Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

REALationships # 2 –  16th June 2013 AM – LOVE FLOWS DOWNREALationship

This month the theme is – REALationships

In APRIL we spoke about being baptised with, filled with the Holy Spirit. Then later in MAY we continued that theme by sharing what it means to be led by the spirit. During that theme, we spoke about walking in the Spirit which means our behaviour follows the nature and character of God and of course the way we treat others is guided by how we love each other as Jesus loves us. This month JUNE we are expanding on that theme and focusing on REALationships.

Last week we spoke about the Divine Embrace, which is God’s great passion to have a people. 11 times in the bible He says about His people, “I will be their God and they will be my people.” What a blessing to host a real wedding right here in the service last Sunday to illustrate the great love Christ has for the Church amply demonstrated in every marriage as a type of Christ and the Church.

Being SPIRIT FILLED means being SPIRIT LED, and to be a really great church, we will love one another unconditionally. Our relationships will be a picture to others of the love of God that is shed abroad into our hearts. For us as DISCIPLES OF JESUS – IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME! When we are born again we have a new perspective (Phil 2:5) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. That is the way of humility and serving others. Our joy comes from serving others because we have a new heart, and we are filled with a servant heart and a desire live for others. If we are ever offended we look to Jesus to heal us; and then to the offender and wonder, “How has the enemy or the destructive paths of life messed this person up, so that they are reacting badly to my detriment.” We love and forgive, and duly consider how we may be in error in some way or maybe we have not seen a need that needs to be met.

When you and I receive a Revelation of the love with which He loved us, then we are filled with that love, it is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5) and we are full of the love that overflows and enables me to love my enemy, love the unloveable (which I was to God) and forgive my brother.



In this story the King who is owed a vast amount of money calls the steward who owes him and says, “Pay up!” The servant has no money so he begs for more time. The repayment is impossible, so the King makes a hugely gracious gift of forgiving the debt totally and wiping it out! (Do you get it?) The forgiven steward then goes out and accosts another steward who owes him a mere pittance and demands he pay up! When he to asks for more time, the first steward says, “No.” and puts him in jail! When the King hears of this he is rightly indignant and asks of the first steward, “Could you not have had mercy on your fellow steward as did for you?” and he casts the first steward into jail until he will pay out the reconstituted debt that he originally owed!!

The punch line is verse 35 where Jesus says that God will do likewise to us if we do not forgive our brother his trespasses. READ Vs 35 – Mat 18:35  So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses. (Matt 6:15; Mar 11:26.)

IMAGINE Your shock when, after you die, having lived a life as a Christian – you’re in hell and you realise that your enemy is in heaven!  Why? Because you did not forgive your brother his trespasses, and he, having trespassed against you, he is actually forgiven because he found Christ and held no grudges against his brethren.

Notice that your forgiving of your brother is “from your heart” so it’s not enough to mouth the words or even try to live above it, you must deep in your heart forgive, let go and love your brother who has sinned against you.

The IDEA is NOT that we all become perfect, BUT that we all become mature.

Mat 5:48  You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect. [Lev. 19:2, 18.] The word Perfect in the Greek language of the Original New Testament is – G5046 – Telios = Complete, of full age, like a machine having all the parts for effective working.

MATURITY – means loving one another despite our imperfections. In fact we reach maturity by practicing forgiveness.


Joh 13:34  I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.

Joh 13:35  By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

God’s plan is for your development (Ephes 4:14-16). He allows, even plans offences, to see if you can forgive and love. One story that illustrates this is Jesus and John Baptist in John 11. John asks, “Are you the one?” I suppose that John may have expected Jesus to visit him in jail since He expected others to do the same. (Matt 25:44) Jesus replies, “Blessed is he who is not offended in me.”

In Matt 18:21 Peter asks a question that we all wonder about, “How many times do I have to forgive my brother? 7 times?” Jesus replies, “Not 7 times; 70X7.” We need to understand what kind of love we are filled with.

