Drop files to upload.
Faithlife Corporation

The Force of Forgiveness

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 6 views
Notes & Transcripts

The Force of Forgiveness

Psalm 51              July 15, 2001

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 12:1-13

Introduction:

          I doubt that anyone here would say that relationships are not important.

          We live in relationship with each other.

          We are either made or broken by our relationships.

          When our relationships with others are going good, then we are doing well.

          When our relationships with others are going bad, then we are doing poorly.

          Relationships are vital to our well-being.

          Your relationship to your spouse is vital to the well-being of your marriage.

          Your relationship to your employer is vital to your job.

          Your relationship to your children is vital to their success.

          Your relationship to your teacher is vital to your grade.

          Your relationship to the police is vital to your freedom.

          But there is one relationship that is much more far-reaching than the rest.

          It is your relationship to your God.

          Your relationship to your God is vital to your eternal security in him, your fellowship with him, and your worship of him.

Now if I asked you to name the thing that affects your relationships, especially your relationship with God the most, I imagine you might say it is love since love is greater than even faith and hope, and love is the greatest commandment, and God himself is love, and whoever does not love does not know God, and we are told that God so loved the world that he sent Christ, and Christ had greater love than any man since he laid down his life for us.

          So love is paramount in our relationship with God, and with each other as well.

          But I wonder if love might not also be known by another name?

          In its connection with relationships, I wonder what else we might call love?

          I suggest to you it is "forgiveness."

          If love is such a powerful force in our relationships (and our experience tells us so as well as the Word of God) we also must know the force of forgiveness in our relationships.

          Can there be love without forgiveness, since "to ere (sin) is human, but to forgive is divine?"

          We are all sin-prone people with a constant need of forgiveness from God as well as each other.

          Forgiveness is a necessary factor in healthy relationships.

          You might argue that there could be forgiveness without love (this is forgiveness as a duty without feeling) but I would argue that love is also a purposeful decision.

          Love is better with emotion, but it begins with a decision.

          So let me say then that forgiveness is a force in our relationships like unto the power of love.

          Just like love begins with God, so does forgiveness.

          Without forgiveness, our relationship with God is either non-existent or grieved or broken depending upon various factors.

          Let me illustrate:

          James Garfield was elected president of the U.S. in 1880, but after only six months in office he was shot in the back with a revolver. At the hospital, the doctor probed the wound with his little finger trying to seek the bullet, but he couldn't find it. Then he tried a surgical probe and couldn't find it. So he took Garfield back to Washington, D.C. and tried to keep him comfortable despite the summer heat, but he was growing weak. Teams of doctors tried to locate the bullet, probing the wound over and over. In desperation they even asked Alexander Graham Bell (the inventor of the telephone) to see if he could locate the piece of metal inside the president's body. But he too failed. The president hung on through the rest of the summer and even into September, but he finally died then – not from the wound but from the repeated probing which caused a fatal infection. The body could have coped with the bullet but not the continual probing which infected him. And so it is with our sin when we keep probing instead of letting it go. The doctors would not forgive that bullet. We could say that the force of forgiveness could save your life.

          We could look at it another way too.

Amputees often experience some sensation of a phantom limb. Somewhere, locked in their brains, a memory lingers of the nonexistent hand or leg. Invisible toes curl, imaginary hands grasp things, a non-existent leg feels so sturdy a patient may try to stand on it. For a few, the experience includes pain. Doctors watch helplessly, for the part of the body screaming for attention does not exist. One such patient had a serious and painful circulation problem in his leg but refused to allow the recommended amputation. As the pain grew worse, he grew more bitter. "I hate it! I hate it!" he would mutter about the leg. At last he relented and told the doctor, "I can't stand it anymore. I'm through with that leg. Take it off." Surgery was scheduled immediately. Before the operation he asked the doctor, "What do you do with legs after they're removed?" "We may take a biopsy or explore them a bit, but afterwards we incinerate them," the doctor replied. The man proceeded with a bizarre request: "I would like you to preserve my leg in a pickling jar. I will install it on my mantle shelf. Then, as I sit in my armchair, I will taunt that leg as it taunted me. Hah! You can't hurt me anymore!" Ultimately, he got his wish. But the despised leg had the last laugh. He suffered phantom limb pain of the worst degree. The wound healed, but he could feel the tortuous pressure of the swelling as the muscles cramped, and he had no prospect of relief. He had hated the leg with such intensity that the pain had unaccountably lodged permanently in his brain. And so it is with the phenomenon of guilt. We can be obsessed by the memory of some sin committed even years ago and it never leaves us, cripples our ministry, our devotional life, our relationships with others. We live in fear that someone will find out our past. We may try to work overtime proving to God that we are truly repentant, but we erect barriers against the enveloping, loving grace of God to forgive.

          Yes, we need to come to God to forgive because we need the force of forgiveness in our lives lest we become consumed by our sin, or in our sin.

          Remember our Scripture passage in 2Samuel 12:1-13?

          King David was in a heap of hurt because of his sin, but he knew what to do with it so it wouldn't fester and kill his relationship with God – so it wouldn't remain a bitter memory that separated him from his God.

          He knew his sin must be spiritually amputated and incinerated.

