[Matthew 6:11] "Give us this day our daily bread. [Matthew 6:12] And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
How forgiving a person are you? As a disciple and servant of Jesus Christ, how forgiving a person should you be? Do you harbor grudges or resentments against people? Unfortunately far too many Christians get caught up in either festering and becoming bitter or worse yet in telling everybody else about a problem they may have with a brother or sister instead of doing the right thing by following the directions of Jesus Christ specific to handling and resolving these matters.
To that end, we find in the latter half of this 18th chapter of Matthew an extremely important set of commands and instructions from our Lord and Savior as to how we should interact and communicate with our brothers and sisters, especially when one of them "trespasses against us"! Also, as we absorb this wisdom and precious knowledge from His Word, let us always remember that there is not one us who is perfect and without the capacity to also be a committer of trespasses against our brothers. So perhaps by just having read with understanding how we should act towards our brothers and sisters to resolve our problems it will help us to be more open and willing to repent of our own trespasses when we are suddenly aware that one of our brothers has come to us in the manner prescribed by the Word of God.
We begin our study with the simplest yet most profound counsel ever there was in dealing with problems among brothers and sisters in Christ.
This incredibly powerful advice from the wisest One of all, if taken heed to and dutifully applied in one's life, will not only eliminate the majority of problems that rise up, including those both real and imagined, but will also prevent by "nipping in the bud" a host of other problems that most assuredly will arise as a result of NOT following His way. Furthermore, His healing words of wisdom will also eliminate many "mental health" problems by not allowing a host of evil spirits like suspicion, bitterness, resentment, etc., to come and dwell rent free in your head and bang on the walls of your mind at all hours of the day or night!Matthew 18:15
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Suppose for example that a brother has trespassed against you, or even if you think he has, but instead of keeping your mouth shut until you have been able to go directly and privately to that person to bring the matter to his attention (as per Christ's instruction), you instead go around telling others what an injustice that "I-can't-believe-he-calls-himself-a-Christian" so-and-so has perpetrated upon you, then you are most likely committing an even greater trespass than did the one you accuse. This is a serious matter as it can spread ill-will and spiritual sickness among the brotherhood and cause one to build up a "resentment", which is a word meaning to "feel again" (re = again, sentir = to sense or feel). You "see", when you tell some third party your complaints or ill-feelings about another, you re-feel those thoughts and emotions and they increase in strength through the exercise you give them thereby building up and hardening the resentment. Not only that, it infects others with a negative spirit, i.e. negative thoughts, and sets a very bad example for others to follow. Then, if and when the brother with whom you have a problem hears the rumors spread about, the matter grows worse and becomes even more difficult to resolve. Therefore if you find yourself as a third party and someone comes to you complaining about a brother or sister's trespass, do not give them your ear, but gently explain to them what Christ would have them do (Mat. 18:15)! The beauty of doing things His way is that you promote soundness of mind and peace of mind and prevent the spread of gossip and discord. It is your choice but know this well: How you as a disciple of Christ conduct your affairs in these matters has a direct bearing on the most serious aspect of all this which is contained in the latter part of verse 15 and reads: "if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained a brother."
Remember from our last study why it is Christ said He came... which is to save the lost! The successful resolve of a trespass which has been committed by one brother against another and ends up with a reconciliation between the two, benefits (is gain) to both parties and therefore is gain to the kingdom and family of God. That type of resolution can only be achieved when the presence of both the spirit of forgiveness and repentance is found. Think about it! And though we are all sinners, if you are one of Christ's disciples who has eyes to see and ears to hear then you have a great responsibility in that He has given unto you the keys to the kingdom of heaven by which you are able to open truth and knowledge to show the lost the way back home. The fact is, repentance and forgiveness have an awful lot to do with salvation, i.e. saving the lost, don't they? Yes they do... and Christ is going to spend a great deal of time in the remainder of this chapter addressing them. But before He does He gives us further instruction in handling those cases where one who has committed a real trespass is unwilling to settle the matter even after you have gone to that brother or sister and confronted him or her gently (in love) and in private as per Christ's instructions. Still at this point, be willing to give that brother or sister the benefit of the doubt in that he or she might not yet fully understand or, for whatever reason, be unable to or unwilling to see where he or she is in the wrong. If you have reached this point, then here is the next step we are instructed to take.
