THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-9-08
LESSON TITLE: "GOD IS FOR ME: GOD IS FORGIVING"
Let me welcome each of you to our program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. I hope all of you are well and that you are prospering greatly, in your physical lives according to what you are giving to God spiritually. It is wonderful to be a part of God's family and to have opportunities such as this to come before Him and learn more about what He wants of us, as well as praising His name through song. As we begin our homage to God this morning, won't you bow with me in prayer?
Our first song of the morning deals with the wondrous blessing and promises of God. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together the song, "Standing On The Promises Of God!"?
(SONG # 1)
A mighty statement is made in 1 Samuel 2:2, which tells us a lot about the wondrous God we serve. There we read, "No one is holy like the LORD, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God." Did you catch all of this important exhortation?
Yes, God truly is holy! In Leviticus 11:44, God said, "For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy." Notice that God is our Lord and He is holy.
Furthermore, we are to be holy as He is holy.
The next thing Samuel confirmed was that God alone is God. David confirmed this very thing in Psalm 86:10, there he stated, "For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God." Certainly the Bible tells us that God is the only true God and that there is none other beside Him through which we can be saved.
Finally, take note how dependable our God is, earlier we read, "Nor is there any rock like our God." Let's read what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 32:3-4, there it says, "For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He." Yes, God is our Rock, who can be counted on for all we need or require in this life. All those things of a physical and spiritual nature have truly been promised by our God.
Have you forgotten the almighty God, which you are required to serve today? Have you forgotten how great He is? Or maybe you need to begin to reap the great rewards from a faithful service in His Kingdom. Whatever your need may be, respond to His call today, and do so according to His Will, not your own.
This morning, I will be leading our lesson thoughts of the day, as we continue our study together on, "God Is For Me." Our specific lesson of the day is entitled; "God Is Forgiving." So stay with us and after our next song together we will return with this study from God's Word. Now let's return to our singing. The name of the next hymn, "An Empty Mansion."
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
In Psalm 103, we read these words from David: "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me. Bless His Holy name. Bless the Lord, oh my soul and forget not all His benefits."
When we think about God, we think about how wonderful and holy and glorious that He is. We find here about His benefits, the many things that He has done for us. That's exactly what we've been looking at together in our series over the past several months, that God is for me. What is He? He is many things. He has done many things and He represents many things and His characteristics are shown forth in many ways that we might do what? See His benefits. Reap those benefits and rewards; as well imitate those things that we see in Him that are so good and so righteous.
So what are those things? Well if you were to read Psalm 103, it is just a beautiful text that brings out so many glorious things about what God does for us. Some of those things we have already covered. But there are many other ideas as well that are found there. But notice with me if you will verse 3. He says there, "Who forgives all your iniquity." One of those things that God does, one of those benefits, one thing that He is for me in is forgiveness. That's our topic today. God forgives.
Now why do we need forgiveness? Certainly if we go over to another Psalm in Psalm 130 and verse 4, notice what is stated here. "Lord, if you should mark my iniquities, oh Lord who could stand?" A question is asked here. If God were counting my sins, I'd be in trouble. How about you? We would all be in trouble and that's what David is saying. If God were to count his mistakes and his sins in life, who could stand up against God or against the will that God wants them to acquire or to be able to demonstrate in their lives?
But then notice what he also says in that text. There verse 4 goes on to say, "But there is forgiveness with You." So what do we see tied in to forgiveness? Sin or iniquity. The reason that we need so much a forgiving God is because of sin. Sin that you and I choose rather than obedience to God for time to time.
Isn't that what Isaiah spoke about there in Isaiah 59 that "it is sin that separates us from God," sin that separates us and keeps us from God if there was not some way to bring us back? And we're going to talk about that this morning. What is a part of that? Forgiveness! God was willing and ready to offer forgiveness. Now He is going to do other things as well to give us that opportunity, but first He was willing to say, "I will forgive." Now that was His part. So what is our part? These are the things that we want to look at as we consider God being a forgiving God.
