What is the Meaning of Matthew 6.12.14-15 Part 1

“Asking the Father for Forgiveness”

Matthew 6:12, 14-15

INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Matthew 6.12.14-15 Part 1

Matthew 6. “Debt” is a word that strikes fear into a lot of people, and for good reason. Besides personal debt, the national debt is a problem. Some consequences of national debt, according to a US national committee for a responsible federal budget, include: lower national savings and income, higher interest payments, leading to large tax hikes and spending cuts, decreased ability to respond to national problems and a greater risk of a fiscal crisis.

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Japan has the highest national debt per capita. If everyone in Japan decided to pay off the national debt, they would each owe $90,345. Those in the US would owe $61,539 and Canadians, if we wanted to pay off our national debt, each of us would owe around $50,000 each.

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However, Canadians are the most indebted in the world when it comes to personal debt. Not including mortgages, Canadians on average owe $22,837 per person.

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But that’s nothing to Jerome Kerviel, who is the most indebted person in the world. He was employed as a trader at France’s second-largest bank. He executed unauthorized trades on bank computers and committed forgery, that cost the bank US $6.3 Billion. He was sentenced to 3 years and under a court order in 2012, he was ordered to repay it in full.

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Now we all know, that’s impossible. He would never be able to repay that much debt. To his relief, by another court order in 2014, he was not held legally responsible to pay the debt.

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Having that much debt and having to repay it would naturally cause one to have great anxiety. But I wonder how many people have had anxiety over their debt to God, their creator. The Lord does teach us to pray…

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Matthew 6:12, 14-15 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. [and then he has this explanation, verse 14] 14 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

We have reached the last two requests, both of which have to do with our sinning. Last week, we had a single request for our body, our daily food. Now we have two requests for our spirit. One request concerns when we have sinned. And the last request concerns preventing us from sinning.

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NEED: Clearly then, we must talk to God about our sin. This is why on a Sunday morning we will pray about our sin together.

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You say, “I don’t want to confess my sin; it sounds so negative!” I’ll repeat: the Lord teaches us to pray about our sin; we must do so. We fail to realize how vile our sin really is. Just like a pig going back to the mud or a dog to its vomit…we don’t realize how abominable sin is. And it’s not enough to know that; we must act on it. Confess your sin; ask for forgiveness!

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  1. Sin

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    The Lord’s prayer portrays sin in two ways. (1, as debts and (2 as transgressions.

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    1. Defined

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      Let’s take that second one: transgressions. It occurs in verse 14 and in verse 15.

      This word “transgression” is a mild word for sin which means “fault” or “error” or a “mistake.” However minor, the person committing it is responsible for some sin in thought, word, or action.

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      We are to forgive other people of their transgressions against us.

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      But Jesus also portrays sin as a “debt and that word refers to what is strictly due. It carries the idea that sin needs to be made right in some way.

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      We talk this way in our culture. If somebody is convicted of a crime, they owe a what….? A “debt to society” for their crime. That demonstrates that a crime necessitates a penalty and we “owe something” for it.

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      That’s the way it is with our sin. We are indebted to God because of the crimes we have committed against Him. Our sin demands payment.

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      • Not just a single, but multiple debts, plural

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      And it is not just a single debt. It is plural, “forgive us our debts.” We have multiple debts not just a single debt.

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      ILL: It’s like being $6 billion in debt because you have credit card debt, school loans, car loan, and you don’t pay your cell phone bill or utility bill and you are in overdraft on your bank account and you have to pay back your payday loans as well. What a horrible situation to be in!

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      Even more horrible is that you have multiple debts against your Creator. Your lack of trust in Him, your failure to love Him, your failure to love your neighbor, your lack of patience, a failure to be kind when you simply didn’t do anything. Mountains of debt!

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      • when in debt, you can’t deny the debt exists: you know the judgment of God

      ILL: And denying it won’t do you any good. If you simply turn a blind eye to the threatening letters in the mail and the intimidating phone calls, you’ll soon be in a world of hurt! Justice is coming for a life of debt. You must deal with the financial debt.

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      In the same way, you can’t deny your sin. You can just turn a blind eye to your sinfulness. You must deal with it appropriately to receive the forgiveness and the cleansing that you so desperately need! If you fail to keep, as they say, “short accounts with God,” your sin debt will all pile up.

