• Matt Beaney

PART 26 – DEBTS PAID IN FULL (31/3/20)

If you missed Sunday's broadcast, please catch up by following the link below. (For the foreseeable future, we be running our Sunday morning services digitally. Please go to our website on Sundays at 10:30 to join in)



“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

Our life is recorded and public like never before. If we post something online, or someone else does, it’s permanent for good or ill! How many will fail to get that job or opportunity because someone ‘Googles’ them only to find compromising information on them. The good news about those who receive forgiveness from Jesus, it that their past is erased! And, equally important - to put it in online terms- their profile and history are perfect: there you are caring for the poor, being the best friend, standing up for what is right, honouring God perfectly… Anyone who receives Jesus, not only has the debts removed, they are also credited with Jesus’ righteousness.


What were our debts?

When Jesus was asked which were the most important commandments, He responded,

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighboUr as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:37-40)

Any person who is honest with oneself knows they have failed to love God or others as Jesus desires. We have a debt that we are unable to pay. How can God remain just whilst forgiving us? The only way for this to be done was for God Himself to become a man and die for the sins of mankind. This He has done in Christ.


He has done more than cancel debts

The word ‘justification’ is often used in the bible to speak of our forgiveness. Paul writes,

‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Romans 5:1)

Justification has two elements to it:

i) Firstly, it is God declaring us ‘not guilty’ (and hence will never face condemnation). Because Jesus was judged for us, we are guilt–free - our debts can be forgiven because they have been paid!


ii) Secondly, Justification goes further than just cancelling debts, it is God attributing (imputing) to us the perfect righteousness of Jesus!


So, a justified person, before God, has never sinned, but has actually lived a perfect life! When we ask Jesus to forgive us our debts, he doesn’t give us an account at zero! No! God fills our account!

Like a man who goes into his bank knowing that he has a debt that he can never pay but finds that his debt has been deleted! But it doesn’t stop there; his account is in limitless credit! So, justification has these two elements – we have something taken from us: our sin, and something given to us: Jesus perfect righteous life.


RESPONSE

Are you struggling with the guilt and shame of your past? Do you feel like a failure at times? Let’s take hold of the riches we have through Jesus.


You and I have been washed - your debts have been paid and you have been given the righteousness of Christ. This is truly good news. We have not been left to ‘turn over a new leaf’ - try to clean up our act and hope that our good outweighs the wrong we do in some way. No! Jesus - the one who is God and man - has died for us, for our justification.


Let’s take some time to meditate on and worship out of the following text:

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21)

During this series, let's aim to memorise and meditate on The Lord's Prayer.

COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – KEEP WASHING OUR HANDS (KEEP ASKING FOR, AND KEEP GIVING, FORGIVENESS)


Opener

Do you find it easy to say sorry? How often have you done so in the last week?


Introduction - please read in your group

This week we will learn from Jesus what it means to pray,

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

During this Coronavirus crisis, we are being encouraged to wash our hands regularly for 20 seconds. When you do so, why not get into the habit of saying The Lord’s Prayer? Washing our hands is a great illustration of receiving and giving forgiveness - it needs to be done regularly.

Forgiveness means 'to send away' to have our sin sent away. This has been made possible because Jesus has died for us. To forgive others, is to send their sin away - we send it to Jesus and allow Him to be the judge. We can forgive much more easily as we remain mindful of how much we ourselves have been forgiven.


Read The Lord’s Prayer

“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.” (“…For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”) (Matthew 6:9-13)

Discuss/share together


i) The cost of our forgiveness

i) When we talk about forgiveness, it’s easy to think that when we say sorry to God, He just chooses to overlook our sin. However, sin cannot just be forgiven (sent away) - anyone whose ever brushed something under the carpet knows that it just goes under the carpet! Forgiveness is possible because of the cross.


Discuss: What does Ephesians 1:7 say about our forgiveness?


ii) The cost of forgiving

R. T. Kendall wrote about forgiving,

This means that you keep on doing it - as long as you live. It won’t do to forgive today and then return to folly tomorrow. I know of a person whose wife said, ‘I thought you forgave me.’ He replied, ‘that was yesterday’. Total forgiveness is a life-long commitment; you may need to do it every single day of your life until you die. No one said it would be easy.’ (R. T. Kendall, Total forgiveness, Page 59)

Forgiving is painful for us. It's choosing not to be bitter toward someone. It's choosing to treat our 'debtors' with love. It's a great sacrifice.


Discuss:

  • How does remembering the gospel help us to forgive others?

  • What advice would you give to someone who is finding that their anger and resentment keeps flaring up?


Pray together

Pray together as you feel led.


Notices

Please share from this week’s Church News.

In particular, can we all be sharing the digital invite for our Sunday morning service.


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