God’s Pardon Through Prayer
1. We are continuing our NEW series: Taking the Next Step: In Our Spiritual Growth of PRAYER!
- keep reminding yourself of this principle which goes along with our 2010 Church Theme:
> If you’re going to make progress, you have to keep moving! . . . keep taking steps to reach the goal of bringing glory to God by being like Jesus Christ (thinking & actions)
2. We’re doing this because the Bible places a strong emphasis on the subject of PRAYER:
- Jesus modeled this in His life – and if He prayed, we need to pray!
3. The purpose of this series:
- To help us develop a more biblical understanding of God's purpose and goal in prayer
- To motivate individual believers to pray more and to pray in a more biblical manner
- To help us as a church family grow in our focus and practice of corporate prayer
4. So far, we studied:
- God’s Precautions Regarding Prayer: What to AVOID – v. 5 - 8
- God’s Pattern for Prayer
Pattern: “Our Father Who is in heaven”
Pattern: “Hallowed be Thy Name”
Pattern: “Thy Kingdom Come”
Pattern: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
5. Our study LAST WEEK:
Ø5 Key Elements of God’s Petition: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread:
#1 The Request Deals with the Necessity of Life
“bread” = not only represents food -- but symbolic of ALL our physical needs
- Lesson: The ‘daily bread’ is not sufficient to meet all our needs – we also need God’s Word!
- Moses wrote these words with reference to Israel:
- Deuteronomy 8:3 ". . . man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”
#2: The Request Emphasizes the Source of Our Provision
- We can work hard, earn the money, etc. – but we still need God to help us!
#3: The Request Reveals the Heart of the Petition
*QUOTE: “What you pray about is what you depend upon God for.”
#4: The Request Rules out the UNRIGHTEOUS
Point: God is committed to His people!!
#5: The Request takes it ONE DAY at a time!
Quote: “To accept the Lord’s provisions for the present day without concern for our needs or welfare tomorrow is a testimony of our contentment in His goodness and faithfulness.” (MacArthur)
Introduction: [PowerPoint begins!]
1. I’m sure all of us could give a time where we were offend by someone – they sinned against us in a certain way . . . and you had to deal with it!
- they came to you and sought your forgiveness . . . and what did you do?
- you might say, ‘I prayed about it!’ – good for you, but did you pray the way Jesus taught us to prayer in Matthew [read Matt 6:5-13]
2. God can be praised because He forgives us and makes restoration possible by the FREE gift of His Son who shed His blood that we might know forgiveness!
- if it weren’t for Jesus’ sacrifice, we would have no hope . . . and there would be no prayer!
3. We need to be praying to God to ‘forgive us . . . as we forgive others!’ – v. 12
Q: If that were true, would God be able to forgive YOU today?
4. Prayer can help us develop the quality of a forgiving spirit.
- that true because you have to be HUMBLE to forgive someone else
- you have to be humble to pray . . . MAYBE THAT’S WHY WE DON’T PRAY ENOUGH!!
5. As with all subjects regarding relationships/problem . . .
I. We Must Have God’s View of Forgiveness
- that’s important because it sets the precedence for our actions – He models what He expects from us as His children!
- One of the most important points in this study is:
A. Forgiveness is conditional upon repentance & confession
- God does not forgive unconditionally – there has to be repentance
- Luke 13:3 "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
- He later told the apostles:
- Luke 17:3 "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 "And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."
- the apostles response to that statement – implying that v. 3 would be a challenge:
- Luke 17:5-6 5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." 6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
-it’ important to understand what repentance means:
- repentance = a change of the mind (180 degrees opposite)
- from ‘This is OK’ to the knowledge/thinking: “God is NOT PLEASED with what I did”
- from “I have a right to do _____’ , to “I should NEVER have done it or NEVER do it again’
- repentance produces confession !
confession = to say the same thing (homo = same; logeo [lah-geh-o] = to speak]
- 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another…
Q: Why should that be done?
Answer: To restore the relationship so God can be glorified . . . and James 5:19-20 can be fulfilled!
