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Jesus the Game Changer: Forgiveness

Lugarno Peakhurst Uniting Church https://lpuc.org.au

Week 6 Sermon Outline: Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35

Today we want to understand forgiveness, both how we extend forgiveness to others and how we receive forgiveness for ourselves.

Forgiveness is a life choice, a value you continue to live out. It is not based on the situation, the person or the culture. It is a daily attitude that you seek to put into practice even if you feel wronged and even if those who brought you pain are not seeking your forgiveness.

Forgiveness matters to Jesus and He made this point in two passages.

First in Matthew 6:14-15

It is helpful to remember how important forgiveness was for Jesus. When Jesus teaches on prayer, he is not prescribing a specific form of words for all people to recite every time they pray, rather giving a template of what we should be praying about. It is significant that the Lord’s Prayer includes forgiveness (v12) and then immediately after the prayer Jesus continues the theme. The only section of the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus commentates on is His teaching on forgiveness.

Second in Matthew 18:23-35

In this passage Jesus tries to help those listening to understand what the failure to forgive looks like from God’s perspective. Jesus tells a story where a servant owes the master an outrageous amount of money and has no possibility of repaying the debt. The amount in today’s terms is basically millions of dollars. How a servant could accumulate such a debt is unbelievable, but that is the point of the parable. The amount owed is unpayable and the forgiveness of the debt is incomprehensible.

The servant leaves the master after having his debt forgiven, only to meet up with a man who owes him a small amount and demands payment. This amount is tiny but not insignificant, perhaps a day’s wage in those times. The debtor used exactly the same words as the first servant when he pleaded for mercy from his master. Yet this time the plea fell on deaf ears and the servant is sent to jail until he could repay the meager debt. In Jesus’ story, others hear of the situation and complain to the master. The servant is dragged back before the king and asked why he did not forgive a small debt when he had been forgiven such a large debt.

The question from the master to the unforgiving servant is one we all need to consider. The point of the parable is that we are no different to the servant. We have been forgiven of an enormous debt and therefore should forgive others.

The point that Jesus is making is that if we are forgiven, that gives us the motivation to forgive others. Recognition of our forgiveness gives us the motivation and potentially the capacity to extend that forgiveness to others. Our capacity to forgive is influenced by our experience of forgiveness. This is the foundation of the message of Jesus. We have the opportunity to experience forgiveness that allows us the capacity to extend forgiveness.

One of the key thoughts that Jesus the Game Changer would want every viewer to grasp, is that the life and teaching of Jesus impacted one person at a time. Jesus doesn’t want to influence someone else right now but Jesus wants to influence YOUR LIFE through the power of forgiveness and the gift of grace. God’s unmerited favor on us. Here is where the change starts.

You may have come to the place where you recognise your need for forgiveness and you are ready to respond to God’s free gift. This all starts with you, a choice you make to accept Jesus’ death and resurrection for yourself. Today, you have the opportunity for a fresh start in Jesus, the chance to experience forgiveness and the capacity to extend forgiveness.

I invite you to pray with me as a sign for your choice. This is a set of words that reflects the attitude of your heart.

Lord Jesus I thank you that you love me.

I thank you for the death of Jesus on my behalf.

I come to you today and say I am sorry for my sin.

I am sorry for ignoring you in my life.

I ask for your forgiveness.

Today I put my life into your hands.

I pray you will fill me with your Spirit

And I pray for the courage to live what I say I believe.