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Witnesses of the Resurrection April 23, 2017

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Acts 5:29-42

Second Sunday of Easter

April 23, 2017

 

Focus:  God forgives the sins of all people.

Function:  That the hearers obey God by witnessing His resurrection.

Structure:  Walking through the Text.

 

Witnesses of the Resurrection

 

Throughout the Easter season, we will be randomly jumping around through the book of Acts.  So, before we start that today, just a quick refresher on what the book of Acts is.  It’s written by Luke and serves as a sequel book to the Gospel according to Luke.  If we were to say his first book was all about the life and work of Jesus Christ, then this second book would be about the work of the Holy Spirit in building up the bride of Christ, His Church.

Acts begins with the account of the Ascension.  Forty days after His resurrection, Christ was taken up into heaven.  It then covers the day of Pentecost, another ten days later.  And that was a great day indeed in our church’s history.  Three thousand people heard the good news of Christ crucified and their sins forgiven.  And they joined the church and Peter baptized them!  But, that’s our text next weekend.

After Pentecost we see Peter and John heal a crippled beggar in the name of Jesus Christ.  This outraged many of the leaders, and the Sanhedrin had them arrested and brought to trial.  And it’s before this council that Peter can proclaim

11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

 

Peter and John’s proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ left the members of the Sanhedrin baffled.  Luke records a little of their confusion, but ultimately doesn’t tell us whether they believed in what they heard.

After giving them a sound beating and a warning to stop preaching about Jesus, they sent Peter and John away.  But they didn’t listen.  They didn’t stop proclaiming Christ.  And so we come to Acts 5.  But to get the full context, we need to start a few verses earlier.

12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

17 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.

Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported,23 “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to.25 And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

 

That’s the context of our reading today.  Peter and John performing miracles in the name of Christ.  Preaching and teaching and proclaiming the forgiveness of sins in Christ alone.  And once again, arrested.  But this time, rather than being released, God sends an angel to set them free and to encourage them to go and preach some more.

And so when the chief priests and the officers finally find them, that’s precisely what they’re doing.  And those last words of the high priest are incredible.  If only he had realized it himself.  “You intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”  Yes!  Exactly!  Because it’s this Man’s blood that forgives you of your sins, even the sin of crucifying Him.

Our text today began with Peter’s response.  And it’s a verse you know well.  “We must obey God rather than men.”  As we talk about our government, the laws that they pass, the things they tell us to do or not do, this verse is a helpful guide.  God has given our government the authority they have, and we are to honor them.  But, if their directives go against the will of God, we must obey God.

It’s sort of like the Venn Diagram, those two overlapping circles you learned about in your school days.  In the one circle we have the things of God, in the other, the things of man, and so long as the things of men overlap the things of God, they’re okay.  But they certainly don’t always.  In fact, we could argue they usually don’t.

Even Christians fall for this trap, though.  How much were the two presidential candidates this past fall painted as saviors?  The promise of Trump’s campaign to Christians was that he would protect their religious freedom and stave off persecution of the church.  Go home and Google Barronelle Stutzman, and you’ll quickly find out that’s not true.  The President can’t save anyone.  It’s not his job.

Another source of men that we often obey rather than God is our peers.  You may have thought peer pressure ended when you graduated from high school.  But peer pressure is alive and well among us adults, perhaps even more powerful than it was when we were growing up.  Think about it for just a moment.  One of the things that God has given you to do is to be a witness of the resurrection, to tell others of the forgiveness of Christ given for them on the cross.  What stops you?

What stops you?  Do you not tell them because you don’t like them?  That’s not usually the case, is it?  It’s usually because we like them that we don’t tell them.  We fear losing a friend, or making the relationship more awkward.  We fear the reprimand of our boss if we actually said “I forgive you” when they’ve done something wrong.  Or we fear the persecution of strangers if our faith becomes known.

