The Blessings of Forgiveness Part 2

Pastor Mike will be speaking on The Blessings of Forgiveness Part 2. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 2:4-11.

And when we choose not to forgive, we are manifesting disobedience to God, but rather Paul wants us to know that we are called to prove our love and we are called to prove our obedience to God by forgiving others.

Welcome to Hope Worth Having. This is Pastor Mike Sanders and we are so glad that you could tune in and be with us today in this radio broadcast and we’re looking forward to what the Lord has for us as we’re learning together.

So the Apostle Paul is teaching us the fine art of forgiveness and what a blessing it is when we release all that anger, we release all those negative emotions and we turn it over to Christ and we choose to have a forgiving spirit and to be a blessing to others.

Well, that’s what we’re going to learn about. So let’s get our Bibles and let’s get into 2 Corinthians chapter 2 today and let’s continue your study. I want you to turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 2, 2 Corinthians chapter 2.

We started last week this series called the blessings of forgiveness, the blessings of forgiveness. And I’m reminded of how important it is for us to be a forgiving people, to be a forgiving people. Caring around unforgiveness in your heart is like carrying a sack of cement all day long.

If you hold unforgiveness in your heart, you are walking around with a weight that God never intended you to carry. The Bible teaches us that we’re to lay aside every weight and every sin that so easily besets us.

So many of God’s people are carrying around the weight of unresolved hurt, unresolved anger, unresolved bitterness in their life because they have been unwilling to take the steps of forgiveness in their life, refusing to forgive others.

imprisons your life. It imprisons you to your past. Unforgiving people love to keep their pain alive because they think that by keeping their pain alive that somehow it’s going to heal their hearts but it only deepens the wounds that the devil has allowed to take place in our life.

So this morning, what is the importance of forgiveness? Last week we learned as we were studying the blessings of forgiveness, we learned first of all, it was to deflect pride. I want you to note in verse five of chapter two of second Corinthians, the Bible says, if any have caused grief, he’s not grieved me, but in part that I may not overcharge you all.

What is Paul saying? Paul is humbling himself. He is humbling himself before the leaders and the church family and he is saying, look, I’m not gonna take this personal. And so Paul is making the statement to us, helping us to understand by his life, his example that when you choose to forgive, you deflect pride in your life.

Why is it that people do not forgive? It is because of pride. An unforgiving Christian is a proud Christian who has forgotten how much they have been forgiven by the Lord Jesus Christ. We also learned last week in verse 6, we’re to show mercy.

That the blessings of forgiveness helps us to show mercy. It brings mercy into the hearts of others. Again, look at verse 6, sufficient to such a man is this punishment which was inflicted of many. Yes, Paul had instructed the church that they were to church discipline this man.

He had become unruly. He had become disobedient. He had become a man who was causing division and dissension in the church. And Paul says, you’ve got to address him. You’ve got to deal with him. And he is teaching us to show mercies.

There’s never a time that believers are more like God than when they are forgiving others. Now look, when you forgive others, you’re going to have to show mercy. And this is what I mean. It’s not that they deserve it.

Whenever you see somebody that is choosing to forgive others who have hurt them, they are showing the mercy of God to them. It’s not that anybody deserves. Think about yourself. Did you ever deserve the forgiveness of God?

No, it was the mercy of God that he didn’t pour out his wrath. You see, grace is receiving what I don’t deserve. But mercy is not receiving what I do deserve. What do I deserve? I deserve for God to punish me in my sinfulness.

I deserve to be separated from God throughout all eternity. But God showed mercy to me and through the grace of Jesus Christ on the cross, he received my punishment. The third blessing of forgiveness is to restore joy.

It is to restore joy. Look at verse 7 of our text. So that counterwise you ought rather to forgive him, comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with over much sorrow. The key is this, after this individual has been dealt with and they have been repentant, they have humbled themselves before God and others and have asked to be forgiven that we’re not to keep piling it on.

We’re not to keep pouring out the punishment, but rather what we desire is that there would be redemption, that there would be restoration, that there would be the joy of Jesus Christ in every heart that loves him.

