segunda-feira, 12 de dezembro de 2016
"In the year of king Uzziah's death, I saw Jehovah sitting upon a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his garments filled the temple." Isaiah 6: 1
Who was Uzziah? A king who had taken the throne at the age of sixteen, remaining in power until his sixtieth birthday.
"Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah." 2nd Chronicles 26: 1
Uzziah did that which was right in the sight of God, so that he prospered greatly, he was marvelously blessed, and his fame went very far. This king was the hope of the nation, which was more concrete in national security. His death must have generated great commotion.
At the end of his days Uzziah lived a recluse and a leper because, like King Saul, in an attempt to usurp the prerogatives of the priests, he had entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense at the altar. This act externalized the king's pride and exaltation, vanity, and utter lack of reverence for the Lord.
And Isaiah lived in the time of king Uzziah, and beheld all the glory of his reign, and also his decline and death. At a time when Uzziah's successor expectation was the most urgent agenda, the prophet has the glorious vision of another King. Note that the chapter begins by saying that "King Uzziah died and Isaiah saw the Lord ..." and Further on it reads:
"My eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Isaiah 6: 5.
The vision was luminous, heavenly, and I do not dwell on it, but here I express what I learned from this passage from the book of Isaiah: the contrast between the glory of men and the glory of God.
Not even the most "powerful" and worthy king in Israel was able to give Isaiah - and the other men of the nation - such a clear vision of the glory of the heavens that Isaiah saw in a moment of devotion.
The fame and power of the earthly king depended on Divine grace. God exalts and slaughters and so sovereignly He remains God to whom all owe recognition and dependence. In His mercy and goodness, this God reveals Himself in times of hopelessness, commotion and death, even. This God speaks of what men are incapable of speaking and comforts in a very particular way.
We have a dying king and a prophet being raised to glory, to the highest place:
"Then I said," Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of armies. "Then one of the seraphim flew to me , Bringing in his hand a live coal that he had taken from the altar with a tenacious "Isaiah 6: 5.
The glory of the prophet consists in his humiliation, in the awareness of the sinner's condition. The fall of Uzziah consisted in his exaltation as a saint.
After the vision, Isaiah exercised his ministry and walked naked and barefoot for three years. That is, he stripped off his prophet's robes, took off his robes and his sandals. (Isaiah 20: 3). Because he knew that the glory was not his, his life and his ways were kept in God, Lord of glory!
The death of King Uzziah and the vision of Isaiah is to me a representation that no earthly power, government or leadership is capable of conferring peace and security, is capable of revealing God.
Of course, God is interested in earthly affairs by established, elected governments, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Psalm 33:12). However, this landlord of God begins in the heart of every man who, like Isaiah, raised his eyes and his heart to seek God at a time when many around him were bowed and disillusioned in the nation.
God bless you ...
"Or, what is the woman who, having ten drachmas and losing one of them, does not light a lamp, sweeps the house and looks carefully until she finds it?" And when he finds it, he gathers his friends and neighbors and says, "I say that in the same way there is joy in the presence of the angels of God for a sinner who repents." Luke 15: 8
Luke 15 is a succession of parables about the grace of God rescuing man from sin. There are three parables: 1- The lost sheep rescued by the shepherd, 2- the lost drachma rescued by the woman and 3-the prodigal son rescued from the world by the love of the father. Jesus is the good shepherd of parable 1, The Holy Spirit of God is the illuminated lamp of parable 2 and God is the loving Father of parable 3, this is a way of interpreting and understanding the work of the Trinity in the salvation of man.
In this article we will talk specifically about Parabola 2 (lost drachma), since other studies have already been published on the other parables. From the beginning, let us select some aspects that deserve our attention:
1-What was a drachma, what value did it have for that society?
2-Why did the woman in the parable become bothered with the drachma that was lost if she had another nine?
3- The drachma has been lost inside the house and not outside, in another environment
4-It was night when the woman realized that she had lost the drachma, but: Why light a lamp to look for it?
5. Why did not she wait for the dawn day to look?
6- The lamp in the Biblical context
7- The drachma was lost in secret, but was found with party and publication in the neighborhood.
