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Forgiving Others - Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
March 9, 2022 7:00 am

Forgiving Others - Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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March 9, 2022 7:00 am

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. It's serious business to Christ.

And you know why? Because he understands the tormentors that come when you have an unforgiving spirit. You have an unforgiving spirit, I can almost guarantee you, as your life goes on and on and on, it'll become more and more evident to everybody, probably even to you, you become a bitter person. And I don't know if there's anything more tragic than to see a person who's been a Christian for decades, in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, and they just ooze bitterness.

And the reason they do is they're miserable, because they will not forgive. Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt. Fellowship in the Word is the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible Church, located in Metairie, Louisiana.

Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's Word meets our world. Let me try this scenario. Somebody's hurt you. Somebody's tried to destroy your reputation. Someone has done you wrong in your past.

And then you hear later that they have fallen on difficult circumstances or bad times. How do you respond? Smile, don't you?

There's a little smile. What are you thinking? Getting what they deserve now. You see, if you take that kind of joy in someone who's hurt you in the past, whenever they're circumcised, you have not forgiven. You're not choking them, but you have the same vengeful heart. Jesus says, look, don't do that. Forgiven people must be forgiving.

Notice. So his fellow slave fell to the ground, began to plead with him, saying, Have patience with me and I will repay you. Now that's verse twenty nine. Again, look back to verse twenty six. This is himself. So the slave fell to the ground, prostrate himself before him and said, Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.

Do they sound similar? I need mercy. Well. Verse 30 says, But he was. Unwilling. Now, he didn't say the pain was so great, he just couldn't help himself. He didn't say he was so emotionally distraught by this man owing him three months late that he just couldn't help himself.

Whenever God's children don't forgive, there's only one reason you don't. You are unwilling. Unwilling.

It's an act of the will, as I told you, it's not an action of the emotion. He was unwilling. And by the way, he has the legal right. Watch, he was unwilling and he went, he threw him in prison until he should pay back all that was owed.

He has every legal right to do that. You owe me and I'm going to get justice. Jesus said he was unwilling. Forgiven people must be forgiving. Now, even others, by the way, see, this this can't be right in the story. Verse 31, so when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and they came and reported to the Lord all that had happened.

They said, wait a minute. You know, this guy came around. Joyful, telling all of us that he owed you ten thousand talents. And you forgave. And now a guy owes him. Three months wages. By the way, that's one six hundred thousandth of what he owed. Don't miss that one over six hundred thousand.

That's how much more he owed, and he was so happy about what he had received, but he wasn't going to receive it. And he says, even the others that were there said, that doesn't seem right. By the way, is that a picture of us?

I guess a secondary point here to be the world's watching us. Who claimed that we go around telling everybody you want to receive the forgiveness of God? Do you want your sins all forgiven? Do you want the surety of heaven? Jesus Christ will forgive you of all your sins, past and present and future.

He will. This isn't forgiveness. Wonderful. But I'm not going to forgive you. See, Jesus says you can't do that. You can't do that. You can, but you surely shouldn't.

He says you can't do that. Forgiven people must be forgiving. And yet, he says, many of us are so unwilling. I think we're unwilling often because we say, and I hear this often, but if you only knew what so and so did to me. Well, I can tell you this. It was only one six hundred thousandth what you did to God. At its best, one six hundred thousandth of what you did to God. So don't tell me what so and so did to you, and that's why you can't forgive.

Jerry Sitzer wrote a book, and his book was entitled When God Does Not Answer Your Prayer. And he is a Christian man who forgave. And he talks in it about the freedom and the joy when he finally came to a position of forgiveness. And oh, by the way, he might have had more to forgive than you've had in your life. You see, a drunk driver intoxicated and went across lanes, as we always read about or see on the news, and ran into a car. And in that car, the drunk driver killed his mother. His wife and his only daughter. Now, that's a lot of forgiving.

In one moment, he lost his mother, his wife and his daughter. He found freedom and forgiveness, and he writes this about those who will not forgive. He said it's easy to spot unforgiving people. They leave a trail of evidence everywhere. They take offense easily, and they caress hurts that sometimes go back for years. Even the childhood, they rehearse the wrongs done to them, as if reciting a script. They are absolutely convinced that they were and are victims. Unforgiving people become so preoccupied with the wrong done to them, which may be and often is severe and painful, that they cannot see the wrong that's in them. Obsessed by their own pain, they become oblivious to the pain that they inflict on others, on their children, their spouses, their friends, and even God.

He has a right to say that. Now, what is God's perspective on all this if we're unforgiving? Verse 32. Then summoning him, his Lord said to him, You wicked slave, I forgave you all that dead because you pleaded with me.

Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave in the same way that I had mercy on you? What does God call that when we won't forgive? Wicked. It's the word panaris. It's usually not translated wicked. It's almost always translated evil. You evil slave. See, what does God see our unforgiveness to be? Sin. It's sin. It's wicked.

It's evil. You see, God said, You wicked slave. I forgave you all that dead, all of it.

