Ephesians 1:7 - Forgiveness
Pastor Jacob looks at Ephesians 1:7 to see what it teaches us about forgiveness. Between one another, and between God and us. From Feb. 7th 2021
Today is the first Sunday of the Month, which is when we here at Christ Community partake of Holy Communion together.
Because of the stuff surrounding Covid, we have asked that you all bring your own Bread and Wine
This, the taking of Communion, is one of only a few “straight from the mouth of Christ” instructions that He left for how His Church should operate.
The others are Baptism and Evangelism
So we gather here, united in our hearts ----- united in our minds.
All of us being members of the body of Christ
Each of us acting and worshiping and living for God in a way that only we can
And when we take Communion together, we are being united in our bodies.
The actual presence of God, contained with these holy elements, will become one with us, symbolizing the Holy Spirit becoming one with us when we first repented and believed.
In today’s Message, we’ll be talking about forgiveness.
Forgiveness between us and other people who may have wronged us, but more importantly, forgiveness between us and God.
“26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
Let us partake together of the body of Christ
27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Let us partake together of the blood of Christ, which was poured out for the forgiveness of all who will believe.
We have just a few announcements before sending the kids off to go grow their brains and grow their hearts.
Part 2 of our Digital Bible Study will be this Tuesday night at 630pm on Zoom.
We’ll be looking deeper into Scripture to actually expand on the Doctrine of Predestination.
So if that Sermon got you all worked up, or left you with questions, or you want to yell at me------
I suggest coming to the Bible Study where we can dig into Scripture even deeper
God communicated stuff to us, and it is our duty to listen.
Tuesday 630pm Zoom.
Were doing our Baby Bottle Drive right now, to help raise funds for CareNET as they take on their mission to help the unborn and their families
The baby bottles are due back next Sunday.
And thats it, the kids are dismissed-----------------------------
Were going to be continuing our study of Ephesians this morning, by looking at the second half of verse 7.
Ill be reading a little bit of the context for you, so we can really understand what it is that Paul is saying. Starting at verse 3.
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight (ESV)
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
In Jesus Christ alone, do we have redemption from our past
From our sins
The hurt that we have caused // And the hurts that have happened to us
Our sins and failures are chains of bondage that keep us bound----
That keep us enslaved to the past----
And the longer we are enslaved, the more normal it becomes----
We begin to take comfort in the normalcy of our chains
The longer their weight has pulled us down, the more we desire them.
The more we long for them
The more we fight for them and defend them
The more we accommodate our sins into our life, the more and more we attack and hate anyone who may try and point them out to us.
We turn into the creature Gollum, and will fight to the death to hold on to our precious sins.
I pray that this is not the case with anyone this morning.
Through Christ and Christ alone, can we be free from our sins and their divine consequences
Jesus Christ is freedom.
Last week we talked about how the Apostle Paul used a technical and financial word when describing what Jesus did for us.
We were redeemed
He paid the price to His father that we owed because of our sin
He bought freedom for slaves.
And the price He paid ----- was His life.
But you see, that verse doesn't just say redemption, like it’s some one-off idea.
Yes it is powerful
Yes it is life changing
It is the essence of Christianity
Jesus Christ is God, He died the death that we deserve and rose again on the 3rd day, paying the blood debt that we owed to His Father because of our sins.
But Paul also included another term here, right along with redemption.
“ In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,...”
Not just redemption
Not just forgiveness
When we are In Jesus Christ, it is because of His blood, and as a result ------ we are redeemed AND forgiven.
You see, when He chose you, when He adopted you -------
He did it by redeeming and forgiving you.
Redemption and forgiveness are intertwined to the point that nothing can separate them.
We can’t be forgiven without being redeemed, and we can’t be redeemed without being forgiven.
They are a package deal
It’s like that, because our Salvation is thought out----
Strategized --- if we want to use that kind of a word about someone who has all knowledge
You being saved, the Holy Spirit living inside of you, was a plan that was designed in advance by the ultimate flawless planner of reality.
It was a plan thought out and put into action ------ billions upon billions of years ago, by a God that cant make bad choices or mess up.
He literally lacks the ability to overlook a certain aspect and then has to go back and cover His track to make sure that the end result is what He wanted to begin with.
There is no Plan “B” for your Salvation, because God can’t fail
If the Holy Spirit lives within you, then it was God’s plan all along, and He took steps to ensure that it would happen.
If God lives within your heart and you have been, as John 3:3 says ----- Born again, then it means that:
Every hurt and pain in your life, was used by God
Every joy and success in your life, has been used by God
Everything that has ever happened to you:
Who your parents were
When you were born
How long your mother was in labor with you
Your hair color
Everything that exists in your life was factored in and accounted for ---- and then used by God would call you to Himself.
There was no detail overlooked----
No factor so small that He didn't account for it when crafting the master plan of His world.
