Summary: Since God has forgiven us, we must forgive others.


Text: Matt. 18:21-35; 6:14-15


A. Read Matt. 18:21-35

B. Last week we talked about God’s forgiving us.

1. Sinners

2. Deserved death

3. If we confess

C. Today we are going to talk about another aspect of forgiveness—forgiving others.

Transition: Jesus illustrates our need to forgive others by telling a story. First we see…


A. Forgiving a Debt

1. We begin by listening to Peter ask Jesus about forgiveness.

a. How many times should I forgive—7?

b. Jesus says, “No, 70 x 7!”

1) For all you math whizzes out there, that doesn’t mean 490 times!

2) This is a Jewish way of saying “Never hold grudges!”

2. In order to illustrate His point, Jesus tells a story about a king and his servant.

a. The servant owed the king ten thousand talents.

b. A single silver talent represented about 6,000 days wages for the average Palestinian worker (Keener, 95).

c. In other words, he owed the king about 60 million days wages.

d. To put that in modern terms he owed the king Donald Trump!

e. Illustration: Bringing it down to relative terms—THAT’S A LOT OF CHICKENS!

3. The king wanted his money and he wanted it now.

a. The king had him threatened to be sold.

b. He also threatened to sell his wife and children.

4. The servant knew he couldn’t pay the amount and begged for mercy.

a. He told the king, “Give me some time and I will pay you back everything.”

b. This is a ridiculous statement because there is no way that he could ever repay this amount of money.

5. The text tells us that the king was “moved with passion,” and “forgave him the debt.”

a. He felt sorry for his servant so he didn’t put him in jail or sell his family.

b. However, not only did he not sell his family, but he forgave him the debt in full.

B. We Owed a Debt We Could Not Pay

1. What I believe Jesus wants us to see is that this is the situation we find ourselves in with God.

2. We are sinners in the hands of an angry God.

a. Rom. 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death…”

b. Because we are sinners we owe God even more than the servant owes the king.

3. We owe God more than we could ever pay.

a. Is. 64:6 – “Our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…”

b. We owe God a great debt because of our sin and the best that we have to offer in exchange is worthless!

c. Illustration: It is like trying to pay the light bill with monopoly money.

4. We owed a debt we could not pay; He paid a debt he did not owe.

5. Jesus was whipped, beaten, and hung on a tree in order to pay for your sins and mine.

a. The nails that went through His hands should have been through yours.

b. The nails that went through his feet should have been yours.

c. The crown of thorns He wore should have been yours.

d. When He said it is finished, it was finished!

Transition: Because of the reality of forgiveness we must see the…

II. The Reason For Forgiveness (Matt. 18:28-35)

A. Wicked Servant

1. Jesus then says that this servant who had just been forgiven of a large debt went out and found a fellow servant that owed him money.

a. This servant owed him 100 pence.

b. Pence equaled about a days wages.

c. Therefore, this servant owed him about 100 days wages, which is nowhere near what he had owed the king.

2. He demanded that his fellow servant pay him immediately.

a. He was not at all kind to the servant.

b. He grabbed him by the throat and began to choke him.

3. Just as he had done, his fellow servant pleaded for mercy.

a. He begged him to give more time to pay the debt.

b. But he would not, and had the man thrown into prison.

4. Some other servants saw what was going on and went and reported it to the king.

a. The king was furious.

b. Called him a “wicked servant.”

c. He reminded him of the huge debt he had canceled for him.

d. He then rebukes him for not forgiving his fellow servant so small an amount.

5. Jesus says that the king “turned him over to the tormentors” until he paid what he owed.

6. He ends the story by saying that the same thing will happen to us if we will not forgive our fellow servants

B. Likewise…Unto You

1. God wants us to know today that He has forgiven us a great debt, and therefore expects us to treat others the same.

2. Jesus went even farther than telling a story, he goes on to be an example of this concept of forgiving others by forgiving those who crucified Him—“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

3. No one has ever done anything to you that even compares with how you have hurt God.

4. James 2:13 – “For there will be no mercy for you if you have not been merciful to others. But if you have been merciful, then God’s mercy toward you will win out over judgment against you” (NLT).

5. We should forgive others because we have been forgiven.

Transition: We have the reality of forgiveness, the reason for forgiveness, and…


A. Forgive and Be Forgiven

1. In these two verses taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expresses what He explained in the story of the wicked servant.

2. He says, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

3. The word “forgive” means…

a. “To let go”

b. “To leave behind”

c. “To dismiss”

d. “To cancel a debt”

4. Jesus is saying…

a. If we let go of other peoples sins, He will let go of ours.

b. If we dismiss other people’s sins, He will dismiss ours.

c. If we cancel other peoples debts, He will forgive ours

5. He is saying that forgiveness is a two-way street.

a. If we forgive others, we will be forgiven.

b. If we do not hold other people’s sins against us, our sins that we ask forgiveness for will not be held against us.

B. Forgive Not and Be Not Forgiven

1. On the other hand, if we do not forgive others we will not be forgiven.

2. Eph. 4:32 – “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (NLT).

3. When we do not forgive others and hold a grudge against them we only hurt ourselves and God.

a. Causes wrinkles

b. Causes high blood pressures

c. Cause heart attacks

d. Causes strokes

4. Some will say, “But Preacher, you don’t understand how much they have hurt me!”

a. I’m a pastor, and I understand hurt.

b. More than that, God understands hurt

5. You need to…

a. Let it go

b. Put it behind you

c. Dismiss it

d. Cancel the debt

Transition: We have a responsibility to forgive. God has put the ball in our court. If we want to be forgiven, we must forgive.


A. Restatement

1. There is the reality of forgiveness.

2. There is the reason of forgiveness.

3. There is the responsibility of forgiveness.

B. What will you do?

1. Will you hold on to unforgiveness?

2. Will you let go and let God?

Thesis: Jesus point is clear: If we want to be forgiven, we must forgive.