In our series Lord Teach us to Pray, this week we look at the next section of the “Disciple’s Prayer” in Matthew 6. Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors. We look at God as our forgiver. In this message we explore what sin is and what God has done for us. We also look at the response we have to what He did for us.
Lord Teach Us To Pray – Week 8 – Forgive our debts as we forgive
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Today we will look at the Phrase … Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors
For the last several weeks we have been looking at this incredible prayer that Jesus taught His disciples in response to their question, “Lord Teach us how to pray”
I don’t know about you but this has been a very powerful time of study for me personally. It has helped me to become more authentic and purposeful in my prayer life. I feel like I have learned so much and grown more in my desire to pray because I feel my prayers are more meaningful. I hope that same is true for you. As we talked about last week one of the central truths we must understand about prayer is that it is not really about us. “It’s not about me”….Can you say that with me “It’s not about me”. Prayer is really about God… It is about bringing Him glory, It is about putting Him in the drivers seat in our lives. It is about understand who He is.
First we learned that we (if we are his disciples) are part of a family and He is our loving father.
Not only is He our Father, but he is Holy, and as we are his children we are to carry His name well. He is also our king. We are citizens of His kingdom and are called to place Him on the throne of our lives. We do this by submitting to God’s sovereignty.
We declare as Jesus did Your will be done not ours. Then as we looked at last week, He is or provider and sustainer. We recognize that he is the one who provides everything we need in life including life itself. We also discovered that as we looked at bread we were looking at the physical needs of life.
Well today as we look at Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors we will look at our our deepest need in life. Our spiritual need. While many can and do exist and live physically and never recognize God as provider. There is still something missing. Life is empty and void if we do not accept Him as our forgiver. This is the 5th petition we see in this prayer. Remember a petition is a desperate longing, a crying out to God requesting Him to do something that only He can do. So what do we need to be forgiven of? Our debts, FORGIVE OUR DEBTS.
What are these debts?
Is Jesus referring to our mortgage or our credit cards? While many of us would be elated if that was what Jesus was talking about the term debt is not referring to credit cards it is referring to I debt that we could never repay. SIN
The New Testament, which was written in Greek, contains several that help us understand what sin is. These are translated into various English words in addition to “sin.” In this simple prayer we actually find 2 different words used. In Matthew we find 1 word used, while in Luke we find another word used.
So according to scripture what is sin?
The most common word used for sin (also the one used in Luke 11:4 is Hamartia. This word in various forms occurs around 250 times. The central idea is to “miss the mark.”
This is an archery term describing the idea of missing the target. What is the target? Perfection, Holiness!
Another word used is Paraptoma. This word occurs 23 times, coming from para, meaning “aside,” and pipto, meaning “to fall.” It refers to a tresspassing, crossing a line, false step, blunder, sideslip, lapse or deviation-the failure to maintain godly conduct by the resistance to temptation. Probably the most familiar place this term is used is in Matthew 6:14-15, where we are told to “forgive men their trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Finally the last word we will look at today is opheilema. This is the other word used in Matthew 6:12 FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS. This word occurs only twice and is used as a metaphor for offense or sin, It has within the word the idea of breaking God moral code.
If we look at these three different ideas used in this simple prayer we see something very powerful. First we see that that we are not able to reach the standard that has been set before us. The truth is we do not have the ability. We don’t overshoot the target we never reach it. We can’t!
Romans 7:18 says this… For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
The next thing we see is whether or not we intend to violate God’s plan we fall. Our intentions do not matter, We all have the same problem… We are all equal… We all fall!
As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
Finally, our sins are debts we owe to God. It is a debt we can never pay.
Psalm 49:7-8 No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough.
Rom 6:23a … For the wages of sin is death…
Now that is the bad news. An some of you have heard this before… in fact some of you might have just glazed over as I began talking about this. Please stop for just a moment. Slow down. Don’t run ahead, or you will miss the beauty of this prayer. Jesus is teaching His disciples to confess their sins. He is reminding them “daily” they are to do this. You can’t ask for daily bread in the sentence before and then skip over the next part. This is everyone of our conditions. Let me tell you a little secret…. I am a sinner! What???? no way! Your the pastor. You can’t sin.
Look at the second word in that sentence. Forgive our debts Who do theses debts belong to? Please don’t deceive yourself and think you have arrived. Please don’t buy into the lie that the enemy wants you to believe. I don’t need to ask for forgiveness today. I John 1:8 says… If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
When Jesus called us to pray Forgive our Debts He is directing us to take a position where we can receive from God a blessing. That is called Humility.
James 4:6 says God resists the proud but gives Grace to the humble. This is where we not only declare our dependence on God, for our physical needs but also the deepest need in our lives. The payment of a debt we cannot pay.
Do you want God’s grace in your life each day? Here is how you get it. We start with this daily prayer. So what does God’s grace look like?
What does He do with our debts?
Titus 3:4-7 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Col 2:13-15 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
What is our response to His forgiveness?
Forgiving others is essential to receive forgiveness.
A few important things to note:
- This is the disciples prayer… it is not talking about salvation… it is talking about relationship
- God’s action always precedes our response.
- God never asks us to do something that He does not model and empower us to do.
- while God’s forgiveness of us is not conditional, our receptivity of God’s forgiveness and Grace will hinder our relationship with Him.
Matthew 6:14-15 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
In other words, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” does not mean that we are lost if the old unforgiving spirit raises its head just once. It means: No one who cherishes a grudge against someone dare approach God in search of mercy. God treats us in accordance with the belief of our heart: if we believe it is good and beautiful to harbor resentments and tabulate wrongs done against us, then God will recognize that our plea for forgiveness is sheer hypocrisy—for we will be asking him to do what we believe to be bad. It is a dreadful thing to try to make God your patsy by asking him to act in a way that you, as your action shows, esteem very lowly. John Piper