The Miracle of Forgiveness

Preached by Andrew Smellie, Febuary 10, 2008

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David Jefferson’s communion testimonial:

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God chooses us to be forgiven and commands us to forgive.

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Are you like Jesus in the way he forgave? Lewis Smedes says,

Forgiveness is love’s toughest work.

Sometimes we react to pain in relationships or to disappointment in unmet expectations by pulling back and protecting ourselves, instead of extending mercy and striving to understand and trust others’ motives. We can actually be stewing in a big pile of un-forgiveness and mis-label our own feelings of anger, sadness or hurt, justifying our need to hold onto them (in our minds and hearts) until someone promises us the pain will go away.

You might be waiting a long time for the pain to go away, since God wants to teach us something through it all! This is precisely the pain that God allowed Jesus to endure for each one of us to have a life-long motivation of love and gratitude . . .that God would forgive our sins against His Son–wow! How much more then do we need to follow in his footsteps and learn how to deal with pain, learn how to suffer, learn how even to love the way Jesus loved. We hold the world’s opportunities to experience the love of the cross hostage, if we delay forgiving others. And God Himself designed it that way, so that we would rely on His strength to live this way!
“The Miracle of Forgiveness” preached by Andrew Smellie
Sunday, February 10, 2008

Romans 12:9–21
• If you have a problem with investing your heart to God or to other disciples of Jesus Christ, then you got to deal with it.
Question: Are you like Jesus?
• Forgiving is the heart’s hardest work.
• Forgiveness used the wrong way can either make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator.
• Forgiveness is love’s way of breaking off the chains of the laws of nature.
Question: What do you do when you forgive someone who does you wrong?
• Your decision has to be either to forgive and forget or to retain and resent.
• Either you forgive and forget or you retain and you resent.
Question: How zealous are you to deal with these issues?
Question: When was the last time you blessed someone who persecuted you?
• Have a pure heart about forgiveness.
• You will deal with a lot of evil in your life.
• It is about how you deal with it.
Question: Where are you at?
Question: Who have you not forgiven?
• Forgiveness is a byproduct of love.
• Forgiveness is love in action.
• Forgiveness is love’s toughest work and risk.
Question: Do you have the faith to risk?
Question: Are you willing to risk for God?
• Forgiveness means to give up resentment, recourse and retaliation against someone.
Question: How do you repay evil for evil?
Question: Are you willing to die because of Jesus dying on the cross?
Question: How much easier has it become to be willing to forgive?
• Pain does affect you – it either affects you in a positive way or in a negative way.
• Sometimes you do not consider why or how you got hurt.
• You do not examine the cause because you get caught up in the result of your hurt.
• Here are five common reasons why people get hurt:
1. People hurt you because they think that you deserve to be hurt.
2. People hurt you compulsively.
3. People hurt you with the spillover of their problems.
4. People hurt you with their good intentions.
5. People hurt you by their mistakes.
Question: Is getting hurt unfair?
• Yes, getting hurt is unfair.
• You have to examine the intention and how you respond.
• Your attitude to forgive must remain the same.

Psalm 103:1–22
Question: How do you look at things: with spiritual eyes or with worldly eyes?
Question: Which emotion has a future?
• You can deceive others only for so long.
Question: Are you dealing with your pain?
Question: Are you making the most of every opportunity to deal with your pain?
• You got to fear God in order to forgive.
Question: Do you see someone and only see pain?
• All you see is all the ways that he or she can hurt you or has or had hurt you.
• If you are focused on praising God for all that he has done for you, then you do not have time to be angry, resentful, etc. toward the person or people who hurt you.
Question: Do you fear God?
Question: Do you love God’s heart or do you love the anger, the pain and the hate?
Question: Do you remove transgression from people the way God does?
Question: Why do you cherish pain?
Question: Are you obeying His instruction or do you feel justified to disobey it?
Question: Have you ever justified your sin?
• Justification of sin is a lie from the devil.
• You are mighty when you obey God.
Question: Are you committed to do God’s will?
• God has an expectation of obedience.
Question: What do they see when people look at you?
• Partial obedience is disobedience.

Matthew 6:14–15
• A lack of forgiveness will send you to hell!
• It will pull you away from God.
• Meditate on the sin that you commit on a daily basis.
• You got to be willing to accept God’s grace.
• Unless you see your need to be forgiven and others as well, you will not forgive others.
• You got to forget your best.
• You got to be willing to move forward.

Philippians 3:12–16
• You got to be mature in order to forgive.
• You got to live in the present, not the past.
Question: What plans does God have for you in the future?
• It is a fight to be mature.

Isaiah 6:1–8
• If you appreciate the forgiveness that you have received, then you will do something about it.
• Isaiah saw a grand vision of God.
• Do things for God.
Question: Have you ever been overcome with a great feeling of sinfulness?
• You become pure again through Jesus Christ.
Question: Do you think about your sinfulness the way that Isaiah did?
• God wants to see your initiative.
• Spread the message of forgiveness.