River of Life Church
November 1, 2020
Main Scripture Reference(s)
Matthew 18:21-25


November 1, 2020 / Matthew 18:21-25

“THE ‘I’ SERIES.” Luke 5:12b-13

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ Immediately the leprosy left him.”

God is intently interested in the needs of our lives.

God has said: “I WILL BE WITH YOU.” “I will never leave.”

“I will give you power.” “I will help you, I will uphold you by my righteous hand.”

Matthew 28:20-“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

John 6:37– “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will [a]by no means cast out.”

Text: Matt. 18:21-35

We are talking about grace.

-2 weeks ago we talked about barriers to grace, today we are going to talk about BUILDING BRIDGES TO GRACE.

-Building bridges to help people find grace is so very important in this life.

-This scripture is a parable about the unforgiving servant.

-“So God will do to you.”

-God will deliver you to the torturers. (jailers)

-I personally believe that the torturers represent the demonic forces.

-I can personally attest that if you cannot forgive people who have wronged you, then you will struggle with self-inflicted pain.

ILLUS.: Cartoon, Lucy is chasing Charlie Brown, “I’m going to get you.” Charlie talks to Lucy in his own imitable way. Charlie says: “If we can’t forgive each other, how can our parents not forgive each other, and if our parents will not forgive each other, then the world won’t be able to forgive each other.

-All of a sudden Lucy punches Charlie Brown out, and says, “He was starting to make sense.”

-Forgiveness does make sense.


-Some people struggle with forgiveness because they have false thoughts about what they have to do in the forgiveness process.

-Some people think of things that won’t work.

-Everyone focuses on “what someone did or what someone said.

-I challenge you to examine the WHY behind the problem.

b. “Time will heal the wounds that cause unforgiveness, then I’ll have a forgiving heart with the things that cause unforgiveness in my heart.

**If I let enough time go by, I will get over the emotion and damage I feel, and I will be inclined to have a forgiving heart.

-The problem is when enough time goes by that things fester. A wound festers. It takes a healing virtue like the blood of Jesus to soothe that wound.

Is. 61:3 “To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following: To give them a [c]turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning], The oil of joy instead of mourning, The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit. So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],”

*A wound of unforgiveness becomes more dangerous and more deadly the longer it is not dealt with.


-You decide to honor God.

-“Well I just get a bad vibe from that guy. She just acts funny. I don’t know what it is, but there is something about the way they act.

-Don’t believe what you tell yourself. Believe the scripture over self.

-The longer people wait, the more bitter they become, unless they make a decision to start forgiving people.

b. I can’t forgive because I cannot deny my own hurt. (I am not allowed to admit that I am mad)

ILLUS.: I don’t know if that is true for Tipton County. I have read some of your red-neck Facebook posts. Now…you have to make a decision to forgive me!


RE: I can’t admit that I am wounded. I can’t admit to somebody that I am not filled with the peace of Jesus, that I am still Ok-because I am not.


People get into denial. They are either minimizing or maximizing their hurt. Whenever you minimize your hurt, you are understating your ability, to be honest, whenever you maximize your hurt, you are overstating your experience and often fall into manipulation.

Honesty is a sign of maturity. Truthfulness is a sign of maturity.

ILLUS.: It is ok to go to someone and say, “When you do that, that is embarrassing to me.” Don’t go, “NOW LOOK……”

ILLUS.: There are certain stories where you can embarrass people.

Honesty helps us communicate effectively. I could tell you a story about a man who came to Men’s Breakout on Tuesday Night, 1 day early, but I won’t do that. WHY? I haven’t asked him.

Saying: “That embarrassed me, and then we respond and say: “I’m sorry let’s put the blood of Jesus on that situation.

Things go on.

3. Some people have a mistaken idea that I must confess this unforgiveness to another person. -NOT ALWAYS

Every so often, people come to me and say…pastor, I need to say I’m sorry…..I’ve been thinking some things..”

-Guidance…in most of those cases…unless you have been running your mouth, let it go, and get forgiveness between you and God, and move on.

ILLUS.: “Pastor” –“3 years ago, I said something with an attitude, and I was convicted.”

-Did you ask Jesus to forgive you? Yes? Then there is therefore no condemnation. I have trouble remembering who I talked to last week about something. I’m good really.