Drachma was a silver coin used for trade and also for spruce necklaces for brides. The necklace with 10 drachmas had the meaning of a wedding ring, the groom presented his bride with the necklace sealing a wedding engagement. Thus, the bride should take good care of the necklace in demonstration of trust and fidelity. Losing drachmas from the necklace involved bad judgments on the part of the groom and even breaking the relationship. Knowledge of custom gives us a clearer idea of why it was a woman and not a man who diligently seeks the drachma. The drachma referred to invaluable values, superior to the material value. In this case, the nine drachmas collected had no value at all apart from the lost drachma. The lost drachma, on the other hand, was very valuable, for to find her was to retrieve the betrothal, to secure her betrothal to the bridegroom.
The drachma was lost at night, in the house. This house may be called the Church, the bride of Christ:
Let us rejoice and rejoice, and give him glory; For the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife is ready. - Revelation 19: 7
The house is also the Kingdom of God which is based on the atoning work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit:
I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, which descended from God out of heaven, dressed as a bride adorned for her husband. - Revelation 21: 2
It is this Spirit that leads the sinner to repentance. The absence of the Holy Spirit is like a house in darkness, a lamp without light. The necklace of 10 drachmas on the bride's neck was like a prop, a necessary garment for the maintenance of communion with the bridegroom.
Jesus was the one who introduced the meaning of the candle in the Bible; on several occasions he cites this instrument referring to a life guided, guided and belonging to the Kingdom of God, let us see:
"Let your loins be girded, and keep your lamps burning" - Luke 12:35
"You are the light of the world, you can not hide a city that is built on a hill, Neither does the lamp go up and put itself under the bushel, but on the lampstand, and give light to all who are in the house. Before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. "Matthew 5: 14-16
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom." Matthew 25: 1.
What was lost:
Why should the drachma be lost, why? And why was she sought in the house and not outside?
The parable is very short and needs to be examined in an expository way in relation to other portions of the scripture. The lost drachma is like a person lost in sin, far from communion with God and with the brethren in Christ. This lost sinner, in darkness, as in a dark house, will be saved, rescued from darkness by the action of the Holy Spirit (candle lit) in the church.
The woman's first attitude is to light a candle. She will not sleep and wait for dawn, clear, to find what has been lost. It means that no work in the Kingdom of God can be done in an earthly way only (without a candle). The diligence of the woman in the search is a process of transformation, of revising attitudes, concepts that impede the relation with God. The woman seeking the lost drachma is a lesson in the Church's cooperation in how love for God and observance of Biblical principles can influence the world (dark house).
It is interesting to realize that the lost drachma exposes the direct relationship between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of men. A drachma, a lost sinner, carries with it so many others. This is the priceless value of a life! The organization of the lost drachma returning to the necklace, to its place, is like a soul washed and redeemed by the blood of Jesus that through the testimony of life brings more people to the Kingdom of God.
The woman swept the house. I imagine that he swept in a way he had never swept: raising carpets, moving furniture from the place, approaching the lamp, lowering himself. She examined each corner and wiped away all dirt.
The work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the sinner exposes all sin as the light exposes the dirt:
"For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not into the light, lest his deeds be reproved: but he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, for they are Made in God. "John 3: 20,21
The conversion from darkness to light, from sin to salvation, is a path of renunciation, purification. It is like this "sweeping" of the house, the dirt bothers and there is a whole effort to recover the communion with God, to be in His presence. Once transformed, the repentant sinner is like this found drachma whose new and different works rejoice the heart of God.
That drachma seemed worthless ... And so are so many lives that in the eyes of men seem insignificant, but in the eyes of God they are incalculable. So are also sins that seem small, imperceptible, but yet they hinder relationship with God. It will be necessary to light the lamp, to fill the life with the Holy Spirit of God so that there is space for no evil, no darkness.
The drachma and the family:
We could also relate the diligent woman in the parable to a mother who has nine children and one of them is lost: in crimes, drugs, prostitution, begging and so on. This woman seeks God intensely so that in her home the presence of God will transform the family, removing imperfections and narrowing relationships. The son is rescued by the diligence of the mother filled with the Holy Spirit: prayer, love, patience, testimony.
The parable makes clear the love of God for the sinner and the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion. Only under God's dependence can one understand the value of a lost life. The relation of the nine drachmas to what has been lost is a formidable lesson of cooperation between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of men. How wonderful to know that there is a living and effective God engaged in human happiness, a God who sees the inaccessible places of the human mind and spirit. A God who sheds light in the darkness not to condemn, but to save and because of His great and incomparable love is that the sinner is constrained to repent. It is the love of the living and resurrected Christ who saves, who seeks diligently and daily man: excluded (outside the collar), distant (without communion, hidden).
