From the Archives! Luke Sermon Manuscript: Luke 11:4 part 1

I like reading sermon manuscripts! So, I thought it might be helpful for some if I shared some various manuscripts of messages I have preached from time to time. Now, I am not going to do the work of editing them, so please be patient with the presentation, as I type them a certain way to make it easier for me as I preach. It may be a bit annoying for you, but it would take way too long for me to edit! You can listen to the audio here. This particular message is about asking God for forgiveness in prayer.

If you will take your Bibles and turn to.

Luke chapter 11.

We are continuing to talk about prayer.

And.

One of the things, I know, I want for myself and that I want for you, as a church is closeness with God. And by closeness, I am talking, in terms of our personal, every-day relationship with God.

Because.

Objectively.

If we are Christians, we are in Christ, so we really couldn’t get, closer, even if we don’t feel it, and even if, it doesn’t feel, like we are experiencing it.

And yet, certainly, as Christians, we are not content with.

A practical, daily, sense of distance.

Between us and God.

It’s like with my wife.
We are married.

Whether I feel like it or not.
That’s just reality. We are married.

And yet I wouldn’t be content.

With.

Just knowing that fact.

And not enjoying her.

Without closeness to her.

And.

As Christians.

We’re not content.

With a lack of desire.
For God.

Either.

We’re not content.

With not thinking about God.

On a regular basis.
Or enjoying God.

Or longing for God.

Where we are just going through the motions, you know, and putting our time in.

At church.

Without joy.

Without awe.

Without hope.

Obviously.

As.

Christians.

We know.

There are going to be.

Times of real struggle.

And.
For.

Even godly men in Scripture, there were times, where they felt.

Like.

God was almost absent.

For example.

In Psalm 10.

The Psalmist begins.

“Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”

And there’s an agony there.

And.

In.

Psalm 13.

He says,

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
And so.

We know.

It’s not unusual, as a Christian, to feel like that, we are not naïve, as we talk about closeness, we know there are going to be times where you don’t feel close,, we are not in heaven, this is part of living under the curse.
And as a result, we don’t just give up, and not do what we are supposed to do, because we aren’t enjoying God and longing for God, the way we want.

And.

Because.

Maybe, we feel like we are being forgotten.
And yet.

At the same time.

Just because there are going to be moments in our lives like that, and maybe even a lot of moments, doesn’t mean, we stop.
Wanting.

This closeness with God.

We want to experience a personal, daily, communion with God.

Fellowship.
Friendship, even.

Where.

We’re loving Him.

And.
We’re assured of His love for us.

And.

That desire.

We have.

Is.

Normal.

The struggle’s normal, and so is the desire.
And.

We see that.

In the Psalms.

Again.

As well.

In Psalm 27:4.
David says.

“One thing have I asked of the Lord”
One thing.

“that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.”

And that means something.

You know?

Gazing upon the beauty of the Lord.

There’s a passion in David’s personal relationship with God. And he expresses that passion in Psalm 63.

Where he says,

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you…so I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”

And you know, I want that kind of passion for us.

That closeness.

As a church.

That’s the thing.

Where.

We’re not just talking about hope.

We are hoping.

And we’re not just defining the fear of God.

We are fearing.

And, we’re not just explaining the Greek words for love, we are loving.
And.

Experiencing.
A sense.
In our hearts.

Of God’s glory.

And beauty.

And presence.

Intimacy, you might say with God.

And.

Obviously.

Of course.

I am wanting to be careful here.

Because.

It’s possible.

For people to talk about closeness with God, and intimacy with God, in really weird ways, where it’s actually.

Mostly about them.
If you are listening.

And.

Their feelings.

And their experiences.

And.

Though.

They are talking about closeness with God, it’s really about them.

And yet.
Just because sometimes people talk about closeness with God in strange ways, doesn’t mean, we stop wanting, closeness with God, that we stop wanting to be filled with a desire for His Word, and with delight in His Son, and with.

An inexpressible, overwhelming, joy in what He’s done for us.

Which part of why.

We are talking so much.

About prayer.

As a church.

This desire for closeness, for relationship with God, is part of why we are talking so much about prayer.

