16 May 1993

Basics study: Week 3

Week 3: Forgiveness (of ourselves and others)

This lesson is part of an 8-week study series on the basics of Christian life.

6:30 - 6:45 Gather, socialize.
6:45 - 7:20 Eat.
7:20 - 7:25 Sing.
7:25 - 7:30 Hand back pledges.
7:30 - 9:10 Study/discussion.
9:10 - 9:20 Take prayer requests.
9:20 - 9:30 Pray.

Open in prayer.

7:30 Summarize main points from last study:

  1. What is the basis of forgiveness? Matthew 26:28
  2. Can our salvation be accidently lost? Romans 8:28-39
  3. What is the effect of unconfessed sin in our lives? Psalm 32:1-5

Forgiving Ourselves

7:40 Quote 1 John 1:9.

  1. What is supposed to be the effect of our confessing our sins?
  2. Do we ever go on feeling guilty even after we confess our sins?
  3. Why? Does it mean God has not forgiven us?

7:45 Turn to Isaiah 43:25.

  1. What does God say that He does with our sins?
  2. If God does not remember our sins, does it make sense for us to continue to feel guilty over them?
  3. Who do we hurt by continuing to feel guilty over sins that God has forgotten?
    • ourselves and God

7:50 Turn to Romans 7:14-8:2.

  1. Is it unusual for a Christian to experience habitual sin in his life?
  2. What radical statement does Paul make in verses 17 and 20?
  3. How can it make sense to say that I am not the one sinning when I do wrong?
    • difference between the mind and the flesh
  4. If I'm not the one sinning, does that make it easier to understand how Paul can say "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"?

8:00 Turn to Hebrews 10:19-23.

  1. In the Old Testament, what happened to someone who was not totally, 100% pure if he entered the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies?
  2. What does it then mean to be able to "draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith", even when we sin?
    • NIV Study Bible footnote for v. 19
  3. According to this passage, what is the prescription for a guilty conscience?
  4. Why do we sometimes find it difficult to do this?

8:10 Turn to Revelation 12:10-12.

  1. Where does our false guilt come from?
    • "Satan" in Hebrew means "accuser"
  2. Would it be exaggerating to say that dealing with false guilt is an act of spiritual warfare?

8:15 Method for dealing with guilt

Take an hour or more, write down the transgression, and pray for guidance and forgiveness, meditating on these and last week's Scriptures. Know that you are forgiven, for that is God's promise. Then decide that you are going to forgive yourself, regardless of how you feel.

Good passage to meditate on when you're dealing with guilt: Psalm 51.

Forgiving Others

8:20 Turn to Ephesians 4:29-32.

  1. What is our basis for forgiving each other?

8:25 Turn to 2 Corinthians 2:10-11.

  1. Who do we serve if we fail to forgive each other?

8:30 Turn to Matthew 6:14-15.

  1. How can we understand this passage in light of the other passages we have studied on forgiveness?
    • Addressed to non-believers.
    • Refers to restored communion with God, not eternal salvation.
    • Unforgiveness is the unforgiveable sin, tantamount to blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
    • One who does not forgive has never been truly saved.

8:45 Turn to Mark 11:25.

  1. Does this help us understand the previous passage any better?

8:50 Turn to Matthew 18:21-35.

  1. How does this parable relate to our forgiveness of others?
  2. What does the first servant owe in v. 34?
    • mercy - the original debt has been cancelled
  3. How does this relate to what we as forgiven believers owe the Father?
  4. What does it mean to "forgive your brother from your heart"?
  5. Is it any easier to interpret the passage from Matthew 6 in this context?
  6. Would it be fair to say that failing to forgive is a sin, which needs to be confessed?

9:00 Spiritual Warfare Conference

The study notes from the Spiritual Warfare conference suggest a process for forgiving others which is taken from the book, Victory Over The Darkness, by Neil Anderson. The process can be condensed into the following general steps:

  1. Set aside at least an hour alone with God to deal with your non-forgiveness.
  2. Study the passages we have examined to get a full understanding of why you need to forgive others, and on what basis.
  3. Make a list of all those who have offended you, and describe exactly what it is you need to forgive. You may need to include yourself and/or God on this list.
  4. Decide for each one of the offenses on your list that you are going to forgive the offender, based solely on Christ's forgiveness of you, not out of any goodness in your own heart, nor as a result of anything they may have done or not done to make up for the offense.
  5. Pray for each offense on your list, asking God to forgive you for any bitterness or resentment you may have been harboring against the offender, declaring your intention to forgive them as of now, and asking for His strength to help you live out that forgiveness.
  6. Whenever feelings of anger or bitterness come up again, remind yourself that you have already forgiven the person, that these feelings are not yours but belong to your sinful nature, and pray that God would help make your feelings conform to the decision you have made to forgive.

Topic for next week: Prayer

Memory verse for next week: 1 John 5:14-15 or 2 Chronicles 7:14.

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