God bless you.
sexta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2016
"Has it ever struck you that because you have fallen so many times into the spiritual life, God does not want to know you anymore? Is there anything in the world that will separate God from you? Did you forget it?
"And he came unto his own, and his own received him not: but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: they were not born of blood, Nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. (John 1:11 to 14)
The Word became flesh. The Lord Jesus Christ became flesh and dwelt among us.
Have you ever been mugged? This question may seem like without much sense. But I've been robbed three times.
Assault is an interesting storytelling and dreadful experience. After being mugged, something terrible happens in our mind. We start shaking when we think we might be dead. We begin to believe that there are people who for a little money are able to take the lives of other people. After the first robbery, I experienced difficult days because I had the impression that every unknown person who approached me was going to rob me. I distrusted them all. When someone came down one sidewalk, I would move to the other. At the bus stop, I was a little distant and when someone approached, I looked suspiciously and was ready to flee if that was the case. I was traumatized because I experienced a dramatic moment in my life. They put a knife in my chest and my money and watch were taken. From that moment I began to distrust people.
Friend, this is perhaps the most tragic of sin. Sin creates distrust among human beings; Creates insurmountable barriers; Opens gaps between husband and wife; Creates boundaries between parents and children. Sin opens the distance between the members of the same church; Opens wounds that later do not close; Causes traumas that time is not able to erase. But perhaps the most terrible of sin is even the painful experience of alienating us, separating us, isolating ourselves from the world.
When you were a child and did something wrong, the first thing that came to your mind was to hide, was not it? Yeah. Sin makes us hide, makes us go away. It separates us from God by creating a barrier between the Father and us.
We adults, when we do something wrong against a person, are afraid to meet with them and if we do find them, we are ashamed to look into their eyes.
Sin separates people, families, brothers, friends. Maybe you've already been betrayed by a friend you trusted. You may have been betrayed by your spouse; By the father or the son; Or even by a pastor or elder of your church, and understand perfectly what I say. This is what sin brings us. But worst of all is that sin separates us from God.
My question is: Does sin separate God from us? Look at what the Bible says: "For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things of the present, nor of the future, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature Separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. " (Romans 8:38 and 39)
Friend, I want you to understand this, because when Jesus came to this world, the leaders of His time could not understand. I have the impression that many Christians today do not understand this either.
Sin separates us from God, but does not separate God from us. When Jesus came into this world, people could not understand this, and they confused sin with the sinner. When a man committed a sin, he was rejected and despised. No one else was related to this man.
Jesus came to take this concept out of the human mind. Therefore, when Jesus was on this earth, while the members of the church of that time turned away from sinners, Jesus sought them, joined them, and sat down with them. Does it mean that God approved the lives of sinners? No, however, he knew that in order to save them he had to seek them out and love them. Meanwhile, church leaders formed a small group apart and criticized the Lord Jesus for this attitude.
Here's what the Bible says: "All the tax collectors and sinners came to Jesus to hear him." The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." (Luke 15: 1 and 2)
Friend, the church members of God at that time did not accept the idea that sin separates us from God, but does not separate God from us.
When we sin, we choose to forsake God. We set out for our own world; We walk in our ways; We do things that hurt us from the inside and hurt the loved ones around us. But sin does not separate God from us. He goes after us, begs us, waits for us, loves us.
However, the leaders of that time failed to understand this, persecuted the Lord Jesus and finally killed Him.
Jesus walking on this earth sought the miserable sinners, the prostitutes, and surely sought out the homosexuals and all the lost people of that time. People like Mary Magdalene who had promised seven times that she would change her life and did not have the strength to change; Lepers, paralytics, the blind, people who had no hope, who no longer knew where to go. These were those whom Jesus sought. It was with them that Jesus sat, ate, and lived.
At the time of death, Jesus did not choose two men of better conduct to die among them. He was crucified between two thieves. He died the way he lived. He lived among sinners and died among sinners. He had come into this world to give hope to men without hope. They were the motive of His life.
This does not mean that Jesus would consent to the wrongdoings of the prostitute or accept the dishonesty of Zacchaeus. No! This is not to say that Jesus approved of the wrong ways of these men. Jesus does not consent to sin, but loves the sinner.
