THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 3-28-04
LESSON TITLE: IMPORTANT DOCTRINES OF CHRIST: "THE DOCTRINE OF FORGIVENESS"
What a wonderful Lord's Day it is, as we again gather together before the throne of God to Worship our Maker! We are so happy that you have chosen to be with us today and to give this time to the Lord. In fact, it is our privilege to be with you every Sunday morning, as we consider together, God's Living Word.
It is my hope and prayer today that we are all uplifted in our fellowship together. Furthermore, I pray that we will glorify and praise our Creator in these acts of Worship which we participate in collectively as those who love God.
As we begin our homage to God on this day, will you bow with me in prayer!
This morning I would like to encourage our viewers in the Greenfield, Missouri, area to take advantage of the opportunity present in your community to visit with the Greenfield Church of Christ. This congregation assembles every Sunday morning at 10:00 for a Bible class, and this is followed by a main worship assembly at 11:00 and I know they would love to have you worship with them today. Another service is offered on Sunday evenings at 6:00 p.m. and a mid week study is scheduled for every Wednesday evening at 7:00. If you need further information about this congregation you can contact their minister at (417) 637-5249, his name is Ollie Adams - Or you can contact us and we will be happy to assist in any way we can.
Now it is time to join in our first song of the Day. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Low In The Grave He Lay."
(SONG # 1)
What do we put our faith and trust in today? Is it really in God? Maybe it is in another man? Or possibly it is in some church? The reality is there is only one place we should put our complete faith and confidence - in God. In Corinthians 2:4-5, the inspired Paul said, "And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." Did you catch all of that? Our faith should never be in words, men or other things - Rather our faith must be in the power and magnificence of our God! Oh, what a wonderful and loving God we serve.
Is your faith in God or in the things of life? Choose today to turn to God and focus on Him and His Word, so that you may be called a child and be faithful according to His promises.
Today we will be continuing our important study concerning the "Important Doctrines of Christ." The specific lesson of the day will deal with, "The Doctrine of Forgiveness!" So stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Over the last three weeks, we've been looking at a new series of study, "The Doctrines of God." Certainly we have been able to confirm clearly the importance of God's doctrine.
There once again clarified in 1 Timothy chapter 1 as there the writer Paul as he wrote to a young evangelist said in verse 3 that he "would encourage him to remain there in Macedonia and Ephesus and to charge some that they teach no other doctrine." Then later in that same passage, we go on and he mentions many sins, things which are contrary to the law, the law of God. Then he sums that up there in verse 10 by saying, "For fornicators, sodomites, for kidnappers, liars, for perjurors, or any other thing which is contrary to the sound doctrine." There again we see the single nature, the clear concept that there were those who did those things that were contrary to sound doctrine, but on the other hand, he went on to talk about the great need that they had to follow the right doctrine, the right pattern as even in verse 16 he encourages them to there as a pattern "do those things that would as believers give them everlasting life."
Well we see the same idea given to us over in the book of Romans chapter 6 where there in chapter 6 and verse 17 this writer says, once again Paul, "But God be thanked that though you are slaves of sin yet obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered."
So once again, we see the great importance of our study here this morning. There is a difference between proper doctrine and false doctrine. There's a difference between that which is acceptable and the doctrine of God and that which is rejected and unacceptable by God and is contrary to the doctrine, that is not sound doctrine.
So what we've been trying to achieve over the last many weeks so far is looking at that which is sound doctrine, those things that again confirm to us that doctrine not only is important and real and significant, but the fact that doctrine is required to be done by those who follow God. So today we look at "The Doctrine of Forgiveness."
We see that forgiveness as well is a very, very important passage and really thought and process that is shown to us throughout these wondrous scriptures that God has given to us. I want you to begin with me if you will in the book of Matthew, there in the gospel account which is given to us by this evangelist, this man who served His God, this tax collector made Christian who now is striving his best to do as a disciple what God, that is the Savior, had asked him to do. Here though if we'll notice the very first references that he makes to the Son of God. He clarifies that Jesus was one, after very shortly being on the earth and living and growing up, early in His ministry proclaimed one of the greatest sermons and probably the greatest sermon that was ever proclaimed. There in chapter 5 we have what is referred to as "The Sermon on the Mount," where He Himself says that, "He proclaimed the gospel to the people that which they needed to know, the good news that would save them from their sins."
Well, in chapter 6 we see, of Matthew once again, that this Sermon on the Mount continues, that it was going on and accomplishing still wondrous things in reference to what Jesus wanted His disciples, again followers, to know, to believe, and to preach to others. There in chapter 6, we see the model prayer where He had been actually asked as we find in other gospel accounts, "Father, teach us to pray," or "Lord, Savior, one who is over us, Messiah, King, teach us to pray." What is it that God the Father in heaven as well as you, you as the godhead, what do you desire of us in our prayers? There in the model prayer clearly it is given to us that He says, "The pattern was given." Well if you'll notice in the model prayer there it is mentioned in verse 12 where it says in the Words of Christ, "And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." We can see right there as Jesus is teaching His disciples what they should do, and how they should live, and how best they would be seen as His followers, He told them to forgive. He told them to forgive, and not only to be those who forgive, but those who forgave so that they would be also those who were forgiven. I think the verses that follow this model prayer, there in the same chapter, chapter 6, verses 14-15 goes on further to express this in clear detail as He says there, "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 your trespasses." Here we find once again that Jesus clearly states that one who wants to be forgiven, that is by God, must forgive.
Last week, we looked at a very, very important study together, "The Great Doctrine of Sin." The reality of sin, and how that sin is in the world and how that all peoples whether in Christ or out of Christ, how they are really affected by sin and even as followers of God, we still have those temptations out there or desires. They still conceive. They still bring forth that which we are enticed by and we allow ourselves to sin. We ourselves, and when we think about this concept once again of sin, we see even greater the need for forgiveness. You and I know that as one who sins, we must have forgiveness from who? From God. Now to have that forgiveness, this verse says, that is again in the Words of Christ, if I want to be forgiven by God, that is through His blood, the shedding of His blood, the pure, holy and precious blood of Christ, I must be a forgiver. In other words, the idea of practicing what we preach, of doing what we would have others do unto us, of setting the example, of living the life, of again proving to this world that we are again the disciples of Christ, the followers of God, those that are children of the King. Why and how? Well because we love Him. How, because we are doing those things He commands such as forgiving and knowing in the fact that when we forgive men their trespasses, their debts against us, the things that they have done, then we also are forgiven. Oh how wonderful it is to know not only that I can be forgiven, but that God will truly forgive me and that I also must forgive others showing that I am like Christ and showing and proving to God that I want and truly desire His forgiveness.
In the book of Matthew we again begin to see some principles that are laid down in relationship to forgiveness. In fact, one problem that I often have and probably many of us is the fact that when someone does something against us and they say, "Forgive me," when we really consider that we want to forgive someone, we say, "Well I'll forgive you but if it happens again, just don't let it happen again, or just this one time, I'm going to forgive you." Have you ever said that? Maybe it was to a sibling or a brother or sister. Maybe it was to a husband or wife. Well okay, this one time. What does the Bible say? Well there the same question was asked by Peter if you'll look with me in chapter 18 again of the book of Matthew, and then Jesus in His own words is recorded there as a response in verses 21 and following as Peter asked the question, "Lord, how many times should we forgive men their trespasses?" Now Peter thought, "Now I'm going to go way out here, Lord, and I'm going to say, should I do it seven times? So that means if a brother comes to me and he sins and I forgive him and he sins again, maybe even in the same way, and seven times he comes, but on the eighth time, it's over with." No more forgiveness! Well that's the question that he was asking and that which he was proposing to the Lord. Well, should we forgive seven times? Is that sufficient? Well, the answer that Jesus gave in verse 22 as He said, "I do not say to you up to seven times," but He adds and says, "but up to seventy times, up to seventy times seven." Up to 490 times! I don't know. I think I've seen people in the Lord's church before who actually are probably are marking them down and trying to get up to that 490th time, so they can say, "No more. I've had it with you!"
