2/1/15 – The Church and a Culture of Grace

Matthew 18:21-35 ESV

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

A. Peter’s question: at what point do we stop forgiving those who repent. He makes a generous offer of 7 times.
B. Jesus’ answer: Every single time they need it!

A. A servant owed a king more money than he could ever pay. He begs for mercy. Moved by his plea, king forgives the whole debt.
B. The same servant throws a guy in jail for not paying him back a way smaller amount of money. The king pulls his offer of forgiveness.

A. The forgiveness of God is endless, without limits. God forgives us a massive debt we owe Him.
B. God does not just our sin vanish. He forgives it by punishing it in Jesus. (Isaiah 53:4-6, Col 2:13-15)
C. We cannot outrun the ability of God to forgive. (Isaiah 59:1, Rom 5:20) Sin should send us running to God, not away from Him.

A. God forgives with no expectation of something in return, which is part of what makes the Gospel so hard to believe.
B. All God expects in return for His forgiveness is that we believe He has forgiven us in Jesus.

A. God does not have to forgive. He chooses to forgive out of love.
B. Only a constant remembrance of how great our sin against God is, will keep us from making too big a deal out of other’s sin against us.

A. The Gospel of grace creates a people of grace that establish a culture of grace that frees from being phony.
B. A people of grace realize we never move on from grace.
C. Grace is not soft on sin. It just makes it safe to confess and admit.
D. Grace does not just forgive but nudges people towards real authentic Gospel transformation of life.