The One Ingredient You Can’t Do Without

Pastor Wes Aarum - January 7, 2018

Review Questions

  • What is the “one ingredient you can’t do without” that we heard about in Sunday’s message? Why is this so important?
  • Why is it so significant that God forgave us? What lengths did God go to forgive us?
  • What is one action step you can take with what you heard in Sunday’s message?

Daily Readings


Memory Verse

"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." - Matthew 6:12


Transcript

Good morning, my name is Wes And as Drake said I'm the pastor of college and young adults and man I'm excited to be here, it's an honor for me to be able to share together looking at the Word of God. The Word of God is amazing. One word from God, one verse of scripture can absolutely change your life, redirect everything, it can change everything.

Proverbs 30:5 says that every word from God is flawless, it's flawless. It is always on point. It will never come up short, it is complete, it is pure, it is strong. It can't get any stronger. There's nothing that I'm going to be able to say today that can make this word stronger or more impactful or more effective because it is God's word and it's up to us, giving us the privilege of leaning in and listening. Not just hearing with our ears but listening is something you do with your heart.

And so I'm going to invite you to do that today because here's the thing, I don't know anything about you really. Most of you have no idea what's going on in your life right now. I don't know your past, don't know your future but God does. Man, he's got a word for you today. He has something you wants to speak into your life if you will listen. He knows how much time you have left on this planet and he wants to speak into your life with that knowledge from the heart of a good father.

So I'm going to ask you do something that I ask the college students do each week when we gather together and I get the privilege of speaking to them. I'm going to ask you to ask God to speak to you because I got nothing that can change your life but God can. So would you do that with me right now. I'm going to invite you to bow your heads and just close your eyes and just man, just push everything to the sidelines and just lean in and just say, God, speak to me, you've got my attention, speak to me, I will listen, I will respond.

God, it's so awesome to be here. Lord, it's such a privilege to be in your presence with your people. Lord, we're going to learn from you today. Holy Spirit, be our teacher. Don't allow anything about me to get in the way because God you've got so many important things to say to us, truths that we need to hear. So, give us ears to hear, give us hearts to respond. God, I pray for those that need encouragement that you'd give it to those that need correction, you'd give it those that need redirection. Lord, those that need hope, those that need new life. God, you would give it today. All of that rests in you and all good gifts come from you. So Lord, we look forward to these brief moments together with you. Speak strongly to our hearts Christ. Thanks for loving us so much. We pray this in your name Jesus, amen.

Grab your Bibles and open up to the passage of second Timothy Chapter four, second Timothy Chapter four is the book of the Bible that we're going to be in. The bride you brought with you or it's in the seat back in front of you or on the table over there in the East Worship Center or if you have it on your electronic device because this passage in second Timothy, we're not going to put on the screen, we're going to look at it, I want you to have it in front of you because it's powerful. So we're going to be there in just a few moments so I want you be ready for that. Second Timothy Chapter.

Now, as you do that, as you turn to that, let me ask you an honest question. How many of you have ever cooked or baked something and left out an important ingredient? Let's be honest. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. How many of you did it this past Christmas season? Ouch, okay, good honesty, appreciate that. Ingredients are important, especially if they're key ingredients. Let me show you what I mean. Look to the screen if you would. Here we got, this is something someone saw on Pinterest. They go, this would be a good idea, this would be awesome, I can do this, so this was the shot they took at it. Yeah. Obviously there's some kind of missing ingredient there, maybe baking powder, maybe baking skill, we don't know.

Look at the next one, look at the next one. On the left, yup, that's what it's supposed to look, on the right. Nailed it, really, wow. You have a little perception problem I think perhaps. Take a look at the next one. On the top here, yes, this is the perfect, this is what's supposed to be, done here, okay, all right, apparently the airbag deployed, we don't know what happened. Something took place there.

Look at this one, check this one out. Here is what it's supposed to look like. Look at his eyes. Apparently shocked about something. Oh, [Santa Suit 00:05:59], a little too cold this morning, good morning, Merry Christmas. Look at the next one. This is probably my favorite one, this my favorite one right here, yeah. How it's supposed to be, yeah.

