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Unordinary Forgiveness

Unordinary Forgiveness

Sermon Notes

Eph. 4:29-32
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you,
along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as
God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV).

Being a Christ-follower has some incredible benefits:

  • The love of God
  • Never being alone
  • Having peace with God and others
  • Tremendous blessings untold
  • Hope beyond understanding
  • The forgiveness of God

But being a Christ-follower has some incredible challenges:

  • Striving to grow to be more like Jesus
  • Loving our enemies
  • Putting others first
  • Forgiving others

As Christ-followers, we have an incredibly high bar set when it comes to responding and

reacting to those who may have hurt us – we are to forgive as we have been forgiven.

In addition, Jesus tells us …

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Matt 5:43-44 (ESV).

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but

if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your

trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV).

  • God tells us to forgive.
  • But what does it mean to forgive?
  • To know what it means to forgive, we first need to know what it does not mean to forgive.

What it does not mean to forgive:

  1. Forgiving does not mean forgetting
  2. Forgiveness is not fair
    We don’t want God to be fair.
    We’ve all sinned and stand accused before God.
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (ESV).
    So if forgiveness is not forgetting and if forgiveness is not fair, then what is
    forgiveness?
  3. Forgiveness is giving others what God has given us
    We don’t want God to be fair to us…rather, we want God to be gracious and merciful: and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 6:23-24 (ESV).
    Here’s the thing:
    “The Gospel is not just receiving forgiveness, it is also the giving of forgiveness”
    “Forgiveness doesn’t just come to us, forgiveness flows through us.”
    It is impossible to truly forgive without faith.
    I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he in it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (ESV).

Action steps

  1. As the forgiven, we are to forgive
  2. Be intentional about our expression of forgiveness – both requesting and giving
  3. It takes faith to truly forgive. You cannot do this on your own or in your own strength
    or abilities.
  4. Ask God to increase your faith so that you can forgive as you have been forgiven.
    These steps will help us experience and express unordinary forgiveness.

Discussion Questions

TALK IT OUT:

  1. Pastor Jeff reminds us of several responsibilities we have as Christ-followers. We are responsible to: 1) Strive to be more like Jesus, 2) Love our enemies, 3) Put others first, and 4) Forgive others. Reflect on a time when forgiving someone has been a difficult challenge for you.
  2. As Christ-followers, we have an incredibly high bar set when it comes to responding and reacting to those who have hurt us. Pastor Jeff reminds us that we are to forgive others as we have been forgiven. In practical terms, why is this so challenging?
  3. Jesus once said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’” (Matthew 5:43-44, ESV) How well do you do at 1) loving your enemies and 2) praying for those who persecute you?
  4. Pastor Jeff shares two things forgiveness does not mean. Forgiveness doesn’t mean: 1) That we forget how we’ve been wronged, or that 2) Forgiveness is always fair. How has misunderstanding what forgiveness is not caused your problems?
  5. In contrast Pastor Jeff makes the point that, “Forgiveness is giving others what God has given us.” How can understanding this reality change our view of forgiveness? 
  6. According to Pastor Jeff, “Forgiveness doesn’t just come to us, forgiveness flows through us.” What does it mean that forgiveness needs to flow through us?
  7. In John 15:5, Jesus said, “… apart from me you can do nothing.” Pastor Jeff says this means it is impossible to forgive others without faith. Who have you needed God’s help to forgive in the past?

LIVE IT OUT

  • As the forgiven, we are to forgive. Make a list of those you need to forgive at this point in your life.
  • Be intentional about expressing forgiveness – both requesting it for yourself and giving it to others. What sin or sins do you need to confess to God? What sins others have committed against you do you need to forgive?
  • You cannot forgive in your own strength and ability. Ask God to help you forgive those whom you aren’t strong enough to forgive.
  • Ask God to increase your faith so that you can forgive as you have been forgiven.