Children of the King Pt. 2
September 21, 2014
Topic: Matthew Passage: Matthew 18:15–18:35
“Matthew: Gospel of the Grace of God”
“CHILDREN of the KING”
BELIEVERS in Jesus Christ are MEMBERS of the KINGDOM of God. Through Jesus Christ, they have been ADOPTED into God’s FAMILY, & are therefore CHILDREN of the KING.
Children of the king are greatly BLESSED, but they also carry great RESPONSBILITIES, some of which Jesus outlines here in chapter 18, in RESPONSE to a loaded question from His DISCIPLES: v.1.
The entirety of Matthew 18 is Jesus’ ANSWER to that question. In verses 2-14, we learned that children of the king:
HUMBLE themselves: v.4;
RECEIVE & RESPECT other children: vs.5-6;
PROTECT THEMSELVES: v.8.
As Jesus’ teaching continues, we learn that children of the king:
INTERCEDE For Other Children
This is the unique passage where Jesus outlines the process for CHURCH DISCIPLINE.
We have discussed this passage many times, & for good reason. The church today mostly IGNORES this scripture. As a RESULT of the church’s FAILURE to exercise discipline, SIN is not DEALT with.
When sin is not dealt with, the CHURCH SUFFERS. Her spiritual HEALTH suffers, & her WITNESS to the COMMUNITY suffers.
But we need to approach this passage today with an awareness of its CONTEXT.
Remember the previous verses: vs.12-14.
As we learned last week, those who are GREATEST in the kingdom are those who, like their Lord, seek to SHEPHERD the flock of God.
In other words, they CARE for God’s OTHER children; ALL of them, ESPECIALLY when they have STRAYED from the flock.
Yes, it is the GOOD shepherd who goes AFTER the wayward sheep, but He does so THROUGH His PEOPLE, the CHURCH.
Therefore, I must CARE enough for my brother to GO to him, & INVOLVE myself in his life, when he does not DEAL with his SIN.
Vs.15-17 – these verses teach us that:
HOLINESS MATTERS; SIN must be DEALT with.
DISCIPLINE needs to be kept as PRIVATE as possible, involving as FEW PEOPLE as possible.
The PURPOSE of the process is RESTORATION.
V.15 – just as the Lord takes the INITIATIVE to SEEK us when we STRAY, so we are to “GO” to our brother when he sins.
That means that we are to take the INITIATIVE, rather than WAITING on the sinner to come to his senses.
We GO to our brother with the GOAL in mind of RESTORING him, rather than WINNING an ARGUMENT.
Also, our sinning brother must be approached HUMBLY, because we remain aware of OUR OWN tendency to sin.
Gal. 6:1: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
V.16 – one of the reasons for INCLUDING OTHERS at this point is often forgotten: our brothers may see that WE are the one in the WRONG in this situation, or that we bare EQUAL BLAME for the conflict.
V.17 – APPLICATION of this in the church today is DIFFICULT, because few churches today are TIGHTLY-KNIT communities.
In other words, someone disciplined in a church may simply MOVE to another church, where he will be ACCEPTED with no questions asked.
When that happens, the UNREPENTANT brother REMAINS in his sin, & the church’s WITNESS to the community remains in JEOPARDY.
Therefore, there needs to be a sense of COMMUNITY, not only within a particular CHURCH, but between her SISTER churches as well.
Vs.18-20 – the Lord EMPOWERS the church with His own AUTHORITY, whenever she acts in OBEDIENCE to His command to seek to INTERCEDE with a sinful brother.
Finally, & MOST importantly, children of the king:
FORGIVE, WITHOUT LIMITATIONS
FORGIVENESS does not come NATURALLY or EASILY to us. But it is ESSENTIAL for God’s children to FORGIVE one another.
After all, the FATHER has forgiven US! HOW, then, can we REFUSE to forgive ONE ANOTHER?