ILLUS.: Years ago I lost a family from the church.

They were attending, and they had a past issue that was dealt with years before they started attending the church.

They wanted to talk about it. There was an abnormal need to re-discuss it.

-I said this is under the blood. Move on.

-There are some things that don’t need to be talked about.

-We don’t need to create another wound just to force a confession.

POINT: When your confession creates more damage in someone’s life than wholeness-then don’t do -it doesn’t need to be done.

-Some people have to be in the know because they like pointing out people’s wrongs. Did you hear what happened?

You know I can hardly believe it. Believe what? I shouldn’t say anything. (They are dying to say something)

ILLUS.: Need to know: I don’t tell the staff everything, and I don’t tell my wife everything.

Why? Sometimes we want to talk about other things.

Telling people things who don’t know anything about what you are talking about is risky. The need to know is the need to know.

There are things that need to be left under the blood.

“Tell it to Jesus…

“Tell me the story of Jesus -Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious- The sweetest that ever was heard

POINT: You should go to a person when you know you have offended them. When the Spirit of the Lord prompts you, that is when you go. Don’t go to someone just to solve your guilt feeling. THAT WON’T WORK.

-Whenever you do need to talk, you talk to someone face to face. Not over text, not over email, and you say…” Let’s talk about this.”

-A lot of people have a mistaken idea that forgiveness and trust are the same things.

[Forgiveness is our job….Jesus said: we must forgive] -7 x70’s

-Trust is not our job. It is their job. Trust is earned not given.

-People who lie are hard to trust. Forgiveness is our job, trust is theirs, but you don’t get to ignore people either. Tests are a part of life. God tests people.

Jesus tested people but trusted God.

Many people test God, but yet trust people.

Why would you doubt God’s word, but yet trust people?

ILLUS.: You have to forgive me, after all, you are a Christian.

I was at Wal-mart and bought something that costs $8.50. I gave them a $20.00 bill. They gave me $1.50 back. I said you owe me a $10.00 bill. She said: “No I don’t.” “Oh yeah…watch this…”.

-Hey this cashier stole $10.00. She quickly gave me $10.00 back

-That wasn’t a forgiveness issue; it was a trust issue.

ILLUS.: Tell you about being a pastor. Pastor’s must accept people at face value, and believe what they say.

-A pastor cannot have a suspective attitude that limits his ability to trust what people say.

-If I speak from my hurt, I will miss opportunities all the time.

-I have to believe what people tell me.

ILLUS.: These men who hit women, and hurt women.

Forgive me, forgive me. We will. But we will not trust you.

-I have told a number of women over the years who had an abusive husband. Move out. Get away from him. Why? He’s dangerous and can’t be trusted.

-My daddy taught me to defend the weak and defenseless.

I believe in the RENEWING OF OUR MINDS, but there are going to be times that you will let people down.

You’re not perfect! You are flawed.

CS LEWIS: (Forgiveness) “This doesn’t necessarily mean you believe the next promise, it does however mean that you make every effort to kill every trace of resentment in your heart, every wish to hurt, to humiliate, or pay that person back.”

-You give up your need to exact a # of flesh for payback.

ILLUS.: There have been times I have shared Christ with someone, and in the middle of the conversation they say something this: “You know what I can’t stand?…..What? These heady, high-minded preachers who act like they know everything. (They’re everywhere)

“They don’t know anything.” I said: “You got that right.” Yeah…

-I didn’t tell him, why…I needed to validate his feelings/hurts.

PERSONAL: “Is it hurtful to me when people are skeptical of who I am as a pastor?” It is used to be.

-Now, I just try to really love people where they are at.

-I realize that it is my responsibility to be the best Jesus I can be.

It is wrong to force people to trust you. You earn trust in life. (Just do what God has called you to do.


A. Holding Grudges.

ILLUS.: DL Moody and a friend had an intense disagreement.

*He was dying, and wanted to get over the grudge before he passed away. “I want you too know I’m sorry, but if I make it, then the grudge is still on.” (That isn’t really dealing with grudges).

One self-pity king said, “If I could drop dead right now…I would be the happiest person on earth.”

When you are filled with anger, bitterness, a grudge, self-pity.

