Peter Barnes: Matthew 18:21-35
(29 October 2017)
SERMON NOTES: THE PARABLE OF THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT (Matthew 18:21-35)
– Corrie ten Boom at a church service in Munich met a former S.S. man from Ravensbruck. Here are Corrie’s words:
Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness. As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
- God forgives His people an infinite debt.
– 18:21. Note Matt.5:7; 6:12, 14-15. Jesus replies – 18:22 (NIV & ESV have 77 times; NKJV has seventy times seven). The Christian should be totally unlike boastful, vengeful Lamech – Gen.4:24.
– 18:23-24. Ten thousand talents is so ridiculous that we might translate it as ‘zillions’. We owe a debt to God that we cannot pay – Ps.49:7-9.
– 18:25-26, 27. Refuse Calvary and you pay the debt yourself.
- Being forgiving is a necessary sign of being forgiven.
– 18:28-30. C. S. Lewis: ‘Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.’ Grace is amazing; so is hardness.
- Forgiveness scorned means justice.
– 18:31-35. The Bible speaks of free grace – Eph.1:3-8; 2:1, 3, 4, 7. But that has to be worked out in our lives – Eph.4:32.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne:
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.