Very Needed Word! In this message Pastor Martin covers the biblical passages which clearly demonstrate what we know by instinct but do not always apply: that we have the right (and responsibility) to assess the genuineness of repentance before conferring forgiveness. He shows that we do no good to the offender, nor to the fractured relationship, by neglecting this assessment. Though we may be tempted to "just forget it and move on," without genuine repentance the sinning brother is still covering his sin, and he who covers his sin will not prosper--nor can the relationship barriers be removed. It's self-love to neglect faithful dealing with a sinning brother for fear of the consequences--not love to him. Can this principle be abused? Absolutely. So, Pastor Martin exhorts us to remember the Golden Rule and the law of equal treatment: "with what measure you measure it shall be measured to you." We aren't to be hard or Pharisaical, insisting on the right number of tears. Not everyone expresses brokenness the same way. We should freely forgive where there is true contrition, however it is expressed. Still, we are not to be taken in by deceit. For all this we need the wisdom supplied by the Spirit of God, in our families and in our churches.
Highly Recommended! In this message centered on the unforgiving servant of Jesus' parable, Pastor Martin surveys the overwhelming biblical evidence that our forgiving--or our not forgiving--others who sin against us is a matter of life and death. The loving Lord Jesus himself teaches that an unforgiving spirit reveals an unforgiven person. If unforgiveness is a way of life for us, we are on our way to hell, as surely as an unrepentant adulterer, liar, or murderer. If we have truly received the overwhelming grace of God, we must and we will forgive others as he has forgiven us.
Forgiveness and Consequences Having told us in this series much that forgiveness is and does, Pastor Martin now continues a theme begun in the last message, namely, certain things that forgiveness does not mean. (In the last message we learned it does not automatically mean trust is restored.) In this message we learn: 1. The conferral of gospel forgiveness does not cancel or reverse the natural consequences of the sin fully and freely forgiven, but rather, that these consequences may even last for a lifetime 2. The conferral of gospel forgiveness does not preclude the possibility of chastisement for the sin forgiven. Examples from Noah to David to Corinth to our own homes and children illustrate his points, and it is sobering to consider the biblical accounts in which the sin of half an hour affects generations. Finally, concerning chastisement of repentant believers, we are urged to remember that it is fatherly (Hebrews 12), and does not mean the repentance was deficient or the forgiveness is not complete; that it is a fruit of Christ's work, not a supplement to it; that it helps enforce the lesson of the evil of sin; that it is legitimate to fear this chastisement, among other gospel motives for holiness; and that this chastisement of God provides a pattern for wise parental and church discipline.
Must I Trust? Pastor Martin in this seventh message addresses the sticky matter of trust. Many are told that the conferral of forgiveness mandates the immediate restoration of trust. But this is unbiblical, and imposes false guilt and a needless burden on those grievously sinned against. In this message, Pastor Martin contrasts the conferral of forgiveness and the restoration of trust. The conferral of forgiveness is free, undeserved, and by grace. It is the work of a moment and the commitment of a lifetime. The restoration of trust, by contrast, is earned, deserved, and by merit. It is not the work of a moment, and it is not the obligation of the one sinned against! It is the work of the one who sinned, and it takes time to re-earn lost trust. Pastor Martin warns that it is easier to earn trust in the first place than to re-earn it after losing it through grievous sin. Using the story of a fictional couple, as well as Joseph and John Mark, Pastor Martin illustrates these principles. Pastors are warned not to do anything to lose the trust of their people; church members are advised that a repentant, forgiven, sinning pastor does not need to be restored to his pulpit right away; and we are charged not to be unreasonable in the restoration of trust, but to appropriately credit efforts to re-earn
Apology vs. Confession In this sixth message Pastor Martin opens with a helpful review of the series so far.
He then distinguishes between the common practice of apology and the biblical process of confessing sin and seeking forgiveness.
What, then, to make of the widespread practice of apology in the church?
Pastor Martin explains four things that apology may be: everything from a sincere but imprecise effort at confessing sin, to a carnal substitute for the pride-withering, grace-exalting real thing.
He also provides helpful guidance on how to receive, wisely and graciously, different kinds of apology.
As well, he glances on the subject of the sincerity of the one apologizing, a subject which I believe is dealt with more fully in a later message.
He concludes with a challenging call to make full, biblical confession and forgiveness our family pattern, to the end of full reconciliation in the face of our unavoidable sins against one another.
Very Helpful Distinctions! Pastor Martin in this fifth message now helps us avoid four common mistakes in thinking about forgiveness:
1. Failure to distinguish between the duty to relinquish vengeance, and the granting of forgiveness
2. Failure to distinguish between the disposition of a forgiving spirit, and the act of conferring forgiveness
3. Failure to distinguish between a love-motivated, unilateral covering of the sin of another, and the bilateral transaction of conferring forgiveness
4. Failure to distinguish between loving your enemies and forgiving your enemies
In all this Pastor Martin presses us with the sweeping requirements to love from the heart and to leave vengeance to God, and sets forth the examples of Christ, Stephen and others to that end.