You might also recall that in one text we continue to go back to in Exodus 34. As God declared Himself to Moses, we see many of the attributes that we've covered spoken about by God, and God says, "I am this." Guess what another one of those things is. Forgiveness. He spoke there boldly to Moses and as He also spoke to Israel in saying that "God is a forgiving God." Forgiving of what? In iniquities and transgressions. God is willing to forgive sin. God is willing to acknowledge that man is not perfect, is not able to be perfect and therefore, when we make mistakes and sin, He is willing for us to get back up, to repent, and get those sins out of our lives. And what does God do? What does He offer? Forgiveness! Therein, forgiveness is complete. God having offered it. You and I having acted on it and therefore finding ourselves again in the mercy and the grace of our loving God and Savior.
You might also notice with me there that there were many throughout the Bible who spoke of forgiveness, who asked for forgiveness. One that I recall there in the book of Genesis 50 is when the death of Joseph's father had been complete. Jacob dies. And now his brothers are thinking, "Now that Dad is dead, what is he going to do to us? Now we are in Egypt and now maybe he is going to take out on us what we have done against him earlier by putting him in the pit and selling him as a slave." And so what do they do there? They ask forgiveness. They beg for his forgiveness, that they might be able to continue to dwell in the land and that they might find mercy in his sight.
But it wasn't only people like that, but it also was men like Pharaoh who was not even a follower of God. You might recall there when Moses was before him in Exodus chapter 10 that it was Moses, who said, "Ask your God to forgive me." What is the point that we're trying to make? The point is that Pharaoh understood the idea of sin and forgiveness even though he was not a follower of God. Also the brothers of Joseph and their error understood the forgiveness and the need for forgiveness from God. And then we find many other Bible characters who were faithful like David who asked for the forgiveness of God. So what we find is that God again has offered that forgiveness. He has given us the privilege of knowing that He will forgive, and has provided the opportunity of forgiveness and then again our opportunity is to act upon that. Or privilege, our challenge is to say, "Here is what God has offered. Now will I get me life right? Will I correct these things and will I be what my God has asked me to be?"
Now how is this accomplished then? We've seen God offers it. But how did He accomplish it to the perfect degree, the perfection that was required? Well I think we find this in many passages, but let's go over to the New Testament and specifically we want to begin in the book of Colossians there in chapter 1. It talks here a lot about the kingdom of God and the church, but there beginning in verse 13 notice with me what is said. "He (that is God) has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of His dear Son of His love in whom we have redemption through His blood (Notice) the forgiveness of sins."
What has God done? He has sent His Son to die on the cross, to shed His blood, and now as we read in verse 14 that "through the blood we have redemption." And how are we redeemed? We have forgiveness of sins. We sing the old song, "Washed In The Blood Of The Blood Of The Lamb." Revelation chapter 1 and verse 5, "We are washed in the blood (again) of Jesus. We have been cleansed and made whole. No longer are our garments stained with blood or sin, but now they are white." In fact, the writers of the Old Testament speak of how they are whiter than snow because God has provided the opportunity through the blood of Christ that we might be cleansed and that we might be pure in His sight, washed from the sin of life and cleansed and made holy as our God is holy.
Also in the book of Ephesians chapter 1 there in verse 7 we read, "It is in Him (that is Jesus) that we have redemption through His blood the forgiveness of sins." But here he adds, "According to the riches of His grace." Why did God do it? He loves us. Because of His grace and His mercy and His care, He offered us what? Forgiveness, redemption through what? The blood of Jesus that we might have what? The ability to get rid of that sin that separated us from God and would cause us to be lost eternally. But now through the blood of Christ we have been forgiven. In other words, the offering of the forgiveness. We, through the blood, have seen that opportunity and then by responding we have been cleansed. And now that forgiveness has been completed. God has offered it, and I have responded to it in a positive and right way.
