Sermon Transcript – Denial of Forgiveness, May it Never Happen

1 Year Lectionary – Twenty-Second Sunday After Trinity – Sunday, November 13, 2022 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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Time StampTranscript
0:27The holy Gospel
0:29According to Saint Matthew the 18th
0:38Peter came up and said to Jesus Lord how
0:41often will my brother sin against me and
0:43I forgive him as many as seven times
0:46Jesus said to him I do not say to you
0:48seven times but 77 times therefore the
0:51Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a
0:53King who wished to settle accounts with
0:55his servants and when he began to settle
0:57one was brought to him who owed him ten
0:59thousand talents and since he could not
1:02pay his master ordered him to be sold
1:04with his wife and his children and all
1:06that he had and payment to be made so
1:08the servant fell on his knees imploring
1:10him have patience with me and I will pay
1:12you everything and out of pity for him
1:15the master of that servant released him
1:16and forgave him the debt but when that
1:19same servant went out he found one of
1:20his fellow servants who owed him a
1:22hundred denariai and seizing him he
1:24began to choke him saying pay what you
1:26owe so his fellow servant fell down and
1:29pleaded with him have patience with me
1:30and I will pay you he refused and went
1:33and put him in prison until he should
1:35pay the debt and when his fellow
1:37servants saw what had taken place they
1:38were greatly distressed and they went
1:40and reported to their master all that
1:42had taken place then his master summoned
1:44him and said to him you Wicked servant I
1:47forgave you all that debt because you
1:49pleaded with me and should you not have
1:51had mercy on your fellow servant as I
1:53have had mercy on you and in Anger his
1:55master delivered him to the jailers
1:57until he should pay all his debts so
2:00also my heavenly father will do to every
2:02one of you if you do not forgive your
2:04brother from your heart this is the
2:06gospel of the Lord in the name of Jesus
2:09amen all right you’re gonna note that
2:12our gospel texts sure doesn’t sound like
2:14gospel to me it sounds like a lot of law
2:16Our Gospel text involves a little bit of
2:19math and as I’ve stated publicly before
2:21I think math is wicked I think it’s evil
2:24I think it is a dark art and I I do
2:26think that I need to make sure that I’m
2:28not hypocritical when it comes to math
2:29and so I’ve decided to not soil My Hands
2:32by actually doing it but instead relying
2:34upon the the artificial intelligence of
2:37my phone to help here but I need it to
2:39run an actual equation for me let me see
2:41if we can get this right hey Siri what’s
2:44uh 10 000 times 20.
2:48that would be two hundred thousand two
2:50hundred thousand wow notice I didn’t
2:52soil My Hands by actually doing math
2:55two hundred thousand two hundred
2:59thousand what
3:01you’ll note that there were ten thousand
3:03talents that this fellow this servant
3:06lost of his master’s money ten thousand
3:10talents well one Talent is equal to 20
3:13years wages for the average blue collar
3:17hard-working day laborer all right in
3:21other words the debt that this fellow
3:23racked up was the equivalent of two
3:26hundred thousand years
3:30of wages
3:32who does that how do you pull that off
3:36and you’re going to note something here
3:37have you ever had like times in your
3:40life where you were looking at the money
3:43coming in and the required money that
3:46was supposed to go out and you were
3:48noting that the bigger number was on the
3:51number that was going out have you ever
3:52had those times I’ve had those times a
3:54few times in my life and you know what
3:56it creates inside of you anxiety right
3:59that’s when you’re awake at night and
4:02you’re running the scenario through your
4:04head you’re figuring out how much longer
4:06before they shut off the gas how long
4:09before you’re going to be eating Top
4:10Ramen every night how long before your
4:13kids are going to go to school naked
4:15because this is how this works in the
4:17brain right you run the scenario and at
4:19the end of it your family your children
4:21everyone’s dead okay you’re just barely
4:25alive and you’ve been shamed to become a
4:28hobo traveling the rails of the American
4:30West you get the idea right and so you
4:34stay at night and you run the scenario
4:36over and over and over and over and then
4:40something amazing happens you get a good
4:41tax return and you go I’m saved right
4:45right something like this I we’ve all
4:48had times in our life what must this
4:51fellow have been going through
4:54to lose 200 000 years worth of wages I’m
4:59sure this guy wasn’t getting more than
5:0130 minutes of sleep a night because he
5:05knew that his Day of Reckoning was
5:07coming that’s kind of what’s going on
