Ephesians 4, The Freedom of Forgiveness, Pastor Gary Flynt


Gary Flynt
6 hrs · 


The Freedom Of Forgiveness
Ephesians 4

There are two things that cause great emotional and spiritual damage to anyone: guilt and bitterness. Guilt imprisons us and bitterness poisons us. The answer to both problems is forgiveness.
Guilt is the result of something we have done wrong. Bitterness is our reaction to a wrong someone else has done. Both have us in a prison and forgiveness is what can set us free.
God’s forgiveness sets us free from the prison of guilt. Our forgiveness of others sets us free from the prison of bitterness. Take a look at Ephesians 4:31-32. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
When you truly forgive from your heart, you set two prisoners free….and one of them is you. To forgive means to pay a debt. There are no bargain pardons. That’s why Jesus told us to pray: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Sin is a debt that we owe. We have sinned against Heaven and we have been sued for damages. It’s a debt we can’t pay. But God in His mercy and love has paid that debt and has forgiven us. 
There are no free pardons. When someone is pardoned, someone else has to pay. If Joe owes me a thousand dollars and comes to me and says, “Pastor, I can’t pay it,” and if I say, “Okay, Joe, I forgive you that debt,” it costs me a thousand dollars. The word “forgiveness” actually means to bear the burden. 
Did it cost Jesus to forgive us? Ephesians 1:7 says, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Jesus spilled His blood and cancelled the debt. That’s why we say, “G-R-A-C-E: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
When you confess your sin and ask God to forgive and save you, He does forgive and save you. But you’re not done with forgiveness then: you must begin to forgive others. If you receive mercy, you must show mercy. If you don’t forgive others, you dam up God’s stream of mercy toward you.
Forgiveness of your sins puts you into the family of God. But if you fail to forgive others, you destroy family fellowship.
The first thing I want you to see is the compelling reasons for forgiveness. Why forgive? First, there is the grace factor. Ephesians 4:32 says, “…and be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” I forgive you because God has forgiven me. That’s called grace.
There was a young man who was involved with a growing business. He misappropriated several hundred dollars and it was discovered. He was summoned to the manager’s office. He knew this was most likely the end of his job. As he went up the stairs he had a very heavy heart. He walked into that executive’s office and the man looked him in the eye and said, “Is it true that you’ve done this?” The man bowed his head and said, “It’s true. I’m guilty.” The manager said, “If I were to forgive you and allow you to keep your position, could I trust you to be completely honest in the future?” He said, “Sir, if you forgive me and give me another chance, I’ll be the best employee you’ve ever had.” The manager said, “You’re forgiven, but I want you to know that you’re not the first man in this company to make such a mistake. As a young employee I did almost the same thing as you and I was forgiven. I’m showing you the same mercy that was shown me. May God have mercy on us both.”
There was a lady in a hospital down in Rome, Georgia who wrote a letter to a local pastor. She said, “Two young men from your church came over here and donated blood for me. They don’t know me and I don’t know them. I don’t even know their names. But I want to tell you about the note they left me. It says, “We gave our blood to you because Jesus gave His blood for us.” Isn’t that beautiful?
One of the reasons you and I need to forgive is because of the grace factor. But there is also the guilt factor. Look at Matthew 6:14-15. Jesus says, “For if we forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you: but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Think about that. The person who refuses to forgive destroys the bridge over which he must walk. An unforgiving spirit is unforgiveable. Forgiving and being forgiven go together. The only person who can afford never to forgive is the person who will never need forgiveness. The model prayer says, “Father, forgive us as we forgive those….” If you don’t forgive the person who has wronged you, then that’s a pretty stupid prayer for you to pray. You’re saying, “Father treat me like I treat them.” 
Or, if you say, “Father, I’ll forgive them, but I’ll never have anything to do with them again.” God says, “Okay, I’ll forgive you, but I’ll never have anything to do with you again.”
An unforgiving spirit is not just you missing a blessing, it’s a vile, wicked sin. It’s in the same category as stealing or blasphemy. It’s God’s nature to forgive. If you don’t forgive, you’re not like God. If you’re not like God, then you’re un-godly.  
Jesus illustrated this in Matthew 18:23-24. “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.”
This man is doing an audit and finds that one man owes him ten thousand talents. Look at verse 25-26. “But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.” This is a vain boast because there is no way he could pay that kind of debt. Look at verse 27. “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.”
A talent was the largest measurement of money in the Roman world. We’re talking about the wages of 17 men for 10,000 years. It would be roughly a billion dollars in today’s money. Solomon’s temple was overlaid with 8 thousand talents of gold. This man owes 10 thousand talents. The word “talents” literally means “without number.” Sometimes the Bible translates it as “myriads.” It’s an astronomical amount of money. There’s no possible way this man could ever pay that amount, but the king forgives him. At that moment, it cost the king 10 thousand talents.
But then the man who’s forgiven goes out and finds someone who owes him money. Look at verse 28. “But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.” A pence is a day’s labor. This man had been forgiven billions, yet he won’t forgive a man who owes him a day’s wages.
Look at verses 29-30. “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.”
Do you see the analogy Jesus is making? He’s pointing out the wickedness of this man who’s been forgiven. The king becomes wroth and throws this man in prison himself. Look at verses 31-35. “So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that 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 desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
Is there somebody who has wronged you? Have you been holding back forgiveness? Yet, Jesus has paid your sin debt with His blood? James 2:13 says, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy…”
We should forgive because of the grace factor….we’ve been forgiven. We should forgive because of the guilt factor….we’re in need of forgiveness each day. Only a person who never sins can afford not to forgive…..and there is no such person.
Thirdly, there is the grief factor. This man who failed to forgive endured the severest discipline. Hebrews 12:15 says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” If you don’t forgive, you will know unusual trouble and grief.
It’s not just what an unforgiving spirit does to someone else; it does you personal harm. You say, “So and so did this to me and I’m going to get even.” Have you ever thought about what that means? You’re up here…..they’re down there…..and you’re going to get even with them? That means you’re going to descend to their level.
You say, “Okay, I won’t get even; I’ll just continue to hate.” In that case, you’re committing emotional suicide. Bitterness is an acid that destroys the container in which it is held. 
