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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20160821 THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS

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Senior Pastor Phil Roland

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Pastor Ray Scott

 

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THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
LEVITICUS 19:15-18 / PSALM 19:7-10
          Americans are a curious people. We are litigatious, suing others for imagined injustices. A cup of coffee or stumbling over a child in a department store, or being pulled over on a traffic stop can cause us to cry for justice! We demand revenge. A public opinion is forcefully shared and someone pulls out a politically correct rule. No one must be made uncomfortable or displeased about ANYTHING!
          Today's citizen's feelings are so fragile. A college campus was defaced by a adolescent who wrote in chalk everywhere, "TRUMP." The over-reacting campus officials quickly set up emergency counselors for alleged "victims," who were traumatized by this politically incorrect word displayed all over their campus. This is a subtle revenge, indirect but still vengeance.
          Forgiveness has become a lost art in American culture. I read recently that doctors are avoiding being sued today by simply ignoring insurance carriers and sitting down with families and simply apologizing. After all, doctors are not God, but some people want revenge. That's why doctors' appointments are so expensive. Liability Insurance for today's physicians can run as much as a quarter of a million dollars yearly.
          Sadly, worldly secular revenge has made its way into churches as well. Pastors are very acquainted with people who feel wronged by pastors or church leaders. The offended party will tell their imagined victimization stories to whoever will listen. Their revenge will be splitting the church or pursuading people to leave the church with them.
          Revenge is a dish served cold and is not palatable, eventually choking the soul. My sermon is about the power of God's forgiveness. . .
Pastor Phil  <><<

 

 

August 21, 2016
Sheepfold Ministries / pastor Phil Roland

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
LEVITICUS 19:15-18 / PSALM 19:7-10
 “The true Power of Forgiveness lies in knowing the nature of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.  Forgiveness looses God’s power in and through you to others.”         Pastor Phil

Matt. 22:37-40
“Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'   All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

A Koine Greek definition of Forgiveness:
              afesis = "A - PHA - SIS"
               Release from captivity - Isaiah 61:1
                    ". . .Opening of prison of those who were bound."
               Pardon or Cancellation of Obligation - Matt. 26:28
               Greek Military Sense: "To hurl off, as a missile, or to release                                                            something held captive"

SEVEN COMMANDS TO FIND THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS:      
1.  JUDGE YOUR NEIGHBOR FAIRLY - Lev. 19:15a
"15 'You shall do no injustice in judgment. . ."
          A. Objectivity - Impartial - Fair-minded
                    1. Lady Justice, blindfolded, holding a balance scale
                    2. Win / Win perspective
                    3. In conflict, my needs are met / your needs are met
          B. Unfairness is Tipping the Scales in favor of one or another
                    1. No Bribery, or Favoring Special Interests
                    2. No "Buying off" the Judge for a favorable judgment
          C. Eg. Solomon's Wisdom, especially in Judgment
          D. David's son Absalom, sits outside David's Court
                    1. "If I were King I'd have rendered judgment in your favor" 
                    2. He Divides David's Kingdom
                    3. Foreshadows the Future

2. DO NOT HONOR THE POOR OR THE RICH - v. 15b
"You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty."
          A. We are commanded: Love our neighbor as ourselves - James 2:8-9
            8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love

              your neighbor as yourself," you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you
              commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS, cont., p.2

          B. No Pandering to Special Interest Groups
                    1. Pastor of previous church catered to the business people
                    2. They had the Money
                    3. Blatant Worship of Money and the Power it buys
                    4. F. Scott Fitzgerald - "The very rich are not like you and I"
          C. Political Hobby Horses
                    1. Buying Influence from the poor
                    2. Set up brain washing tents, free barbecue
                    3. "Rah Rah Rah! Vote for me!"
                    4. Then, we don't see them again until they need us

3. DO NOT BEAR TALES - v. 16a
16 You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people;
          A. Triangling is Talking ABOUT people rather than TO them
                    3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke
              him; and if he repents, forgive him.    Luke 17:3
                    1. Care-Frontation or Care-Fronting
                    2. Not Rebuking, but showing people you value them
          B. Eg. The pastor who FORBIDS his church members from gossiping
                    "The pastor told us not to say anything, but what is GOOD!"
                        "Boy! Is this good!"
          C. Socrates and the Triple Filter Truth Test
                    1. TRUTH – Are you absolutely sure the material presented is                                 the truth?
                    2. GOODNESS – Is the material about something good for all                                  concerned?
                    3. USEFULNESS – Is the data useful for those listening?