5:09here in Our Gospel text and this is all
5:12talking about forgiveness now in case
5:13you haven’t figured it out
5:15the guy who owed the 200 000 years worth
5:19of Wages that’s you
5:24that’s me this is to give us some
5:28perspective on our sin and the debt that
5:32we have incurred by sinning against God
5:34as you confessed in thought
5:37in word
5:38indeed by what you’ve done by what
5:42you’ve left undone and you’ll know I
5:44don’t know how the multipliers work at
5:46what point yet what you know how does
5:48the thing tick off more sin is it every
5:51second every minute you know is it every
5:54nanosecond I have no idea but the debt
5:57is mind-boggling I cannot wrap my head
6:01around this figure it’s way too big way
6:06way too big and all of that being said
6:09you would think that the servant who was
6:12shown Mercy
6:15legitimately shown Mercy that he would
6:18have had the greatest turnaround in his
6:20life ever all right last time I preached
6:23on this text I talked about Ebenezer
6:25Scrooge right we all know how the ending
6:27of A Christmas Carol ends with Ebenezer
6:29Scrooge opening up his pocketbook and
6:32giving money to people and wishing
6:34people a merry Christmas and all this
6:36kind of stuff why well he was given a
6:38vision of his future he was about to be
6:40ingloriously dumped in a grave and his
6:43life as he was shown from the Ghost of
6:46Christmas Past and Present was miserable
6:48he was an absolute Miser he cared more
6:52about money than any other human being
6:53and he even made people suffer and when
6:57he saw that there was legitimate human
6:58need in his presence he didn’t care at
7:01all because he didn’t want to spend any
7:04money of his own to help those who were
7:06in need and many of the people who were
7:08in need were because he was so cheap
7:10what a terrible boss right and so he
7:14sees his future coming and what does he
7:17do with the Ghost of Christmas future he
7:20begs for mercy
7:22and he’s given it and he has a big
7:24turnaround think about the Apostle Paul
7:26the Apostle Paul this is a guy who’s
7:28murdering Christians in the name of God
7:31and he’s going about rounding them up
7:34putting him in the synagogues beating
7:36them scourging them putting him in
7:38prison and he has a run-in with Jesus
7:41Christ and talk about a turnaround
7:44right the guy who hated the gospel hated
7:49Christianity hated Jesus hated any of
7:52his followers he becomes one of them and
7:55his life is exemplified in what he
7:58becomes one of the greatest ambassadors
8:00of the Gospel in the history of humanity
8:03in all of the scriptures in fact the
8:05Apostle Paul
8:07talks about a reality that is true for
8:10each and every one of us who are in
8:11Christ and here’s what he says in second
8:13Corinthians chapter five the love of
8:16Christ it controls us because we have
8:20concluded this that one has died for all
8:25therefore all have died and he died for
8:29all so that those who live might no
8:31longer live for themselves but for him
8:34who for their sake died and was raised
8:38and here we can kind of see what’s going
8:40wrong in Our Gospel text this fellow he
8:43is Forgiven this ginormous debt and then
8:46when somebody owes him a hundred
8:49daeneryi that’s that’s like that’s like
8:51one month’s wages right he was just
8:54forgiven 200 000 years worth of wages
8:57and some poor fellow owes him a month’s
9:00worth of wages and you’re going to note
9:01the guy who owes him the money
9:03absolutely acknowledges the debt he
9:06doesn’t sit there and go I don’t know
9:07what you’re talking about me owe you
9:09money you must be mistaken right and
9:11then turn around and Gaslight them and
9:13produce you know and project and all
9:15this kind of weird stuff that people do
9:16no he he owns his debts give me time
9:18I’ll pay him back and you know what I
9:20believe him right when our gospel text
9:24fellow that’s you begs for Mercy he
9:27begins by saying give me some time I’ll
9:29pay the debt uh-huh
9:31right you you’re not capable of paying
9:34this kind of debt none of us are but
9:37then he finds this fellow who owes him a
9:39month’s worth of wages and what does he
9:41do he rips into this guy chokes him it
9:45responds in violence hatred and just
9:50blah pay me what you owe me you
9:54know I’ll pay you give me some patience
9:58and he doesn’t do it and you’ll know the
10:00Apostle Paul says because we are
10:02forgiven that Christ has died for all we
10:05are no longer to live for ourselves and
10:08that’s kind of the point
10:11is that when you refuse to forgive
10:14somebody not only is your perspective
10:17way off you’ve forgotten the gospel
10:20altogether and who’s the person you’re
10:22thinking about
10:24me myself and I right you’ve become like
10:29Gollum nursing a grudge in the darkness
10:33my precious right you’re just ridiculous
10:36the only thing you care about is
10:38yourself but according to God according