Here is a great message of hope for you and me: It does not matter who you are, where you walked, when you fell, or how you can be at this moment; No matter how tied you may be to customs, vices, and habits from which you can not free yourself. I want you to know something: Jesus loves you. He never approved of his conduct, but He never stopped loving him. This is the central message of the Bible.
That is why we find this repeated figure in the Holy Scriptures. In Genesis, when Adam and Eve sinned, sin separated them from God. They searched for fig leaves and hid behind a tree. They did not want to know God any more. They wanted to escape. Sin separates man from God, but does not separate God from man. And that is why God, at dusk, descended from His heavenly throne, stepped on the earth and sought the man.
The central message of the Bible is that the human being, because of sin, lives far from God, but God still loves him. As much as man is living in misery, God does not lose hope, he continues to believe, to wait and beg.
When the people of Israel were released from Egypt, God was on the mountain delivering the tablets with the Ten Commandments to Moses. While there was a glorious moment up there, the people gave themselves up to idolatry. He had made a golden calf and was worshiping and dancing around this idol. God said, "They shall make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among them."
Oh, my friend! These men, because of their sins, were not listening to God. They were not wanting to know God from being so drawn out that they were by idolatry.
Today, we may not be worshiping golden calves, but rather a type of culture, music, literature; A kind of friendship, or a lifestyle, I do not know. Perhaps we are worshiping our own human capacity. But even God wants to dwell in our midst.
How can God want to be in the midst of a people who do not want to know anything about Him? There is the great and wonderful love of God. God goes after the human being, runs, believes, waits, works. The Holy Spirit follows you, pursues you; Speaks to you in one way or another; Sometimes dramatic, others softly; Speaks to you with love, shakes you, speaks to you through an earthquake or a tragedy, but speaks to you. God does not lose hope and believes that one day you will wake up.
In verses 1 and 2 of Luke chapter 15, the Pharisees accuse Jesus, "Why do you associate with sinners? Why do you live and eat with sinners?"
Jesus in this world spoke in parables. And in that same chapter we find three: The parable of the coin, the sheep, and the son. The three lost. This means that Jesus joins sinners in order to seek them out.
The parable of the son is known as the parable of the prodigal son. Why prodigal son? Because he was very prodigal in spending his money, his life, his health and his youth. I think the parable should not be called the parable of the prodigal son, but rather the parable of the prodigal father. Prodigal in loving, in believing. Prodigal in having patience and waiting.
The figure who stands out in Luke 15 is not the son who is lost, but the father who goes after that son. It's the father who waits. It's the father he loves. It is the father who begs. The Spirit of prophecy says that it was the love of the father who finally won in the heart of the son and brought him back. I ask: Did the father love his son when he behaved well when he worked on the farm and performed all his duties? Did he love him more than when he was among the pigs, the prostitutes, spending his life and his money? At what point does God love your child the most? At what point did the father of the parable most love his son?
When the son was home and well behaved, his father loved him very much and was happy. When the son sank into the misery of sin, the father continued to love him very much, but he was sad. That's the difference. When we let His power transform us and His Spirit guide us in His ways, God loves us very much and is happy. But when we fail to pay attention to the Holy Spirit's direction and sink into the misery of life, God continues to love us, only now with tears in his eyes. That's the difference.
Many people are unable to understand this message and think: "Pastor, you are preaching a dangerous message, because if you say that man sins and God continues to love, and that his love has no limit, then you Is encouraging sin, and man can think, "Why should I fail to sin if God loves me even in sin?"
But whoever asks this question is why he never understood what God's love is capable of. He knew perfectly well that if love could not transform a life, it would not be. Jesus knew for example that if His love could not transform Mary Magdalene, nothing else would change her. So he loved her, believed her, and waited. Although Mary fell once, another fell, and no one else believed that one day she would rise, but Jesus continued to believe and His wonderful love was the greatest argument that could make her aware of her sinful state. When she understood this, she clung to a thread of hope and was bathed in Jesus' blood.
Mary learned to distrust her own will power and to depend on Christ kneeling and saying, "Lord Jesus, alone, I am lost.I can promise a million times, but I never will.I need You to work a miracle in my life. I need You to do something that I can not do for myself. " And only then was it transformed.
Oh, dear! My father was a very tough man, a man who did not admit mistakes. He did not know Jesus, but he was a very honest man. He did not accept Jesus, but he was a first-rate moralist. To be a moralist you do not have to be a Christian. Being a Christian is living worried about letting Jesus live in you. To be moralistic is to live concerned only in behaving well. But thank God, at the end of his life, he accepted Jesus and became a Christian. And as I said, he did not admit any mistakes, and I, as a boy, made many mistakes.
One day I did something wrong. My father had already given me a warning, but I continued to err on the same point. One day, which I will not forget, I was caught. I knew that when my father arrived in the afternoon, I would have to hit him. He had promised me that if I made that mistake one more time he would give me twenty lashes. When he arrived, I was ready. Then he said to me: Come into the room. And I went. I should have been nine, maybe ten years. I had put on four pants so as to lessen the pain and my father noticed. I want to imagine at this moment my father watching his son come in, his legs thick because of the four pants. I, at nine, thought that my father would not notice, but it seems he realized. I was a caricature of my father trying to solve my problem by wearing four pants. He could have laughed at me, but he did not. I saw tears in your eyes. The whip was in his hand. I knew I deserved the punishment. He was supposed to give me the twenty lashes he had promised. I had already told myself that I would not cry or complain. I was ready to receive my punishment. My father did not know the word pardon, but that afternoon something strange happened. That hard man was moved and said:
- Come here. Get closer.
I came near him. He had the whip in his hand. I closed my eyes expecting the first lash, but what I felt was a hug. My dad hugged me. There were tears in her eyes and then she said to me:
"Son, I do not want to punish you. Do not think I take pleasure in punishing you. I love you son, but I have to do it for your own good; So that you do not suffer when you grow up. You have to learn to obey now.
But he embraced me and continued:
"Son, this time I'm not going to hit you, you can go.
If my father had given me twenty lashes I would not have shed a tear. But that afternoon, I cried. His embrace hurt more than twenty lashes. His love hurt more than his punishment. If he punished me, I might continue doing what I had always done. But that very day I promised myself that I would never make my father cry again.
Jesus knows well the power that love has, and that's why when we make a mistake He does not say, "Go away, you can not do it." You stepped on My commandments and betrayed My trust. Forget I am. Do not come back to me when I need you. "
Ah, my friend, God does not do this. Sin separates us from God, but he is not able to keep God from us. God seeks us, He goes after us, He waits for us, He believes. He loves us. That is why you have no right to remain sad. You do not have the right to be thinking that there is no way. God loves him and never fails to love him. He died to save him. He gave His Holy Spirit with the fullness of His power to make Him victorious, to take it out of mediocrity, and to give it victory.
Do not you want to accept Jesus? He does not want to open his heart and say, "Thank you, Lord, for you never stopped loving me. Thank you also for the power that comes from the cross to transform my life."
Dear Father, hear the silent cry of the people who need You. Thank you because You believe in the human being. Thank you also because when You forgive, You forget and transform. Place at this moment Your powerful hand on each life. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
"The text for this message is found in the Gospel according to Luke 23:33 and 34:" When they came to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, as well as to the evildoers, one on the right and one on the left. But Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Then they divided his garments, and cast lots. "
This is the first of the last seven words that Jesus uttered on the cross of Calvary. Imagine the scene with me: Three crosses protrude into the horizon. In the middle is the Lord Jesus; On the right side a thief and on the left side another thief. Jesus died the way he always lived. He came to this world to seek sinners. He lived among them in order to reach them, to forgive them and to transform them. And when the time came to die, he died crucified among them. And you can see Him there in the hour of agony.
When a person is about to die, everyone wants to hear what he has to say. Jesus uttered seven words. The first, fourth, and last words are prayers that He addresses to His Father. He prays, holding communion with Him from whom all His strength has come to be able to live a victorious life on this earth. He began His ministry in prayer. And His ministry also ends in prayer.
My friend, no one can survive victoriously in this life unless they learn to live like Jesus. Constantly depending on the Father, placing life at the feet of the Father, receiving the strength of the Father.
Do you know why Jesus lived a victorious life on this earth? Not because it was God. When He came to this earth He made a covenant with His Father: He would not use His divine powers without the consent of the Father. Then He learned to live a life dependent on the Father. Here was the secret of His victory. Do you know why we sometimes live defeated lives? Because we do not learn to depend on the Father as Jesus did.
"Father," said Jesus at the hour of death. He had a crown of thorns piercing His face, but that did not stop Him from seeing the love of His Father. His hands were nailed to a cross, they could not heal people any more, but He could pray. Their feet could no longer walk to reach the sinner. But that did not stop Him from praying. His disciples had abandoned Him. He could no longer teach them. But that did not stop Jesus from praying.
Oh, dear ones, sometimes when difficulties arise in our lives, when we lose our job, or when our child suffers an accident, the first thought that assails us is the fact that perhaps God has abandoned us. Maybe God has forgotten us. Jesus in the midst of suffering, pain, agony, death, persecuted, mocked, insulted and bleeding, did not allow anything to stop Him from knowing that His Father loved Him and looked at Him.
Am I speaking at the moment to someone who has been unemployed for a long time? Can you see the face of the Father despite being in need? Am I speaking right now to someone condemned to death by medical science? Your illness has no remedy? I ask: Are you able to see the face of His Father despite medical science saying that there is no remedy for you? Friends rejected you? Were you betrayed by the people you loved most? Has everyone abandoned him? Do you feel lonely? And despite all this, can you see the face of the Father? Jesus did it on the cross of Calvary. Without friends, abandoned by His disciples, hated by the crowd, punished by the soldiers, falsely accused, unjustly crucified, wounded, in agony, was able to say: Father, I do not see You; It's all dark, but I know you're present. I know you're there. Are we able to do this?
Let us now turn to another aspect of the biblical text. In the hour of agony Jesus cries out to His Father, but does not ask for help. If you were condemned to death for some illness, you would surely kneel to pray and ask God to restore your health, would not you? If you were unemployed, you would pray to God for a new job, would not you? And if you were in prison, you would surely ask God to give you back your freedom.
But here was Jesus nailed to a cross. His first word might have been, "Father, get me out of here, set me free, soothe my pain." Or as Peter was sinking, "Lord, save me." But in the hour of agony Jesus does not pray for Him, or for others. And it is not for His friends or His family or good citizens. Do you know who you pray for? By His enemies, by Him who slaps Him, by Him who preaches His hands, by Him who spits in His face, by that one who puts the crown of thorns on His forehead. Jesus prays for His enemies and asks God to forgive them.
Ah, my friend, on the cross of Calvary, Jesus lives what he preached. In the Sermon on the Mount, He says, "Forgive your enemies." And on the cross He lives His message. It leaves the theology, the beauty of the words and enters the reality of the pardon, practices what it preached.
I ask: Can you pray for your enemies? Maybe, if you are living well, with a good balance in the bank, in good health, with the whole family together. In these circumstances you may even encourage yourself to pray for your enemies. But condemned to death by cancer, without a penny in his pocket, with the family torn to pieces and everyone against you, would you be able to pray for your enemies?
Am I speaking right now to someone who is not able to forgive someone who has done him wrong in the past? I will now mention why it is necessary to forgive, although forgiving is not always easy. On the cross, Jesus was suffering, the blood took His life by drop. Abandoned, forgotten by friends, mocked and insulted by enemies, bearing the sin of all mankind, He experienced deep mental, physical, and spiritual suffering. And if He harbored in His heart sorrow for what people were doing to Him, His suffering would be greater. In forgiving, He was not only practicing the theory of His preaching, He was also relieving His pain. Do you know why? For forgiveness benefits the forgiver more than he who is forgiven. This is what you have to put in your mind. If for some reason he is not able to forgive someone who betrayed him, who hurt him, he did something that terribly marked his life. If you are holding a grudge in your heart, you certainly do not have peace, you live hell every time you see that person. His spirit is poisoned. You may be living a happy moment, but when that person appears, it ruins everything.
But did you know that the other person is not even paying attention to what you feel? The only one who is suffering is you. So when you forgive, he earns nothing, but you cast out the poison of your life. The venom of sorrow does not hurt your enemy at all, but it disturbs your life. Your heart becomes a dump, because sorrow, hatred, rancor, and resentment are all rubbish. And when you can look at the other without feeling any more hurt, no grudge, you break free. The greatest beneficiary of forgiveness is the person who offers forgiveness, not the one who receives it.
