Pastor's Sunday School Blog
Sunday School Lesson
“The Unmerciful Servant”
June 11, 2017
Jesus often used parables, earthly illustrations, to teach spiritual truths. Parables are illustrations, word pictures, and stories familiar to the hearer’s context meant to reveal spiritual truths and scriptural principals.
The parable/story of the unforgiving servant is meant to shine light on the grace and goodness of God, and, as well the responsibility of those who have experience forgiveness to offer forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not an option but a responsibility.
Definitions of “forgiveness” – Clemency toward the guilty person. Setting aside personal vengeance. Granting a personal pardon in one’s heart for the offender. Letting go of one’s animosity and desire for personal vengeance, in lieu of God’s justice and judgment.
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
Forgiveness is an act that both benefits the offender and the offended.
The scriptural principal which should guide one’s consideration of forgiveness:
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Forgiveness does not necessarily negate the consequences of the offense.
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:25-26).
“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:35-37).
“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4).
How much forgiveness is required of a Christian (Matthew 18:21-22).
The Question raised … How should I respond to someone who consistently sins against me? How long before I have the right to withhold forgiveness?
NOTE: if you are living you will be offended by someone … as a believer you should know that someone in your church/Christian family will offend you … some will do it intentionally, and you must know what the Lord taught about your response to such a person.
The Rabbinic Judaism taught that forgiving someone three times was sufficient to demonstrate a forgiving spirit … to satisfy God’s expectations.
Peter’s “seven times” was meant to show his magnanimous spirituality.
There is no forgiveness quota … and it is not about whether or not someone deserves forgiveness.
Jesus responded to Peter’s willingness to forgive a person “seven times,” with try “seventy times seven” = 490 times.
NO! Jesus is not telling Peter to keep an account, but offering a ridiculous number … in other words, don’t bother counting …. When someone offends you forgive.
“Forgiveness does not require an apology from the offender.”
Jesus prayer on the cross looking upon those responsible for His crucifixion, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
As Christians, we have received forgiveness (Matthew 18:23-27).
“the kingdom of heaven” refers to heavenly principles which are to be lived out by the citizens of the kingdom
NOTE – There was an accounting discrepancy and deficiency … this servant was in clear violation of his financial contract with the king and therefore subject to criminal prosecution … it was within the right of the king to seek restitution by whatever means. Responding to the servant’s plea for mercy and promise of full restitution the king, motivated by personal compassion, forgave the debt.
Jesus meant for His listeners to apply what the earthly “king” did to the heavenly King. Because they were guilty of sin against God, their Creator, and did not fulfill His expectations for them they were sentenced to death and hell; however, God moved by compassion forgave their debt and set them free.
DISCUSS: How are Christians like the servant? How did God and how does God respond to your failures?
As Christians, we must extend forgiveness (Matthew 18:28-35).
A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS – The servant who had experience forgiveness failed to forgive; how quickly he had forgotten the mercy and compassion of the king.
INTERESTING FACT – The unforgiving servant’s actions did not go unnoticed (31)…. God sees the lack of forgiveness that is in one’s heart. God not only sees our actions, He know our attitudes.
Why should you forgive? Because you have been forgiven. There is nothing anyone can do to you on earth that rises to the level of what you have done to God… since God forgave your crimes against Him, you should therefore, forgive those who sin against you.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Colossians 3:13).
Unlike what happened in the parable, God does not rescind your forgiveness. He will however, allow you to suffer the consequences of your lack of forgiveness.
PASTOR’S REMARKS – In light of God’s forgiveness, let us be forgiving. It won’t be easy, but God will empower us by His Spirit to be obedient to His perfect will. Remember, God never asks you to do what He does not enable you to do.
QUESTION – What offense is so great that you are willing to sacrifice your fellowship with the Lord?
Theological Theme: Divine forgiveness demands forgiveness among those who have been forgiven.
Christological/Christ Connection: God forgave us our failures through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
Missional Application: We are to model God’s forgiveness to us witnessing God’s heart to forgive those who sin against Him.