Because.
That’s one of prayer’s purposes.

Prayer is not just something we do just to get stuff from God.

Or just this ritual we perform, because we feel like we are supposed to.

Without thought.

It is part of how we enjoy our relationship with God.

It’s a means God uses to take the truths we believe, and help us enjoy them.

And even.
Experience them, and it’s what happens, when we are experiencing and enjoying the truths, we say we believe.
We are going to go to God.

In prayer.

And talking and enjoying Him.

It produces closeness.

Prayer.

And.
It results in closeness.

As well.

And it’s just tied up, prayer, it’s inextricably tied up, in this idea of, enjoying fellowship and relationship and communion with God.

On a daily basis.

It’s a gift He gave us.
Really.

That’s what it is supposed to be.

A gift that’s supposed to help us in terms of our relationship with Him.

Where we can respond and open up our hearts and express all we are learning about Him to Him and also at the same time, a way, He actually opens up our hearts, so we start responding, to all these things we are learning about Him.

It’s supposed to be something beautiful.
Prayer.

That helps us with this whole idea of closeness, with God, and yet, of course, the problem is, we all know, it doesn’t always seem to work like that.

For us.

Prayer.

If you look at your prayer life, it doesn’t always look like something beautiful.

And.

It doesn’t always seem like it’s producing much closeness with God.

Either.

And.

So.

It’s like.

In Luke 11, we’re kind of, coming to Jesus, knowing what’s prayer supposed to be, and seeing its potential, and yet wondering, because we are not always experiencing that, the way we want, and so we are coming.

Here.

To the person who knows the most about prayer.
In the universe.

Who knows more about prayer than anyone else, who is the best at prayer, and we’re trying to take advantage of the opportunity to learn.
From Him.

What’s wrong with our prayer life, and how we can improve it.

And I think.
I hope.

Two big things have been standing out.
Probably the first, more than the second so far, but, one thing we’ve been seeing, is that, a lot of people are having problems in their prayer life.

(Even if they don’t know it.

You could ask them, and they think my prayer life is great.

But.

They are having problems.
Because God on the other hand isn’t enjoying their prayers.)

And it’s.

Because.

Their prayers are not connected to or flowing out of the gospel.

In other words.

There are these things that are true, that the gospel says are true, and then there is this way they are praying, and they are not.
Connected.

It’s like.

Maybe.
If your wife tells you this is how I want you to approach me, and you say yes, and you agree, and then the next time, you come, you do the exact opposite of what she was saying.

That’s going to create some issues.
In your relationship.

Over time.

And with prayer.

That’s what is happening.

For a lot of people.

Where.

God says grace.

Prayer is grace.
They treat prayer like it’s a work they do to earn His favor.

And.

Where.

God says.

It’s about me.

And my glory.
They come in.

Commanding God and demanding God and treating God like He were their boy.

And, where God says.

I’ve got a really great plan, I am working on, and it’s something you should be focused on, and longing for, they come in.

All about themselves, as if God’s not doing anything, because He’s not doing.

What they want.

Right.
Then.

And so, obviously it’s not surprising, that those kinds of prayers, are not honoring God.

Or good for them.

(It’s like with your spouse.

Again.
The person you are married to.

If you say, honey, I really love you.

And yet, you know, if you want to express your love for me, you need to understand, this is something I don’t like.

This is something I actually hate.

And then the next time they come to you, to tell you they love you, they do.

All the things you said.

You hated.

It’s going to create problems in the relationship.)

Which is maybe why, Jesus has us begin, in prayer, by rehearsing some of the fundamental truths, we confess as Christians.

This the first.

The three phrases.

In Luke 11.

Verses.
2 and 3.

They.

Are like statements of faith for us.

First.

We say.

Father.

Which is.

Saying basically.

I believe the gospel.

Because it’s only through Christ’s work that we can call God Father.

And.

Have it mean something.

Father.

I want you to be glorified.

That’s next.

Hallowed be your name.

And saying that.

Is like.

God.

I remember.
You are the One who is God.
And not me.
You are holy.
You are different, and you are the one who is supposed to be exalted here, and I know, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Which is why I also pray.
Three.