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      • it’s against God, the creditor

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      And just like a debt is owed to the creditor, sin demands that a penalty owed to God. It must be made right.

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Sin, no matter how private, is against God Psalm 51:4 David, after committing adultery and murder, can write … Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.

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  • cannot pay; other mere human beings can’t pay it for you.

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But the problem is, you can’t pay your massive $6billion sin debts! And it’s not like you can call your mom and she can pay off the debts for you.

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And so with your sin debt to God, it’s not that you just have a debt and you’re slowly paying it off, it’s that you are not paying to make it right….in fact, you’re only adding to the mountain!

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We have a perfect illustration of this over in Matthew 18, I invite you to turn a few pages over to Matthew 18 beginning in verse 23. This is Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant.

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For today, we will just read verses 23-27

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Matthew 18:23–27 23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 “When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 “But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 “So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ 27 “And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

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That what awfully kind of the master. That slave owed 10,000 talents. A talent is in the ballpark of 15 years worth of wages.

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He owed 150,000 years of wages! It would be kind of like the guy in our opening illustration that owed $6.3 Billion. Let’s use that figure. To pay off the debt, whether it’s the guy who owed $6.3billion or this man in Jesus’ illustration, if he made $42,000 a year for the next 150,000 years, he would be able to pay off the debt if he didn’t use any of that money during his 1,875 lifetimes, given he lives to 80 each time. 1,875 lifetimes to pay that back!

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He could never pay it back! So, it makes you wonder when the slave says, “I will repay you everything.” You really will? And that doesn’t sound like repentance.

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But the situation is a picture of our sin debt. You aren’t paying it back, you’re only adding to it. And you can’t pay it back! It’s not that if I had thousands of perfect lifetimes, I could repay it…I simply don’t have thousands of lifetimes, let alone perfect ones. I only have this one! There is no way I can pay back what I owe to God.

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  1. Its effect on our relationship with God: Guilty

    And that of course makes each of us guilty before God. But like a debtor who can’t pay his debts, we don’t like to be called to account.

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    ILL: If you were called in by the bank because of your outstanding debt, it’s a meeting that would rather not attend.

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    And with your sin debt, can you really act like it’s not a big deal! “Have patience with me and I’ll pay back everything.” “Really?” “Yes, it’s only $6.3 billion…; Nobody’s perfect!” Doubtful!

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    And the one in debt is not likely to think highly of the creditor. A debtor will find every excuse to hate the creditor.

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    Do sinners like to be called into account? Do sinners confess their sin debt or do they excuse it, ” nobody is perfect.” And how often do sinners say when referring to a horrible situation… “How could God allow this…..” And how often do they spend time with Him and go to Him and seek Him and actively love Him? As much as a debtor does to his creditor.

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    The guilt is clear! The apostle Paul, sent directly to the Gentiles by Jesus Christ, says that those who practice such sins are worthy of death…more than that, they know they are worthy of death, Romans 1:28. Everyone knows they are guilty before God.

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    Thomas Watson, the Puritan, said, “Men in debt are full of shame, they lie hid, and do not care to be seen. A debtor is ever in fear of arrest. A dog barks—and his heart pounds. Oh! let us blush and tremble, who are so deeply indebted to God.”

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  2. Its result: judgment

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    The result of such obvious guilt is judgment. Romans 6:23 For the wages [earned for a life] of sin is death. Eternal death! You sin, you’re earning yourself eternal death!

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TRANS: Sin is bad! Even the small debts… Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Covetousness, strongly desiring a possession, the Bible says, is idolatry. Jesus says that whoever is sinfully angry with someone is guilty of murder and whoever looks at a woman with lust commits adultery. Small sins aren’t so small from God’s perspective.

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Sin becomes even worse when you realize how it brings about your condemnation before God. Just like a man can use an object meant for good in order to bring about something bad, like murder, so also sin uses a good thing, the Law of God, to bring about a sinner’s condemnation before God. Sin uses the commandments of God, that were designed to give life…instead sin uses those commands to bring about death!

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And that’s why sin can be described as the Puritan Ralph Venning described it in his work entitled The Sinfulness of Sin

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Sin is therefore exceedingly sinful and wicked. It is most immeasurably spiteful, poisonous and pernicious, because it kills men. And not only so, but it kills them by that which is good [the Law…], and [which] was appointed to man for [his] life; it turns food into poison….My sin debt is a “a horrid and cursed wickedness … whereby a King is wickedly poisoned by the Cup of Blessing.”

