Friday, April 19, 2013 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15). IDEA: To understand the teaching of Jesus, it helps to understand His methods. PURPOSE: To help listeners enter into the parable in Matthew 18:23-35. Have you ever made up a parable? "Once upon a time," or "a certain man," Are they easy to construct? I. Jesus taught largely by telling parables. Why? Do most of His parables depend on their setting in the first century to carry their message? The parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable of the Prodigal Son. You must keep the theology behind the parable if you change the setting because Jesus is teaching truth. Are there any advantages in bringing the stories Jesus told into the 21st century? II. Put the first part of the parable in Matthew 18:21-27 into a modern scenario: "Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me and I will pay you all.' Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt." Tell us the rest of the story: "when that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a few dollars, he . . ." Are there endings that are more satisfying than others? Why? Conclusion: To understand Jesus' parables, we must understand His methods.