TEXT: Mark 11:25-26
25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 153 messages in this series.
This is message #154 titled, When You Pray, If You Want Your Prayers Answered, You Need to Forgive Others, Part 1
Last week, we talked about the power and necessity of faith in prayer. Jesus told His disciples, “Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Now, one of the most frequent things we desire when we pray is forgiveness of our sins. And, Jesus turns his attention to this aspect of prayer in the very next verse. He commands us to forgive others when we pray. And, it appears as though our being forgiven by God is tied to our forgiveness of others.
Jesus gives a direct imperative: “And when ye stand praying, forgive…” (Although kneeling has become more associated with prayer in our day, standing was a frequent posture for prayer among the Jews.) Now, forgiving others goes against human nature, hence Jesus’ command. One of the hallmarks of our Lord’s teaching was his frequent commands for His followers to do things that went against their natural inclination. He told us to love our enemies, to do good to those who have done evil to us, to show mercy to those who have sinned, and so on. So, it is not surprising to find here that Jesus tells us to forgive those “who have done ought [anything] against us.”
Instead of forgiving others, our natural inclination is to get revenge. The advice we give ourselves is, ‘Don’t get mad, get even.’ And when we can’t get even, we grow resentful and bitter. We somehow think that remaining angry and upset will cause the person who offended us to suffer. But that is not the case. We only end up hurting ourselves spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. Someone once said, “Unforgiveness becomes bitterness, which leads to persistent anger, which locks me in a private cage affecting all my relationships.”
Yes, unforgiveness is a frequent human vice, and it is, unfortunately, not uncommon among Christians. Pastor Brad Thiessen said, ‘In the church we have fellow believers who will not talk to each other, cannot even look at each other, and would not dare sit on the same side of the auditorium. We have believers who will not forgive their pastor, and pastors who will not forgive their people. Is it any wonder that we have so many prayerless and powerless churches?’
Unforgiveness for the Christian is a very serious issue as it is tied to God’s forgiveness of us. Jesus Christ tells us to “forgive… that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” As Christians, it is only right for us to freely forgive those who have wronged us (even if they do not ask for forgiveness) because God freely forgave us of the wrongs we did against him. When we accepted Christ as our Savior, God forgave us of all of our sins, past, present, and future. We did nothing to deserve this forgiveness, but God forgave us anyway. He forgave when He did not have to. He forgave when he could have (and should have) sentenced us to eternal punishment in hell. Not only did he forgive, but he sent His Son to suffer the punishment that we deserve for our wrongdoing. Considering this, we can see why it makes sense that Jesus says, “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. ” Do you want to be forgiven? Then you must forgive.
C.S. Lewis wrote on the problem of forgiveness in his book, The Weight of Glory. He concluded with the following words: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.”
How then are we to forgive? We are not only to forgive BECAUSE God forgave us, but we are to forgive JUST AS God forgave us.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.