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Tag Archive | "Pastor David Vander Meer"

Forgiveness


Pastor David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church 

5815 Fourteen Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341

 

When the Lord Jesus Christ taught his disciples how to pray, in Matthew 6: 9-15, he guided them through what we have come to call the Lord’s Prayer. Every phrase is rich in meaning, every sentence is personal and relative to our lives, and every sentence is God centered and Christ exalting.  

Note the prayer again:

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (ESV)

But the sentence that shocks us like jumping through a frozen Michigan pond is the sentence: 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Oh, we want forgiveness, and desperately need it… but we do not want our forgiveness compared to how we forgive others. And, as if that is not enough, the Lord immediately follows up the prayer with a comment directed specifically at this petition for forgiveness by adding this comment: 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (ESV)

We are like a boxer reeling on the ropes after being hit by not just one punch, but by a volley of punches. We reel on the ropes, not just theologically, but also experientially.

Theologically we know that we are forgiven on the basis of the righteous life and death of Jesus Christ. His work is acceptable to God, and not mine. So clearly the action of forgiveness on our part towards others is proof of salvation, not the achievement of salvation. But that being said, how vital is this proof for without it we may indeed stand condemned, and not saved.

Forgiving each other is not an option.

The requirement of forgiveness towards each other is not removed due to any excuses I may draft up.

But we might as well as admit it. We cannot forgive without God’s help. Our hurts, too often, run too deep. Our tendency to carry a grudge is so strong. Our memory of what was said calls up the damaging event over and over through the night. Releasing the offender is not in our nature.

And so the Lord teaches us in this text to pray. We pray, and plead, and petition our God to help us. And when the joy of forgiveness comes through the resurrecting power of Christ, we worship him for the release it brings us of evil. To not forgive is evil. We know that. And Christ has the power to break the grip of evil in our lives. How wonderful it is to come to our Lord and ask of Him to do that which He has done for us. As Jesus said, pray then like this.

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Forgiveness


Pastor David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church 

5815 Fourteen Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341

 

When the Lord Jesus Christ taught his disciples how to pray, in Matthew 6: 9-15, he guided them through what we have come to call the Lord’s Prayer. Every phrase is rich in meaning, every sentence is personal and relative to our lives, and every sentence is God centered and Christ exalting.

Note the prayer again: Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (ESV)

But the sentence that shocked us at Rockford Springs Community Church like jumping through a frozen Michigan pond is the sentence: 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Oh, we want forgiveness, and desperately need it… but we do not want our forgiveness compared to how we forgive others. And, as if that is not enough, the Lord immediately follows up the prayer with a comment directed specifically at this petition for forgiveness by adding this comment:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (ESV)

We are like a boxer reeling on the ropes after being hit by not just one punch, but by a volley of punches. We reel on the ropes, not just theologically, but also experientially.

Theologically we know that we are forgiven on the basis of the righteous life and death of Jesus Christ. His work is acceptable to God, and not mine. So clearly the action of forgiveness on our part towards others is proof of salvation, not the achievement of salvation. But that being said, how vital is this proof for without it we may indeed stand condemned, and not saved.

Forgiving each other is not an option.

The requirement of forgiveness towards each other is not removed due to any excuses I may draft up.

But we might as well as admit it. We cannot forgive without God’s help. Our hurts, too often, run too deep. Our tendency to carry a grudge is so strong. Our memory of what was said calls up the damaging event over and over through the night. Releasing the offender is not in our nature.

And so the Lord teaches us in this text to pray. We pray, and plead, and petition our God to help us. And when the joy of forgiveness comes through the resurrecting power of Christ, we worship him for the release it brings us of evil. To not forgive is evil. We know that. And Christ has the power to break the grip of evil in our lives. How wonderful it is to come to our Lord and ask of Him to do that which He has done for us. As Jesus said, pray then like this.

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From the Pulpit: Putting good theology to good use in our battle against depression 


By Pastor David Vander Meer

In the old days when someone milked a cow they typically sat on a three legged stool. Why a three-legged stool? Because the ground in the barn was never even and so to keep from rocking around and being unsteady they could get good footing with just three legs.

