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. Forgive our sins

FORGIVE US OUR SINS


Luke 11:1-4 (ESV) 1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread, 4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

Introduction.

When we come to the petitions of this model prayer there is a shift in focus. The first three petitions focus upon God the last three positions focus on our needs, our need for God, our dependence upon God, what we must receive from God. We say “father”, it speaks of an attitude of intimacy and authority. When we say “hallowed be your name” is speaks of an attitude of reverence. When we say “your Kingdom come” it speaks of an attitude of submission. When we say: “give us each day Our Daily Bread” it speaks of an attitude of dependence.

And now we come to the next petition.

“4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”

In those statements we have the attitude of penitence and the attitude of compassion. Penitence and compassion. If food and clothing and shelter represents the basic necessities of physical existence, then forgiveness represents the most basic necessity of spiritual existence.

 

This is where life began for us when we met Jesus and when we met Jesus we were forgiven. But that is not where forgiveness stops for us. Every person listening to me today needs forgiveness today.  We do not need forgiveness occasionally; we need forgiveness constantly. We do not need forgiveness in some small measure, we need forgiveness in the greatest way possible and imaginable. Our need for forgiveness is larger than our awareness of our need for forgiveness. And let me say this, the closer you draw to God and the more Christ-like you become, the more you will realise that you need forgiveness.

To understand sin in biblical terms is to see that our entire being has been affected by sin, and if God did not regard us by His grace in His son and if He had not saved us, then it is true  that every area of our lives will be continual offense to God.

 

We have needed forgiveness for our thoughts. We have needed forgiveness for our words. We have needed forgiveness for our attitudes. We have needed forgiveness for our motives. We have needed forgiveness for things that we have done in our bodies. We have needed forgiveness for things that have only taken place in our imaginations. We have needed forgiveness for sins that we have committed in our weakness.  We have needed forgiveness for sins that we committed on purpose in a brazen fashion. We have needed forgiveness for the things that we have done, and we have needed forgiveness for the things that we have left undone. Whether it is because of neglect or laziness or rebellion. We have needed forgiveness for things done privately and secretly. We have needed forgiveness for things done publicly. We have needed forgiveness when measured by the law of God. We have needed forgiveness when measured by what it means to love God, and what it means to love other people.

 

Just in case you think you missed the list, we read in James 2:8-10 (ESV) 8 If you really fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”

Is it any wonder that the Bible has so much to say about forgiveness when we stand so much in need of it?  We need forgiveness constantly. We sin, perfect God Forgives.

 

Daniel 9:8-9 (ESV) 8 To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him.”

Psalm 86:5 (ESV) 5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”

Psalm 130:3 (ESV) 3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

It is to God's glory that He is compassionate and merciful and forgives. We are blessed if we have known forgiveness from the Lord. We are blessed when we know what it is to say, our sins have been covered.

Psalm 32:1-6 (ESV) 1 A Maskil of David. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven; whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit, there is no deceit. 3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah 5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah 6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.”

Jesus is teaching us how to pray. He tells us here that we are to regularly pray for forgiveness. So, I want us to think about this.

There are many points to this sermon. We will finish some today and the rest in our devotions. Please make sure you follow.

 

Point 1. We are to regularly seek forgiveness from God.

We are to regularly seek forgiveness from God that is obvious here isn't it? We are to pray “forgive us our sins”. If we need daily bread for our physical life, and we do, we need daily pardon for our spiritual lives. But it is at this point that we have to have a proper understanding of forgiveness if we're going to make sense of this petition. Remember this is not the prayer of a lost man coming to God, this is the prayer of a disciple. This is not a sinner’s prayer; this is the disciple’s prayer. This is the prayer of someone who has been forgiven. This is the prayer of someone who belongs to God. This is the prayer of someone for whom Jesus is Saviour and Lord. He is being acknowledged as Messiah. We can say with Thomas: “my Lord and my God”. This is a disciple’s prayer, and yet disciples are taught to pray “forgive us our sins”. So, what does that tell us about forgiveness?

