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The Unmerciful Servant

Short Stories  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We are called to forgive just as God forgave us.

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Short Stories
There are 5 main things that we value.
The Unmerciful Servant
Today we are going to start a series called “Short Stories” The Parables of Jesus.
The Word
I love reading parables.
Parables are short stories that Jesus would tell that would pack a big truth about the Kingdom of God
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A lot of times these would come about because someone would ask Jesus a question.
Jesus would then tell a fictional story that people could relate to and then explain how the Kingdom of God works.
We felt like it was important that we take time to teach about why we value each of these.
Today we are going to talk about the “Unmerciful Servant”
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
It’s one thing to see a sign that says that or to hear us say that, but it’s another to actually UNDERSTAND the reasoning behind it.
So Peter asks Jesus how often should he forgive those who sin against him? UP TO 7 TIMES?
So we want to share with you the heart behind City Church.
In Peter’s mind that was a HUGE number.
So this morning I’m going to start by talking about The Power of the Word!
Some rabbis taught that you should forgive up to three times for a sin against you.
Why is it important that we read the Bible?
We’re going to talk about 4 things the Word does for us when we read it.
So it’s kind of like hey I’m gonna forgive three times but on the fourth I’m gonna Chuck Norris roundhouse kick you in the face!
You see the fact of the matter is that a majority of CHRISTIANS don’t read their Bible.
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.”
I’ve seen studies that say 80% of Christians don’t read their Bible Monday - Saturday.
I promise you he never thought Jesus would counter with 77 times or the original wording is 70 x 7.
Others have said 40% - 50% read it once or twice a week.
You see Jesus wasn’t saying to forgive up to 490 times
He was using hyperbole.
The bottom line is that Christians are not in the Word on a consistent basis.
The point Jesus was making is that forgiveness is inexhaustible.
And I believe that is a big reason why our culture is having such an impact on believers.
So he used the example of a man who owed a debt to the king that he could never repay.
Because we really don’t know what the Word of God says about certain issues.
10,000 bags of gold was millions of dollars today
So today I want to share 4 things the Word does for us.
But the king forgives his debt.
Our theme scripture for today is 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
Then he goes back and finds a fellow servant who owed him a small amount compared to what he owed, probably around $20, and he demanded from him.
It’s important that we understand that.
They told the king and the king punished the man greatly by having him tortured until he could repay his debt.
That when we read the Bible we are reading the actual word of God.
Yes men wrote it but they were inspired by the Holy Spirit which means we can have confidence in what we are reading.
Now we read up to that part and we say, “YEAH, he got what he deserved! What a jerk.”
And all of a sudden Jesus turns it around where now we’re like, “oh crap!”
1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”
The Word Strengthens Your Faith.
Verse 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
You see because we tend to look at other people and want certain rules to apply to them but not us.
Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
So how can our faith come or “grow” through the Word?
Little things like driving down the road and you want to get over and somebody doesn’t let you in and you get ticked.
Because God speaks to us through His Word.
But then the next day you’re driving and someone wants to get over in your lane and you speed up and don’t let them in.
How many times have you been going through something in your life and you open your Bible and you read a verse that was speaking right to you?
Jesus is saying that it’s easy to look at this story and agree with the punishment that was given but the truth is the same rule applies to us.
I remember in a critical time in my life when this happened to me.
We are called to FORGIVE just as God has forgiven us.
My wife and I were going through a difficult time in our lives.
You see that’s the point of the story.
Because of our sin we owe God this incredible debt that we could never pay back.
I was unemployed, we were trying to start a family, etc.
One day when I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with God I was reading my Bible and I came across this verse.
But because of his unbelievable grace He sent Jesus to die on a cross and PAY for our debt so that we could spend eternity in heaven with Him.
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
And in turn because of the unbelievable debt that we’ve been forgiven of, naturally He expects us to forgive those who have hurt us and sinned against us.
Because no matter what anyone has ever done to you, it doesn’t compare to what JESUS HAS DONE FOR YOU!
That verse just jumped off the page at me.
You see the Bible actually tells us that we ARE going to have opportunities to get offended.
I KNEW it was God speaking to us.
NKJV “Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come…”
And after that my faith grew stronger. I knew God was with me and had a plan.
You WILL have opportunity to hold on to unforgiveness.
You see when you read the Word God gives you Revelation.
The question is how do you respond?
It’s like an aha moment.
Because for some reason we think by holding on to this unforgiveness that we’re hurting that person.
You see you don’t just read the Bible because of the information it gives you or the knowledge it gives you.
You read it because of the revelation it will bring you.
The only person we’re hurting is ourselves.
Information just informs, Revelation transforms.
Look at Joseph.
His own family sold him to be a slave.
That’s what happened when I read Galatians 6:9!
But so many people’s faith gets shaken because of circumstances and God WANTS to speak to them through his Word but because we don’t read it we don’t hear from Him.
He then builds favor with Potiphar until his wife falsely accuses him of trying to sleep with her
The Word Helps You Walk in Truth.
He then gets thrown in prison
1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
He then asked the chief cupbearer who was in prison with him to put in a good word for him to Pharaoh because he interpreted one of his dreams.
But he was forgotten
Some are going to hear messages from other people and think that what they are saying sounds good and will believe.
He went through 13 years of being a slave and being in prison.