Your kingdom come.

Because.

That’s what I am hoping.

In.

And.

Longing for.

And.

So as we come to God in prayer, the way Jesus teaches, it’s like we are reorienting ourselves.
Back.
To what’s true.

We’ve been in the world.
So long.
You know.

We’ve got all these funny things we are thinking.

And.
So we start off.

In prayer.

With.

This is what’s true.

I believe the gospel.

Father.

I believe.
God’s God and I am not.
Hallowed be your name.

And that it’s His big plan, that’s most important.

Your kingdom come.

Which is the place to start.

I am saying.
As we are pursuing intimacy with God through prayer, as a church we want to be close with God, and we want to honor God, and if we are going to do that, we absolutely, have to start with getting our theology right.

As we pray.

Prayer that’s not based on truth, is not prayer.

Obviously, it’s not going to do us much good to pray for hours and hours, if we are not even saying things that are true as we are praying.

Or that please God, or that God would agree with.

And so our first three guidelines for prayer.

You remember.

Were believe.

Remember.

And hope.

Those were the three big words we gave for connecting our prayers back to the gospel, and yet, obviously, we can’t stop there.

With just getting our theology right, because, there’s another obstacle we face, in prayer, even if we are saying all the right things.

As we are talking to God.

That for us here.

May be an even bigger problem.

I think.
In terms of our relationship, with God.

And can end up.

Seriously hindering our prayer life.

And that’s.

Just.

Pride.

Pride.

You know.

If we were going to Jesus, with problems in our prayer lives,

It doesn’t seem like it’s working and so we go to Jesus, and we say, Jesus, help me, understand what I am getting wrong.

I think two places he might start.

Would be one.

Is what you are saying connected to the gospel, and then two.

Are you fighting pride?

And.

Of the two.

Pride is probably the harder one for us to get right, because you can be saying all the right things, and still be.

So.

Proud.

And that’s a major problem.

For us.
Because.

We can even pray proudly.

You know.
Some people say proud people don’t pray, but that’s not true, there are lots of people praying, pridefully.

And it’s ugly.

And.

It’s devastating to our relationship with God.

Because God hates pride.

And.

Obviously.

At the extreme.

You can’t even have a positive relationship with God, if you are unrepentant proud.

Because God says, He is opposed to the proud.
And yet.
At the same time, if you are a believer, like you are really saved, you can’t just sit back, because you’ve still got all this pride, that is lurking in all these different places.

In your heart.

Which sometimes you are not even aware of.
That’s what is so scary about pride.

I sometimes picture pride in my heart, as this monster, who is just lurking in the shadows, until he gets an opportunity to come out, and wreak havoc.

And.

That pride.

I am saying

Is one of the biggest barriers to intimacy with God, and not just that, to everything in the Christian life, which is why one of the things we are constantly trying to do in prayer.

Is humble ourselves.

Which could even be the word for today.
In terms of our guidelines.

We are giving for prayer.

Believe.

Remember.

Hope.

Ask.

And humble yourself.

Fight pride.

Humble yourself.

And I’ll show you where I get this from in Luke 11, but maybe I could say it more generally first.

And I’ll do a little quoting here.

For a minute.

Because.

There’s a man named John Calvin.

Who has had this great influence on my prayer life, and while he wasn’t inspired or anything like that.

He had some really good things to say about prayer.

And.

He gives these five rules of prayer.

Actually.

And his third rule is humility.

Like I am suggesting.

But I like how he says it.

Because, he says,

“He who comes into the presence of God must strip himself of all proud thoughts; lay aside all idea of worth; in short, discard all self-confidence, humbly giving God the whole glory, lest by taking anything, however little, to himself, empty pride cause God to turn away his face.”

And that’s certainly something you see in all the godly men throughout Scripture. As they pray. In fact, the more holy people are in the Bible, the more they humble themselves as they come into the presence of God.

In prayer.

Daniel.

Is an example of this.

Daniel is one of the godly men in Scripture, and listen to how he prays.

Daniel 9:18.

“O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name.

For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.”

And it’s like he’s just throwing himself on the mercy of God.

There.

We need your help God.