So the purpose of discipline, whether it’s in the home, whether it’s in the church, discipline in our relationship, it is not to destroy people. It is not to take revenge upon people, but rather it is to bring them to the point of humbleness where the joy of the Lord can be restored in their heart.

That’s critical. The fourth blessing that I want you to learn where we left off. Last week is number four, to affirm love. Look at verse eight and notice what the text says. Wherefore I beseech you that you would confirm your love towards him.

Jump back to verse four. Again, Paul is reminding us the love that he has for God’s people. He says in verse four of chapter two, for out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

Let me teach you something about love. When you’re loving people in your life, loving in relationships, whether it’s your children, your spouse, whether it’s your parents, whether you’re loving people within the church family, whether you’re loving people in the community, there’s three things you gotta remember that sometimes love has to be tough.

There has to be guidelines. There has to be standards. Love not only has to be tough, but it has to be tender. There are times that God is telling us to switch from being tough to being tender. This is what the apostle was teaching here.

When those that had risen up against the apostle and risen up in the church to cause division and dissension after they had been disciplined and they repented and they humbled themselves, Paul says, affirm your love to them.

Be tender. Love has to be tough. Love has to be tender. Love has to be truthful. The Bible tells us that we’re to speak the truth in love. And so yes, love is truthful. Love doesn’t back down. If you love somebody and you want them to be saved, you know somebody, you’ll tell them the truth.

The Bible teaches us that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. But if you continue to read those set of verses, in verse 17, it tells us that if you do not believe in him, then the…

condemnation of God is upon you. The truth is that if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ, you will die and go to hell. You will be separated from God. I don’t like telling you that. I would rather just tell you everything that’s wonderful and lovely and make you feel good all the time.

But the truth is that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. That the truth is that every person we come in contact with is either going to heaven or going to hell and we need to do all that we can to reach them.

And Paul is saying, hey, I had to tell you the truth in the previous letter. But now things have unfolded in such a beautiful way that those who had tried to cause division in the church had humbled themselves, repented, and they wanted to make things right.

And here’s what Paul’s message to the church is. Affirm them, affirm, confirm your love to them. He is telling them to open their arms wide open and to receive them back with joy and tenderness. The Bible teaches us that love never fails.

This is the power of love. The evidence that your life is truly a believer is that you are loving God and that you are loving his people and that yes you’re even loving your enemies as hard as that is.

It’s not natural, it’s not normal but when the love of God is in you and the love of God is flowing through you, these things can be true in your life. And what is the result of that? What is the result of affirming love after we have disciplined?

It is spiritual progress. It is deeper confirmation in the heart of the person of their identity and who they are in Jesus Christ. This is why it’s essential for moms and dads to recognize that when they discipline their children, they cannot leave the child in the state of despair and discouragement.

There must be some affirmation and confirmation from the parent that they are loved of God and that they are loved by them and that the moment that they make things right with God and make things right with the parent that they are going to be lavished in the love of God and this helps the child to know their identity in the family.

Why is it that so many children run from their family, turn against their family? Yes mom and dad got discipline right but they never knew how to button up discipline with the love of Jesus Christ. They never knew how to look their child in the eye and say that I love you even though you did wrong.

I care about you and I seek your best interest even though you said those things you shouldn’t have said or you did those things that you shouldn’t have done. So I want to encourage moms and dads to make sure you’re affirming your love to your children.

It doesn’t mean you’re weak but it certainly helps the child to to feel affirmed in the point of validated that they are still a part of the family, that they belong into this precious family. And it’s gonna help them to grow spiritually.

It’s gonna help them to grow in their character. It’s gonna help them to know how to one day affirm love in the discipline of their own children. So the fifth blessing I want us to learn this morning is to prove our obedience.

Look at verse nine. Paul says to this end, also did I write that I might know the proof of you, whether you be obedient in all things. When I refuse to forgive others, I am usurping God’s authority in my life.

You see, when I become a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the Lord, he is the boss. Whatever he commands, it is my job to submit and to follow his commands. Guess what, my friends? Jesus has taught us to forgive others.

