Good morning, Broward family and everyone joining us today. Thank you for starting off your Sunday with us and happy Thanksgiving weekend. I really hope you all enjoyed the time with your family and loved ones.
But I also know that this can be a rough time of the year for many of you. So I hope you are finding comfort in your friends and your loved ones. But if you need prayer requests, please drop them in the chat so that we can be praying for you specifically this holiday season. My name is Chase Denoux New for those of you who don’t know me, and I am honored to have the opportunity to speak with you today. We are in week four of a series we’re calling Blessed where we’re walking through the Beatitudes, the beginning of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.
And I personally have really enjoyed this study. And we had the opportunity last week to hear from Mike Degree. And he spoke about having a hunger and thirst for righteousness. And one of the points he made was that if you truly want righteousness as much as you want to breathe, that you will find a way to have it. And that made me think about all the areas we’re talking about in this series that if you truly understand them and go after them, that you will have them.
And they are expected from us who claim to be followers of Christ. This isn’t like sitting in front of the TV and hoping you get the right lotto numbers. You don’t luck into these virtues. You work towards them. And they come from a heart that truly wants to serve God and to serve people. And I think it was a great reminder from Mike as we go forward in the series about Beatitudes. But let’s get to our topic today. We like to build tension about our topics, but it’s kind of hard when we’re discussing a list, right?
So we’re just going to jump right into our next beatitude in Matthew five seven. It says, Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. And as I was thinking about this topic and diving in, it made me think of a story that many of you might know that the world watched on the news a few years ago. It was actually going on as I was preparing to move back here to Broward. But in twenty eighteen there was a youth soccer team and their assistant coach and they were trapped in a cave in Thailand.
If you’re not familiar, I’m going to explain the story a little bit. Basically, after a practice, the team’s assistant coach, who was twenty five years old at the time, wanted to take the team on a fun adventure after practice. And so he took them to this cave he had explored. And it wasn’t a random cave. It was a place that a lot of people went. It would be like going to the beach for us here in Florida.
But while they were in the cave, monsoon rains came and flooded. The cave and track trapped them 12 in all in the cave. And they ended up being stuck in that cave for over two weeks before they were rescued. And, you know, it came out later that the coach really did take care of the kids while they were in there. They obviously were only planning to be in there a couple of hours. So they didn’t have a lot of food or water.
But the coach gave the kids his food. He helped them collect water from from the dripping rain at the top of the cave. And he really did an admirable job of taking care of them. But when I heard this story, I really thought about that coach and how horrifying the experience really must have been, seeing as he was responsible for those young men. And I really felt that having been in youth ministry and being hired when I was twenty three years old in Gainesville and I remember the first time that I drove a car full of teens to to a retreat, and that was nerve wracking for me, thinking about driving as safe as I possibly could, thinking about the cars around me, where they driving as safe as they possibly could.
And that was just driving them to a retreat. So I can only imagine this situation and the coach and how he must have been feeling. All the kids in the coach were rescued and no one passed, luckily. But the coach wrote a letter to all the parents afterwards apologizing for his decision to take their sons into that cave. And he received a letter back from one parent on behalf of all the other parents. And I want to read it to you with the translation.
It sounds a little a little funny, but it will make sense. It says, coach, moms, dads and everyone asked you to take care of the kids. Coach, don’t blame yourself. I want coach to be relaxed. The moms, dads, none of them are angry at you and everyone understands you and sends you good wishes and encouragement. Thank you for helping us take care of the kids. Coach, you went inside with them, you must come out with them, too, and you must come out safely.
You know, I can only imagine the weight that that mercy the parent gave must have taken off of the coach in that moment. And I think things like this captivate us because they’re so opposite to what we’re used to seeing in our world, revenge and bitterness through our world. And we long for stories of mercy and forgiveness. And we get that from this parent. And it teaches us an important lesson about mercy. And that lesson is that mercy is not simply compassion, but exist when something is done to alleviate distress.
See, God gives us undeserved mercy and forgiveness every day in perpetuity, and it’s extravagant. And he wants us to receive that mercy deeply so that we are changed and that mercy should be so impactful to us that it cannot be withheld from others, we must give the way God has given it to us. Which brings us to our main text for today, which is in Matthew 18 and the parable of the unmerciful servant starting in verse twenty one. It begins with a question from who?
