Summary: Christ Jesus has demonstrated for us the fine art of forgiveness which we must learn to use in the daily living out of our lives.
Matthew 18: 21 – 35 / Trash In Our Trashbaskets
Intro: Late one summer evening in Broken Bow, Nebraska, a weary truck driver pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop. The waitress had just served him when three tough looking, leather jacketed motorcyclist- of the Hell’s Angels type- decided to give him a hard time. Not only did they verbally abuse him, one grabbed the hamburger off his plate, another took a handful of his french fries, and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it. The truck driver calmly rose, picked up the check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night. When she returned, one of the bikers said to her, “Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?” She replied, “I don’t know about that, but he sure ain’t much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot.” (Illustration from a sermon by Jeff Simms)
I. You have heard the old expression, “I don’t get mad; I get even.” Unfortunately, that is the attitude of many today.
A. Scientists have calculated that in an 80 yr lifetime, 26 yrs are spent asleep, 21 years at work, and 6 yrs. being angry.
B. VS. 21 – “How many times? 7 – number of completeness,
C. Teaching of the Rabis – God forgives 3 times and punishes with the 4th. Based on the prophet Amos.
II. VSS. 22 “I tell you, not 7 times; but 77 times.” Exaggeration to illustrate his point.
A. Jesus shares the parable to the debts and debtors. / 10,000 talents is the equivalent to $10 million = A huge debt to be forgiven.
B. “Forget about it!” “I’d rather you owe me than try to beat me out of it.” – great attitude; but, we find it easier to forgive than we do to forget!
C. In essence, Jesus says we must forgive because God has forgiven us / the debt is forgiven and remember no more. – 4 yr old prayed, “Forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.”
III. Though you have piled up many sins against God, the Lord is always eager to forgive you.
A. Christ Jesus himself set the forgiving example when from the cross he prayed to God: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they have done.”
B. As important as it is to forgive those who have put trash in our baskets, it is even more important to forgive ourselves. / Have you ever wondered to yourself, “Why is God punishing me?” / My questions is “why are you punishing yourself?”
C. Those who live in the greatest torment are those who are unable to forgive themselves. / Until the day he died, my father could not forgive himself for the atrocities he committed during World War 2. He drank himself into an early grave because of his inability to forgive.
Conclu: VS 35 – This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” What is to be gained by holding on to the trash in our trash baskets? Trash that others have put there or trash that we have accumulated for ourselves. By saying yes to forgiveness: forgiving yourself and others, you honor God’s loving forgiveness extended to you through Christ Jesus and write an end to the chapter of hurt from all your yesterdays.
As Paul wrote in the letter to the Romans: “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”
Everything else just isn’t as important!