And when we choose not to forgive, we are manifesting disobedience to God, but rather Paul wants us to know that we are called to prove our love and we are called to prove our obedience to God by forgiving others.

Romans 12, 19 says, beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. I know how you feel, and I know how I feel, and that there are times I want to write the scales.

I want to somehow bring the justice to this. But listen, friends, there’s a reason God doesn’t allow us to do that. Number one, because we probably overreact, right? I mean, we would be the kind of people that would take a hammer to kill a fly.

Or maybe there are some personalities that would under do justice, if that’s a right way to rephrase it, meaning that they would not bring the right balance to dealing with the offense. And so God is perfect.

God is all wise. God is holy. God is righteous. And we are to give it to God when we have been offended, when we have been hurt, rather than holding on to the anger and holding on to the hurt. It is our job to not only forgive the person, but to give it to God.

Give the person to God, give the issue to God, give the matter to God, and remember that vengeance is mine. I will repay. This is what the apostle has done. The apostle Paul says, this person publicly defamed me.

This person mischaracterized me. This person tried to cause division in our church. And he said, look, I forgive him and I give him to God. It’s God who has to handle the matter. And so it is to prove our obedience.

We need to give it to God and forgive. We choose not to forgive. We’re setting ourselves as a higher court than God himself. We’re setting up higher standards than God has taught us. in His word, Jesus said, 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. Unforgiveness stands as a barrier to God’s constant flowing forgiveness in my life. But we are called to forgive others.

Why? Because we’ve been forgiven. We have been forgiven by God. We are forgiven to forgive. Who are we to say that we can get forgiveness but others cannot? We must give that to God. Jesus stands as a perfect example of total obedience to God’s will, whatever the cost is.

The scripture says in Romans 5 .19, for as by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners. So also by one man’s obedience, many will be made righteous. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life. He was obedient to the will of God.

From beginning all the way to his crucifixion, ascension into heaven, Jesus was obedient to God. And let me tell you a great important lesson when Jesus was on the cross, when he was suspended between heaven and earth, and people were mocking him, and they were cursing at him, and they had obviously had already put him on the cross, and they had beaten him, and he was suffering.

Jesus obeyed God because the Bible says he said, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Jesus is our example. You say, Pastor, I’m not Jesus, I understand, neither am I, but I’m called to be like him.

I am called to do everything I can to be as much like Jesus, and the thing is this, I can’t do it in my own strength, but in the strength of Christ, I can forgive others. The sixth blessing I want you to learn is the blessing of forgiveness is it restores fellowship.

Verse 10, the apostle says to whom you forgive anything, I forgive also. For if I forgave anything to whom I forgave it for your sakes, forgave I it in the person of Christ. I told you last week that Paul had to make an emergency visit back to Corinth.

Why? Because of the friction, because of the problems, because of the false teaching, because of some of the issues that were going on. When Paul went there, it was not a great visit. It was a painful visit.

He describes it as a painful visit, and the reason it had become painful is because the person that was leading the faction within the church had publicly stood before the church and maligned the apostle, trying to discredit his influence within the church family.

But did you see what Paul is saying here? He wants to restore the unity of the fellowship of the family of God, and he says, look, if you forgive, I forgive. I already forgive. And he says, I forgive, and for your sakes, I forgave.

He is saying that I chose to forgive this person who was leading this charge against me and against the church and against God, I forgive them because I do not want to hurt the church. I want the unity of the church to stay strong.

I want the church to stay connective. So Paul’s goal is that there would be redemptive discipline. Yes, he had to be dealt with, but that he wants the church to stay united together. That was his focus.

And you see what happens is that unforgiveness creates discord and disunity. Here’s how I want you to understand this, is that, again, if you’re familiar with 1 Corinthians, you’d know that there were factions in the church.

In chapter one of 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about how there were some who said they’re of Apollos, they were of Peter, or they were of Paul, or even one group that wanted to be super spiritual said they were of Jesus.

