It's all passed out, so if you have your Bibles, if you would look with me over to the book of 2 Corinthians chapter number 2, 2 Corinthians 2. We're going to read verse 5 through 11, and so glad you're with us this evening. 2 Corinthians chapter 2, verse 5 through 11. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians chapter 2, verse number 5, but if any have caused grief, he has not grieved me, but in part that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many, so that contrary wise, he ought rather to forgive him and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him, for to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things, to whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also, for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant, of his devices. At this time, I'll ask Brother Rob Bissell if you could open us in prayer. Amen.
You may be seated tonight. Tonight I'm going to be looking at a topic that is pertinent to everyone that's in here, because we are imperfect people, and we live with imperfect people, and we go through our day with people that will sin and fall short, and so because of that, we have to deal with sin, and one of the hardest things people in life struggle with is forgiveness of those sins. Not only is it a struggle for people that are not saved to forgive, but it's also a struggle for people that are professing Christians to forgive. The world has the tendency to always turn sins and wrongs into virtues, or at least things that are acceptable, where fornication was wrong, and now it's acceptable to live with whoever you would like. Where homosexuality was once seen as wrong, as the Bible declares, now it's not only acceptable, but it's celebrated in our country. Where once men and women used the bathrooms that they were assigned at by birth, now you can go in the bathroom that you self-identify as. And this week we had a court case just yesterday that the situation with the YMCA was held, and we'll find that verdict out here in the next two to three weeks.
What's going to happen should be by April 3rd, the judge would make a determination on the situation. The YMCA has planted their feet pretty firm that they believe the law requires them to allow people who identify as women, even though they're a man, to go into the women's restroom and changing room, where a biological male was seen by multiple women and children undressed, and so just pray that that will be a good outcome and that such people like that would have the full weight of the law applied against them. Because you have to ask the question, if gender doesn't determine which bathroom and only your preference, then what do you prefer to be today? And that's the world that we're living in, and that's not a good thing, right?
There's got to be some kind of a determination, there's got to be some kind of a segregation, right? And what I find these days is that women always seem to be the ones that come up on the short end of the deal. Have you noticed that?
I've been surprised, and I know I'm rabbit trailing this, but that's okay. I've been surprised just a little bit that the feminists who sought for women's equalities and then women's somewhat supremacy and that strong feminist movement have not spoken out so much against men now competing in women's sports. So here's the thing, not only do men lead most things, but now we're going to go into your women's events and we're going to dominate you women. I'm going to say that I'm a woman and I'm going to win all the beauty contests, and that's what these guys are doing. The worst looking individual on the stage, which I don't watch these things, but it just is in the news, and the only reason he wins is because he's a man who identifies, that's the only special characteristic. Or the guy who plays on the volleyball team and totally dominates, you see the guy that was a swimmer, he was ranked like 461st in the male category.
He's swimming in Division I women's and he's number one now. So you would think that there would be people who say this is not fair to women. But instead they're going to protect the man who thinks he's a woman and now they call that equality. That's not fair to the women, does that make sense? I don't even have to be a Christian to believe that.
If I was a pagan I would say that's messed up, that's not okay. And so when the executive director of the Fairborn YMCA was asked the question, what determines who can go into what bathroom, the response was whatever they feel comfortable as. So if you feel comfortable as whatever gender, do you know even a driver's license is self-reported?
So if it says you could be a man and say well I'm a female and there's no test for that, they just put it down. This is the insanity that we're living in and this is happening all across the country. It doesn't make you feel like when you go to places you don't really want your little girls to go inside the restrooms, does it? And so but where certain things used to be wrong now in the world it's not just accepted but it's daily celebrated.
I mean it's promoted. I'm not up here trying to say we should hate a certain group of people or I'm not saying any of that. But I'm saying we need to protect people, we need to have safe environments. And here's the thing, at a court case yesterday I saw multiple women, one woman visibly shaken, others in tears because of how fearful they were. So when I do something in life, if you were to do something in life that made someone so fearful they're visibly shaken, tell me how that's not infringing upon them.
That's a problem. And for organizations to protect the right of someone to make other people feel that, scared, afraid, intimidated, fearful, it's narcissistic selfishness. And if I'm considered a hate monger I apologize, I have no desire to be hateful, I just, some things should get us upset. And so forgiveness is also one of those issues that the Bible deems as being right to do but the world now believes that's not good. You know, self-help books today used to, they tell people now that, you know, if you do something wrong it's really not your fault, you were born good and you have some kind of malfunction in life, it's because somebody in your life messed you up, you're a victim of circumstance. This victim mentality has exploded in our present day and it keeps people in bondage as they continually blame others for the problems of their life.
