Summary: Part 3!
Working It Out Jesus’ Way (Part 3)
July 8, 2007
An elderly man on the beach found a magic lamp. He picked it up and a genie appeared. "Because you have freed me," the genie said, "I will grant you a wish." The man thought for a moment and then responded, "My brother and I had a fight 30 years ago and he hasn’t spoken to me since. I wish that he’ll finally forgive me."
There was a thunderclap, and the genie declared, "Your wish has been granted. You know," the genie continued, "most men would have asked for wealth or fame.
But you only wanted the love of your brother. Is it because you are old and dying?"
"No way!" the man cried. "But my brother is, and he’s worth about $60 million." (SermonCentral.com. Contributed by Mike Leiter)
Today we’re going to talk about forgiveness.
I’ve mentioned before that one of the things I like the most about Scripture is that it deals with the everyday stuff of life.
The issue of forgiveness is one of those issues.
It’s impossible to go through life for very long without someone hurting you and you’re faced with the issue of forgiving that person.
Not always easy, is it? Especially if they’ve hurt you badly. I think that just about everyone in here can identify with that. And so can I.
Two weeks ago we began to look at Jesus words about how to work out conflict between individuals and in the church.
We started by looking at verse 15 of this chapter, and we said that If you haven’t talked to the offender, it is sin to talk to anyone else.
In other words, you are not allowed to gossip and backbite against someone – you need to go to them and work it out.
Then we continued last week by finishing our look at the process Jesus gives us in handling conflict in the church, and I challenged you to Commit to working it out Jesus’ way, using the process and procedure He commands us to use.
We can’t skip any of the steps He lays out, and we can’t make our own rules. We need to obey Jesus’ words about the church He invented and died for.
This week we look at one of the underlying principles behind the whole process of working it out Jesus’ way, and that is forgiveness.
Matthew 18:21-35 (p. 695-696) –
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.
Let’s stop for just a moment. Why would Peter ask such a question?
Well, the answer lies in the fact that popular Jewish teaching in that day said that forgiving people up to three times was really all that was needed.
If the person kept it up after 3 times, forgiveness by the person was not necessary, and was discouraged.
Peter was being extremely generous in offering to forgive more than twice what was expected.
And Jesus blows that idea completely out of the water. His answer is basically this: you keep forgiving. Over and over again.
And He goes on to say that forgiveness is much more than what a lot of people think, and that’s the gist of the parable that follows.
Let’s keep going:
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.