RC Sproul said this: “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.”
God is in absolute control.
So we can take comfort and breathe a thousand sighs of relief, because the God who chose you, also redeemed you, and forgave you.
So when we begin to talk about forgiveness, we need to remember that the forgiveness that you experience with God ------- wasn't free.
Yes it may seem that way to US
I ask God for forgiveness, and then I get it…..
But remember, forgiveness and redemption are inseparably tied together.
And the price of our redemption -------- included our forgiveness.
That is why Hebrews 9:22 says this:
22” ...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
It says that, because forgiveness costs something.
We can see this plainly when it comes to us humans.
When the opportunity arises for us to forgive someone, we sometimes don't want to.
Or we play a clever semantic word game, and say: “It’s not that I don't want to, I just can’t.”
But deep in our hearts, we know the truth.
“I don't want to forgive that person, because of how deeply they hurt me.”
“I mean….look at what happened to me and my life because of them….how can I forgive someone that has hurt and betrayed and offended me to my core?”
“I don't want to forgive them….because I want them to feel the weight of the hurt they caused me….and won’t forgiving them release them from that?”
Ive been absolutely destroyed----
My life has been ruined----
My self, my body, my family, my heart ----
Everything is broken because of them, and to say I forgive them, would be to say that allllllll of that hurt, is gone ------ when it isn't.
“Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness”
Because forgiveness costs something
What are you willing to pay to forgive someone?
Does it rise or fall based on the hurt?
Like if they just hurt you a little, it will only take a little piece of yourself to forgive them?
But if it was a big life changing hurt, it will take so much of you that you aren't sure what will be there afterwards?
Whatever the case may be ------ forgiveness is going to cost you something.
It is laying aside your hurt
Setting aside the offense
Saying that even though I am absolutely destroyed and I don't know if my life will ever be the same again because of the hurt that you caused me ------ I forgive you
It is putting others before your hurt ----
It is putting maybe even possibly someone you consider to be AN ENEMY above how badly they hurt you…..
It is saying that someone else being forgiven is more important than me being hurt----
Forgiveness is going to cost you something.
And the bigger the hurt, the higher the price
You see, redemption and forgiveness are intertwined ------- because holding on to unforgiveness, is exactly the same as holding on to your past sins.
Gripping tightly the sharp and jagged edges of whatever it is that hurt you, will hurt you more.
It is holding on to the razor blade of hurt that they caused you, and when you squeeze it tighter you blame every drop of blood on the person who put the blade there to begin with.
Forgiveness, opens clenched palms and clench hearts, and lets that hurt fall to the ground where it can’t hurt anymore.
“But I cant!”
“How can you expect me to?”
“That person hurt me so bad!”
“How dare you say I should forgive someone, you have no idea what I have gone through, lived through, I have a right to not forgive them!”
Yes, all of that is true. But there is more truth too----
The more we say these things, the more the pain of our hurt becomes our normal. It gives us warmth and security, all the while poisoning us from the inside.
This is why Matthew 6:15 says:
“But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
If you refuse to forgive others, your soul will be so stained and crusted in the dirt and evil of other peoples action that you willingly hold on to ------- that if forgiveness comes to you from God, you’ll reject it in confusion and ignorance.
Forgiveness will cost you something
So that brings up some questions, doesn't it?
What if the person is gone?
Dead or moved away?
Or they were never a part of my life, they were just some stranger that I never saw before or after the hurt that they caused me?
The answer, is that forgiveness is about YOU letting go of the hurt from others, regardless of if they know you let go.
Do I have to tell them in person?
Well….are they still a part of your life?
Or would going to that person and having a conversation, renew your hurt?
Know your limits, you aren't God.
You can forgive someone in the quiet place of your heart if going to them in person will lead to more anger and hurt and resentment
What if they don't ask for it?
Or what if they do say they are sorry, but they keep doing it over and over and over again?
Should I still forgive them then?
Does that mean they must continue to be a part of my life, and everything is fine as if that hurt never happened?
That depends on you and your situation
We aren't called to be someone’s doormat and let them callously stomp on our soul…. but we are called to forgive them.
This is hard.
This is deep down, soul level hard.
But im going to say something, and if you take anything home from this portion, about people forgiving other people, let it be this:
The more you hold on to unforgiveness, the more influence that person will have in your life. (x2)
The more control they will have, and all of your decisions will be seen and enacted through the hurt they caused, making you angrier and angrier and less and less likely to forgive.
Causing the pain that they vomited on to you, to be your identity.
So now, when we move all this over to God forgiving us, some of it can take the trip over, right? Some of it can transport from human to human forgiveness, and move to God to human forgiveness.
Hopefully I stirred enough stuff in your brain and in your heart, and asked enough big questions, that brought your mind to God’s forgiveness already…..
Like - “What if they keep doing something they said they wouldnt do anymore, should I keep forgiving them?”
