. by another person,
  719. are we adhered to Christ?
  720. When the tape's pulled back,
  721. what's the story?
  722. When the tape's pulled
    back, the testing's over,
  723. are we holding fast to Christ?
  724. Are we holding fast to Him?
  725. And proving so by letting
    all those offenses go
  726. as Christ let ours go?
  727. Or are we fixated back here on the tape?
  728. Are we hanging on to the cuts?
  729. Are we not properly bonded to Christ?
  730. Christian, mark this down
  731. and be fully persuaded
    of this in your mind.
  732. Because there's not any situation -
  733. I mean any -
  734. not any situation that could ever occur,
  735. not one act of providence
  736. that could ever befall you,
  737. no matter how bad,
  738. no matter how horrific,
  739. that does not demand your forgiveness.
  740. We had a woman -

  741. I've told this story before.
  742. We had a woman going to
    Fatty's on a regular basis,
  743. and we were helping her.
  744. She lived over in our neighborhood.
  745. And you know, you spend
    time with somebody
  746. and you get to know them.
  747. We start digging a little bit,
  748. and we finally got to the issue
  749. that was keeping her from Christ.
  750. It was a horrific story,
    horrific background.
  751. As a child, she was molested
  752. and horribly, horribly abused
  753. by her step-dad.
  754. She told me with much sorrow and tears.
  755. "I cannot do it.
  756. I cannot forgive him."
  757. And I told her, you have to,
  758. or you'll never know
    the forgiveness of God.
  759. And I realize, I've been around enough,
  760. in a room this size,
  761. some of you have gone
    through similar things.
  762. So, I'm not belittling it.
  763. And I understand that is
    incredibly wicked and evil.
  764. I'm sure it's an absolute nightmare
  765. for anyone to have to go through.
  766. But let me tell you,
  767. it's not even close,
  768. dear brother or sister,
  769. it's not even close to the wickedness
  770. and evil that you have willfully expressed
  771. against a pure and holy God.
  772. It's not.
  773. You see, "I can't forgive him."
  774. That flows from a heart that's never seen
  775. its own filth and wickedness
    before a holy God.
  776. Because if it had, such a person,
  777. they would see themselves no
    different than that man.
  778. They would quickly conclude
  779. they're just as evil.
  780. They're the same lump. The same guilt.
  781. The same need.
  782. You see, when the scales of self-deception
  783. fall off and you see
    yourself in such a light,
  784. when you become aware that such
    a thing as that can be forgiven,
  785. such wickedness and sin can be forgiven,
  786. such rebellion, such self-absorption,
  787. one who is so guilty of really
  788. the greatest treason in the universe;
  789. if they can be forgiven,
    that's a game changer.
  790. That changes everything.
  791. Mark it down. The failure to forgive
  792. is a failure to see the enormity
  793. of our own sin
  794. and the enormity of God's incredible mercy
  795. toward us.
  796. Christian, if you're struggling here,

  797. here's why.
  798. You've got to get your eyes off you.
  799. You've got to get your
    eyes off that person.
  800. You've got to get them on Jesus Christ.
  801. And as you do that,
  802. you will see in Him
  803. reason upon reason upon reason
  804. to shed any and all offenses toward you.
  805. Like my dad used to say,
  806. like water off a duck's back,
  807. offenses will just roll.
  808. The cross has the power to do such things.
  809. This is huge.
  810. Forgiveness is a really, really big issue.
  811. So big, Jesus touches on it several times
  812. in His ministry, especially in
    His Sermon on the Mount.
  813. Let's turn there. We'll scan through

