Forgive; How?

Worship Service for September 26, 2021

WELCOME

Good day, welcome and thanks for joining CrossPointe Community Church’s online Word worship presentation. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May They bless you this day as a result of your choosing to worship them.

I want to to thank John and Amy Topola for their continued faithfulness in shopping for and preparing the delicious food for our monthly Community Meal. And thanks to the elves that come and help them hand the meals to those who drive up.

Gail and I will be flying to Florida tomorrow, I will return a week from Wednesday and she will stay another 10 days or so before coming back to Ohio. I will; however, be appearing next Sunday via the magic of television. That is, I will be video recording the message and Lindsay Brandenburg will access it on YouTube.

Before today’s call to worship, did you hear about the pastor who was preparing pancakes for his young sons when the boys began arguing over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “You know boys, we are to try our best to be like Jesus. If He and His disciples were sharing our table right now, do you know what He would say?”
The boys said, “No, but I bet you’re going to tell us.”
She said, “He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake.’”
The younger boy quickly said to his older brother, “You be like Jesus!”

CALL TO WORSHIP

This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.

II Peter 1:1-3

OPENING WORSHIP SONGS

All for Love

Fieldes, Mia/Smith, J. Daniel

All for love a Father gave
For only love could make a way.
All for love the heaven’s cried
For love was crucified.
Oh, how many times
Have I broken Your heart.
But, still You forgive
If only I ask.
And how many times
Have You heard me pray,
‘Draw near to me.’

Everything I need…is You
My beginning, my forever.
Everything I need…is You.

Let me sing…all for love
I will join…the angel’s song.
Ever holy…is the Lord
King of glory…King of all.
Oh, how many times
Have I broken Your heart.
But, still You forgive
If only I ask.
And how many times
Have You heard me pray,
‘Draw near to me.’

Everything I need…is You
My beginning, my forever.
Everything I need…is You.

Everything I need…is You
My beginning, my forever.
Everything I need…is You…is You.

©2004 Hillsong Publishing/ASCAP (admin in the US and Canada
by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music) This arrangement ©2008 Hillsong Publishing/ASCAP
(admin in the US and Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music)
CCLI License No. 1843349

Beautiful One

Hughes, Tim

Wonderful, so wonderful is Your unfailing love,
Your cross has spoken mercy over me.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
No heart could fully know.
How glorious, how beautiful You are.

Beautiful One I love,
Beautiful One I a-dore
Beautiful One my soul must sing.

Powerful, so powerful
Your glory fills the skies,
Your mighty works dis-played for all to see.
The beauty of Your majesty awakes my heart to sing
How marvelous, how wonderful You are.

Beautiful One I love,
Beautiful One I a-dore
Beautiful One my soul must sing.

Beautiful One I love,
Beautiful One I a-dore
Beautiful One my soul must sing.

You’ve opened my eyes to Your wonders anew.
You’ve captured my heart with this love,
‘Cause nothing on earth is as beautiful as You.

You’ve opened my eyes to Your wonders anew.
You’ve captured my heart with this love,
‘Cause nothing on earth is as beautiful as You.

Beautiful One I love,
Beautiful One I a-dore
Beautiful One my soul must sing.

My soul, my soul must sing,
My soul, my soul must sing,
My soul, my soul must sing, Beautiful One.

My soul, my soul must sing,
My soul, my soul must sing,
My soul, my soul must sing, Beautiful One.

Beautiful One I love,
Beautiful One I a-dore
Beautiful One my soul must sing.

© 2002 Thankyou Music  
CCLI License No. 1843349

Awesome In Power

Founds, Rick

Oh God, awesome in power.
Oh God, gentle in love.
Oh God, You are my God
And I love You.

Oh God, full of compassion
Oh God, faithful and true.
Oh God, You are my God
And I love You.

Oh God, You are my God.
And I love You.

©1990 Maranatha Praise, Inc.
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Eternal. You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. You are the One who has provided a way for us to come to You through Your marvelous glory and grace. Your cross has spoken mercy over us. Your Holy Spirit has opened our eyes to these truths. You are the One who provides all that we really need for living a Godly life. And so we pray that as a result of our worship today that You would be glorified and we would be filled with more grace and peace as we grow in our knowledge of the ways of Jesus our Lord, for we ask this in His precious name, amen.

OFFERING

If you would like to send your offering through the mail, our mailing address is:

P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215

I want to thank you for your faithfulness in worshiping and honoring God in this tangible way.

