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An Unforgiving heart is an unforgiven heart

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Matthew 18:21-35
21
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” ESV

·      An unforgiving heart is an unforgiven heart

·      It would be easy to leave this passage and move on to another one but if you stay here for a little longer, this 18th. Chapter of Matthew has more to say and teach you.

·      After Matthew 18:15-20 and in that context, Peter’s question is very interesting and I must ask are you getting the same point that Peter is getting?

·      Why are matters serious today?  Why are they critical? 

·      I have stood before you and mentioned that you live in a time where you see the erosion of authority and instead of an argument or disagreement from you, I received an Amen instead.

·      In other words you agree that authority is not what it use to be.

·      So what happened to get us here?  And you know the answer.

·      Toleration, acceptance, ‘do your own thing’, ‘individual rights’, and self made standards.

·      The answer is discipline and you know the correct way here.

·      If discipline was medical care, the answer would be early detection leading to simpler procedures

·      If discipline was finance, the answer would be start investing at a young age, when a little could go a long way

·      If discipline was education, the answer would be good training in the basics at a young age

·      If discipline was planting a tree, the answer would be shape the tree while it is a young and small tree

·      As I said, you know the answer, if the goal is to remove sin from our midst, you first don’t let it in and next you catch it while it is young or small.

·      This society in which you live and much of your behavior is based on corrective health care and not preventive health care.

·      You max out credit cards with minimum savings and investments and the discovery is made when you are two or three months behind and the call ID name ends with the words collection agency

·      You discover in high school that big John can’t read, write and hates arithmetic, instead of teaching little Johnnie to read.

·      You get the point, the same point that Peter is getting and that point is that most of the stages of discipline are avoidable if you do what you should do. 

·      Discipline at early stages!

·      Now that leads to Peter’s question; Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

·      Peter doesn’t ask about the stages of discipline.

·      He doesn’t ask about excommunication or treating them like a Gentile and a tax collector.

·      Peter doesn’t ask about the meaning of bind on earth and bound in heaven, loose on earth and loosed in heaven.

·      After Jesus spoke about discipline, then Peter, according to verse 21, asked about forgiveness.

·      You see, my brothers and sisters, it is easy for me to tell you that you are standing on my feet, it hard for me to get beyond the thought that you did it on purpose.

·      Brothers, sisters, and you our visitors, discipline is a gathering activity not a scattering activity

·      Discipline is about taking advantage of an opportunity to forgive, and why?

·      Because a heart that has been forgiven, forgiven by the Lord, is searching for ways and opportunities to forgive.

·      A forgiven heart is reminded of just how much the Lord has forgiven of it and thus to forgive others for less is not hard nor difficult but rewarding and satisfying.

·      And even when the person is treated like a heathen or backslider, the shift is made in the approach, to this person, to point out and witness about the gospel of Christ. 

·      Hoping and praying that this person is one of God’s elect and will experience the blessings, joy and grace of having their heart of sin forgiven by the Lord of Lords.

·      But an unforgiving heart is an unforgiven heart.  Can’t forgive?  Then go no further than checking your own heart

·      When things go wrong, you automatically go negative, then go no further than examining your own heart.

·      Because if you are alive in this Christian journey, then know for certain, my brother my sister, that someone or something that is controlled by somebody is going to sin against you!

·      They won’t nor will it always work the way you want it to they and it will miss your mark, they or it will not always meet your expectations, get use to it, plan for it and be in prayer about it!

·      New Hope, I will between now and glory, sin against you and most of it will be unintentional! 

·      The question, however, is do you have enough Christ in you to forgive me?

·      Now Peter knows this; ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?

·      Forgiveness is a quantity thing, it is a counting activity, Peter is saying in a sense when my brother sins against me, I want to forgive him yes, but also I want to be able to look him or her in the face and say; ‘that’s one’ or ‘that’s two’ or ‘that’s seven’. 

·      It like asking when can I say that the damage is irreconcilable?

·      When can I finally say enough is enough?  How about seven times?

·      Listen to the Lord’s answer and sit through the lesson to be learned.

·      Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

·      Okay that easy it 490 times but the meaning is actually multiples of 77 and is translated in that time as countless times.

·      Unless you are one of the grandchildren trying to impress grandpa or grandma, you are not going to sit still long enough to count to 490 just to be counting.

·      Now you may say ‘that’s one’, ‘that’s two’, or even ‘that’s seven’ but can you picture someone, anyone, saying to their husband, wife, child, pastor, boss, subordinate or anybody else; ‘that’s 243’ or ‘that’s 480 you got 10 more times!’

·      But the Lord in His infinite wisdom knows that this does not settle the quantity issue, so he uses this opportunity to teach a lesson

·      Be aware of this as we look at the text,

·      Jesus’ teaching method was short sayings rather than in long flowing discourses, and many of His most vital teachings are in parables, proverbs and isolated pronouncements

·      A parable is teaching through a brief comparison and narrative and they usually have one central point or idea.

·      I like using the definition that I learned early in my walk with the Lord; a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

·      Now in light of what has been said thus far in this message, listen to the words of the master teacher again


 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.

·      Some of you have study bibles and if you do it may say something about the fact that a talent was the highest monetary unit of currency, equivalent to six thousands denarii.  Such a sum of money was practically uncountable (interesting because of the seventy times seven and what I mentioned there)

·      Now a denarius was a daily wage

·      To give you an understanding of what the Scripture is saying in today’s standard; if you made $6.25 per hour, you would make $50 a day, that’s a denarius.  A talent therefore is $50 times 6,000 or $300,000. 

·      That’s one talent, this man owes 10,000 talents to the king or a total of $3 billion, spelled with a ‘B’.