Two hundred thousand years of labor. I forgave it all. And he said, Should you not? When he says, Should you not? He is really saying literally, wasn't it necessary?

You could translate that. Wasn't it necessary that you also had mercy on your fellow slave in the same way that I did on you? Then it gets quite interesting. And his Lord moved with anger. And by the way, evil and sin always moves God to anger. It's God's wrath.

I mean, even Christ experienced that on the cross because he was our sin bearers. And his Lord moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers. And wait a minute.

Until he should repay all that has owed him. Now, torturers. That's an unusual word. You don't even read that very much in English. It's even more unusual when you try to read it in Greek. And the reason is that the word is bassinist. It's the only time it's in the Bible.

One time. It's right here. And it comes from the word bassinizo. And bassinizo means to torment. Notice these aren't executioners.

These are tormentors. So the Lord moved with anger, handed him over to the tormentors until he should repay all that was owed him. As John MacArthur writes, until he had a change of heart and forgave his offending brother. Notice he's not paying back what he owes God.

He's going to have to pay back what was owed him. Lord Herbert said he cannot forgive. He cannot forgive others. He says breaks the bridge on which he himself must pass. James said it this way in James 2.13. Judgment will be merciless to the one who shows no mercy. It's serious business to Christ.

And you know why? Because he understands the tormentors that come when you have an unforgiving spirit. You have an unforgiving spirit, I can almost guarantee you, as your life goes on and on and on, it will become more and more evident to everybody, probably even to you.

You become a bitter person. And I don't know if there's anything more tragic than to see a person who's been a Christian for decades, in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, and they just ooze bitterness. And the reason they do is they're miserable because they will not forgive. You see, they will not forgive. It torments us.

We can take this to our grave. In verse 35, Jesus simply says, My Heavenly Father will also do the same to you if each of you does not forgive as a brother from your heart. He's not asking a second opinion here.

There's no options here. Forgiven people must forgive. You say, well, are you sure about that?

I mean, are you certain that that's what he means? We'll turn back to Matthew 6, the Sermon on the Mount for a moment. The Sermon on the Mount, Chapter 6. And in the context of the Lord's Prayer. Now, I won't comment too much on the Lord's Prayer than that, the past.

But it is kind of ironic, if not funny. Verse 5 says, When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. He said, Truly, I say to you, they have their reward in full. If men say, wow, that was a great prayer.

Okay, that's it. That's all you get, Jesus said. He said, But when you pray, you go into your inner room, close your door, pray to your father who's in secret. And your father who sees what is, he says, done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, now watch this warning, do not use meaningless repetition as unbelievers do.

So what did the church do? We repeated this for 2000 years. He said, Don't repeat prayers. Let's repeat this prayer then. I mean, it's unbelievable that we could do that.

Right in the context, do not use meaningless repetition. Just pray like this. Well, let's pray that.

What a disappointing group we are. He said, Don't be like them in verse 8. Your father knows what you need even before you ask him. You've got to understand, you're not informing God with prayer and you're not impressing him with prayer. You're simply communicating with God, your heart. Pray then in this way, Our Father is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Lord, I honor you. You are a holy God. Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

What? Lord, I want your will done. I want your will done in every instance. And then he says, Give us this day our daily bread. Lord, I need you every day. I'm going to get through the day I need you. And then he says, And forgive us our debts.

And it's a present tense. Keep on forgiving us, Lord. We talked about this last time. Keep on forgiving me. But then he adds something as we also have forgiven our debtors. Lord, I want you to forgive me the way I forgive others. You pray that? Is that what you want to pray for? Lord, I want you to forgive me the way I forgive other people. Little tough, huh? By the way, it's the only way he will forgive you, though.

Watch what happens. Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. And then Jesus says, I want to go back to it and make a point. For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. And if you do not forgive others, your Heavenly Father will not forgive you your transgressions. Now, he's not talking about eternal life here. We're not talking about that kind of forgiveness. This isn't how you go to heaven.

This is how you stay in fellowship with God, what we talked about the last time. In other words, an unforgiving spirit in you is a perpetual sin in your life. You stay in a state of sin because you're unforgiving. He says you don't expect to get anything from God if that's the case.

Ken Sandy in his book The Peacemaker says this. If someone has sinned against you, part of their debt is also owed to you. This means that you have a choice to make.

You can either take payments on the debt or you can make payments on the debt. You can take or extract payments on the debt from others' sin in many ways. Some of us do it by withholding forgiveness, by dwelling on the wrong, by being cold and aloof, by giving up on the relationship, by inflicting emotional pain, by gossiping about the people, by lashing back, by seeking revenge against the one who has hurt us. These actions may provide a perverse pleasure for the moment, but they exact a high price from you in the long run.

The torture chamber of the unbelieving spirit is all too real. You see, the person that really loses when you don't forgive someone is not them. Sometimes they never think of you again. It's you. You think about it all the time.

You think about the pain all the time. Miserable Christians, I know the mantra, if you only knew what they did to me, at worst they did one six hundred thousandth of what you did to God, and yet you received the forgiveness. To accept the forgiveness of God and to refuse to forgive others is not unfortunate. It's evil.

