Like Father, Like SonSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Sermon By Terry Siverd / October 29, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
This Wednesday PM, our soon-to-be new preacher, Larry Siegle and his beautiful wife Linda will depart Honolulu on November 1st and arrive in Phoenix on November 2nd. While in Phoenix they will visit with a friend and obtain some “wheels”.
Their intentions are to drive to Warren so as to arrive in mid-November. It's possible that Larry may preach his first sermon (for us) on Sunday, November 12th. That Sunday's covered-dish luncheon will provide an opportune time to “meet and greet”.
In the 35th year of our annual summer youth retreat at Camp Judson (c. 2012), I met a young man named Kevin Saxton.
He was replacing Ken Thompson as the on-sight director of Camp Judson. I had worked with Ken in scheduling our summer youth retreats for 33 consecutive summers. Our first retreat was undertaken in 1977 when the director at Judson was Kevin Saxton's father. When I talked with Kevin I told him, “I can't remember what your father looked like.”
With a smile, Kevin responded, “Just look at me - - I look just like him!”
Next May will Mark the 20th anniversary of my father's passing (05/04). I loved my father dearly and I always wanted to be like him. At my dad's funeral my aunt Barb said to me, “You are so much like your father!”. She has reiterated that sentiment several times over the last two decades and it always warms my heart -- I always wanted to my like my father.
As we come to the end of this protracted sermon series on The Fruit Of The Spirit, I want us to continue to search
the holy Scriptures as we focus on important Christian virtues - - today's subject being, A FORGIVING HEART.
In Eph.4:32, the apostle Paul urges the church at Ephesus - -
be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just AS GOD IN CHRIST also has forgiven you.
Col.3:13 echoes this exhortation: bearing with one another, and forgiving each other,
whoever has a complaint against anyone; just AS THE LORD forgave you, so also should you.
Being forgiven (having our sins washed away) is not all that it takes to be a Christian.
To be a true disciple of Christ (a genuine Christ-one) one has to also be forgiving.
This is not some speculative conclusion drawn by rabid exegetes bent on make discipleship even more daunting.
Jesus states this truth in no uncertain terms (Mt.6:14-15) - -
If you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Learning to forgive others is not just a good thing to do, it is essential to walking as Jesus walked - -
1Jn.2:6 records, the one who says he abides in Him ought himself walk in the same manner as He walked.
If we're going to be conformed to the image of God's Son (Rom.8:29), forgiving others is an irreplaceable element.
As to God's seriousness about this matter, let us read carefully one of the many parables spoken by Jesus.
Read from Mt.18:23ff.
Mt.18:35 records the Lord's very plainly spoken summary statement:
So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.
So here at the outset, let us be clear - - we must come to terms with the utter necessity of learning to forgive.
Learning to forgive other is not some optional attribute!
Forgiving others is not a piece of clothing worn by rare saints, it is the required uniform of every Christian.
The practice of forgiving one another is not some exotic fruit designed by God to adorn the constitution of only a few.
I'm stressing this point because not a few of us are struggling with forgiving others.
It is alarming to observe how some of us have rationalized the clear language of Scripture.
What part of Mt.6:14-15 do we not get? What part of Jesus' parable (Mt.18:23ff) do we not understand?
One character trait that makes us very much like our Heavenly Father is our willingness to forgive others.
Our Heavenly Father so loved humankind that He gave His only begotten Son to save us (Jn.3:16-17). cf. 1Jn.4:10 & 14/
He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins … The Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
Jesus came to earth as God enfleshed (Jn.1:14). All the fulness of Deity resided in Him (Col.1:19 & 2:9).
Eph.1:7 / In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace...
On Pentecost, Peter affirmed (Acts 2:23) -- This man...you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless and put Him to death.
Yet even while on the cross, Jesus prayed (Mt.23:34) - - Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.
Everywhere we look in the New Testament we read of the Father and the Son forgiving.
This was something that the world never expected from a highly exalted God - - this pronounced spirit of forgiveness.
But we are surprised even more when we read of the behavior of one of the Lord's disciples.
Acts 6-7 tells of the martyrdom of Stephen and Luke's notes his final words (Acts 7:59-60) - -
He called upon the Lord and said, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!' And falling on his knees
he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them!' And having said this, he died.
Here we find a mere human doing what God the Father and Jesus the Son had done - - forgiving others.
And then we begin to read beyond the book of Acts, working our way into the New Testament epistles,
we soon come to realize that what Stephen did is expected of us all - - WE ARE ALL CALLED TO FORGIVE OTHERS.
As God the Father forgave, so too must we; As the Lord God in Christ Jesus forgave, we also must forgive others.
HOW can we find the ability to forgive others?
We do so by giving it over to God! To TRUST AND OBEY!!
I want to warn us all - - never say “I can never forgive _________.”
To do so is to defiantly strut before God with a brazenness that could cost us our eternal salvation.
How dare we think that we can receive such marvelous mercy from God on high and not be willing to forgive others!
Read again Mt.6:14-15.
Read again the punch line of our Lord's parable (Mt.18:35).