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Matthew 18:21-35

Matthew 18:21-35


Series: Lent 2021
Sermon: Grace of Forgiveness
Bible Passage: Matthew 18:21-35

I. The forgiveness taught in this parable is not the forgiveness for/unto salvation, but it is about the practice of forgiveness in the lives of believers (a few observations)

1. Three characters: the wealthy man, the first debtor, and the second debtor—the debtor’s debtor
2. The story is told so beautifully that the readers develop a hatred towards the first debtor and disapprove his treatment his debtor
3. The purpose of the parable is not to teach doctrines such as:

a. Not about loosing of one’s salvation
b. Not about final judgement
c. Not is not to teach passive acceptance of wrongs,
d. To encourage “forgiveness” in human relationships
e. The figure ten thousand talents need not be the actual amount (hyperbole),
f. It is for the purpose of comparison with one hundred silver coin (three months’ worth of wages)
g. The hyperbole in the debt is to show that there is no limit to mercy and forgiveness

4. This parable serves to illustrate how one’s relationship with God need to have an effect on his fellow citizens (the second debtor probably was not a believer)

II. The king was moved by “compassion” towards his slave who owed him 10000 talents (verse 27)

1.  The slave was unable to pay back because the amount he owed was too big to repay
2. The wealthy man “forgave” the slave-debtor

a. The wealthy man released the slave from legal and moral obligations
b. He pardoned/forgave the slave’s debts
c. He did not hold the offence against the slave (10000 talents!)—wrote it off, forgave

3. The wealthy man’s incredible forgiveness should have enabled the debtor to lead a new kind of life
4. The forgiven debtor should have developed a matching merciful behavior
5. His behavior was not transformed by the kindness of the king
6. He had no character/attitude change after receiving such an amazing act of compassion
7. But the slave behaved inconsistent with what he experienced from his master
8. He was filled with “anger”  towards his debtor
9. From the parable, Jesus teaches that He disapproves His followers who do not forgive their debtors
10. God’s forgiveness precedes human forgiveness
11. Divine forgiveness presupposes human forgiveness
12. We are like the first debtor
13.  Every believer is/was a debtor to God
14.  God “wrote off,” “covered” their sins

a. Because they were too big to pay back
b. Our sins costed the Father the substitutionary death of His Son, our Lord Jesus

15. God did not (and does not) hold our debts against us

III. Most/All believers have many debtors (how do they deal with their debtors?)

1. Those who betrayed us, broken our trusts, caused damages to our emotional health, etc
2. They could be: husbands, wives, children, in-laws, colleagues, etc.
3. A good number of believers behave like the first slave: receive from God but never reciprocate
4. For a believer, forgiveness is one of the most difficult (or the most difficult) act
5. According to this parable, extending forgiveness is not an option but an important requirement
6. Unforgiveness keeps a person spiritually and emotionally sick (which leads people to become and remain physically sick)

IV. How do we forgive?

1. Not holding the offence against them
2. By not holding revengeful thoughts against the offender(s)
3. By imitating the Father
4. By replacing revengeful thoughts with love, compassion, and charity
5. By developing a grateful appreciation for what God has done and is doing in our lives through Jesus Christ

Take Away:

Make a list of offences and offenders, and start “writing off” those debts one-by-one

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at