Saturday, May 17, 2014
Focus '14-Modeling Jesus-Entry #18
As most of you know the primary focus of Connections Christian Church is to take our cues from Christ and to look to the examples of the 1st century church as recorded in the Scriptures of what it looks like to flesh out our fellowship with Him and with others.
To that end, what follows might appear to be some really difficult, perhaps unanticipated applications of the Christian life. But notice if you would that all of these applications were first voiced and lived out as truth with unconditional love by our Savior and Lord Jesus.
Matthew 6:14-15: "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."
Mark 11:25: "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins."
Luke 6:37: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven."
According to Jesus, forgiveness is something that frees us to have right relationship with God and others: it is both an act of obedience and will and it is not the easiest or the most natural thing to do. Forgiveness is what Jesus did for us and is what He asks us to choose to freely "give away" to others.
Luke 23:34: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Those words were spoken by Jesus from the cross of Calvary for me and for you and for all humanity. My hope is that the blessings God bestowed upon Jesus for speaking and living those words would inspire you to speak and live those words with others in need of your forgiveness.
If you hold anything against anyone, don't condemn them, but forgive them and know the forgiveness of God for having done so. This is not an easy teaching but it is what we see fleshed out in Christ and the 1st century church that we choose to model.
Recall a time (see Acts 16) when Paul and his companions were jailed for preaching Jesus in a culture that sought to eliminate His name from the mainstream. As you consider the opposition Christians face for mentioning the name of Jesus in culture today, consider this example.
When Paul and his companions were miraculously freed by God from prison, the jailor in Philippi antcipated condemnation. Instead, Paul and his companions afforded forgiveness and led the jailor and his entire household to the saving truth and grace of Jesus.
This is the example we seek to model at Connections Christian Church: that of Christ and the 1st century church. We're not looking to get even with people in the world who wrong Christ and His Church. We are looking to forgive people and lead them to the One who forgives all of us.
Do you hold anything against anyone?
Will you forgive that person as Christ forgives you and show them your Savior?