Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Matthew 18:23-35


23 ``For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 ``When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents[about 12 million dollars] was brought to him. 25 ``But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 ``So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, `Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' 27 ``And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt . 28 ``But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii [about 12 dollars] ; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, `Pay back what you owe.' 29 ``So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, `Have patience with me and I will repay you.' 30 ``But he was unwilling, and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

31 ``So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 ``Then summoning him, his lord said to him, `You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 `Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' 34 ``And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 ``My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.''

Jesus told the story of the servant forgiven a great debt who went out and dealt mercilessly with a fellow-servant who owed him a debt that was an infinitesimal fraction of what he himself had owed. And, for this lack of mercy he was utterly condemned. This parable teaches certain lessons which Jesus never tired of teaching.

1. It teaches that a man must forgive in order to be forgiven. If you are not willing to forgive your fellow-men, you cannot hope that God will forgive you! Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Matt 5:7). In what we call the Lord's Prayer ("Our Father") Jesus said, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt 6:14-15). Divine and human forgiveness go hand in hand.

2. The contrast between the debts is staggering and compares with our relationship with God. If God has forgiven us the debt we owe to him, we must forgive our fellow-men the debts they owe to us. Nothing that we have to forgive can even remotely compare with what we have been forgiven.

We have been forgiven a debt which is beyond all paying-for the sin of man brought about the death of God's own Son-and, if that is so, we must forgive others as God has forgiven us or we can hope to find no mercy.

The essence of it all is your gratefulness to the Lord and in that spirit of gratefulness you will treat others well.

Matthew 18:21-22


21 Then Peter came and said to Him, ``Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?'' 22 Jesus said* to him, ``I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Jesus goes beyond the Jewish traditional way of thinking about forgiveness-3 times was required!

As I see it, there are five steps in forgiving another person: 1. Remind yourself that this person is only human!

2. Relinquish your right to get even! The truth of the matter is that it is impossible to get (exactly) even. You will either not get back at them enough or you will overdo it. There is just no way to get even!

3. Be ready to hurt in order to heal! You must take the pain all by yourself! This is the real secret to the dynamic of forgiving someone. You must pay for and not demand that they do!

4. Wish them well! This could be the best real evidence that forgiveness has taken place. Try praying for them-for their success!

5. You may have to repeat the process! When Jesus was asked how many times a person ought to forgive another. His answer was 70 X 7 or 490! By the way, this doesn't mean that at 491, you can go them even!

When you make amends, you don't do it for others, but for yourself!

If you don't solicit forgiveness, you can't work well for God!

If you don't forgive others, God can't work well for you!

Matthew 18:18-20


18 ``Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. 19 ``Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 ``For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.''

Although I've understood and taught the simple message of JESUS PLUS NOTHING, I think I've missed something about Jesus and walking with Him. What was missing in my thinking and experience was what we have taught right here. There are two insights here that blow my mind:

1-The principle of 2 or 3 in agreement. The power of 2 or 3 who are in agreement is incredible. This is not just agreeing together about some thought or issue. It is being in the spirit of agreement with a few brothers/sisters. When walking in that kind of agreement, God will respond.

2-The principle of 2 or 3 gathering together. The power of 2 or 3 gathering or walking together is incredible. Remember when Paul, Silas and Timothy strolled into Thessalonica-traveling and in the spirit of agreement together? Their togetherness in Jesus invites Jesus to powerfully move among them and spill over into the hearts of the Thessalonians and He did. The promise here is that when 2 or 3 gather together in the name of Jesus, Jesus will show up!

If you knew that Jesus was going to show up somewhere, wouldn't you do whatever you could do to be there? This brings us back to 3 habits:



THIRD--Waiting on Jesus to lead out-JESUS WILL SHOW UP!