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Forgiveness Demands Forgiveness

March 11, 2012 Speaker: Brent Small

Passage: Matthew 18:21–18:35

In this sermon podcast on Matthew 18:21-35, Pastor Brent calls all Christians to clothe themselves with an attitude of forgiveness.

As in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus radically confronts the teaching of the Rabbi’s in an exchange with Peter in Matthew chapter 18. This radical teaching concerned that of forgiveness. The Rabbi’s belief and teaching on the matter was that forgiveness need not extend pass one offense and certainly not past three offenses. They believed from the book of Amos, where God, in an act of compassion, gave His enemies three chances to turn from their wicked ways. However, if they did not, the book of Amos records that God would not hold back His judgment for the fourth offense. The Rabbis believed that God was setting His standard for forgiveness that limited it to only three offenses.

Peter, after hearing Jesus teach on how to restore a brother in sin was perplexed. In Peter’s mind he need not forgive after one offense. Now, to alleviate his confusion he asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother when he sins against him, up to seven times? Jesus answer was shocking to His disciples. Jesus says that Peter was not only to forgive up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven! Was 490 times really the limit? No. The point was that forgiveness is to be extended and without limit.

Believers are to extend unlimited forgiveness to other believers. In order to drive home the point, Jesus illustrates His teaching with a very powerful parable concerning a king, a slave who owes the king and is owed by another slave. As Jesus teaches the parable, a profound principle emerges: divine forgiveness demands Christian forgiveness. In this message, Pastor Brent attempts to unlock the power of Jesus teaching on forgiveness as it pertains to believers within the church.