One family invited me one night for dinner, but in the middle of the supper, the father took me to a corner and said, "Pastor, do you see that pretty girl? She's my oldest daughter. She grew up in the church, she was active, but one day someone accused her unjustly, she never did what she was accused of. Pastor did not understand her explanations and disciplined her, the pastor did not dialogue with her, she did not hear what she had to say, they simply disciplined her, so she said: Father, I did nothing and disciplined myself.I will never forgive this pastor for having But now, since I've been disciplined, I'll do what I've never done, at least so that discipline is fair. "
"So," said the father, "my daughter began to go down, down, down, and I can no longer see my daughter hurting herself in life. She has done terrible things, but I know that all this is rancor and sorrow that she keeps Pastor, please, talk to her. "
I tried to talk, but she did not want to hear much. I invited her to go to church and she showed up there, perhaps out of courtesy. At the time of the appeal I saw her struggling and crying without being able to respond to the appeal. The rancor and heartache were too great. But on Friday, I spoke about forgiveness and said that the person most benefited by forgiveness is the forgiving person, not the forgiven. Looking into her eyes, I said from the pulpit, "That person who has been unjust to you is no longer here and does not even remember that you exist, but day and night you are bruised and poisoned by that feeling. Forgive, you will finally be free from this noxious feeling that does not let you be happy.
And when I made the call, that girl got up and came forward, crying. And her tears took away the garbage she kept in her heart. Finally, he could say: I forgive that man. And he forgave him. And asked to be baptized again. He was completely free from hurt. The rancor had left her heart. Was happy.
I ask: Have you ever forgiven? Am I speaking to someone who can not forgive the husband who betrayed her, the woman who betrayed him, the father who never recognized him as a son? Have you forgiven the son who threw his name into the mud? The friend who betrayed you? Is your heart a deposit of garbage that only harms you?
The last thought of the text that I want to analyze today is the final result of Jesus' prayer. He prayed for the worst human beings that existed, those who were killing Him and who did not want to know anything about Him. Do you think Jesus' prayer was not answered? Follow me tonight to Jerusalem, 40 days after Jesus' death.
Peter is preaching, and those men who have crucified Jesus and who from the human point of view have never accepted Him as Savior are touched by the Holy Spirit. The prayer of Jesus on the cross for His enemies is answered. He prayed for His enemies and they are now transformed. Imagine the one who placed the crown of thorns on Jesus' forehead. Imagine him running toward Peter and saying, "I have pierced the crown on Jesus' forehead. Is there forgiveness for me?" And Peter says, "Repent and be baptized, and your sins will be forgiven." He who has nailed the hands of Jesus runs to Peter and says: I have nailed His hands. Is there forgiveness for me? And Peter says: If you are sorry, there is forgiveness. He who spit in the face, runs and says: I spat on His face. Is there forgiveness for me? And Peter says: There is, if you believe in the saving power of Him. And on that day they were baptized 3 thousand.
Forty days before they were spitting on His face, preaching His hands and His feet, insulting Him and cursing Him. But Jesus prayed for them and God answered prayer. Forty days later those men were reached by the saving gospel.
Am I preaching to someone whose husband or wife does not want to know anything about Jesus? Someone whose son is distancing himself from Jesus? Do you have a friend you've prayed for, prayed for, and he's still indifferent to Jesus? Keep praying. Pray for the worst, pray for those who in your opinion have no choice. If God responded to the prayer of Jesus, He will respond to His also and will give you this husband, this woman, this son, that father, that friend for Christ. He will. Do not lose heart. Keep praying, keep begging, keep asking. He will answer your prayer.
My mother prayed for a lifetime, asking God to transform my Father's heart. Many years praying for a man who wanted nothing to do with Jesus. And one day, my father was watching me a TV program, Preaching Program of the Word: invited my mother to go to church that day, finally he accepted Jesus.
I ask: How long have you been praying for your child? How long have you been praying for God to transform your husband's heart? My mother prayed for life and still prays for me. How long have you been praying for God to transform that friend's heart?
Could you at this moment come with me to the cross of Calvary and say, "Lord, it was for me that you entered the agony." There you prayed for me on the cross, I crucified you. My husband, for my wife, and if 40 days later 3,000 people gave themselves to you, why can not you change the heart of that person for whom I am praying? "
And if you feel that on the cross of Calvary Jesus prayed for you, if you want to recognize Jesus as your Savior, if you want to give Him your life and accept the Word of God and God's plan for your life; If you want to join the Church of God one day in this land through holy baptism, if when Christ returns you want to be present I will ask you to make your decision now.
Dear Father, there are many people who opened their hearts to You this morning. There are many people who want to forgive, who are praying for some special person and who need Your help and Your power. Please come and answer every prayer. In the name of Jesus. Amen.