Well….. How many times have we told God: “I won’t do THAT anymore, I won’t think THAT, I won’t look at THAT”….only to fail and mess up again.
It is a good thing God is not like us.
You see, when we read in verse 7 this morning:
“ In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace”
We plainly see what our forgiveness is based upon-----
The riches of His grace
It is not based upon how often we commit the sins we know we shouldnt---
How often we say we won’t do it again----
Or how long it has been part of our life----
It is not based upon how many times we cry about it----
How bad it hurts us----
How bad it hurts others----
We are forgiven from our sins because God’s grace toward His children is unending.
There is no end---- to the grace that our Father shows us.
We are forgiven----
There is no longer a barrier of -----hurt or anger or offense----- between us and our God, because He sent His Son to die the death that we deserve.
Our offense toward a Holy God, has been fulfilled
Justice was carried out
The things we've done that needed to be forgiven------ have been forgiven.
All of this, because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a perfect life, and died in our place.
Our sins were placed upon Him, and He was punished for them.
“...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
Forgiveness costs something
It costs us our pride and our right to be hurt
But it cost Jesus His very life.
You see, when we forgive someone----- or when someone forgives us-----
It frees us from the act or behavior or attitude that caused the offense
That caused the hurt
And when something else brings about another hurt, more forgiveness is required, for that individual hurt. And then we forgive, move forward, get hurt, forgive and so on.
It becomes a beautiful, selfless relationship
All of us growing and changing alongside the other imperfect sinners in our life, all of us looking to God
Or it frees us from the hurt of our past, from people who are no longer a part of our life
Forgiveness changes things.
But when God forgive us---- according to the riches of His grace ------ because His Son paid the price ------ it is an altogether different kind of forgiveness.
Yes it is forgiveness for the individual act that we are asking for forgiveness from----
When we say in our hearts: “Dear God, please forgive me for doing that thing I did yesterday.” He does, without question, without inhibition, without holding back, regardless of if we did that same thing every day before yesterday----- He forgives us.
But it is far deeper than that.
The forgiveness of God is more ----- all encompassing ----- than the vast multitude of single acts of repentance and forgiveness.
You see, when you first came to believe, that very first time you repented of your sins and said:
“God I need you, i'm sorry for my sins, you are God of all, please forgive me and make me new”
When the Holy Spirit came to live within your heart and you became a Christian---
Whether you were 6years old, or if it was this morning during Worship---
When you were forgiven of your sins----you were forgiven of ALL of your sins.
Your sins tomorrow, next week, next year, and 50years from now, have been laid upon the back of Jesus Christ and they died with Him.
It’s like this, because when God chooses someone….He doesn't take it back.
“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
I said it earlier, at the very beginning of our Message, and I’m going to say it again because of how important it is:
Our salvation was planned
God accounted for our mess ups
He factored in everything in our life
He accounted for our sins no matter how big they may be
He accounted for adultery & murder,
He accounted for ---- suicide
He knew the sins that we would fall to, and the sins that others would bring against us ----- and He used them in His plan for our life.
The free will of humanity, can rant and rave and rage and move and act in whatever manner they want, but God is still sovereign.
God is still in control
He knew what we would come up against, and He accounted for it----
He knew our stupid choices----
And He knew the wicked and evil and choices of others that would come against us, and push us into despair and depression----
And He accounted for all of it ------- while designing the means of our Salvation.
You see -------- only through a relationship with God, can our hurts have purpose.
Can there be a bigger meaning-----
Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ----- can there be something beyond the pain that blinds us
Will the sins that others have brought against us, hold our life hostage?
Will the wicked choices of the people who have hurt us ----- have a say in how we live and what we believe?
Or will we forgive them, and be free from their tyranny?
Will we model our Savior, and forgive?
Kill our pride?
Lay down our right to be hurt?
Or will we turn into Gollum, and hold precious that which kills us?
One last thing needs to be said, before we close this morning:
Just because we have been forgiven of our future sins, doesn't mean that we don't need to repent of them.
We can’t go out and live however we want with the attitude of:
“I know Jesus forgives me, so why can’t I do this?”
Because it would make you a jerk.
Because when you love someone, you don't intentionally act in ways that hurt them.
Yes we mess up, and God forgives us.
But not repenting of our sins, even though we know we are forgiven ----- is exactly the same as holding on to unforgiveness toward someone else.
It poisons us
And holds us hostage:
but instead of being held hostage by the person who hurts us…….
It holds us hostage to our sin
And the longer we go not repenting-----
The longer we go accommodating sin in our life-----
The more it will hurt when God says:
“That’s enough. You are my child and it’s time to start acting like it.”
You are forgiven.
Your past cannot hold you down
You are forgiven.
Your present cannot control you
You are forgiven.
Your future is secure
( → → Doxology ← ← )
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above you heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
( → → Closing Prayer ← ← )