As we respond to God’s call upon our lives to give, we are reminded of generous heart of Jesus in sharing our burdens for Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

OFFERING/PRAYER SONG

Jesus Loves Me

Bradbury, William B/Warner, Anna B.

Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong; they are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! This I know, as He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee, saying “Let them come to Me”.

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He who died, Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in.

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He will stay, Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me, I will henceforth live for Thee.

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

© Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

O Lord, we recognize that You are the first, the last, the living, the eternal One. You have always been and always will be. When you decided the time was right, You created the heavens and the earth. And then You created human beings. You are Holy and we confess that we are not. We confess that we have this tendency to worship ourselves rather than You. And yet You love us so, that for a brief time in history, You took on flesh and blood. You stooped low that through our faith we might draw near to You.

You are not only our creator and savior but also our comforter. When we encounter sorrow, pain, or troubles of any kind, You are right beside us. We praise you for drawing near to us when we draw near to you. We draw near to You now to make known our needs. We have confidence that You hear us as we pray (please take this time to pray).

We thank You God for all Your blessings poured out upon us through Your Son. You are not just King, but you are King of Kings. You are not just Lord, but You are Lord of Lords. And yes, you are Jesus, the name above all names, and the One who loves us so. We pray in Your name, amen.

SCRIPTURE

Then Peter came to Him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

[By the way; Peter was erring on the side of generosity for the rabbis in his day suggested three as the maximum number of times one must forgive. So Peter doubles it and adds one for good measure. How many times Jesus? Seven. Peter’s learning but he’s not there yet.]

“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven”!
[The point being that there should be no end to forgiveness].

Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.

Matthew 18:21-35

In commenting on those last verses, pastor and author, Ray Stedman, writes:

This is a marvelously expressive phrase to describe what happens to us when we do not forgive another. It is an accurate description of gnawing resentment and bitterness, the awful gall of hate or envy. It is a terrible feeling. We cannot get away from it. We feel strongly this separation from another and every time we think of them we feel within the acid of resentment and hate eating away at our peace and calmness. This is the torturing that our Lord says will take place. 1

That’s why we’ve been talking forgiveness for a couple of weeks. Not only because forgiveness is beneficial, but also because I can’t think of a higher calling as a Christian than forgiving others as we have been forgiven by God.

MESSAGE

Forgive; How?

Randy K’Meyer

“Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” (Matthew 18:21).

Peter’s question prompts Jesus to tell a story about a servant who had somehow piled up a debt of several million dollars. The fact that realistically no servant could accumulate a debt so huge underscores Jesus’ point: confiscating the man’s family, and property would not make a dent in the repaying the debt. In other words, the debt is unforgivable. Nevertheless, the king touched with pity when the man begs for relief, extends grace by canceling, that is forgiving the huge debt. “Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt” (Matthew 18:27).

That part of the story is about you and I. We have a huge debt to God that we could never repay. But in Jesus, God has extended grace and forgiven us our debts.

Suddenly the plot thickens as the servant who has just been forgiven seizes a colleague who owes him a few paltry dollars and begins to choke him. “Pay back what you owe me,” he demands, and when he cannot throws the man in jail.

The contrast between forgiveness received and forgiveness withheld is glaring!

No wonder the standers-by immediately cry foul; “What kind of man are you? Don’t you think you should show a little mercy and forgive the small debt in light of the fact you were just forgiven a millions times as much?”

There we have the point of Jesus teaching: how can we not forgive those who have offended us in light of all God has forgiven us? Surely God has forgiven us more than 490 times, so we ought also to forgive others.

Or as Paul has it: “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Or as C. S. Lewis put it: “To be Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in others because God has forgiven the inexcusable in us.” 2

That’s the main teaching of this story. But there is something else to be learned here about how we can forgive others.

Before we can really forgive another person, we must understand what it means, for it is more than merely mouthing the words, “I forgive you.”

The word employed by Jesus means ‘to release from;’ to release from some type of obligation. In Greek culture, it could refer being released from marriage or a job, but it’s most common use had to do with being released from a financial obligation. That’s how Jesus most often illustrated the concept of forgiveness. “He released him and forgave his debt” (Matthew 18:27).

Now to be sure, the King had a legal right to be repaid, and the slave had an obligation to pay the debt. However, the King voluntarily released the slave from the obligation which implies the King decided to cover the debt himself.

