THE STORYTELLER: THE PARABLES OF JESUS #4: THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT
(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)
To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.
INTRO TO SPEAKER: Thirteen years ago today, I was on a mission trip in Mexico with our Christian school, and Liza was nine months pregnant with our fourth child Hannah. Hoping to get back in time for her birth! Hannah was born less than 24 hours after we got home.
OPENING: VBS Report. 40 kids this week, 15 made first time decisions for Jesus!
INTRO TO TOPIC: Jesus is the World’s Greatest Storyteller.
- 1/3 of Jesus’ teaching – Parables. Parable: an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
- In His parables, we find wisdom and encouragement for living our daily lives.
The mother ran into the bedroom when she heard her seven-year-old son scream. She found his two-year-old sister pulling his hair. She gently released the little girl’s grip and said comfortingly to the boy, “There, there. She didn’t mean it. She doesn’t know that hurts.” He nodded his acknowledgement, and she left the room. As she started down the hall the little girl screamed. Rushing back in, she asked, “What happened?” The little boy replied, “She knows now.”
BACKGROUND TO THE PARABLE:
“Then Peter came to Him 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.” (Matthew 18:21-22, NKJV).
- Jewish rabbis taught that you forgive three times, but after that there was no forgiveness.
- Peter thought he was being generous by saying seven times.
- Jesus goes beyond any kind of reasonable human standard: “Don’t keep score!”
- He wants us to keep on forgiving even when their offenses are too many to count.
- THINK ABOUT IT: What standard of forgiveness do you follow?
- Do you refuse to forgive at all?
- Are you forgiving according to what you think is reasonable?
- Or, are you following Jesus’ command: to forgive lavishly and unselfishly?
THE BIG IDEA: People who have experienced God’s grace in their lives will walk in love and forgiveness towards all others.
1. THE FORGIVING KING:
So Jesus told a story! “23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 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. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.” (Matthew 18:23-27).
- The wicked servant owed 10,000 talents. A talent was about a thousand denarii, and one denarii was about one day’s wage. About one billion dollars.
- The King reveals God’s heart to us. We have sinned and owe God a huge debt:
- But, if we confess our sins to Him, He loves us, releases us, and forgives us.
- He does for us what we could never do for ourselves!
- This amazing act of grace should fill us with gratitude and grace toward others.
2. THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT:
“28 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!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.” (Matthew 18:28-30).
- In the Kingdom of God, He is the King, and we are His servants.
- In this story, the forgiven servant was owed around $10,000. That was nothing compared to his debt that was forgiven by the King. Yet, he still refused to forgive.
3. REVISITING THE KING:
“31 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. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:31-35).
- Jesus gives a very serious warning to those who refuse to forgive!
- PERSONAL ILLUSTRATION: I know what it’s like to be hurt by someone!
- To forgive doesn’t mean what they did was right, and it doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.
- It simply means that you are ‘settling accounts’ and releasing them from the debt.
- You are saying, “You don’t owe me anything.”
HOW TO HANDLE HURT:
“15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17, NKJV).
- Talk to God about it first in prayer. Pray that God would heal your brokenness.
- If you feel you need to talk to that person about it, let your goal be reconciliation.
- DO NOT talk to someone else about it! That’s gossip and sin.
STORY: REMEMBER THE DUCK:
A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target. As he came back to Grandma’s back yard, he spied her pet duck. On an impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit, and the duck fell dead. The boy panicked.
Desperately he hid the dead duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing. After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you, Johnny?” And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So Johnny did the dishes.
Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help make supper.” Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of. Johnny wants to do it.” Again she whispered, “Remember the duck.” Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing. After several days of doing both his chores and Sally’s, finally he couldn’t stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he’d killed the duck. “I know, Johnny,” she said, giving him a hug. “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave of you. (Richard Hoefler, Will Daylight Come?).
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15, NLT).
- Forgiveness is such an important principle in the Kingdom of Heaven!
- Jesus’ example: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
- The Bible says: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:31-32, NLT).
- Why are we to forgive? Because we’ve been forgiven. It’s that simple.
- Who do you need to forgive this morning?