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Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
August 30, 2022 12:01 am

Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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August 30, 2022 12:01 am

Since forgiveness is at the very heart of the Christian faith, we of all people should be known as those who forgive. Today, R.C. Sproul discerns the nature of forgiveness in Jesus' parable of the unforgiving servant.

Get R.C. Sproul's Teaching Series 'The Parables of Jesus' on DVD with a Digital Study Guide for Your Gift of Any Amount: https://gift.renewingyourmind.org/2305/parables-of-jesus

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Would someone sins against you. How many times should you forgive them. Jesus said 70×7. In other words, when I forgive somebody who ascend against me. What is it made her forget them. If I say I forgive you. That's a very weighty announcement when God forgives you, he holds that sin against you know more as recognize the truth that when God forgives us in the woods and sin against us, but when it comes to forgiving others who sin against us, can be tough. Yet God is called us to live countercultural you not to hold a grudge not to be vengeful. Indeed, we are to forgive this week on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul is taking a close look at some of Jesus parables and the one today will help you see why we should be no is merciful. In our last session we looked at the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector and we consider the whole question of forgiveness as it relates to our justification now in this session were going to look at another parable that also focuses on this question of forgiveness and one that there's a little bit frightening.

I think to all of us in this one is found in the 18th chapter of Matthew's gospel and it's called the parable of the unforgiving servant. Let's listen to this parable. And then Peter came to him and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him up to seven times. Jesus said to him that I do not say to you after seven times, but up to 70×7. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a certain King who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts.

One was brought to him who owed him 10,000 talents. But as he was not able to pay his master commanded that he be sold with his wife and children and all that he had and that payment be made servant therefore fell down before him, saying, master, have patience with me and I will pay you all.

Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion released him and forgave him the debt. That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him 100 denarii and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, pay me what you so his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, have patience with me and I will pay you all and he would not, but went and threw them into prison until he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done. They were very grieved and they came and told their master. All that had been done that his master after he called him, said to him, you wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt because you begged me should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you and his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So my heavenly father also will do to you if each of you from his art does not forgive his brother's trespasses. Now it's important for us to understand the context in which Matthew gives us this parable you may notice already that this is part of the 18th chapter of Matthew's gospel which gives us the classical instructions for church discipline.

Let me back up a little bit and review some of that for you. We read in chapter 18 verse 15 if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone if he hears you. You've gained your brother. But if he will not here take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established in every refuses to hear them tell it to the church, but if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Surely, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Again I say if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my father in heaven. There were two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them. This last verse of courses.

One of the most misquoted verses in all of the Bible because every time we get together for a Bible study or for church service. We played this verse.

There were three are gathered in his name.

There is a bar mitzvah. Let's trove course but the context in which that promises given in the context of church discipline.

One of the most difficult things that ever befalls the church is to confront a person in the congregation who refuses to repent of their sin. This begins by saying if your brother sins against you, go to him along privately tell them about the person repents you won your brother if he refused to repent then you go with one or two other witnesses and and that they still refuse to repent.

Then you go and bring the proceedings of the church and if they still refuse to repent then they are to be to you as a heathen that is. This is the recipe for excommunication. There's only one sin for which anybody is ever excommunicated in the body of Christ, and that sin is in penitence for the sin that brought you on the discipline in the first place there the multitudes of sins that could cause the church to become involved seeking your repentance, but only if you persist in penitence cannot lead actually to being cut off from the body of Christ. So I mentioned that this is the context in which Peter raises the question so that if somebody sins against Peter and he goes and sees that person and the person repents and Peter forgives him. Then Peter is asking the question, how many times throughout the dinner this seven times. Jesus said to him I do not say to you, seven, but up to 70×7.