This gets the matter opened up before two or three witnesses who should be impartial and objective and mature in the Word of God especially in matters pertaining to the law so as to be able to hear both sides and wisely arbitrate (judge) the matter. If this fails and the person "neglects" to hear them, and even "neglects" to hear the greater assembly, which means he flat out refuses to abide by the family rules of law, then let the matter become of public record and deal with that person as you would an outsider, even in the civil courts if it is a matter of substance and is warranted. You see, at this point he is unrepentant and has thus shown that he really is not your brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Make sure however that even if it has gone this far, if he yet becomes convicted and has a change of heart and humbles himself in genuine repentance, that you are still willing to forgive him! That's the command and it is real simple! If a brother repents... forgive him! If he doesn't repent, execute even the full extent of the law pertaining to the matter. Christians are not doormats for people to walk all over and take advantage of. Quite frankly, if you let people that swindle you or trespass against you get away with it without confronting them or doing anything about it, you do both them and others they might swindle or take advantage of a great disservice. Do that which is right and just according to His Word and remember, if it is a brother who trespasses against you, rebuke him gently and if he repents, forgive him. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
And if it happens again that he trespasses against you, even in the same day, and he once again genuinely repents, then forgive him again.Luke 17:3
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
Some people have weaknesses in certain areas and it takes time for them to mature in His Word and grow strong whereby they can overcome those weakness. So be patient! After all, you have the keys to the kingdom of heaven and shall possess all its riches for all eternity, so you can certainly afford to be patient and merciful to your brothers and sisters, especially when they repent, right? This is very important to the work of God as Christ now shows us. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Christ is reminding us here of both the responsibility we have and the reason He has given us the precious keys of the kingdom of heaven, to which this is connected. You may recall we covered this in detail in chapter 16.Matthew 18:18
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Remember the lesson we learned in chapter 16? If you are one of Christ's disciples who is like Simon (hearing) BarJona (of the Dove or Spirit), i.e. has ears to hear what the Holy Spirit says through the Word of God, then you are become a "petros", a "living stone" (1 Pet. 2:5), and you are here in His name, as His representative to build up the family. To wit, you are a representative of the kingdom of heaven who carries the keys of that kingdom which the King Himself has given to you. You have been sent here to do His work which is to plant seeds and/or to teach our people and bind them to His truth which sets them at liberty by loosing them from the traditions of men which lead them to spiritual death. Again, why did Christ come? To save the lost! To bring salvation! Isaiah 61:1 "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;". Know this also, and consider it carefully in the latter half of today's study, that you are going to give account and be recompensed, or rewarded, according to your works, according to what you bind and loose here on earth.Matthew 16:19
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The subject is still doing His work, i.e. the binding and loosing which pertains to salvation and the entering in the door to the kingdom. What Christ is simply saying is that if two (or more) of His disciples, His representatives who come in His name, ask for help in carrying forth that work according to His will, Father will see to it that they shall receive it.Matthew 18:19
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Here is how that works:
Where two or three of His servants, which by the way is the required number to bear witness in matters of life and death according to the law, are gathered "in His name", which means they are gathered to do His work according to His will which at times may include settling the matters of trespasses which has been the subject up to this point, then Jesus Christ shall be in the midst of them... even to give wise counsel. So ask Him and Father will provide. After all you "see", Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God! For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Let us now be reminded of that which we touched on earlier and that is that there can be no reconciliation between brothers where there is a trespass one against the other unless there is repentance followed by forgiveness. The question is then, just how far we should carry this matter of forgiveness... even keeping in mind that genuine repentance is a "prerequisite" to it.
Good old Peter asks the question for us!
Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
In Biblical numerics "70" is the number of "Israel and her restoration" and "7" is the number of "Spiritual completeness" (see "Biblical Mathematics", Ed. F. Vallowe, pgs. 80 & 191). You may recall that we left off in our last study with Matthew 18:14 which reads "Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." When it comes to the salvation and restoration of His children, even our brothers and sisters of the House of Israel both naturally and spiritually, there is no limit to the amount of forgiveness Jesus Christ is willing and able to bestow when one repents and turns to Him and asks for mercy. The question then is: "As one of His representatives who possesses the keys to the kingdom of heaven, should there be any limit to yours?" It is only the condition, the meekness and humbleness of heart, that determines whether or not forgiveness is granted. You "see", Jesus Christ gave His life and paid an awesome price for "whosoever" will turn to Him in repentance and ask for forgiveness. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Therefore, consider the following simple analogy concerning the kingdom of heaven.
All shall give account to the King of kings. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
Ten thousand is "10", which in Biblical numerics is the number of law, times "1000" which denotes divine completeness and the glory of God. Spiritually speaking then, a person who is indebted to this incredible amount has fallen short of the law and short of the glory of God. In fact as the next verse shows, he is now wiped out and owes everything he has (and more) to his Lord! Is that so tough to understand? Can we not all say, "There but for the grace of God go I" for you and I along with all our brothers and sisters are in the same boat? Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." What we do about that is up to each and every one of us, but one thing is for sure. If we do not have His forgiveness we are in big trouble! And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
Up to this point the man "had not to pay" which means he had not attempted to make good on his debt. Then when he discovered the seriousness of it all, he became willing to repent. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
The servant humbled himself before his Lord and worshipped him and asked for mercy and compassion. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Our Father does not want us to repay that which we are indebted to Him, nor could we, but rather to turn to Him in true repentance at which point He will forgive us our debt... for Christ has paid sufficiently to cover us all! Of course in terms of money and material things, He owns everything there is anyway, doesn't He? He does not want nor need our money nor our sacrifices and burnt offerings (Hos. 6:6). What He wants is our love! Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
So now this person is loosed from his debt and has become a Christian and goes out to work in the field with his fellowservants.
Here is what happens next.
It is interesting that Christ uses money and the weight thereof to draw an analogy for us for the god of silver is near and dear to the hearts of many people. Nevertheless, the analogy is visual and it allows us to "see" the stark comparison of the magnitude of the forgiveness of Christ verses the magnitude, or lack thereof, of the forgiveness of man! Remember too, this is one of his own fellowservants he is coming down on. Did you know that one hundred is "election of grace" or "children of promise" in Biblical numerics? How small in "weight" are the few coins that make up an hundred pence (about $20) compared to the "burden" of 10,000 talents of silver? But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
Since this was fellowservant to fellowservant and not a servant to the Lord relationship, the man humbled himself (fell down at his feet) and besought his brother to be patient with him, but he did not worship him. Of course neither should he have. But look what the fellowservant did who had been forgiven such an enormous load of debt by the Lord! And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
He not only would not forgive his brother nor even be patient with him but rather delivered him up and had him cast into prison. Woe! How well do you think that is looked upon by Christ or even the rest of the brotherhood? And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
It is a sad thing to see one of our fellowservants act in such an unforgiving, ungodly manner. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
The Lord had compassion on the man and forgave him all that debt because he had humbled himself and repented and ask for mercy. Next time a brother does likewise and comes to you in repentance, sincerely asking for your patience, remember the fate of this wicked unforgiving servant when he was called to give account. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Time to give account! Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
This is why you do unto others as you would have others do unto you. You see, what you unrighteously bind on earth shall be bound upon you in the kingdom of heaven and what you righteously loose on earth shall be loosed to you likewise in heaven. It is called just recompense, my friend, and it shall be meted unto all according to their own works. And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So be merciful and compassionate to others, even as your Father also is merciful to those who humble themselves and repent of their transgressions. Here are the plain and simple words of Christ as recorded by Dr. Luke and which need no commentary nor further explanation. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Be a doer of the Word and remember always to ask Father to "Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:11-12)." Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits;
to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.
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