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Greatest Sermon Ever 14: On Forgiveness
Richard Root
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Greatest Sermon Ever 14: On Forgiveness May 10, 2020
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Richard Root Matthew 6:12-15 Sunday Online
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Sermon -Sunday Online -2020/05/10 11am -Richard Root
-"Greatest Sermon Ever 14: On Forgiveness" -Matthew 6:12, 14-15: 18:21-35

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Sermon Notes:

The Sermon on the Mount – 14. On Forgiveness
Matthew 6:12,14-15; 18:21-35

• We’ve been studying the Sermon on the Mount. Last week we looked at the Lord’s Prayer. In the middle of it, Jesus taught us to pray,
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
“No word in English carries a greater possibility of terror than the little word ‘as’ in that clause.” — Charles Williams
• Jesus is so serious about this that he adds a P.S. at the end of the Lord’s Prayer:
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

1. Forgiveness and the Human Condition
• In Matthew 6 Jesus is not saying, “Now God could forgive you, but he is withholding forgiveness to motivate you to be more forgiving.” Jesus is commenting on the nature of forgiveness and the human condition.
There is a vast chasm between wanting to be forgiven versus wanting to get out of trouble.
• If I want to be forgiven, not just avoid trouble, it means I recognize I have done wrong, and I want to become the kind of person who wouldn’t do that.
• Forgiveness is a gift of grace. But receiving forgiveness usually involves a lot of work. That’s repentance. That too is enabled by grace. That too is a gift.

2. The Unity of Spiritual Orientation
• You cannot have one posture toward God and another posture toward people. It’s not that you shouldn’t. It is psychologically possible to do so without falling in deception, dishonesty or hypocrisy.
• This is a critically important fact about the human condition. It is sometimes called the unity of spiritual orientation.
“It is psychologically impossible for us to know God’s tender-hearted mercy toward us and remain hardhearted toward others
“For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (1 John 4:20)

3. The Healing “Pity” of God
• In the kingdom of God, there is another basis for relating to each other. The psalmist says,
“As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:13)
James writes, “the Lord is full of pity and compassion...” (5:11)
1 Peter 3:8 says, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous...”
• This is the key word in Jesus’ story in Matthew 18.
“The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.” (18:27)
• We don’t use the word pity much anymore. Mercy is okay or compassion. Not pity. Pity offends our pride. Pity makes our wince. “I don’t need your pity!”
• We are loved and accepted on the basis of pity from God and from others. So, we learn to live in forgiveness.
On the cross, see, it was pity that moved the Master to pay our debt. On the cross, it was pity that saves the world.

• You have some debtors. You know you do. Will you hold your grudge? Or will you choose grace?
• Note: Forgiveness does not mean you excuse or tolerate wrongdoing. It may not even mean reconciling. If somebody sins against you and refuses to acknowledge the truth, refuses to repent, you may not be able to build the relationship.
• Full forgiveness involves a restored relationship, but we can start with forgiveness even without that. You give up the right to hurt the other person back.
• You wish them well before God, and God will help you to do this. The stakes are so high!

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