If we are SPIRIT FILLED then let us go on and be SPIRIT LED and as the HOLY SPIRIT leads us He will enable us to WALK IN THE SPIRIT, which produces the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – LOVE, KINDNESS, PATIENCE, LONG SUFFEREINNG, SELF CONTROL.

These are all essential elements for loving one another.

WHY should we love one another?

–         By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples – it’s the way to win lost people.

–         Being in One accord means The Holy Spirit moves – He is the spirit of unity. Ps 133 – Unity blessing commanded. Acts 4:24 When the church were in one accord the place where they were praying was shaken. Shaking is no big deal but it demonstrates that God shows up big time when His people dwell together in unity.


  1. Have you ever stopped to consider just how much you have been forgiven of?
  2. The parable of the two stewards in Matt 18 gives us the very clear message: Although our sins are great, God freely forgives them and the offences committed against us by our brethren are comparatively small – discuss this.
  3. Can you as a Christian hold any grudge or bitterness or unforgiveness against anyone and still be forgiven yourself?
  4. How can one forgive when they are deeply hurting from an offence?
  5. Discuss how sinners view the church when it practices loving one another.

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It’s Christmas – End the war!reason-for-the-season

It’s Christmas time! It is the celebration of Jesus birth. Just as it was about to take place, God had something to say…

Luk 2:13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

Luk 2:14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (MKJV)

So often it isn’t peace among men, but war. There are bitter disputes in all places between all ages and all ethnicities. God sent Jesus to earth to end the hostility between God and Man.

Rom_5:10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

After this, as men became persuaded of this salvation, then they took on a new heart and a new way of relating to others. Now, through Jesus own command, His people must…

Luk 6:35  But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favours so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked. (AMP)

Mat 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (KJV)

There is a place for self defence. All that is precious must be protected. Thank God we have a police force and the courts system that brings justice, however flawed they are; without them we would have anarchy that would make life unliveable. However, beyond that, Jesus asks us as Christians Rom 12:18  If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

One day a along time ago, men who had been at war with each other put down their weapons and gave one another gifts. These men were fighting in World War I and one night their feelings for their enemy changed and their actions were reversed and a complete change took over their lives.

What was the catalyst for this remarkable change? Christmas!

“Though there was no official truce, roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial cessations of fighting along the length of the Western Front.[8] The first truce started on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium.[9]

The Germans began by placing candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were excursions across No Man’s Land, where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and alcohol, and souvenirs such as buttons and hats. The artillery in the region fell silent. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently killed soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Joint services were held. The fraternisation carried risks; some soldiers were shot by opposing forces. In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but in others it continued until New Year’s Day.[7]


Here’s a clip from a movie called “Joyeux Noel” that told the story of this remarkable ceasefire.  http://youtu.be/CW2mGdiu8Uk

These soldiers were trained to kill. They truly believed that it was their duty to kill men from the opposing army. If they could kill many enemies and get home alive; that was very good, but if not, they were prepared to lay down their lives for their country. If men engaged in a bloody warfare can be so changed by recognition of what Christmas is all about, then surely we can look at Christmas through God’s eyes and call an end to the war we have had with others.

Are there people in your family that you have been at war with? Have you been hostile in word or deed with anyone in your world? Think about the thoughts that go through your mind at times when you’re thinking of those who feel badly towards. Those unkind thoughts, those accusations, that feeling of revenge; the lack of kindly plans toward them; are all evidence of something that can and must change.

If these men in WWI can rethink to the extent that they forgot that they were enemies for just one night- then why cant you? Most likely you haven’t had a gun fired directly at you from your people; nor have you seen your best mates carried off in a body bag. For most of us, what we have endured has been some unkindness, some bad words, some persecution or theft. Has your pain been of the order of these soldiers?