And so we don’t.  We don’t witness.  But, we are forgiven.  Even for this.  Even of all those times when we could have shared Christ with another, we’re forgiven.  The very message that we’ve been given to carry and proclaim is the message that’s been proclaimed to us.  And its efficacy, its ability to work, doesn’t depend on you.

Let me say that again a different way.  Your forgiveness isn’t dependent on what you do.  Christ doesn’t withhold forgiveness from you because you failed to tell someone else about Him.  That’s not how any of this works!

In the body and blood of Christ, broken on the cross, your sins are forgiven!  Done, gone.  It’s finished.  In His resurrection from the tomb, your death is conquered.  It has no power over you.  The grave is defeated.  Sin and death are removed.  Even yours. Even mine!

We’re forgiven and alive in Christ.  The very message we are to deliver to others is the very message that delivers us: Christ, and Him crucified and risen again.  This is the message of the Apostles.  Even when speaking to the authorities, this is what they preach: the forgiveness of sins.

pause

Often times the word “evangelism” causes us to pause.  That’s Pastor’s job, not mine.  I don’t have time for that.  I wouldn’t know what to say.  All of these things are false.  A brother pastor, Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller, wrote up a really nice piece on what evangelism actually is.  And listen to just one paragraph from his article:

The Word of God, being the means of the Holy Spirit in creating faith in the heart of sinful man, is effective. It is a false and dangerous tendency to treat the Word of God as mere information that only has benefit when accepted and acted upon (as is the case with American Evangelicalism). The Gospel is the authoritative declaration of sins forgiven (Absolution). In fact, the central act of Evangelism is not asking the unbeliever to come to Jesus, but rather, in the name of Jesus, forgiving their sins. Evangelism is the Church speaking the Absolution to the World.

 

Read the book of Acts, and this is what you’ll see.  When Peter and the others are preaching on Pentecost, the people are crushed in the guilt of their sins.  And how does Peter respond?  Does he chastise them further for crucifying Christ?  Not at all!  He forgives them.  And 3,000 are baptized.  That’s what we pastors call, a good day.  Forgiveness proclaimed to a broken sinner.  That’s a good day, regardless of numbers.

When, in Acts 7, Stephen is being stoned to death, his very last words mirror the last words of Christ.  “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”  Even in his dying breath, he’s praying for their forgiveness.

This you can do.  You can announce the forgiveness of sins to a despairing neighbor or coworker.  You can tell them that their failure is not their end.  That their life doesn’t depend on them, but it’s been won for them in Christ.  You can tell this to your beloved spouse or children, as you live together, loving one another as Christ loved His church.

But really, again, the beauty is, it’s not your work.  The Word of God is efficacious, it does stuff.  The Word of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit doesn’t depend on you.  This is why the Apostles could readily die for their faith.  It didn’t depend on them.  The church wouldn’t fail the next day because Peter was crucified.  The church is the work of the Holy Spirit.  The forgiveness of sins is the work of Jesus Christ done to you and for you; not by you.

This is how you live.  You are the despairing neighbor.  You are the crushed and accused.  You are the spouse or the child in need of the love of another.  And you have it.  It’s yours.  It’s been given to you by Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Forgiveness and life are yours.  He bought them with His own blood, and He gives them to you.

This led to the wise words of Rabban Gamaliel in verses 38-39, where he said,

So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”

 

Don’t misunderstand that.  Gamaliel isn’t taking the side of Peter and John.  He taught Saul everything he knew about Judaism, and Saul became the greatest persecutor of the church, well, until Christ forgave him.

“If it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.”  The church is the work of God.  We didn’t die on the cross.  Christ did.  He gives to us the forgiveness of sins.  We didn’t rise from the tomb by our own power.  But on the Last Day, we will rise from our graves by the power of Christ Himself.  These things aren’t our doing, but they’ve been done for us.

