Introduction That Identifies
November 30, 2008
INTRODUCTION: In introductions one must use brevity and clarity. Here, Paul has 25 verses, which serve as the shortest of Paul's inspired writings. It is the only one of the prison epistles addressed to an individual. The Lord is about to speak through the aged apostle and in doing so, he will deal with a very important, yet practical, issue. Paul is going to take one of the most important truths of the Bible and apply it in an individual's life.
Ephesians 4:32, "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
Colossians 3:13, "bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do."
Forgiveness is a theme that runs throughout our entire Bible. It is that which is born out of grace. Chuck Swindoll, in his book, Grace Awakening, emphasizes this amazing truth about grace:
"It is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn't even if you tried. Most of us have trouble with the thought, because we work for everything we get. As the old saying goes, 'There ain't no free lunch.' But in this case, grace comes to us free and clear, no strings attached. We should not even try to repay it; to do so is insulting."
Grace and forgiveness is so beautifully illustrated in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). One of the two sons decides to leave home and requests his inheritance. After living a very ungodly life and spending all of his wealth, he comes to his senses and decides he wishes to go home.
Luke 15:17-20, "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be cal ...
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