And yet, this REFUSAL to forgive happens FREQUENTLY within the church, which is yet another reason for the WEAKNESS of the church.
As at the beginning of the chapter, this critical teaching of Jesus comes in RESPONSE to a question, this time posed by Peter: vs.21-22.
The rabbis taught that one should forgive THREE times. Peter surely thought he was being GENEROUS by DOUBLING that & then adding ONE MORE for good measure.
To his credit, Peter had learned by this point that it is IMPORTANT to FORGIVE; but, like US, he thought that there was surely a LIMIT.
Jesus’ ANSWER, then, was surely STUNNING to him. Luke 17:3-4. (Keep in mind that the person NEEDING forgiveness must be willing to REPENT & ASK for forgiveness. If not, the principles of vs.15-17 come into play.)
FORGIVENESS is constantly NEEDED, because we are SINNERS who live in a sinful WORLD; therefore, we are always SINNING against someone, or being sinned AGAINST.
An ATTITUDE of forgiveness, then, needs to be an ONGOING attitude of the child of God.
In other words, we as Christians NEED to FORGIVE, because we are ALWAYS NEEDING FORGIVENESS.
Prov. 19:11: “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
In reality, Christians should be the MOST FORGIVING people in the world!
We are to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32)ja
Here is the most CRITICAL issue: If I am UNWILLING to OFFER forgiveness, have I truly RECEIVED forgiveness?
That is, am I TRULY a CHILD of the king?
Craig Blomberg: “God makes forgiveness available for everyone, but only those who appropriate it by a life of forgiving others show that they have genuinely accepted his pardon.”
Vs.23-24 – 10,000 talents would have been a debt so HUGE that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to REPAY.
This exemplifies the SIN DEBT that each of us have incurred against holy God. As Ezra exclaimed, “our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.” (Ezra 9:6b)
V.25 – this was considered JUST PUNISHMENT for such a debt. For US, the proper judgment is even MORE severe, “For the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23a)
V.26 – this man was GUILTY & he KNEW it. He had NO DEFENSE, & so he OFFERED none.
Instead, he did the ONLY thing he could do: he HUMBLED himself, & BEGGED for MERCY.
That was the attitude expressed by the man in Luke 18:13, who cried out, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.”
Vs.27-28 – the marvelous COMPASSION that the king demonstrated toward his servant makes his response to a fellow-servant seem more SHOCKING & REPREHENSIBLE.
Keep in mind, this was a REAL DEBT, of about 3-months wages! But, in COMPARISON to what the other servant had owed to the king, it was INSIGNIFICANT.
The POINT is that, no matter how GRIEVOUSLY someone may have sinned against US, it cannot COMPARE to OUR sin against the LORD.
We should understand, then, that it is UNTHINKABLE for Christians to fail to forgive one another.
V.30 – this is indeed SHOCKING, but it is also the way that Christians sometimes treat each other.
V.31 – we should be GRIEVED whenever a brother in Christ is UNWILLING to forgive another brother.
Vs.32-34 – the HARSH response of the king was JUSTIFIED. James 2:13: “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
Finally, Jesus makes the CRITICAL APPLICATION: v.35.
There are 2 ways to UNDERSTAND this verse:
As a CHRISTIAN, even after RECEIVING forgiveness from God, I may sometimes find it DIFFICULT to forgive a fellow believer. This does not CANCEL my SALVATION, but it does HINDER my FELLOWSHIP with the Lord & with His people: 1 John 1:6-7.
If I am REGULARLY UNWILLING to FORGIVE others, have I TRULY experienced GOD’S forgiveness?
We have been SAVED because of the UNDESERVED MERCY of God. That awareness should HUMBLE us so that we simply have NO OTHER OPTION but to FORGIVE OTHERS, & to do it FROM THE HEART.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”(1 Pet. 4:8)
FORGIVENESS – those are the ATTITUDES & ACTIONS of a CHILD of the KING.
Are they the actions & attitudes of MY life, & YOURS?