Sermon Notes

Flourish through Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35

Introduction: The modern day problem with forgiveness

  • Forgiveness is indelible – life is impossible without it. You can denounce or try to deconstruct but it is not going away.
  • The forgiveness from God and offered to others is interdependent.
  • 70 x 7? It’s not a calculation. If you are counting – you are not forgiving.

The Enormous debt  (Immeasurable)

  • 10,000 talents. The average person earned 1 talent / year 

The Desperate appeal for mercy

  • He forgives the debt. The servant is free from any obligation or liability.

The Unforgiveness of the Forgiven

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless

you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Mt 18:35)

  • This is an story about forgiveness failure
  • The Big Idea: You will not flourish in life without receiving and granting forgiveness

The History of Forgiveness

The concept of forgiveness itself comes from the Bible. While all cultures have some idea of forgiveness, the understanding about forgiveness in our culture about forgiveness comes from the OT/NT testaments*

  • The Hebrew Bible primarily focuses on vertical forgiveness.
  • The Gospels are not limited to divine forgiveness, but deal a lot with human forgiveness.
  • “The modern concept of forgiveness did not exist in classical antiquity” (Keller, p 40)
  • Hannah Arendt – Jesus: “the author of the world’s understanding of forgiveness” (Keller, p.40)

Receiving Forgiveness

“You will never be able to fully forgive others for their sins against you unless you first experience God’s forgiveness of your sins against Him.  Our guilt must be dealt with if we are to deal rightly with others’ guilt.”  (Keller, p137)

-Two types of guilty people: those who should feel guilty and those who carry an inordinate amount of guilt.

How to receive forgiveness: Take your guilt to God (Psalm 51)

  1. Repent; take full ownership of your sin. (don’t minimize, justify, excuse, or blame-shift)
  2. Ask for mercy

Pr. 28:13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

 Confess it

  • Forsake it
  • Rejoice in God’s mercy

For those who can’t forgive themselves

It’s false repentance that demands that forgiveness be earned. (Keller p. 152)

Invitation: Will you receive God’s forgiveness?

*For an in depth study of forgiveness, I recommend Forgive by Timothy Keller, Viking 2022

Art of Forgiving: When You Need to Forgive and Don’t Know How by Lewis Smedes, Harper Collins 1997