Sunday Sermon March 1, 2014

faithinactionForgiveness

We are Disciples of Jesus, even in our imperfections, because He desires to forgive us. Then He empowers us to help others find forgiveness.

Audio:

To receive and offer forgiveness is one of the most difficult things we can do. We all need to be forgiven, and we all need to forgive.

Colossians 3:13 Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.

Today’s Gospel text gives us some insights into the power of Christ to forgive, and also some insights on discipleship we will notice.

Mark 2:1-12 (HCSB)

When He entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that He was at home. So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and He was speaking the message to them. Then they came to Him bringing a paralytic, carried by four men. Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

But some of the scribes were sitting there, thinking to themselves: “Why does He speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”Right away Jesus understood in His spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic, “I tell you: get up, pick up your mat, and go home.” Immediately he got up, picked up the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

1. Jesus Offers Forgiveness to the Broken

Four men and a friend on a mat who could not walk.  He was dependent on others. Considered a sinner because of his impairment. Seeking healing he knew others had received. But what he heard was – ‘Your sins are forgiven’. Do you think they were disappointed? They were looking for healing. W hat they got was even better! The awesome gift – forgiveness of sins. This is the life-issue that Jesus wanted to address. The man on the matt still could not walk.

Jesus knows what we need even more than we do. He looked at that man and knew what he needed. What would Jesus offer to you today?

It’s hard to receive forgiveness sometimes because…

*We do not regard ourselves as broken…just normal.

*We cannot forgive ourselves for what we have done.

“It’s not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn’t do. All the things we should have done.” ― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

We can’t really forgive ourselves, we have to receive His forgiveness.

*We cannot believe that God would be willing to forgive us.

Today would you receive the forgiveness that Christ wants you to experience?

1 John 2:12 – I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven because of Jesus’ name.

Acts 2:38-41“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!”  So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.

2. Jesus Calls Upon the Broken to Forgive Others

The Scribes not too attuned to this idea of forgiveness. They did not agree with Jesus on this matter! These religious leaders were abandoning the redemptive work to which they were called. Jesus taught clearly broken people should forgive.

Mark 11:25-26 (HCSB) And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your wrongdoing.”

“You will never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you.” Max Lucado

Forgiving others is often difficult – but God does give us the power to do so.

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What forgiving do you need to do today? In our broken world and in our broken lives there will be those we will simply have to release. Forgiveness is different than Reconciliation.

“When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established…Forgiveness does not excuse anything…” Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”― Lewis B. Smedes

3. Jesus Empowers the Broken to Lead Others to Forgiveness

Mark 2:12 Immediately he got up, picked up the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Jesus wants us to help other people find their way to Him and the forgiveness He offers.  Consider 2 Corinthians 5:18-21:

*God made the first move (18a Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ)

*God gave us a ministry (18b-19 and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.)

*God gave us a message (20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”)

*God gave us assurance (21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.)

 Jesus offers forgiveness to the broken… you?  Jesus calls upon you to forgive others… Jesus empowers you to tell the broken about Him.


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LIFEGROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. The dedication of the four friends of the lame man is really amazing. What has a friend done for you that you thought was a great demonstration of friendship? (Ideas: can be recent or think back to your childhood; teenage years)

2. Can you think of some reasons why the actions of these four men might be irritating to those nearest Jesus? Imagine yourself in that setting and relate some ways that this might not have been welcomed by those present.

3. When Jesus saw these four men and what they did he noticed their faith. Why is it important to have friends who are people of faith?

4. The church is a place of making Christian friends. What elements of friendship can you find in the following verses:

*Hebrews 10:24-25

*Galatians 6:1-2

5. What did Jesus mean when he asked the question, “Which is easier to say?” What are some things that are easier to say than to do when it comes to discipleship?

6. Why were the Scribes so unhappy with Jesus on such a joyful event such as the healing of the lame man? How can Christians sometimes fall into the pit of being unhappy when a brother or sister is rejoicing?

7. What would have been the crowd’s reaction if the paralytic had asked his friends to carry him out on his bed after he had been healed? Why do we sometimes carry burdens through life when Jesus has taken them from us? 

Suggestion: Have the group members think about a burden you’ve been carrying and have the group say a silent prayer, each one releasing some burden into the capable hands of Jesus.

A Few Notes…

*We will not meet in groups the next two Sunday nights. Please plan to join together at the church building at 6:00.

*How is your group project going?

*Are you praying for your group?

*Who are you asking to be a part of your group?

A few links of interest:

Healing of the Paralytic earliest representation of Jesus.

Dr. John Mark Hicks’ reflections on this text.