Jesus’ guidelines for restoring relationships with grace

Wednesday, April 24, 2013, Part 2

“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: We have to think about the way Jesus tells His stories to understand what He is teaching.

PURPOSE: To help listeners appreciate how “wicked” it is to refuse to forgive another Christian.

Listen again to the parable Jesus told about forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-35. Then we can look at the significance of some of its details.

Then Peter came to Jesus and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 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. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’

“So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’

“And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.

“Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had on you?’

“And his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

I. Tell us again what the story is that we have just heard.

II. What is the significance of some of the details in the story?

“Fellow servants” in Matthew 6:28 and 31.

How do the pleas of the servants emphasize an important part of the parable (Matthew 6:26 and 29)?

What do you think is the significance of the first servant going out and immediately finding a fellow servant who owed him a small amount of money?

Do you think that the major concern of the first servant was the money owed to him (Matthew 6:30)?

What, if anything, does this have to do with forgiveness?

What do you make of the fact that the king called the servant “wicked” (Matthew 6:32)? Is that the term you would have used?

III. What is the rule of final stress in verse 35? “From the heart”: what does it tell you about the first servant?