You say, “Pastor, if you only knew what they did to me, you wouldn’t let them off the hook either.” Friend, you’re on the hook with them! You need to forgive because of the grief factor…..in other words, what that unforgiving spirit is going to do to you.
Fourthly, you need to forgive because of the gain factor. In Matthew 5:24 Jesus is talking about someone who’s bringing a gift to the temple. And on the way, they remember that there’s a problem between them and someone else. It says, “Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
If you’re here with bitterness in your heart, you need to keep your offering. Don’t spend it on something else because its tainted money……It taint yours! Go and be reconciled with your brother and then bring your offering.
Look at Matthew 18:15. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” A brother is a precious thing to waste.
If you come to church with bitterness in your heart and with some grudge against your brother, you disgrace Almighty God. When children fuss and fight, it’s a disgrace to the parents. 
But not only is it a disgrace to the Father, it’s a disgrace to the saints. Have you ever been to a congregation where there’s a church fuss going on? The devil would rather start a church fuss than sell a barrel of whiskey any old day! Unforgiveness is also a delight to the devil. 
These are all compelling reasons for forgiveness. But now let’s talk about the costly requirements of forgiveness. There are no bargain pardons. Jesus is the model of our forgiveness. He paid the price. You are going to have to know a little personal Gethsemane and Calvary before you can truly forgive someone who has deeply hurt you.
How did Jesus forgive? First, He forgave freely. His forgiveness is free, spontaneous and quick. Don’t wait until you’ve collected your revenge to forgive. Don’t make them suffer the way they made you suffer. Don’t get your pound of flesh before you decide to forgive.
If someone treats you that way and then says, “Okay, now I’m ready to forgive,” you feel like saying, “I don’t need forgiveness anymore: I’ve already paid!”
Forgive freely. You should be so ready to forgive that you chase them down in order to forgive them. Isn’t that what God did for you? We love Him why? Because He first loved us.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God didn’t sit up there in Heaven saying, “If they come to me, then maybe I’ll be persuaded to forgive them.” God came to the Garden and asked, “Adam, where are you?” God knew where he was, but He wanted Adam to know where he was.
Peter asked Jesus, “How many times do I need to forgive my brother? Seven times?” Jesus said, “No, seventy times seven.” He didn’t mean that you stop forgiving after 490 times. He’s telling us to take the mathematics out of it altogether. Don’t keep score! Forgiveness has no limit. Forgive freely, even if you have to chase somebody down in order to forgive them.
Not only should you forgive freely; you should forgive fully. If somebody asks you to forgive them, don’t say, “Forget about it,” or “Don’t worry about it.” That’s not forgiveness. That person needs to hear you say, “I forgive you.”
Don’t go to someone and say, “If I’ve hurt your feelings, I want to apologize.” The word from which we get our word “apologize” means “to make a defense.” When you make an apology, you’re really defending yourself. If you offend someone, don’t apologize. Just say, “I was wrong. Would you forgive me?” And when you fully forgive, it gets buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness.
Then forgive finally. Don’t bring it up again……EVER! Look at Isaiah 43:25. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgression for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” That’s forgiveness once and for all. You say, “Pastor, are you telling me that God doesn’t remember my sins anymore? I thought God was omniscient. How can God truly forget anything?” Well, intellectually, God can’t forget. God doesn’t develop amnesia. But when God says, “I will remember them no more,” He’s saying, “I will never bring them up again. I’m not going to use them against you. If I remember them, I’ll remember them as forgiven sins.” 
Finally, forgive forcefully. It’s not natural to forgive. Our spirits demand justice. We’re thinking, “They hurt me and need to understand how badly they hurt me.” It has been well said, “To err is human: to forgive divine.” You need Jesus to be forgiven and you need Jesus in order to forgive.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Where do you get that kindness? It comes from Jesus…..the same One who has forgiven us, and put His Spirit in us, and who has enabled us to forgive.
Some of you have heard of Corrie Tin Boom. She was a Dutch girl who was taken by the Nazis in WWII and put in a concentration camp along with her sister. She was put in Ravensbrook because she had been hiding the Jews as a Gentile. Her hiding place was discovered. Her sister died in that concentration camp. They were both treated with unimaginable cruelty and brutality. They almost starved to death. They were put to hard labor. They were stripped and forced to shower as the guards stared at them with leering eyes. They did everything they could to humiliate this righteous and godly girl. 
After Corrie got out of the camp she continued to serve God. She was giving a message of forgiveness to a crowd. After her message, a man walked up to her, put out his hand and said, “Corrie, isn’t the grace of God something wonderful? Isn’t forgiveness wonderful?” When she looked into this man’s face, she froze for a moment. It was the prison guard who had humiliated and abused her.
She said, “I wanted to put out my hand because I had just spoken about forgiveness, but I couldn’t. So I prayed, “Oh, Jesus, help me to forgive.”” Then she put her hand in his and she said, “The love of Jesus began to flow through my body.”
Think about how Jesus has forgiven us. Don’t insult the grace of God by saying, “I can’t forgive!” You forgive freely, finally, fully, and forcefully.
Think about the certain results of forgiveness. When there is forgiveness, there’s a personal emancipation. You’re set free. Secondly, there is reconciliation between you and somebody else. And, lastly, there is going to be spiritual jubilation. Real revival is not getting the roof off and getting right with God; it’s getting the walls down and getting right with one another.
Has somebody wronged you? Forget it and bury it in the grave of God’s forgetfulness and forgive.
You say, “Pastor, can I forgive if that person continues to do the same thing? Can I forgive if that person hasn’t repented and continues to hurt me?” That’s a hard question because even God doesn’t forgive without repentance, does He?
If they haven’t repented, is it up to you to get them to? No. God says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, sayeth the Lord.” If you can’t forgive because of their continuing practice, you can have the spirit of forgiveness. What did Jesus do on the cross? While they were still nailing Him up He prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
You may have to put forgiveness in escrow until that person is ready to write a check of repentance, but at least you’ve uploaded it so that person can download it when they’re ready. But don’t lock yourself in a prison of guilt swallowing the poison of bitterness. How foolish!
All true forgiveness begins with receiving forgiveness. If you’ve never really received forgiveness, it’s time for you to do it right now. God longs to forgive you. Jesus died to forgive you. He wants to cleanse you. And He will if you come to Him. He says that if we confess our sin, He will cleanse and forgive our sin.
Would you open your heart to Him today and receive Him into your heart?


