FORGIVENESS IS THE KEY TO GODLINESS
First Bible Lesson: Luke 17:4:
"And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him."
Second Bible Lesson: Colossians 3:13:
"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
Golden Text: Matthew 18:35:
"So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
Brethren, this is a singular and spectacular Gospel. It will not be much but brief. It has nothing to say about fornication, stealing, anger and other vices but is centered on forgiving one another. If you do not give in to works of the flesh like adultery, fornication, uncleanliness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like vices but fail to forgive others that trespass against you, then you are lost. Brethren have you heard that?
That is why I always tell you that I would wish that you were here always to have all the things that make man stumble revealed to you. Today I do not intend to be tedious unto you. Our topic of discussion will be forgiveness. If anyone offends you and asks for forgiveness, you must forgive him. If one offends you seven times a day, and asks for forgiveness seven times a day, you are duty-bound to forgive and forget. The Key to this Kingdom of God is the word, Forgiveness. This was in the last of the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ imparted to His Disciples. He also practiced this teaching. As the last food He had with His disciples is called the Last Supper, so is this Gospel called the Last Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Any time you are sick or exposed to any afflictions that tends to take your life, the first thing to do is to forgive all those who offended you, and everything will be well. If you have someone in your mind whom you have not forgiven, you have caused death to yourself. Though you have practiced all the other Gospels, if you fail to practice this one, salvation will surely elude you.
I PLEAD WITH TEARS IN MY EYES THAT WHATSOEVER ANYONE DOES TO YOU COUNT NO SINS FOR THEM, AND FORGIVE THEM.
If someone calls you a thief or murderer, abuses you, steals from you, kills your relation or a member of your family, do not count sin on him. You must forgive and forget. If someone commits adultery with your wife, assassinates your character and that of your wife, or worse still unlawfully impregnates your daughter, burns down your home, or destroys your property willfully or not, you are duty-bound to forgive and forget. If someone lies against you or in fact deals with you nonchalantly, commits any act or manner of sin or atrocity against you, it is your responsibility to forgive him and forget what he has done against you.
FORGIVENESS IS THE SHORT CUT TO THIS KINGDOM
It is neither long nor wide. Pass through this door, and you will surely inherit this kingdom.
This Gospel is short but tedious. Since you were born, all the offenses that have been committed against you, must now be forgiven and forgotten. If someone has waylaid you, or destroyed and assassinated your character, forgive him NOW. This Gospel is founded on Truth. It is salvation to those who believe and practice it, but utter damnation for those who ignore it. The route to heaven is open to the entire world if they forgive one another.
Our Lord Jesus Christ gave this injunction to humanity:
" SO LIKEWISE SHALL MY HEAVENLY FATHER DO UNTO YOU, IF YE FROM YOUR HEARTS FORGIVE NOT EVERYONE HIS BROTHER THEIR TRESPASSES "
If you do not forgive others their trespasses and offenses against you, God likewise will surely retain your own trespasses. You who claim that even if God were to descend on earth, that you will never forgive, tell Me, do you now see your problem? If you are so righteous, and practice all the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but fail to bow to His Gospel being revealed to you today, salvation will surely elude you. If you practice this Gospel you will have eternal life, but if you fail, damnation awaits you. If you do not forgive, you will be filled with darkness, and this situation will lead you to commit more hideous sins. If you learn to forgive, you will be filled with Light; and this Light will lead you to practice more righteousness. Darkness will never prevail over you. Your ways will be open. All ailments and tribulation will flee from you.
To forgive costs nothing. It is neither singing nor dancing. It is not fun either. Many people are fond of saying that they have no money, or sweet voice to sing; neither can they speak English; nor have the means to go on missionary visits to spread the word of God. But I tell you Brethren that you do not need all those to please God; rather sit down where you are and practice this Gospel of forgiveness. You will notice that forgiveness is not among the Ten Commandments. It is a distinct and new law which is more powerful than all other commandments.
If one professes to be a Christian, and this knowledge of forgiveness eludes him, let him know that he is a child of perdition. If you observe this commandment alone, you have fulfilled all other laws, and your ways are opened; bearing in mind that the Israelites wanted to observe the law and have salvation. But they failed, and perished in the final analysis.
THE RELATIVE CHAIN-LINK
You have heard that, "For whosoever shall keep the law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, also said do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." (James 2:10-11). Now if you practiced this Gospel you have covered all other commandments thereby obtaining justification by grace from God, with salvation as its aftermath. I am not saying that you will be saved. I am saying that you are saved already. You are aware of the fact that it should not have taken as much as 40 years to journey from Egypt to Canaan. This is simply parabolic in its usage. If you practice this gospel, you will realize that the sins against the Ten Commandments constitute the long route to salvation; whereas if you forgive one another, God will forgive you and you will pass through the short route to salvation.