Desperately.
But we are not expecting you to help us because we are so righteous, instead, because you are so full of mercy.

And.

David, as well.

Psalm 143:1 and 2.

“Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.”

And David’s acknowledging.

God.

I need you to answer my prayers.
Help!
But if you are going to help, I am going to need you be merciful.

Because.

I am not worthy of having you listen to me, and, I know that, because no one is.

And while, that should be kind of obvious for those of us who are Christians, that we have to come into God’s presence humbly, not trusting in ourselves.

It’s also easy for us to forget.

Because.
Pride.

It’s like this.

Movie, Cool Hand Luke.

And I like Cool Hand Luke.

And he was this prisoner, and a small little guy, and yet cool, you know, Cool Hand Luke, and he gets into a fight in the movie, with this man who is huge, I mean a monster of a man, and this huge man just beats Cool Hand Luke to the ground.

It’s not even a contest.

And yet.
Cool Hand Luke won’t give up.

And so every time the other man knocks him down, Cool Hand Luke gets up.

He beats him.

Down.
And then.
He gets up.

And.
Down.

Then.
Up.

And.

You look at him, and he’s so beat up, and think, there’s no way, he can get up again, and then his shaking hand goes to the ground and he pushes himself up.

And that’s pride.

That’s what pride is like in our hearts, that’s the way pride works.

We knock it down and it keeps getting up.

And so even though we turned from pride, back, when we first became Christians.

We continually need to be fighting against pride, as we come to God in prayer, and as we look at the Lord’s prayer.

Here in Luke 11.

Jesus is showing us some practical ways to do that.

In the second half of the prayer.

And the first was to.

Express our dependence on God for our physical needs.

And that was.

Last week.

But.

Jesus says.

“Give us each day our daily bread.”

And that.

Is an expression of helplessness.

We are saying.

God.

We are like children.
In that.

We can’t even feed ourselves, unless you enable us to and so we go to God.
Like beggars.

With our hands out.
Please, Lord, give us.

What we need to serve you today, and that’s one way we humble ourselves, it’s by depending on God for our physical needs, and Jesus here is obviously, wanting us to feel that sense of dependence.

Not just say God give us this day our daily bread.

But feel your dependence on God, for what you need today.
Physically.

And, that’s one way we fight pride, as believers.

Is by fighting self-sufficiency.
Not relying on ourselves.

Making our requests known to God.

A second way.
Though.

We fight pride.

Is spiritually.

Humbling ourselves before God.
By confessing our sin.

And.

Asking forgiveness.

And this is.

Verse 4.

Which says,

“And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”

And.
Ultimately.

This is about humility.

Before God.

This is a model, you remember, this prayer.

And so.
I don’t think Jesus is saying, we only repeat the words, forgive us our sins, and leave it at that, instead, this phrase is like a hyperlink.

To this whole idea.

Of confessing our sins to God.

In prayer.
As.

We come before God, recognizing that we are sinners.

And.

Need his forgiveness.

And.

That.

If you go all the way back to the beginning of our Christian life.

Was part of how we are saved.

In the first place.

The only people who are saved, (and that’s a funny word, saved, it means, rescued, delivered,) the only people who are rescued, delivered are people who know what they needed to be saved, rescued, delivered from.

And that’s.

The wrath, the anger, the punishment, we deserve from God.

Because of our sins.

And.

The ways in which we disobeyed Him.

We are not saved, simply because we want to go to heaven, or we think church is a good idea, the only people who are saved, are people who have felt a burden on their back, spiritually, because of the weight of their sin.

And.
They know this is their fundamental problem.

They’ve sinned against a holy God.

And.

It’s interesting.

The word Matthew uses for sin.

Over in Matthew 6:12.

Where he gives his version of the Lord’s prayer, is the word.

Debts.

Forgive us our debts.

Luke says sins.

And the difference could just be that Jesus taught this prayer on two different occasions, or it could be that, Matthew’s writing to Jewish people and Luke wasn’t.

And non-Jewish people weren’t familiar with this idea of sin as a debt.

But.

It one of the pictures the Bible uses to help us, understand what sin is.

When we sin.