And yet they left the hostility and laid down their arms and celebrated Christmas. The really sad part of this story is that when the truce was over, they went back to business as usual, and began shooting each other. But this is not how it must be. The peace you create with those you have been hostile towards can be a lasting peace. It doesn’t have to be Christmas cards at 50 paces for ever!

How could this tradition of Christmas be so powerful? The reason is Christmas speaks so eloquently of God’s love and His gift to us all. Jesus – unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. Can we see ourselves as we really are? Can we see that our potential to hurt is the same as any other man; can we see that we have affronted God’s grace with our thoughts of evil? That we are as guilty of offence as any perpetrator is?  Can we see that we need the mercy of God to deliver to us this roughly gift wrapped package of forgiveness that was laid in a manger, for us, so undeserved and matched only by our need.

Thank God for Jesus – the reason for the season.

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The Answeranswer

Jesus is the only answer for your life

What are you searching for? What do you want from life? Are you sometimes wondering why life has brought you hardship and frustration? Did your life journey so far bring you to the real place of satisfaction that you longed for? Perhaps you’re feeling the pain of broken relationships. Has someone you love really let you down; and the pain of it still feels like a knife in your heart.

Families all over are hurting and broken, many have experienced marriage breakdown, love disappeared and sadness and pain took its place. So many kids grew up without a full-time dad, or seeing parents fight and argue.

For others; how you wish you had your health back, or maybe that slim figure that left you many years ago. One young woman I have talked to in the Police environment has struggled to recover from a stroke at the age of 35. It meant two years off work and now back in the job things are not the same. The memory and the emotional reactions to events is not the same. How frustrating it must be not to feel whole and healthy like she once was and with such a long life ahead potentially.

Let me share with you a story of someone who was searching for something and Jesus came along and gave her the very thing she longed for in her heart.

The story – John 4:1-42

Jesus encounters a woman at a well in Samaria.

At this encounter Jesus talks with this woman and gives her acceptance and an answer.

READ John 4:4-9

This is why I’m telling this story today, so that you can see the real Jesus reaches out to anyone and everyone. The way Jesus acceptance and love to provide a life giving answer for this woman shows just how Jesus operates.

He can make a difference in your life here today.

The thing that everyone seeks is real life, a thirst for freedom, joy, peace, strength, and to be loved and accepted.  We seek for it in money, in relationships, in positions of power, in drugs and alcohol, in the worship of many kinds. Yet for most there is a thirst that can never be quenched. For many there is never a place; to which having arrived we say; I am home, I have found what I searched for all my life, my search is over; I am saved.

Is there a thirst inside you today for something more in life than what you currently experience? Can’t put your finger on it? Does it just seem to you that life is supposed to be more than what you have, that there’s something that would all of a sudden lift you up and out into a new place of real fulfilment?

This woman was searching, she was thirsty, her life was a series of failures and sadness. When she grew up I doubt she planned to be married five times and then be with someone she wasn’t married to. Yet this thirst, created by disappointments and pain, was covered over by religious questions and resentments for how she was treated.

Deep down she longed for a kind of fulfilment that was a long way out of her reach. Enter Jesus, who offers living water, what is this living water? It takes a little while before she catches on what this really means.

Only through Jesus is this true life possible.

Joh 10:10  The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

Joh 14:6  Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.

Jesus gives Living Water. He is the only answer to that thirst you feel deep inside for life and for acceptance and for hope. Life deals out some troubles and pain for so many lives. What pain and disappointments have you faced? It’s not just success that drives some people, there’s that desire for life – some kind of peace and joy that seems illusive.

In this story the Jews hated the Samaritans

From many causes arose an irreconcilable difference between them, so that the Jews regarded them as the worst of the human race Joh_8:48, and had no dealings with them, Joh_4:9.

Our Saviour, however, preached the gospel to them afterward John 4:6-26, and the apostles imitated his example, Acts_8:25. The gospel was, however, first preached to the Jews.

