Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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Learning about Forgiveness

Matt 18:21-31


21 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. NKJV


Introduction

One of my favorite preachers to listen to was C. E. Autery. He was a pastor, denomional worker, and a seminary professor. He said a sermon of forgiveness will get a greater hearing than any other subject. Why would that be true? We all need to forgive others, and we all need to be forgiven. Follow in your Bible as I share this message dealing with the subject of forgiveness.



 

1.     We Need to Learn How Forgiveness . . Works. 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

 

        A.    It Is Not According to the . . Head. 18:21

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

 

                1.     True Forgiveness Does Not Keep a Record.


Illustration

A couple decided they would make a irritation box so they could write down all the thing that irritate them about their spouses. Each day and some times several times a day they would drop a slip of paper in the box. Then came the day when they sat down to discuss their irritations. The wife said you go first, so the husband started reading his wives irritations about him. You don’t put your towel on the rack. You keep several pairs of shoes out in the bedroom. You don’t always put your dirty clothes in the hamper. Then there were several more.


Then it was the wife’s turn, and she had a stack of paper. As she read the first one, she looked surprised, then the next, and the next, and she started to cry. Her husband had writen on every

slip of paper something about how he loved her.


 

        B.    It Is A Matter of the . . Heart. 18:22

22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.


Illustration

Jesus isn’t suggesting that we count the number of times we forgive someone -- 298, 299, 300 -- only 190 to go! Not at all. A while ago, I asked my wife Beth to forgive me for something I did.


Before she could answer I reminded her that Jesus wanted her to forgive me 490 times. She laughed and said, “Buddy, I haven’t counted but I think you’re already well over 500 -- but I’ll forgive you anyway!”


Application


We Need to Learn How Forgiveness . . Works. 18:21-22


 

2.     We Need to Learn How God’s Forgiveness Is . . Given. 18:23-27

23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with

        his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment

        be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him,

        saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you

        all.' 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with

        compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.


 

        A.    God . . Establishes the Need for Forgiveness as King and Master. 18:23-25

23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.

                25 But as he was not able to pay, his master

                commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children

                and all that he had, and that payment be made.

 

        B.    God . . Extends the Offer of Forgiveness as King and Master. 18:26-27

26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.


Illustration

        Suppose a Trailer truck full of gold blocks sets outside and represents how much God has forgiven everyone of us. We have an enormous sin debt, and in Christ it is forgiven.

 

Application


We Need to Learn How God’s Forgiveness . . Is Given.

He Establishes the Standard of Forgiveness and Extends It.




 

3.     We Need to Learn the . . Smallness of Our Willingness to Forgive. 18:28-30

28 But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.

 

A.    The Smallness In . . Contrast of Forgiveness. 18:28-29

                        28 But that servant went out and found one of his

        fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he

        laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay

        me what you owe!'

 

                1.     One Hundred Denarii compared to:

                        ten thousand talents in v 24.

 

                2.     TLB says $ 2,000 compared to 10 M.

 

B.    The Smallness In . . Compassion of Forgiveness. 18:29-30

29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.

v 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged



 v 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying


                1.     We have the Example of the Master to follow.


Illustration

Suppose that truck out in the parking lot full of Gold Bricks owes us for a set of tires. Do we have the compassion to forgive?


That set of tires compared to the trailer full of gold bricks.


Application


We Need to Learn the . . Smallness of Our Willingness to Forgive.


Contrast in Forgiveness, and Compassion


 

4.     We Need to Learn the . . Consequences of Forgiveness. 18:31-35

31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses." NKJV



 

        A.    Consequence One . . The Master will know of our

                Un-forgiveness. 18:31

                31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been

                done, they were very grieved, and came and told their

                master all that had been done.

 

        B.    Consequence Two . . The Master will Not Be Pleased. 18:32

32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to

        him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt

        because you begged me.

 

        C.    Consequence Three . . The Master will Not Be Pleased. 18:33

33 Should you not also have had compassion on your

        fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?'

 

                1.     Master Expected Imitation of Forgiveness.


 

        D.    Consequence Four . . The Master Expected A Change of Heart. 18:33

34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the

        torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So

        My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from

        his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses." NKJV


Illustration

Corrie Ten Boom shares this true story in her book, "The Hiding Place": It was a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck.


He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there - the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie's pain-blanched face. He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. "How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein," he said. "To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!"


His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side. Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.


I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.


The story says they she then took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.



We Need to Learn How Forgiveness . . Works.


We Need to Learn How God’s Forgiveness Is . . Given.


We Need to Learn the . . Smallness of Our Willingness to Forgive.


We Need to Learn the . . Consequences of Forgiveness.