This happens in every area of our society. People elevate vengeance and retaliation, they're seen as great virtues. Instead of the Christ-like qualities of forgiveness and restoration, people demand judgment now. Those who choose not to forgive though pay a high price. You know, it will cost you a lot to not forgive somebody. Unforgiveness makes people prisoners to their past, the offense and the offender stay alive in their life.
As one man said, it's like picking an open store and not allowing it to heal. You hurt as much now as you did back then, to not forgive is to sentence yourself to that. Unforgiveness robs people of joy because it makes them a slave to hate and bitterness. The fruits of the Spirit will not be manifested in such a person's life. Love, joy, peace will not reign. Unforgiveness always produces deep bitterness. Ephesians 4 tells us some things that come from that, in Ephesians 4 31 it says, Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. Those are the kind of things that come around bitterness. Bitterness is the root and the fruit is wrath, raging, it's anger, that's a deep hostility. It creates clamor, clamor is the outcry of wrath and anger.
It's slamming doors, throwing things, screaming and yelling, evil speaking. And Ephesians 4 31 is the Greek word blasphemia, it's where we get the word blasphemy from. It's in bittered speech, you want to verbally slander the person. And then malice, this is a general word for all evil, that's produced from bitterness.
It just springs those fruits out. Verse 32 says, in response, and be kind to one another. Let all bitterness and wrath, let those things go and be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you. You know, bitterness is a malignant cancer in our soul. And all of us has probably at some point dealt with that at some level, where we didn't forgive somebody for a time and it just starts growing on the inside, emotions are affected, it affects our thinking, harassing thoughts come into your mind, angry through the day. If you've ever been in a conversation with somebody that's very unforgiving towards someone else, no matter what you talk about, that topic seems to always come up, doesn't it?
It always comes back around to that person. What does it mean to forgive? In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus said this in Matthew 6, verse number 12, he says, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. The word used for forgive is the word aphami, and it means to send away. The same word is used in Luke 4, 39, when Jesus rebuked Peter's mother-in-law's fever and it fled away. It says in Luke 4, 39, and he stood over her and rebuked the fever and it left her.
He rebuked it and he sent it away, and she arose and ministered unto them. This is the kind of forgiveness that God shows us in Psalm 103, 12, when it says, as far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. And so to forgive, the Bible has 75 word pictures on forgiveness. It talks about forgiveness as like turning a key and opening the cell and letting the prisoner free.
That's one metaphor the Bible gives. To forgive is to write across the debt that somebody owes you nothing owed or paid in full. The Bible says to forgive is to pound and gavel in a courtroom and declare not guilty.
There's 75 pictures like that in the Bible it refers to. Paul understood the importance of forgiveness. Here in 2 Corinthians chapter number 2, he addresses a situation at Corinth we have been looking at last week, where apparently a man in the congregation who potentially was even a false teacher or one who was against Paul for some reason verbally assaulted Paul publicly during a previous visit that Paul made, what he referred to as a painful visit in chapter number 2. And Paul rebuked the church and said, you should have dealt with this man, and so they do deal with this man, but then they deal with this man and they discipline him as a church in a pretty extreme way. And the man must have repented as you get into chapter 2.
The man must have gotten right and was sorrowful over it. And so Paul says you need to forgive him and receive him back into the fellowship of the church. Some believe that this man in 2 Corinthians 2 is the man from 1 Corinthians 5, the fornicator. But I don't think that's the case because Paul is dealing with a guy here in chapter 1 and 2 of 2 Corinthians made personal attacks against him. It wasn't that situation. And plus Paul had already written a previous letter from 2 Corinthians.
Between 1 and 2 Corinthians there was another letter he wrote there and another visit he made. So that situation should have been already dealt with. So from this passage we will learn five benefits when we choose to forgive. And I really want you to self-examine tonight. Is there anyone in your life that you feel you have bitterness against, you have unforgiveness against? And if your heart's clean, praise God.
But these are some areas that you have to understand that need to be applied to life because if you don't, you're going to be consumed. And listen, there's always a reason we could argue for why we shouldn't forgive. There's always a reason, but usually it comes back to me as pastor, you don't know what they've done. You don't know the death.
And sometimes with tears in eyes, I don't know. That is so painful, that is so harmful, that is so hurtful. But the Bible tells us that we have many more reasons why we must forgive. There's always reasons why you shouldn't, but then God gives you reasons why you should. And so let's look at five benefits when we choose to forgive. When you and I choose to forgive, it will replace pride with humility. 2 Corinthians 2 verse 5 says, But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part that I may not overcharge you all.
