Sunday 14th June

In His Steps – Forgiving

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21

Today we are carrying on with our series “In his steps”. This week we are looking at Jesus being forgiving.

Let’s start by reading from Psalm 32

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
    your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.
You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.
Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him.

Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!

As we focus on God and turn our hearts to Him, we can recognise that we are forgiven, and that as we turn to God we know that whatever’s been going on in our week, we can know that He is always on our side. He has forgiven us. He went to the cross to forgive us. As we come in worship, and focus our attention on Him at this time, may that be the case, that we can see Him again and can recognise once again the forgiveness we have, and enter into more of what He’s done for us.

Song: Here I am to worship

Lord we want to thank you that we can be in your presence now, and as the Psalmist said, we know that when we acknowledge our sin, not cover up our iniquities, but confess our transgressions to the Lord, you forgive us. And Lord you’ve brought us into this place of being able to know you and have that blessing, and Lord we want to lift our hearts in praise and worship to you. Lord we want to thank you for all that we enjoy, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Read: Matthew 6:14-15

As we’re looking at following in Jesus’ footsteps and looking at what would Jesus do, we’re reminded of Luke 23:34. Jesus on the cross, being crucified. None of us can really imagine what that was like, the pain and suffering, but Jesus said ‘Father forgive them‘. Even in the midst of that, Jesus was demonstrating how we should act. If He in that situation can do that, then how much more should we follow that example.

Song: The power of the cross

Song: Here is love, vast as the ocean

Reading: Matthew 18:21-35

Sermon

Lord you have heard the prayers of our heart. We’ve been faced as individuals about facing the challenge of forgiving others. Also as nations looking back at the past and wrongs that have been done and how this is being brought to the fore now in our nation and across the world, particularly in regard to black and ethnic minorities. Lord, when we search our hearts we realise that we don’t understand all of the issues, but are beginning to recognise that this world you have created has lots of injustices and there is so much forgiveness needed across this world. We just ask that we, and those in leadership in this land, and in leadership across the world, would know the strength of this power of forgiveness that can only come from you. May this sweep our nation as we follow in Jesus’ footsteps and forgive those who are serving injustice against us, and that by His power and that we’d be able to move forwards in the light of your love and your presence, as individuals and as a nation.
We thank you for this time together. It’s been good to spend time in your presence to reflect on what you’ve done for us at the cross, and to be faced with these great challenges of forgiving others.
As we go into this next week, we ask that we would be able to do this in the strength that you give us, and not in our own strength.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Song: Yet not I but Through Christ in me

This weeks key verse is Luke 23:34.
Next week will be the last in this series, and we will be looking at Prayerful – Spending time in prayer, from John 17