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2007-08-26_Seventy Times Seven_Matthew 18.15-35_SL

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Seventy Times Seven

Matthew 18:15-35   |   Shaun LePage   |   August 26, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Hacky Sin: Guy punched me in the chest when I committed a “hacky sin”; I didn’t know the rules and he decided he was going to teach me the hard way; How many Christians feel the way I did?

B.    Matthew 18:1-14—Question: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus (child illustration) “Humble yourself”—true greatness comes from recognizing your sinfulness before God; then began to teach how we—His disciples, His body—should respond to and deal with sin:

1.     Humility—the answer to the question and overarching response we are to have regarding sin

2.     Receive the humble like family—Christlike acceptance of sinners “friend of sinners”

3.     Don’t cause the humble to stumble—by deliberate choice or bad example to others

4.     Do not despise the humble—by not caring about / for others; neglecting them

C.    Matthew 18:15-35—two more great answers to the question, “How do we deal with sin?”

II.     Body—Matthew 18:15-35

A.    Confront sin as concerned brothers. This is an important responsibility. Two extremes: 1) Neglect; 2) Harsh and controlling; too quick; legalistic → Proper, Biblical: Matt 18:15-20

1.     Discover the truth (write: informal discipline)

a)     Go and show. (v15)

(1)  “If your brother sins”—“if” series of conditions; “brother”=fellow believer”; “sins”—(“against you” (KJV, NIV) is a later addition—not limited to personal offenses.); must define “sin” biblically. Scribes and Pharisees accused disciples of sin on Sabbath (12:2), but Jesus called them “innocent” (v.7). Be careful: Only what the Bible calls sin “Go and show him his fault in private”—all of us share responsibility (Rom 15:14; Col 3:16); “…in private” (informal); Perhaps unaware he sinned; perhaps needs help

(2)  “If he listens to you, you have won your brother”! Purpose: Win your brother, not win an argument! Read: Gal 6:1; 2Ti2:24-26

b)     Take 1 or 2 more. (v16)

(1)  “If he does not listen to you, take one or two more.” Why? “So that…every fact may be confirmed” You might be wrong! (Much Ado About Nothing; Claudio accused Hero…) Wise protection! So, if someone tells you about someone else’s sin but they haven’t dealt with it properly—don’t listen! Ask: “Did you go to your brother privately? Did you confirm every fact?” Admonish them to go and discover the truth first!

(2)  Still very private—constructive conversation, prevents gossip—gets at the truth!

2.     Protect the Church (write: formal discipline)

a)     Tell it to the church. (v17a)

(1)  Why? More people trying to win the brother

(2)  Also puts the church on guard! Stops the spread of sin. 1 Cor 5:1-7: “Boasting” about how tolerant you are is dangerous; “clean out the old leaven…”; Addressing publicly stops sin (“leaven”) from spreading—This is sin and we’re not going to ignore it. We’re going to deal with it—“leaven” pictures influence; sin ignored will influence the entire body—“that must be okay” or “no one cares if I do that”; children and new believers and even unbelievers can be greatly confused by or influenced by sin in midst

b)     Do not associate. (v17b-20)

(1)  “Gentile and a tax collector”—treated as an outsider: 2 Thess 3:6,14-15 (formal); not the first step!! Last straw! Shame with the goal of repentance.

(2)  Difficult decision—prayerfully, wisely, Jesus gives His approval. “bind…loose”= forbid and permit. Not forcing God to do something, but when we handle sin God’s way, He gives His approval; “Agree…gathered together”=prayerfully seeking God’s will (“in My name” v20). Not easy, but Jesus promises to walk through it with us and lead us to accomplish His will.

B.    Forgive sin as liberated slaves. (v21-35)

1.     (21) The question—Rabbis taught to forgive 3X; Peter was being generous—7X!!

2.     (22) The answer—490X? 491 you stop? No! Jesus taught no limits to forgiveness! Patience!

3.     (23-34) The parable

a)     1 slave forgiven a great amount (10,000 talents; “talent” of silver (low ball)=6,000 days wages (gold=180,000 days!); avg. American (roughly $147/day—$46K/year (2005 real median); 6,000X$147=1 talent/$882,000 X 10,000=$8.8B!!; Point: A lot!

b)     1 slave not forgiven a small amount (“100 denarii”; 1 denari=one day’s wage average worker; avg. American (roughly $147/day); 100X147=$14,700.); Point: A lot less!

c)     The “brother” who withheld forgiveness reprimanded and tortured; not a salvation issue; context: teaching disciples—not “lose salvation” but “lose fellowship; bring discipline”

d)     God offers two kinds of forgiveness: Jn 13:5-10 “bathing” and “foot washing”

(1)  Bathing is permanent; penalty of sins (past, present, future) forever forgiven; freely offered to all who will receive it—70X7!

(2)  Foot washing is daily, as-needed removal of sin; restores relationship and all the blessings that go with it. If we hang onto our sin, God will not wash it away (becomes like a torture prison) and will discipline us. We must confess—1 John 1:9: “If (conditional) you confess (agree with)…” Unforgiveness is sin—if you don’t forgive you brother you are holding onto your sin and God will not “wash your feet”; you will suffer the consequences of your sin and God will discipline. Forgive and be cleansed!

4.      (35) The point

a)     Forgive! God has forgiven us an unimaginable amount, so we should forgive too

b)     We must protect the church from sin, but we must be quick to forgive the repentant sinner.

C.    3 great responsibilities of brothers and sin—Body of Christ (Christlikeness):

1.     Commit yourself to holiness. Bylaws: “Are endeavoring to live a life free from any sin which would disgrace the name of Christ or discredit the testimony of this church.” If we look like those outside the church, how will they know we are His? Mt 5:13—“salt…good for nothing”; commit yourself to a life of holiness (sanctification) so that you never need a brother to confront you; Why do we have so many teachers today confusing the gospel (free gift of salvation) with discipleship (high priced following of Jesus)? Because so many Christians are not living holy lives—they receive the free gift of salvation, but refuse to pay the high cost of sanctification. I invite you to receive the free gift of salvation—no strings attached today. But to receive that free gift transforms you into a child of God. God—like any Father—will do what is best for you. He will provide for you, protect you and—when necessary—correct and discipline you. Why? He wants you to experience Him and the abundant life He has for you.

2.     Commit yourself to community. Lone Ranger Christians not only “tank” (no accountability) but they will be ineffective witnesses; John 13:35 “love for one another” requires the kind of commitment that lovingly confronts sin and provides accountability; formal membership says “I am committed to this body; to living in community with my brothers and sisters in Christ.”

3.     Commit yourself to grace. The great Christian message of this time is grace. God will bring justice someday soon, but today we proclaim grace, redemption, mercy, forgiveness. Receive it. Give it. Do you want to hear Mt 18:32-33? Forgive from your heart! Have you received the forgiveness of Christ? Who do you need to forgive today? To whom do you need to go?

III.   Closing:

A.    My brothers and sisters. This is Biblical, healthy Christianity.

B.    I want to close with a completely opposite story—the way forgiveness should be given; seventy times seven kind of forgiveness. [ Corrie ten Boom: The Hiding Place, pgs. 237-238 ]

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