The story illustrates the essence of the process of forgiveness:

  1. We acknowledge a wrong has occurred we are not going to be able to overlook.
  2. Because they have wronged us, they owe us something, a debt of some sort; an apology, restitution, money or quite often changed behavior.
  3. We choose to release them from the obligation to repay us. We refrain from expecting an apology, we release them from having to pay whatever debt we think they owe.

Let’s take some time to flesh out each of these three steps, for they are key in successfully navigating the process of forgiveness.

Step # 1: we make sure that someone has wronged us by clarifying what was done.

In the story Jesus told, it is very clear that the slave hadn’t repaid a million dollar debt.

However, it would serve us and the other person well if we would take the time to first make sure the so-called wrong really necessitates forgiveness.

Last week we read Colossians 3:13: in which Paul tells us, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” He seems to be saying that if we can exercise forbearance we may not have to forgive.

Forbearance is exercising patience and tolerance in the face of what we perceive as negative quirks in another person.

If your spouse is chronically late in getting ready to leave the house, that doesn’t really rise to the level of a wrong that requires forgiveness does it? It may be irritating, but does it say in the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not wait until the last minute to put thy makeup on?”

We may have to exercise forbearance with someone who talks too much, or someone who wears really pungent perfume, or someone who chews with his or her mouth open, or complains about our cooking, or who leaves their underwear on the floor, or that certain someone who seems incapable of replacing the toilet paper roll. The point being the more forbearance we have the less we will have to forgive.

A couple married for 15 years began having more than usual disagreements. They wanted to make their marriage work and agreed on an idea the wife had. For one month they planned to drop a slip in a “Fault” box. The boxes would provide a place to let the other know about daily irritations. The wife was diligent in her efforts and approach: “leaving the jelly top off the jar,” “wet towels on the shower floor,” “dirty socks not in hamper,” on and on until the end of the month. After dinner, at the end of the month, they exchanged boxes. The husband reflected on what he had done wrong. Then the wife opened her box and began reading. They were all the same, the message on each slip was, “I love you!” 3

“Lord, help us to be tolerant of this person that rubs me the wrong way.” That prayer will not only be answered but often negate the need for forgiveness.

But continuing on, before we can forgive someone, we must first identify who, and clarify what was done to wrong us.

Now many of you are thinking, Are you kidding Randy I know exactly who it was and can tell you all the dirty details of how they wronged me.

In many cases that is crystal clear, in others we need to be sure.

For example, there are probably some here today who are holding a grudge against someone when for any number of reasons, we shouldn’t be. Perhaps, we have accepted what someone else told us about that person we are holding a grudge against without checking out the truth for ourselves. Do you know how many people have held grudges against other people who supposedly said something about them, only to find out later, that the other person never said anything like that?

If we are harboring unforgiveness in our hearts for something we have only heard and not verified for ourselves, then we owe it to ourselves to check it out. Or maybe we will discover that we have been living with the gall of bitterness for nothing!

Or perhaps we have misunderstood the actions of another who we think wronged us. I remember running into a parishioner at a mall and when I approached them and when I stuck out my hand to shake they turned their back and walked away. I thought, Wow that was rude and I took it kind of personally. Only later did I discover that his wife had just left him for unfaithfulness and he just couldn’t face his pastor.

1st step is to as clearly as possible assign blame for something that really happened. Lewis Smedes, in his book, Forgive; Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve, writes: “We do not excuse the person we forgive: we start by blaming the person we forgive.” 4

Step # 2: forgiveness acknowledges that a debt exists and calculates the value.

Now again, in this story that’s already been done in both cases; in the first the debt is a million dollars, and in the second a few thousand.

But before we can properly forgive another person we need to calculate the debt that they owe us for the wrong done. Remember the word forgive means to release another person of the debt they owe us.

We need to be as severe as we think we need to be as we calculate what we think they should owe us. Because of what you did, I should prosecute you. Because of your unfaithfulness, I should divorce you. Because of your negligence, I should sue you. Because of however I think you wronged me,
I demand a change in your behavior.

Because we live in such a litigious society, our minds almost immediately think in terms of monetary damages. So, if you can’t think of any other way to calculate the debt, assign a monetary value that you think would pay for the damages done.

Thankfully, one of the most common things we think people owe us is an apology. So and so said something that really hurt us, and we feel justified in expecting that other person to say they are sorry.

Only when we have calculated what they owe us are we ready to move on to the last and the most difficult step in the three-fold process of forgiveness.

Step # 3: we release our offender from having to pay what we calculate they owe us.

