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Scripture Reading: Psalm 130
The Power of Forgiveness
1. God’s forgiveness is our pattern for forgiving others, Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-13.
2. Our forgiveness of others is the measure of forgiveness we will receive, Matt. 6:14-15.
3. Forgive: “to send forth, send away (n)…a dismissal, release” (Vine); remit.
4. Forgiveness is NOT: Ignoring the sin (Lk. 17:3); Putting offender on probation; Limited (Matt. 18:21-22); merely refusing to retaliate.
5. When God forgives He: blots out (Acts 3:19); forgets (Heb. 8:12, doesn’t hold sin against us); Receives back the sinner who repents (Lk. 15:20-24).
-Likewise, we are to forgive each other at all times.
6. Great power in forgiveness, but first we must have the power to forgive those who sin against us.
I. THE POWER TO FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US…
A. …Comes From Our Own Forgiveness.
1. The power to have compassion for others, having received it ourselves, Lk. 6:36.
a. Matt. 18:21-35: Servant received mercy, yet did not give it.
b. Lk. 7:36-43,47: Simon “loved little” (7:47, 39) because he did not see or appreciate his need for forgiveness.
2. The merciful will obtain mercy (be forgiven), Matt. 5:7; 6:14-15.
B. …Comes from the Power of Love, Col. 3:13-14.
1. Love demands forgiveness, 1 Jno. 4:10-11; 1 Pet. 4:8.
2. 1 Cor. 13:4-6: Love is applied in forgiving another person:
a. 13:4: Suffers long (patience, enduring); kind (gracious); not arrogant (not above forgiving).
b. 13:5: Does not behave rudely; is not selfish; does not take account of evil (with a view of settling the score).
c. 13:6: Does not rejoice in iniquity (tries to overcome it).
d. 13:7-8: Overcomes, endures, hopes & never fails!
3. Hate (envy, jealousy, strife, bitterness, etc.) eliminates forgiveness!
II. THE HEALING POWER IN FORGIVENESS, Jas. 5:16.
A. The Power to Restore the Soul from Sin & Death (Lk. 15:32).
1. Must be honest about our sin, Isa. 59:1-2, 12-13.
2. God’s forgiveness cleanses us from our sin, 1 Jno. 1:9.
3. Always seek God’s forgiveness first; Sin is always against Him, Psa. 51:4.
4. God’s forgiveness heals the soul.
B. The Power to Restore the Mind from the Guilt & Pain of Sin, Psa. 32:1-5, 7, 11; 51:8, 10-12.
1. The guilt of sin affects mind, body & soul.
2. Examples of this power:
a. David: Guilt vs. joy of forgiveness.
b. Paul: Acts 9:9-11; Agony over depth of his sins (1 Tim. 1:12-15, God’s mercy & grace applied).
c. Sinner’s sorrow could be relieved by the brethren’s love for him, 2 Cor. 2:6-8.
3. Do not allow the guilt of sin to consume you & destroy you.
C. The Power to Restore Relationships.
1. “The effect of forgiveness is to restore to its former state the relationship which was broken by sin” (ISBE, II:1133).
a. With God, Lk. 15:18-24.
b. Between offended & offender, Matt. 18:15; Lk. 17:3-4.
2. Forgiveness strengthens the church, home, workplace, community, etc. Eph. 4:31-32
III. SUMMARY: CHARACTERISTICS OF FORGIVENESS, Matt. 18:21-35.
A. No Limits to Forgiveness, 18:21-22.
B. As God Forgives, 18:23-27 (completely, immediately, with finality, Psa. 103:3, 8-14).
C. With Humility, 18:28-30.
D. With Mercy & Compassion, 18:31-34.
E. From the Heart, 18:35 (genuine).
1. Having been forgiven, we must forgive. (cf. Lk. 6:38)
2. Christ offers the healing power of forgiveness to all who will come to Him (Matt. 11:28).