In case anyone might think that all these distinctions are splitting hairs, Pastor Martin shows how important they are by setting forth the case of a woman sexually abused by her father as a child. If when she repents of her vengeful spirit she goes to her father and says merely "I forgive you," he may be left thinking that God too will forgive him, without his ever repenting of his vile sin. Listen to the message to hear how she can turn from her vengeful spirit but also better benefit her father and mirror the gospel.
More helpful principles A charitable use of the tongue requires that we speak the truth in love; that we not flatter; and that we not gossip or slander. The section on gossip and slander is especially vivid, with word pictures from the Bible depicting the slanderer as a flame-thrower, a farmer sowing corrupt seed, and more.
Helpful message Primarily focuses on a charitable concern for others: that we are to do good when we can, not delaying, not declining and hoping someone else will do it. Also, not to ever devise evil. The message mentions the prior stages before we reach the point of actually devising evil: a bitterness not put to death, leading to lack of communication, coldness and finally to actual plans to harm. It's sobering to realize what may come of attitudes not dealt with in their early stages.
Very helpful material! Contact, communication, candor, constancy, and love . . . the essential elements of meaningful, intimate, constructive friendship. Face-to-face contact to be preferred; time must be set aside for friendship; disclosure of one's thoughts, dreams, troubles, challenges needed; retreat, withdrawal, avoidance not to be practised; initiative to be taken; truthfulness always--and this does not mean indiscretion or haste, but it does preclude all disingenuousness; loyalty required . . . and Jesus Christ's friendship with his disciples the example for us.
Wise Foundations The foundations of friendship in the nature of God: God is triune. In the creation of man: not good for Adam to be alone. Sin destroys friendships; but sin also underscores the vital need for friendships. In a world of sin with sinful hearts we need to have and to be faithful friends who "exhort one another daily . . . lest anyone be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Lonerism isn't biblical or safe. A powerful biblical incentive to do the work of biblical friendship.
Truthful, Timely, Tasteful Finally, our communication is to be truthful, timely, and "tasteful." Truthfulness means more than just not lying; it includes not denying the truth, not failing to confront serious problems, and more. This section is very penetrating. Timeliness covers the importance of meting out our words at the moments when they are the most likely to do good. "Tastefulness" means words that are pleasant, persuasive, and wise. There is a great deal of food for thought in this final message in the series. The whole series is worth listening to more than once.
More helpful material! Too little speech and too much speech both must be dealt with. Pastor Domm gives examples of each, with causes and cures--ranging from temperament and upbringing to pride, anger, fear, loneliness and more. The wide-ranging examples are especially thought-provoking. We can be speaking too little in one way and too much in another, at the same time, and great issues are at stake in relationships that matter.
The Flip Side. Who listens and how? Communication: it's not a monologue, but a dialogue; so good listening, not just good speaking, is called for. We are to listen with our whole being, till we can state the other person's position so accurately that the other will be able to say "yes, that is what I was trying to say"; to listen with gracious discernment, not erring by being censorious when charity is called for, or naive about serious problems and deception; and to listen to the right things: not to gossip and falsehood and empty things, but to sound counsel and reproof. Not listening can have profound effects. A searching application shows the roots of our failure to listen to others in another kind of not-listening, of a surprising and serious kind.
Very Helpful Makes the Scriptural connection between who we are and how we speak--a connection which is not always emphasized. Without godly character, effective communication will not take place. Several key passages of Scripture are opened up and combined, yielding six major character areas essential to effective communication, including humility, gentleness, and forebearance. Wise and searching and helpful material, kindly and faithfully presented.
Great Sermon! Clear, eye-opening foundation principles for communication. God as the perfect and original communicator, man made in his image, a scale model of God, made to communicate like God. The goal of communication defined: words and actions designed to promote good relationship. This is how God communicates. Then comes the fall into sin, w/ disastrous consequences for communication. The serpent the first corrupt communicator and destroyer of relationship. Redemption from sin to be evidenced in our becoming more and more able to communicate in God's way, to the promotion of good relationship. Exhortations to be aware of how we communicate and to receive the feedback of others about that humbly. Excellent message.
Soli Deo Gloria! Just wanted to thank you for sharing this testimony! I was first directed to this by my younger brother who is a die-hard rugby fan (unusual for an American). There are very few Christians today who will stand for Christ when it costs them so much- but the truth is, He gave us everything and we owe him our all! I appreciate Euanâ€™s convictions about Sunday being sacred to the Lord; when I first started college (or Uni as you say over there), I came to the same conviction as far as my studies go- that I would not study on Sunday. Praise God for his promise â€śthose who honor me I will honor.â€ť