Gary Flynt

Things That Hinder Fellowship
I John 1

Last week we saw that the theme of I John was fellowship. But we can let things into our lives that defraud us of fellowship.

Billy Graham told of a little boy who went into a drugstore and asked the druggist if he could borrow the telephone. The druggist told him that would be fine. So the little boy dials the grocery store and asks, “Do you need a stock clerk?” They said, “No, we already have a little boy who does that for us.” He said, “Does he do a good job? Maybe you need someone else.” The grocer said, “No, we are very satisfied with the little boy we have.” He said, “Thank you,” and he hung up.

The druggist said, “I’m sorry you didn’t get the job.” The boy said, “No, you don’t understand. I already have the job over there: I was just checking up on myself.”

Today I want you to check up on yourself and see if there’s something in your life that’s keeping you from enjoying the sweetest fellowship this side of Heaven. If there is, that something is likely sin……secret faults that can cause moral earthquakes.

We’re going to talk about secret faults today…things we hide that keeps us from fellowshipping with God. Look at I John 1:5-2:6. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not the commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: herby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

The way to deal with sin is to recognize sin for what it is. We have a generation today that doesn’t even like the word sin. It seems that the only sin today is to call sin sin. We rather call it a mistake, or a misjudgment, or an error, etc. But Jesus didn’t die for mistakes; He died for sin.

We live in an age of behavioristic psychology. Psychologist tell us that we are just the sum total of our genes and chromosomes and our environment. They say that man isn’t wicked; he’s just weak. He’s not sinful; he’s sick. He’s not evil’ he’s ill. Therefore, we never deal with the real problem.

