[This sermon is one of a series entitled “Sermon on the Mount, Concentrating on the Beatitudes,” which is being preached on Sunday mornings by Pastor Tim Senter.]
We talked quite a bit concerning forgiveness last week. We certainly did not do an all encompassing study. We will need to in the future. What we did discover is that the first forgiveness is provided by God. Without His forgiveness in our lives, we have no concept or ability to forgive. An amazing understanding considering that everyone wants to say, “I’m sorry” when they do something wrong. This sets up a fight between the person who retains all control in saying, “I’m sorry” and the person who perceives that they are not apologetic because they retain control. There is seldom peace in “I’m sorry.” We get a wholly different picture in scripture. This picture, as usual, is opposite the normal operations in the world. Forgiveness in the world is asked for and normally received in the form of the apology, “I’m sorry.” In fact, many do not feel forgiveness needs be given unless requested. Forgiveness in God’s kingdom is not requested but given unconditionally. If it is requested, it is given just as unconditionally. To the Christian issuing this forgiveness means they retain their relationship with God. That is their paramount concern. How others may view them is only secondary.
Folks, forgiveness is nothing to fool with. I have had to eat some crow in my time. Having sinned against others that did not even know, I felt like David commanding Joab to murder Uriah for him. Joab was simply ordered to put Uriah into the heaviest fighting and withdraw all support from him. Joab did not know why, just that Uriah would die that day and it would be intentional. I have felt as if I unwittingly encouraged strife between people at times with my words. That was never the intent, but it felt that way. Forgiveness provides our soul relief.
This is the relief we see in God – that we ask and He has already forgiven because His Son died for us already. It is already done, all you need to do is ask of Him. This same situation can take place in your life. If you pray to God and forgive sins committed against you, then later an individual comes to you and asks for forgiveness, you can say, “Your sins were already forgiven you.” What a peaceful and loving thing to hear from someone. That your sins against them have already been forgiven! That is the forgiveness in Mark 11:25. That is the forgiveness in Matthew 6:12 (sermon on this text here). That is the forgiveness in Luke 17:3. What a gracious and loving way to live (you should note I did not say easy).
With our forgiveness complete in Christ, we now turn our attention to the next petition. There are some questions concerning this specific petition. Is the first sentence really two different petitions? Is there only one petition with two different angles? What of the second sentence? We go from petitions to adoration again. The prayer does not seem to flow.
Turn with me to Matthew 6:13. By now, with our reciting this in church and having read it every week for the past four weeks, I pray you have been able to memorize this prayer. This one verse should be no problem for us to recite. Please try to do so without your Bible. Continue reading