          He knew he needed to focus on the solution and not the problem.

          He knew he needed the force of forgiveness in his life, and he knew where  and how to find it.

          And we can learn some things about forgiveness from him in a psalm he wrote after he was confronted about his sin by the prophet, Nathan.

          Let us turn to Psalm 51 on page 889 of our pew Bibles.

Big Question:

How can we find the force of forgiveness in our lives?

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (vv. 1-2)

The basis for full forgiveness is found in who God is and not in what we have or have not done.

          B.      Implication

We find the force of forgiveness in God alone.

                   We plead the nature of God to forgive (who God is).

We plead the power of God to forgive (what God is able to do).

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (vv. 3-6)

          Those who have received God's full forgiveness have recognized how serious their sin is and why they sin so seriously.

          B.      Implication

We find the force of forgiveness in our confession before God.

                   We confess the agony that our sin causes us.

                   We confess the agony that our sin causes God.

                   We confess the righteousness of God that must be vindicated.

                   We confess the righteousness of God that we have missed.

                   We confess the righteousness of God that we must gain.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (vv. 7-12)

Those who have received God's full forgiveness have asked God to remove the condemnation due them and to renew them in spirit and service.

          B.      Implication

          We find the force of forgiveness in our prayer to God.

                   We ask God for renewed purity.

                   We ask God for renewed countenance.

                   We ask God for renewed relationship.

                   We ask God for renewed resolve.

                   We ask God for renewed assurance.

                   We ask God for renewed strength.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

IV.    Cycle Four

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 13-17)

          Those who have received God's full forgiveness should praise him (worship) and tell others about him (witness).

          B.      Implication

          We find the force of forgiveness in our testimony about God.

                   We proclaim the power of God to turn others back from sin.

                   We proclaim the power of God to keep us from sin. 

                   We proclaim the power of God to enable our praise.

                   We proclaim the desire of God for true religion.

                   We proclaim the desire of God for true repentance.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

V.      Cycle Five

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 18-19)

          B.      Implication

          We find the force of forgiveness in pleasing God.         

                   We find prosperity to worship when we please God.

                   We find reception in worship when we please God.               

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Conclusion:

Big Answer:

How can we find the force of forgiveness in our lives?

We find the force of forgiveness in God alone.

                   We plead the nature of God to forgive (who God is).

We plead the power of God to forgive (what God is able to do).

We find the force of forgiveness in our confession before God.

                   We confess the agony that our sin causes us.

                   We confess the agony that our sin causes God.

                   We confess the righteousness of God that must be vindicated.

                   We confess the righteousness of God that we have missed.

                   We confess the righteousness of God that we must gain.

          We find the force of forgiveness in our prayer to God.

                   We ask God for renewed purity.

                   We ask God for renewed countenance.

                   We ask God for renewed relationship.

                   We ask God for renewed resolve.

                   We ask God for renewed assurance.

                   We ask God for renewed strength.

          We find the force of forgiveness in our testimony about God.

                   We proclaim the power of God to turn others back from sin.

                   We proclaim the power of God to keep us from sin. 

                   We proclaim the power of God to enable our praise.

                   We proclaim the desire of God for true religion.

                   We proclaim the desire of God for true repentance.

          We find the force of forgiveness in pleasing God.      

                   We find prosperity to worship when we please God.

                   We find reception in worship when we please God.               

         

Timeless Truth:

          The force of forgiveness is love.

          Forgiveness seeks and expresses love, even if that love must be purposeful.

The force of forgiveness sets us free in love to serve and worship the God who forgives.

          David loved God and sought him in forgiveness to restore his love relationship of worship with him.

          This doesn't mean that God stops loving us when we sin, but it does mean that the quality of that love relationship is diminished when we sin because our sin is a temporary lack of love towards God that we must take steps to restore.

          We must come to God for forgiveness.

          In so doing, we express our desire to love God and our desire to have the fullness of his love.

          The broken relationship we had with God that we ourselves broke because of our sin is then renewed until next time.

          In the words of the apostle, John:

8 ¶ If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

 9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

10  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

 1 ¶ My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense— Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

2  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

 (1 John 1:8-2:2 NIVUS)

          In this present age, the fullest and most complete expression of the forgiveness of God is in the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ, upon the cross.

          We have an advocate who speaks to the Father in our defense.

          David had forgiveness from God because Jesus would go to the cross.

          We have forgiveness from God because Jesus did go to the cross.

          Forgiveness from God is found for us today in Jesus Christ alone.

          It is true that he died for the sins of the whole world.

          Forgiveness is available to all mankind.

          But it is effective for you only if you ask God like David did.

          Can your sin be any worse than David's?

          And he was "the man after God's own heart."

          Do you have a need for a relationship with God today?

          Perhaps you have never experienced the joy of forgiveness the fullness of God's love.

          Perhaps you need to experience it again like David.

          But be assured it is yours if you just ask him.

          The Christian life begins new each day.

22  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

 23  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIVUS)

          Forgiveness is a powerful force that you need in your life.

          It will set you free in your relationship to God, and actually to everyone else too.

          You will know the fullness of God's love and also be able to express it to others.

RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
Get this media plus thousands more when you start a free trial.
Get started for FREE
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →