• Matt Beaney

#613 (1/6/22) FORGIVENESS AND WORSHIP



‘Love…keeps no record of wrongs.’ (1 Corinthians 13:5)

Knowing how God keeps no record of wrongs - He forgives us- has dramatic effects upon all of our relationships; One of the results is that we become overflowing worshippers. On one occasion we read:

‘A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.’ (Luke 7:37-38)

Why did she do this? What would cause us to worship Jesus this extravagantly? Jesus answers us, and corrects the grumbling Pharisees, by telling them a brief parable:

“…I have something to tell you. Tell me, teacher, he said. Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven. You have judged correctly,” Jesus said….Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:40-43, 47)

Jesus was teaching the Pharisee, and the Pharisee in each of us, that when we understand the gospel: the holiness of God, depths of our sin and the cost of forgiveness and reconciliation, we become gracious, and we will worship extravagantly. Worship reveals whether or not we are Christians!


RESPONSE

Knowing that God does not keep a record of wrongs against us, makes us gracious to others. More importantly, I think, it transforms us into worshippers: We ‘owed money’, we were bankrupt, but our debts were forgiven. Our worshipful response reveals whether we understand the scale of our debt. May we ‘judge correctly’ about the nature of our sin and so overflow with great love.

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians, looking at the next aspect of love.


Please read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Last week we looked at how 'Love…is not easily angered…’. This week, we are considering the next attribute of Christian love: ‘Love…keeps no record of wrongs.’


True love -Christian love (Apapé) - keeps no record of wrongs. The word ‘keeps no record…’ (logizomai) means to account and reckon. Like a man counting his money, one who keeps a record of wrongs counts up his past hurts. A hoarder is someone who keeps hold of things in case it comes in handy only to find that his life is a mess; likewise, we are all tempted to hoard how people have hurt us and it just damages and corrupts our lives and relationships.


Forgiveness (aphiémi) is to send away and leave alone. When we forgive we ‘give’ the sin of others against us to God. We leave judgement to Him. We are acting like God who sends our sin away onto Christ.


Forgiveness can be compared to wiping the slate clean: in the past, a debt was sometimes recorded in chalk on a piece of slate; when the debt was paid, the records was wiped away. Someone explained forgiveness as:

'Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. - Anonymous'

This is what God does to us in justification and it's what we need to do for others who sin against us.


Like the returning prodigal son in Luke 15, we deserve nothing, however, the Father welcomes us home, declaring: "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him..." Our Father forgives us. We now have a choice: we can be like the Father and be quick to forgive; alternatively, we can be like the older brother in the story who kept a record of wrongs saying: "When this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!"



Discussion questions

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) What is forgiveness?

iii) This section on love is about the correct use of spiritual gifts; how will keeping no record of wrongs help us to have a church in which the gifts of the Spirit are used healthily?

iv) When is it right to forgive secretly - between you and God, and when is it right to go to a person to ask for forgiveness or confront them about how they have hurt you?


SIV - What effect will the avoidance of unforgiveness have on our witness?

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.










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