Well, what was the principle here that was laid down? What was the doctrine of forgiveness that God was trying to show us as His son proclaimed His Will to us? Well, it's to forgive. To forgive as we want to be forgiven and to forgive as we as Christians have been forgiven. Well that's what the lesson goes on to teach there in the story and the parable, if you will, that goes on about the unforgiving servant. It talks about a king or a master who has a servant that comes to him and really he owes a debt and it's a great, a massive debt, that can probably never be repaid and he is very humble and he begs and pleads and asks for mercy and certainly the master, the king, could have done anything he wanted: imprison the man, kill him, or have him killed, whatever he would have desired. This man's though great pleading paid off and the master said, "I forgive you completely of the debt. Go and be at peace. I've forgiven you." Well, that same servant being forgiven of such a massive debt, it seems almost in the story the same day goes out and finds a fellow servant who had really just borrowed a small amount, maybe just pennies, from his fellow worker. There he found him and he really began to be very rough and angry with him and maybe even grabbing him and saying, "You pay me what you owe." Here the man pleads and begs. "You pay me what you owe!" What does this man who has just been extended this great mercy and grace that anyone could have ever extended do? What does he do? He rejects this request. He does something that really was not even shown to him and had not even learned out of the great lesson that was seen in his life how he should treat others.
The unforgiver will be unforgiven. That's the lesson here and it is saying that as Jesus has forgiven us, how on earth could I ever reject and not forgive another man who has asked me forgiveness when I know my Savior has forgiven me when I'm not worthy, and when I do things even yet still today that are contrary to His Will and because of that it says there that the king heard it and he became angry. In verse 35, he proclaims, "So my heavenly Father will do to you if each of you from his heart does not forgive his brother his trespasses." He says that he'll deliver you from the torturers. He'll throw you in prison. In other words, you will pay the penalty, the price of not being forgiven if you were one who does learn to forgive others.
I think we can begin to see that the doctrine of forgiveness is certainly a very significant one, a very important one, a required one again that shows us from the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself that we must learn to be those who forgive others because when we forgive others, then truly our God who loves us forgives us and as those of us who are already Christians, as those who have already been forgiven. Let us learn the lesson really that we should. If Jesus can forgive us of such great sin, why can't we turn around and forgive others of what they have done against us?
Well John understood this as he was inspired there in 1 John chapter 2, verse 1 where we see the idea that is given of what Jesus did for us and why we are a forgiven people. In verses 1 and 2 there it says, "My little children, these things I write to you so that you may not sin and if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous, for He Himself is a propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. What do we have? What do you have? What do I have that all men can have through Jesus Christ, the one who is mentioned here as an advocate from the Father, the one who is mentioned here as being the one who truly is a propitiation for our sins, the sacrifice, the redemption, the one who has paid the price. We have forgiveness through His blood. "We have been washed," Revelation chapter 1 and verse 5, "through the precious blood of Jesus Christ we have been forgiven." And as we have been forgiven through the blood of Christ, and because of Christ and because of the love that God has for us to forgive us although we didn't deserve it, what lesson should we learn in the doctrine of forgiveness? That we as well in turn must forgive others.
Well the Bible is full of example after example. We might look at just a few examples at this time in trying to again see truly the need to forgive. In 1 Peter chapter 2 and verse 21, one of the best examples there that we read of Christ Himself that "He is one who left an example. He left His footprints for us to follow in and as He suffered," it says that "we must be willing to suffer and as He lived, we must be willing to live."
But then he turns around in Luke, Luke 23 and verse 34 and we see there as Jesus hung on the cross that He proclaimed and cried out to the Father, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." When Jesus was at the most difficult point in His life, the lowest point in His life, the most painful part, the most difficult part, what was His response to the cruelty, the hatred and the punishment against Him? "Father forgive them." Jesus was willing to forgive. Why? Because He knew the lesson that the forgiven must be a forgiver of others and that's the lesson that we as well are being taught here in the doctrine of forgiveness.
Stephen as well, as he was being stoned in Acts chapter 7 and verse 57, he there bowed down and kneeled to the ground and as he was there in pain and in strife and struggling, he cried out the same thing, "Father, don't hold this against their charge," and he fell asleep and died. Here again, he was willing to forgive even those who had not asked forgiveness, and even those who really did not want the forgiveness. Are we that type of a forgiver?
Paul said that he couldn't look behind. He had to be one who had learned to forgive himself for the past. He had to be one who had learned that he could put the past behind and grow and learn to forgive others.
Brethren, the question that we must ask today. Friends, we must ask, are we proper forgivers and do we look to Christ and know that as He has forgiven us of all that we do in our lives, that the greatest doctrine and lesson we can learn of forgiveness is that we also forgive others, also, according to His wondrous word.
(SONG # 3 - "There Is A Place of Quiet Rest!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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How blessed we are to know that our God will forgive and forget our sins! What great motivation this should be for us to choose to be true followers of His wondrous Will.