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Forgive

This audio message is on the command from our Lord Jesus Christ to forgive.

 

My speaking notes are included below. While not an exact transcript, they are close to what is in the audio and contain all the points from the message.

This message was given and recorded at Solid Rock Baptist Church of Seymour, MO on March 17, 2019.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? {22} Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

{23} ¶ Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. {24} And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. {25} But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. {26} The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. {27} Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. {28} But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. {29} And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. {30} And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. {31} So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. {32} Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: {33} Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? {34} And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. {35} So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. – Matthew 18:21-35

Peter asked Jesus this question, “how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”

Jesus answers his question in this way, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Peter thought that seven times might be the right number.  After all, Jesus has said this number as recorded in Luke 17:3-4.

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. {4} And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. – Luke 17:3-4

Based on the parable that follows and on other scripture, I don’t believe that Jesus wants us to keep track and count the number of times we forgive each person until we reach 490. He is showing us how much we have been forgiven and how much more we should forgive others.

Let’s look at the parable of the Uncompassionate Servant. This parable is commonly known as either the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant or the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.

I use the title of the Parable of the Uncompassionate Servant because he received compassion from his lord but did not have compassion on his fellowservant.

In this parable, Jesus tells us of a servant who owed a debt to his King of 10,000 talents. There are many different estimates on how much this would be worth today. For our purposes, let’s be conservative and say it was over $1M that he owed.

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. {24} And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. {25} But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. – Matthew 18:23-25

The servant is called before the king because he owes a huge debt. He, his wife, his children and all his possessions were to be sold to make payment on his debt.

I did some quick research and found that one talent is the same as 3,000 shekels. According to Leviticus 27:3, a man of working age is worth 50 shekels. From this we can deduce that this man, his family and all that he owned could never pay off his debt!

All he can do is petition his lord for more time.

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. {27} Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. – Matthew 18:26-27

He was forgiven all!

This is a picture of our state before God. We have a sin debt that we can never repay.

Like the servant, we seek forgiveness of our sin – a debt that we can never repay. God sees our problem and has provided someone who can pay our debt – the Lord Jesus Christ. We then can believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, we repent (turn away) from our sins, and ask God to forgive our sins.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. {21} But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; {22} Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: {23} For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; {24} Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: {25} Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; {26} To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. – Romans 3:20-26

Jesus has paid the price for our sins so that we can be forgiven.

Now the parable shifts scenes to show how the forgiven servant treats his fellowservant.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. {29} And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. {30} And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. – Matthew 18:28-30

We see that the servant whose debt was forgiven does not have compassion on his fellowservant regarding his debt.

The debt involved here is “an hundred pence.” This is worth about one dollar today. One dollar that was owed versus one million dollars that was forgiven!

His fellowservant pleads with the same words he used, “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.”

Was there compassion for that plea?  NO!

“And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.”

But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. – Numbers 32:23

So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. {32} Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: {33} Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? {34} And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. {35} So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. – Matthew 18:31-35

He did not show compassion on his fellowservant and did not forgive this small debt. The result?

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. – Matthew 18:34

A debt that he could never repay….

What does that mean for us?

In the Lord’s prayer we have this line:

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. – Matthew 6:12

Another way that the Lord’s prayer is given comes from Luke Chapter 11.

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. – Luke 11:4

Jesus goes on to explain the principle and how it applies to us.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: {15} But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14-15

Jesus teaches this principle again in Luke.

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: – Luke 6:37

I want to circle back to one more thing from the parable in today’s text.

Jesus begins the parable by saying, “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto…”

Because of this introduction, and this type of introduction is quite common in the book of Matthew, we know that Jesus is teaching us about the kingdom of heaven.

In the kingdom of heaven, we are to forgive.  We have been forgiven more than we could ever pay, so we must forgive others. If we don’t, it comes back on us like the servant in the parable.

Our hearts are to be forgiving, not seeking revenge.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. {20} Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. {21} Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:19-21

We are being shown by Jesus through this parable that the kingdom of heaven works much differently than the world does. We are to forgive, not seek revenge. We are not to live our lives trying to get back at someone who wronged us. We are not to hold on to a root of bitterness in our heart.

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: {15} Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; – Hebrews 12:14-15

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: {32} And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:31-32

Do you have people that you need to forgive?

  • Your parents
  • Your brother or sister
  • A business partner
  • People who did work for you
  • Yourself
  • Others?

Examine your heart and see. Ask the Lord to show you.

I will say one more thing (and this is from my own experience) about forgiveness. When you forgive, it doesn’t mean that you must now trust that person. Use appropriate caution and ask God for wisdom in how to move forward with that person.

In closing, remember how much you have been forgiven by God, and then forgive others.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; {13} Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. {14} And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. {15} And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. {16} Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. {17} And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. – Colossians 3:12-17

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