We’ve been spurred on by evolution. We’ve been told that man wasn’t created, but he evolved from some primordial soup. Of course, they never tell us where the soup came from! But if what they say is true, we’ve come from soup to nuts!

Man didn’t evolve. He was created in the image of God. Man sinned willfully. Sin isn’t an accident; it’s high treason against God. If you don’t understand sin for what it is, you never deal with sin or understand the remedy for sin which God has provided. If you think sin is a problem to be fixed, you’re going to be looking for a cure rather than for forgiveness. Thank God for this epistle that tells us how to deal with the sin problem and how to have fellowship with God.

People have lost the concept of sin today. The evolutionist says that we’re on our way up and that time will kill the beast that’s in us. You can believe that if you want to, but King Kong is not my cousin!

Education says that if we get more learning we’ll be able to deal with the sin problem. Is that true? What about Nazi Germany? The Nazi’s were highly educated. And today our universities have become cesspools of sin.

Science says that we can just breed sin out of man by genetic engineering. And parents are trying to prearrange the birth of their children today.

Sociologists tell us that if we can just change our environment man will be better. But I want to remind them that man fell in the best environment ever created…..the Garden of Eden. Sin is no respecter of persons. It will come to the high rise just as easily as it comes to the ghetto.

Psychologists tell us that these are feelings we’ve generated inside ourselves and that we just need to get rid of these guilt feelings. But it’s not the guilt feelings we need to get rid of; it’s the guilt!

The only place you’ll find the answer for the sin problem is in the Word of God.

How does God deal with sin? When you repent of your sin and trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are born again. Judicially and legally sin is dealt with forever. God said in Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” When you get saved, every sin (past, present and future) is buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness.

Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” That’s good news! That is the gospel of grace.

Jeremiah 31:34 says, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

When God says He’ll remember our iniquities no more, does that mean He can’t recall them anymore? No. He’s saying, “I won’t remember their sin against them anymore.” He only remembers them as sins that have been forgiven…and therefore forgotten as sins.

Intellectually, I can never forget the sins I’ve committed. But when I do remember those sins, I remember then as a sin that’s no longer held against me. They are sins that have been forgiven by the grace of God.

That’s how the Lord deals with us judicially. “Blessed is the man to whom God will not impute sin.” If God ever put one half of one sin on my account, it would be enough to damn me forever. I can’t behave myself into Heaven. If I’m going to be saved, then I have to be saved by the grace of God.

But how does God deal with our sins day by day? If I’m saved by grace and kept by grace; if no sin will ever be brought up against me anymore; if my sin is buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness, then how does God deal with me day by day? How does He deal with me when I’m proud, or arrogant, or when I tell a lie, or when I have a lustful look? Well, He doesn’t deal with me as a Judge, but as a Father. In this chapter we’re not talking about legal judgment; we’re talking about God dealing with us in a parental way.

When I’m born into the family of God, a son-ship is established. Son-ship never changes. I was born into the Flynt family and nothing can ever change that. When the sun, moon and stars have grown cold, I’ll still be a Flynt. It’s the same way when you’re born again.

Son-ship can never change. But there’s another relationship that can change. It’s called fellowship. When I was growing up, I always had relationship with my father, but I didn’t always have fellowship. There were times when I didn’t do what my father told me to do, or I did what he told me not to do. That’s when he would apply the board of education to my seat of knowledge!

The Bible says, “Whom the Father loveth, He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

Son-ship is established by birth, but fellowship is established by conduct. When John talks about the cleansing of our daily sins, he’s talking about the fact that God is not dealing with us as Judge, but as Father.

I want us to see how we can restore our fellowship with the Father…how we can rid ourselves of those secret faults and hidden sins that divide us from the Father’s smile and rob us of sweet fellowship with God.

First, I want us to see how the Father convicts of sin. Look at I John 1:5-7. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Look at all the times he mentions lying here. He says, “If we say…, If we say…, If we say…” In other words, we’re saying one thing and doing another. He’s talking about the evolution of a lie.

First of all, we lie to deny sin (verses 5-6). Look at the people around you this morning. Do you think everyone here has their heart right with God? People can come in here with a Bible in their hands, they can sing songs, they can nod their heads and say, “Amen,” but their hearts are not right with God. John says, “If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie.” There are some living lies sitting on the pews this morning. You know in your heart that you’re playing a game.

That’s what happens when we get sin in our hearts. We come to church and sing in the choir, or teach a class, etc., but there is that secret fault.

After you do that for a while, you get to believing your own lie. The next step is in verse 8. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” When you set out to deceive someone else, you deceive yourself most of all.

The man who deceives himself is on the verge of a mental breakdown. When a man can’t even believe himself, when he blurs the distinction between light and dark and between the truth and a lie, he’s on the edge. He begins to think, “Maybe it’s not sin at all. Maybe I’m all right.”