When you're missing key ingredients, it matters, man, it matters. Here's why I do that because today we're going to talk about an absolutely critical important key ingredient in your relationship world, because what's true in the cooking world, got to have the right ingredients, man, really true in the relational world. Whether you're just friends or whether you're in a dating relationship or whether you're in a marriage, this ingredient that we're talking about today is absolutely essential. In fact, I would go so far as to say that without this ingredient operating in your life, it will be impossible. You'll be incapable of having and enjoying a healthy long term relationship, it just can't happen.

So what is this magical ingredient? Here it is. Magical ingredient is forgiveness. Forgiveness. Now just so that we're all on the same page, let me define it for us. Forgiveness is when someone has hurt you. You've incurred a hurt in your life and you by the choice of your will make a decision to say to that person, I'm going to close the book on this. You don't owe me anymore, I'm going to release you from this debt, I forgive you. That's what that means. And as we'll see not only is that critical for the health of your relationships, that's critical for the health of you as a person.

If we're honest, we are flawed, every single one of us and we are broken and we get it wrong sometimes, sometimes often. We hurt people, other people hurt us. And if we can't learn to forgive, if you choose to hold on to unforgiveness, it will slow burn you to death. Because that is not God's design for you or for me as a human being, because you grab on to unforgiveness, pretty soon unforgiveness is going to bring in its ugly cousin resentment and its other ugly cousin bitterness. And man, those three are going to have a party in your life and it's not just going to stay in one part of your heart, it's going to seep through your entire being.

Yeah, the Bible in Hebrews Chapter 12 talks about getting rid of a root of bitterness, why, because the root feeds the tree. Whatever poison is happening in the root is going to be eventually seen in the tree and that's what's going to happen in our lives. If we hold on to unforgiveness, it's going to spread and ripple through every area of our life. We're going to just continue to roll forward the destruction in our path if we hang on to unforgiveness.

And, let's just remind ourselves of something right up front that the Bible is real clear about. You have an enemy, he's for real. And you know what, he's not a flesh and blood. That means your enemy ultimately is not the person you're sitting next to, it's not the person in your workspace, on your campus, in your family. You have an enemy. The Bible is very clear about that. His name is Satan, he's the devil, he's the accuser of the brother.

And Jesus ripped the lid off of his agenda in John Chapter 10:10 when he says, "The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy." That is his all time ongoing mission in your life. And he wants you to hang on to unforgiveness. He's the one who's fanning that flame in your life so that you'll hang on to that, because when you do, you allow that person and that hurt and that situation, that wrong to park in your life and you're going to carry that with you wherever you go. He loves that, he applauds that, he wants that, he will lie to you and tell you you need to hang onto this. You can't let it go because he knows it's a very short step from I can't believe they did this to me to I can't believe God let this happen to me. And that's where he wants you to land. Man, he is on a mission.

He is a schemer, he is a supreme strategist. He wants you to land right there because he knows if he can get you to entertain those thoughts you'll never run to God. Your heart will be callous towards him, your prayers will be hollow, you'll never trust someone whom you think is against you. That's what he wants.

Jesus knows, he knows that. That's one of the reasons Jesus put forgiveness right there in the prayer that he taught his disciples to pray. Check this out. In Matthew, it says, "And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors." He says, I want you to pray about that. I want you to do it. I want it to be a reality in your life. Jesus put it right in there because he wants that to happen but I think if we're honest none of us are sitting there going yeah, I think forgiveness is a bad idea, this is stupid. I don't know why I came today. Forgiveness is dumb.

No, I don't think we struggle with it, if we should forgive, I think we struggle with the how. How can I forgive a hurt that's been done to me and really make that forgiveness stick in my own heart. Well, it all depends on where you look. Not at the person or the situation or not even to your own resources, you look to God. You look to God. And you, you pay attention to what God says and what God not only who he is but what he's done and what he's doing. You look at God, you focus on him and I want to look at four truths very quickly today that if we will focus on God because there are for truth about him, if we will focus on these truths about God and let them impact our lives, we're going to walk out of here being better equipped to forgive. Being better equipped to do what God wants us to do to free us from the bondage of unforgiveness.

Now, I've phrased these truths in a personal way, to make it personal for you and for me because God makes them personal because they are personal, because forgiveness is a personal thing. So, here we go. Truth number one about God. Here's the first thing we need to understand. God is a God who forgives me. God is a God who forgives me. That's foundational to everything. Now, I want to look at this whole passage because it's a familiar passage but it's something that is very important because Jesus is teaching about forgiveness. It's familiar but stay with me on it. Here we go, that Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" He thought he was being generous. And Jesus answered, "I tell you not seven times but 77 times times." In other words, as long as it takes.

