The Heart of Forgiveness (1 of 6) by Brian Fletcher

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The Heart of Forgiveness (1 of 6)
Series: Matthew
Brian Fletcher
Matthew 18:21-35


Intro: Golf club

This parable that Jesus tells us is not easy, it is difficult teaching. It is about forgiveness. Forgiveness is difficult, it's messy, it's hard to do. It was not easy for God to forgive us, it cost Him His Son.

The context of this parable is the culmination of the previous verses in Matthew 18 where Andrew has been preaching on the ''seriousness of sin''. The implication is that if sin is serious then forgiveness is just as serious. If sin were not a big deal then forgiveness would not be a big deal. The truth is that we all know how serious sin is because we have all been sinned against. Someone at some point, most likely already today, has offended us, or spoken unkindly to us or wronged us in some way. So we feel the depth and seriousness of sin inside of us. We feel it in our gut when we get all flustered when someone sins against us.

Our first reaction against sin is not forgiveness but revenge or retaliation or to harbor bitterness or to break off the relationship. What is ironic is that our first reaction to sin is normally sinful.

In trying to understand this new teaching that Jesus presents, Peter asks Him about forgiveness. He asks him how many times he is supposed to forgive his brother. Peter's presupposition is that there must be a limit to forgiving others and maybe it's the magic number 7. Peter's question almost has a sense of self-righteousness to it.

''Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?''

The answer that Jesus gives must have come as a surprise…

''Jesus answered, 'I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven times.''(some versions say seventy times seven) Either way the implication is that Jesus is saying that forgiveness needs to be limitless.

Instead of Jesus just leaving it at that He goes on and tells a parable to illustrate His point. Jesus wants to be ...


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