Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness


#blessed Are The Merciful

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church ( in Griffith, Indiana.

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When Anger Gets Out Of Hand

When it comes to anger, situations between us can escalate quickly. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, speaks to this. Imagine two parties where things have gotten so bad that one is suing the other. Jesus said:

Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. – Matthew 5:25-26 (NIV)

The principle Jesus is telling us to follow is repeated in the New Testament book of Ephesians where the apostle Paul told them to not “let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26, NIV). Instead of allowing anger to fester, we need to deal with it appropriately and quickly. Otherwise, we will be come bitter, resentful and our hearts will become hardened. If you’re angry with someone today, why not go to that person and start to work things out with them before things get out of hand? Your heart will feel better when your relationship is restored.

Does God Want Your Offering?

This may sound really strange coming from a pastor because sometimes churches are accused of only wanting peoples’ money, but I believe that there are times when God doesn’t want your money. When talking about anger, Jesus said that God doesn’t want your gift if you’re angry with a brother or sister in the church. Jesus said:

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. – Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)

The point is that our relationships in the church matter more than our tithes and offerings. If you’re at odds with someone in the family of faith, you should reconcile with them before giving your gifts. Your heart matters more than your wallet. If you know that someone in your church has something against you or if you are fighting with someone, go to that person immediately and work it out. Get your heart right with them before you go to church this weekend. It may be hard to do, but remember that your relationships matter more than your money.

Giving/Receiving Mercy

I remember growing up in church and learning the definitions of grace and mercy. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve. God’s grace means that we get the gift of forgiveness. Mercy means that we don’t receive the punishment we deserve for our sins. Grace means that we get eternal life. Mercy means that we don’t get eternal death in Hell. Jesus wants us to extend mercy to others. He said:

Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy. – Matthew 5:7 (NIV)

People are going to hurt you. They’re going to lie to you and cheat on you and gossip about you. They’ll do it more than once. How will you respond? Will you try to get revenge or will you show mercy? Jesus’ words remind us that His way is best. When we show mercy to others, we open ourselves up to receive the mercy of God. Author Dave Willis said something along the lines of “We should not treat people the way they deserve. Rather, we should treat them the way we want God to treat us.” If you want God to show you mercy, be merciful to others.

What Are Your Qualifications?

The apostle Paul told the Philippians that they should watch out for those who were trying to add to the work of Christ on the cross. There were false teachers who were attempting to convince Gentile believers to be circumcised before they could be considered full-fledged Christians. They trusted in something other than Jesus alone for salvation. Paul wrote about the reasons that he could give for trusting in his pedigree if he chose to do so. He wrote:

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. – Philippians 3:4-6 (NIV)

Who or what are YOU trusting for salvation? If it is anyone or anything other than Jesus, you’re doing it wrong. Jesus is the only way to be saved and any attempt to add to His completed work on the cross is futile. You can’t add anything to what Jesus did because Jesus paid it all.

The Good News Of Grace

One of the major issues of the early church concerned the Gentiles and circumcision. There were false teachers who taught that they had to become Jews through being circumcised before they could become Christians. This problem was found in the Philippian church and Paul wrote:

Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. – Philippians 3:2-4a (NIV)

The good news of grace is that our forgiveness comes through Jesus Christ alone. It’s not Jesus plus anything. For the first-century Gentiles, it wasn’t Jesus plus circumcision. For 21st century people, it’s not Jesus plus legalistic rules regarding dress codes or avoiding certain types of music or movies. It’s simply saying, “Yes” to the wonderful grace of Jesus by believing in Him, turning away from sin in repentance, acknowledging your faith in Him and being baptized. It’s not about what you do. It’s about what Jesus did for you.

The Mind Of Christ

Paul told the Philippians that they should not look to their own interests, but to the interests of others. They needed to be humble in their dealings with one another. He then holds up Jesus as the model for how to have a relationship with someone. He wrote:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus… – Philippians 2:5 (NIV)

In the next several verses after this, Paul elaborates on what he means by having the mind of Christ. We need to be more like Jesus in our relationships inside and outside of the church. In our homes, we need to have the mind of Christ as we deal with our spouses, our children and our parents. In our workplaces, we need to have the mind of Christ as we deal with our bosses, employees and co-workers. In our churches, we need to have the mind of Christ as we deal with people who may be much different than us. In every relationship we have, we need to consider how Jesus would love, serve and forgive the other person.

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