"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him 10,000 bags of gold," millions and millions of dollars, never going to be able to pay that back," was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children all that he had be sold to repay the debt. At this, the servant fell on his knees before him. Be patient with me he begged and I will pay back everything. The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go."

"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him 100 silver coins," in that economy, just a handful of dollars, "He grabbed him and began to choke him. Pay back what you owe me he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, be patient with me and I will pay it back. But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in, you wicked servant he said, I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to, shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

Whoa, think God is serious about forgiveness? I think so. Here's the problem with the first servant. His problem was, that he failed to allow the mind blowing forgiveness that he had just received, he failed to allow that to impact his own life and his own choices moving forward. Now when I read this story, I'm just like that guy, what a loser man, he's despicable, he is awful, I despise you. I mean, those are my thoughts going through my head as I read this and one day as I was reading, the holy spirit tapped me on my heart and said, hey Wes, if you don't forgive, you're that guy. Boom. If you don't forgive, you're that guy. If we as Christ followers, if we don't allow the mind blowing forgiveness that we have received from God, if we don't allow that to impact our lives moving forward then we become that guy, we become that guy.

Listen, maybe one of the most important things you can do today is carve out a little sliver of time and just get alone with God, Just you and God and ask Him by His Spirit to open your eyes and to remind you all that God has forgiven you of. Not to shame you, because shame and condemnation that's the devil's playground, that's not God's road, right. Christ followers, Romans 8:1, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." This is not about shame, this is about magnifying the forgiveness of God.

When you magnify something, you don't make it bigger, you see it bigger. You look through a telescope, I can't really see that planet, you're like, oh, look, I made it bigger. No you didn't, you just saw it bigger. That's what magnification does. You see it bigger, you see it as it really is. When you magnify the forgiveness of God, you begin to see it by his spirit. He helps you see it for what it really is, how massive it is. We'll talk more about that in just a moment. And when you understand that, all that you've been forgiven, you will run to God and worship. You will run to God in Thanksgiving and gratefulness. And it'll be easier for you to forgive because God is a God who forgives me.

There's a second truth, it's this. God is a God who strengthens me. God is a God who strengthens me. Now, don't say anything out loud but how many of you have ever been let down by a friend, hurt by a friend. Let down by someone whom you were really counting on and man, they blew it. They let you down, they hurt you. Those sting, those times really sting. Well, the Apostle Paul can relate to that. You have it in front of you in second Timothy Chapter four, look at verse 16. Paul's speaking, he says, "At my first defense, no one came to my support but everyone deserted me. May it  not be held against them." Everyone deserted me at my first defense, what's Paul talking about.

In the Roman judiciary system, there is often a first offense and at this first defense what would happen is a prisoner would be brought out on trial and at the first defense, the prisoner's family, friends could come and speak a word of support publicly on behalf of the accused. Paul had a first defense. He was brought from prison on trial, first defense, opportunity for people who cared about him, who loved him, who supported him to show up and to speak up on his behalf. Guess how many showed up? Zero, nobody. These are people that Paul loved counted on, invested in, probably sacrificed for. None of them showed up. How would you have felt? Can you imagine standing there and charges are read and, anybody have anything to say on behalf of the defendant? Silence. Think that stung. Everyone deserted me, he said.

Well, what he do? Let me tell you what he didn't do. He didn't fan the flames of resentment or bitterness or unforgiveness in his heart because may it not be held against him. He chose to forgive and look what happened. Look at this very next verse, verse 17. These are Paul's words, this is his testimony, first person testimony. "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength. When Paul chose, as he chose to obey and forgive, God was right there. The King of the universe was speaking into Paul's heart and saying, hey, I'm right here and I got you, I'm at your side. I'm in your corner and I who spoke the world into existence I'm going to give you strength. And the poured and pumped strength into Paul. This wasn't just a thought experiment that Paul was talking about, this really happened to him. He sensed and felt and experienced the strength of God into his life because he chose to obey, he chose to forgive.