As many as it takes. In other words, when I forgive somebody who was sinned against me. What does it mean to forgive them. If I say I forgive you. That's a very weighty announcement when God forgives you, he holds that sin against you know more and if you sin again against him and he forgives you again, he doesn't say that's too because the first one has already been wiped away and that's what we don't do somebody sins against us asked for our forgiveness. We get our forgiveness. They do it again and we say that's too which reveals that we didn't really forgive them the first time because if we really grant forgiveness where saying I remember this against you know more, but Peter is asking.

He's got a scorecard and he wants to know how many times do I have to go through this process. Seven. Jesus says 70×7.

Peter and illustrate his point, he tells the parable and he said therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a king wanted to settle accounts with his servants when he begun to settle accounts. One was brought to him who owed him 10,000 talents. I want you to personable feel the enormity of the weight of this debt, the highest monetary unit among the people of that day was the talent it was an extraordinary sum of money, even a single talent inherits whole kingdom, his annual revenue for the whole kingdom was 900 talents so this servant owed the king more than 10 times the annual revenue of King Herod.

It was on told millions and millions of dollars by our standards today. It was a sum of money that no servant of any king in the ancient world would ever be able to pay others a lesson there just in that as Jesus compares us to debtors like that saying that we are debtors who can't possibly pay their debts. I am indebted to God. Every time I break his law I become a debtor and my debt to him is virtually infinite. That's why it's so foolish to think that you can work your way into heaven because your required perfection.

And if you send just wants there's nothing you can do to make up for that sin, because you are already required to be perfect so we are in that position of being debtors who can't possibly pay our debts now this man, like the publican in the last parable had nothing to barter. He had no collateral. No currency to place in light of his death. The only thing he could do was bake complete, hoping against hope that the king would give him a stay given more time would be so patient and he might have a second chance to make up for what he owed the cane but how foolish was that because even if the king would have given infinite patience infinity would not of been long enough for this man to work off his debt. He was a debtor who couldn't possibly pay and he didn't even realize the enormity of his death, but he knew enough of it to know really his only hope would be to be found in the compassion of the king and that's what the king did. He said his he was. Not able to pay.

First, the king commanded that he be sold the cell you saw your wife a minute or so. Your children will then auction off every one of your possessions so that you can be starting to make payments on your debt. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying Hester have patience. I'll pay you all in the master was moved with compassion and his compassion was so profound, is pity was so great that he released him from the obligation altogether didn't forgive him just 5000 talents or 8000 talents were 9000 talents he for gave him every cent for the owed. Can you imagine what that servant felt like when he walked out of the king's presence that the weight that fell off his back on free 10,000 talents are not another Patty what I came how great is his compassion. His mercy is incalculable. So as he walked out the door he saw another one of the servants, who owed him 100 dinars pittance, a pittance couple days wages. The guy could've paid back very easily and he demanded payment laid hands on grabbed him by the throat started to choke him, saying, pay me what you owe.

So his fellow servant fell down at his feet into a positive pitiful begging and he said please have patience with me and I will pay you all that interesting that Jesus has the second servant using exactly the same words that the first servant used with the king, have patience with me and I will pay you all and he would not, but went and threw them in the prison until he should pay the debt. Now this radical act of ingratitude.

This failure to pass along even a tiny portion of the compassion that the first servant heads experience at the hands of the king was not overlooked by his friends. They saw him grab the man by the throat.

They saw him throw him in the prison they had to talk about. This is the most ungrateful man in the history of the world and so they were grieved and they came and told their master. All that had been done so. The master called this first servant back to me such a you wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt because you begged me should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you and his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due him first.

He was threatened with justice. Then he received mercy.

He despised the grace of the king and despising that mercy, dear friends. He got justice. That's enough lesson right there to keep us thinking of the grace of God every day in our lives, because the minute we take it for granted. The minute we refuse to be a conduit for the very grace that has saved us, then we can expect to receive nothing less than God's justice from his hands and so Jesus applies the parable this way by saying so. My heavenly father also will do to you if each of you from his heart does not forgive his brother, his trespasses now, there's a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about this whole notion of forgiveness among Christians.