In this article I want to write on three great theological Christian truths to aid us in our battle against depression. We might think that theology is just for seminary professors to argue about but I am here to say that these three great truths are the very thing that can help Christians find a steady footing in a life that often is unsteady. And frankly, what I find to be the most unsteady area in my life, and others, is our emotions…namely, our depression. These three great truths are well worth the effort to call to mind when our emotions are unsettled.

For the Christian, the first great truth is “justification.” What is so wonderful about this truth is that God declares, merely by grace, His people to be forgiven of all their sins and accepts them as righteous in His sight. This great truth gives the believer their identity. But so often when we are battling for joy we are confused with who we are. We may think and say things to our self that are just not true. This only works to put us down instead of helping to lift us up. Our first task is to identify who we are before God—forgiven and righteous because of the finished work of Christ.

The second great truth is “sanctification.” Wow, now there is a word! We get a lot of English  words from the root word, like sanctuary, sanctity, sanctify, etc. But all of these words have something to do with being holy, or separate, or special. So what this truth teaches is that God, again by His grace, enters into the process of making the believer learn to hate sin and desire righteousness. Once again I say that this is a great truth as we battle our unsteady emotions. Yes, I may be a mess, but I have hope that I will change as God works in me. The ultimate aim of my salvation is to become more and more like Him. And God is not depressed!

There is one more great truth for us to speak of, and that is “glorification.” In our depression we can think that we are losing the “game.” The scoreboard says we are behind. Life has us rocking back and forth. But look, the score for the end of the game is posted and we have won. To be clear, Christ has won, and so we have won because for the Christian we are in Christ. He has won the victory, even death itself. He is our vision for victory.

Battling depression is hard. And it can be complex. Often it means getting physical assistance and support from our medical care providers. But it is also a spiritual issue that requires the foundation of truth to help us. It is so wonderful that God helps our body and our soul. May God help you as you battle for joy.

Pastor David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church 

5815 Fourteen Mile Rd NE 

Rockford, MI 49341

 

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Is God a dangerous elephant or a fluffy kitten?


Rockford-Springs-Church-webPastor David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church 

5815 Fourteen Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341

 

Let’s not be silly…He is neither. But He is our Father, Almighty.

From the very beginning of the New Testament church, the believers in Jesus Christ declared their belief in God as their Father, and as the Almighty. This beginning statement of belief is found in what came to be known as the Apostle’s Creed. This concise creed speaks of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and helps Christians verbalize what they believed about each part of the Godhead.

I have been impressed by the fact that when the early believers wanted to tell the world what they believed about God, they started by using two words: “Father,” and “Almighty.”  On the one hand, they understood their position to be intimate and generated by God so that they would be close to Him and safe. Yet, they also held Him in proper awe because of His breath taking power and infinite strength. Clearly this is how God reveals Himself in texts from the Bible such as when Jesus teaches us to pray in Matthew 6 with the words: “Our Father,” and as Paul writes to the Romans in Romans 8: “You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (ESV).  This personal relationship with God, is recognized by the believer, as a relationship that God caused to happen by His grace.

This close personal relationship comes as a shock to the believer for at least two reasons. One, because God, in His nature, is holy which no human matches; and two, because of His almighty power that protects the holiness of His being. Verses like in Job 11: “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?” And Psalm 90 that asks the question: “Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?”  These verses leave us with a fear to enter the presence of His greatness and power.

But perhaps Psalm 91 brings these two truths together in proper unity: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” The ultimate protection we have from the wrath and power of God is God Himself. Jesus Christ became for us our protector from the almighty and the provider of our relationship with the Father.

And so the Christian says, “Thanks be to God, for what the Father desired (our salvation), the Almighty was able to provide. The believer is comforted by the tender touch of his Father that cares enough to wipe away every tear, and confident in the power of God to hold back every evil that could separate him from the love of God.”

And so we say today: “I believe in God the Father, Almighty.”

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