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sf192 - A Lesson In Forgiveness (Matthew 18 21-35)

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Matthew 18:21-35

Introduction

Forgiveness is not natural to man.  Because it is so foreign to fleshly human nature, people find it very difficult to forgive others.  King Louis XII of France articulated the feeling of many people when he said, “Nothing smells so sweet as the dead body of your enemy.”

Yet nothing so characterizes the new nature of Christians as forgiveness, because nothing so characterizes the nature of their Lord. 

Jesus’ most striking and humanly incomprehensible words from the cross were, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Forgiveness reflects the highest human virtue, because it So clearly reflects the character of God.  A person who forgives is a person who emulates godly character. Nothing So much demonstrates God’s love as His forgiveness.  

A person who does not forgive is therefore a person lacking in godly character and without Christlike love, no matter how orthodox his theology or how outwardly impeccable his morals appear to be.

In this closing part of His teaching about believers as children (Matt. 18), Jesus gives a powerful and sobering declaration of the need for believers to be forgiving.  

Just as a person enters and is considered great in the kingdom only by becoming like a little child (vv. 3-4) and, once in the kingdom, is to be protected like a little child (vv. 5-9), cared for like a little child (vv. 10-14), and disciplined like a little child (vv. 15-20), So also, Jesus now says, must he be forgiven like a little child.


1A.      The Problem (18:21-22)

1B.      Peter’s question (18:21)

Peter understood the point of Jesus’ teaching in 18:15-20.

Peter’s proposal was more than twice as much as the rabbis taught.

2B.      Jesus’ response (18:22)

Jesus takes two perfect number, ten and seven multiplies them together, and then multiplies the result by seven.

Jesus point was that our forgiveness was to reflect God’s forgiveness that knows no boundaries.

Law keeps count; grace does not. (MacArthur)

2A.      The Parable (18:23-34)

1B.      The man and his debt (18:23-27)

His plight

Ø      The day of reckoning (18:23-24)

1)      Something that is inescapable (18:23)

This does not represent God’s final judgment, it is a calling to account.

2)      Someone who was completely insolvent (18:24)

10, 000 talents represented more than could ever be repaid in a lifetime.

Ø      The day of ruin (18:25)

3)      His sin affected his future (18:25a)

4)      His sin affected his family (18:25b)

His posture  (18:26a)

“He fell down before him,” proskuneo; to do reverence to, carries the idea of worship


His plea (18:26b)

“Patience,” makrothumeo; to persevere, to be patient

His pledge (18:26c)

“I will pay you all,” this is a promise he knew he could not keep

His pardon (18:27)

Ø      Unmerited (18:27a)

“Moved with compassion,” splagchnizomai; to be moved in the inward parts

Ø      Unconditional (18:27b)

2B.      The man and his deed (18:28-30)

What he demanded (18:28)

Ø      His search (18:28a)

This man’s debt was nothing compared to what this servant had been forgiven (1/600,000)

Ø      His severity (18:28b)

He grabbed the man’s throat before he spoke.

What he discovered (18:29)

Ø      This man’s plea is nearly identical to his.

What he did (18:30)

Ø      He revealed his own hard heart.

3B.      The man and his doom (18:31-34)

His sin is revealed (18:31-33)

Ø      The report of his peers (18:31)

Ø      The response of his master (18:32-33)

He is punished because of his unforgiveness not because of his debt.

His sentence restored (18:34)

Ø      His original punishment plus the tortures.

3A.      The Point (18:35)

1B.      The main lesson:

Those who have experienced God’s forgiveness must extend that same forgiveness to others.

2B.      Other important lessons:

We are all God’s debtors.

Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

None of us are able to pay either our own or our brother’s debt.

Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

This debt must be paid.

Romans 3:19 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

The debt has been paid by Christ’s atoning death.

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Those who have truly been forgiven (born again) will be eager to forgive others.

Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

The unforgiving person is destined for everlasting punishment.


Matthew 18:21-35

1A.      The Problem (18:21-22)

1B.      Peter’s _____________________________ (18:21)

2B.      Jesus’ response (18:22)

Jesus point was that our forgiveness was to reflect God’s forgiveness that knows no boundaries.

2A.      The Parable (18:23-34)

1B.      The man and his __________________ (18:23-27)

His _______________________

Ø      The day of reckoning (18:23-24)

1)      Something that is inescapable (18:23)

2)      Someone who was completely insolvent (18:24)

Ø      The day of ruin (18:25)

1)      His sin affected his future (18:25a)

2)      His sin affected his family (18:25b)

His _______________________ (18:26a)

His plea (18:26b)

His pledge (18:26c)

His _____________________________ (18:27)

Ø      Unmerited (18:27a)

Ø      Unconditional (18:27b)

2B.      The man and his __________________ (18:28-30)

What he demanded (18:28)

Ø      His search (18:28a)

Ø      His severity (18:28b)

What he ____________________________ (18:29)

What he did (18:30)


3B.      The man and his __________________ (18:31-34)

His sin is revealed (18:31-33)

His sentence restored (18:34)

3A.      The Point (18:35)

1B.      The main lesson:

Those who have experienced God’s forgiveness must extend that same forgiveness to others.

2B.      Other important lessons:

We are all God’s debtors.

Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

None of us are able to pay either our own or our brother’s debt.

Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

This debt must be paid.

Romans 3:19 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

The debt has been paid by Christ’s atoning death.

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Those who have truly been forgiven (born again) will be eager to forgive others.

Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

The unforgiving person is destined for everlasting punishment.

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