First we deceive others, then we deceive ourselves, and then we lie to God. Verse 10 says, “If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar.” When we call God a liar, we’re the ones who are lying. God cannot lie.

God brings us under conviction and we say, “Oh, no, God. You’re wrong. It was just a mistake. It was the environment. It was just righteous indignation, etc.” And we don’t let the Holy Spirit convict us of that sin in our lives. Then we have the audacity to lie to God.

We lie to deny sin, we lie to deceive self, and we lie to defy the Savior. When we do that, fellowship is completely broken. We’ve stepped out of the light and over into darkness.

How does God bring us back? God won’t bring us back unless we expose ourselves to the light. If you stay in the darkness, there will never be any conviction. But if you step back into the light, God will shine the light of His holiness upon your life and bring you under conviction.

It’s extremely important that the child of God learn the difference between Holy Spirit conviction and satanic accusation. The devil is the accuser of the brethren. The Holy Spirit loves us and convicts us.

Before you sin, the devil will say, “Go ahead, you can get away with it.” But after you sin, the devil will say, “You’ll never get away with it.” He’ll entice you to sin and then condemn you because you did it.

When the Holy Spirit shines His pure light on you, you’ll come under the conviction of God. If you’ll just turn and face the light, He’ll pull the veil of darkness back and expose those lies that you’ve been telling others, telling yourself, and telling God.

The Holy Spirit will convict you legitimately. He’ll never convict you of sin that has been confessed and repented of. If it comes up again, it’s not the Holy Spirit; it’s the devil. He goes back into your past and brings up some sin that’s been cleansed and forgotten.

A man told his pastor that he couldn’t get peace. The pastor asked him why. He said, “I did a horrible thing.” The pastor asked, “Have you confessed it to God?” He said, “I’ve confessed it a thousand times.” The pastor said, “That’s 999 times too many.”

If it comes up again, the devil is trying to bring you into double jeopardy. The devil will accuse you of sin that’s already been forgiven and cleansed, but the Holy Spirit will convict you legitimately. He’ll never bring up something in your past that’s already been dealt with.

But not only will the Holy Spirit convict you legitimately, He’ll convict you specifically. If the devil can’t go back into your past and drag up something that’s already been dealt with, he’ll just convict you vaguely. He’ll just make you feel unworthy.

Sometimes you’ll hear Christians pray, “God, I know I’m just a poor, old, unworthy sinner.” Where’d you get that nonsense from? You aren’t a poor, old, unworthy sinner; you are the righteousness of God in Christ! You’re a child of God! You’re a prince! You’re next of kin to the Holy Trinity! Jesus is not ashamed to call you His brother!

But the devil tries to make you feel bad all over…and you don’t have to take it!

The Holy Spirit will convict you specifically. He’ll say, “That was a lie you just told.” And like a good doctor, He’ll put His finger on the sore spot and push!

But not only will He convict you legitimately and specifically; He’ll convict you redemptively. Accusation discourages and drives you away from God. Accusation says, “Woe is me! There’s no way out. I’m done for. I might as well quit.” But Holy Spirit conviction says, “Here’s what you’ve done. But if you’ll confess it to Jesus, He’ll forgive you and cleanse you. Come back into the fellowship of the Lord.”

I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

If we don’t stonewall God, but genuinely confess our sins and turn from them, He’ll cleanse and forgive us. This isn’t the judicial cleansing we got when we were saved; this is God dealing with us as His children.

The word confess means “to say the same thing about.” Confession is an agreement with God. It’s saying what god says about that sin. If you say, “Yes, I did it,” that’s not confession: that’s an admission.

How do we confess our sin? We need to confess it immediately. When it says, “If we confess our sin…” it’s written in the present tense. It’s not talking about something you’ve done: it’s talking about something you do. It literally says, “If we continually confess our sins.”

If you get a speck of dust in your eye, when do you get it out? Do you get it out at the end of the week? No! You get it out immediately!

Most of us live down on a very low plain. Then we hear the preacher preach, or we’re in a revival meeting, or we read some great book, and we just have a religious spasm! We get on a high….but it doesn’t last very long. Then we’re back down in the valley. Then we’re up again. Then we’re down again. Have you ever ridden that roller coaster? That’s not the Spirit-filled life.

The victorious life is not living without any temptation, without any fault, or without any failure. We all sin. That’s what John has been telling us. But when we learn these truths and get up here on a higher plain and start living in the light, then, when the Holy Spirit says, “You did wrong,” you confess it immediately.

You may be at the dinner table and nobody even knows what you’ve done. Maybe you said something you shouldn’t have. But you say, “God forgive me.” And He does.

You do it immediately and specifically. He doesn’t say to confess our sin; He says to confess our sins. We’re not talking about the sin nature anymore; we’re talking about what you did particularly. Call it by name. That’s the painful part.

