True Forgiveness

Apprehend—to arrest, understand, perceive, or to seize. As we begin our chat today, I want you to apprehend the importance of forgiveness (18:21-35). Often our self-righteousness can cause us to become legalistic and to forget the importance of forgiveness. Therefore, the Holy Spirit inspires Matthew to record that Pete comes up to Jesus and asks specifically about forgiveness. Matthew 18:21~ Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? (ESV) Pete probably thinks he is being very generous since the rabbis taught a repeat offender should be forgiven only three times, but not Jesus. Matthew 18:22~I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. (ESV) 

The Greek reads (ἑβδομηκοντάκις hebdomē kontakis ἑπτά hepta) it is translated seventy times seven or 7–7s. Either way, forgiveness is to be unlimited. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:5 love keeps no records of wrongs and Jesus said in John 13:35 love is how they know you are His disciples. Seizing this opportunity Christ Jesus illustrates it with a parable—a servant who is unforgiving. Christ Jesus says a king wanted to clear the books. Matthew 18:24~When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. (ESV) 

10,000 of anything is a lot and Jesus uses it to represent an amount impossible to repay. If it was silver @$15/oz it would be $165 Million. If it was Gold that he owed the king, it would be billions. The point isn’t really the number so much, but rather the insurmountable debt, with absolutely no possible way to repay. Therefore his debt sold him into slavery. The parallel we find on the spiritual side is that we have a sin debt that is so large we can never be good enough, or work hard enough to pay off our sin debt with God, which is why we need Jesus.

Matthew 18:25-27~since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children…So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything…out of pity…the master of that servant released…and forgave…(ESV) Jesus is offering us a spiritual picture of our own sin debt. However, the servant falls on his knees and pleads for forgiveness. After all, kings are in the habit of writing off millions or billions in debt, right? Yeah, this king does just that. Then that very servant, in turn, finds one who owes him a hundred denarii. 100 days of wages, three months of work. As he chokes and demands, his fellow servant pleads for mercy. Matthew 18:29~So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ (ESV) 

Fresh off his own forgiveness, He is without forgiveness. As you well know, people are always watching how we live, act, and treat others. These dutiful citizens report these events to the king, who recalls the servant, and declares him wicked. Jesus says in Matthew 18:35~So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (ESV) Refusing to truly forgive has serious consequences. Jesus says to forgive from our hearts. Which means not just acting as if we have forgiven, but really letting go of what will only bind us up. Forgiveness means release.

If you want to be released from the prison of unforgiveness, the go and make amends. To make amends means to correct a mistake. So, yes, unforgiveness is a mistake, meaning it is wrong. No matter the side we find ourselves on, it’s a huge mistake. Unforgiveness is a cruel prison with a brutal taskmaster. Even worse, we are the ones who place ourselves into this prison, by not letting go of past hurts, the words that were spoken, or the moments and situations where people have often let us down. 

If you think there is just no way to forgive, you just can’t do it. Then I want you to remember the promise of Philippians 4:13~I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (NIV) Before you move out of this moment, I want you to pray and ask God for the strength and the courage to let go of your hurt, to relinquish the pain and surrender to Him as you ask Him to help you be free. Let God’s abundant grace flow on, in and through your lives today.



Decode the Mystery

In life, we are not strangers to conflict. And, well, I am pretty sure you would like to know about the Biblical solutions to conflict. (Matthew 18:15-20) Jesus now offers us a Biblical method for conflict resolution. He begins in Matthew 18:15~If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (ESV) This means if our brother or sister sins against us, (i.e. we have been cheated, swindled, slandered, etc.) here’s the Christian way or method for reconciliation. As opposed to a lawsuit, which is forbidden by the scripture (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). It begins with a private discussion done with humility and love (18:15). If that person does not listen, then we take the second step. Matthew 18:16~But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. (ESV) 

If the sinning believer stills refuses to repent, the situation should be taken on ecclesiastically, through proper channels in the church. If the person refuses to listen to church leaders. Christ Jesus says in Matthew 18:17~ And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (ESV) Wait, we are all gentiles, right? Is Jesus Christ picking on us or singling us out? No, Jesus probably mentions Gentiles and tax collectors because Jews typically withdrew from them because they were not people of the faith. However, this shunning is to be for the purpose of restoration. This procedure is to be followed if someone sins against a person, not sin in general. 