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TRANS: So, to kind of recap, sin is pictured here as a debt that we owe to God. There are multiple debts due to our multiple sins. And you must not turn a blind eye to your sin. It is against God and no mere human being could ever pay for it. We are guilty before God because of it and apart from God doing work it will result in judgment, even the small sins.

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Sin is bad … but we’re not without hope. We’re instructed to pray…Matthew 6:12 12 ‘… forgive us our debts…for a reason…

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  1. Forgiveness

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    1. Defined

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      We’re instructed to ask for forgiveness! Forgiveness simply means to “dismiss the guilt” … To no longer hold you guilty for your sin.”We’re asking the Father to no longer hold us guilty before Him.

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      ILL: While I was still in seminary and we just had our first child, I was on my way to mow someone’s yard. I was reading the directions on how to get there while driving and rear-ended a lady’s car.

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      I was given some sort of ticket and showed up for my court date. I pleaded guilty and the judge let me off entirely. Instead of owing the fine, he dismissed my debt completely.

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      Now, that was an accident toward the state. In my spiritual life, perhaps a better illustration would have been that I tried to run over that lady with my car. Even if that is the case, I would still be instructed by Jesus to ask the Father to forgive me of my debt.

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      I could never pay it, it has to be paid for, so just ask the Father.

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      TRANS: Now, the judge in my case had every right to dismiss my debt like that. But if I had tried to ram my car into her car, he wouldn’t have had that right. My sin debt is more like me trying to ram my car into someone.

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      So, how can God be righteous and still dismiss my sin debt, as if I had never sinned?

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    2. How the Father can forgive Col. 2:13-14 certificate of debt

      For that answer that let’s turn to Colossians chapter 2. Again the question is how can God be righteous and still dismiss my sin debt and forgive me of my sin as if I’ve never sinned?

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Colossians 2:13–14 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, [that’s what I want to know; how can he forgive me of my transgressions? By…] 14 [canceling] the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

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So how can God be righteous and dismiss my sin debt? He canceled the certificate of debt. The word “cancel” has the idea of obliterating, destroying any evidence of its existence.

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What did he destroy? What did he cancel? My certificate of debt. Well, what is written on that certificate of debt? Decrees against us… That hostile punishment that we deserve…the list of debts that deserve punishment…the lies and the punishment for that: eternal condemnation. The worry and the punishment for that: eternal hellfire. The pride…

… and selfish acts and their punishment: the lake of fire. That certificate of debt … the mountain of debt…what did the Father do…? He destroyed any evidence of it when He nailed it to the cross!

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With Jesus dying breath, Jesus cries out “It is finished!” That word was written on receipts when a debt was entirely paid off. In the first century, when you pay off your loan, you receive a receipt that says, “it is finished.”

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Jesus paid for your mountains of sin debt against His Father. The wrath of God poured out on Jesus…and nailed to His blood stained hands was the list of your sins and their deserved punishment…it’s taken out of the way, the evidence that you’re a sinner against God totally destroyed.

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TRANS: Jesus’ work on the cross is the reason why we can ask for forgiveness and expect a dismissal of all our sin.

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Personal forgiveness

The moment you trust in Christ, Jesus’ payment of your sin debt on the cross is applied to you. The moment you die to yourself confess your sin and say to the Lord, “be merciful to me the sinner….” In that moment, our heavenly Father declares you righteous and all your sin debt is paid for…every sin, past, present, and future.

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If you as of yet haven’t asked our Father in heaven for forgiveness of your sin, do so immediately. That is honouring to Him and He will forgive you. He’ll give you eternal forgiveness.

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But there is a continuing need for you to receive daily, relational, cleansing of sin as well. Yes, all your sin is eternally paid for and any evidence of you deserving eternal judgment has been destroyed. But on a day to day basis, you need cleansing of sin.

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1 John 1:8–9 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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Confession of sin is therefore necessary to receive forgiveness of sin and cleansing of all unrighteousness. Repent of pride and confess that to Him, you get cleansed of all your hidden faults as well… all unrighteousness!

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The difference between being eternally forgiven of all your sin and your need of daily forgiveness is illustrated in the life of Jesus when He is in the upper room and He is washing His disciples feet. He is washing his disciples feet one by one and Peter is next, who refuses to have his feet washed by Jesus.

