• Matt Beaney

#663. FORGIVE US AS WE FORGIVE (6/10/22)

This week, following on from Sunday’s final message in our Devoted, vision series, we are considering how we can learn to be devoted to prayer by studying what Jesus teaches us in ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.



Summary: We are called to be peacemakers through giving and receiving forgiveness in prayer.


‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’ (Acts 2:42-47)
“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

As we have seen, The Lord’s prayer can be broken down into 4 major themes of Praise (6:9) , Petitions (6:10-11), Peacemaking (Matthew 6:12) and Protection (Matthew 6:13). Today we will continue to look at the third phrase and theme: PEACEMAKING.


PEACEMAKING: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”


What I’ve termed ‘peacemaking’ is about making peace with God and with others through giving and receiving forgiveness in prayer. Every day we have various relational tensions and failures. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray for and give forgiveness every day so that we don’t allow hurt and bitterness to accumulate or allow our relationship with God to be damaged.

I’m sure that most of us wash in some way every day and throughout the day. This is a great illustration of giving and receiving forgiveness - it’s done regularly so the muck of our and others' failures do not accumulate into an avalanche.

Much serious sin that people fall into could have been avoided if they had been diligent to confess sin when it was beginning to grow in their lives. Like a gardener, we need to constantly deal with the weeds that threaten to grow up in our relationship with God and others.


It’s very important to notice what Jesus goes on to say after His Lord’s Prayer summary:

‘For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.’ (Matthew 6:14-15)

Tomorrow we are going to be looking at our need to pray for protection against demonic attack. The devil is constantly working in the world, the church and in your life in order to create hate and division. Paul writes:

‘In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.’ (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Many people change their friends, change their church, change their spouse... because of unmet expectations. It’s easy to walk away, it’s Christ-like to forgive and love.

Forgive (aphiémi) means 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. To fail to forgive is to fail to treat others as God has treated us! To fail to seek forgiveness is to reveal pride and self-righteousness.


RESPONSE

Are we peacemakers? Are we constantly asking God for forgiveness when we sin? Do we give others forgiveness - often in private prayer - when they hurt us? Do we seek forgiveness when we believe that we have acted wrongly toward someone?


A key to being a peacemaker is to saturate your heart in the grace of God. Asking for forgiveness also reminds us to rejoice in the way that God has so mercifully dealt with our sin. Paul Tripp wrote,

‘But I have learned that the more I am bathing my heart in the wonder of God’s forgiveness of me, the more willing I am to forgive others.’ (Paul Tripp, Lead)

Here is a great song on the theme of prayer:


 

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

It's been a while since most of our groups have met and some will be new to your groups. I encourage you to spend time catching up and praying for one another. Perhaps you might want to discuss things that you can celebrate and things for which you would like God's help.

 

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


On Sunday, we finished our vision series, Devoted. This series has been based upon what we see modelled in the early church from Acts 2:


‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’ (Acts 2:42-47)

We have considered how God wants us to be a church that is devoted to:

i. The apostles teaching (devoted to learning from scripture).

ii. Fellowship (devoted to being 'family on purpose' which requires dedication and time).

iii. Breaking bread (Eating together and remembering the gospel through Communion).

iv. Prayer (Devoted to being a praying community).


This is God's vision for any local church and He wants all of us to be devoted to this.

On Sunday we were encouraged that 'prayer is taught and caught'.


i. PRAYER IS TAUGHT

We learn to pray through teaching, reading good books, and, most importantly, by reading what the Bible has to say about prayer.


ii. PRAYER IS CAUGHT

We learn to pray and teach others to pray by praying together. In a family, in a Community Group, in church prayer meetings... we learn from others.


RESPONSE

  1. I encourage you to read the blogs this week. These are focussed on learning to pray by using The Lord's Prayer as a model.

  2. Let's, all of us, be as devoted to the church prayer meeting on Sunday evening as we can be. You will not regret the benefit that comes from this.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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

ii) Which of the four aspects of devotion from Acts 2 do you find most difficult and why?

iii) Our reading from Acts 2:42-47 speaks of church growth. Why will the church grow if we are devoted to these things?


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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