  814. the Sermon on the Mount.
  815. Just look at the places where Jesus
  816. at least makes reference to the concept
  817. of forgiveness.
  818. Matthew 5:7
  819. "Blessed are the merciful,
  820. for they shall receive mercy."
  821. Here we find Jesus certainly
    implying forgiveness, right?
  822. If we are extending mercy to others,
  823. we're showing kindness and compassion
  824. to an offender, right?
  825. Merciful.
  826. That kind of rings with our
    word charizomenoi, right?
  827. Verse 23, "So if you
    are offering your gift
  828. at the altar and there remember
  829. that your brother has
    something against you,
  830. leave your gift there before the altar
  831. and go, be reconciled to your brother,
  832. and then come and offer your gift.
  833. Come to terms quickly with your accuser
  834. while you're going with him to court,
  835. lest your accuser hand
    you over to the judge,
  836. and the judge to the guard,
  837. and you be put in prison.
  838. Truly, I say to you, you
    will never get out
  839. until you've paid the last penny."
  840. This is the same language
  841. Jesus uses in another parable
  842. we might look at here in a minute.
  843. Is that time right?
  844. But the simple teaching here in v. 23,
  845. if you have an issue
    with a brother or sister,
  846. if there's an offense,
  847. you need to get that thing dealt with.
  848. And right now.
  849. That's an A1 number one priority.
  850. Leave your gift at the altar, He says.
  851. Forget about worship.
  852. Forget about God even
    hearing your prayers.
  853. As long as this thing's present,
  854. that's an obstruction to God.
  855. Go clear up the matter, He says, now.
  856. Forgive. Reconcile.
  857. Then, you're good to go.
  858. But this thing of offense
  859. has to be taken care of.
  860. V. 39, "But I say unto you,
  861. do not resist the one who is evil,
  862. but if anyone slaps you on the right cheek
  863. turn to him the other also,
  864. and if anyone would sue you
  865. and take your tunic,
  866. let him have your cloak as well."
  867. Wow.
  868. Those are challenging verses.
  869. Now that is the spirit of charizomenoi,
  870. is it not?
  871. That's somebody who's seen
  872. something of themselves
  873. in the blazing light of God's glory.
  874. Mere flesh and blood can't do
    those things right there.
  875. Matthew 6:9,

  876. "Pray then like this..."
  877. Jesus gives instruction on how to pray.
  878. Down to v. 12, "Forgive us our debts,
  879. as we also have forgiven our debtors."
  880. You see how Jesus ties
    forgiveness to prayer here?
  881. Praying with an unforgiving spirit,
  882. you might as well be praying to that wall.
  883. This thing is so important.
  884. After Jesus finishes His
    instruction on prayer,
  885. He continues on with the subject.
  886. V. 14, "For if you forgive
    others their trespasses,
  887. your heavenly Father
  888. will also forgive you,
  889. but if you do not forgive
    others their trespasses,
  890. neither will your Father
    forgive your trespasses."
  891. Whoa.
  892. Now Jesus has a number of stunning,
  893. blow-you-away statements in this sermon,
  894. but this has got to be one of
    the most shocking ones of all.
  895. If those folks were sitting there
  896. eating bread and fish
    and He was preaching,
  897. I'd venture to say several
    men stopped chewing.
  898. Or some might even start choking.
  899. This world is full, and I mean full
  900. of people like the woman I just mentioned
  901. that used to go to Fatty's
  902. whose father she could not forgive.
  903. People are full of bitterness and anger
  904. and resentment.
  905. And they're people that
    feel fully justified in it.
  906. These words spoken by our Lord here,
  907. they seem utterly absurd to them.
  908. "What is that?
  909. Surely He doesn't mean that.
  910. I mean, I love God -
  911. nobody's telling me any different.
  912. Me and God, we got a thing going.
  913. I was sick back in '98
  914. on my deathbed in the hospital,
  915. God brought me out of it.
  916. He saved me from it.
  917. I know I'm on good terms with Him.
  918. I've always believed.
  919. I believe John 3:16, you know.
  920. I believe God.
  921. And it says whosoever believes shall
    not perish, but have eternal life.
  922. Once saved, always saved."
  923. I would say this verse does not at all