It’s like owe a debt to God.

And it’s a debt, we can’t pay back, and so if we are going to forgiven, we have come to God, and we have to ask him, to let that debt go, to release us from our obligation.

And he’s able to do that.
We know.

Because of the work of Jesus.

If we humble ourselves, and ask God, to forgive us, He’s able to forgive us, by taking our debt, and making Jesus pay it on the cross.

That’s how.

We are saved.

By asking for forgiveness, and relying on Jesus, and when we do that.

Initially.

Way back at the beginning of our Christian lives.

God totally forgives us, of absolutely every sin that we ever committed, or will commit, and that’s awesome.
And it’s important.

Because, I get asked this question a lot.

You know.

“If I am a Christian, and I sin, after I become a Christian, and then I die, and I didn’t get the chance to ask God for forgiveness, before I died, will I go to heaven or hell?

And that’s not a hard question.

If you really were a Christian.

You’ll go to heaven.
Because.

If you think of God.

Like a judge.

When you first repented of your sins, and asked God forgiveness, and put your trust in Christ, it’s like God as judge.

Totally clears all debt you’ve ever owed him, or will ever owe him, in the future.

It’s all gone.

For good.

And there are lots of verses in the Bible that show this.

Paul says,
Romans 5:1.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And.

Romans 8:1.

As well.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

And Colossians 2:13.

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.
This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

And we could.

Actually go on and on.
Because it’s all over.

The Bible.

And besides.

Biblically, it doesn’t even make sense practically, to think the way you stay forgiven, is by asking for forgiveness for everything you’ve done, all the time, after you’ve become a Christian, because you can’t remember everything you’ve done, and there are a lot of sins, you do, that you don’t even know you are doing.

And so.

There would never be any assurance of salvation, if forgiveness depended on your ability to remember every specific sin.
And repent.

Instead.
It depends on Jesus.

Way back, when you came to God, and you asked Him for forgiveness, God forgave you, completely.

Because of what Jesus did.
And yet.

Obviously.

The question comes up.

Because.
Jesus says here.

That.
One of the regular things we are to be doing in prayer, is confessing our sin, and asking for forgiveness.

This is after becoming a Christian.
The Lord’s prayer.

Obviously.
Because we are calling God Father.
And non-Christians can’t really call God Father, and.

And so you might be wondering.

Why.
Jesus tells us.

To be asking for forgiveness, if we are already forgiven?

And it’s not just Jesus.

John.

In 1 John 1.

Says.

“If we confess our sins.”

And that’s a tense.

That’s really.

Continually confess our sins.
“If we continually confess our sins, He is faithful and just to keep cleansing us from all unrighteousness.”

And the question is, why are we supposed to be confessing our sins.

If.
The Judge has granted us forgiveness.

And I think part of the answer is because God’s not just a Judge, He’s also our Father, and we have a relationship with Him.

And so even though we’ve been forgiven of sin’s penalty, back when we were first saved, we still experience some of sins consequences, and one of those consequences.

Is.

That.

As we sin.

We are.

Grieving.
God.

After all.

He is our Father, and He loves us, and our sins are against Him, and so when we sin.

And we know we’ve sinned.

We go back to God, and ask Him for forgiveness.

That’s part of why God’s done this, and I think another reason why honestly, is because He knows what would happen to us, spiritually, if we didn’t confess sin on a regular basis.

If it was just one time.

We came and said Lord forgive me.

And then we left it at that.

I think that would have some very negative effects on us spiritually, just because of the way pride works.

Even though we knocked pride down, initially in salvation, it gets back up again and that, pride creates lots of problems, but one of the problems it creates.

For sure.

Is that we stop sensing our need.
For Jesus.

I remember a while back someone explaining how the Christian’s growth process is supposed to work.

And he said.

We begin as Christians, when we first become
aware of the gap between God’s holiness
and our sinfulness.

We are like God.

Wow.
You are holy.
I am a sinner.
I can’t fix this.

And.
So when you are converted, you trust and hope in Jesus.

Because.

You know.

He’s done what you could never have done.

He has bridged the gap between your sinfulness and God’s holiness. He has taken God’s holy wrath toward your sin upon himself.