If you assimilate this Gospel and practice the same, you are saved for eternity. Brethren, this Gospel is harder to practice than the others. For someone to take your wife or husband and you are enjoined to forgive that person and forget the whole thing seems very difficult; but if you practice it that is where your salvation will be. Think of someone taking away all your money by deception, and the very next minute that person passes you on the road with all amount of pride and arrogance, yet you are told to forgive that person. It is not an easy task.
Again, consider someone who goes to bear a totally unprovoked and justified false witness against you and yet you are asked to forgive him. It is also difficult to forgive someone who has robbed you blind. Do not think about whatever is done against you because forgiving your enemy is the way to salvation and eternal life. If you start from today to practice this Gospel, it will be peace to your soul and your way also will be full of light. The day you vow that you will never forgive your enemy, that is the day you have paved the way for your destruction.
THE GREAT REWARD IN PRACTICING THIS GOSPEL
Brethren, you can now see why Our Lord Jesus Christ said that those who initiated His crucifixion should be forgiven by His Father, God, because they never knew what they had done. If Our Lord Jesus Christ had not uttered this statement, He would have perished. There would have been no way Our Lord Jesus Christ would have been forgiven. What sin is greater than that committed against Our Lord Jesus Christ? Yet He asked The Father to forgive His accusers and enemies, because they did not know what they were doing!
Note that the people who crucified Our Lord Jesus Christ did not come forward to beg for forgiveness before He said those words. Whoever you are; whatever position you have in this life or before God; if you fail to forgive your enemies, you have failed woefully!. Romans 12:19 says "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine: I will repay, says The Lord."
It is the duty of God to avenge even for the smallest rat, goat, trees, birds, and the whole humanity, if they adhere to His injunctions. Whatever you do to someone else, God will do the same, in the exact measure to you.
ONLY THE FATHER CAN FORGIVE AND ADMONISH
God is your Father as well as the Father of the other person. You and your entire household, friends, and enemies, have the same Father. If anyone sins, he exposes himself to the vengeance of God. God does not have a special love for anyone whereby He gives concessions. No!. He is not a respecter of persons. He judges in righteousness. That is why He has said that you should forgive anybody who trespasses against you, so that He will equally forgive your trespasses against Him. If you fail to keep this particular injunction, you have automatically become a victim of His judgement and vengeance. Consider this parable: The Kingdom of God will be likened unto a certain king who would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, who owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not paid, the king commanded him to be sold and his wife, and children, and all that he had and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down and worshipped the king, saying, Lord have patience with me and I will pay thee all. The Lord of that servant was moved with compassion and he forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred pence; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, pay me that thou owest me. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet and besought him saying, have patience with me and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what was done they were very sorry, and came and told their lord what was done. Then his Lord, after that he had called him, said unto him: O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt because thou desirest Me: should not thou therefore have had compassion on they fellow servant even as I had pity on thee? And his Lord was filled with wrath, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. (Matthew 18:23-34).
What happened to this wicked servant will surely happen to anyone who after pleading with God for the forgiveness of their sins and shortcomings, and he is forgiven but would refuse to forgive his fellow men even for the smallest offence committed on him.
YOU CAN ATTRACT FORGIVENESS
You recall when the disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ asked Him to teach them how to pray, as John the Baptist had done with his followers. The Lord taught them thus: "...And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors..!" (Matthew 6:12). Forgiveness is the key! Many times people complain that God does not answer their prayers; and now you have seen that this particular prayer has found 'ME' and you out. The question is, have you forgiven those who have sinned against you? If you say Our Lord's prayer, given above, and fail to comply with it and fail to forgive others you have committed a double sin!.
Due to the adulterated nature of life in this world, the crafty and shallow wisdom of man had been exposed: Mankind now ask God to teach them HOW to forgive, relegating the prayer of Our Lord above to the background. I ask, how many times are they going to be taught? Our Lord said, "And forgive us our debts as we forgive others their debt...". Brethren it is now clear where your problem hangs: You can fast and pray till your life is almost spent. If you do not forgive those who sin against you, you are lost.
YOU MAY GIVE YOUR BODY TO BE BURNT BY FIRE, SHARE ALL YOUR RICHES WITH THE POOR, CONDUCT FEASTS EVERYDAY, BUT IF YOU FAIL TO FORGIVE YOUR ENEMIES, ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE IS IN VAIN.