10:41to the Holy Spirit the Apostle Paul who
10:44had this big change he says we are not
10:47to live for ourselves but for him who
10:50died for their sake and was raised
10:54if you ever heard the statement
10:57God may have forgiven you
11:00but I will never forgive you you ever
11:02heard anyone talk this way
11:04maybe it was you maybe you felt this way
11:07yeah I know God forgave him but man
11:12beware okay at the risk of sounding like
11:15Greta thurnberg how dare you right
11:19how dare you do you not understand that
11:22when you do such a thing you have
11:25exalted yourself above God you have
11:29taken the mercy and forgiveness that is
11:31in Christ and you have said not for you
11:35my neighbor I oh you owe me you have
11:39sinned against me and so I refuse to
11:41even acknowledge that Christ has died
11:43for your sins because
11:45God May forgive you but I don’t
11:49you think about Joseph in this account
11:51in this in this way of thinking here
11:53remember Joseph he was sold into slavery
11:56by his brothers and that that was
11:58horrible then he gets to his first
12:01assignment as a slave and the boss’s
12:03wife has the hots for him and is
12:06constantly trying to pick him up and get
12:08him into bed and he refuses so she flips
12:11it completely around and accuses him of
12:13coming on to her and he ends up going to
12:15prison for 13 years
12:22all because
12:24his boss’s wife lied about him
12:27and all because his brothers sold him
12:29into slavery
12:31and as the Klingons would say revenge is
12:34a dish best served cold right
12:38but was there any revenge in Joseph
12:41none whatsoever
12:43none when he finally revealed himself to
12:46his brothers he comforted them and said
12:49listen it wasn’t you who sent me here it
12:52was God and he sent me here to save life
12:56and then at the end of his father’s life
12:59his father’s name was Jacob otherwise
13:02known as Israel his brothers freaked out
13:05thinking oh my goodness now that Joseph
13:08thou now now that Dad is dead Joseph is
13:11finally going to get his revenge on us
13:12so they came up with a ruse you know
13:14kind of dad told us something that he
13:16didn’t tell you and we need to share it
13:18with you kind of thing it’s a lie but
13:20it’s really fascinating in Genesis
13:23chapter 50. it says when Joseph’s
13:24brothers saw that their father was dead
13:27and they said it may be that Joseph will
13:29hate us and pay us back for all the evil
13:32that we did to him so they sent a
13:34messenger to Joseph saying your father
13:36gave this command before he died say to
13:38Joseph please forgive the transgressions
13:41of your brothers and their sin because
13:43they did Evil to you and now please
13:46forgive the transgression of the
13:48Servants of the god of your father and
13:50you’ll note Joseph had forgiven them
13:53long ago forgave them even before they
13:56showed up in Egypt to buy Grain
14:00but please forgive your servant so
14:01Joseph wept when they when they spoke to
14:04him his brothers also came they fell
14:06down before him and said behold we are
14:07your servants but Joseph said to them do
14:10not fear
14:11for am I in the place of God
14:15and there it is
14:16when you do not forgive
14:20you have taken the place of God
14:24remember Christ has bled and died for
14:26your sins and mine
14:28he’s taken our iniquity upon himself he
14:32has paid our sin debt to the full not
14:36one sin is left unaccounted before by
14:39the death of Christ on the cross and his
14:42death not only atoned for your sins but
14:45for the sins of the whole world when you
14:48deny forgiveness to another human being
14:51you are denying them the Forgiveness of
14:55the very forgiveness that you are called
14:57to be an ambassador for
14:59so Joseph continues am I in the place of
15:02God As for you what you meant for evil
15:05against me God meant it for good to
15:07bring it about that many people should
15:10be kept alive as they are today
15:13in fact
15:15the very crucifixion of Christ what we
15:18meant for evil killing Our God our God
15:21shows up Tabernacles Among Us in human
15:23flesh and what do we do to him we murder
15:27but the very murder of the Son of God is
15:30the very thing that God then uses to
15:32forgive you of all of your sins what we
15:35meant for evil God has flipped and has
15:37worked for our good so are we then in
15:39the place of God we are not
15:42so brothers and sisters hear more from
15:44the Apostle Paul the Apostle Paul who
15:46had this ginormous 180 he went he was
15:50going this way heading to hell and now
15:52he’s heading to the New Kingdom the new
15:54Earth and he says to us therefore we
15:58then should regard no one according to
16:01the Flesh and believe me your sinful
16:04flesh is the reason why you struggle to
16:06forgive people because your sinful flesh
16:09is All About Me Myself and I that’s
16:11right I have one too and I remember it