And so Peter responded that we must obey God rather than men.  The focus of Peter is on obeying God.  And obeying according to this text is to witness to the resurrection.  And that’s a both/and.  We witness the resurrection not just by telling our neighbors, but because Christ rose.  To witness something is to see it.  And while we may not be witnesses directly, by the power of God, our sins are forgiven, and the gift of life is ours.  And it is in Christ and it is in the work of the Spirit alone that we can be witnesses of this truly awesome thing: Christ is Risen!  He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

 

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This Jesus, Whom You Crucified May 22, 2016

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Acts 2:14a, 22-36
Trinity Sunday
May 22, 2016

Focus: God delivers salvation in and through His Son.
Function: That the hearers confess their faith in the Messiah.
Structure: Recap/Sequel.

This Jesus, Whom You Crucified

As we celebrated Pentecost last weekend, we looked at Acts chapter 2, the events of that day, and the sermon Peter preached to the Jews. I told you then that our text was a two-parter, that we would have to wait until this week to cover the second half of Peter’s sermon. So let’s do a quick review of last week.
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

We talked about what Pentecost was and what it wasn’t. Pentecost isn’t about the disciples or the things they did or whether or not they were drunk. It wasn’t about mass conversions of people or something we need to try to reproduce. Pentecost wasn’t even about the miracle of speaking in tongues. Rather, it was all about the sermon Peter preached, the words he shared with the Jews. God shared the gospel message with His Old Testament people. This Jewish remnant was still clinging to the promise of a Messiah, and Peter delivered on that promise.
Then we also took the time to unpack Joel’s prophesy, seeing how it had multiple meanings. A last day referring to Good Friday, to Christ upon the cross, and also the last day we are waiting for, when Christ returns for us. And Joel proclaims that there is a name by which we will be saved.
So as we transition to our text today, to the rest of the sermon, we will see that name. The name of Christ. Because all of Joel’s prophecy, the sun, the moon, your sons and daughters prophesying, according to Peter, all of that points to Jesus in His death and in His resurrection.
You’re those sons and daughters. You’re the ones prophesying of a Savior. That’s what we do in speaking the Creed together. Flip back there. Look at it. “Conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again from the dead.” Prophesies, prophesies fulfilled by Christ. You’re proclaiming them. Sure, it’s not speaking in tongues, you don’t have a flame resting on your head. It’s plain, and it’s simple. And it’s true.
This is what Peter preached. The gospel. The good news of who Jesus Christ is and what He’s done for us. The very power of God for salvation to all who believe. It’s nothing fancy, it doesn’t depend on our culture. And while you can think it’s optional if you want, it is real. It’s not optional to reality.
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

This is the meaning of Joel. Jesus died and rose again. Look at how Peter talks, and remember who he’s talking to. These are the Jews, who believe in God the Father. These are the very same Jews who’ve heard of this Jesus, many of them have seen this Jesus. They know the stories, they’ve seen the miracles, they know what happened in Jerusalem during Holy Week. The man they killed during Holy Week.
But now Peter is making a bold claim. That death couldn’t hold Him. That Jesus is alive. That He’s risen from the grave and conquered death. That’s a mighty bold statement to make to the Jews. But Peter backs it up. He goes to their beloved king, King David.
25 For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

And Peter catches a key phrase. “For you will not abandon my soul to Hades.” You won’t let death win. David may not have had an exact blueprint as clearly as we do now, but he knew, he trusted in God’s promise of salvation. That there would be a resurrection. So Peter continues:
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

