I have been the only “white-boy” pastor in an all-African American church. I was born a gentile, but by faith I am also a son of Abraham. I am grandfather to my Hispanic grandchildren. I have a mixed-mutt Anglo-Swede-German-Celtic and who-knows-what-else of a heritage. I have brothers who are Asian and Native Americans. Our church is a beautiful melting pot of multi-ethnic souls. In the world, there are only two races of mankind. However they are not races based on skin color or ethnic origin. The two races of mankind are those who in God and those are not. If you are in Christ, we are of one blood and we share God as our Father. We are blood brothers in Jesus. We are family. We are one. Historically, there has always been hostility between peoples of different tribes, tongues, religions, and colors. In Israel, in the Temple, there was a low wall called a “soreg” beyond which no non-Hebrew could go on pain of death. Within the wall, closer to God’s Holy Presence, only the covenant people could go. This wall created hostility between Jews and non-Jews; it was an exclusion zone that created a second class of citizens. … Read more
Jesus died to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Through confession of sin and rebirth by the Holy Spirit, we are given the gift of unmerited favor and given the righteousness of God so that all our sins are washed away and in God’s eyes, it is as though we have never committed any sin. Jesus took the blame as if he had committed our sins and not us.
For too long, we have preached a half gospel: the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of your soul, which has only to do with the spiritual. That is true enough, but Jesus also died to heal us of all our diseases and infirmities. His death on the cross was the atonement for our sins and broke the power of Satan over our souls and bodies
Why did Jesus have to be baptized by John? He said, “it is necessary to fulfill all righteousness…” What did Jesus mean by that?
Why are there no records of miracles by Jesus as a child?
What did it mean for Jesus to be fully human?
What does it mean when it says that Jesus “emptied himself… being born in human likeness”?
Anger, bitterness and Unforgiveness can lead to health problems:
Unforgiveness is classified in medical books as a disease. According to Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, refusing to forgive makes people sick and keeps them that way.
With that in mind, forgiveness therapy is now being used to help treat diseases, such as cancer.
“It’s important to treat emotional wounds or disorders because they really can hinder someone’s reactions to the treatments, even someone’s willingness to pursue treatment,” Standiford explained.
Of all cancer patients, 61 percent have forgiveness issues, and of those, more than half are severe…
“Harboring these negative emotions, this anger and hatred, creates a state of chronic anxiety,” he said.
“Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer,” he explained.
Feeling bitter interferes with the body’s hormonal and immune systems. Studies have shown that bitter, angry people have higher blood pressure and heart rate and are more likely to die of heart disease and other illnesses.
One of the hardest things is trying to forgive when we carry the offense for others. Abused children, e.g.
Forgiveness is an act of the will
We may not feel like forgiving, but Forgiveness is an act of the will, not of the emotions. It is a decision. We decide to obey Jesus and forgive and our emotions get cleaned up afterwards. We will never feel like forgiving beforehand.
Matthew 18:21-35 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord buy brand delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
The Word Translated as Jailer: Strong’s 991 ?????????? (basanist?s), ?? (ou), ? (ho): n.masc.; ? Str 930; TDNT 1.561—LN 37.126 prison guard, torturer, jailer who tortures (Mt 18:34+)
There is a difference between forgiving people and forgiving their sins (what they have done to you or to someone else).
Kicked out of church… forgave the people, but bitterness remained..
Forgive the sins against me. Caused release.
John 20:23 he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
Dealing with Abuse: Excusing vs forgiving.
1. Recognize the offense as a sin against you
2. Anger is necessary and appropriate response to violation. Forgiveness should end in reconciliation, not just avoiding Agape Love is learning to love others with their faults.
Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Eph 4:26-27
Forgiveness is NOT reconciliation.
Forgiveness does not mean trust is reestablished unless the behavior changes.
Forgiveness does not depend upon their apology or recognition of wrong. Forgiveness is for YOUR sake. Reconciliation requires the other party to recognize their wrong and ask for forgiveness.
Matthew 18:15-18 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Some Forgiveness requires a daily repetition and does not always end in reconciliation. It takes two to live in peace.
Romans 12:16-21 “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. 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.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
1 John 5:19 “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.”
As I have mentioned in previous articles, there are many reasons why atheists do not believe. There are legitimate reasons that cause people to question the reality of God: suffering, the death of a loved one, unanswered prayers, injustice in the world, being a victim of child abuse… All these ugly realities can raise serious questions about the existence of a just and loving God. Of course, it may not be fair to blame God for the evil that human beings freely choose to do. That would be a bit like blaming the police for people committing crimes. Nevertheless, there are wounded emotions that sometimes override rational perspectives and cause people to jump to unwarranted conclusions: God is to blame because, if he exists, he is omnipotent and could have stopped the evil. As I wrote before, part of the nature of God in humanity is freedom of the will, and for God to stop people from exercising their freedom, however badly, he would have to turn them into robots and destroy what makes them human. The freedom to love and do great good is the very same freedom that allows a person to hate and do great harm. Freedom … Read more
A Summary Doctrine of Sanctification (from the book: Pardoned or Paroled?) 1] God Alone is Righteous and God alone is Good: Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed, all who were incensed against him, (Isaiah 45:24, RSV). And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone,” (Luke 18:19, RSV). 2] We are not to look to ourselves for any good or righteousness, for none exists in us: For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh, (Romans 7:18, RSV). For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness, (Romans 10:3, RSV). Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God … Read more
Introduction: The Love of Wisdom In ancient Greece, the first schools of philosophy flourished. They were called academies, or colleges, and their goal was to prepare young people to lead the State by giving them instruction in morals and ethics, mathematics, dialectics [or logical reasoning], and the natural sciences. The crucial aspect of this education was not simply to gain knowledge but to build wisdom and character. A greedy, corrupt, and selfish person could not be a good leader of the State. Citizenship and virtue were requirements for a true education. The schools established by Socrates and Plato were not started simply because they had a desire to know facts. Facts by themselves do not reveal ultimate meaning, nor do they reveal the purpose of life. Socrates, Plato’s teacher, was interested in discovering truth. The very meaning of the word philosophy is the “love of wisdom.” This pursuit of truth is not a dispassionate and disinterested inquiry into the nature of things. Philosophy is a journey of ultimate importance, a journey whose purpose is to discover the meaning of life – the ultimate meaning of all things – the reason “why.” No one can enter such a pursuit dispassionately and … Read more
Dear Mark and Reba,
Paul & the Law: A Contextual Approach by Frank Thielman, InterVarsity Press, 1994. They shall not defile themselves any more with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. “My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes. They shall dwell in the land where your fathers dwelt that I gave to my servant Jacob; they and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever; and David my servant shall be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is in … Read more