Forgiven Forgivers (Matthew 6:12; 14-15) by Bro. Glen Guevara

Good morning po. So as the years go by, it seems like the world is becoming more and more unforgiving. Just one wrong word or one wrong step, and you might get canceled especially if you are in the public eye. Others might even excuse their bitter words and actions and say that they are just fighting for the rights even though what they are doing is wrong. This viruses of bitterness, resentment and even malice out of an unforgiving heart roam around all the world. On the contrary, we are commanded by our King not to be conformed to the pattern of this world. The world wants you to be unforgiving and bitter but the Lord wants you to be a Forgiven Forgiver. Our text this morning is Matthew chapter 6 verses 12 and verses 14 to 15 but we will read verses 9 to 15. And these are the words of God. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Thanks be to God for the reading of His word.

We are now in the sixth chapter of or study of the Gospel according to the Apostle Matthew and this chapter is still a part of the first major discourse in this book which is famously called The Sermon on the Mount. In these chapters, the Apostle Matthew continues to prove that Jesus is their long-awaited King and Messiah who will save His people from their sins. And he did this by presenting to his readers the sermon of the King. Now this preaching of King Jesus shows how His Heavenly Kingdom differs from the Earthly kingdoms of this world. It exposes the false understandings and sinful practices of the religious leaders of their time. And it also demonstrates how must a citizen under His kingdom must live.

Now starting in chapter 6, King Jesus confronts the self-righteous and hypocritical practices of false piety specifically the practices of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Again, the King did this by exposing the false practices of the religious leaders. So for example, when it comes to prayer, He said do not pray like the hypocrites who only want to be seen and be praised by others for their religious shows. Or do not pray like the Gentiles who think that they will be heard for their many words. In short, since the disciples are not of this world, they must not pray like the world. Pero hindi lang basta in-expose ng ating Hari ang mga counterfeit pietism ng mundo. The Lord Jesus also taught His disciples how they must do their spiritual practices properly. And we will find this instruction concerning prayer in the verses that we have read a while ago which is commonly called The Lord’s Prayer.

Now, before we even go to the specific petitions contained in the Lord’s Prayer, we must first acknowledge the great privilege that is given for all believers. We have given a command and a great privilege to pray my brothers and sisters according to W.S. Bowden and I quote “prayer is weakness leaning on omnipotence.” Especially in the light of the previous verses in The Sermon on the Mount which contains the commands of Christ for His citizens, we must see that if we really seek to be faithful to obey our Lord and King, it is not just hard; instead it is impossible to accomplish it by our own strength which is no strength at all. May we may we see how weak we are by brothers and sisters. And may that weakness push us to pray, to lean on our omnipotent King and cry out for His help. At the same time, let us rejoice that we can pray and call on the almighty God. That we can call Him not just as the all-knowing and omnipotent Judge and King, but us our heavenly Father. What a great privilege it is my brethren. And that is only possible because we have been adopted into His family through the life, death and resurrection of our King Jesus Christ. Now brothers and sisters, may we not take that great privilege for granted. May we not fail to appreciate it and truly pray and commune with our God. The Lord Jesus has even gifted His church with a beautiful pattern on how we must approach God in prayer when he taught the Lord’s Prayer.

According to Thomas Watson, “The Lord’s Prayer is: “like a heap of massive gold it is admirable for its comprehensiveness, clearness and completeness. He goes on to say, as Solomon’s song for its excellence is called the Song of Songs. So may this be well called the Prayer of Prayers.” However, in all of its excellency, The Lord’s Prayer is meant to be a pattern or a model and not a mantra that needs to be repeated mindlessly as some have treated it. What we are doing right now is we are going on each of the petitions in the Lord’s prayer. And so far, we already covered verses 9 to 11 in the previous sermons. We are done with the Heavenly Father’s character and glory.. Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your Name. And then we saw the Heavenly Father’s Kingdom and will… Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. And last week, we have looked at our Heavenly Father’s provision… give us this day our daily bread. God willing next week we will see the heavenly Father’s protection… and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

But for this morning, we will focus on the heavenly Father’s pardon… that is in verse 12… and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Notice that the Lord is giving this model of prayer to His disciples. And to those who can address God as their Father in heaven, now meron po akong tanong. Does that describes someone who is already saved from their sins and is already adopted in the family of God or someone who is not? You see the Lord’s Prayer is a pattern that was given to those who are already saved from the penalty of their sins, those who are already forgiven from all of their sins past, present and future through the atoning work of Christ.

