Messages From HopeCC

“The Power of Forgiveness”

Sermon Outline

Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Those who have experienced forgiveness are more apt to extend forgiveness.

Forgive is really two words:
for (from fore meaning before) and give (to turn over possession of).
Webster's New World Dictionary defines it as…
  1. to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; stop being angry with; pardon.
  2. to give up all claim to punish or exact penalty for (an offense)
  3. to cancel or remit (a debt)

I. The Call.
It is both commanded and encouraged in the Scriptures by…
  • Jesus.

    Luke 23:34 NKJV Then Jesus said, ″Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.″ And they divided His garments and cast lots.

    Matthew 6:12 NKJV And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

  • Peter.

    Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV Then Peter came to Him and said, ″Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?″ 22 Jesus said to him, ″I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

  • Stephen.

    Acts 7:57-60 NKJV Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, ″Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.″ 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ″Lord, do not charge them with this sin.″ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

  • Paul.

    Philemon 1:17-20 NKJV If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account. 19 I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay—not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides. 20 Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord.

    Ephesians 4:32 NKJV And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

II. The Confusion.
Forgiveness is not…
  • Condoning the action.
  • Excusing the behavior.
  • Condemning the individual.
  • Manipulating the offender.
  • Forgetting the offense.
  • Forsaking the law.
  • Victimizing the offended.
III. The Clarity.

Forgiveness benefits the offender and us!

Biblical forgiveness is…
  • An act of the will.

    Psalm 103:8-12 NKJV The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

  • An act of devotion.

    Matthew 5:23-24 NKJV Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

  • Merciful restraint.

    Romans 12:17-19 NKJV Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 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.

  • A painful process.

    Isaiah 50:6-8 NKJV I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. 7 For the Lord God will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. 8 He is near who justifies Me; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand together. Who is My adversary? Let him come near Me.Isaiah 52:12-14 NKJV For you shall not go out with haste, Nor go by flight; For the Lord will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard. 13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men;Isaiah 53:1-6 NKJV Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

  • A Godly response to ungodly behavior.

    Romans 5:6-8 NKJV For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Application Questions:
  1. What impact has your inability to forgive someone had on you either now or in your past?
  2. Jesus refers to sin as a ″debt″. Why is this such a fitting and appropriate comparison?
  3. We have all been encouraged to forgive, and simply said we did or would, but didn't really. What are the signs of superficial forgiveness? What are the signs of heartfelt forgiveness?
  4. What is the difference between revenge and vengeance? How can remembering that God is a righteous Judge help us avoid taking matters into our own hands?
  5. Why is reflecting on God’s forgiveness of us so helpful when we’re seeking to forgive others?