Have you been in a prayer meeting where someone says, “Oh, Lord, if we’ve sinned, forgive us.” Or they say, “Forgive us all our sins.” As far as I’m concerned, you’re just wasting your breath when you pray that way. If you want to do business with God you say, “God, forgive me for reading that filthy book, I won’t do it again, Lord. Please forgive me.” Or you say, “Lord, forgive me for the lie I told.” Or, “Lord, forgive me for my pride and selfishness.” Name it and nail it!

Do it immediately and specifically. But also do it confidently. The devil will try to tell you that what you’ve done is so bad that you can’t get forgiveness for it. That’s a lie! I John 1:9 says that God forgives us from all sin. There is no sin that Jesus’ blood can’t cleanse. That’s what verse 7 says. Jesus doesn’t just forgive; He cleanses. He washes out the stain. His blood washes whiter than snow!

There is the conviction of sin and the cleansing of sin, but there’s also the conquest of sin. Do you think that because cleansing and forgiveness is by grace, and that all you have to do is ask for it, that God is encouraging us to sin? No! He’s encouraging us not to sin. Chapter 2 and verse 1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not! And if any man does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father.” The word “Advocate” is just a fancy word for lawyer. I have a Savior who is interceding for me. The Bible says that He ever lives to make intercession for us.

Jesus is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. That’s why I don’t believe the nonsense of limited atonement. He died for everybody! And He satisfies the righteous demands of a holy God.

But you are not to be cavalier about your sin. In a few more verses He talks about living in us and how the love of God is perfected. A slave serves because he has to; an employee serves because he needs to; but a child of God serves because he wants to.

To think that God would save me to begin with, and then cleanse me……do you think that encourages me to sin? No, it encourages me not to. But if I do sin, thank God I have an Advocate who is the propitiation…the satisfaction for my sin. His blood satisfies God.

Don’t we have a wonderful Savior? If people really understood what we have in Jesus, you couldn’t keep them away from here with a machine gun! But the stubborn hearts of so many people just stonewall themselves against God.

John said in verse 4 that he was writing this so that you could have fullness of joy with God and with one another. It’s the sweetest fellowship this side of Heaven. Do you have it?

Income Tax, Burt Folsom

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The three Biggest Myths About the Income Tax

by ADMIN on APRIL 14, 2013

1.  We need the income tax to pay all the costs of running our federal government.  No, the current income tax is a huge premium we pay for the services and the meddling we receive from our government.  Only for the last 100 years have we had the 16th amendment, which permits an income tax.  Before that we supported our government through taxes on imports, taxes on whiskey and tobacco, and on the sale of federal land. That was it.  Even with that limited tax base, our leaders usually spent money wisely, and we had budget surpluses most years before 1913.  We actually cut our Civil War debt in half.  We learned this lesson:  When our politicians had little money to spend, they rarely went over budget.

2.  We need a large income tax to give more needed social services to the American people.  No, the greater the flow of cash into the government, the greater the waste and the worse the social services.  In the 1800s, people in need got help from churches and local charities. People helped people directly; almost no one depended on federal bureaucrats and welfare checks.  In the late 1800s, various entrepreneurs and community leaders began the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, humane societies, and orphanages across the country. In 1885, President Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill to give seeds to drought-stricken farmers in Texas because he wanted people, not government, to help bail out those in need.  Charities throughout the U.S. rushed to help their fellow Americans; more money was sent to the needy farmers than was provided in the bill Cleveland had vetoed.

3.  The rich ought to pay proportionately much more income tax than everyone else.  Wrong again.  The rich already pay much more than everyone else–and taxing them even more only causes them to hide their wealth, or take it elsewhere.  The 14th amendment promises equal protection of the laws to all citizens, and if we discriminate against the rich, the door is open to pass laws discriminating against blacks, women, and old people.  When President Franklin Roosevelt began taxing the rich at rates of 80, 90, and 94%, he discovered that their wealth vanished from sight.  When that happened, he could have let the rich keep more of what they earned.  But he chose to keep taxes high on the rich, and instead he hiked taxes on the middle class and poor to make up for the revenue lost because rich people were now sheltering their income through various tax dodges.  Should we be following FDR’s example today?

Gary Flynt

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  • The Sweetest Fellowship This Side Of Heaven
    I John 1

    The theme of I John is fellowship. John wrote five books of the Bible. He wrote the Gospel of John to convince sinners…to lead them to faith in Christ. Then he wrote the Book of Revelation to comfort saints…to help us to understand the days in which we live and to have the hope of the Second Coming of Christ. Then he wrote these three epistles, First, Second, and Third John, to confirm the saints.