And yet, at that point.

Even though you are saved.

And converted.

You still have a very limited view of God’s holiness and of your sin.

You know God is holy, but not how holy.
And you know you are a sinner, but not how sinful.

And what happens.

As.
You grow in my Christian life, and do all the things you do, like read the Bible or get together with other Christians, you keep growing in your awareness of God’s holiness and of your sinfulness.

It is not like God is actually becoming more holy or you are becoming more sinful.

But your awareness of both is growing.

And as your understanding of God’s holiness and your sinfulness grows, something beautiful happens.

Because something else grows.

And that’s your appreciation and love for Jesus and what He’s done.

God looks bigger.

Your sin looks bigger.

And the cross keeps getting bigger and bigger.

For you.

That’s how growth is supposed to work, and I think closeness with God as well, unfortunately, obviously, while that’s how growth in holiness is supposed to work.

We all know.

It doesn’t always work like that.

And it doesn’t always work like that, because we are just so proud.

And we have this.

Ongoing tendency to make the cross seems smaller.
By.

Making our own righteousness seem bigger and thinking of ourselves of as someone better than we really are.

Which just kills the closeness between us and God, and it’s part of why, I think, Jesus is saying, we need to make a regular habit.

Of humbly coming to God, and asking for the forgiveness of sin.

Thomas Watson once put it like this.

“Confession of sin endears Christ to the soul. If I say I am a sinner, how precious will Christ’s blood be to me.”

And so I think, yes confession of sin , as believers, has something to do with God as our Father, and just being sad we’ve grieved him, but I think it’s also, a habit God calls us to, for our own good.

In that.

He wants to slow down and think about how we’ve sinned, and how much we need Christ, as we pray, because he knows if we don’t do that on a regular basis, we are likely to forget, and maybe, I can take this a step further, we are likely to become incredibly self-deceived.

Humbling yourself.

On a regular basis.

Identifying your sin.

Asking for forgiveness.

Is a way to help us fight against self-deception, and we need help.

Fighting.
Because.
We are absolute masters at deceiving ourselves.

And so, if we don’t think about the ways we are sinning, on a regular basis, it’s likely, that we won’t think we are sinning, and if we don’t think we are sinning, it’s very unlikely, that we are going to change and grow, and so it’s just a very necessary process for us.

Spiritually.

To slow down on a regular basis, and evaluate our lives, and identify the ways in which we are failing God, and humbly come back before God, and plead with Him to show us mercy, because of Christ.

And knowing at the same time, he will.

That’s what is beautiful.

We are praying something, we know God will answer, because He has answered, this request already.
If we’ve really sensed our need, and if we are really depending on Christ, and that’s the thing, of course as well.

It’s part of why it is so important.

Because.

It’s possible to go through the motions of pretending like you need Jesus, and pretending to confess your sin.

Without being really humbled inside.

And that’s why Jesus adds the second part to this verse.

Actually.

If you look back at verse 4, he does something here, he hasn’t done before, and that’s add an explanation.

It’s just Hallowed be your name.

In verse 2.

And your kingdom come.

And give us this day.

To this point.

But, now he adds.

“And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”

And I think he adds that, because he knows.

We need help.

Making sure we have really humbled ourselves.

We kind of have to be careful.
With this verse.

Because it sounds a little like.

Jesus is saying.

God.

Forgive us our sins.
Because.

We have forgiven others.

Like this is the reason you have to forgive us.

And.

Matthew’s version is even more intense.
Because.

Jesus says there.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

And that sounds like.
We are saying.

To God.

Use the way we forgive others as the standard for how you will forgive us.

Which ultimately, would be pretty damning, even for the best of us, and, fortunately, it’s not how the Bible typically flows.
The Bible typically flows.
Forgive others, as God has forgiven you.

In other words.

He’s the model, for how we forgive others.

We are not the model for how God forgives us.

It’s forgive because you have been forgiven, not forgive, so that you will be forgiven.

And I obviously.
Don’t think Jesus is contradicting that here.

Instead, I think he’s talking to people who are believers already.
Or at least claiming to be.

And he’s saying.