No wonder we read down there in Hebrews chapter 8 and verse 13 about the New Law that is to come, but as we move down to verses 12 and 13 around the end of that chapter. He speaks there of how "God will forgive their sins and..." What? "Remember them no more." That's what our God has done. He no longer has like under the Old Law caused one to offer an animal sacrifice and their sin would be pushed forward until the next year. Now under the New Law, with the house of Israel, the covenant, the people of God, the law of Christ, we have a law that offers us forgiveness and no longer remembering of those sins. What that means is that when God has forgiven me of that sin I have repented of, it is over and done with. I no longer have to come before God or someone else and say, "I am sorry. I am sorry." And maybe a thousand times say it. Except the fact that I commit the same sin, but now what I have is the forgiveness and the forgetting of sin.
I hope we're beginning to learn a lot about the forgiveness of sins that God has offered to us, offered to those who are willing to repent and strive for faithfulness. That's what Joshua was speaking about back in Joshua 24 when he was challenging the people to put away their gods and to serve the Lord. Do you remember what he was telling them there? He was telling them there that God would not forgive their sins if they would not put away those gods or if they turned back to those gods, God would not forgive their sins or put away their transgressions. So again they were challenged to know that in order to have the forgiveness of God, they must first be faithful to God.
In 1 John chapter 1 there in verse 8 we read about the opportunity that we have as Christians to confess our sins and guess what happens. It says, "God will forgive us of those sins that we confess." Why? We have sin. If we say we don't have sin, the text there says, we are liars, but if we say that we have sin and we ask for God's forgiveness what will He do? He will forgive us of those sins. If we repent and turn away from those sins, He will forgive us and He will give us that chance, that opportunity to be faithful in His service. And guess what. Even if we sin again, God's arms are always open to those who love Him, who want to follow His Will, who are willing to turn away from sin yet again and get their life back on track with God Almighty.
A final thing we want to look at for a few moments is the idea of our need to forgive. Several places it is clearly given that we should be those like God who forgives. In fact, the great model prayer that we might call it, the great prayer that Jesus gave in Matthew 6; He spoke there in it about forgiveness. Notice what verse 12 says, "And forgive us our debts as we (what?) forgive others of the debts against us." In other words, if we want to be forgiven by God, what must we do? Be like God and strive to forgive others.
It reminds me of stories and parables in scripture that show us of one servant who was forgiven of a great and a mighty amount, but then he goes to a fellow servant who owes him almost nothing and wants him punished and beaten and imprisoned and even harmed that he might get that money back. You see, forgiveness.
Have we learned the forgiveness that God has offered to us? Have we learned the forgiveness that is for those who show themselves to be forgiven? Have we learned the forgiveness of Colossians 3 and verse 13 where it says, "We must bear with one another and forgive one another even if someone has complained against another," it says, "As Christ forgave, even so you also must do." Why must we forgive? Christ forgave. And who among us, after realizing all that Christ has done for us and all He has forgiven in my life, who among us is able then to turn around and say, "I'm not willing to forgive." After all He has done for us, you would think that would motivate us that we would want to make sure we have that forgiving spirit, that spirit that again challenges us to want to demonstrate Christ in all that we do.
Well let's go back to that model prayer here in the final moments. There in Matthew 6 again after He said, "Forgive us of our debts as we forgive our debtors," those that have debts against us. But then hear verses 14-15. "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive you of your trespasses."
You see the lesson of forgiveness is an encouraging, a great, and a mighty one because we learn that God is a forgiving God, but yet we learn also that as His children we must demonstrate the same quality realizing that if we want that ultimate, complete and pure forgiveness of God then we must also be willing to forgive as well.
So that's the challenge that we have in life. Are you willing to live a life as God has commanded? Are you willing to strive to forgive others? Why? So that you might be forgiven. And are you willing to acknowledge that it is through the blessed Son's blood, Jesus, that you have the forgiveness offered? And because of that forgiveness, you also have the great blessing to know that not only will you have what God has promised today, but also forever more when you receive that great mansion in Heaven because again of the great sacrifice and blood shed by Jesus.
(SONG # 3 - "Anywhere With Jesus!")
It was certainly great to have you with us today. Thanks be to God for this opportunity we have had to come before His throne this morning. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we join together in this service to God.
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May we all strive to be forgiving as our God is forgiving? For only the forgiver will be forgiven! Are you doing God's Will in His Way?