Listen, your obedience as a believer doesn't earn you God's favor, it positions you to experience God's favor. And when Paul obeyed and chose to forgive, God says here we go. And he gave him strength because that's what God does. He did it Paul, he'll do it for you as you choose to forgive because God is a God who forgives me, God is a God who strengthens me. But there's a third, God is a God who repays for me. God is a God repays for me.

One of the lies that Satan wants us to believe that will keep us hanging on to that unforgiveness is that if we forgive someone, we're letting them get away with it man. We're giving them a free pass, it's a lie, it's not true, because God is a God who repays for me.

Listen, you need to hear this. Forgiveness does not make sin okay, it doesn't. Forgiveness doesn't make sin okay. If someone sinned against you, they hurt you, that was real. But Paul again shows us how to deal with it. Just roll up to verse 14, look at it. "Alexander the metal worker he said did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done." Alexander the metal worker did me a great deal of harm. Paul didn't pretend it didn't happen, he didn't deny it, he didn't push it to the side like it was no big deal. He acknowledged it. Paul was saying, this guy for real, man, he hurt me for real, but guess what, I'm not going to allow him to write the story line of my life. God is greater and I'm going to trust God with this situation because the Lord will repay him for what he's done to me. The Lord will repay him.

Paul was so convinced that God is a God of justice that he didn't have to try to hang on to that. He didn't have to try to hang on to that to make Alexander pay somehow. He didn't try to get him back right, he didn't storm his house, bust down the door and go all John wick on him or something like that, all right. I never saw the movie, saw it on T.N.T for about five minutes, it was like, that's a deed movie. Cultural reference there. He didn't do that, Paul didn't do that. He says I'm going to trust God and so I'm going to let God handle it because God's a God of justice. I don't have to try to get back at him. He's not getting away with anything, God is going to handle it.

I heard it put this way, I'm taking them off of my hook and I'm putting them on God's hook. Not in a vengeful way because you're not really putting them on God's hook if you still got vengeance in your heart, but you're putting them on God's hook saying, I trust God, that's what Paul did, that's what he instructs us to do by example and that's what we can do. They're not getting away with it. God's a God of justice. God says, I got it. I'm your good heavenly Father, I got it, give it to me. Trust me with it because I'm a God who will repay for you. God is a God who repays for me.

Now, you probably heard this statement, forgive and forget. Is that really possible? If you've really had something horrific done to you, can you really forget about it? Is it possible, is that even healthy. I don't know to be honest with you, I don't know. Let me tell you what I do know, what is absolutely possible and absolutely healthy is that when you remember it, you remember it differently. You remember that hurt differently. You remember it in light of the truth of who God is. That he is a God who forgives me, that he is a God who strengthens me, that he is a God who repays for me. You remember it in light of that and you allow that to be what informs your heart and your life. You allow that, look at it.

How much longer are you willing to allow the people who have hurt you to write the storyline of your life moving forward? How much longer are you going to let that happen? How much longer are you going to allow hurt to write that storyline of your life, to allow resentment and bitterness to write the storyline of your life. You don't have to. It's not what God wants for you. He says, when you remember it, remember it in light of who I am.

And then fourth truth, here it is. God is a God who heals me. God is a God who heals me. There's a prophecy about Jesus in the book of Isaiah that Jesus claimed for himself when he was teaching in the temple. And it's this right here. "The spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me," Jesus is saying, he claimed these words as his own. "The spirit of the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted." Bind up the brokenhearted. When you've been sinned against, when you've been hurt, you get broken inside, you get broken in your heart. Jesus said, I've come to bind that up. The word bind means to cover, to wrap around, to envelop. There is no part that is not touched by the binding. And Jesus said, when your heart is broken on the inside, I have come to make it whole again, that's one of the reasons I've come. To proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.

Jesus said, I don't want you to sit in that cell and soak in the darkness, in the bondage of unforgiveness. Jesus said, I want to bring you out, I want to set you free. Stop being in there, you don't have to be in there. I have come to release you from that. To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, he is a God of Justice. To comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion. To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. Instead of a burned down burned up life, a scorched earth life. Jesus said, I have come to give you a crown. A crown of beauty. The exact opposite of ashes.

He says, the oil of joy instead of mourning, I want to give you joy. I'll poor that on you. You've been mourning, you've been mourning this hurt, you've been carrying it around with you. You've been stirring up this [biterness 00:25:11], I want to give you something different. I want to pour the oil of joy on you. And a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. If you hang on to unforgiveness man, despair is going to own you. You're going to be hopeless. Jesus said, I have come to instead give you a garment of praise. They will be called oats of righteousness, check this out. A planting of the Lord.