16:14was just last week I was asking my
16:16catechumens about you know the fifth
16:18Petition of the Lord’s Prayer forgive us
16:20our trespasses as we forgive those who
16:22trespass against us one of the comments
16:24the questions that they needed to answer
16:25is it easy for you to forgive people
16:28when they sin against you
16:31answer depends
16:34some of them getting some pretty openly
16:36honest answers depends who it is and
16:39what they’ve done but if it’s if it’s
16:41somebody close to them and they’ve
16:42really done something terrible to them
16:43many of them said it was it’s difficult
16:46to forgive
16:48I always remind people that when Peter
16:50so so gloriously offers to forgive
16:54people up to seven times what a great
16:56guy that guy is right and Jesus looks at
16:59him goes no no
17:0177 times 77 and that that’s that’s like
17:06in just one day that is what it’s like
17:09to be married okay that’s the whole
17:12point of being married is that your
17:14husband your wife is constantly daily
17:17sinning against you sometimes by what
17:20they do and say sometimes by what they
17:23don’t do and say honey does this dress
17:25make me look fat don’t answer that
17:28question it’s a trap okay and you’re
17:31going to need lots of forgiveness after
17:33you give your answer stay away run don’t
17:37make eye contact right
17:42but the reality is this is that we are
17:47forgiven so much that even those closest
17:49to us who hurt us the most grievously
17:52when our anger fires off and it does
17:56often time that anger is not righteous
17:58it bleeds off into sin and when your
18:03neighbor or your spouse says to you I’m
18:06sorry you’re right please forgive me
18:10I know the feeling is I don’t want to
18:12forgive you on you and you’re saying
18:13you’re hurting and you say I forgive you
18:15through gritted teeth
18:17I get it
18:18but still we absolve right
18:21so therefore
18:22we shouldn’t regard no one according to
18:24the flesh
18:26even though once we regarded Christ
18:28according to the flesh we regard him
18:30thus no longer therefore if anyone is in
18:32Christ he is a new creation the oldest
18:34passed away the new has come and all of
18:37this is from God who through Christ
18:39reconciled us to himself and gave us the
18:42ministry of reconciliation the Apostle
18:45Paul in the Book of Romans makes it
18:46clear that Christ died for his enemies
18:51he didn’t die for his friends
18:53instead he reconciled his enemies to
18:56himself and then became their friends in
19:00so doing
19:02so we then have been given the ministry
19:05of reconciliation that’s our job we are
19:09ambassadors for the kingdom of God and
19:11you’re going to know when we represent
19:13God what kind of God do we represent do
19:18we represent Allah that we go out and we
19:21with the sword kill the Infidel and blow
19:24them up no
19:26we represent the one true God who
19:29humbled himself and was found in the
19:31form of a human being and the found of
19:33us if in the form of a servant and
19:35humbled himself by becoming obedient to
19:36death even death on the cross so that
19:38you and I can be forgiven
19:40the god that we serve the god that is is
19:45loving and kind slow to anger abounding
19:49in steadfast love and pardoning iniquity
19:52that is the god that we serve and we do
19:55not represent him well when we let our
19:58old sinful nature bear a grudge against
20:00another human being and we wish to do
20:03them violent or we do them violence or
20:05we refuse to forgive them this is
20:07completely out of step with the gospel
20:09it is it there’s no place for it in the
20:12Kingdom at all
20:14so we have been given the ministry of
20:16record reconciliation that is in Christ
20:19God was reconciling the world to himself
20:22by not counting their trespasses against
20:24them and God has entrusted to us this
20:28message of reconciliation therefore our
20:31actions dare not contradict this message
20:35of reconciliation the gospel is the
20:37power of God unto salvation so our lives
20:41need to smell of the aroma of the mercy
20:44and the grace of God therefore Paul says
20:47we are all ambassadors for Christ and
20:49God is making his appeal through us that
20:52we implore all on behalf of Christ to be
20:55reconciled to God for our sake God made
20:58Jesus to be sin who knew no sin so that
21:00we might become the righteousness of God
21:03but the world we live in
21:06is full of rancor
21:07world we live in is full of people that
21:11treat us terribly sometimes it’s
21:14somebody close to us sometimes it’s a
21:16co-worker sometimes it’s a relative
21:18sometimes it’s just an ornery neighbor
21:21always cracks me up when I’m scrolling
21:23through Tick Tock when I have insomnia
21:25and I find an account where somebody is
21:28ratting on their neighbor who’s a Karen
21:31and talking about the conflict that they