Now it is true that this man offended Paul. The phrase, But if any have caused grief, is known what's known as in the Greek the first conditional clause, which means this is a factually true statement. The second conditional clause is something that's factually not true. It's not factually true. And then the third and fourth conditional clauses deteriorate from there. It's potentially true and so forth. But the first conditional clause in Greek is saying this is something that's affirmative.
It's definitely factually true. So this man did offend him. He caused grief. And what's interesting is Paul never names the guy. He just calls him the he or such a man in verse 5 and 6. He veils the guy's identity.
Paul is saying in verse 5, I don't want to over exaggerate this. I don't want to overstate this. I don't want this to blow out of proportion. He's not grieved me, but in part.
He did grieve me, but I don't want to extend it beyond measure. It's somebody who blows stuff up beyond proportion. You ever known those people? If something happens to them, boy, everybody in the world is going to know about it.
And they're going to make it sound much worse than it was. Where Paul brings it down. I tell people, you know what immaturity does? It keeps blowing air in the balloon. Mature believers are to come along and say, let's get some of that air out.
You ever notice that? Calm people down. As much as life in you live what? Peaceably with all men. Is that always easy? No.
You know what they did? Let's turn to Romans 12. However you make that noise.
Get some of that air out of there. What you find in verse five is the response of a humble man. A man who had been offended, but a man who did not hold on to the offense. One of the greatest keys to forgiveness is to have a humble spirit. Those who struggle to forgive have very quickly forgotten the magnitude of the offense that they have been forgiven by God.
They reflect the spirit of the man in Matthew 18. Who was given an insurmountable amount of debt of sin against the king. Who the king forgave him when he fell down and pleaded with the king for forgiveness. And God fully and graciously forgave him a picture of God forgiving us. Yet that man later found one who owed him a fraction of the amount.
Choked the man, threw him in prison. The man pridefully wanted the full weight of the law applied to the person who offended him. But he wanted mercy applied to his own offense. And that's the picture of what pride does. Pride demands judgment. Pride desires vengeance. Mom give her a whip and give him a whip and my sibling deserves it.
Light them up. Or mercy says, you know what, it's okay. Be gracious. Humility is unwilling to forgive 70 times 7, isn't it? You see the spirit in Joseph in the Old Testament when he was sold into slavery by his brothers. What a story.
What a story. I mean this guy, I spent two years preaching through Genesis years ago and I got to Joseph's life. You spend 13 or so chapters on his life from 38 through 50 and you're just like wow.
I mean what a picture of Christ in the Old Testament. He's sold by his brothers. I mean he's going out to check on his brothers to see how they're doing and they conspire to kill him. Reuben delivers him. They throw him in a pit and then they sell him to some Ishmaelites. Those are their cousins. Those are Ishmael's kids.
Did you know that? They take him into Egypt. He goes to Potiphar's house.
He does pretty good. The Bible says the Lord was with him. The Lord was with him. He kept saying the Lord is with him until she wanted to be with him. And she asked him to lie with her and you know a guy like that could say, you know as much as bad is going on in my life I'm going to get a little satisfaction here. I'm going to feed the flesh.
I'm going to do what I want to do. Serving God sure hasn't gotten me anywhere. But you know what he didn't base God's goodness upon his circumstances.
He based obedience to God on God. And he maintained his integrity and he ran out of there and she falsely accused him that nasty woman. It's gross isn't it?
So gross. You know it's by God's grace that he doesn't die. Right? I mean reading between the lines in the Bible this would have been one of those situations where it's like they picked up stones to stone him but his time had not yet come. This is sovereignty saying Joseph's time is not yet.
Joseph will live as long as God wants him to live. So he went into prison, tells a couple guys their dreams. The butcher and the baker, the cupbearer yeah.
And the cupbearer gets restored and the butcher gets his head chopped off. He gets hung doesn't he? And he says make sure you remind you know tell Pharaoh you know when you get out of here you know show some kindness to me. They forget all about him.
Two years pass. And then he remembers his wrong. He tells the king finally gets you know Pharaoh he gets out of there and then all the blessing come. But you know there's about 15 years of him going through that being a servant, being a slave and being in prison. I mean like almost half of his life up to that point because he was 30 years old when he got out of prison. I mean he was in he was in a tough place. And when his brothers show up in Egypt for some food he recognizes him they don't recognize him. He could have been like payback time is on.
Come and get these scrubs throw them in prison just give them what they've given to me. But you know what he saw? He saw his life under the control of sovereignty. He learned what Paul had not yet learned until Jesus made it clear that my grace is sufficient for you. Joseph was one who would say I most gladly therefore rejoice in my suffering that the power of Christ may rest upon me. And he said what you meant for evil God meant for good. You wanted bad for me but God wanted good. How many things in our life how many afflictions do you consider happened in our life that though the world sought evil in it. God said there's something better that I'm working in you than what they're trying to work against you. You think the cross is bad don't you Peter.
