Home Resources Sermons Recent TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY PDF Print E-mail

TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – 10/23/16
MATTHEW 18:21-35; PHIL. 1:3-11; MICAH 6:6-8
OUT OF PITY THE MASTER RELEASES YOU, FORGIVING ALL YOUR DEBT!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center…Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN.


You wicked servant…should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?  And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers until he should pay all his debt. His debt was unpayable. The tortuous imprisonment Jesus speaks of here is eternal punishment – hell. Hell is a seriously avoided thought in our culture of death. Halloween decorations which purport to show corpses on the move or to humorously or gruesomely picture the realm of death largely mock what Jesus teaches here and elsewhere. People also much more readily speak of “hell on earth” than truly contemplating facing hell after death. In man’s expression, of course, the suffering will end. In the suffering of hell after this life it will not end.


Mormons try to oppose the horror of what Jesus taught by inventing a second chance after death. Jehovah’s Witnesses and some in pop-Christianity seek to replace hell with annihilation – simply going out of existence. Whether by fire that does not go out, or weeping in outer darkness or unending imprisonment, Jesus does not teach non-existence. He clearly teaches the reality of hell. In fact His mission can never be understood without the punishment of death and hell.


That brings us to Peter’s haunting question of accountability. “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  How often will my spouse – my child – my parent - my pastor – my fellow member – my friend - sin against me and I forgive him?  You see injury to others is inevitable in this life. Dr. Luther used some humor in making this point about causing harm or doing damage in external relations. He did so by noting how we even damage ourselves - inadvertently biting our own tongues or accidentally scratching our eyes (WLS – 1583). Adam’s sin so deeply poisons us that we do hurt others and others do hurt us. Sometimes this happens proudly and purposely as hearts seek to control others and put them in their place. Sometimes it happens unknowingly.


“Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  As many as seven times?” If sorrow and restitution were deemed sufficient the Jews taught forgiving up to three times for the same sin. Most would have seen Peter’s suggestion of seven as exceedingly noble and merciful – but not Jesus. Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. He is not teaching higher math - but rather to forgive without keeping record and without calculating! Seventy times seven means without limit! Forgiveness should be an infinite quality among you.


Jesus illuminates. When the king began to settle accounts…one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold. His debt was fantastically high – unpayable by him!  Jesus hereby teaches that sin is not just something you do wrong. Rather sin is your whole person gone wrong with God.


Think of the debt spoken of here – what is owed – as things left undone. How much have you left undone in praying first each day for God’s name to be holy in your life?  Luther said that left to our selfish priorities we would start our prayers with the seventh petition concerning ourselves – not with the first and God. How much have you left undone in holding in your heart above everything else our partnership in the Gospel? How much have you left undone in love abounding more and more with knowledge and discernment – in seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Our debt to God – is massive and inescapable. Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. O Lord, hear my voice.


So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything. But he didn’t need more time. He needed grace!  He would have done well to heed the prophet Micah’s warning. With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?  Shall I come …with burnt offerings…Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams…ten thousands of rivers of oil (oil poured on grain offerings)…Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression (like their heathen neighbors did in child sacrifice) All of these futile efforts have been attempted in human history. God’s answer, however, is different. He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice (what is fair and honest), and to love kindness (to love God’s steadfast love), and to walk humbly (dependent) with your God. Our problem is not a failure of knowing what to do (walking in perfect honesty and justice – with perfect love for God’s steadfast love – in total dependence on Him), but our problem is a failure of doing it. Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. O Lord, hear my voice.


This servant did not need more time, He needed pure grace!  So beautifully – that is what he received! Out of pity for him the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. Just like that!  His massive, crushing, un-payable debt is gone! What forgiving love for others would surely follow such gracious release and total freedom – or not?

 

When that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. This man refuses to give what he receives!  Inhaling the fresh air of forgiven debt he exhales the poisoned air of making another pay. In so doing he was blocking out the infinite treasure he had been given. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?  And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.


The profound pity of the master is replaced with his consuming anger!  The servant had ignored His master’s gracious generosity. Now – for him - there is hell to pay - forever! Dear Christians, Jesus here teaches us the defining gift of the church. It is His blessing of the forgiveness of sins! To refuse to forgive others is one of the clearest evidences of not receiving in faith God’s extravagant, forgiving love for us. The damning results of that omission last forever. So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from the heart.


Jesus calls you to forgive the repentant sinner without hesitation and without condition – real people who really offend you – people in this congregation – people in your family circle – people in your place of work or study. He doesn’t forgive you and then expect you to manufacture your own forgiveness for the guilty ones. Rather it is the Lord’s cleansing, renewing, restoring, forgiveness which flows to you that flows out of you toward your erring brother or sister. When you imagine that someone else’s debt to you outweighs your forgiven debt to God – you actually idolize that person. It is why Jesus teaches you to pray every day - Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”


Everything depends on this!  Your Father in heaven does not wish to look at your sins but rather to give you everything out of pure grace. His forgiveness for you is boundless because your need for it is boundless. He does not first make the condition that you change your life to be forgiven. While the servant who was eternally lost did not fear the king’s judgment - the one speaking this parable to Peter did fear the judgement of hell – the consuming fire of God’s wrath. In Gethsemane His agonized cries were for the cup of God’s wrath to be taken from Him. Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. O Lord, hear my voice. Nevertheless, not as I will but as you will.


It was the loving will of the Father to redeem Israel from all his iniquities. For with the Lord there is steadfast love and with him plentiful redemption. In the flesh of the Word made flesh God settled accounts with you. This One was brought to Him covered with the sin of the world!  This One could pay and did!  God canceled the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross (Col 2:13-14).


Jesus never speaks of a second chance after death. It is appointed for men once to die and then the judgment. He does proclaim that His once-for all sacrifice takes all the chance out of judgment day. There is no chance that your debt outweighs His ransom – for He takes away the sin of the world. There is no chance that His love for you is less today than the day He cried out from the cross – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Your hellish punishment was in His cry – and your eternal sentence is fully served by Him. There is no debt left for you to pay. There is no chance that His love for you is diminished from that glorious day because with the Lord there is steadfast love.


There is no chance that the risen Christ will withdraw the gift He commanded be given to you in your washing of rebirth. By His promise it forgives your sins and saves you and clothes you with Christ. There is no chance that Jesus’ body and Jesus’ blood are not in the heavenly food He serves you at His table. He comes among us with forgiveness flowing as freely to you - as the blood and water flowed from His side on the cross. What Jesus promises – He gives!  


There is no chance that your recognition of failure and yet your desire to forgive others as God forgives you is accidental. Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. O Lord, hear my voice. That is a gift of the Holy Spirit at work in you. It is a sure sign that God’s forgiveness is flowing in.


Recall how Peter’s suggestion of seven was swallowed up by Jesus’ response. Your risen Lord comes to you to swallow up any question you may have about your sins being too great!  He comes with forgiveness that is seventy times seven opening wide your heart. If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared (Psalm 130:3-4). And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.


In the name of Jesus, AMEN.

 

Recent Sermons


Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Worship with Us!

Divine Service
Sundays @ 9:00am
Mondays @ 7:00pm

Bible Study
& Sunday School
Sundays @ 10:30am
 
Morning Prayer (Matins)
Wednesdays @ 8:30am