21:33have with their neighbor these accounts
21:35are real and the conflicts they have are
21:39the we as Christians are not called to
21:41that so what happens if you have a Karen
21:43in your neighborhood who’s constantly
21:45calling the police on you when your dog
21:46barks or you have somebody at work who
21:49has it out for you because they’re
21:51jealous of the skills that you have and
21:53so they’re trying to undercut you so
21:55they can get rid of you take your dead
21:57carcass career-wise cast it out so that
22:00they can have your job and then get the
22:01corner office what do you do with people
22:03like this
22:06you are forgiven
22:09and you were reconciled to God when you
22:12were still enemies of God
22:14what do you think the gospel calls us to
22:16do in this circumstance
22:18scripture is very clear
22:21we pay no one evil for evil Paul writes
22:25in Romans 12. repay no one evil for evil
22:29but give thought to do what is Honorable
22:31in the sight of all but you don’t
22:33understand how awful that person is no
22:36really I do
22:38really really I get it
22:41don’t you dare tell me I don’t
22:43understand I do we’ve all lived this
22:47so if possible so far as it depends on
22:51live peaceably with all
22:54beloved never avenge yourselves never
22:57but leave it to the wrath of God for his
23:00written vengeance is mine I will repay
23:03says the Lord so to the contrary if your
23:07enemy is hungry feed him
23:11if he is thirsty give him something to
23:18for by so doing you will keep burning
23:20coals on his head and I know a thing or
23:23two about those burning coals we feel
23:24those burning coals when we look at our
23:26lives in light of the Ten Commandments
23:28and we look at just how far short we
23:30have come when it comes to the glory of
23:32God when we look at that 200 000 year
23:36debt that we have racked up because of
23:39our sin it really undoes us and God
23:43rather than giving us what we deserve
23:45says I love you I forgive you for the
23:49sake of Christ I have provided the
23:51atoning sacrifice so that you would
23:54never have to pay
23:56for your sins they are paid for in full
23:59and does that not undo us
24:02does that not warm our hearts does it
24:05not give us Comfort does it not lift the
24:08burden and the anxiety remember here’s
24:11this guy he knows his Day of Reckoning
24:13is coming and he’s not even able to
24:15sleep because we all know how this works
24:18and who of us can say that we have not
24:21lost sleep considering the fact that we
24:23are all going to die someday
24:26and stand before God
24:29this is the kind of thought that creates
24:32at least the law does generate that kind
24:35of anxiety
24:37but the gospel says no you are forgiven
24:40and even when you were still Sinners and
24:42my enemy Christ has died for you
24:46so therefore you are now free
24:50love and forgiveness is freedom hatred
24:54and vengeance is slavery that’s how it
24:57works you are now free to love and to
25:01forgive your neighbor and to do good to
25:04them when they are treating you horribly
25:08and by doing so you will keep burning
25:11coals on their head
25:12because now you are acting as an
25:14ambassador for the gospel
25:16in other words do not be overcome by
25:19but overcome evil with good
25:22so brothers and sisters here then the
25:25words of Our Lord
25:27to that servant who refused to forgive
25:29the one who owed him such a small
25:32trifling amount of money
25:34he says to him you Wicked servant I
25:37forgave you all of that debt because you
25:40pleaded with me
25:41and should you not have had mercy on
25:43your fellow servant as I have had mercy
25:45on you and the answer is yes
25:48and in Anger then his master delivered
25:51him to the jailers until he should pay
25:52all of his debts so also my heavenly
25:55father will do to every one of you if
25:57you do not forgive your brother from
25:58your heart
26:00and so we are reminded then that this is
26:03what we are called to to forgive
26:05everyone from the heart regardless of
26:08the small trifling debts that they rack
26:10up by sinning against us it’s nothing
26:13compared to the Forgiveness that we have
26:14in Christ and I know it’s hard I know
26:18it’s not easy and yet we all have the
26:20Holy Spirit within us so let us again
26:23confess that we struggle to forgive
26:27as we are forgiven and let us cry out to
26:30God to forgive us of even our
26:32unforgiveness and ask that he would
26:34again soften our hearts towards our
26:37neighbor and make us even more free than
26:39we are so that we can then freely love
26:42and forgive and be at peace with all and
26:45be good ambassadors of the good news
26:47that Christ has died for the sins of the
26:49world not only in the message that we
26:52preach but exemplified in the life of
26:54kindness and mercy that we also bring in
26:58the name of Jesus Amen
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