That’s exactly what the man in Jesus story did. Instead of giving the man who owed him the jail sentence he deserved, his master released him from the debt.

Only after we have identified the offense and calculated the debt owed can we truly forgive the other person by releasing them from having to pay it.

Dr. Robert Jeffress, in his extremely helpful book, When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense, writes:

There needs to be a specific time when we release our offender from their obligation. Whether or not we choose to voice our forgiveness to our offender, we can express it to God. Admit to God that we have been hurt, deeply hurt by what he or she has done to you. Calculate what that person owes you for the offense: money, separation, divorce, jail, or maybe death. Finally, let me encourage you to pray something like this: “What they did to me was wrong, and they should pay for what they did. But, today, I’m releasing them of their obligation to me. Not because they deserve it, or even asked for my forgiveness, but because You, God, have released me from the debt I owe You. 5

Now don’t get me wrong, forgiveness is not as easy as 1, 2, 3. It’s a process, and like any process, it can take some time. If necessary, I encourage you to use Jeffress’ prayer every day. And over time, God will grant you the grace necessary to really forgive; to let go of anger and bitterness that have kept you a prisoner; therefore, to be free.

By the way, did you notice that last sentence of Jeffress’ prayer: “not because he deserves it, or even asked for my forgiveness, but because You, God, have released me from the debt I owe You.” The greatest motivation to forgive is to recall that at one time all of us have stood guilty before a holy God with no way to pay the debt for our wrongdoing.

Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS), the flying department of Wycliffe Bible Translators, had flown thousands of hours over a 25 year span without one fatal accident before April 7, 1972.

On that day, a Piper Aztec lost its right engine and crashed in Papua New Guinea, killing all seven persons aboard.

The Aztec had just rolled out of the Wycliffe maintenance hangar the day before following a 100 hour inspection. The chief mechanic was stunned when he heard the news of the crash. Reviewing in his mind each step he had performed in inspecting that engine, he suddenly recoiled in horror. He remembered that he had been interrupted while tightening a fuel line and had never returned to finish the job! That faulty connection had allowed raw fuel to spray out and catch fire while the Aztec was in flight.

The mechanic’s guilt at being responsible for the deaths of his colleagues crushed him. For days he did not know what to do. The other mechanics tried to help him, as did his own family. But when the family of Doug Hunt, the pilot who was killed in the accident, was preparing to return to their home in New Zealand, the mechanic knew he had to see them, talk with them and beg their forgiveness. He could barely get out the words as he sobbed in their presence. “That hand there,” he said, looking at his right hand, “took Doug’s life.”

Glennis Hunt, Doug’s widow, embraced him. He owed her his life for her husband’s, but she chose to release him from having to pay that debt and forgave him. She said to that mechanic, “Jesus gave His life so that I could be forgiven; He did that for me. Now I can do this for Him and for you.” 6

The boldest act of forgiveness the world has ever seen was in the bloodied, beaten and torn body of Jesus Christ. To forgive is the gutsiest thing we can do in life. Forgiveness is not for the fainthearted. Forgiveness is the mark of the true man and the true woman of God.

CLOSING PRAYER

[I encourage you to pray as you feel led by the Spirit of God].

CLOSING SONG

Freely, Freely

Owens, Carol

God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name,
I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name;
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share His love as He told me to.

He said, ‘Freely, freely,
You have received;
Freely, freely give.
Go in My name,
And because you believe,
Others will know that I live.

All pow’r is giv’n in Jesus’ name,
In earth and heav’n in Jesus’ name;
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share His pow’r as He told me to.

He said, ‘Freely, freely,
You have received;
Freely, freely give.
Go in My name,
And because you believe,
Others will know that I live.

©1972 Bud John Songs, Inc. 
(a div. of EMI Christian Music Publishing)
CCLI License No. 1843349

BENEDICTION

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6

1 Charles Swindoll, Improving Your Serve, [Waco Texas: Word Books © 1981], Pages 66-67.

2 C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, [New York: Simon & Schuster, © 1996],
Pages 135-136.

3 Source unknown
https://bible.org/illustration/fault-box

4 Lewis Smedes, Forgive & Forget, Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve,
[San Francisco: Harper, © 1984], Page

4 Robert Jeffress, When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense, [Colorado Springs, Colorado: Waterbrook Press, © 2000], Page 174.

5 Max Lucado, When God Came Near, [Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Press, © 1987], Page 101.

Randy K'Meyer

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