1) Why Forgive? (Joe R. Price)
2) What If I Am A One Talent Man? (Marc Gibson)
3) News & Notes
by Joe R. Price
The world is an unforgiving place. Worldly people view compassion as weakness and vengeance as strength. The opposite is true. On the cross the great Son of God said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk. 23:34). Far from being weak, Jesus showed great strength of faith and character in this extreme moment of pain. He calls on us to follow His example (1 Pet. 2:18-24).
And, we can. It is not easy to forgive those who sin against us (Matt. 6:14-15). Yet, faithful Christians follow the example of Jesus by faith, putting on a heart of forgiveness and “forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3:13).
To forgive (aphiemi, Matt. 18:21; apoluo, Lk. 6:37) means “to send away, to let go, to keep no longer, to release” (Thayer, Strong’s).
Understanding why we must forgive will help strengthen our resolve to be like Jesus. Why should we forgive?
We forgive because God commands us to forgive. Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21-22). We cannot be faithful disciples of Jesus and yet refuse to forgive sinners. We are living proof of God’s loving forgiveness. Shall we be so unlike Jesus as to refuse to have forgiveness in our hearts and actions toward those who sin against us?
The fact that God commands us to forgive does not mean God is pressuring us to forgive. Far from it. It means forgiveness is an act of loving faith in Jesus: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jno. 14:15). And again, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jno. 5:3). We obey the command to forgive because we love Jesus.
We forgive in order to be like God. God is “the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deut. 7:9). God’s loving kindness (grace) prompts Him to forgive sinners (Eph. 1:7; Titus 3:4-5). (Truly, sinners must repent in order to receive His forgiveness, Lk. 17:3; Acts 8:22; 1 Jno. 1:9. Here we are discussing forgiveness from the giver’s point of view.) Unless there is grace in the heart, forgiveness will never be extended to others.
We forgive those who sin against us because we want to be like God. We intend to forgive in the way He forgives us. The parable of the unforgiving servant teaches that our heavenly Father forgives us out of compassion, and we must do the same (Matt. 18:21-35, 27, 33). Paul wrote, “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). It is the calloused person who refuses to have compassion and forgive “from his heart” (Matt. 18:35). This person will not be forgiven. We are able to forgive by devoting ourselves to being like our Father in heaven.
We forgive so that we can be forgiven. Jesus was very plain about this. Unless we forgive others we will not be forgiven:
“Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Lk. 6:37).
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mk. 11:25-26).
When teaching how to pray, Jesus said to ask God “to forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). If we do not, then we will not be forgiven (Matt. 6:14-15). This is a clear and unambiguous standard by which to assess our own forgiveness as disciples of Christ.
It is a sin not to forgive! Christians who will not forgive others like Jesus on the cross can only expect the eternal torment reserved for sinners (Matt. 18:34-35).
We forgive because it is also good for us. Not only does forgiveness bless the one being forgiven, practicing it also frees one’s heart from bitterness, malice and anger (Eph. 4:31-32). Forgiving others rejoices the heart through obeying the Lord (Psa. 19:8). Forgiveness engenders restoration and renewal, and brings refreshment to the soul.
God’s forgiveness is offered to all in His Son, Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Christ calls on us to forgive as we have been forgiven. “Be imitators of God” and forgive one another when complaints arise (Eph. 4:31-5:2; Col. 3:12-13).
— Via The Spirit’s Sword, August 31, 2014, Volume 17, Number 14
What If I Am A One Talent Man?
by Marc Gibson
Jesus taught the Parable of the Talents to His disciples to teach them the need to be productive in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 25:14-30). Talents were measures of money, and a man delivered these talents to his three servants. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one. Talents were given to each “according to his own ability” (v. 15).
Obviously not all the servants had the same ability because they each received a different number of talents. While one servant could work with five talents, another could only work with two, and another only one. It is a fact of life that everyone possesses different abilities. Some might be a five talent person, or perhaps a two talent person. I might be just a one talent person. What if I am a one talent man?
1. If I am a one talent person, I should not feel inferior to anyone in the work of the Lord. The servant who received one talent was expected to use his ability to work with what he had been given just like the two talent and five talent man. Everyone has work that they can accomplish in the kingdom of God, and no labor is insignificant in the eyes of the Lord.
The church is pictured as a body with parts that are considered as weaker and unpresentable (1 Corinthians 12:20-25). On these we bestow greater honor because they are just as necessary as any other part. Everyone has a vital place in the kingdom of heaven, even the one talent man!
2. If I am a one talent person, I should not “bury” my talent. This was the mistake of the one talent man in the parable of Jesus (v. 25). He said he was afraid because he knew his master to be a demanding man. He should have known that doing nothing would be the worst possible choice he could make. Perhaps he was afraid of losing his one talent. There is no shame or loss in giving every effort to do good with what we have.
A buried talent does no one any good. Our Father in heaven provides blessings and abilities for us to use, not to bury in fear or self-pity. There are things each of us can do to further the cause of the kingdom. Let us do it with one or five talents!
3. If I am a one talent person, I should not forget the reward that awaits the faithful servant. The master told the faithful servants that had gained more talents, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (vv. 21, 23). No matter how many talents you start out with, if you strive to be faithful and fruitful for the Lord, a joyous reward awaits!
No reward awaits those who do nothing. If the five talent man had done nothing he would have heard the same condemnation of the unfaithful one talent man: “You wicked and lazy servant…cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (vv. 26a, 30). The joy of reward is worth every effort, every hurdle, and every sacrifice.
Conclusion. You and I may be one talent folks. There is no shame in that. Use that talent to the glory of God. Great good will be done in His service and an eternal reward will be yours!
–Via The Knollwood Messenger, July 2014
News & News
Marie Pennock had spent a couple days in the hospital recently, due to a fast and erratic heart beat. On May 18, she will be having an MRI. Her back pain has also continued, and it often keeps her from being able to sleep.
Jean Beach (Jim Lively’s sister) has been suffering from some gastrointestinal problems, along with possible kidney stones, and is wanting to see a doctor as soon as she can.
Judy Daugherty (also a sister of Jim) has been making some improvement, after having spent about 4 days in the hospital, due to falling backwards and severely hitting her head. For now, it requires her using a walker while she recovers.
Ronnie Crews has recently been having some heart issues and not feeling well, for which he is undergoing some testing.
Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: Myrna Jordan, Mary Vandevander and Melotine Davis, Danielle Howard, Deborah and Penny Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Jewell Wilson, Sunny Nichols, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Steve Vista, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Downs Moody, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jesse Bailey, Sue Wooten, Jewell Wilson, and Colleen Henson.
If you are a female, feel free to come and join the other ladies for their Ladies’ Bible Class that meets every Tuesday at 7 PM in the church building.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)