 

Well, there is more than one kind of forgiveness. This ought to be obvious to us from all that the Bible says about it, but for some Christians throughout the history of the church it has not been quite so clear to them. But I want it to be clear for us today, that there is more than one kind of forgiveness.

The first forgiveness. There is a forgiveness that is given to us when the word saves us.

There is a forgiveness that is granted to us in God’s justifying work in our lives. It is an initial forgiveness that is declared and offered through the preaching of the gospel. This is when we preach the good news of Jesus Christ that God has made the way for sinners to be forgiven.  Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be forgiven. I want to drive home the point today and that is what we preach, we preach the gospel. We are not preaching the patching up of people's lives. We are not preaching the reformation of people’s lives. We are declaring the good news that God will make you a new creation in Christ Jesus, and forgive all your transgressions, and gives you as a gift the righteousness that you need,  the righteousness of God own Son. That forgiveness whether it came as an immediate response to the Word of God, or a response over a long time to the preaching of the Word of God. That forgiveness enables you to be saved from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and one day you will be saved from the presence of sin.

Your greatest need before God is forgiveness. In Luke 24 as Jesus is on the road Emmaus, He is interpreting the Old Testament himself for his disciples.  He says in  Luke 24:44-47 (ESV) “44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

That is what we preach, repent, turn from life your way, trust in Christ as Lord and Saviour King, Master God, and you will be forgiven of all your sins.

Acts 5:29-31 (ESV) 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”

Repentance is a gift as well. God grants that broken heart turns to Jesus as Saviour and when the heart turns to Jesus as Saviour all the sins are forgiven.

Acts 10:43 (ESV) 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Acts 13:38-39 (ESV) 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.”

Isn’t it sad that you attend the average church in our day, and you hear a sermon about almost everything except forgiveness? Let us talk about how to patch up your marriage, how to raise your kids, how to do this how do that, five ways to do this, seven steps to do this or that. We will have 7 days of…, and 30 days of…, and 40 days of…, but is anyone declaring the good news that all your sins forgiven if you receive Christ. This is what a preacher's has been called to proclaim.

When Paul recounts His conversion and call to ministry He says in Acts 26:16-18 (ESV)16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’”

What happened when the Lord saved you?

Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV) 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 2:38-39 (ESV) 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”

This is where life began for us being forgiven. Are you forgiven? Has the Lord forgiven you? Have you trusted in Christ so that all your sins have been forgiven because they were paid for by him on that cross? Can you say today that the blood of Jesus has washed away your sins. If His life on that cross was the propitiation for your sins, are you forgiven?

So, the Bible declares that kind of forgiveness, but the Bible just as clearly declares another kind of forgiveness, which is linked to the words : Luke 11:4 (ESV) 4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us”.  In Matthew it is recorded as: Matthew 6:12 (ESV) “12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”


The second forgiveness is a forgiveness that forgiven people know.

It is a forgiveness that continues throughout the Christian life.

Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV)14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Now, this is addressed to disciples. A church elder once said to me in a particular situation, that he knows Christ forgives, but he is not Christ and he cannot forgive. Well, the bad news for him is this, that if you forgive others, your heavenly Father will forgive you, but if you do not, He will not forgive you.

Mark 11:25 (ESV) 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

This is one of the first things we so when we are praying. We forgive. And we recognize that in forgiving others, the door is open for the father to forgive us.

I will try and get back to Matthew 18 in more detail later. We will see.  Here is Peter’s question: “how many times must we forgive”? Then there is a story told by Jesus about forgiveness towards one another. I just want to read it and we will end here for today.

Matthew 18:23-34 (ESV) 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

I say again. We recognize that in forgiving others, the door is open for the father to forgive us.

1 John 1:9 (ESV) 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

That is something that characterizes Christians. We confess our sins and God forgives.

 

So, there are these two kinds of forgiveness, and these two kinds of forgivenesses can be contrasted to one another, but they can also be related to one another.

I so wish I could cover it today, but time will not allow us, so please for your own sake, join us on our Daily devotions tomorrow.

 

The new notes will be posted here.