There is a glory that you can't even conceive of this side of heaven. And so so just just understand this. Those who do not forgive are shackled to self pity vengeance bitterness because they believe they have a right to better. They believe that they don't deserve to be treated like they don't.
And by doing that it it just absolutely destroys people from the inside out it makes them a slave to hate. Pride will do that pride will tell you all day long you deserve better you deserve it you deserve it. Don't ever people people like this will say you know what I'll forgive but I'm not going to forget.
Well sure you won't. And so be a humble person. Secondly forgiveness replaces severity with mercy. Look at verse six and seven Paul said sufficient to such a man as this punishment which was inflicted of many. So that contrary wise you ought rather to forgive him and comfort him less perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with over much sorrow. Paul refers to the punishment that was inflicted of many so this was the church wide discipline placed upon him. Apparently the church discipline this man and very likely had put him out of the church because of this sin. First Corinthians five Paul dealt with a man who is openly committing adultery in the church with his with with this man stepmother and Paul says in First Corinthians five. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when you're gathered together in my spirit and the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to such to deliver such a one and the same for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. And then in First Corinthians five eleven he says but now I have written unto you not to keep company of any man that is called a brother be a fornicator covetous idolatry railer drunkard extortion or such a one.
No not to eat. Like if they they're they say they're Christian and they're just openly engaging in those kind of sinful things. Don't fellowship with them in such a way. You need to say because it's not you being better than them it's you being loving to them saying hey I'm not okay with you living like this. And I don't want your influence in my life and I don't want my testimony to be like I'm okay and affirming you in this. It doesn't mean you constantly ignore them it doesn't mean that you you never speak to them it's not that kind of a shunning thing it's it's saying that that I'm not just going to go hang out like nothing's wrong.
Does that make sense? Like we're not we're not we're not going to affirm you in this. There is a set Paul even dealt with this at the church at Thessalonica second Thessalonians three six. He says now we command you brethren in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and he says that in both places in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Call yourself from every brother that walketh disorderly and not after the tradition which he received of which he received of us verse 14 and 15 he says if any man obey not our word by this epistle note that man have no company with him that he may be ashamed yet.
Count him not as an enemy but admonish him as a brother. Hey you're our brother we love you but we're not okay with you opposing the truth of God we're not okay with you living. Sinfully against the things of God some people think it's loving to go hang out with people that say they're Christians and living in godless ways that's not loving.
It's confusing. It's okay to meet with somebody and try to help if they're wanting help but if they're like hey this you're gonna have to accept me like this. I can't accept that sin I'm not okay with that because Christ is not okay with that. Christ is not okay with that. The church had confronted this man he dealt with his sin in second Corinthians chapter number two. They had applied discipline and the man repented. But perhaps the man repented too fast and some felt more punishment was necessary. But since the man repented forgiveness needed to be applied to the man and perhaps you've had siblings or a spouse. Oh well you know I'm really sorry that came across that way. Well that was too quick of a sorry.
You need to grovel a little bit here. Yeah we all know what that's like right? I can't just forget I'm not emotionally ready for forgiveness yet. I enjoyed getting upset with you but now you're all humble I'm not ready to be humble.
Yeah right? You've been there too. Married to that humble spouse. He's got one of them humble spouses that they're so quick to like repent you're just like I'm not ready for you to repent. Be upset so I can be lathered up some more I want to I'm upset about this.
I'm so sorry like I'm and that's that may have been what happened here. And he says listen it's sufficient there's enough has been applied don't don't inflict anything else. And he uses the word forgive there in verse number seven it's not a FMI it's it's charisma it means to grant freely this. Keras is where you get the word grace from and it's like freely give this this is an unearned gift of grace.
C.S. Lewis said we all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful ideal until we have to practice it. You ever notice that boy has a good message on forgiveness and some offense happens next week and we're like. Luke 17 three says take heed to yourself if thy brother trespass against the rebuke him and if he repent forgive him. When someone sends they need to have consequences when you forgive it doesn't mean you don't apply consequence. You know love produces consequence doesn't it.
You know if a child says I'm sorry and you know they get right and there's still some kind of a consequence that needs to be applied because it shows them hey. We don't want you to go into any other things down the road but but love also disciplines and rebukes. It forgives but it also disciplines it rebukes proverbs three twelve says for whom the Lord loves he corrects even as a father the son in whom he delighted. Revelation three nineteen as many as I love Jesus says I rebuke be zealous therefore and repent but it doesn't mean you hold on to judgment. You deal with the sin you deal with the sinner and know this you leave the results up to God. You confront them but then you turn that over to the Lord you've done your part.
You've done what you could. Romans twelve nineteen says dearly beloved avenge not yourself but rather give place on a wrath that has written vengeance is mine. I will repay say the Lord people say well what if I forgive them and they just continue to.
Well then you confront them but if it becomes that unhealthy of a situation you need to distance yourself and that that person is showing themselves to be somebody who. Either is a person very far out of the will of God that may need a clear some other discipline involved with the leader of the church or something. Or there they need evangelize because they don't even understand the gospel. But but we can't we need to understand when when you when you take the sword of judgment in your hand and you want to be the executioner of that judgment the judge and the jury and all of that.
I'm telling you it will eat your eat your lunch man. There are people who've been so controlled by that. At Corinth there were probably some who were extremely devoted to Paul the Paulites. It's the people in First Corinthians one right who said I'm of Paul and others I'm of Apollos I'm a Cephas I'm of Christ and but there were these. Oh Paul baptized me or they were lining with Paul and maybe they were like you know we're not ready to forgive this guy you know we were really fired up about what he did to Paul. And Paul says you know what you need to you need to forgive them.
Paul was merciful. He even says here he says in verse number seven. He says so contrary wise you ought rather forgive him and comfort him.
The word comfort there is parakaleo. Jesus used the word in reference to the Holy Spirit in John 14 16. Jesus said I will pray the Father he shall give you another parakletos. And Allah's parakletos the word another has in the Greek there's two words for another in English was having one.
You can have heteros which is another of a different kind. Allah's is another of the exact same kind. Jesus said I will send you not a heteros another of a different kind but an Allah's I'll send you another who's just like me.
Affirming the deity of the Holy Spirit I will send you an Allah's parakletos another one the comforter means one who will come alongside you and aid you strengthen you encourage you. So just as the Holy Spirit comes along and aids us who were once enemies made children through the grace of God. God who loves us and the Holy Spirit after disciplining comes along and his grace encourage. You know what it's like to be disciplined by God and then then after you repent you feel the grace of God the the mercy of God upon your life the Holy Spirit coming along and comforting your life. So Christians need to be that parakaleo comforter to those who would also repent. The opposite of is the one who says well I know what they've done but you're going to maintain a hard heart against them.
You know I'll never forget what they did. Always remember how you treat others in the area of forgiveness is exactly what you're asking God to treat your sins as. In Matthew 6 12 this is such a incredible statement by our Lord in the model prayer most people don't get this piece of it but he says and forgive us our debts he could he talks about our sins against God like debts. That's why we have to pay that debt and the blood of Christ paid that debt for us but forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors notice what he says. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. God treat my sins exactly how I treat the sins of others. I want you to look at me and as I have forgiven other people I want you to forgive me in the exact same way.
You understand that's what you're praying. Father forgive me as I forgive my debtors forgive me. So if you're not forgiving other people you are just asking God to bring down judgment upon you. God be severe with me.
Be harsh with me. Never forget what I've done. Forgive me but never forget it God. That what we want God to do? Boy we want mercy on ours but we want judgment on theirs.
I like what I think Tozer said. He said God put a safety lock on his wrath but a hair trigger on his mercy. Psalms 103 verse 10.
He has not dealt with us. He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. I pray that most mornings through Psalms 103 it's just never gets old to me. Years of praying through Psalms 103 it never gets old to me.
Never does. He's not dealt with us after our sins. Every morning I want to remind myself of that. He's not rewarded me according to my iniquities. You know that Josh?
You remember that? Verse 11 he goes on to say, For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pitied them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame. He remembers we are like dust.
The whole chapter is just so rich. Paul said you need to comfort him so he's not swallowed up with over much sorrow. Anybody here ever sinned before and afterwards you're just so broken over it? You're just like, man, God, I'm so sorry. I'm sure that most of us have been there. Lord, I'm so sorry for what I said, my attitude, my action, my thoughts, my life. God forgive me.
We're just so broken. We know what it's like to be grieved over our sin. Paul is, do you see his love for this man? This man who's offended him? He has more concern over this man's feeling than his own personal hurts.
What an awesome grace. The word swallowed up here, he says, I don't want him swallowed up with over much sorrow. The word swallowed up, it's used as translated as drowning in Hebrews 11 29. It's used in first Peter five eight when Satan seeking whom he may devour, swallow up, consume, destroy.