So eto po ang tanong: Why do Christians who are already truly and fully forgiven through the gospel still needs to pray for forgiveness? Now he could reconcile this seemingly contradicting statements that are both evident in the scriptures by understanding the two kinds of forgiveness. The first one is called the judicial forgiveness, the judicial forgiveness. This kind of forgiveness happens when God, the righteous righteous Judge forgives a sinner, a lawbreaker who repents of his sins and trusts in Christ alone for his salvation. Of course that is based on Christ’s atoning work for that sinner. In Judicial Forgiveness, the sinner becomes a saint, escapes eternal punishment in hell and all of his sins past, present and future are objectively forgiven once and for all.

The sinners through faith in Christ is declared righteous. The sinner is justified.

One example of this is the tax collector in Luke chapter 18 verse 13.

Now the second kind of forgiveness is called the parental forgiveness, Parental Forgiveness. This happens when the heavenly Father forgives the Christian. Yes, those who are already judicially forgiven, yet who still sins against their Father in heaven like you and me. Now if you are a true Christian, you will not lose your standing as a child of God just because you have sinned. Christ eternally secured your salvation if you are in Him as Romans 8 says nothing can separate you from the love of God. But still brethren, our heavenly Father hates our sins and are objectively grieved by them. Even though our relationship with Him remains, our experiential fellowship with Him is disrupted. We might not lose our salvation but we lose the joy of our salvation that is best experienced in the fellowship with our heavenly Father. I know this illustration falls short compared sa love, patience at forgiveness ng ating Ama sa Langit. Pero, as an example po, ang mga anak natin, pag hindi nila tayo sinunod or deliberately, nagpasaway sila, it doesn’t mean na maa-alter na yung DNA nila at madi-dissolve na yung pagiging anak nila. No. Anak pa rin natin sila pero yung fellowship and even yung communication natin sa kanila ay disturbed and disrupted dahil meron silang maling nagawa laban sa kanilang mga magulang. Now, kailangan munang ma-confront yung sin, ma-extend yung forgiveness bago ma-restore yung fellowship ng magulang at nung kaniyang anak. Ganun din naman sa ating Ama sa Langit, dahil sa gospel ng ating Panginoong Hesus, pwede at dapat nating i-seek ang parental forgiveness ng ating Ama sa Langit upang hindi ma- disrupt o hindi ma-istorbo yung fellowship natin with Him. That is why Christ taught us that we must frequently ask for the forgiveness of our sins in the Lord’s Prayer. And that leads us to our message this morning Christ’s disciples must continually pray for parental forgiveness. And as we will see later, this parental forgiveness is contingent upon o naka-depende on one’s forgiveness of others, kung papano mo pinapatawad ang iba.

So what are the characteristics of this Parental Forgiveness that we must continually seek? First it is a Continual Forgiveness. That’s our first point.

Continual Forgiveness and lastly it is a Conditional Forgiveness.

Now, let us consider the first one Continual Forgiveness. At tignan po nating muli in verse 12 right after the Lord instructed His disciples to depend on God for their daily bread which is a need for their body. The Lord immediately connects the request for the forgiveness of sin which is on the other hand is a need of the soul, okay. This shows us that the Lord cares for the whole being of His people. Our King cares both for our bodies and our soul. And He said that we can ask our heavenly Father not just for our physical needs but also for our spiritual needs. Now, thanks be to God that this petition was included in the Lord’s Prayer. It is also a great reminder that we must not just take care of our physical health my brothers and sisters or our appearance. But also the condition of our souls. Since the condition of our soul is most of the time not visible to our eyes, we are prone to neglect it. For example, we might care very well on what we will wear every time we go out of our house, but we tend to go on with our day prayerless, rendering our souls cold and naked against many spiritual dangers. Now according to our Lord, one of the best way to take care of your soul is to regularly seek the Parental Forgiveness of our Father in heaven.

Again, according po kay Thomas Watson, and I quote: “as a man who is condemned takes little comfort from the food you bring him in prison. So though we have Daily Bread yet it will do us no good unless sin is forgiven and he also said Daily Bread may satisfy the appetite but forgiveness of sin satisfy the conscience.” Now that’s true. Kung ang isang Kristyano ay punung-puno ng guilt sa kanyang konsensya, dahil sa mga kasalanan na nagawa niya. At marahil patuloy niyang nagagawa laban sa Diyos. Walang comfort food ang makakapag- comfort sa kanyang kaluluwa. Dapat niyang ipanalangin yung Parental Forgiveness ng Diyos Ama upang ma-restore ang comfort at ang joy in his soul. Therefore brethren, as we care for our physical needs and cry out to our Father for our daily bread, may we also care for our souls and continually ask our Father for His Parental Forgiveness.

