Originally scheduled for September 18
In the modern
church it is fashionable to praise what used to be called adultery.
We praise it, however, under different names. We call it “open
marriage”, or “having an affair” (do you need to wear a tuxedo for
that?) or simply “a little fling.” It all sounds so harmless and
loving, how could a loving God not favor it? And yet, if you talk to
a policeman, he will tell you that one of the most dreaded calls to
respond to is that of an angry man whose wife is “having an affair.”
was well described by Solomon about 3000 years ago. To be specific:
Proverbs 6:32-35 NASB The one who commits adultery with a woman is
lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. (33) Wounds and
disgrace he will find, And his reproach will not be blotted out.
(34) For jealousy enrages a man, And he will not spare in the day of
vengeance. (35) He will not accept any ransom, Nor will he be
satisfied though you give many gifts.
describes the matter rather well. But it is not my purpose to talk
about adultery today; rather, to use it as an example of the
difficulty of forgiveness. Forgiving adultery is extremely
difficult; reconciliation even more so.
But forgiveness is a requirement for the
Christian. It is not an optional “good idea.” It is a requirement.
It is shown to us in several familiar passages. For example, the
Lord’s prayer asks of the Lord to forgive us our debts on the
condition that we forgive those who are our debtors
. Indeed, we have the example of Christ on the cross asking his
heavenly Father to forgive those who were executing him
. We are forgiven if — and only if — we forgive others
. Just at the point where our minds run to what kind of vengeance we
can take, we are told that vengeance is prohibited; it belongs to
. Indeed, the entire principal of Christianity is the imitation of
Jesus Christ — and that means forgiveness
Forgiveness, then, seems to be quite a
burden. But quite to the contrary, say the Scriptures. Christ tells
us that “Blessed are the merciful
.” In fact, in the same sermon Christ tells us that this is the
perfection of the Christian, that we are to be as perfect as God
This brings us to the subject of
Communion. We are told that Communion is the new covenant we are
making with God
. In other words, when you take Communion, you are proclaiming your
obedience to him. You are saying that you are his follower, and that
you follow his example — and his example is forgiveness. More than
that, taking communion is a symbol of the fact that we are one body,
the church. And if your marriage is divided, how can we be one body?
You have often heard that you are to
examine yourself before partaking of communion
. May I suggest to you that one of the purposes of doing this is so
that you will remember those whom you need to forgive — and do so.
Do not do this in word only, but as you leave this place remember to
go to that person and proclaim your forgiveness, in total honesty.
Do not take Communion as a hypocrite would; rather take it in truth,
including the forgiveness your Lord requires of you.
1st Corinthians 10:16-17
1st Corinthians 11:28-31