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Forgiveness Without Limits

The Gospel of Matthew  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Matthew 18:21–35 ESV
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?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 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. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 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.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 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. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Matt 18:21

Followers of Jesus must forgive others because God has abundantly forgiven them.

I. What is my obligation to forgive?

Matthew 18:21 ESV
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?”
Peter’s question gets underscore true.

a. God expects me to forgive.

Peter is correct - forgiveness is a divine exception.

“Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” Corrie ten Boom

Peter is correct - forgiveness is a divine exception.

b. How do I know when I have met God’s requirements for forgiveness?

What is a reasonable amount of forgiveness?

II. Christ demands extravagant forgiveness from his followers.

Matthew 18:22–24 ESV
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. 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.
Matt 18:22-24
The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew Forgiveness in the Community toward Sinning Disciples (18:21–35)

The teaching within Judaism (based on Amos 1:3; 2:6; Job 33:29, 30) is that three times was enough to show a forgiving spirit. Rabbinic Judaism recognized that repeat offenders may not really be repenting at all: “If a man commits a transgression, the first, second and third time he is forgiven, the fourth time he is not”

a. We have received extravagant forgiveness.

Matthew 18:24–27 ESV
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.
Matt 18:24-

Ten Thousand Talents = 6 Billion Dollars

The most Christlike thing you can do is to forgive.

b. We must extend extravagant forgiveness.

-30
Matthew 18:28–30 ESV
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.

What are you struggling to forgive?

III. God holds men accountable for an unforgiving heart.

III. God holds men accountable for an unforgiving heart.

Matthew 18:32–34 ESV
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.
32-

a. Failure to forgive men reveals a failure to be forgiven by God.

b. A merciless spirit towards men will not receive mercy from God.

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