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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Faith Fosters Forgiveness

Michael Youssef - Faith Fosters Forgiveness

Michael Youssef - Faith Fosters Forgiveness
Michael Youssef - Faith Fosters Forgiveness
TOPICS: Enduring Wisdom, Forgiveness

You cannot escape the connection between faith and forgiveness; and that is why Jesus talked about the smallness of the seed, the smallest seed in the world: mustard seed. Why? Because faith is submission to the sovereignty of God. You have the power to forgive and keep on forgiving through the gift of faith.

I was asked just few weeks ago, "What do you think of the people who call the Bible hate speech"? I said they're right. After I got them back from their shock, I continued. It is very clear in the Bible from cover to cover there are some things that God hates. God hates sin. God hates evil. God hates wickedness. God hates child and women abuse. God hates the taking of pride in sin. God hates those who molest and abuse his bride, the church. That's why he is a jealous God, and he is the bridegroom and he protects his church and he takes care of those who try to harm his bride. Psalm 5, verse 4 says, "You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness. No evil dwells in You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes". And here it comes. "You hate all who do iniquity". God also hates false religion. He hates false religion.

In the Book of Revelation chapter 2, verse 6 where God's speaking to the church in Ephesus and he said he hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans, the false belief system that has invaded that church and is invading the church in the 21st century. So the answer is; yes, those who see some hate in the Bible, they're partially right. But that's not the whole story, that's part of the story. That's part of the story because God loves. God loves righteousness. God loves holiness. God loves repentant sinners. Not prideful sinners but repentant sinners. God loves the humble and the contrite spirits. God loves his church. There are believers from every corner of the globe, around the world which are watching right now from at least 120 countries. God loves you wherever you are.

So now turn with me please to Luke 17, verses 1 to 10. Here you're going to hear from the lips of our realistic Lord. Why do I say that? Very realistic statement you're going to see it right here from the lips of our Lord Jesus. I know and you know that the truth of the gospel itself offend some people, that the truth of the gospel causes some to reject it, that the truth of the gospel to some may be like sand in the eye for some, but as long as I'm not the one who's causing it, if the gospel is causing it, it's between them and God. When Jesus said woe to the one whose false teaching misleads people and causes them to stumble or fall into sin, he was saying that it is better to die than to teach an errant or false gospel. It is better to die than to have a ministry that is designed to trap others away from the truth of the biblical truth of the Word of God, and that is why in verse 3 he said to them, "Be on your guard. Be on your guard. Be on your guard".

It's an exhortation that we need to hear again and again. Be on your guard. The world is watching you. Your family is watching you. What our precious Lord is saying is this. Far from being a cause of stumbling for others, we have the responsibility that when others do stumble in sin that we lovingly and gently help them get back and come back home. Hear me right, please. There are some when they confront a person about their sin they huff and they puff and they're kind of like a peacock in sort of, "I'm going to show you you're a sinner. You need to do this, and you need to do that".

Let me tell you how I do it. I do it in tears. I do it in tears 'cause I'm conscious of my own shortcomings and failures. I think that's what our Lord is saying here in verses 3 and 4. When Jesus said your brother, he's referring to a fellow believer. He's talking to believers in dealing with each other and he's saying don't enjoy rebuking of a fallen brother or sister. Don't delight in your own self-righteousness when you rebuke a weaker brother or sister. Don't flaunt your own strength when you are gently helping to restore the fallen. Oh, by all means we need to be serious. Oh yes, we need to be honest but gentle, not puffed up. Beloved, the responsibility to rebuke the persistent, errant, sinning brother or sister is attached to the responsibility of forgiving.

Don't ever forget that the next part which I already read to you, that next part is a challenge to all of us, including your pastor, but what our Lord is saying here should also be comforting to all of us. If he repents, forgive him. Look at verses 3 and 4. How many times are you going to forgive that same offense? Lord, have mercy. Seven times a day. Keep calculating. "Well, it puts a burden on the person who's doing the forgiving". Because our Lord is implying that the person who's doing the rebuking and the forgiving is a mature believer and he or she is dealing with somebody who's less mature, new in the faith. When he says about little ones, he doesn't mean children. As he talk about little ones, he's talking about those who are young in the faith, new believers. They're growing.