    Look at I John 1:1-4. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”

    The fellowship John speaks about comes through the life we have in Jesus Christ. Not everyone in this building has life. You say, “If we didn’t have life, then how could we be listening to you right now?” Look, you can exist without having life. The Bible speaks of an unsaved woman and says, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she lives.” Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” He said that to some folks whose hearts were beating, but He’s saying, “You don’t have life: you have existence.”

    We want more than existence: we want life. If you spell the word live backwards it spells evil. Too many people are living their lives backwards. Rather than having a glorious life, they have an evil life. They don’t know Jesus as their personal Savior.

    First, John tells us that there is a fact that is established. Verse 1 says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” The devil loves to distort things. From the beginning Jesus has been the greatest Truth, so from the beginning the devil has tried to distort who Jesus really is.

    In John’s day there was a cult called the Gnostics. That’s a word that comes from a Greek word which means “to know.” The Gnostics felt that they had superior knowledge over everyone else. We might call them the know-it-alls. They thought they were too sophisticated to believe the God could have come to earth in the flesh. They believed that everything material or physical was evil. Therefore, they believed that the true Messiah could never have had a physical body. They believed that when Jesus was here He was just a ghost…a phantom….but that He didn’t have a material body. But John is going to knock Gnosticism right in the head. He said, “Jesus literally walked on this earth and I saw Him.”

    There are false cults today just like there were in John’s day. Every cult is wrong about Jesus. That’s what makes them a cult. And if you’re wrong about Jesus it doesn’t matter what you’re right about.

    For example, Mormons don’t believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. They don’t believe that Jesus is do-eternal or co-equal with God. Every cult is off on the person of Jesus.

    The Bible says, “If any come to your house and bring not the doctrine of Christ, don’t receive them into your house, neither bid them godspeed.” II John 9 says, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” That’s as plain as it can be! If a person is wrong about Jesus, he doesn’t know God. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh to the Father but by me.”

    John starts by declaring that Jesus is a fact established: “That which was from the beginning…” Jesus is the Christ of the eternities. John starts his Gospel by saying, “In the beginning was the Word…” Before anything began to begin, Jesus was already there.

    A word is an expression of an invisible thought or idea. Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God. Jesus articulates God. He is God’s first Word. “In the beginning was the Word.” He is God’s full Word. He is the Alpha and Omega…the first letter and the last letter of the Greek alphabet. If He were talking to us He would have said, “He’s the A and the Z.” Everything God has to say He will say through or by Jesus.

    Jesus is God’s first Word, Jesus is God’s full Word, and Jesus is God’s final Word. The Book of Hebrews says, “God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.” When you’ve said, “Jesus,” you’ve said it all! All the revelation of God is wrapped up in Jesus. He is an eternal fact.

    He’s also a physical fact. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” He wasn’t a ghost. John says, “We had audible evidence….we heard Him.” If they would have had tape recorders in those days they could have taped the voice of Jesus.

    Not only was there audible evidence; there was visible evidence. John tells us that they looked upon him It’s the word theaomai, which we get our word theater from. It means to look carefully. John was with Him for three years and he says, “I watched Him.”

    But there’s not only the audible and visible evidence; there is the physical evidence. John says, “We handled Him.” In other words, “We touched Him.”

    It is as much a heresy to deny the humanity of Jesus as it is to deny the deity of Jesus. If you deny the humanity of Jesus, you are denying Christianity. Jesus is an eternal fact and a physical fact. Apart from His humanity no one could be saved. Apart from the shedding of His blood, there is no remission of sin. Apart from His humanity, I have no example. But because He was human, I can walk as Jesus walked. Jesus didn’t pull rank on me when He was here on Earth. When He did miracles, He did them as a man filled with the Holy Spirit. He depended on the same power that you and I depend on day by day.

    He is my Redeemer because He is a man. He is my example because He is a man. He is my comforter and friend because He is a man. He can be touched with the feelings of my infirmities because He’s a man. He was tempted in all points like I am because He was a man. He knows, He cares and He understands because He’s walked in our shoes.

    So, when John talks about this Word of life, he’s talking about an established fact. He’s an eternal fact, a physical fact, and a spiritual fact. He’s not now here in a physical body. Now faith becomes the eye, the ear and the hands of the soul. Look at I John 5:9. “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” God sends His Holy Spirit to testify through the words of the Apostles.

    There was an atheist college professor who loved to ridicule his students. He asked them if they had ever heard God. Nobody answered. He asked them if they’d ever seen God. Nobody answered. He asked them if they’d ever touched God. Nobody answered. He said, “See, there is no God.”

    The class just sat there cowering until one student stood and asked the class, “Has any one ever seen, heard, or touched the professor’s brain?” Nobody answered. He said, “Then according to the professor’s logic, we can assume that he has no brain.”

