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Matthew 18:1-14

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Forgiveness (Matthew 18)


Matthew 18:1-14

Matthew 18:15-35

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Matthew 18

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What Is Conversion?

The Indebted Servant of Luke 16




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Matthew 18

Jesus teaches about greatness and humility
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And he called to himself a little child and set him in the midst of them, 3 and said: Truly I say to you, except you turn and become as little children, you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever shall receive one such little child in my name receives me. 6 But whoever shall cause one of these little ones that believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him that a great millstone should be hung about his neck and that he should be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of temptations to stumble! For it is necessary that the temptations occur, but woe to that man through whom the temptation comes!
   8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or lame, rather than having two hands or two feet to be thrown into the perpetual fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna.
   10 See you do not despise one of these little ones. For I say to you, that in heaven their angels do always see the presence of my Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man came to save those which were lost.
Jesus teaches that God searches for lost sheep
 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the wish of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Jesus teaches about sin and forgiving each other
   15 And if your brother sins against you, go show him his fault, between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not hear you, take with you one or two others, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to hear the church also, let him be to you as the Gentile and the tax collectors.
   18 Truly I say to you: Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever things you shall release on earth shall be released in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
   21 Then Peter came and said to him: Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Until seven times? 22 Jesus said to him: I do not say to you until seven times, but until seventy times seven.
   23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a certain king who would make a reckoning with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered that he be sold with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell on his knees, saying: Lord, have patience with me and I will pay you all that I owe. 27 And the lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that servant went out and found one of his fellow-servants, who owed him a hundred denarii, and he laid hold on him and took him by the throat, saying: Pay what you owe. 29 So his fellow-servant fell down and begged him, saying: Have patience with me and I will pay you. 30 But he refused and had him cast into prison, until he should pay that which was due. 31 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. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him: You wicked servant; because you pleaded with me I forgave you all that debt. 33 Should not you also have had mercy on your fellow-servant, even as I had mercy on you? 34 And his lord was angry and delivered him to the jailors, until he should pay all that was due. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.



18:3 Conversion has various levels. The disciples had been converted, but there was a higher level of conversion- to become like children. Baptism isn’t the end of our conversion- it’s part of the process.

18:5 Jesus invites us to see Him as represented by the child. In the 1st Century world, children and women were considered as non-persons. But Jesus paid great attention to them and showed how He valued them as persons.

18:6 Such drowning in the sea as a millstone is Babylon’s judgment (Rev. 18:21). Those who make others sin or stumble will share in Babylon’s punishment at the last day- they will be “condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:32). Those rejected by Jesus will be sent back into the world they so loved- and share its judgment.

18:8 Everlasting fire is symbolic of total destruction. Jerusalem was punished with this (Jer. 17:27)- but there is no eternal fire there today. Don’t read ‘eternal fire’ literally.

18:17 Unto you- you singular [Gk.]. This passage speaks about personal disagreements. If you follow this process, the end result is that you personally will treat the other person as a Gentile and tax collector- both of which groups Jesus especially sought to minister to and win for Him. It doesn’t speak about a church disfellowshipping an individual.

18:20 Jesus is with us all the time individually, but He is especially with us when we gather together. Hence the importance of believers meeting together rather than believing in isolation.

18:21 Sin against- Peter refers back to v. 15. Jesus seems to be saying that we can go through the process He outlines in :15-17. But the higher level is to forgive unconditionally. If somebody sins against us 490 times / day and claims each time to have repented, it’s clear their repentance is insincere. Jesus is saying we should forgive people without trying to assess nor believe the sincerity of their repentance. For the nature of the forgiveness we show others is what we will be shown.

18:24 There’s an element of unreality in this story. How could a person amass such a huge debt? Only because the King kept on and on lending to him, knowing the man could never repay. This speaks of God’s forgiveness of us and the enormity of our debt to Him. Realizing our sinfulness will motivate us to forgive others.

18:31 When we see unreasonable behaviour from our brethren, the response is to tell it to the Lord. He knows about it already, but it’s good for us psychologically to tell the story to Him in prayer.