Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love. Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins! Wash away all my evil and make me clean from my sin! I recognize my faults; I am always conscious of my sins. I have sinned against you—only against you— and done what you consider evil. So you are right in judging me; you are justified in condemning me. I have been evil from the day I was born; from the time I was conceived, I have been sinful. Sincerity and truth are what you require; fill my mind with your wisdom. Remove my sin, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness; and though you have crushed me and broken me, I will be happy once again. Close your eyes to my sins and wipe out all my evil. Create a pure heart in me, O God, and put a new and loyal spirit in me. Do not banish me from your presence; do not take your holy spirit away from me. Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach sinners your commands, and they will turn back to you. Spare my life, O God, and save me,and I will gladly proclaim your righteousness. Help me to speak, Lord, and I will praise you. You do not want sacrifices, or I would offer them; you are not pleased with burnt offerings. My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God; you will not reject a humble and repentant heart. O God, be kind to Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifices and with our burnt offerings and bulls will be sacrificed on your altar. We pray this prayer too in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Subject: “The Lord’s Prayer” (Forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors) PART 2
Let us follow this thought a little further. God is the moral ruler of this universe in which you and I live, and when He forgives He cannot do it by just letting down the bars and taking us into the back door of heaven. But to return to our illustration: Suppose that the criminal was condemned to death, and we decided to call upon the governor of the state to forestall any efforts to delay the carrying out of the sentence. If this criminal met us at the door of the governor’s mansion, we would be startled and naturally ask him: “What in the world are you doing here?” Should he reply, “Haven’t you heard? The governor has pardoned me and brought me as a guest to his home!” then we would know that some conniving had taken place somewhere. If God would forgive you in like manner, then He would be compromising with sin and would be admitting criminals into heaven. God cannot do that. Do not think that God forgives on some little sentimental basis, that somehow He shuts His eyes to the sin question. The teaching that God forgives sin without doing anything about it is liberalism at its very core, Yes, God forgives sin, but He has to do something about it. Again let us return to our illustration. Suppose, if upon meeting this criminal at the governor’s door, he should say to you, “Haven’t you heard? The governor’s son has paid the penalty for my sin, and the governor is going to adopt me as his son—he is going to give me the rights of citizenship, is going to take this fallen nature out of me, and make me a law-abiding citizen.” Would you approve that? Well, that is exactly what God has done about the sin question. God forgives only on one basis: His Son came into this world, went to the cross, and paid the full penalty for your sin and my sin. Today we have forgiveness with Him because He paid the debt and set us free. That is the only basis of forgiveness. In the death of Christ upon the cross our sins have been removed “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12)—He has put them where He remembers them no more. There is a mercy seat today for the sinner. The Lord Jesus gave a parable of the Pharisee and tax collector who went up to the temple to pray. The poor tax collector stood afar off, beat upon his chest, and said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). What he actually said was, “Lord, be mercy seated to me.” The mercy seat in the temple of God was beyond the tax collector, and he was denied access to it. As far as he was concerned, there was no forgiveness for him at all. Therefore, he cried out to God in his desperation, saying, “Oh, Lord, if there were only a mercy seat where a poor tax collector could go for salvation.” Today, there is a mercy seat for everyone—it is the blood of Christ. That is made the throne of judgment, the throne of grace, and we can come before Him boldly and find help. This petition of the Lord’s Prayer is for those who have been born again and have the nature of God. It is for their life and service, and so it is very pertinent and practical. May I say to you that an unforgiving spirit is the one thing that has put more Christians out of service than anything else. Along the shoreline of Christian work there is wreck after wreck of those who were one time in Christian service and are out today for one reason: They have an unforgiving spirit. Will you listen to the thing that John says in his first Epistle: He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake (1 John 2:9-12). Remember this one thing: God has forgiven us through the blood of His Son. But on the basis of our forgiveness of one another is our service and walk conditioned. It is on that basis that we worship God. The Lord Jesus says that if you go to the altar and remember that your brother has anything against you, do not even go on with your worship, as important as that is, but leave it and go and be reconciled to your brother (see Matthew 5:23, 24.) That is of paramount importance. And how many times our Lord repeats this! Over in the Epistle to the Colossians Paul says it in just a little different way: Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Colossians 3:12, 13) Many people who claim to be fundamental in their faith are nursing little grudges; they are holding a hatred in their heart against a brother and having an unforgiving spirit. You know, Paul and Barnabas disagreed. Barnabas, the “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36), was not much encouragement to Paul when they disagreed over John Mark and were separated. But Paul was wrong about John Mark, and at the end of his ministry he apologized. Paul said, “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). What a wonderful spirit this man Paul had! I have in my possession a very personal letter to Dr. R. A. Torrey written by Dr. Frank De Witt Talmadge. This letter comes out of a day when men were giants on this earth. I came into possession of this letter while a pastor in Pasadena, California, at a church that had the desk and filing cabinet of Dr. Torrey. One day when I reached into his filing cabinet, which was filled with envelopes, I found that one envelope contained a letter dated January 2, 1900. It is from this that I give the following excerpt: “Dear Dr. Torrey: Today I’m standing under the shadow of two griefs. First, that of Mr. Moody’s death; secondly, the fear that I may have done you a very great injustice.” At this point he outlined what it was and then concluded—“If there is any way that I can rectify the wrong, I’ll gladly do so.” Then he told how he was willing to do it, and it was a way very humbling to him. Then he closed with this: “May the sweet spirit of him who is gone make me more and more preach the Gospel of love. Yours, with sorrow, Frank DeWitt Talmadge.” These men were giants, and they were big because they knew how to forgive. It is something all of us need today. “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Do we forgive that He might harness us for service—that He might bless us richly? Great men, such as Paul, have a forgiving spirit. Those men, when wrong, acknowledge when they are wrong. One listens almost in vain today to hear some minister or Christian worker acknowledge that he is wrong. We are living in a day when no one is wrong and no one apologizes. How the church needs men and women who will humble themselves and ask forgiveness when they have wounded a brother! Forgiveness is very powerful!
Week # 11
Weekly Pattern: Personal Relationships
Prayers from the Bible:
1). What is the basic reason we must forgive others?
2). What is the greatest challenge for you when forgiving someone who has hurt you?
3). How does delaying forgiveness to another impact your own relationship with God?
4). If you sin against God while withholding forgiveness from another, what immediately comes to mind when you go to seek forgiveness from God?
5). If you do not have the strength to forgive someone who has hurt you, what steps should you take toward restoration?
6). In what manner are we to forgive others?
7). Who should we forgive?
8). Write down the truths about pride and forgiveness from these verses: (Proverbs 13:10; 18:12; 19:20-21, James 3:12-14).
9). What insights on forgiveness are found in the following Scripture references? (Luke 6:37, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians
10). What is the key to God’s forgiveness of our sin? (Romans 4:7-8, Ephesians 1:7).
11). What do Psalm 103:12 says?
12). What is the only basis of forgiveness?
13). What do the Mercy Seat means?
Weekly Reading Assignment: (Acts 21-22)
Weekly Song: (Matthew 26:30)
Weekly Praise: Thank God Almighty
Let’s Hallow His name by rehearsing Who He is: