God's Pardon Through Prayer

Faith Church January 30, 2010 Matthew 6:9-13

 

REVIEW: 

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:

  1. To help us develop a more biblical understanding of God's purpose and goal in prayer
  2. To motivate individual believers to pray more and to pray in a more biblical manner
  3. 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?

[various answers]

Q: When’s the last time you GRANTED forgiveness toward another person?

[various answers]

Q: If they have NOT repented, do you stand ‘ready to forgive’ when they do repent and confess their sin?

Conclusion:[PRAYER TIME]

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.

Faith Church