B. Stored up anger.

-Anger sets an offense. Anger is like concrete to an offense. It sets it in place, it is hard to break it.

-As devasting as it is to people around us….it hurts you more.

Forgiveness requires vulnerability. Forgiveness requires that we get over the Spirit that says, “I don’t want anybody else to ever be able to hurt me.”

Christians were born to carry a cross of vulnerability. A painful cross. A cross of vulnerability means people will question whether you have the best intentions, and they may even reject our lives.

C. Overflowing Pride.

Mark Twain: “Temper is what gets us in most of our trouble, pride is what keeps us there.”

-It is impossible to offer forgiveness when we can’t humble ourselves because of pride.

D. Revenge-GET EVEN.

Amos and Andy-Caricatures. Slapstick comedy. Fuming.

Amos always popped Andy. Andy was talking to the kingpin.

“I’m tired of Amos always slapping me; I’m going to fix this problem. I’ve strapped dynamite to my chest. The next time he touches me, he is going to blow his hand off.

The Revenge thing doesn’t work when it hurts you.

E. Judgementalism.

This will keep you from forgiving other people.

I’m not saying this to be condemnatory.

We judge other people based on their actions. We judge ourselves based on our motives.

-Look at somebody: Why did they do that.

-We look at ourselves -and say: “I just made a mistake.”

-We judge people’s motives.

ILLUS.: Golf tourney. Raise $ STL. This guy was dressed like Payne Stewart’s wife. (Thought: Wow are you acting like that?)

-He was over the top.

-Then I accidentally chipped a shot on the 9th hole, about 35 yards off the green. (I became his friend)

-I don’t like to wait. You wait a lot in golf.

-I’m not going to wait for the rapture, I am going up when the trumpet blows.

F. Unwillingness to forget.

-Some people dwell on things way too long.

-“If you were really a Christian, you would forget about it, because God forgives and forgets.”

-You are I do not have the God quality of forgetting.

-Forgiveness and forgetting are not the same thing.

-I am talking about our unwillingness to forget, something we talk about all the time. It is driving us…

G. Insecurity creates a lack of vulnerability.

Insecure people struggle to forgive. Why?

-They can’t be vulnerable enough to allow their emotions to be on display. If you can’t be vulnerable when you have wronged someone or they have wronged you.

H. Alibis

-I have a lot of reasons why I won’t forgive.

-I should ask for forgiveness, but that person has a big wart, and people with warts don’t get forgiveness.

-They don’t really care if I forgive them, so therefore I don’t care.

(Somebody has got to care)

-I can usually tell if someone has an Alibi when I certain subject comes up, and their eyes start moving, and their face starts twitching.

-“Cleanse my heart oh God….renew the right spirit within me.

-People who are married say stupid things to each other.

ILLUS.: Go tell her you to love her and you’re sorry.

-“I told her that I loved her when I married her, If I change my mind, I will let her know.”

-Rather than making a happy, and whole marriage. You make an Alibi. “I’m just not a talker…..Bologna…” When your son or grandson hits a home run over the fence you become a screamer.

(I have watched some of you quiet people).

-If someone has done something to you…walk over and say: “Let’s make things right…..”


  • Remembering what God has done for you.

God did it all. God who never sinned has forgiven you and me, and we want to reserve the right to not forgive others when we have been totally forgiven.

-You show me a person living in unforgiveness, and I’ll show you a person who doesn’t understand God and who doesn’t understand the grace of God.

-God is all about forgiving people who do not deserve it and giving them chances they never had so they could become what they never could be without God’s grace.

-The Master said: “You owe me….$ 3 Billion.” He forgave it.

-Then the same person went and found someone who owed him $100.00 and threw him in jail.

-He didn’t understand what the master had done for him.

V. 35, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

Forgiveness is a choice, not an emotion. Your emotions do not determine whether or not you are forgiven. Your emotions do not determine whether or not you forgive.

Unforgiveness will paralyze a Christian.

Romans 8 says, “We overwhelmingly conquer.”

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”…In ALL these things we are more than a conqueror!

GRACE: Grace means that you can quit feeling inadequate. You’re not perfect, and you’ll never be in this life. You need God’s grace to think of your life, your circumstances, everything around you as God does. … God’s grace is sufficient for every moment of every day.



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