Dr. Jonathan Sloan gives a sermon about forgiveness, based on Matthew 18:21-35 (link).
*Call to Worship
Sometimes our debts can seem overwhelming;
no matter how hard we work, there seems to be no end.
Sometimes it seems easier to hide from our obligations than to face them;
but when we face our liabilities, we open ourselves to freedom from them.
Eventually all our faults, all that we are accountable for, come into the light. As we gather this day, let us reveal our souls to the grace of God, giving us the strength to spread that grace into the lives of others.
Let us worship God!
*Prayer of Confession
Dear Lord, as we call to mind our sins, help us to recall those who have sinned against us. As we ask for Your forgiveness, help us to forgive others. Just as we often feel unworthy of Your mercy, we often forget that those who have wronged us may also feel undeserving. Open our eyes to see our faults, open our mouths to ask for forgiveness, open our hearts to accept Your mercy, and to grant Your forgiveness onto others, not just once, not twice, but always…
*Assurance of Pardon
Jesus died to forgive sin:sins past, present and those yet to be committed. His great sacrifice is not to be hoarded and used for personal benefit; it is to be eagerly shared.
Thanks be to God!
21 Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”