Other than the apostle Peter, it says in verse twenty one. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sends against me up to seven times and we’ll stop there. You know, I love Peter because he’s always willing to do or say the things that no one else is willing to do or say. And sometimes it works out great and sometimes it goes horribly. But I imagine, Peter, asking this question and thinking to himself, Jesus is going to be so impressed with me that I’m willing to forgive seven times the number of completion.
And Jesus replies with this in verse twenty two. I tell you, not seven times, but seventy seven times. And Jesus here isn’t saying to Peter, I’m going to see your seven and raise you 70 like they’re playing poker. I think what Jesus is saying is from now on, like when he says a new command I give you, he is setting a new standard of mercy and forgiveness, not just once, not just seven times, not just how many times feels comfortable for you, but as many times as it takes, because that is what I would do for you, which we’ll talk about a little later.
But the point here is mercy is meant to be multiplied. Is this how we operate, how quickly does your mercy or your forgiveness run out, or do you find exceptions for yourself where you convince yourself that it’s OK in this situation not to extend mercy because the person has done X, Y, Z, they’ve gone too far and they don’t deserve my mercy or my forgiveness. This is an incredibly challenging thought, and Jesus is one sentence in, and honestly, Jesus could have stopped with that one sentence and would have been a great lesson.
It’s so weighty what he communicated with just those few words, yet he continues in the story. And I think this is in part because he knows how important this subject is if you’re going to be a follower of Christ. So now it’s story time. And we see this often with Jesus’ parables. He introduces a principle, right? Not seven times, but seventy seven times. And then he follows it up with a story that’s packed full of meaning.
So after answering Peter’s question, Jesus says this starting in verse twenty three. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants as he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all, that he had be sold to repay the debt. At this, the servant fell on his knees before him.
Be patient with me, he begged, and I will pay back everything. The servants master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go. Now, if you don’t know what a parable is, it’s a story. And oftentimes there is a character that represents God and then there’s other people or a thing that we should or should not do. And in this story, the master is signifying God and the magnitude of God’s mercy is put on full display right in the beginning of this parable.
And what is communicating is that it’s costly. Jesus uses hyperbole here to show us how weighty, how weighty the mercy that was just shown is. And he uses the amount of debt the servant owed. Ten thousand bags of gold, which converted today was several million dollars, upwards of ten million dollars. But I want to give you an idea of money and time, the time it would have taken to pay this back. Just to show you how big it really was to give you an idea, one bag of gold would have been one talent.
And there are six thousand denarii and one talent and a servant’s annual wage would have been about three hundred denarii. Therefore, it would have taken 20 years to pay off one bag of gold and he owed ten thousand bags of gold. So that means it would have taken him roughly two hundred thousand years to pay off what he owed. Needless to say, there was absolutely no chance of paying back this debt. And in the context of the time period, the natural next step of the story would have been that the master would completely ignore the servants pleading and throw him into prison or go ahead and sell him and his family, collect what he could and move on without a second thought.
But Jesus flips the script when he says that the master took pity on him. What he’s communicating here is that this is the way it is when God rules over your life, because this would have been radical for a master to show this kind of mercy to the servant. And he doubles down. Right. He doesn’t just say he cancels the debt. The scripture then says he let him go. Now, if you let him go free, I don’t know.
But either way, he let him go. This is supposed to set a standard for Jesus’s disciples and for us today. See, God shows us unbelievable mercy right at the moment, we feel we don’t deserve it. The servant dropped to his knees. He pleaded, he begged, he humiliated himself. And then, God, the master goes above and beyond and forgives him and let him go free, if you will. So the question for us is, are we willing to give people mercy when we don’t think they are deserving or maybe they’re not even deserving?
So as we said earlier, the mercy God has given to us should transform us to the point where we give it to others the same way it has been given to us, it should not be withheld. But here’s the kicker. At the end of this part of the parable, are we willing to let them go? Are we willing to let them go? I think sometimes we can leave the mercy and the forgiveness to God and we have the attitude that I’ll decide to participate when it feels doable for me or that I’ll forgive in my mind, but not in my heart.