A lot of you sitting here have got someone in your minds you now want to forgive and any time you come across these persons, you sigh. As you have decided not to forgive that person, you have exposed yourself to the judgement of God. Unless you forgive that person and make peace with him, forgetting all what has been done to you, your way to salvation is still far-fetched. If you do not reckon sins against your neighbor, none will dare reckon sins on you. There would be no law courts, prison or police. If you do not reckon sins on your neighbor, your heart is pure and clean, and you can see God and fully communicate with Him. Love and forgive your neighbor and speak the truth. Be free with everyone in everything. As I do not intend to be tedious unto you, let us now have the First Bible Lesson.
FIRST BIBLE LESSON: LUKE 17:4
"AND IF HE TRESPASS AGAINST THEE SEVEN TIMES IN A DAY AND SEVEN TIMES IN A DAY TURN AGAIN TO THEE, SAYING, I REPENT; THOU SHALT FORGIVE HIM."
Brethren have you heard that? Upon all the sins committed by humanity against God, which had previously moved God to destroy the human race, but for Our Lord Jesus Christ who came to atone for our sins: God forgave the world her sins. Since man has no iota of righteousness in him, nor can he forsake sins of his own accord, God decided to forgive man out of His tender mercies.
The parable given you above is for the people of the world. Upon all the sins of the world, God forgave us because of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And He says we must follow suit. But, see a man whose wife has been coveted by another man. Despite all amount of pleas for mercy from different quarters, this man whose wife was coveted by another man stiff-neckedly decides to take the life of the wanton man. See the way Portiphar quickly imprisoned Joseph when his wife falsely accused Joseph of attempting to rape her. And I ask you how will Portiphar find out the truth? Did salvation not elude him because of 3his actions.
FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER
Brethren, the entire world is filled with sins but because of Our Lord Jesus Christ, God forgave the entire world. Then He gave an injunction that the whole world must learn of Him. When people complain that there is so much suffering in the world today, though Our Lord has atoned for our sins, tell them that this is because the world has not learnt to forgive and forget.
Moses gave the well-known law, that one must love only those who love them and hate those who hate them equally. Even now you proclaim that this is the era of Our Lord, yet you repay evil for a good turn that has been done to you. Our Lord Jesus Christ said in Luke 17:3-4 that "Take heed to yourselves: if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent forgive him. And if he trespasses against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turns to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him." Thus in this New Kingdom of God here on earth, we do not know what is called sin. Since Christ died once for our sins the life He leads now has nothing to do with sin. Sin therefore has no power over us. All those who now impute sins on others have crucified Our Lord the second time and have publicly put His Holy Name to shame. All those who do not forgive others do not believe that the Lord died for our sins, and such people are woeful sinners. They have rejected life and are consumed with afflictions, and sufferings in multiform.
The Word of God says, 'For He shall have judgement without mercy, that hath showed no mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against judgement...'(James 2:13). If you are fond of forgiving others you have escaped judgement and you are already saved. Where is your salvation, you who reckon sins against others? You are a rogue, but when another rogue breaks into your house you fail to forgive him. And I ask you, how do you expect to be forgiven for your own roguery? What sin has someone committed against you that you have not committed against someone else? What do you lose in forgiving others so that God will in turn forgive you?
Brethren, do you know that lack of spiritual understanding has exposed you to doom? It is in your own interest to forgive others because your own sins are more grievous and heinous than those done against you. If someone says 'Woe unto you' what has it got to do with you? Do you lose anything? What pain has it inflicted on you that you cannot forgive? Your are not a thief but someone stands up to swear that you are one. Does his oath or allegations make you a thief but someone stands up to swear that you are one. does his oath or allegations make you a thief? Why then can't you forgive him? You have not committed adultery with someone's wife or husband, but your accuser stands up to condemn you vehemently. Is he God who knows everything? Your only way to salvation is forgiving one another regardless of what your have suffered. If you do not forgive your offender, both of you are bound to be lost!
If you claim to be a true Brotherhood, do not reckon sin for anyone. Rather always be ready to forgive and forget and be free with everyone. Our brother, Paul said in Philippians 3:13, that "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before." What is the actual meaning of forgetting those things which are behind? It is forgetting all the offenses and sins committed against you by others. Immediately this is done, your ways are open and you continue then in well-doing. Do you know what hinders you from doing good and practicing the injunctions of Our Lord Jesus Christ? It is your failure to forgive and forget.
FORGE AHEAD IN WELL-DOING
That is why Our Lord told that young man who asked His permission to go and bid farewell to them which were in his house before he followed Him, "And Jesus said unto him, No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62).