Paul didn't want this man devoured, drowning and over sorrowful. Are you one who is merciful and forgiving toward others or do you hold on to bitterness and still want them to pay even after they repented? A third blessing and benefit when we forgive is, forgiveness replaces hate with love. He says in verse eight, wherefore I beseech you that you would confirm your love toward him, that you would confirm your love toward him. You ever talk someone who's overcome with hate towards somebody else? Again, they just, they're, no matter what you talk about, they just always go back to that.
They always go back to that. So if you go at first Corinthians 13 verse five, it gives us one of the 15 definitions of love. One of the 15 characteristics I should say of love.
And it says, love thinketh no evil. It's, it's a Greek word. It's actually a bookkeeping term in the Greek language. And, and, and, and it means to take into account as when figuring like an entry in a ledger system. And in a ledger system you have debts and deposits. You have outgoing and incoming, and that's a mandatory system in the financial market. That's a mandatory system for personal finances.
But the Bible tells us that's a detrimental system to a Christian. When you keep a record of the wrongs done against you. It's the person that can pull out the filing cabinet. It's the spouse who says, man, they can remember everything I've ever done against them for the last 40 years. You understand that that ledger system is a loveless act. It's, it's choosing to love yourself more than your spouse.
It's choosing to love yourself more than them. When you can keep bringing stuff up, you're saying, God, make sure that you keep the record system against me. Make sure that you never throw those things away because I sure want to get to heaven one day and you pull out the record on me. Forgive me exactly how I'm treating their sins.
Keep the running tally, God. So instead of doing that, the Bible tells us we are to forgive them. That means to cancel the debt. When they say, well, what do I owe you because of this? You say the debt's been paid.
Well, who paid the debt? Christ. He has forgiven. You know, that word legismai is the exact same Greek word used in the New Testament to represent the pardoning act of God against us. Here's how it's read in Romans four saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not look gives a my or not impute sin. It's literally blessed is the man who the Lord will not take into account. He will not keep a record of their sins. Second Corinthians five 19 to wit that Christ, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.
Literally not counting their trespasses against them. He didn't keep a running tally against us and have committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Anybody glad that God doesn't keep the running tally?
Cause it's cause cause I think it could get pretty long. It's like, okay, these are the offenses that Josh has against me. Why should never let him into heaven. Here's all the good works that he's done that should let him into heaven.
These are the ones that should keep him out. And I look at that. I'm like, okay, there's a, okay, that's just rolling and rolling. And then over here, how many good things did I ever do to get to heaven? And the Bible says Romans three 12, there's nothing to do with good.
No, not one. I'm like, Ooh. Then he says, I want you to treat people. And then he, then he, then he erases all my sins.
I said, how did they get taken off? Cause when Christ died on the cross, he paid it in full. All of this is the blood was just poured upon it. He says, I want you to go out and treat other people in response to how you feel I've treated you here. So when somebody comes along and all day, they said this about me, they said this, or they put a Facebook post about me or they offended me here. So am I going to hold all that bitter envy, hatred? Now it doesn't mean I don't confront sin, right? Cause love confronts, right? Somebody sends you rebuke them. Jesus told us to do that.
Luke 17 three. That's a loving thing. It doesn't mean you ignore sin, but it means that you don't, you don't hold that against them and make them pay a price to you. You confront it. Why? Because you are concerned for their spiritual wellbeing.
See it? I mean, when you and I discipline our children, it shouldn't be so that it makes our life easier. It should be so that they can honor Christ. Why I want my kids to straighten up cause they're really giving me a hard time. Well, maybe, maybe God's trying to break you down.
So how are you doing in this area? Are you holding on to unforgiveness towards someone in your heart? Do you bring up past wrongs that people have done against you? Should you hold them against that person if God hasn't held it against you? This is so essential.
Let me give you a fourth thing tonight, a fourth benefit. Forgiveness replaces sin with obedience. Look at verse nine.
It says, for this end also did I write that I might know the proof of you, whether you be obedient, ye be obedient in all things. You know, there are some things that God tells us to do that are like even our parents, things our parents told us to do that were easy and other things that were not easy. It was not hard when my parents said, Josh, bring your dish over to the sink. It's not hard.
I don't mind. When he's like, Josh, can you get your brother's dishes and also bring them over to the sink? Not so easy.
You can tell that those slugs over there to bring their own dishes over. Oh, why was that so hard? You need to clean your room. Okay.
I want you to clean your brother's area as well. You've got to be out of your mind. I would rather go to Sheol for half a day than this, you know. It's miserable. Some things God calls us to do are not difficult. It is not hard for me not to kill.