Do you know what that means? You don't do this. I don't do it. I don't manufacture this. I don't try to work this up. Jesus is the one who's doing it, it's the planting of his. He is the one who's doing this. He's the one who's making this happen in my life as I follow him, as I lean into him, as I open my life up to him. He is the one who's doing this. Check this out, for the display of his splendor. He gets all the credit, he gets all the glory. It magnifies him so that when people see you and know your situation and see what's going on with you and your attitude, and it's not how everybody else responds, you respond differently. What's happening? It's God. He did this for me, he can do it for you, he can do it for you. Because God is a God who heals. God is a God who heals.

My wife and I, we have two kids. Dylan and Lindsay. Dylan now is 17, Lindsay is 14. I share this closing example with you. Not so that you'll go, wow Wes, you're a great parent. Because the truth is, man, I've made lots of mistakes and I'm sure I'll make more mistakes in the future. I don't want to. Conny and I, we don't want to. We praise God, help us be good parents but, you know, we're flawed individuals so we mess up and I'm sure I'll mess up in the future but I think this time I think God help me to get it right.

As our kids were growing up, we used all manners of discipline in their life because we wanted them clearly to know there's a right road, there's a wrong road. God lays out the right road, this is the wrong road. If you go on the wrong road, there's going to be consequences and so we're going to discipline you to get you over to the right road. We used all manner of, that sounds awful like we have tasers and stuff. Let's bring that in, okay. Didn't use that, that you know of. Kidding. We believe, because we know, hey, this is important, the Bible talks about that so we used all manner of discipline.

One of the things that we used, we affectionately called the blue notebook and this is actually and I found it, I dug it up. This is actually one right here. What we do with this is when the kids got older, when they did something wrong, they got the blue notebook. That doesn't mean we hit them with them, okay, we didn't. What we did was, not that I wasn't tempted, I'm kidding. Is that what they had to do is they had to write in it. For example, if they said something really wrong and unkind that rose up to the level of hey, this needs to be taken care of, this needs to be disciplined, I'd say okay, you got five pages or you got 10 pages in the blue notebook. And that means we'd mark them all out, 10 pages, front and back. You know, five pages front and back, and they'd have to write out for example, if it was something unkind they said, I will always speak words of kindness. And they couldn't do anything else. They weren't allowed to do anything else, watch T.V, play with friends, nothing until they finished the blue notebook.

They grew to hate the blue notebook. Even to this day when we walk into Walmart and they see the blue notebooks, say shutter ... Sorry. One time, Dylan, when he was younger, my son, we caught him in a lie, caught him red handed in a lie. That's not a good thing because truth is a very important deal, a very big deal in the Aarum household. So I said hey man, that's going to be, that's going to be 40 pages in the blue notebook. A silent ripple goes through the crowd. Yeah, I said, look, that's a big deal. Now that stinks all on its own for Dylan but the next day he had friends who were driving in from out of town to spend time with him, to have fun with him. I'm like, you can't do anything until you finish that. So obviously, not a good moment for Dylan, not a good day coming up for him.

So he went to bed early because he wanted to get up early to get started on the blue notebook. We put him in his room and prayed with him and as I walked out of the room, I was so clear, I heard Lord speak to my heart and says, you do it for him. What? You do it for him. Are these the tacos speaking from supper because they didn't sit with me really well. You do it for him. I want to teach your son a lesson about grace and forgiveness. I'm like, okay. All right, Lord. I talked to it with my wife Conny and I said, I really think I got to do this. And she says, okay, good luck, I'm going to go to bed. I'll be praying for you from our covers and like awesome.

So I went downstairs, sat on the living room floor, got the notebook, got the pen. In my mind I'm thinking, man, I wish I would have said five pages because this would have been, so I started. And I started writing out. This is actually the book, the actual book, "I will always tell the truth, I will always tell the truth," over and over and over and over and over again. So it actually took me all night. It took me all night to do this. "I will always tell the truth." Took me all night. I took no brakes man. It's not like I'm slow or anything, it's just like, after a while your hand is like, oh my gosh, this is what the scribes felt like. Oh man, what's going on.