So rebuking sin gently, yes. Even when you don't want to, yes. Then forgive even when you don't want to, yes. Why? Because when you do this you become more like God, you become more like God. Listen, giving and forgiving are the two characteristics of our God, and when you do both you become more and more like God. God hates sin. Remember that. God stands against sin. Remember that. And when the Holy Spirit convicts us, and I know he convicts me many times, when the Holy Spirit convicts me and he brings me a rebuke when I fall into sin, he also brings forgiveness. He's quick to forgive us. He's quick to extend forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ when we repent. God's forgiveness, beloved, is limitless. He forgives us countless times. But I think that the question that's on most of your minds anyway, at least if not all of you, is this.

Should forgiveness be withheld until repentance takes place? I'm glad you thought about it because I want to answer it. There are some sins where forgiveness is unconditional, unconditional. Galatians chapter 6, verse 1 the apostle Paul said when someone gets caught, now, remember that word. It's very important. When you get caught, meaning it was not premeditated, it was not planned, it was, you get caught. You're walking along the street and then you slip on a banana skin. He didn't say, "Well, now I'm going to walk and I'm going to really slip on that banana". No. No. You just fall and totally unaware. The word here is that his sin is not premeditated, that it's a trap that was set and you are unaware of it. This is unplanned, an unintentional lapse. In this case, love covers a multitude of sins. I believe that's what our Lord has in mind here.

There are some forgiveness of sins that are only to be pronounced publicly. You notice I'm going to watch it publicly. You tell somebody, "I forgive you," only after the person has asked for forgiveness. This is important. Why am I saying this? You see, in the case when the sin is deliberate, when the sin is premeditated, when the sin is habitual, and you notice I said publicly because sometimes you walk up to a person and say, "Well, I forgive you," the person is totally unaware that he's done anything wrong and he say, "What? Forgive me what"? And then you really create more problems. Are you with me?

So public pronouncements. Remember Joseph? His miserable brothers deliberately, premeditatedly sought to harm him. When did he offer forgiveness publicly, publicly? When they repented. You see, you got to understand. I have no doubt understanding the Scripture. Joseph has taken care of forgiving his brothers in his heart between him and Yahweh long time ago, long time ago. He dealt with it, but he only offered it publicly, when they came and asked for forgiveness, he forgave them. He gave it to them. He did not announce that forgiveness publicly until they repented.

Now, I want to give you several reasons very quickly that will take you, literally if you blink you're going to miss it, but I'm going to give you six reasons why forgiveness on the part of the believer is a must. It's not a choice. We don't have an option. First of all, as I said, forgiveness is the most God-like thing to do. Ephesians chapter 5, verse 1. Secondly, whenever somebody offends you, he or she offends God more. Why? Because ultimately all sin is an offense against God. Matthew 18:23. And thirdly, if God forgave repentant sinners like me and you, who offended a holy and righteous God, then we must forgive the repentant person. Fourthly, failing to forgive strains, doesn't affect your salvation, but it strains your relationship with your forgiving heavenly Father. Matthew 18:31. Five, failing to forgive hampers your worship. It affects your worship. Matthew 5:23 and 24. Finally, six and finally, failing to forgive usurps God's authority, for in Romans chapter 12 he said vengeance is what? Mine. Don't usurp it, give it to him. He will do a much better job than you can ever hope or dream.

Underline verse 5. The question that the disciples have asked, underline it. Every time you go through the Bible you see it and will remind you. Verse 5, what did they say? Lord increase our faith. What? Listen, you have to dwell on this for a long time, which I have. Jesus just laid on them this heavy burden on them and tell them to forgive seven times a day and that we're just reeling. They really are. They were reeling under the impact of that human impossibility that he just put on them. Forgive over and over and over. "Lord". And the reaction was what? You would think they would have asked, "Give us more love, love". Here it comes. "Give us more tolerance".

That's the biggest misnomer if there is ever one. I think they used it just to shut up the Christians. "Give us more understanding. Give us more compassion. Give us more humility". That's what you would think. Right? Am I right? You have to scratch your head at their request. More what? More faith? But you know why? They immediately recognize what Jesus is saying is an impossibility and they are totally inadequate to do this. How can you forgive that many times in one day? Inadequate. In 2 Corinthians chapter 2, verse 16, the great apostle Paul, which is a great encouragement to me, gets so overwhelmed with the demand of the gospel and the faithfulness to the gospel and the faithfulness to the Word of God that he kind of screams and yells out, "Who is adequate for all these things"?

Another translation said, "Who is sufficient for these things"? The answer is no one, no one. No one can do any of these things without the supernatural power of our heavenly Father; and that supernatural power only comes from faith, and faith comes through prayer. And if you think that you have mastered through your own power, your own strength, your own self-will to forgive, please think again. Their cry was, "Increase our faith". Why? Because they cannot increase their own faith. We cannot increase our own faith. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God".

Now, beloved, faith for all of life's challenges, for all of life's challenges. My goodness. Particularly these days we need faith more than anything, but it's a gift. And to know greater faith only comes from spending time with your heavenly Father in intimacy and in prayer, in humility, in submission. To have the power to forgive and keep on forgiving is only through the gift of faith, and the gift of faith and the power of faith comes through spending time in prayer with your heavenly Father. Beloved, listen to me. You cannot escape the connection between faith and forgiveness. You cannot separate them. They are inexorably linked.

Faith, forgiveness. Say it with me. Faith, forgiveness. I'm going to show you from the Scripture. Abraham the father of faith, I talk about him in the last message, he saw through the eyes of faith 2,000 years ahead of Christ coming to redeem the world and that is why he's called the father of faith because he believed what he did not see and did not happen for 2,000 years. When Abraham the man of faith had a quarrel with his greedy nephew Lot, Abraham the man of faith refused to quarrel, refused to quarrel and he said to Lot, he said, "Take whatever you want. You take the best. I'll take the leftover". Why? Because faith.

Here's what I want you to memorize, but I want you to repeat it every single day. Okay? More than once in the coming week. And then if it works, do it again the following week. We got a deal? Here's the formula, three Fs. Faith fosters forgiveness. Can you say it with me? Now, beloved, if you're having a hard time forgiving, you can ask God for faith. He'll give it to you. I can tell you this is one thing God will answer. He will answer. Faith to trust God that he is in control, faith to trust in God's sovereignty, faith to trust in the one who said, "Vengeance is mine," faith in the one who loves you more than anybody else could ever love you, faith in your life's plans being in the very palms of his hands and no one can change that.

God loves it when you ask for his supernatural power. You have God's Word on it, when you ask for his supernatural power to obey him, to be able to live for him, to be able to submit to him; to be able to imitate him and fully trust in him especially when everything appears to be dark and impossible to do in your own strength, supernatural power to live the life that will not cause other people to stumble, supernatural power to have the courage to confront sin, particularly sin in our own lives supernatural power to extend unlimited forgiveness cannot happen without the supernatural power of God.

Jesus is saying that we can ask for faith to be obedient servants. We have no right or even expectations for a reward, but he gives it. He rewards us. He blesses us. He gives us more blessings than we can handle. He's saying only be sure that you are faithful in our obedience in the small things and in the big things. Ultimately, Jesus will do for us what no earthly master could ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, how many evers are these, can do or will do. But don't ever forget that everything is of grace, everything is of grace. There is nothing that we can claim. There are no ground for pride, only eternal praise and thanksgiving. You see, with dependence on God and dependence on his supernatural power we give God all of the credit, we give God all of the glory, lovingly serving him with his strength alone. These are not signs of weakness, my beloved friends. These are the sign of strength, God's strength.
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