If anybody had a right to be bitter and to hold on to offenses towards people it was Joseph
Then when he first sees his brothers you can tell he wants to get back at them a little bit.
And because they don’t read the Word they don’t really know what the truth is.
“Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
That’s why so many Christians today are giving in to what our culture says is right and wrong.
Or we hear someone take one scripture out of context and twist it to make people think what they are saying is true and people just buy it.
Joseph had EVERY right to be bitter towards his brothers, but he chose to forgive.
The issue is we don’t have enough Bereans today.
So what do you do if you are holding on to unforgiveness towards someone?
Pray for Them
Acts 17:11 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
The Bereans would hear Paul preach but wouldn’t just settle that he was telling the truth.
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,”
There’s something that happens to you when you take time to actually pray for the people who have hurt you.
So they would go home and study the scriptures that he taught from and made sure what he was saying was true.
How many people do that today?
And I don’t mean just a quick prayer.
In David talks about praying for his enemies as if he was praying for his own mother.
After a Sunday message go home and read the verses the Pastor preached from to make sure it was accurate.
You’re not going to hurt my feelings if you do that. I want you to.
Go to the Person You Have an Offense Towards
I tell my students all the time, “I don’t want you to believe what I believe because I told you to believe it. I want you to believe it because you came to that same conclusion by reading the Bible.”
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”
Steve example.
Because unfortunately we live in a day where not all “Pastors” are preaching truth.
A lot of times we’re offended at someone and they don’t even know.
You can’t just go into a Christian bookstore and pick any book out and know that it is speaking the truth.
But when YOU are in the Word and studying for yourself God is going show you the truth.
Maybe it’s a situation that you can’t go to that person.
Continue to pray for them.
In the book of Hosea the prophet writes in verse 6 “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”
But what an opportunity to be an example of Christ.
I think to myself how many people’s faith today is being destroyed because of a lack of knowledge?
The Word is Your Weapon Against the Enemy
I think of stories like the Matthew West song, “Forgiveness”.
It’s a song about a woman named Renea Napier whose 22 year old daughter was killed by a 24 year old drunk driver named Eric Smallridge.
Ephesians 6:12 “ For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Eric was sent to 22 years in prison.
We are in a spiritual battle every day of our lives against the enemy.
And if we aren’t prepared to fight we very well could lose.
Renea started to go around to schools and churches and talked about the dangers of drunk driving.
So how do we fight against these powers and authorities?
But she said something still didn’t feel right with her.
She realized the effect that her bitterness and unforgiveness towards Eric had on her.
Paul talks about the armor of God.
So she reached out to Eric in prison to let him know that she forgives him.
And most of the armor is for defensive purposes.
Not only that her and her entire family went before a judge to plead with him to cut Eric’s sentence in half.
But there’s one weapon that he talks about.
Ephesians 6:17 “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Eric couldn’t believe this family would do this. He said he couldn’t even forgive himself.
But because of their forgiveness Eric gave his heart to the Lord.
The WORD of God is our weapon!
So the judge agreed to cut his sentence in half and Eric now travels with Renea when speaking on drunk driving.
Eric is considered part of their family.
Because there is POWER in the Word.
Power to keep you from being deceived.
Power to help you resist the lies of the enemy.
Talk to Someone
1 Thessolonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Power to show you the life God has called you to live.
We NEED to be open and share these struggles with those closest to us.
When the enemy tries to attack you and tells you you’re a failure, that God doesn’t care about you and he causes fear to creep in...
Too many people like to just bury their emotions and not tell anyone.
It’s in those moments that we NEED to stand strong in what the Word of God says and speak it against the enemy.
Speak and believe verses like…
But the problem is when we bury emotions we bury them alive. They will always come back and hurt us.
It’s a new year.
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Which means it’s time to make changes in our life.
Speak the Word and watch the devil flee!
It’s an opportunity to reflect and make things right.
The Word is powerful.
And I can’t think of anything better than starting this new year off by letting go of unforgiveness.
Ephiesians 4:31-32 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Lewis B. Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
The Word is alive and it’s here for us to take advantage of against the attacks of the enemy.
If you can learn to forgive you will see God do something amazing in your life.
We can combat sin with the Word
You will feel a weight lifted off of your shoulders.
Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
The Word is Our Compass for Life
I don’t know what’s happened to you in your life. But what I do know is that holding on to that bitterness and unforgiveness is only going to make things worse.
Don’t let something that someone did to you affect what God wants to do through you!
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Altar Call
The Bible is our instruction guide for how to live our life.
So many people have questions on whether something is right or wrong and if they should do something or not and the answer is in the Word.
Prayer Team
You see the Word is a lamp because it shows us where we are.
It’s a light on our path because it then shows us where we need to go.
All the answers you’re looking for about how we’re supposed to live and what’s right and what’s wrong is all in the Bible.
All you have to do is read it.
Bottom line is that it’s hard to stay on the path that God has for you if you’re not in His Word.
"Our research shows that when people engage with the Word, their lives are bettered," said Roy Peterson, president and CEO of American Bible Society. "They find wisdom, hope and healing. In today's sometimes turbulent times, the Bible can provide welcome answers."
I want you all to live the best life you can live and experience EVERYTHING God has for you.
And a great way to make sure that happens is get in the Word.
Altar Call
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