Forgiveness

I.         We must each face death

            A.        But most of us have already experienced death.

            B.        Death is a separation.

                        1.         Physical death is a separation of the spirit from the body.

                        2.         When our sins separate us from God, this is spiritual death - Isa. 59:1-3

            C.        Spiritual death is not permanent. To return, we must be forgiven of our sins.

II.        What is forgiveness?

            A.        To grant as a favor, pardon, rescue, deliver, relieve, release, or to free fully.

            B.        Isa. 38:17 - God casts our sins behind his back

                        1.         No longer sees our sins, as if they are not longer there

            C.        Heb. 8:12 - When God forgives, he no longer remembers our sins.

III.       God’s forgiveness

            A.        Why do we need God’s forgiveness?

                        1.         Our sins separate us from God and we all sin - Rom. 3:23

                        2.         The result is we deserve eternal punishment

                        3.         But God wishes to forgive us - II Pet. 3:9

                                    a.         God went so far as to send His only Son to die for us - Acts 5:30-31

                                    b.         Through Jesus’ blood, we receive forgiveness - Eph. 1:7

            B.        But our forgiveness is conditional

                        1.         It is based on our own actions

                                    a.         Not someone else, such as father or mother - Ezek. 18:20

                        2.         It is based on our repentance - Ezek. 18:21

                                    a.         Isa. 55:7 - Turn from sin and be pardoned

                                    b.         Acts 2:38 - Repentance and baptism is necessary

                        3.         Conditional on our confession of wrong - I John 1:9

                                    a.         II Sam. 12:13 - David confessed his wrong and God forgave him

                        4.         Conditional on our continued obedience - Ezek 18:21

                                    a.         Mt. 7:21 - Obedience allows us to enter heaven

                                    b.         I John 3:24 - God then dwells in us.

                                    c.         In other words, sin no longer separates us from God

                        5.         Conditional on our willingness to forgive others - Mt. 6:14-15

                                    a.         Eph. 4:32 - Be kind to each other, forgiving as God has forgiven us.

                                    b.         Col. 3:13 - Forbearing and forgiving

                                                (1)       Putting up with, enduring hardships

                                    c.         Ps 78:34-39 - God forgave, not requiring full-payment, out of compassion for man

IV.      Our forgiveness

            A.        Here is where the objections start to roll in

            B.        “Oh, I’ll forgive him, but I won’t ever forget what he did to me!”

                        1.         Would you like God to act this way towards your sins?

                        2.         If you can’t put it behind you, never bringing it up again, then you haven’t forgiven

                        3.         Where would Paul be, if Christians never forgave him of his early actions against the church?

                        4.         If you can’t forgive, then God won’t forgive you - Mt. 18:21-35

            C.        “But he keeps doing it again”

                        1.         How often do we sin? How often would we like God to forgive us? 100 times? 1000 times? Would we be comfortable with any limit?

                        2.         As often as he turns from his sins, forgive him - Luke 17:3-4

            D.        “He didn’t ask”

                        1.         It is true, the offender must ask for forgiveness.

                                    a.         God doesn’t forgive everyone automatically.

                                                (1)       Though, He does forgive some of our debt. This world is still here.

                                    b.         He expects us to confess our faults before him.

                        2.         But notice, we don’t sit back and do nothing. God actively works to get us to see our condition and to smooth the way.

                        3.         We must rebuke our brethren for wrong doing and work towards convincing him to return - Lk 17:3

                        4.         The proper way to handle problems: Mt. 18:15-17

                        5.         Forgiving a person without restoration to the Lord isn’t profitable for either person.