This Is The Year

This is the Year.001

This sermon was given at Valley Shepherd Church of the Nazarene on February 14, 2016

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30 Days With Wesley – Day 19: The Path To Forgiveness

Green Path(Optional Reading: 1 Peter 4:8-11)

“Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

In life, we occasionally create these things call “unforgivables.” These are the things that we whisper under our breathe aloud, saying things like: “If he does that to me… I’ll never forgive him.” or “If she even says that to him one more time… I’ll never forgive her.” These are our unforgivables. Many of our unforgivables can be very serious things that have lead to broken relationships and broken families. Possibly even the loss of a loved one.

Jesus calls us to a life of forgiveness. Jesus forgave us of a great debt, therefore we are called to turn and forgive those who have hurt us. I don’t want to make it seem like I am saying that forgiveness is easy. I understand that people are facing individuals who have caused pain and loss on a huge level. Forgiveness might not come quickly to those situations, but I do believe that Jesus desires for us to move towards forgiveness. One step at a time.

Peter lays out the very first steps to beginning on the path of forgiveness in 1 Peter 4. It all comes down to love. If we can begin to show sincere love to those who have wronged us, we are taking a step towards forgiveness. It is all about baby steps. This sincere love can take on many forms. It might mean you pray for the person who hurt you. It might mean you talk to him. Or it might just mean you choose not to wish harm upon her that day.

God, may we live with sincere love for those who need forgiveness in our lives. May we be Christ to them today. May we daily take another step on the path to forgiveness.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 16: Mercy Gets Mercy

136(Optional Reading: James 2:12-13)

A few days ago, I wrote about the idea of Loving Revenge. The idea of revenge through love goes against the common idea of an eye for an eye. We do not have to repay evil with more evil. Today’s reading in “30 Days with Wesley” and the scripture reading continue to echo this way of thinking for Christian living.

“In every way, then, speak and act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. there will be no mercy in judgement for anyone who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy overrules judgment.” (James 2:12-13)

Basically, James is saying mercy gets mercy and no mercy gets no mercy. I keep thinking of this in math terms. A = A and B = B, but A does not = B. Jesus even speaks about this same concept in many of his parables. One in particular is the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35). In this parable, a ruler forgives a servant of a debt that he would have never been able to pay back (In today’s values, it would have been millions of dollars). Then the servant goes out and runs into a fellow servant who owes him a couple dollars. The forgiven servant doesn’t forgive the small debt but has the man thrown in jail. In the end the ruler hears of the forgiven servants actions and reinstates his debt and throws him in jail. 

Jesus calls people to live a life that is one of forgiveness and full of mercy. He calls people to this for a couple reasons. First, it is because he has forgiven us and shown mercy upon us. Jesus has cleared a debt of sin that none of us could ever pay back. Second, he shows us mercy and forgives so that we may turn and do likewise to those around us.

Mercy gets mercy. If we live a life of mercy and forgiveness to those around us, James writes that we will receive the same treatment from God. At the same time, if we live like the unforgiving servant and do not show mercy and forgiveness to others, God will not show us mercy and forgiveness. 

A = A and B = B, but A does not = B.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days with Wesley – Day 14: Loving Revenge

30 Days with Wesley(Optional Reading: Romans 12:13-21)

There is a law of the land that we all live by. There are many different elements that make up this law. Thing like; don’t spit into the wind, don’t drink coffee right after drinking orange juice (I learn that one awhile ago. Don’t try it), and toilet paper should always roll over not under. Ok, those might not be huge laws but there is one law of the land that many people today live by: An eye for an eye.

Sometimes, we live in an early elementary age way of thinking. If someone was a jerk to me, I’m going to be a jerk to them. The difference is, we become more malicious as adults. We hold grudges, we talk behind someone’s back or even belittle someone’s value as an individual. If you are wanting to be someone who is follows the teachings of Jesus, we have to begin to look at our enemies in a different way.

Paul writes in Romans, “If possibly, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves… Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.” (Romans 12:18-19, 21)

Jesus calls people to a life of loving revenge. These two word might not seem like they should go together, but they can. Paul paints a beautiful picture of loving revenge. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink.” (Romans 12:20).

When someone mistreats us, Jesus calls us to seek out an act of loving revenge. May we love those who hate us. May we pray for those who persecute us. May we not be defeated by evil but defeat evil with good. 

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 11: A Miracle Filled Life

30 Days with Wesley(Optional Reading: Romans 8:35-39)

There is a questions that many people ask today. “Does God still do miracles?” I am not bringing this question up to have a debate breakout out in my comment section. I bring up this question because I believe it is an important question to ask ourselves. In today’s reading, I read Psalm 77:13-15 and in those verses it states, 

“You are the God who performs miracles;

you display your power among the people”

I don’t know what side of the fence you are on in response to the miracle question. You might argue that God miraculously heals people today. I have actually witnessed God’s healing power within my own family. You might also be reading this and think, I have never seen God heal anyone and you might think God doesn’t do miracles anymore.

When we ask the question “Does God still do miracles?” we need to also realize that each and every person who has committed their lives to following Jesus is a miracle. The reading today from Romans explains that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Each person that is a follower of Jesus is someone who was lost in darkness and came into God’s redeeming light. We were lost and Jesus found us with his unstoppable love. One of the greatest miracles Jesus has done is to take a life that was broken and make it whole.

If you feel like you have never seen God perform a miracle, perhaps there is one in front of you every time you look in the mirror.

God may we live in response to the miracle of your redeeming love. May our lives point others to you. Continue to transform us into the children of light you call us to be.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days with Wesley – Day 6: Always Forgives & Always Forgets

30 Days with Wesley(Optional Reading: Ephesians 4:29-32)

The guided prayer this morning focused on the subject of God’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness is truly mind blowing to me. We serve a God that will forgive us every time we sin, and every time He forgives us He forgets our sin. It is truly unfathomable how God is able to completely let go of all that we have done in sin. 

God always forgives and always forgets because He desperately wants to be in a relationship with us. By relationship, I mean that God wants to be involved in every part of our lives. A relationship with God means daily praying and inviting God into every moment of thought and every interaction we have during the day. This is what God desires.

The dilemma we face, as people who sin, is that sin causes a break in relationship with God. God never gives up on us though. He is daily pursuing us and drawing us out of our life of sin and brokenness. Once we see God and give him all our sin, God completely forgives and completely forgets. Then God works in our hearts to call us to a holy life, because it is in this holy life that God helps us become the exact person He desires us to be. This understanding is found all through the Bible.

“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:9

“The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.” John 10:10

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25

“You must be holy in every aspect of your lives, just as the one who called you is holy. It is written, You will be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:5

 

“Oh God, now that you have renewed our lives and our mercies to us this morning, help us to renew our desires, resolutions, and efforts to live in obedience to your holy will.” (30 Days with Wesley, pg 29)

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.