We must take note that another difference between judicial forgiveness and parental forgiveness na nakita natin kanina; we’ve seen earlier that judicial forgiveness is given only once when a believer is Justified in Christ. On the other hand, Parental Forgiveness must be sought through prayer continually. Why?

Because we also sin continually and without the forgiveness of God, our fellowship with Him will be disrupted by our many sins. And if our fellowship with Him is always disrupted, it may also hamper our growth in sanctification and harden our hearts. But thanks be to God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, we can continually seek our Heavenly Fathers parental forgiveness because His atoning sacrifice is enough to pay all the debts of those who will believe in Him not just for their judicial forgiveness, and justification; but also for their parental forgiveness and sanctification. Jesus really paid it all. But if you are here today, and you do not trust in Christ Jesus who can pay all your debts and forgive all your sins through His perfect life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. If you don’t trust in this great King and Saviour, know my friend that there will be no parental nor judicial forgiveness for you. Instead you will say with Marghanita Laski, she was a popular novelist secular humanist and atheist. Here’s what she said: “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness. I have nobody to forgive me.” It is a sad statement and what’s more heartbreaking is this: if you are not forgiven by God in Christ you will pay your own debt eternally in hell.

But the fact that you are here today, listening to the preached word. It only means that God is still extending His patience for you. Repent of your sins! Put your faith in Christ alone and be forgiven. But as for us brethren, the challenge is clear… we must continually seek our Heavenly Father’s parental forgiveness daily in our prayers. Not just because it is a command or it is good for our soul. Those are good reasons for us to seek God’s parental forgiveness. But may we seek our Heavenly Father’s forgiveness in order to cultivate sweet and joyful fellowship with our God. Here’s a sobering comment from John MacArthur concerning this matter: “I have seen Christians judicially forgiven and eternally secure who are so hardened, so unconfessing, so insensitive to sin and so totally joyless who didn’t even know the meaning of a loving intimate fellowship with God.”

If you are here today and maybe brother or sister, maybe you are experiencing the same thing. You are so hardened and joyless because of your unconfessed sins, maybe it’s already been a while since you last cried out for your heavenly Father’s forgiveness. Brother, sister you can draw near to the Father’s throne of grace since Christ our great High Priest and Advocate who gave you the access to the throne of grace is there with you. And when you draw near to Him, when you draw near to our God, confess your sins. To confess means to say the same. If you are a real Christian, the Holy Spirit through His written word will convict you of your sins. Say those same sins that He is pointing out. Confess it to God and repent of it. Be specific as how He is specific and believe His word in Proverbs 28 13. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Maybe not conceal our sins and find mercy In Christ, and In Christ alone.

Now we’ve seen the Parental Forgiveness is a Continual Forgiveness. And in our last point, we will see that it is also a Conditional Forgiveness, conditional forgiveness. Now verses 12 14 and 15 says and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors for if you forgive others their trespasses your heavenly father will also forgive you but if you do not forgive others their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Now, if you read those verses for the first time, you may think that this contradict the Orthodox teaching that our salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone and not by human works such as forgiving others. But now that we see that the kind of forgiveness in Matthew 6 12 14 and 15 is not the judicial forgiveness but the parental forgiveness, we can now conclude that forgiving other people is not a prerequisite for someone to be saved from God’s wrath for someone to be justified. In other words, forgiving others is not a condition for someone to receive God’s judicial forgiveness dahil yun ay binayaran na ng Panginoong Hesus fully and truly. That is the forgiveness for unbelievers who have repented of their sins and put their faith in Christ.

On the other hand, for those who are already in Christ, my brothers and sisters, forgiving others is a condition. Forgiving others is a condition for our heavenly Father’s parental forgiveness. Again, that is forgiveness that God extends when Christians who sinned against their Father in heaven repents.

Now, it is clear in our passage that the condition is this: forgive others and you will be forgiven by your heavenly Father. Do not forgive others and you will not be forgiven by your by your heavenly Father. But the question is this: if Christians will not lose their salvation, what does it mean to be unforgiven by their Father in heaven? Anong ibig sabihin na hindi sila pinatawad ng kanilang Ama sa Langit? We already saw some of the consequences just a while ago such as broken fellowship with Heavenly Father, joylessness, hardening of one’s heart and in addition, one might also go through God’s Divine discipline. But moreover, a Christian’s unforgiveness and bitterness is displeasing to his Father in heaven. That is why we must be cautious in praying The Lord’s Prayer mga kapatid.

Kailangan nating mag-ingat especially Matthew chapter 6 verse 12 where we are asking God to forgive us, patawarin Niya tayo as or in the way that we forgive others.

Mayroong magandang insights si Augustine. Ang sabi niya: “This is a terrible petition. If we pray this with an unforgiving and bitter heart, then we are asking God to not forgive us as well.” Augustine goes on to say “Ponder that for a moment. If you pray forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. While refusing to forgive those who have wronged you, this prayer which is meant to be a blessing becomes a self-inflicted curse. Again, you will not lose your salvation, but you will lose your sweet fellowship with God the Father. In that case you are really saying kapag daw meron kang unforgiving heart at pinagp- pray mo ito, you are saying: oh God since I have not forgiven my brother, please do not forgive me.” You see brethren, if we are commanded to daily seek our Heavenly Father’s parental forgiveness and His forgiveness is contingent upon our forgiveness of others, then here are two things that we must consider daily: what are the sins that I need to confess and repent of? and number two have I forgiven those who need my forgiveness? Napatawad ko na ba yung mga dapat kong patawarin?

May we soberly consider these questions first before asking God to forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And that leads us to our second challenge for this morning: Brethren, may we forgive our debtors as God in Christ forgave us. Of course this is easier said than done especially for those of us who are, who were, or who are currently being hurt by someone else especially by your loved ones. Let us consider this quote from John Stott: “Once your eyes have been opened to see the enormity of your offence against God, the injuries which others have done to us appear by comparison extremely trifling. If, on the other hand, we have an exaggerated view of the offence of others, it proves that we have minimised our own.” According to him, kung makikita lang daw natin ang laki ng kasalanan natin laban sa Diyos, magmumukhang maliit yung mga kasalanan ng nagagawa sa atin ng ibang tao. At kung sobrang laki daw ng tingin natin sa kasalanan na nagagawa laban sa atin, pinapakita daw nito na maliit ang tingin natin sa kasalanan natin laban sa Diyos.

So if you are having a hard time to forgive, know brethren that at the root, it is like a spiritual visual distortion. We fail to see the holiness of God, that is why we think our sins against Him is so small and as an effect, we see the sins done against us as greater than our sin against God. So how will we correct our vision? Paano natin itatama yung ating pagtingin sa kasalanan laban sa Diyos at sa kasalanan na nagagawa sa atin ng ibang tao? Look to Jesus Christ my brothers and sisters, specifically to the cross. See how enormous your sin is that it took the perfect and sinless Son of God to die in your place and for your sins.

But brethren don’t just see how great your sin is. See how infinitely greater and glorious your Saviour is. Yes, He died for your great sins but He also rose again from the dead that you might be justified, that you might be forgiven, that you might be sanctified and that you my brethren, might receive grace and power to forgive as God in Christ forgave you.

Now through the gospel of Christ, His people are judicially forgiven once and are enabled to seek parental forgiveness continually dahil yun sa perpektong gawa ng ating Panginoong Hesus. May we cultivate our fellowship with our Heavenly Father by continually seeking His forgiveness and securing it by forgiving others as we have been forgiven in Christ. And by God’s grace, may we truly become Forgiven Forgivers.

Let us pray. Our Father in heaven. Lord, maraming salamat Panginoon sa Inyong Salita. At maraming salamat Panginoon sa Lord’s Prayer na, Lord, napakagandang pattern na ipinakita Niyo sa amin kung ano dapat ang aming mga dapat na ipinapanalangin Oh Lord. Lord, we see oh God our need for forgiveness Oh Lord. Pero Panginoon, alam Niyo rin at hindi po lingid sa Inyo kung kami ay nahihirapang magpatawad sa aming mga kapatid at sa ibang tao. Panginoon, tulungan Nyo po kami Lord God na patawarin ang aming mga mahal sa buhay at kahit ang aming mga maybe Lord kino-consider na hindi malapit sa amin. Panginoon, tulungan Niyo po kami na ma-reflect namin Lord that we might reflect the forgiveness of Christ in our lives. We ask Lord God for your power and grace, Lord to move in our midst in Jesus’ Name, this we pray, amen.

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