So anyways, I finally finished about five o'clock in the morning. I finished about five o'clock in the morning. Real tired, went upstairs, crawled into bed, collapsed. About an hour, an hour and a half later, Dylan got up and Conny got up because she went down with him, because she knew what had happened. Dylan goes to the counter and there's the blue notebook and there's a pen. So he opens up the cover. All of a sudden he sees the first page is filled out. Turns it over. That page is filled out. Turns it over, turns it over, all these pages are filled out. And his eyes are getting bigger and bigger and bigger and he flips all the way, every single page is filled out.

He gets to the last page and on the bottom of the last page, it's right here, you can't see it but on the bottom of the last page after I wrote the last, filled out the last line, "I will always tell the truth," I wrote this, "Dylan, because I love you, Dad."

I'm sorry, I don't know what just happened right there, oh my gosh. Let me tell you why I share that with you. Because every single one of you have a blue notebook. Every single one. And it doesn't just record one sentence. It records in meticulous detail, perfectly every single sin you will ever commit from birth till death. Every single thing that you have done wrong in rebellion against God, in word, in deed, in thought, in attitude, in motive, in action. Everything you did wrong and everything you should have done right but didn't. Those are called sins of omission. Every single sin from birth till death you haven't committed yet but God knows it's coming, he recorded them in your book.

If he had done that, written this in this college style notebook, how bug do you think that book would be. It would be bigger than the tallest mountain. You would stand here on the ground, if I put it right here, you couldn't even see the top of it. That is the debt that you owe and that I owe a holy God.

In a court of law, how many crimes do you have to be convicted of for you to be declared guilty? One. You got billions upon billions upon trillions upon trillions recorded against you and every single line screams guilty. And we have the audacity to think this philosophy of, oh my good will outweigh my bad, that that makes sense. Are you kidding me? How in the world you were ever going to pay up for that. How you ever going to make up for that with good works. That doesn't even actually work in our human to human relationships. If you had a friend who was killed by a drunk driver and they caught the guy they put him in jail for 30 years, would you actually go, yep, that made up for it. You have the fact that I will never have my friend again on this planet, the fact that guy was in jail, that made up for it. That doesn't even work in our world, how in the world is it going to work with God. We deserve hell, we deserve deserve hell.

And then God comes along and he says, that's not what I want for you. I'm going to do something about your book. And so he sends his son Jesus, God in the flesh to come to live the perfect life we should have lived. And he died on the cross and on that cross Jesus took every single one of our books so to speak. Every single one. God put it on him. Jesus died one time, every single one, he put it on Jesus. And Jesus paid for every single sin. Every single one. He took the wrath of God. He took hell. Belonged to us, belonged to me. He took so this could read differently. So that yours and mine could read differently. So that when we come to him and we say, God, I need you, I'm lost, I'm a sinner, I need a Savior, come into my life, I turn from my sin. I want you, I want my sins forgiven, I want to go to heaven, I want you. So that when we do that and we invite Christ into our life, our book changes.

And imagine if you would, you just come to Christ, and God leads you up to the very top, the very front, the very cover of your book and you approach it with a trepidation because you know the vileness that is recorded in there. And you slowly peel back the top cover and you look at the first page and you are stunned, because you can't see your sin that's written there. All you can see are the words written on top of it, "Paid in full, I forgive you." The next line, "Paid in full, I forgive you."

The next line, the next page, the next page, everywhere you look, every time you open a page it's there, "Paid in full, I forgive you." The next page, "Paid in full, I forgive you." All the way down and you get to the very last page, the very bottom and right after the last line is filled in, "Paid in full, I forgive" you read these words that are [axed 00:36:36] right there with your name "Because I love you. Abba, Papa, your Heavenly Father." He did that for you. He did that for me. And when that grabs you, when that gets on you, you can forgive others.

How absolutely ridiculous and tragic and sad would it be for me to come into the presence of God with a hand full of fist full of pages and say God, look at on these pages, I record the things that people did against me. Look at these things. I wave them around as if to try and justify my unforgiveness and God just looks at me and goes, "Wes, let me remind you of something son. Turn around. Look at your book. This is what I did for you and you can let them go."