But the point being is this, that there were factions and they were following different people, and Paul is addressing that group that is loyal to him. He is addressing that group in this verse, in verse 10, and he is saying to them, for my sake, don’t be unforgiving, don’t try to defend me, don’t use this as a wedge in the church, but he’s saying for the sake of the unity of the church, forgive this person and receive them back into the fellowship and let the work of God move forward.

Paul was trying to let them know that their loyalty and allegiance to him, which was a little bit overboard, going way beyond what should be expressed, and that he was saying to them, you need to balance this, and that even though you’re upset because of the way he treated me, and even though you’re upset because you want to make it right and you want to defend me, Paul is saying, look, I’ve already forgiven the guy, you forgive him, let it go, and let’s let the church get united back together, and how that should be our heart, that we desire for the fellowship, the unity of God’s people, is more important than one person’s offense, it’s more important than trying to cause disunity or any hurts that you and I might have, and any ideas of we feel like we gotta protect this person, we gotta defend this person, no friends, put all that aside, and we must be a forgiving people, the only way a fellowship can exist is for there to be forgiveness, the only way there can be lasting relationships in a marriage, in any relationship within a church, is there has to be forgiveness.

Now you and I know that forgiveness is not a feeling, it’s not a feeling that floats into your life, you don’t wake up one day and say, buddy, I feel like forgiven today, I can’t wait to forgive somebody, nobody gets up and says that, but what we do do is we choose to forgive.

And you see, my friends, when you choose to forgive others who have truly repented and truly made things right with God and others, when we choose to forgive, it’s something that we have to continue to choose to do.

It’s not one choice and it’s done, but we’re constantly, whenever the Bible challenges us to forgive others, it’s in the continuous action verb in the Greek language, which means that you keep on, keep on, keep on forgiving others.

So never stop it. The blessing of forgiving others within the fellowship and the family of God, the blessings of forgiving your spouse, forgiving your children, forgiving your parents, forgiving people in your life that you work with, the blessing of forgiving them is that God brings unity within the fellowship.

Are there people that are perfect? Absolutely not. There are no perfect people. And when you find them, you know that they’re not perfect. They just think they are. And I always tell perfect people, please don’t join the church because if you think you found a perfect church, you’ll mess it up.

because there are no perfect people, but how do we maintain unity in the midst of imperfect people and imperfect relationships? God’s grace, God’s forgiveness, God’s mercy, and that unity is more important than my personal offense or any desire of mine to make things right.

Now the last blessing that I wanna share with you that the scriptures teach us in verse 11 is the blessing of forgiving others is that we thwart the work of Satan. Look at verse 11 of 2 Corinthians chapter two.

This is important. It’s important for you as a believer to note this because the Bible says less Satan should get an advantage of us for we are not ignorant of his devices. You see in the context of what Paul is talking about, he’s talking about forgiveness.

Chapter two verses one through 11 is about people forgiving the offending brother. It’s about forgiving those in our lives that have hurt us. And here’s what Paul is saying that an unforgiving spirit, now get this, an unforgiving spirit sets an open door to the entrance of Satan into your life.

And I don’t mean that Satan can possess your life, but I tell you what, he can enter in and wreck your life. And he can wreck your relationships. And he can mess up the unity that you and your spouse have.

He can mess up the unity that you have with your children and your parents. He can mess up the unity in the workplace. He can mess up the unity in the church when people refuse to forgive. This is why we are instructed in Ephesians 6 .11 to put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

You see, the devil is scheming and the devil does have devices and he has techniques that he… He uses to create division. What the devil wants is to destroy your family. What he wants to do is to destroy your marriage.

What he wants to do is to destroy your church. What he wants to do is to cause you to be distracted from what is really important. Get your focus on yourself, your hurt, your offense, and it’s all about you.

And until that’s made right, everything else has to crumble around you. What Jesus wants us to do is that he wants to give us life and he wants to give us abundant life and he wants us to walk in the joy of the Lord.

If you and I do not put on the armor of God every day, then we are vulnerable to the methods and the schemes of the devil to get a foothold in our life and to get a foothold into our church and to get a foothold into our marriages and destroy them.

