FORGIVENESS FOR THE GUILTY (Matt 18; 23-35) (Eph 1-7, Eph. 4:32)
A. In the New Testament the Lord wants us to understand that His forgiveness of us is to lead us to forgive others.
I. In the past we have had trouble forgiving people for wrongs they have done to us.
2. When we find ourselves having trouble exercising forgiveness toward others we are in need of having a fresh vision of God's forgiveness toward us.
B. In as much as it is sin being forgiven we need to a recognize and understand what sin really is.
I. Our sins are not mistakes - they are personal wrongs against God.
2. All sin is ultimately against God - David recognized this in Psalm 51:4, against Thee only have I sinned.
3. His sin was not against Bathsheba and her husband the wrong was done to them but the sin was against God.
C. In all matters of sin, God is the one who suffers loss.
I. Because of the loss that God has sustained He has a claim on every sinner for reparation
2. Justice demands that sin be dealt with - judgment day is that time in history when reparation for sin be made.
3. The penalty for our sin must be dealt with either on my own or by my substitute.
II. Claim For Reparation We Are Unable To Meet
A. We do not have anything with which to pay
I. All of our feeble attempts at morality, righteousness and religion are not legal tender in heaven.
2. If you were able to live a perfect life from today that would balance the books for today but what about our past wrongs?
3. Our past leaves us with a debt we cannot pay and a sense of guilt we cannot shake.
B. Interestingly in German debt and guilt are the same word Schuld.
I. Because the sinner has nothing to pay, he faces eternal ruin.
Nothing to pay! Ah, nothing to pay!
Never a word of excuse to say!
Year after year thou hast filled the score,
Owing thy Lord still more and more.
2. In the light of the definition just given we can see what divine forgiveness is.
II. God's Magnanimity
A. It is nothing less than God deciding to do the vastly magnanimous thing of forgoing His just claim for reparation and losing us from the debt of sin.
I. Even in earthly affairs nothing burdens us more than unpaid debts.
2. It would be a great relief if I knew that all my accounts were settled and I stood clear of debt.
3. It is an even greater relief to know that God has deliberately given up His claim against us and has loosed us from the debt of sin.
B. Remember God could not forgo His claim against us without suffering the loss Himself.
I. In order to suffer the loss and forgive our debt, His Son had to suffer the death of the cross, the just for the unjust to settle the debt of sin.
2. God did it that way in order that justice be done and be seen to be done by all of God's created beings.
3. Never forget that God's forgiveness and His forgoing are forever linked.
4. That leads us to an illustration from the life of our Lord it is found in Matt 18:23-35.
III. The Forgiving King and Unforgiving Servant
A. This servant had run up a debt on today's silver market that amounted to 45 million at $6.00 an ounce. He had three options.
1. The kings first option was to have him sold to pay the debt.
2. The second option was to pay the debt over his span-problem was he owed so much He would never satisfy the debt.
3. The third option which the King chose to do- WAS TO FORGO THE CLAIM AGAINST Him and forgive the debt.
4. That third option was the way of grace-it was a great loss to sustain but the King chose to be gracious and exercise that option.
B. That same servant forgiven so much by the king went out and found a man who owed him a pittance.
I. He grabbed him and demanded payment or prison.
2. The man begged for mercy but the servant refused to even consider the matter.
IV. Can We Identify With This Callous Servant?
A. There isn't one of us who haven't been wronged or ill used by others. As a result these people are Our creditors, they owe us an apology at the very least.
I. Perhaps there isn't much likelihood of their paying the debt.
2 They have done nothing to make things right as a result we have not forgiven them.
3. We feel we have a claim on them for reparation.
B. Why Do We Find it so Hard to Forgive?
I. The answer is in the Lords illustration-you are unwilling to forgo your claim for reparation and suffer the loss.
2. It is impossible to forgive a wrong without being willing to suffer the loss occasioned by that wrong.
3. It's really pride that produces an unforgiving spirit.
C. Our pride says that's not right, I don't deserve that.
I. You really don't deserve it but Jesus didn't deserve His ill treatment either. Yet on the Cross, He says Father forgive them.
2. Forgiveness is God acting at His best because of the loss He was willing to sustain.
3. He gave up His only begotten-He gave Him to die
4. He was willing to sustain that loss-willing to forgive us freely.
D. You are never so Godlike as when you are forgiving another.
I. There is a cost to forgiving to be sure-but forgive we must.
2. The only way we can do it is to see how much He has forgiven me-how then can l be like the unforgiving servant unwilling to forgive that small thing done unto me.
V. The Realization of What Forgiveness Means.
A. Some of us have never linked forgiveness with forgoing. ( Forgo -- to give up or renounce your right to something )
1. We don't like the idea of accepting the loss.
2. Don't try to make yourself willing -that will put you in bondage.
3. Rather confess to Jesus that you don't like the idea of suffering loss-not getting the apology or the money owed.
B. As you come to the Cross in that spirit of brokenness Jesus will for give you for not forgiving.
I. He will bring you into rest again-I am well aware this message could lead us to condemnation and guilt.
2. That's why I end it with this willingness of Jesus to forgive you even if you are not willing to forgive at this moment. Jesus will bring you into the positive by confessing the negative.