ANOTHER  WAY TO FIND THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS:
4. DO NOT ENDANGER/HARM YOUR NEIGHBOR’S LIFE - 16:b
nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.
          A. If your neighbor is in peril be there for him/her
                    1. Be there for them when trouble comes
                    2. Speak up for them when they are slandered
          B. Remember the Royal Law?
                    1. Give no false testimony Ex. 20:16
                                        16 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
                    2. In Biblical times your word was your credit card
                    3. Slander and Gossip destroys your neighbor's credit name
                    4. Avoid sharing 3rd Party Information

5.  DO NOT HATE YOUR BROTHER IN YOUR HEART - v. 17
17 'You shall not hate your brother in your heart.
          A. Do not brood or rehearse in your heart your neighbor's injustice
                    1. Contempt is hard to hide

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS, cont., p.3

                    2. Disgust shows up on the face / lip
          B. Confront your neighbor face to face
                    1. Admonish them about wrong-doing - Lev. 19:17b
                           Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.
2. Am I my brother's keeper? Cain questions God about guilt

6. DO NOT SEEK REVENGE - v. 18
18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
          A. Forgiveness of Enemies is bedrock in Judaic/Christian teaching
                    1. Revenge is a Luxury those who follow Jesus can't afford
                    2. Jesus taught us Differently - Matt. 5:44
                                        44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do
                          good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use
                          you and persecute you,
                              a.  Love Enemies
                              b. Bless cursers
                              c. Do Good to the Haters
                              d. Pray for those who use and persecute you
          B. You may have Jesus in your heart, but is He in your life?
               Jr. Choir Chorus
                    "I wanna be more than a Sunday-Go-to-Meetin' Christian,
                        I want a religion that thrills me through and through!"

7. DO NOT CARRY GRUDGES -
18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
          A. Anger toward a Womb brother or sister: a dangerous luxury
                    22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause
              shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother,
              'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!'
              shall be in danger of hell fire.        Matt. 5:22
                    1. King James was in intemperate man
                    2. He was known for Temper Tantrums and Fits of Rage
                    3. Translators added, "without a cause"
                    4. The King always had a "Kingly Reason" for his rage
          B. Love your Neighbor as you love yourself

Psalm 19:7-10 1. THE LAW OF THE LORD IS PERFECT, CONVERTING THE SOUL;
2. TESTIMONY OF THE LORD IS SURE, MAKING WISE THE SIMPLE.
3. STATUTES OF THE LORD ARE RIGHT, REJOICING THE HEART
4. THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD IS PURE, ENLIGHTENING THE EYES
5. THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS CLEAN, ENDURING FOREVER
6. JUDGMENTS OF THE LORD ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS ALTOGETHER
CHORUS:  MORE TO BE DESIRED ARE THEY THAN GOLD, YEA THAN MUCH FINE GOLD!   SWEETER ALSO THAN HO-NEY, AND THE HO-NEY-COMB!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQAY5RFaEJ0
THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
Closing Illustration
          A young girl only 14 years old was walking home from a convenience store where she had rented some videos for a quiet night with friends. She had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A young gang-banger acquired a revolver and was cruising with some friends, looking for trouble.
          The young tough stopped the car and was determined to impress his friends. He demanded the Chicago Bulls sports jacket the girl was wearing. She hesitated a moment, not realizing her danger, but slowly pulled the jacket off. The young tough yelled, "Too slow, B_____! Then he emptied the revolver into the girl's body.
          I did the funeral for the bereaved, stricken family. The event was heralded in the Youngstown Vindicator and a TV reporter showed up. They weren't allowed to film the service.
In my funeral homily I urged the family not to entertain revenge fantasies. I used Romans 12:19 as a text,
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
          For months I regularly called the girl's father, but he was inconsolable. His heart burned with hostility and his mind was consumed with thoughts of revenge. The young punk was never apprehended. The family was hostile toward the police as though they could do anything. The crime was never solved.
          May I say, the crime was never solved in this life. There is a higher court waiting to adjudicate Mr. Gang Banger, and that judgment is final and eternal. Believe God's Word and leave wrath and judgment to God alone. Our task has disciples of the Lord Jesus is to forgive our enemies. God's job is to render His perfect judgment and retribution.

 

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