That’s why the apostle Peter reminded the church to be sober -minded, to be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion. seeking someone to devour. He wants to get an end road in your life.

Paul says in this text in verse 11, that if you do not choose to forgive, then you are letting Satan get an advantage of us. You’re giving him leverage in your life and you are giving him the opportunity to destroy your relationships.

Here’s what Satan wants. He wants our wounds in life to remain unhealed. He wants us to believe that there cannot be grace and forgiveness. He wants us to believe that the best way to deal with the hurts and the problems in life is to burn bridges, if you will.

He wants us to somehow hold on to the bitterness, the anger, the unforgiveness. He wants us to continue to go deeper in our wounds. Jesus reminds us that Satan is a liar and he’s the father of all lies.

It’s important for us church to remain on guard against the devil by putting on the armor of God, knowing that every day he’s trying to destroy our marriages. He’s trying to destroy families in the church.

See, the devil wants you to be discouraged right now in all of this crisis. He wants you to operate out of fear. He wants you to retreat, give up, fold up your tent and cry mercy. No, my friends, we are the people of God.

We will stand up, we will speak up and we will be the church, no matter what we encounter because no matter what happens, God’s gonna take care of his church. He’s gonna take care of his people and he is going to provide for us every step of the way.

So I have to choose to forgive and forgiveness means that I’m never going to bring the issue up again. It’s a financial term. And I told you this last week, I just wanna remind you that nobody pays a bill and then they send you another bill and say, pay the same bill.

But when I choose to unforgive and then I forgive, somebody asked me to forgive and I forgive and then I bring it back up, that’s like sending them another invoice and saying, pay it again, pay it again.

When you forgive someone, you are saying by the grace of God, this matter is under the blood. It is finished, it is gone. And by God’s grace, I’m going to not bring it up again. Now, some people like to bury the hatchet.

They like to bury the hatchet, but keep the handle fully exposed so that if anything happens, they can go back and pull the hatchet back out. But Jesus told us to forgive our brother 70 times seven. He wasn’t necessarily implying that the person who sinned against us 490 times that we were to forgive 490 times in that sense, he was saying that there was some kind of a limit to our forgiveness.

What he was saying is that our forgiveness is unlimited. Whether we’ve been sinned against once or offended once or whether it’s multiple times that we are to always be on our knees crying out to God, Father forgive me, forgive me of my debt, forgive me of my sin, forgive me of my offenses to you as I forgive others who are indebted to me.

Resentment will always pop up in our hearts. Bitterness will always try to make an inroad into our minds and strongholds into our lives. But it’s only by God’s grace that as we grow in faith and we are maturing and putting on the armor of God that we can choose to forgive.

Today as we bring our sermon to a close, you may be in need of God’s forgiveness because the reason you can’t forgive is because you haven’t been forgiven. And so I want to encourage you to come to Jesus Christ.

I want to encourage you to give your heart to him, to come to him and acknowledge that you’re a sinner that’s in need of a savior. It is only Jesus that can forgive us of our sins because he lived a sinless life.

He is the one that took our penalty and punishment on the cross for the wages of sin is death and Jesus died for us so that we might experience his grace. And I hope today that will be true in your life.

I pray today that if you’re a Christian and you say, yes, pastor, I have been saved and I believe, but you’re letting some of the offenses of your life build up in your heart. I pray that you will ask God to give you a forgiving spirit.

and that if there’s somebody you need to forgive, would you choose to do that now? Would you ask God’s grace to help you to forgive others? The Apostle Paul made a journey to Corinth. When he got to the church, he found it in disarray.

And why was there so much turmoil? It’s because of the unwillingness to forgive one another. And I hope if you’re struggling in that area, that the principles that you’re learning will be a blessing to you and that you can experience the joy of forgiveness in your heart.

So I hope you’ll take advantage of this message and let us know how God’s working. Go to our website, Hopeworthhaving .com and contact us and let us know how we can help you. So don’t be afraid to reach out to us.

This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ, there is hope worth having.

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