We are saved by grace. This grace is obtained by forgiving others. It is very simple. You realize that you are a sinner and that your neighbor is also a sinner like you. If both of you forgive one another wholeheartedly, God will surely forgive your sins and give you salvation. You do not lose anything in forgiving others. What do you lose by forebearing one another? You rather gain pardon and exoneration from the judgement of God. What will you profit in taking someone to court? You and your offender will surely perish through this act. People are tempted to ask why Brotherhood of The Cross and Star members, no matter their numerical strength, avoid strife and unrest. The reason is because they are under grace and no matter what their fellow members do to them they always forgive and forget.
GRACE ABOUNDS IN THE MIDST OF SINS
Satan has vowed that he will not allow anybody to serve God: this is the reason why he has infested the entire world with retaliation. God seeing this, introduced a short-cut for man to enter into this Kingdom and this short-cut is forgiving one another. If you uphold this injunction, you are saved and nothing shall pluck you from the hands of God. If someone has not offended you, he is always bold to your face; but the minute he offends you, he falls on his knees to beg for forgiveness, whether he is a governor, president etc. And if you forgive him, he will acclaim you as a true child of God. You may note that hitherto this man never used to greet you. This is why offence has to come for grace to abound.
If you give a person one million pounds, he will show appreciation that you have given him money, but he is more appreciative when he steals your money, and you refuse to sue him to court or disclose it to anyone. There is no greater work of God than forgiving one another. This is why you are advised to have love because love goes with mercy and forgiveness. The word forgiveness sounds so small but it is the most difficult word to practice. Because it seems that you claim perfection, I expose to you that none is perfect. Someone is elected to a position and instead of using his position to forgive and teach others forgiveness, he starts to show others that they are less fortunate and cannot be elevated as he was because they are sinners. And I ask you, was he elected because of his good works? Let us now have the 2nd Bible Lesson.
SECOND BIBLE LESSON: COLOSSIANS 3:13
"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man has a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
That is what you are called to come and observe and practice. Forbear and forgive one another as Christ did forgive us. As Our Lord Jesus Christ washed the feet of His disciples, and it came to the turn of Peter,.."and Peter said unto Him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter said unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him and said if I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me. Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, not my feet only but my hands and head. Jesus saith unto him, he that is washed needed not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. (John 13:6-10).
OUT OF THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART
Many of you are exposed to what evil people have done to your families when you were very young and now grown up, you swear to get back at them. Maybe someone you served or lived with or was adopted by really maltreated you and uptill now you bear them a grudge. Such attitude is death! What do you call witchcraft, juju, mermaid, and satan? It is an act of not forgiving one another. It is said, "O generation of vipers, how can ye being evil speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil things." (Matthew 12: 34-35). You can see that if you forgive others, your heart will be pure and clean and whatsoever you speak will reflect good things and you are free. All your endeavors will be attended by peace and light. But if you do not forgive others your heart is enkindled with smoky fire and you are covered by darkness. This position will surely expose you to other vices. It is said that we are under Grace and not Law. Grace is forgiving others. It is said that those who wish to obtain justification through law, have been separated from Christ. Woe unto those who wish to obtain salvation through observance of the Law, but cannot completely observe the law. Brotherhood members are under grace and when someone comes to Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, he is asked whether he bears someone grudge or malice in his heart and if so, he should remove such things from his heart, forgiving and forgetting what has passed and thereafter, he should be baptized. Once this is done he is filled with the Holy Spirit and there is no condemnation for him. You are witnesses that if you come before Me five times a day, what I ask you is whether you harbor any malice or anger against anyone.
Immediately you are forgiven, you are free! If you then forgive others who wronged you, your problems are gone; but if you go back to renew your previous grudge, your problems will automatically come back in full force. Then you start to complain that all your problems have come back and though you have gone to The Holy Father, yet your problems persist. And I ask you, have you forgiven those who wronged you? This is the secret of this kingdom.
If you owe someone N1000 and out of mercy he forgives you because you cannot pay, it does not mean that you have paid your debt. Anytime he is not on good terms with you he has the right to demand his money. Don't you see the wisdom of God? He has asked you to forgive, and you will be forgiven. If you reckon sin on anyone, He will also uphold your own sins. Do not come here as a good man devoid of sin and start to observe the faults of others, as if you are perfect, because you are trying to judge. Let us now have the golden text.
GOLDEN TEXT - MATTHEW 18:35
"So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses."
Those who have ears, let them hear. May God bless His Holy words. Amen.
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