  924. conflict with John 3:16
  925. in any way, shape, or form.
  926. And I would say, once saved, yes,
  927. you are always saved. Hallelujah!
  928. The problem is not with the Scripture.
  929. The problem is with the assumption.
  930. An assumption that my belief,
  931. my believing, my "faith"
  932. trumps all other realities
  933. and truth of Scripture.
  934. And the reality is, as Jesus
    so clearly expresses here,
  935. if you do not forgive others,
  936. you will not know the forgiveness of God.
  937. That's serious.
  938. If you're sitting here this morning
  939. and you're holding on to something
  940. you can't forgive, you need to hear this.
  941. Hear it again: Jesus says
    you will never know
  942. the forgiveness of God,
  943. if you don't let that thing go.
  944. Is it worth it?
  945. Is it worth your never-dying soul?
  946. And the reason why a person
  947. who can never come to the place
    of forgiveness in their heart -
  948. the reason why they can't be forgiven,
  949. it's not because God
    forgave them at one time
  950. and now they've
    come to this place
  951. where now they can't
    forgive this person,
  952. so He takes away their salvation.
  953. No, that's not it at all.
  954. The reason why they'll never
    know the forgiveness of God
  955. is because they've never truly seen
  956. the forgiveness of God themselves.
  957. And that's because they've never,
  958. as I said, never really seen themselves
  959. in light of who they really are
  960. before a holy God.
  961. They've simply laid hold
    of a feel-good gospel
  962. which is no gospel at all,
  963. and ironically, it has them
    feeling quite miserable
  964. and discontent and full of hate.
  965. Again, forgiven people forgive.
  966. Those who understand something
  967. of the magnitude of their
    offense towards God,
  968. they learn to forgive.
  969. Matthew 7, "Judge not,
    that you be not judged.

  970. For with the judgment you
    pronounce, you will be judged;
  971. with the measure you use,
    it will be measured to you."
  972. This kind of echoes back to
    the verse we just read, right?
  973. If you can't forgive that brother
  974. for speaking ill of you,
  975. you will drown
  976. in the absolute fury of God
  977. poured out on you for profaning His name
  978. with all manner of blasphemies
  979. and perverted speech.
  980. Verse 12, "So whatever you wish
  981. that others would do to you,
  982. do also to them."
  983. Again, this is the spirit of charizomenoi.
  984. An others- mindedness.
  985. An others-mindedness to do them good.
  986. And to shower them with kindness.
  987. Verse 24, "Everyone who
    hears these words of Mine..."
  988. Jesus closes the message.
  989. "Everyone then who hears
    these words of Mine
  990. and does them will be
    like unto the wise man
  991. who built his house on the rock."
  992. And the ones who don't
    do these words of Jesus,
  993. well, you know, they just
    won't get as many rewards
  994. when they get into heaven.
  995. That's not what Jesus teaches.
  996. No, He likens those people
  997. who do not do His words -
  998. He likens them to houses that are built
  999. on a shoreline in the aftermath
  1000. of a massive hurricane.
  1001. We've all seen those pictures, right?
  1002. Complete devastation.
  1003. Complete destruction.
  1004. That's how serious forgiveness is.
  1005. So serious Jesus draws attention
    to it again in Matthew 18.
  1006. I was going to have us
    turn there, but I'm not
  1007. for the sake of time.
  1008. But read that account,
  1009. where the man owes the king
  1010. a great sum of money.
  1011. In his hypocrisy, he goes to strangle
  1012. and throw those who
    owe him far less money.
  1013. In the same statement He used
  1014. in that other verse we looked at.
  1015. You won't get out until
    you've paid the last penny.
  1016. And the implication there
    is that some amount,
  1017. 100 thousand talents -
  1018. you try to compare the
    currencies on google
  1019. and you get all kinds
    of conflicting results,
  1020. but it is a massive sum of money.
  1021. Well into the billions.
  1022. The idea Jesus is trying to get across
  1023. is you'll never pay it.
  1024. You're never getting out.
  1025. You go in with the unforgiveness,
  1026. you get in that prison,
  1027. you get locked up with
    an unforgiving heart,
  1028. you're never getting out.
  1029. So while you're not in, let it go.
  1030. That's the message.
  1031. Jesus ends it by saying,
  1032. "So also My heavenly Father
    will do to every one of you
  1033. who does not forgive your
    brother from your heart."
  1034. Wow.
  1035. From the heart.
  1036. He's looking at the heart.
  1037. It kind of makes complaining,
  1038. a complaining brother or sister
  1039. rather insignificant, doesn't it?
  1040. It makes that seemingly large offense
  1041. not so large at all.
  1042. It kind of makes Jesus'
    debt that He paid for me,
  1043. that He delivered me from
  1044. rather glorious.
  1045. It ought to provoke our minds