I don't wake up every day like, man, I just... Just really been... People are like, how you been doing? I'm really struggling, you know. Six commandments, got to be there. Thou shall not kill. Why do you have to put that there? I mean, we don't struggle with this, do we? Don't tell... There wasn't a strong enough Amen going on right there.
A little concerned about Lighthouse right now, right? But when the Bible says, do not have anger in your heart towards someone, well, that can be hard sometimes. It's a lot easier not to steal. Stealing is not like a daily struggle for most people, Lord willing, but when God says, I want you to live without worry, I don't want you to live with anxiety, I want you to live fully trusting me, that can be hard. When God says, I want you to forgive, that can be tough sometimes, but you know what?
He's commanded us. Ephesians 4, 32, be kind, tender hearted, forgiving one another. Colossians 3, 13, forbearing one another and forgiving one another.
These are not suggestions. You know God never gives us suggestions, he just always commands us. But our natural flesh doesn't want to forgive. We're like Peter who says, Lord, what if somebody sins against me seven times in a day? Should I forgive him seven times? You know, Peter was actually trying to elevate the law because it was like, you need to forgive them in their day, like four times would have been like the max. He's like, well, then I'll just say seven.
Really be exaggerating. And Jesus is like, not seven times, oh, that's 70 times seven, and Peter's like, ah, that's impossible. Husband, wife, is it okay to live with bitterness towards each other? Parents and children, coworkers, bosses, fellow believers? You know, forgiveness can be hard to do sometimes, but I'm telling you, it's liberating, and it's the most God-like act you will ever commit in your life. You will never be more like your father in heaven than when you forgive. You know what Ephesians 4, 32 says after it says, don't be bitter, let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. Verse 32, and be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. You know what the next verse says, chapter five, verse one, be ye therefore followers of God as dear children. You know what the word followers is in the Greek?
It's mimiti. It's where we get the English word mimic from, literally mimic God by forgiving others because you're his agape children, his beloved children. Forgiveness is the most God-like act. You will never be more like God than when you forgive others. When Jesus said on the cross, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. You find that showing up in Acts chapter seven, don't you? Verse 60.
Remember the man's name, Stephen? And when they were stoning him to death, he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice saying, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. When he had said this, he fell asleep, they killed him while he was praying for their forgiveness. God calls forgiveness the glory of a man. Proverbs 19, 11, it says the discretion of a man defereth his anger and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. You know, God sees it as our glory when we forgive. If you have someone you need to forgive, do that today.
Don't delay. According to Matthew five, 23 through 25, it renders us unfit to worship God when we have unforgiveness in our hearts. So we must forgive. And then lastly, forgiveness replaces Satan's desires with God's desires. Look at verse number 10 says to whom ye forgive anything I forgive also for if I ever give anything to whom I forgive, forgave it for your sakes, forgave it in the person of Christ or as a representative of Christ, lest Satan should get an advantage of us for we are not ignorant of his devices. You know what's interesting in the book of James, James chapter number one, it says to the 12 scattered tribes scattered out that region because of persecution.
So these tribes are scattered because they're under like the furnace of tribulation and persecution. He said, blessed are you when you fall into different temptations knowing that the trying of your faith work of patience, and it's a Greek word for trial and testing there is perasmos. And it's a neutral word like in the end, when we use the word temptation in the English is like a solicitation to evil, but the word perasmos it could be used as a positive thing or negative thing.
It always depends on the context. So James uses it in James chapter one verse one through 12 as a positive. He's using it perasmos, blessed are you when you fall under the perasmos of God. What it is is a test by God. God brings something that brings heat and challenge and hardship into your life to see what you're made of, to see if you'll be obedient because it's easy to obey when it's smooth sailing.
But how are they going to handle when the ripples come? So you see in verse number 13 through 16 it says, for when that no man say when he is tempted that I am tempted of God for God cannot be perasmos, neither can he perasmos any man. So the perasmos from God's side is a test to grow us, but then the perasmos comes along from Satan as a solicitation to evil to cause us to fall. The coin is the trial, test, whatever we're going through. On one side, this is the perasmos, this situation you're in. And so people will say this sometimes, I don't know if God's testing me or I don't know if Satan's tempting me.
It's the same thing. God's testing you to grow you, to bless you, and Satan's tempting you in the same situation to destroy you and bring you down. The outcome of that is based upon your faith in God.
When God brought the Israelites out into the wilderness, he would allow them to go three days to test their faith. Satan come along and try to tempt them to doubt God, to deny God, to rebel against God. And so this situation is going on at Corinth and he says, listen, forgive them because if you forgive them, I'm in the person, I'm in the place of Christ as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, I'm also forgiving him. This is what Christ wants. But if you don't do what Christ wants, Satan can get an advantage of you because we are not ignorant of his devices. He'll use this to cause division, to cause pain and problems in the church. You know what the Bible says in Ephesians chapter four verse 26. Married couples listen to this very closely. Children with your parents, parents with your children. Let's all read this verse together.
