Forgiveness is the pathway to fellowship.

Col. 3:10-15

We have been talking about our theme, “Growing spiritually mature through loving God and people.”

According to the Bible we cannot love God without loving people.

I John 4:20-21, “If a man say I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"

And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God loves his brother also.

There are those who will say that Christians are not loving like God says we are to love each other.

If that is true? The reason is that we are not willing to forgive people who offend us. 

Not forgiving is expressed through resentment and bitterness. 

Resentment and bitterness destroy fellowship.

Because we are imperfect, sinful people, we inevitably hurt each other, whether it is intentionally or unintentionally, but either way it requires mercy and grace to create and maintain fellowship.

It requires grace and mercy from the offender and offended.
Sometimes the offender doesn’t know he or she has offended the person, therefore can’t apologize because they don’t know.

The offended does not need the offender to apologize to forgive them for the hurt they have caused.

The offended have the power to forgive the person who has hurt their feelings.

As long as bitterness and resentment are living in the heart of a person, fellowship with God and people is not possible.

Fellowship is exercising forgiveness!

Forgiveness is a choice that frees the hurt person from his or her pain.

Forgiveness is not earned or deserved in Eph. 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
  • Forgiving is the Greek word charizomai from charis meaning grace.
Unforgiveness extends pain and breaks fellowship with God.

Forgiveness is the pathway to fellowship.

I.      Salvation makes fellowship a reality- vs. 10-12.
II.     Forgiving one another maintains fellowship- vs. 13.
III.   Love is the foundation for fellowship- vs. 14.
IV.    Let God rule your heart when at odds with others-vs. 15.
I am thoroughly convinced that blessing from God comes through our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I am equally convinced that Satan’s goal is to cause conflict within the body of Christ, and we must put on the whole armor of God to withstand his attacks.

A church cannot grow spiritually without being in fellowship with God and people.

We can choose to forgive rather than isolation from the church.

I.      Salvation makes fellowship a reality- vs. 10-12.

“And have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”

  1. Having put on the new man is a saved man.
  • 2 Cor. 5:17, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature old things are passed away behold all things are become new."
  • To put on the new man is to take off the old man, which is the flesh where sin resides.
  1. The saved man is renewed in knowledge after the image of Christ.
  • He or she is a person of the Bible.
  • Reading, studying and meditating on the word of God.
  • Knowledge is epignosis which is transformational knowledge.
  1. Transformed after the image of Christ, which is discipleship.
  • Being saved makes fellowship a reality.
II.    Forgiving one another maintains fellowship- vs. 13.

“Forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if any man has a quarrel against any even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

  1. We are saved into fellowship with God and his people.
  2. But people hurt us through words and actions.
  • The hurt may not be intentional but nevertheless we are offended and hurt.
  • The solution, the remedy, the medicine to heal our hurt is not resentment, bitterness and isolation from church because of people.
  1. The saved response to being insulted and offended is  forbearing and forgiving the person who hurt you.
  • Forbearing is to endure, to stay under even if it doesn’t feel good.
  • Forgiving is releasing them from their crime against us, to forgive is to no longer hold it against them.
  • Forgiveness is the Greek word charizomai it’s a deponent verb that’s in the middle voice. Now what that means is forgiving them is not helping them but its helping you!

How is it helping me pastor?
  1. It is helping you to get out of your sin of bitterness and resentment.
  2. It is helping your relationship with God because you are showing him that you are like his Son, Jesus.
  3. It is helping your blood pressure; it is relieving the stress on your heart and your brain.
  4. Forgiving and forbearing helps you to live longer and better.

III.   Love is the foundation for fellowship- vs. 13.

“And above all these things put on charity which is the bond of perfectness.”

  1. Above all things means the most important thing.
  2. Put on love is an imperative command from God.
  • Put on is to dress up in love!
  • To put on love, we have to take off pride and the lust of the flesh.
  1. Love is the priority for fellowship with your brothers and sister.
  • The power of love makes fellowship real.
  • The power of love is greater than resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness.
  1. Love is the evidence of spiritual maturity.

IV.    Let God rule your heart when at odds with others- vs. 15.

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

  1. Let God decide how to respond when you are verbally or physically attacked.
  • When someone insults you, confer with God, don’t allow the flesh to rule but let God have his way.
  • Sometimes winning looks like losing in the eyes of the flesh.
  • Winning is “let brotherly love continue” (Heb. 13:1).
  1. The peace of God is the harmony of God’s will working in our life
  2. The will of God is that we live in fellowship with one another.