And I thought about this other question while I was studying out this passage. And that question is, do I give people mercy but continue to punish them with my actions or in my mind and not really give them mercy at all? See, the decision to give mercy can’t only be lip service, there has to be an action to alleviate distress, just like we talked about with the parent to the coach. Again, Jesus could have stopped right here and it would have been a complete lesson, but he continued in verse twenty eight.
But when the servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him one hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. Pay back what you owe me. He demanded his fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, Be patient with me and I will pay it back. But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay back the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
So here we have servant one who has just been shown mercy by his master and had a debt that was unpayable, forgiven. Then he is put in the exact same situation, but inverse where he now has the same opportunity to show mercy, to servant two and servant two actually uses almost the exact words that he did. Be patient with me and I will pay it back. Yeah, he decided to not show that same mercy that he was shown.
And not only did he not show mercy, but he immediately showed violence towards servant two. This section of the story really had me thinking about how taking and receiving are really, really different. This is shown by the first servant. He merely takes the master’s mercy. He didn’t truly receive it. In the way I see it, there’s two responses we can have when we get away with something or we’re shown mercy in this case. The first response is.
I can’t believe I got away with that, how can I get more? That’s the prideful and the selfish response or the take response. So this is the response the first servant had, instead of being changed by the mercy he had been given. He took advantage and tried to capitalize monetarily instead of passing the mercy on to someone else in need. Much like he was. He took and because it was a selfish transaction, he was unable to give it away because he only wanted it for himself.
The second response we can have is I can’t believe I was spared, how can I do the same for others? It’s a humble and a transformative response, and it’s the receiving response.
Have you ever seen an athlete who’s just lost the game for his team, maybe a kicker who misses a field goal at the last second, or a basketball player who misses a shot and they immediately drop to their knees, head in their hands, and it’s a low, low, low point for them.
But almost every time it happens, you see their teammates, their coaches come pick them up off the ground, console them. It’s OK. You’ll get them next time and show them mercy in a way. And after oftentimes you see that player go all out for his team in an effort never to come up short again. But he can also help the next one who does make that same mistake and pass along the mercy he was given, and in a way, I think this is how we should be when we come to God and we realize how much we have really blown it in our lives and there’s no way to make up or pay off the debt.
But we are humble before the master. He’ll wrap his arms around us and he just wants us to be OK. And the way to be OK is to accept the mercy, receive the mercy he extends and find others to do the same and point them towards the main source of that mercy. I heard a quote that says this perfectly and it goes like this. True humility is the soil in which God’s mercy can grow in our lives. You know, when you hear how long it would have taken for Servant One to pay back his debt, two hundred thousand years, it sounds ridiculous that he would even say, be patient with me.
I’ll pay back all that I owe. When you see his actions later, he had no intention of paying it back, he was just trying to get away with it. But Mercy was shown to him regardless, but he didn’t receive it correctly. We need to receive God’s mercy deeply and humbly so that we can show it to others deeply and humbly. I know that it’s easier said than done, it’s really, really hard to show mercy and to forgive others when they have wronged us, whether it’s something big or something small, it’s just difficult.
And oftentimes it’s our nature to withhold for ourselves and keep that mercy for ourselves and not pass it along. And I think that’s the very reason Jesus tells this parable, especially the last part that we’re about to read together, because there is a consequence. If we withhold mercy, let’s pick up and verse 30 to. It says, then the master called the servant in you wicked servant. He said, I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.
Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart. You know, even after we experience the mercy of God, we still need his help in order to give that same mercy, and when we don’t extend that mercy, there are natural consequences that come with that.
It’s interesting because earlier we talked about how everyone would have expected the master to ignore the request for patience because that’s what was known at the time, but the master took pity anyway. But because the servant wasn’t changed by that mercy, the natural progression everyone expected at the beginning did happen in the end. He was taken to prison and he was tortured, and not only that, the price that was forgiven was put back on his head. But I think we need to remember something that’s even more important than that, and that is that God wants us to live in full freedom.
God shows us his mercy so that we can spread it to others for sure. No question about it. But he also wants us to be free in this life and ultimately in the next. By showing mercy to others, you’re spreading God’s mercy, but you’re also not letting hurt caused by others have power over you and that’s God’s desire for us. He doesn’t want us to be bogged down by the world or when someone tries to hurt us that we’re tied to, that we should be tied to God’s mercy and we should receive it and pass it along the way.
