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Third-Last Sunday

November 8, 2009

Click here to listen to this sermon.   I apologize for the poor quality of the sermon recording.  Try to listen with headphones.

Third-Last Sunday (Trinity 22 / One Year Series)
8 November 2009

St. Andrew’s, Laramie, WY

St. Matthew 18:21-35

“You know Reverend. I’m quite generous.  Very forgiving person.  I can forgive someone once.  Even twice.  And possibly even a third time.  Especially if it’s just a little thing.  But there comes a time when you have to draw the line Reverend.  You just can’t go on forgiving losers, scum, trash, and deadbeats.  Especially when what they do is so mean and hurtful.  And they do it on purpose over and over again.  If I keep saying, ‘If forgive you,’ they’ll take advantage of me.  I’ll look weak.  Stupid.  Three strikes and you’re out I say.  My forgiveness only lasts for so long.  And then I’m done.  The forgiveness dries up.”

The apostle and man with his eyes on the bishop’s office in Rome — Peter likes to keep score too.  He’s a bit more generous on the sin score keeping.  How many times do you forgive a brother who sins against you?  Peter is willing to stretch it out to seven times.  That’s really magnanimous.  But then the forgiveness must stop. 

“Right Jesus?  Surely you agree with our generosity!  Our willingness to forgive up to a point!  His majesty Peter I is on our side.”

Are you sure you want to hear what Jesus has to say?  His answer may just send you and Peter sprawling with His typical bizarre answers to our scorekeeping questions.  You want to hear from Jesus?  Really?  All right. 

“Seventy times seven!” Jesus announces.  I.E. not just three.  Not just seven.  But forgiveness without limits.  Without boundaries.  Isn’t that how you want Him to forgive you?  Imagine if Jesus treated you the way you treat others!  It wouldn’t be good.  It would end hellaciously. 

You and I owed King Jesus more than we could ever repay.  We couldn’t atone.  Ever!  Enormous, astronomical, beyond belief debt.  Sell the kids.  Sell the wife.  Work a million lifetimes.  Hire a credit consolidation firm.  Make all kinds of deceiving promises.  But the accounts would never get reconciled.  Not even close.  Ever! 

And yet the King – King Jesus makes a decision.  He decides to have mercy.  Pity.  So gracious.  So giving.  So forgiving.  He dies to all the scorekeeping, audits, and accounting.  Rips up the debt documents.  And He settles your account – BY FORGIVING IT!  Wipes all your debt of the books.  All of it! Forgets it ever existed! 

Kingdom of Heaven King Jesus is categorically and recklessly generous with forgiveness.  Unlimited, unconditional, full and complete absolution for you that flows from His bloody Good Friday wounds.  “Father, forgive them,”  He prayed.  And this prayer was for His enemies who wanted Him stone cold dead and who stopped at nothing to get that done.  That’s you and me.  Our sin put Him there.  We saw to it as well!  “Crucify Him!”  was our demand too!

And yet He prays:  “Father, forgive them.  Father, forgive these dyed in the wool sinners.  All of them.  Forgive every last one of them and every one of their sins for my sake.”  No limits.  No boundaries.  No forgiveness statute of limitations.  The forgiveness job for all sin and every sinner gets done.  Yours.  Mine.  The world’s.    “It is finished!”  Indeed.

All your sin is forgiven.  The whole enchilada.  None left out. 

Now if you don’t believe that or want nothing to do with what appears to be such an idiotic King and His ridiculously weak and foolish kingdom, then you won’t be forgiving your brother from the heart.  Instead, you’ll just go on in the relentless and unforgiving slavery of getting even, being at each other’s throats, settling unfinished business, and paying people back who sin against you – no matter how trivial the hurt.  And we all know what pay back is . . . payback is HELL!  Not for the other person but for you who won’t forgive.  And all that the King will have to say to you is:  “You wicked servant.  I died for you.  Forgave everything of yours.  And now you won’t forgive?  Jailers!  . . . This is how my heavenly Father will treat you because you insist on not letting my forgiveness have its way with you.”   

Today, Kingdom of Heaven King Jesus stands before you.  He is as generous and as reckless with His forgiveness as always.  He forgave you in the absolution.  And in a few minutes He’ll forgive you again with His promise that His Body and His Blood is for the forgiveness of your sins.  All of them.  None left out. 

And He has taught you to pray:  “Our Father who art in heaven . . . forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  

And you are forgiven.  For Jesus’ sake.  And now He sends you out into the world to speak His forgiveness to others who desperately need it.  To forgive as freely and (dare I say it) as recklessly as He has forgiven you.

In the Name of Jesus.  

From → "B" Sermons

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