I hear all the time people the idea that the New Testament requires Christians to forgive people who sin against them unilaterally whether the people repent or don't repent, but the rear to give unconditional forgiveness to everyone who sins against us.

I'm not sure where that idea comes from. It may come in part from the spirit that was displayed by our Lord himself when he was in the midst of being executed by those who despised them prayed for their forgiveness from the father. Father forgive them for they know not what they're doing now. Certainly from that episode we can grant from Jesus example that we certainly have the right to forgive people unilaterally and not require repentance at their hands. We can be that gracious. If we choose, but it doesn't mean that it's required if it were required to give unilateral forgiveness to everyone who sinned against you and the whole previous section of Matthew 18 would make no sense at all. There would be no provision for church discipline. There would be no provision for going to somebody and confronting them for sinning against you.

So you're not obligated if some Christian in your church steals your wallet or steals your car, then say, well, I forgive you, brother. You have every right to go to him and save you from me, give me back my car or you've slandered me and asked them to repent and if they don't repent then you follow the rest of the instructions given in the 18th chapter of Matthew where you bring two witnesses, and so on. So again, if you are required on every occasion to give unilateral, direct, unconditional forgiveness, that whole process wouldn't make any sense whatsoever. But here's what is obligated if you confront your brother who have sinned against you and they repent then you must forgive. We must stand willing to forgive any insult any offense that anybody has given to us at any time should they repent of that sin. I experience a problem when I was in seminary was a student pastor in a church and I fended a lady in the congregation and she was very angry and I went to her apologize to tears. She would not forgive me.

We had an 85-year-old ex-missionary to China and would spend 50 years China five years in a concentration camp separated from his wife was another concentration camp and the most godly men I've ever met and I want to see this lady a second time and I wept and I said please forgive me.

She would so I want to see the man who was the moderator of the church, 35-year-old retired missionary told him what happened. He said when he made two mistakes you offended her in the first place.

You should have done that your second mistake was apologizing twice when you went to and repented and she refused to forgive you. Then the coals of fire, were on her.

Not on you and so when we offend somebody we are called to repent and apologize, but likewise, if they offend us, and they come in they apologize, not 7×70×7. We have to stand ready with the same compassion that was manifested by this king who forgave conservative multi-millions of dollars that he couldn't possibly possibly a Christian has to be a person who was of a forgiving spirit holding grudges, allowing bitterness to grow up in your lives is one of the most destructive things that we can never do in the application. Jesus gives come straight from the Lord's prayer.

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

That's a scary prayer to pray if were not willing to forgive those who have sinned against us should not ever expect God to forgive us when we sin against him. Since forgiveness is at the very heart of the Christian faith. We of all people should be known as forgiving as doctors see scroll for the message from his series, the parables of Jesus we learn so many practical lessons in this parable, especially the weighty responsibility we have to forgiveness we ourselves have been forgiven know it's it's so easy to to quietly hold a grudge against someone but Jesus parable today cut right to the heart of that attitude were looking at the parables of Jesus all week here on Renewing Your Mind. They are a rich treasure of lessons for us, we'd be happy to send you this 12 part series on two DVDs just call us today with a donation of any amount and we will send them to you our numbers 800-435-4343 if you prefer, though you can give your gift and make your request online at Renewing Your Mind.work.

This series is just one of hundreds of courses you can take online with Ligonier connect and with a community subscription. Your entire congregation Sunday school class or homeschool group can join a worldwide community of growing Christians will be able to learn from gifted theologians and teachers on a vast number of theological subjects we might find out more by going to connect.Ligonier.org after telling the parable of the good Samaritan.

Jesus asked a question. This was the easiest question that this lawyer had ever been asked which of the three men. Do you think was the neighbor lawyer couldn't miss it.

He said the one who showed mercy.

This is one of the most familiar parables that Jesus told him we can sometimes miss some of the key lessons he wanted us to one. Mercy will explore them tomorrow and we hope you'll join us for the Wednesday edition of Renewing Your Mind


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