It's wicked. You become a prisoner of the unforgiving spirit. Erwin Lutzer in his book, When You've Been Wrong, says this, Unless we see our own failures, we will never be able to deal fairly and biblically with the failures of others. Unless we are willing to be honest about our own sins, we will always distort and overreact to the sins of others. Marriages are broken, churches are split, and believers, he says, are stalled in their tracks spiritually because they have not properly responded when they are offended. They have become bitter and defensive, critical and hard-hearted, and Satan uses the offense to keep them bound.

There is a wall between them and God, and they do not want the wall to be removed. Forgiven people must forgive. You see, the secret of forgiving is the cross.

That's the secret. Ephesians, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ in God has forgiven you. It's the cross. It's grace.

It's where we received it. Our duty to forgive is grounded in the dirt of Calvary. That's where we went and received forgiveness. I'm going to close with an illustration of Corrie Ten Boom. You know, I could probably close every sermon with an illustration of Corrie Ten Boom. And the reason is, she is such a godly woman. I was just saying to my wife this week, there are three women that I have such enormous respect for spiritually that have lived in my lifetime. All three of those women are unique. One is Corrie Ten Boom, who her and her sister and her family were hiding Jews in Nazi Germany, and they ended up in concentration camps because of it, and her faith prevailed.

The other is Elizabeth Elliot. Her husband went in to reach a tribal people. Those tribal people killed her husband, and she went in and led those tribal people to Christ.

The other is Johnny Erickson Tada, a typical teenage girl who dives in a swimming pool and is a quadriplegic for the rest of her life. And what she has done for Jesus Christ is overwhelming. And the reason I have so much respect for them, their spirituality is not theoretical.

Their spirituality is grounded in enormous suffering and pain, and yet they still honor Jesus Christ and live for His glory. Well, Corrie Ten Boom, I found this story about her that illustrates the sermon. During World War II, Corrie Ten Boom was confined to a concentration camp at Ravensbrück for her part in sheltering Jews from their Nazi oppressors. Her father died in another camp, and in the dehumanizing conditions of Ravensbrück, she was not only humiliated and degraded, but she watched the life of her sister, Betsy Ebewey. Yet God's grace was real in the midst of all the suffering, and after the war, she went to Germany to preach God's forgiveness. Following one's service, a man came forward who she recognized immediately. One of the worst experiences in the camp had been the delousing showers where the women were ogled and taunted by their leering guards. This man was one of those SS guards, a man who had been one of the cruelest, especially to her sister. Now he stood in front of her with his hand outstretched.

Ja, Fräulein! It is wonderful that Jesus forgives all our sins, just as you say. Corrie froze as all the memories flooded back, but the man carried on.

You mentioned Ravensbrück. I was a guard there, but since I have become a Christian, and I know that God has forgiven me, but I would like to hear it from you as well. Fräulein, will you forgive me? Corrie stood there paralyzed. She couldn't forgive.

Her sister Betsy died there. She had been humiliated there. At the same time, she was ashamed that she could preach about forgiveness, but couldn't and wouldn't forgive. So she began to pray, Lord, forgive me, for I cannot forgive. And she cried inwardly. And as she prayed, she began to think about the cross of Jesus Christ. And she felt not only forgiven, but set free. The glacier of hate melted within her, and her hand unfroze. And as she reached out her hand and spoke her forgiveness, she felt another burden of her past had fallen away. The cross, she says, is where we receive forgiveness and where we learn how to forgive. She forgave.

If she did, you can. What I'd like you to do is I want you to think of the people in your life, in your past. It might be a parent, a relative. It might be a spouse. It might be an employer.

It might be an adversary. It might be somebody who has really hurt you. I want you to think about that person. And then in your mind, I'd like you to take that person with yourself to Calvary. Take them to the foot of the cross, the place where you received all the forgiveness. And in your mind's eye, I want you to say, Lord, I forgive them in the same way that you've forgiven me. We have no other option. Forgiven people must be forgiving.

Let's pray. Father, I know how difficult this is. It was difficult for someone like Corrie ten Boom.

It is certainly difficult for me and I'm sure difficult for others. As human beings, we have this tendency to latch on and hold a bitter spirit toward individuals in our lives. But Father, all that does is torment us.

It certainly does not please you. Father, you forgive me because you love me. Christ paid the price for my forgiveness because he loves me and he was willing to go to the cross for me. Jesus told me and all of these folks to love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our mind, all our soul and all our strength, and we are to love others as ourself. Father, included in that love is the idea of forgiveness. So Father, I pray that this is a day for so many of us that we let go of that, that we forgive those who have hurt us. Nowhere near the degree that we have sinned against you, but in the same way, Father, we forgive.

We experience the melting away, as Corrie Ten Boom said. We experience the freedom of the cleansing of our soul. We pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, then you should visit our website, That's At our website, you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for, you can listen online, or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember, you can do all of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-25 13:04:20 / 2023-05-25 13:13:51 / 10

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