So this is the season of “Peace on earth, goodwill to men”…have you been to the mall lately, especially the parking lots and checkout lines? And don’t even get me started on Facebook—friendships and even families have been torn apart, with political offenses starting feuds that seem destined to last a lifetime. But that Peace I referenced earlier wasn’t just a “positive affirmation” that will come to pass if we all just put a “coexist” bumper sticker on our cars. And it, or I should say “He”, didn’t come on that night over 2000 years ago just to make us “happy” or fulfill our dreams, at least not by the world’s standards. That Peace Who came on that silent and holy night in Bethlehem didn’t come so we could have our “best life now”, He came so we could have His life…a life of joy and peace no matter your circumstances, a life that embraces suffering here for the glory to come. And it’s a life of humility, often requiring us to lay down our own desires, our own need to be “right” or to “win” the argument, and our right to be offended at the harmful words and actions of others. Here today to explain is teacher and author Kathi McCarty.
Table Talk Notes“God gives the most sacred gift of the prerogative of choice, but God does not give the privilege of determining a different outcome to what the choice will entail.” - Ravi Zacharias Click To Tweet
Principle 1: Forgiveness
Matt 6:14-15 | “If you forgive (them)…the Father will forgive you…”
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Col 3:12-13 | “…forgive anyone who offends you…”
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Hebrews 12:15 | See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Eph 4:32 | “…be kind…forgiving one another.”
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Matt 18:21-22 | Forgive 70 times seven
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Luke 6:37 | “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
John 8:3-11 | “let the one who has not sinned throw the first stone…”
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
What does forgiveness look like?
I will not dwell on this incident.
I will not bring this incident up and use it against you.
I will not talk to others about this incident.
I will not allow this incident to stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.
Principle 2: Sowing & Reaping
Gal 6:7-8 | “…God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, he will reap.”
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
2 Cor 9:6-8 | “…he who sows sparingly/bountifully will reap sparingly/bountifully…”
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
Luke 6:37-38 | “Give and it will be given to you…”
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Malachi 3: 8-10 | “Will a man rob God?”
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
Psalms 126: 5-6 | “Those who sow in tears…”
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
“God gives the most sacred gift of the prerogative of choice, but God does not give the privilege of determining a different outcome to what the choice will entail.” – Ravi Zacharias
Principle 3: Gratitude
Many of the psalms: “Give thanks…”
Eph 1:15-21 | I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 5:20 “…do not cease giving thanks; always giving thanks for all things in the name of Jesus…”
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Col 3:14-17 | “…whatever you do, do all in the name of the Lord, giving thanks…”
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1 Thess 5:18 | “…in everything give thanks for this is the will of God…”
…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Principle 4: Love
Luke 10:27 | “…love the Lord…with your whole heart, mind & soul, and love thy neighbor as yourself…”
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 6:32-36 | love your enemies
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Mark 12:28-31 | love your neighbor
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 | greatest gift is love
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Everyone wants to go “deep” in the Lord, but have you mastered the most essential practics of the faith yet? Remember, lasting change comes by grace AND practice!
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thess 5:23-24)