Look, as you go to God in prayer.

You need to be feeling a sense of deep humility, and need, for Him to show you mercy. Even though you are a Christian, and you are forgiven, this is essential for your spiritual good, and the health of your relationship with God, you need to constantly.

Be remembering how much you need His forgiveness.

And.

Yet that’s easy to say, and harder to feel.

So.

One way to know.

That you are really humbled before God, and appreciating how much you need Him to show you mercy, is by looking at your relationships with other people.

Because.

It is easy to say God forgive us our sins.

And.
That’s like the easiest thing in the world, actually, to just say those words, without meaning them, or appreciating their significance.

It’s obviously.

Much harder to forgive someone who has actually sinned against you.
Saying I forgive you and meaning it, to someone who has really hurt you, is much harder than saying God forgive me, and yet, one of the proofs, that you really have been humbled before God, and know your need of His forgiveness, is your willingness to forgive others who sin against you.

I mean.

Are you following what I am saying?

This is a like a test.

Or means of evaluation.

I think this is like a spiritual stop sign.

For us.

Because we so often, are going, going, going, and we are doing the right things, and yet our relationship with God, is growing colder, and colder.

And so God’s like stop.

Stop.
In prayer.

And humble yourself.

By looking first at your relationship with me, do you know you need me, the cross, do you feel that need.

And Jesus knows.
Maybe you are like, yes, I know, I need you, sure, I know that.

And so,.
He’s like.
Ok.

Now.

Look at your relationships with other people.

Are you able to say,

“Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”

Is that even possible for you to say.
And pay attention to that word everyone.

Are their relationships in your life, where you are bitter and angry, and people have done things, and you are refusing, to erase the debt, they owe.
You are holding on to it.

You are constantly thinking about it.

When you see them, you get that feeling of hate.

You are making them pay every last cent.

And, if that’s true, stop.

Because.

I’ve found your problem.

It’s no wonder God seems so distant, because if you are unwilling to forgive people, there are only two.

Possible.

Explanations.

And one.

Could be that you are not a Christian.
To be very straight.

You are not close to God, so you shouldn’t feel close to God.

Because a refusal to forgive is a sin, and a continual refusal to forgive, when you know you are supposed to, is unrepentant sin, and a stubborn pattern of unrepentant sin, is one sign, that a person has never really been saved in the first place.
And what you need to do if you are going to become close to God.

Is stop being so proud.

And repent.

Come to God, with this refusal to forgive and call it what it is.

God, I am proud, and I think I am better than you.

And Lord, that’s ugly.

But I can’t even change it, unless you give me the power to change it, and so I throw myself at your mercy.

And ask you to forgive me, because of Jesus, and change me.
So that I’ll forgive like you.

And.

I can promise you.

He will.
Forgive.
There’s no one quicker to forgive in the entire universe than God.

Or willing to forgive more.

And.

So.
If you are not forgiving, one option, is that you don’t know him, even if you think you do.

And another.

Option.

If you aren’t forgiving people, is just that you’ve forgotten.

Your own need to be forgiven.

It’s like a big old warning sign.

Spiritually.

And a helpful one.

Because pride sneaks in.

Over the years.
And.

It’s so hard to see your own pride.

Most people who are proud, don’t think they are proud, and we pick up a lot of the right words.
So we don’t look as proud as we used to, before we were saved, and people don’t call us on it.

And so we can go for a long time, through the motions of the Christian life, without realizing we are not being humble, even though we are stuck, in this awful pride, that keeping us from enjoying Jesus.

And one of the biggest warning signs, that we’ve lost our way, and forgotten our need for Jesus.

I am saying.

Is when we are so hard on other people, and when we are not willing to forgive them when they sin against us.

Which is why.

This fourth guideline.

We find in the Lord’s prayer is so important, that we make it a regular part of our prayer life.

We believe.
The gospel.

We remember.

We are talking to God.

We adjust our.

Desires to fit with His great plan.
And we humble ourselves.
By asking for help with our daily physical needs.

And confessing our sins and asking His forgiveness, while evaluating our own sincerity, by looking at our willingness to forgive those who have sinned against us.

 

 

 

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