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Summary: We have to learn how to walk in Forgiveness

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FORGIVENESS: HOW SWEET IT IS

Matthew 18:21-35

10-27-02

INTRODUCTION

1. I HEARD ABOUT A MAN THAT WENT TO SEE HIS DOCTOR

BECAUSE HE WAS FEELING ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE.

THE DOCTOR

GAVE HIM A CAREFUL EXAMINATION, LEFT THE ROOM TO LOOK

AT SOME TESTS, CAME BACK IN WITH A VERY SOMBER

EXPRESSION ON HIS FACE AND SAID:

"SIR I DON'T KNOW HOW

TO BREAK THIS NEWS TO YOU, BUT YOU HAVE RABIES AND

YOU'RE GOING TO DIE VERY SOON."

2. THE MAN VERY CALMLY GOT OUT A PIECE OF PAPER AND

BEGAN FURIOUSLY WRITING.

THE DOCTOR SAID: "WHAT ARE

YOU DOING, MAKING OUT YOUR LAST WILL?"

HE SAID, "NO,

I'M MAKING OUT A LIST OF PEOPLE THAT I AM GOING TO

BITE."

3. YOU CAN GO TO ANY CHURCH IN AMERICA OF PRACTICALLY

ANY DENOMINATION AND REGARDLESS OF ITS SIZE, LOCATION,

OR CREED I PROMISE YOU IN THAT CHURCH ONE THING YOUR

WOULD DEFINITELY FIND AMONG THE CONGREGATION ARE

BITTER HEARTS.

JUST AS AIRPORTS HAVE METAL DETECTORS

I WISH CHURCHES COULD DEVELOP "BITTERNESS DETECTORS"

TO KEEP PEOPLE WHO ARE HARBORING AN UNFORGIVING SPIRIT

AND BITTER HEART OUT OF THE CHURCH.

4. The Apostle Peter came to the Lord Jesus on one

occasion and asked him a question about this matter of

forgiveness.

"Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often

shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?

Up to seven times?" (v.21)

Now that is a good question, because I'm going to tell

you a little secret that if you live long enough you

already know - but nobody I repeat NOBODY makes it

through life free of hurt or personal injury.

Either someone somewhere at sometime has hurt you or they

will.

The question is not whether or not people are going to hurt you, whether or not people are going to do you wrong, the question is how are you going to

respond?

The word literally means "to let go" or "to send away." Forgiveness is when you release to the lord any bitterness that you might feel you have a right to have towards someone else and let God handle the matter in His own way.

One great psychologist said, "Forgiveness is giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me."

Now when Peter asked this question of Jesus, he asked it in a way that you and I would be too ashamed to ask but he was just blunt enough to do so.

His question was really this "how many times do I have to forgive a brother who sins against me, before I can beat the daylights out of him?"

Now, he pulls a shrewd trick.

He makes a suggestion to Jesus.

He says, "How about seven times?"

Now the reason why Peter was specific about seven times is because the going rate in that day was three times.

The Jewish law stipulated that a wounded person was obligated to forgive someone three times.

So Peter doubles the number of times the law demanded and then added one free pass as a bonus and he thought he was

giving Jesus a real blue light special.

Now Peter had one big concern.

He was not worried about forgiving someone too little.

He was worried about forgiving someone too much.

He was not worried about under-forgiving an offender.

He was worried about over-forgiving an offender.

Well, as usual the Lord Jesus gave an answer that was not only surprising, but absolutely stunning. verse 22 tells us, "Jesus said to him, I do not say to

you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."

Now understand that when Jesus said, "seventy times seven", he was not giving a math lesson.

He wasn't saying keep a chart and when you get to four hundred and ninety one times then you can take somebody out.

Peter wanted to say seven strikes then you are out.

Jesus was not even saying four hundred and ninety strikes and you are out.

Peter thought if someone sinned against you and he repented and you forgave him and then he did exactly the same thing and repented and you forgave him again, you could say "now that's two!"

But, here is what Jesus said, you can't keep a scorecard.

If somebody sins against you the first time and you forgive that brother then you

promise not to ever hold it against him again.

If he sins again, you cannot say "that's two", you've got to

say "that is one!"

So it is very obvious that Jesus has to teach not only Peter, but all of us exactly

what God expects of us concerning this matter of forgiving those who hurt us.

11. To illustrate the truth about forgiveness, Jesus

tells another parable and in this parable he shares

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