Vintage message from February 4, 2001.
The fact is, Jesus died to forgive all of us… The reason that He came was not to give us Cadillacs and not to move mountains from where they were standing and being tossed into the sea, but that we would have an ability to love and to forgive. The greatest miracle, I believe, that we can ever see is accomplished right here in my own heart, because you know what? The hardest thing to accomplish is, when my brother hurts my feelings, to forgive him for it and to move on and then love and care… He wants us to know that His Father in heaven wants to forgive us and, in fact, has forgiven us through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, but we hinder that love and that forgiveness by harboring unforgiveness in our own lives… The sum total of our faith that we have, that we’ve been given, is to bring us to one point, and that is to trust Jesus Christ in our lives, to forgive us our sin and, in return, for us then to forgive those who have offended us. We don’t want to do that…or even to forgive ourselves… There is nothing you can do to deserve forgiveness, because we do not deserve forgiveness. We deserve to die and go to hell and be separated from God for all eternity, and the only reason why we can and should be in heaven with God the Father is because He loved us and He forgave us by His own free will, not by anything you and I can do or will do. We can not impress Him. He loves us. We do not have to take what we deserve… So the next time you find yourself trying to justify why you should be able to continue to condemn and rail against the people who have hurt you, understand what you really deserve is not what you’re getting, because God, your Father, has already forgiven you, and we need to be about forgiving. And then, your faith grows…
Do you know that today God is speaking to your heart? Do you know that today God wants to bring changes to you? Do you realize that we have been given, now, the vineyard that God had created, the blessing of God to share with a lost and dying world? That God, in fact, wants to save mankind and wants to love mankind; that we have been given the vineyard and that when the vines are ripe, that when we make the wine, that it is the wine of the Spirit that we are to be sharing with a lost and dying world; that He is simply asking us to be willing to be used to love, to forgive, to allow His power to be displayed through us? But so often we find ourselves in that scenario where we’re saying, “I’ve done this, and I’ve worked too hard to give it over to anybody, especially God, because then He’ll take all the credit… After all, I deserve a little bit of the credit…”
We owe it to Him to give Him every bit of respect, every bit of love, every bit of consideration, and everything that He has given to us, back to Him to use as He wills, because after all, we are still [His servants].
Pastor Dave Elkins