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Summary: Encourage and empower the beleiver to cherish teh forgiveness they have from their heeavenly Father so much so that they will continually forgive each other.

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NIV Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 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 talents 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 "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 denarii. 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 you 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 greatly distressed 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 turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

Introduction: I am a competitor. I love to compete. It sounds better than saying, I am a sore-loser. I am never willing to concede and give up. I have said, “I quit,” when I was younger. I still burn inside to have a second chance, to not quit and to keep trying. I am a competitor. There is a sin that crouches at my door waiting for me whenever I compete: vengeance. During the soccer game for the Cardinals on Saturday, it became clear that our opponent was bigger, faster and better coached. I was in heaven. I was competing. We were directing the kids. Pushing our offense up the field, moving our defense around the goal. But when the other team scored goals on us, even when we were trying as hard as we could, we became frustrated. I had a fire in my chest to attack ; lash out and get them back for scoring goals on us. That burning feeling of vengeance you find when someone “gets you”, whether it is on the soccer field or when are country is at war with terrorists, is a sin. “Vengeance is my says the Lord.” God knows our weakness when it comes to being sore-losers. He knows how difficult it is to turn the other cheek. Remember Jesus is the one that controlled his anger and vengeance when his own family and country rejected him. Jesus even controlled his feelings of vengeance when the soldiers nailed his hands and feet to the cross: “Father forgive them.” Jesus is the one that teaches us to pray, “Our Father heaven, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”

“How can I ever forgive you?”

I will remember the way God forgives me.

An environmentalist named John Muir once said, ‘everything in the universe is connected to everything else.” He was talking about our ecosystem in which every animal, mineral and person plays an integral part in our way of life and should not be thrown out carelessly but should be managed carefully. His theory also holds true in Christianity. Actually all of Christianity is connected to one central teaching: the forgiveness of sins. But what about the gospel? Well the heart of the gospel is the forgiveness of sins.

Have you ever been asked , ‘Why are there so many religions in the world; especially so many Christian religions?” All the different religions really have different ways to deal with sin and its accompanying guilt. But what about Christianity? True enough, that all the Christian denominations talk about the Gospel and the Forgiveness of sins. The key to understanding any religion is the How. How can God ever forgive me? Over the last couple centuries American Christianity has slowly been moving the Forgiveness of sins out of the heart of Christianity and molding the gospel into a beautiful work of mankind. In doing so they have left many people unanswered as they ask, ‘how can God ever forgive me?

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