Nearly everyone is thirsty for this living water, but many push it away because of religious prejudices and resentments against churches, Christians and even God who they feel have been part of the problem. But today I want you to know Jesus is the only answer to your thirst.

The soul by nature is like such a desert, or like a traveller wandering through such a desert. It is thirsting for happiness, and seeking it everywhere, and he finds it not. He looks in all directions and tries all objects, but in vain. Nothing meets his desires. Though people seek for joy in wealth and pleasures, yet they are not satisfied. They still thirst for more, and seek still for happiness in some new enjoyment. To such a weary and unsatisfied soul the grace of Jesus Christ is “as cold waters to a thirsty soul.”

This woman eventually perceives that Jesus is a prophet; that is He knows stuff that no one else could know.  She jumps at her chance to clear up ticklish religious questions that have long bothered her community. She asks about worship – its a heart issue, its about the inner life, the inner world where we encounter God personally, not just as an observer. Worship will soon be not limited to one place but when the veil of the temple was torn in two the presence of God became available to all men everywhere.

Jesus was tired because of His journey, yet was still able to put others first. He cares about you today.  He asked her for a drink – to find out what’s in her heart. She was puzzled , “Why are you talking to me?”

Jesus demonstrated His love and total lack of prejudice by talking to and giving the good news to this woman from Samaria. The reasons why some people would have thought Jesus should not even acknowledge the woman of Samaria are:

  1. She was a woman – Jewish Rabbi’s are not allowed to converse with a woman.
  2. She was a Samaritan – The nations of the Jews and the Samaritans held a long and bitter feud so that no self respecting Jew would give the time of day to any Samaritan. The Jews who hated Jesus abused Him by calling him a Samaritan in John 8:48
  3. She was a sinner – This woman had previously had 5 husbands and was now living defacto – This was totally forbidden in Jewish law – punishable by death.

Jesus offers her Living Water, at first she doesn’t catch on, so Jesus says,  “Go call your husband” – just to see what’s in her heart. At this point she is amazingly open, truthful Then the bombshell – He knows everything about her. She is amazed, “OK you’re a prophet” – so now I want all my questions answered. But answering them is not what she really wanted… It’s this living water she needs.

God is seeking true worshippers. Real intimacy, real relationship, that’s where the truth lies, that’s where the living water is.

She asks, “I know the Messiah is coming and He will tell us all things. Then Jesus drops the next  Bombshell – I am He.

Just then disciples come back – it’s an inconvenient time… she’s at the point of revelation. Off she goes to tell the whole town – she’s convinced. The whole town hears – many believe just on her word. Jesus speaks of the harvest; people matter to God. The fruit of the crop is eternal life; for you God’s plan is your eternal life. Only one thing matters to God – people – you. Giving you living water. This is what you’re made for.

It doesn’t matter that she was messed up, it doesn’t matter that she was from a despised race, a marginalised minority, it didn’t matter that she was living in an unacceptable relationship according to Jewish law; Jesus accepted her and gave her living water. No matter what your life is about, no matter how messed up your past is, no matter how many times you have failed, Jesus loves you deeply, profoundly, endlessly. There is living water for you here today. Jesus is your answer. It’s not knowing some religious story, it’s meeting Jesus.

Lots of Samaritans believed through the woman’s word. They came out to see Jesus. When Jesus rolls up some people ask Him to go and some people ask Him to stay.

These ones asked Him to stay – will you? Many more believed, through Jesus word.

Jesus demonstrated complete acceptance of a race of people hated and despised by Jesus’ own race.

There’s no prejudice in Jesus. There’s only love acceptance and hope. Your search is over when you surrender your life to Jesus. It doesn’t happen when you find out who Jesus is – it happens when you realise He is the only  answer for you, and you’re willing to let go of every other counterfeit answer, every prop you’ve leaned on to fill the gap that never gave you what you truly needed and wanted  – living water.

Will you come to Jesus today, will you drink deep of His living water? Will you let Him accept you as you are right now and you accept Him as He is right now?

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