  1046. to start counting all of the
    hundreds of thousands of talents
  1047. that have been tossed into the sea
  1048. of God's forgetfulness.
  1049. Sent away as it were
  1050. as far as the east is from the west.
  1051. (I'm sorry, that's the east and
    that's the west, isn't it?
  1052. So far, the Scripture says,
  1053. has He removed our sins from us.
  1054. That truth ought to melt our hearts
  1055. into this charizomenoi - that Greek term -
  1056. that kindness and graciousness
  1057. and it should pour out into the lives
  1058. of God's people in
    relationships with others.
  1059. There's so much more
    that could be said

  1060. about the subject of forgiveness.
  1061. I just can't get it all in in one message.
  1062. But I do want to wrap up here

  1063. by just appealing to anybody,
  1064. anybody in here who might
    be struggling with this
  1065. letting go of offenses.
  1066. Perhaps you are holding
    a grudge against someone.
  1067. And you know if you are.
  1068. I encourage you to take
    a fresh look at the cross.
  1069. And the wonderful person
  1070. who was nailed there to it.
  1071. For crimes far, far worse
  1072. than those you're holding on to.
  1073. I stand before you today as one
  1074. who wrestled and
    struggled with forgiveness
  1075. at a very deep level.
  1076. And by God's grace alone,
  1077. through some of these realities
    I'm sharing with you today,
  1078. the Lord was pleased
    to help me through it.
  1079. And I'm convinced this is one of those
  1080. working out your salvation
    with fear and trembling.
  1081. Forgiveness has to happen.
  1082. It has to be a reality.
  1083. It has to be worked
    out within you or else.
  1084. Oh, how everying in our flesh
  1085. cries out for vengeance and self-pity.
  1086. We want people to know we were wronged!
  1087. We want payback for that
  1088. which made us suffer.
  1089. Listen to these words:
  1090. "Consider Him who endured from sinners
  1091. such hostility against Himself.
  1092. When He was reviled,
  1093. He didn't revile in return.
  1094. When He suffered, He did not threaten,
  1095. but continued entrusting Himself
  1096. to Him who judges justly."
  1097. That's how Jesus handled
    the injuries of others.
  1098. He didn't throw a pity party.
  1099. He didn't hold a grudge.
  1100. He didn't broadcast it to others.
  1101. He knew His Father knew
  1102. and trusted Him.
  1103. And that was enough.
  1104. See, when we're wronged by others,
  1105. it answers the question:
  1106. just how precious and
    sufficient is the Lord to me?
  1107. Is it enough that God knows I was wronged?
  1108. Or do I need to let others know about it?
  1109. That's a real test, isn't it?
  1110. Dying to our own woundedness.
  1111. Praise be to God the cross dispels it all.
  1112. I'm going to end by
    quoting Isaiah 53 here.

  1113. Just listen to this:
  1114. This is what the Lord
    Jesus subjected Himself to
  1115. for the sole purpose of forgiving sin.
  1116. "He was despised
  1117. and we esteemed Him not.
  1118. Surely, He has borne our griefs
  1119. and carried our sorrows,
  1120. yet we esteemed Him stricken,
  1121. smitten by God and afflicted.
  1122. He was pierced for our transgressions.
  1123. He was crushed for our iniquities.
  1124. Upon Him was the chastisement
  1125. that brought us peace,
  1126. and with His wounds, we are healed.
  1127. All we, like sheep, have gone astray.
  1128. We've turned every one to his own way.
  1129. And the Lord has laid on Him
  1130. the iniquity of us all.
  1131. He was oppressed
  1132. and He was afflicted.
  1133. He opened not His mouth,
  1134. like a lamb is led to the slaughter,
  1135. like a sheep that before
    its shearers is silent,
  1136. so He opened not His mouth."
  1137. That reality afresh within our minds
  1138. helps us die to our own woundedness.
  1139. That reality when it's registered within
  1140. helps kill an unforgiving heart.
  1141. Thank you.
  1142. Father, we ask You to
    bless Your Word to us.

  1143. We thank You for being
    such a forgiving God.
  1144. Oh, that those that know it not
  1145. might know it today.
  1146. We pray in Jesus' name,
  1147. Amen.