Galatians 6:1~Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. (NIV) Then, referring to the church, Jesus says, Matthew 18:18~Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (ESV) This doesn’t mean a church’s actions dictate what God will do. It means a church’s decisions and actions should receive heaven’s approval because they are biblical. 

Jesus continues Matthew 18:19~Again I say to you, if two of you agree (συμφωνέω symphōneō) on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (ESV) The word (συμφωνέω symphōneō) translated agree gives us symphony, to sound in harmony. When a church acts in symphony with the Word of God and the will of God, God acts to confirm the actions. Matthew 18:20~For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. (ESV) Now Christ is always present with His people even with one lone believer. However, this verse refers to two people who have biblically agreed, and Christ, in the person of the Holy Spirit, is there confirming, in this case, how to work through a disagreement. 

Is there someone in your life who you need to work through conflict with? Perhaps you need some resolution about something that is weeks or even decades old. If that is you, I want to invite you to pray over the situation and the person and ask God for a divine appointment. He has a way of putting people across our path to help us resolve any and all issues. After all, that is what Paul wrote to the people of Rome in Romans 12:18~If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV) Looks like the ball is in your court.



David —Confessions of a King — Restoration — 1 Samuel 21-22…Handout

What are we to do when our failure has us falling into sin? The Biblical text shares how even God’s greatest of believers, at times, falter in their faith. If our desire is to hear the Lord say the words, Well _________, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your lord. (Matthew 25:21) Then Confession and Restoration plays a pivotal role as we: Confront, ________________, Confess

1) Confront the Cause (21:1-9) Fleeing to Nob, David travels about 2 miles northeast to the tabernacle. It’s the distance from MGCOG to The Pump House. When David arrives, Ahimelech the high priest is suspicious and frightened, so he asks David why he is alone. David then _________. David’s lies, like all sin, set-off a chain reaction with horrible consequences. Proverbs 12:19~ _________ lips endure forever, but a _________ tongue lasts only a moment. (NIV) A lie may seem to offer a momentary reprieve, like getting us out of a jam, but it is only temporary. On the run, David is hungry and asks for bread. Enter the matzah. It is __________ bread that sat in the open air for a full week and didn’t become stale. In God’s presence, things are always different. Doubling down on his sin, David asks Ahimelech for a weapon.1 Samuel 21:8-9~have you a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither…because the king’s business required haste…The ___________ of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley…(ESV) David, in the midst of a second lie, is confronted by_        a powerful reminder of God’s power & faithfulness. The sword of God’s _________ over the Gath’s giant, Goliath.

2) Calculate______________(21:10-22:19) Leaving Nob, David takes in a trip to see the Giants, fleeing to Gath. 1 Samuel 21:11~And the servants of Achish said to him, Is not this David the _________ of the land? Did they not sing…has struck down…his ten thousands? (ESV) They know he is king and a mighty warrior. 1 Samuel 21:13~So he changed his behavior before them and _________ to be insane…(ESV) What a shameful scene as Israel’s greatest warrior and hero acts like a lunatic. 1 Samuel 22:11&17~The king sent to summon Ahimelech priest and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob and all of them came to the king…And Saul said to the guard, Turn and _________ the priests of the Lord, (ESV) David may be king and champion but these warriors know that fear can’t own them or _________ participation in such an atrocity. 1 Samuel 22:18~Then the king said to Doeg, You turn and strike…And the Edomite turned and struck down the priests and Nob…he put the sword to man, woman, child, infant, ox, donkey, and sheep. (ESV) David has lied _________, and it cost the priesthood dearly.

3) Confess the ___________ (22:20-23) We never intend to hurt people with sin, but sin always has consequences. David’s confession reveals two things about true confession. 1st—Confession must be ___________.Psalm 32:5~_________ acknowledged my sin to you, and __ did not cover my iniquity; _________ said, _________ will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. (ESV) 2nd—Confession must be____________ Psalm 38:18~I confess my _________; I am _________ for my sin. (NIV)
 
Take-A-Step: ______________________________________________________________