The freedom of forgiveness can wash over you because God is a God who heals. Listen, you know this is true. If you can't forgive people in your past for things they've done to you, how in the world are you going to forgive somebody in your future when they hurt you because they will. God says, look at me. Be overwhelmed by the glorious weight of your own forgiveness because God is a God who forgives me. God is a God who strengthens me. God is a God who repays for me. God is a God who heals me. If you're a believer, that's yours, today, right now. If you're not, that's what's waiting for you. And as we focus on God, we can forgive. He by his spirit could help us forgive.

Let's pray together, With your heads bowed and your eyes closed for a moment. Thank you so much for your kindness and your grace, man, I really appreciate that. This is a critical moment right here, what did God say to you, for real, what did he say to you and what are you going to do about it. What did he say to you and what will you do about it. What if God can Change your life, he wants to do that right now. Maybe there's someone in your life you need to forgive. God says, look at me, look at me, be overwhelmed by these truths, I will help you. If you choose it, I will help you. And maybe for you, you need to be reminded of all that you've been forgiven of because Satan has been trying to get you to look in the rearview mirror. Jesus has forever shattered that. He shattered it, no condemnation for you. Paid in full, I forgive you,

Maybe for some of you who are like, I've tried to forgive but I can't. Look at God and keep forgiving. It's kind of like the swinging of a bell. Once you stop pulling that rope, it will still continue swing for a little but eventually it'll stop. Eventually it'll stop. Eventually forgiveness will grab hold..

Final question. If you're here and you don't know Jesus, if you died tonight, you're not sure you'd make heaven or you're pretty sure you wouldn't but God has spoken clearly to you, he says, this is you man and this is your moment. If that's you, then tell him., respond to him. With al the faith you had, just say, Lord, I'm reaching out. I'm a sinner, I need a Savior. Come into my life. Tell him.

Let me give you some words. Somebody loved me enough one day to give me some words, let me give them to you. They're not magic, just pray present like this silently. Just say Dear Jesus, I need a savior, I need you. I know I'm a sinner, I know I can't save myself. I believe he died on the cross for me. Forgive my sins. Give me eternal life and I want that. I want you. I turn for my sin. Jesus, come into my life. Save me, I'm all yours. I'm going to follow you. I'm all yours. Head bowed, eyes closed, no one looking around. But if you just prayed that prayer and meant it, this is real for you right now, with no one looking around, here's what I'm going to ask you to do. I'm going to ask you to raise your hand nice and high and look right at me just for a moment.

If you're serious about it and God spoke to you, I want you to raise your hand up nice and high and look right at me. Say, this is my moment, this is my day. If you're in the East Worship Center, I'm going to invite you do the same thing. Raise your hand, look right at me, awesome, look right at me, keep them up, awesome. Thank you. Let me tell you why I'm doing this, because what I want to pray for you in just a moment. Somebody loved me enough to pray for me the day I gave my life to Christ, I want to do it for you.

Secondly, I'm going to give you some instruction here in just a moment. Your raising your hand starts a process that is so important. Let me pray for you. God, these guys and girls, men and women, they have their hands raised, I pray that they would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you mean business. They mean business with you, you're moving into their life right now Jesus and they belong to you. Help them to know that based on authority of your word, Christ.

Heads bowed, eyes closed, no one looking around except for you who are raising your hands. Wave at me just for a moment because I don't want to miss anybody. Thank you, thank you, I appreciate that. Awesome, great. Here's what I'm going to ask you to do. You got your hands up. I'm going to ask you to do something. Pastor Jerry asks it every week man, which is so awesome. So what we're about in this church, we want you to know Christ.

You got your hand up, in just a moment, I'm going to jump off the stage, I'm going to run through those doors and I'm going to go right across the atrium to a place called the Fireside Room. I want you to come. If you come, will you wave at me just for a minute. You say, man, I'm serious, I'll come. All right. I want you to come, spend a couple minutes with me real quick. I want to tell you something, I want to give you something, I want to get you out of here. Okay? But just give me a couple minutes with you. Really important. If you're in East Worship Center, same thing, come on over. I want to give you something, want to say something to you real quick, just us, and help you out. Awesome.

Lord, thank you for today. Lord, thank you for the power of your forgiveness, may it stick in our life, may we move forward, God, allowing you to write the narrative of our story, the narrative our life. Thank you Jesus. May we never get used to the fact of your forgiveness for us. In you name we pray Christ, amen.