Ready? Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.
Now look at that. Look at that verse, keep that verse there for a moment. So Jesus says, you can be angry and it doesn't mean that you're automatically sinning, right? Like certain things I just spoke of early on in the service when we opened up, some of that stuff angers me. There's a righteous indignation about that stuff, a jealousy for safety, a jealousy and protection.
Those things are okay. But the Bible says, let not the sun go down upon your wrath. You know why?
Because you can become embittered. You know what you're doing? You're holding on. Vengeance is mine. I will repay, say the Lord. You even for the right cause can't hang onto that because you can't handle it, man.
Josh person, human frailty, dust. It'll destroy you. That seats way too big for you. It'll eat your lunch. You'll talk about it every day. It'll consume your life.
You have no capacity to hang onto that. Every day you have to guard your heart against that anger even toward right things because it will destroy you. Does that make sense? Because it gets us mad, right?
Ready to run through a wall, ready to slam a door, ready to do something. But I have a right to be angry and God says, be angry, but don't sin. And I can tell you that's a hard line to fall in to be angry about the right thing for the right amount of time.
It's not easy to do. And then look what he says, if you don't, if you don't let that stuff go, if you get angry with your spouse, your children, your parents, all that stuff, and you don't get that settled, guess what you do by verse 27, the next verse, it says this, neither give what place to the devil, you know what, when you, when you go to bed angry with your spouse and you don't get that resolved, when you sit down with your spouse the next day and there's just the two of you, you need to make sure you put out a third plate. You need to put out a third plate in your house and you say, why is that dish there? Because we've, we've invited Satan to come into our home. We're asking Satan to come in because when we went to bed angry last night, we're asking the devil to come in and wreck this place. When you have that bitter envying and strife among your parent child relationship and you allow your child to storm off to bed, no, no, no, no. I tell you what, through the years we've made a tenfold bigger difference over the attitude of our children than the actions because when you get attitudes right, you'll get actions right.
But I don't want just the action. Okay, I'll go clean my room and then they go off and do it that that come on back. I'll come home back. We just getting started now. Ain't no way that's going to work.
I don't clear it. I don't care if they clean the entire house. It would make no difference to me. That attitude is so far away from being acceptable.
Come on down. We just, every single, there's no way we will allow that parent never let that you want to know why kids when they get away from the home because you, they'll submit to action while you have the thumb on them. That attitude never gets dealt with, might as well set another plate that the devil come in because he'll wreck that.
He's loving that. Forgiveness replaces Satan's desire with God's desires. It's a big deal, man. So in conclusion, forgiveness replaces pride with humility, severity with mercy, hate with love, sin with obedience, and Satan's desire with God's desire. When you struggle, and when I struggle with forgiveness because we get hurt sometimes, just always remember what God has done in forgiving us so that you can pray with sincerity. Lord, forgive me as I have forgiven them. Amen.
Let's all stand this evening. Maybe tonight you just want to come and spend a moment in prayer. Maybe you just want to praise God for his grace in your life. I do know if there's ever a time when you have to forgive, some of these things can be so heavy. I never want to take it light.
I never want to take people's offenses light. There are some hurts that people can go through that are so deep and painful and decades long and just the wounds can be so incredible and you can many times only overcome those struggles with even fasting and prayer sometimes just turning it over to God. Sometimes you forgive and sometimes you got to forgive again. Maybe you made it right with the person, but your heart sometimes still stirs up and you just have to keep casting that on the Lord. Whether at your seat or at an altar, why don't you do business with God?
If you have an offense against somebody, make sure you get that settled as soon as possible. Don't hang on to that. Maybe you're here tonight and if you stood before God, you don't know if you'd be right with God. If you'd be in heaven, you're not sure of your salvation. I'll be down front.
You need somebody to pray with you, talk with you, folks that can do that. Father, we thank you for your word tonight. It's our joy.
You give us wisdom. You are our righteousness. How lost we would be, God, I would be a mess.
So gone, so lost without you. Your mercy is incredible. Help us to forgive as we have been forgiven. Let us never lose sight of what we deserved and what you gave us. Help us to be Christ-like in our treatment of others. Thank you for the challenges.
They don't always feel enjoyable. Lord, I confess, it's not fun, but Lord, I thank you for faithfully testing your servants to grow us for our good. Help us to have the faith to endure, to trust you even when it's not easy. In Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-02 08:15:45 / 2023-04-02 08:37:07 / 21