Summary: We have been forgiven much, therefore we must forgive others much.
Perhaps you’ve heard the story about the stubborn old farmer who was plowing his field. A neighbor who was watching as he tried to guide the mule finally said, "I don’t want to butt in, but you could save yourself a lot of work by saying "gee" and "haw," instead of jerking on the reins." The oldtimer mopped his brow and replied, "Yep, I know; but his here mule kicked me six years ago, and I ain’t spoke to him since!" (Windows on the Word, p. 48).
C. S. Lewis once said, "Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive."
Sermon Text: Matthew 18:21-35
"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven" (vv. 21-22).
Before you criticize Peter’s question, ask yourself, "Am I willing to forgive a person seven times?"
"Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 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).
A man lay on his deathbed, harassed by fear because he had harbored hatred against another. He sent for the individual with whom he had had a disagreement years before; he then made overtures of peace. The two of them shook hands in friendship. But as the visitor left the room, the sick man roused himself and said, "Remember, if I get over this, the old quarrel stands" (Illustrations Unlimited, p. 216).
WE MUST FORGIVE WITHOUT LIMITS.
• We must forgive no matter how BIG the offense.
• We must forgive no matter how FREQUENT the offenses.
I. WE MUST FORGIVE WITHOUT LIMITS SINCE THAT IS HOW WE HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN BY GOD.
The King = God
The Servants = All People
The Debt = Sin
The debt was "ten thousand talents." "We glimpse some idea of the size of the servant’s debt when we recall that David donated three thousand talents of gold and seven thousand talent of silver for the construction of the temple. . . . Some recent estimates suggest a dollar value of twelve million; but with inflation and fluctuating precious metal prices, this could be over a billion dollars in today’s currency" (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 8, p. 406). This was a debt that could never be paid.
Do you see yourself as the forgiven servant? We have been forgiven a debt we could never pay!
How God has forgiven our sins:
• Our sins have been ABUNDANTLY PARDONED. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:7).
• Our sins have been REMOVED FROM US AS FAR AS THE EAST IS FROM THE WEST. "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:12).
• Our sins have been CLEANSED AS WHITE AS SNOW AND WOOL. ". . . though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18). G. K. Chesterton said, "God paints in many colors, but he never paints so gorgeously as when he paints in white."
• Our sins have been THROWN INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA. ". . . thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19).
• Our sins have been FORGOTTEN. "Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17).
• Our sins have been BLOTTED OUT. "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins" (Isaiah 43:25).
• Our sins have been CAST BEHIND GOD’S BACK. ". . . thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back" (Isaiah 38:17).
• Our sins have been COVERED. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psalm 32:1).
• Our sins have been LAID ON CHRIST. ". . . the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).
• Our sins have been NAILED TO THE CROSS. "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Colossians 2:14).
• Our sins have been CLEANSED BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. ". . . the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).