·      Notice also the wisdom of our Lord in using money in this parable because in our current life, money is the reason for much of the lack of forgiveness today

·      Look at verse 25.

25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

·      Do not over look this my brothers and sisters, please don’t miss this, underline it or highlight it in your bible.

·      And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt

·      Do you hear the earthly story?  Are you getting the heavenly meaning yet?

28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’

29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.

·      By the same standards I set above, that $5000 compared to 3 Billion dollars

31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.

·      By today’s standard, that’s a life prison sentence.

·      How long would it take you to pay off a 3 billion dollar debt?

35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

·      The earthly story is practical and understandable even in today’s standard but what is the heavenly meaning here?

·      Listen to it; ‘so also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart

·      Not your mind, it’s the logical thing to do because your logic may say otherwise

o       I’m being too easy

o       They are taking advantage of me

o       That’s the problem with the church now

o       I’m always the one forgiving

o       Haven’t I gone through enough

o       I should have stayed where I was, should have not stayed, did or not done

o       And on and on with those internal arguments

·      Not your feelings or physical perceptions

o       I didn’t hear a confession

o       I heard a confession and a apology but

o       Yah, they changed but that’s just because they got caught

o       They did not follow all of the ABC’s  or the 1,2,3’s of repentance

o       I need to see more, hear more, feel more

·      Listen saints, my brothers and sisters, the king has forgiven your debt because he made his son the prince pay for it.  He took your debt and placed it on his son and made him pay with his life.

·      Here is what I am saying on this Lord’s day.

·      If you can come into the Lord’s house, read the Lord’s book, sing praises to Him and speak of his goodness, and have an unforgiving heart, then check to see if you have a forgiven heart.

·      If you are a fair weather Christian and as long as people and things are going in the direction that pleases you but watch out if someone or something gets out of track or off track, I get this nasty attitude and an unforgiving nature because I suddenly bring up stuff that was suppose to be forgiven, check to see if you have a forgiven heart.

·      Jesus paid it all!  All means all from creedal to grave, all.  Big ones, little ones and in between ones, all.  Black sins, white sins, and grey area sins, all

·      But Jesus paid it all also means the sins of those who offends me, who sins against me, who cause stuff not to work right with me.

·      All to Him now I owe!

·      But I’m glad that He has taken this hear of stone and made it a heart of flesh.

·      Hear me, hear me well, forgiveness is not a sit down and plan activity.  It is not something that I got to think about.

·      Forgiveness is automatic.  I am in forgiving mode period.

·      When I approach you with an issue, a question, an offense, a sin against me, I am coming expecting to gain my brother or sister not to lose them.

·      I am expecting growth and not decay, edification and not annihilation, fellowship and not disbanding.

·      And that’s automatic

·      It is so automatic that I am surprise when it does not work but so automatic that I just can’t give up even if it proves that you are not really who you have said you are

·      I know that the God who saved me in all of my debt, all of my sin can surely save you from yours

·      And we can rejoice together for what the Lord is doing

·      Be warned New Hope about verse 35

So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

·      And my prayer in closing is that if you are holding on to something that prevents you from having a forgiving heart and you know beyond any doubt that you have a forgiven heart, then today, this very moment, repent of that and give it to the Lord in confession and prayer.

·      If you are a fair weather Christian and the Lord has allowed rain in your life than know that it takes rain for growth and it takes rain to wash off the dirt.  Instead of fretting because of the rain, rejoice in the rain.

·      Forgive even when forgiveness has not been asked for or even deserved from your standards

·      Forgive when you know the other person is trying to ask for forgiveness and may not know how

·      Forgive because when the Lord taught us to pray he taught us to say to our Father, ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’

·      And forgive not worrying about the quantity of your forgiveness but the quality of your forgiveness just like our Lord has forgiven you and remember his words in this doxology

Jude 24-25
24
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless (no debt no accusation) before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. ESV



Genesis 1:28
28
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” ESV

Matthew 28:18-20
18
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ESV

·      Genesis 1:28 gives the cultural mandate and Matthew 28:18-20 is the Great Commission.  This one author (John M. Frame) feels that they are the same.  The Great Commission is the application of the cultural mandate to a fallen human race.  After the fall, people still try to subdue the earth. 

·      The blessing in the Great Commission is Jesus’ statement in verse 18 and verse 20; all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me and I am with you always, to the end of the age.  In the Genesis passage this is stated; ‘and God blessed them’.

·      The second element is fill the earth with disciples, meaning baptizing in the name of the Trinity.  This is accomplished by the preached Word.

·      Subduing is accomplished by preaching also subdue their hearts to obey God’s command. 

·      The Great Commission must be the focus of everything the church does.  It must be the focus of the life of every believer.  All that we do must be done so that the world may be filled with believers and that these believers may be subdues to obey all God’s commands.

1 Corinthians 9:22
22
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. ESV

·      What goes on in the church?  Three things, worship, nurture, and witness.

Romans 10:17
17
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. ESV

The word of Christ – the great message of the Gospel

·      That God has made us to know Him

·      That we have sinned and separated ourselves from Him

·      That therefore God in His great love has come in the person of Jesus Christ, who has lived a perfect life, taking on our flesh and our infirmities

·      That He died on the Cross specifically as a substitute for all of those who would ever turn to Him and trust in Him

·      That He has been raised by God from the dead as a testimony that God has accepted this sacrifice

·      That He calls us now to repent and to trust in Him, even as Abraham trusted in the Word of God as it came to him in Ur of Chaldeans so many centuries ago.

John 19:25-27
25
but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. ESV



 

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