The Great Debt You Owe by Pastor Jeremy Collins
March 19, 2023 ~ Matthew 18:15-35
So what do we do when a brother or sister in Christ sins against us? First, let’s establish that when we profess faith in Jesus, we become children of God. Second, when a brother or sister sins against us, everyone’s first thought should be restoring the sin-broken relationship. Jesus taught a three-step process to fix a broken relationship:
First, go to the person yourself and tell them about their sin. If they listen, you have regained them as a brother or sister.
Second, if the person does not respond to the first attempt of restoration, then return to them with one or two others so that what you say can be established by the testimony of others. If they listen, you have regained them as a brother or sister.
Third, tell the church if the person does not respond to the second restoration attempt. What does it mean to “tell the church”? It means you go to the Elders responsible for the church’s life. If this step, and all of the preceding steps, do not produce restoration, then that person is to be treated like an outsider to the church. They need to hear the gospel again and genuinely know the grace of Jesus’ forgiveness.
Sin-broken relationships can be restored when each party knows they were forgiven an infinite debt of sin at the cross of Calvary. To seal this truth, Jesus told his disciples a parable. A servant owed his King a very, very large debt. Unable to pay his debt, the servant was put into prison. One day, the King wanted to settle all his accounts, so he forgave his servant’s debt. Sadly, the forgiven servant used his freedom to pursue a fellow servant who owed him money. The debt could not be paid, so the king-forgiven servant imprisoned his debtor. Here is how the parable ended: The King heard how the forgiven servant failed to be merciful and had him returned to jail until his debt was paid.
At FPCB, our pattern of worship reminds us that we are forgiven much by our King. Our worship pattern teaches us that sin can be confessed and that grace always follows. When sin disrupts our union with one another, we must gather in Jesus’ name and agree that the truth about sin can be spoken in love and grace. There is more to be said on this topic.
In closing, let’s give Jesus the final word about handling sin in God’s family:
“Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”