This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is about Getting Connected to God in prayer based on Matthew 6:9-13.
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We are continuing on in our series called Get Connected using the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 as a model for prayer.
Matthew 6:9-11 (NIV)
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread.
We have talked about God as Father, abba, papa and how much He loves us. We have talked about finding peace by trying to do it His way by doing the next right thing. We have talked about our depending on Him for everything, our daily bread, physical, spiritual, relational, and eternal as well as the bread of tomorrow today. Today we are in Matthew 6:12.
Matthew 6:12 (NIV)
12 Forgive us our debts (sins, transgressions), as we also have forgiven our debtors.
There are two parts to forgiveness, receiving forgiveness and extending forgiveness. Let’s start by talking about receiving forgiveness. This is vitally important because guilt and shame keep a lot of people from really connecting with God and experiencing real life with Him.
How do you receive forgiveness?
Wash – Rinse – Repeat
Psalms 139:23-24 (NIV)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts, 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Now I receive God’s forgiveness. His mercy and His grace.
Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
How do you receive it? You just confess. The word in Greek for confess is homologeo which literally means the same Word. Confession is not saying “God, I’ll never do it again.” That’s not confession. Confession is saying, “You’re right, God. It was wrong. You’re right. I was wrong.” That’s confession. It is agreeing with God and His Word.
1 John 1:9 (NIV)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
You need to tell someone. You need someone in your life that you can be completely honest with.
James 5:16 (NIV)
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
If you just want to be forgiven, you just confess it to God. But if you want to get over this and get on with your life, you’re going to need to be healed. You need to tell somebody else. You are only as sick as your secrets.
How to extend forgiveness
Because God has forgiven me, I need to forgive others. We live in a fallen world and we are going to hurt people and people are going to hurt us. Our selfishness and other people’s selfishness will cause us all a lot of pain. We need to be able to forgive those who have hurt us, and that can only really happen after we realize how great the forgiveness we have received really is. Now we must let it flow through us and extend it to others.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Why is it sometimes so difficult to forgive people who have hurt us?
The problem, a wrong view of justice and forgiveness.
Matthew 20:1-16 (NIV)
1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ 8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
4. Give it to God
I’m going to quit trying to get even, and I am going to let God handle the justice.
Romans 12:19 (NIV)
19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Let me explain what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness does not mean the instant restoration of trust. Forgiveness is instant. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Forgiveness is based on grace. Trust is built on works. Some people withhold forgiveness because they think that to forgive them means that everything just goes back the way it was. That is not forgiveness. Forgiving a person does not mean you have to trust them. That means they have to earn the trust. Forgiveness means I am going to quit holding on to it and I am going to put it in God’s hands.
5. Rest in His grace
If I don’t rest in God’s grace and give the people who have hurt me to God, I will become bitter and my life will have a negative impact on the lives of people around me.
Hebrews 12:15 (NIV)
15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
I can’t really connect to God and others the way that He wants me to until I have grabbed hold of the idea of forgiveness.