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Jesus replies, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.” Peter, with his usually rash self, then says, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus says… And here’s the point, “he who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean.”

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So is the difference between having received eternal forgiveness and relational forgiveness.

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ILL: I’ve been washing Paxton’s feet because he’s been taking his little feet and running them through the dirt during the day. His whole body is clean … well…for the sake of illustration we’ll say that…his whole body is clean except for his feet; he just needs a quick wash.

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That’s what’s going on with the difference between when I was eternally forgiven of my sin and when I ask for daily forgiveness.

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Eternal forgiveness is granted upon the first confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and the fact of His resurrection and then actively trusting in Him and repenting of sin. “God, be merciful to me!” Eternal or judicial forgiveness is granted.

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And relational or personal forgiveness on a daily basis is granted when we confess our sins and repent. But we must confess, as 1 John 1:9 says.

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To confess sin simply means to agree with God that what you have done or what you have failed to do is sin. “Father, I was angry, that is sin against you. Please forgive me.” Or as a family, “Father, we have sinned against you by failing to fulfill our responsibility in the home.” Or as a church, “Father, we have sinned against you by tolerating false teaching or sinful behavior or by failing to care for each other physically or spiritually.” “We’ve sinned by grumbling and complaining to one another, please forgive us!”

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Confess and repent, whenever you sin. To repent is to turn… To turn from sin and to hate it… To reject what you’ve done. You can say it’s sin while loving it, but you can’t repent while loving sin.

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“He who [hides] his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” (Prov. 28:13). If you confess and forsake, you find compassion from God. He forgives! You ask to be forgiven, He forgives! It is that simple.

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CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Matthew 6.12.14-15 Part 1

Don’t let anything keep you from coming to the Savior every day, confessing your sin! You need a cleansing… It’s freeing to your spirit! The blood of Christ applied to your heart every day will keep you strong in him. It will keep you joyful and at peace and your sin won’t weigh you down.

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There will be a second part to this message, I don’t have time to develop the condition stated in these verses. However, I do want us to revel in the fact that Jesus Christ has paid it all! That it is indeed finished! All my sin debt has been paid for at the cross. God the Father taking that hostile certificate of debt and with the pounding of those nails on that cross through my Savior’s hands, He nailed there too my certificate of debt…destroying all the evidence of me being a sinner against God… So that for all eternity by faith in Jesus Christ, I can have a perfect relationship with God.

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The sin debt I could never pay, paid for by the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ.

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And with my daily confession there is therefore nothing in between of my soul and the Savior. And I can rejoice in him and revel in him and praise him with a joy and with a peace without being overburdened by the daily guilt of my sin and being tempted to get down on myself for my past…I can just go to Him and receive the soul-cleansing wash that I need.

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Jesus paid it all 390

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  1. Forgiveness Requested
    1. Requirement: forgiveness of others

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      Jesus is preaching a sermon. A sermon is given to an audience of “disciples.” Not everyone there that day would have eternal life, Matthew 7 “Lord, Lord.” Jesus disciples turned away from him, John 6. This is speaking of the evidence of salvation.

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If the church is the community of the forgiven, then all its relationships will be marked by a forgiveness which is not a mere form of words, but an essential characteristic; from your heart excludes all casuistry and legalism.[1]

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Matthew 18: follows church disipline passage: let him be to as a gentile.

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speak in Private! don’t talk behind the back.

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  1. Not for justification, but an evidence of it
  2. For sanctification, not a work, but from faith (Luke 17)
  3. Quickly
  4. Completely

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??it is possible for a child of God to out into eternity without having all sin forgiven.??

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  1. Asking for Forgiveness
    1. Confession
    2. Repentance

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    illustrated in Jesus’ parable of the unjust steward, Matt. 5:23-24; ; Ro. 1:31; James 2:13; Eph. 4:29ff. If you know the forgiveness of God, you’ll forgive others.

see responsibility of the offened to forgive documents

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My kids could do nothing to eliminate them from my family.

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CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Matthew 6.12.14-15 Part 1

you could never repay it. But Jesus has! And there is coming a day when you’ll never sin, presented without blot. And all that Jesus has paid will be remembered no more against you.

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Go to Matthew Main Page

Go To New Testament Books

Go To BibleTrove Home Page

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  1. R. T. France, Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 1, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 281.

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