    John says, “That which we have seen, and heard, and touched….that’s what we declare unto you.” Then the Bible says, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.” The Holy Spirit is here to convince you that the written Word is true. That’s the witness of God.

    Jesus is an eternal fact, a physical fact, a spiritual fact…..and the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus.

    This Word of life is a fact established. But it’s also a fellowship experienced. Verses 2-3 says, “(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you…” John says, “I saw Him, now I want to share Him.”

    Anybody who sees Jesus wants to share Jesus. That’s why we’re called witnesses instead of lawyers. A lawyer argues the case, but a witness just tells what they’ve seen and heard. The only person who can’t witness is someone who hasn’t seen or heard anything.

    John says, “I do this that you might have fellowship.” Folks, fellowship is not coffee and donuts. Fellowship comes from the word koinonia which means to hold things in common. Verse 3 says, “Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son.”

    What do I have in common with the Father? Absolutely nothing. He is holy and I am unholy. He is Almighty and I am a worm. How can I possibly have fellowship with God? Look at verse 5. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” He is light and I am darkness, so how can I have fellowship with God?

    Here’s how. God, who knows there is a chasm between me and Him, sent Jesus to take that which is common between us (human flesh) without forsaking His deity. Jesus takes on the nature of man so I can take on the nature of God. II Peter 1:4 says that we have now become the partakers of the divine nature. The word partaker in II Peter is exactly the same word translated fellowship in I John. Jesus became like I am that I might becomes like He is. Therefore, I have fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

    But not only do we have fellowship with God; we can now have fellowship with one another. If we’re both born of God, then the Jesus in me is the Jesus in you. We’ve both been born from the same womb of grace. That’s what Philippians 1:5 calls “the fellowship of the Gospel.” In Philippians 2:1 it’s called “the fellowship of the Spirit.”

    How many of you in this room are unmarried? Let me see your hands. Listen to me. Don’t you ever marry an unsaved person!! The Bible says that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. The Bible asks, “What fellowship has light with darkness?”

    You are a twice-born child of God and they are a once-born child of the devil. You talk about in-law problems! You’ll have the devil for a father-in-law!

    If you marry an unsaved person, you’ll want to go to church on Sunday, but they’ll want to sleep in on Sunday. It’s hard enough to get to church when you’re both saved! Amen?

    The Christian wants to give a tithe, but the pagan doesn’t. The Christian wants to make Sunday a holy day, but the pagan wants to make Sunday a holiday. The Christian wants to pray when a crisis comes, but the pagan ridicules prayer. The Christian wants the children to be taught the things of God, but the pagan could care less about such things.

    Before long you’ll be acting like the pagan rather than the pagan acting like you. You’ll have division in your home. Divorce comes because there is no koinonia….no fellowship. If both of you are a true Christians, you are three times less likely to get a divorce. The Bible says that a three-fold cord is not easily broken.

    Don’t ever marry a lost person. Don’t ever think you’re going to reform them after you get married. Don’t even date a person that you couldn’t marry if you fell in love with them. If you have the Divine nature in you, then you are to seek out a person who has that same fellowship in them.

    Do you know what holds this church together? The Jesus in me loves the Jesus in you; therefore we can love one another. This fellowship is a fact established, it’s a fellowship experienced, and it’s a fullness enjoyed. Verse 4 says, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” There is no joy like the joy of knowing one another in the Lord because we all want joy. John says, “I wrote this letter that your joy might be full.”

    A lady looked all over the house for her car keys and couldn’t find them. Finally, she looked in her purse and there they were. Do you know why she couldn’t find her keys? She wasn’t looking in the right place. You can look everywhere for joy, but you’ll never find it until you find it in Jesus. Joy is the by-product of fellowship with God and with His family. Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

    Sin promises joy, but it never delivers joy. Some of you may have 200 TV channels coming into your home right now. We have more entertainment, more amusements, more restaurants than ever before. We also have more loneliness, more depression, more alcoholism, more drugs, more divorce, and more suicide than ever before. Why? Because there is only true joy in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    I’m not talking about happiness. You can be lost and experience happiness for a while. I’m talking about joy. Happiness depends on what happens. Joy depends on the Lord. The Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord.”

    If you live for happiness, you’re going to be a prisoner of your circumstances. If your circumstances change, you’re not going to be happy anymore. But Jesus never changes. Happiness is cosmetic…it’s on the outside. Joy is character…it’s on the inside. Happiness meets your surface needs, but joy meets your deepest needs. Happiness is like a thermometer: it just registers conditions. Joy is like a thermostat: it controls the conditions. Happiness evaporates in a crisis: joy often intensifies in a crisis.

    John says, “This life comes from God. It’s real. It’s a fact established which results in a fellowship experienced. Then there is a fullness of joy.

    Jesus is that Word of life and He’s who you need. He’s the fullness of joy.

    Would you receive Him today?