Friday, July 30, 2010

Forgiveness = Exalting Jesus (not self)

From “Forgiveness : The Freedom of Letting Go” by John MacArthur, Part II, Track 11:

“The injuries against you, the offenses against you are the trials that perfect you.

“If you respond with vengeance, you are literally interrupting the best work that God can do in your life. You need to be offended. Your pride needs it. Your self-will needs it. Your independence needs it. All the difficulties you have in life, all the attacks that come against you, you need to learn to embrace those offenses. All the criticisms, all the injustices, all the persecutions, all the mistreatments, all the misunderstandings, all the misrepresentations: all of those which look to you as though to be wounds and severe attacks are in fact the very trials that perfect you.

First Peter 5:10: “After you’ve suffered a while, the Lord make you perfect.”

James 1:3 “The testing of your faith produces endurance. Let endurance have its perfect result.” Testing of your faith produces endurance. That is an enduring, strong faith. You want that. So, let it happen.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres (verse 12) under trial. For once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Therefore, consider it all joy brothers when you fall into various trials.”

The best illustration of this is in Second Corinthians Chapter 12. We’ve talked about through the years. This is by way of reminder. In verse 10 Paul makes an amazing statement: “I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties for Christ’s sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

He had learned through his suffering that it was the trials that God used to perfect him. He has just talked about one of them. In verse 7 he says, "to keep me from exalting myself because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations.” He had personal visits from the ascended Christ, and a visit to Heaven, which he referred to in the opening chapter as “too wonderful to be spoken of.” But because of these revelations, he would be tempted to exalt in himself.

So there was given him a thorn in his flesh. His flesh would rise up and be proud. And so literally there was a spear. The word thorn is a stake with a sharpened end. There was a stake rammed through his otherwise proud flesh. A messenger of satan…."

Why? Paul says, “To keep me from exalting myself.”

MacArthur goes on to say that God’s message to Paul seems to be: “You’re not weak enough, Paul. The way to humble you is at the point of where you see your greatest success.”

We must exalt in the Lord Jesus Christ. What a perfect message.

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