We can go just over there and see the tomb of David. He’s still in there. We have proof. So what was David talking about? What was he looking forward to? The promise. David counted on the promise of God that one of David’s descendants would sit on the throne forever. Jesus is that descendant. He was not abandoned to Hades. His flesh didn’t see corruption. Your Holy One will not see decay.
David trusted that a Savior would come to defeat death once and for all. And Peter and the other disciples are eyewitnesses that it’s happened. That “this Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” And so he continues with his sermon:
33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Let the word out, let the good news be known, let the world hear of its Savior! And the Jews listening to Peter that day, they believed. Even though our text ends, here’s what happened next:
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Again, there’s way too much here for us to go in depth on it all. But what a day! The Jews were cut to the heart, they repented of their sin, they believed, they were baptized. Three thousand men.
The gift of baptism, that the Spirit is poured out, faith is created, promises and gifts given and received. For you, for your children. For all who are far off. This promise is for everyone. Baptism matters. It actually does stuff.
And so together they became the church. The New Testament church, the church militant. This is the Christian church, 2000 years ago, today, it is the same. The family of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And so we follow their lead, their example.
That in the very midst of a culture of chaos that is seeking to rip apart your faith, what do we do? We devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching, not our own understanding, but to the Word of God. And from that teaching flows forth a fellowship, a people, gathered together in a community, in a family, around Word and sacrament.
Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, every Sunday, every day of the year, it’s all about who God is, and what He’s done in Jesus for you. And then by the grace of God all that He has done is then confessed aloud by you for others to hear too.

So We Forgive One Another September 14, 2014

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Matthew 18:21-35

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 14, 2014

 

Focus:  God forgives our sins.

Function:  That the hearers will forgive one another.

Structure:  Jewel.

 

So We Forgive One Another

 

Have you ever been there?  Have you ever been in the situation where you’re stuck trying to forgive someone again?  Maybe it’s your spouse, your child, your parent, your friend, your coworker, your pastor.  Here they go again.  Why should I forgive them this time?

You’ve heard it before, right?  “I promise mom, I’ll stop lying.”  “I’m sorry honey, I won’t touch the bottle again.”  “I’m sorry I was running late again.”  “I promise, it’ll never happen again.”

If you think about your life for just a few seconds, I’m sure you can all come up with an example.  An example of a relationship in your life that’s like a broken record, that’s like the dog who returns to his vomit.  Same ol’ mistake.  Here we go again.

Today’s texts are all about forgiveness.  And as we look at them, I want you to keep your broken relationships in mind.  I want you to think about the deep hurts you have felt.  The people who are hard to forgive.

We start with Joseph in the book of Genesis.  Joseph, the great grandson of Abraham.  One of twelve brothers, the sons of Jacob, of Israel.  This is one of the most well-known Old Testament accounts.  Movies have been made, musicals and plays have been produced.  But we revisit it again today.

Dad had four wives, and he had a favorite, Rachel.  And for years, she couldn’t have children.  So Jacob had sons with his other wives.  Ten of them in total.  And eventually, Rachel became pregnant, and she gave birth to Joseph.  Dad’s favorite wife, dad’s favorite son.  Joseph’s brothers noticed.  They were jealous, they were angry, and they despised and hated their brother for it.

And then they saw an opportunity.  One day, they were alone in a field some distance from home.  They saw a way to get rid of him for good.  But as they plotted to kill him, the eldest, Reuben, took a stand.  He proposed leaving him in a pit instead.  Now what would have happened to him in the pit, who would know?

But then a different opportunity arose.  The brothers saw a caravan and decided they could make some money off of Joseph and get rid of him at the same time.  What a plan!  And so they did, they sold him into slavery.  And so for a number of years, Joseph was a slave and a prisoner.  He endured many things because of his brothers’ treachery.

But through it all, God was with him.  God blessed him everywhere he went and in everything he did.  And after years, Joseph finds himself second in command over the nation of Egypt.

And then we come to their reunion.  Then we see Joseph and his brothers together again.  And now that dad is dead, the brothers fear for their lives.  They fear revenge.  They fear that the evil and wickedness they did to him will be repaid to them.

But what does Joseph do?  What does he do to the men who wanted to kill him, who caused him all kinds of grief?  He forgives them.  He loves them.  And he provides for them.  “’So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”

Then we come to our gospel reading today.  Then we come to Peter and we see his feelings.  “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  As many as seven times?”  You see, Peter knows about relationships.  He knows that when two sinners are together, bad things happen and we get hurt.  And so he thinks he’s taking the high road.  He thinks that by forgiving his brother multiple times, he’s doing great.  But there’s a limit to forgiveness, right?