Point: There can be no TRUE confession without repentance AND there can be no TRUE repentance without confession!
B. Forgiveness is a promise to not bring up that offense against them to the person’s hurt.
- the key words here are ‘promise’ and ‘to the person’s hurt’
- you may need to bring it up to REMIND them to be careful and don’t make the same mistake again . . . but the it’s not to beat them over the head or to humiliate them!
Example: Someone getting angry and hitting you – they ‘repent’ & ‘confess’ to you – but the next time you see them, you run the opposite direction!! That is NOT forgiveness!
* “forgiving” is active! – You can choose to forgive someone, to restore the relationship
- It’s an act of obedience & God can give you grace/wisdom/& strength to accomplish it
Q: But what happens if they don’t repent or confess their sin?
Answer: Like God does, you stand READY to FORGIVE!
- you PRAY for that person –
- Matthew 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
- you return good for evil –let them know you are willing to solve the problem
- you’re NOT God, and you can’t change them
- you’re not the REDEEMER, but you can be a Tool in the Hand of the Redeemer and wait patiently with GRACE and MERCY
POINT: Realize how often God waited for you to repent!
C. Forgiveness does not equal ‘forgetting.’
- God is omniscient and He will not, and cannot ‘forget’ what you did, said, etc.
- But He will not bring that offense up to your hurt when you have repented and confessed your sin!
Example: A parent who’s child was sexually molested or murdered by a person will not forget what the guilty person did . . . but forgiveness is possible with God’s grace!
* “Forgetting” is PASSIVE! (it occurs over time, depending on the severity of the offense, and even to some degree, how the situation was handled)
II. We Must Avoid Man’s Views
A. Partial forgiveness
> “I will forgive you, but I will remind you about what you did! “(with a bad spirit – to get even)
- that is NOT forgiveness – while forgiveness is conditional, you cannot hold the offense over the person’s head and ‘return evil for evil’
- or “I’ll forgive you till it happens again” – that’s a THREAT, not FORGIVENESS!
Note: If a person repeats an offense, then the failure to truly repent will need to be factored into the situation and the person’s repentance brought into question!
- Balance of Luke 17:3-4 with 1 John:
- 1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin [i.e. continually, habitually, without repentance or change], because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
- 1 John 5:18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin [lit. continually practice it]
Lesson: Partial forgiveness comes from a person who would rather sit on the Judgment Seat than the Mercy Seat!
- Mercy = withholding what a person actually deserves
> partial forgiveness (which really isn’t even forgiveness) has no ‘mercy’ – only judgment
- beware of ‘judging one another’ (James 4:11-12)
- James 4:11Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
- when you ‘judge’ (this is the Greek word for making a final decision of judgment vs. ‘judge’ (another Greek word for discernment) . . . you are playing the role of Jesus Christ to whom the Father has committed all ‘judgment to the Son’
B. Delayed forgiveness
- “I’ll forgive you, just give me some time to think about it “ OR “I’ll have to think about it – I’m not ready yet!”
> but we are commanded to forgive one another
- Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
- Paul wrote: ‘do not let the sun go down on our wrath’ (Eph. 4: 26)
[cf. The 4 Rules of Communication – often violated in the forgiveness/restoration process]
> we’ll study these Rule in just a few weeks – they help us solve problems in a biblical way
III. We Need to Pray for Forgiveness and GRANT Forgiveness!
Q: When’s the last time you ASKED God’s forgiveness for something?
Q: When’s the last time you GRANTED forgiveness toward another person?
Q: If they have NOT repented, do you stand ‘ready to forgive’ when they do repent and confess their sin?
1. Let’s put some of our principles into practice TODAY [James 1:22 – be DOERS of the Word]
2. I want to lay out some specific prayers requests for our church this year and pray for each one!
General requests: Since it is God's will . . .
1. That we as a church in general, and our leaders in particular, would be growing in holiness.
2. That we would lead balanced and priority-oriented lives.
3. That we would be building strong marriages, families, and friendships.
4. That our corporate worship would be genuine and passionate.