Jesus’ answer is debated.  What’s His response?  Some have argued that He said 77 times.  Others say that He said 70 times 7, which would be 490.  Whatever number you want to go with, the point is the same.  The point is that you keep forgiving.  Whether it’s 77 or 490, what are the odds that you can count that high in a single relationship, let alone all of your relationships.  You’ll lose count, and so you’ll just have to keep forgiving.

And Jesus elaborates by telling a parable.  A king decides to settle all of his outstanding accounts.  So servants are brought to him one at a time.  Eventually, one is brought before him that owes him 10,000 talents.  He couldn’t pay it.  There was no way.  So the king ordered for him and his family to be sold to pay back some of the debt.  But he begged, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.”

The king had mercy, he forgave the debt, all of it.  And the servant is thrilled and goes out and what’s he do next?  He finds one of his servants who owed him money, 100 denarii.  And he demanded payment.  And when the servant couldn’t pay, he threw him in prison.

When the king’s other servants saw this, they reported it to the king.  Outraged, he summoned the wicked servant and, after reprimanding him for not sharing the forgiveness, he threw him in prison as well.

There’s a few things I want to point out with this parable.  You already know what a denarius is.  The New Testament mentions it many times, and even defines it in a couple of places.  It’s a day’s wage.  A talent is equal to 6000 denarii.  Think about that for a second.

Now let’s translate it into numbers you’ll recognize.  According to research, the average American makes $40,000 a year.  That would make for $160/day.  Let’s call that the day’s wage, the denarius.  So someone owes you $16,000.  That’s a new car, that’s a year of tuition for college.  That’s a fairly normal debt, right?

But the servant owed the king 10000 talents.  1 talent is 6000 denarii, so 10000 talents is 60,000,000 denarii.  The servant owed the master 60 million days wages.  That’s 164,000 years of pay.  Or to use our average American from before, $9.6 billion.

The king forgave a massive debt, an impossible debt.  You’re not coming up with 164,000 years wages anytime soon.  It’s not going to happen.  You’ve dug a hole so deep there’s no getting back out.  And yet, the king, God our Father, has forgiven that debt.  He’s rescued you from the pit of sin and death.

And now you go out, debt free, sins forgiven.  And you find someone who owes you a debt.  And when they ask for your forgiveness, you withhold it.  You don’t forgive them, despite the overwhelming forgiveness you just received.

This is what we see in the Lord’s Prayer.  “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  Have you ever stopped to think about those words?  Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re praying for, what you’re asking God for?  God, forgive me as I forgive others.

If you’re holding a grudge against your spouse or your neighbor or whoever, you might want to think twice before you pray the Lord’s Prayer.  You might want to think twice before asking God to forgive you the same way.

That’s the lesson in our texts today.  As God forgives us, so we forgive one another.  There’s nothing you can do to me, there’s nothing I can do to you that’s beyond forgiveness.  Christ set the bar, He made the example in His death on the cross.  He’s the reason the King forgives our 10000 talents of debt.  We can’t get out on our own, but we don’t have to, because the King had pity on us.  He forgave us our debt.

And so as we leave the King’s presence, we take that forgiveness, that rejoicing and thrilled feeling, and we share it with the world.  We forgive our sibling, we forgive our teacher or our boss.  And if they do it again, we forgive them again.

Jeremiah tells us what that looks like, why we can continue to forgive.  He says:

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

 

How incredible is that?  The all-powerful, all-knowing God is capable of forgetting our sins.  He not only forgives them, He forgets them.  That’s how far gone your sins are because of Christ.  They’re gone and they’re never coming back.  So rejoice in that.  Celebrate the forgiveness of God in your life.  So the next time you’re struggling to forgive someone, whether it’s a new sin against you or one they just keeping doing, look to your King, look to the debt that you’ve been forgiven.  And then go, forgive others as Christ has forgiven you.