He passed it to us. This parable, along with the Beatitude blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy creates an equation in my mind, and that equation is that we need to receive mercy and forgiveness from God. In addition, we need to give that mercy and forgiveness away. And what that equals is we’ll live freely in this life and in the next. And I don’t want us to ever forget the greatest example we can draw strength and motivation from in Romans five eight, it says this, but God demonstrates his own love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. See, God showed mercy to us before we were even a thought in the world because he knew we would need it. And his mercy required the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus, in turn, shared that mercy by being that sacrifice, and in the midst of being beat and insulted and hung on a cross, he had the strength to say this. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.
In the same way, the first servant dropped to his knees and made a maid, was humiliated and begged and pleaded, Jesus did that not for himself, but for us.
Are we allowing God’s mercy to penetrate us so deeply that we could have a response like Jesus on the cross? And Jesus’ mercy there on the cross continued a domino effect, Stephen and Acts seven, after being falsely accused in the courts, gives an unbelievable speech denouncing the Jewish authorities. And then he is stoned for his words. And while being stoned, rocks thrown with the intent to kill him, Stephen is able to find mercy in his heart and say this similar to Jesus on the cross.
Lord, do not hold this sin against them. See, the only way to have mercy like this is to truly understand what you’ve been spared of and want desperately for others to have it as well, no matter what they’ve done. So how do we even begin to show this kind of mercy in our lives, the mercy that Jesus and Stephen showed here? Before we get to that, I want to say, if you are watching today and you’re searching for God or maybe you’ve just started your journey and you need some help, maybe you never knew how deep God’s mercy truly is, or maybe you’re at a low point in your life and you never thought you could be truly forgiving.
You never thought you could receive genuine mercy if this is you and you feel comfortable doing so. Drop in the chat, I want to know God’s mercy and we can certainly help you on that journey. But if you’re a Christian here today, how can we truly show this kind of mercy? I want to give us three ways that we can just get started on our way. There’s so many ways we can get started. But I want to give you three.
No one sounds obvious but pray, and I want to ask you, do you genuinely pray for the world and those who are lost? Do you pray for your enemies who are wrapped up and lost in their hatred? During this time in our country and in our world, I know this can be really difficult to pray for the people that we feel like are causing the dissension in our world. But we must be persistent in prayer for those in the wrong along with those they have wronged.
Because the scriptures are still the scriptures, Jesus died for all, so we should pray for all. Number two take small steps like having mercy to the extent of Jesus and Stephen will be a process, and that’s OK. Stephen didn’t get there overnight. And maybe the first step for you is not retaliating when you’re wronged, not retaliating with your words or retaliating physically, but to step away from the situation and pray for that person and if it’s possible later go back and rectify the situation.
But just think imagine how different we would feel about the servant in the parable if instead of choking out the other servant and demanding his money, he stepped away and prayed that God would help him have mercy. Even if it wasn’t his desire to do so, it would be a completely different story. US, along with the people in the parable who reported him to the master.
It would be shocking if he had that type of reaction and learn from the mercy that he was shown. And number three, continue the domino effect, God, the father and Jesus started the mercy domino effect in the most powerful way possible, and it carried on to Steven and many others. Jesus then showed it to Saul, who became Paul, and Paul passed it on to many, mainly the gentiles and so on and so forth. But we have the opportunity to be a part of that chain, to be in that domino effect.
We don’t want to be that domino that falls to the left or to the right and breaks the chain. Once we pray and take the small steps, we can then outwardly show mercy and who knows who it will affect? Maybe it won’t even affect the person that you meant to show mercy to, but maybe someone looking on or someone who hears about the mercy you tried to extend will be changed. But don’t be the reason they don’t see true mercy.
Now, I remember when I was in college, one of my good friends got into a car accident, someone hit him from behind. It was a fender bender, but there was some damage. And when he got out, the gentleman that hit him was was frantic. He was apologizing over and over and over again and was clearly in distress about the situation. And my friend calmed him down and he said, hey, why don’t we do this?
And he gave him a church card. And he said, why don’t you come to church and we’ll be even. And I thought that was amazing, especially at such a young age, to have the foresight to invite him to church, to give him mercy, to alleviate his distress, if you will, and to share his faith at the same time was amazing to me. And then I thought about myself. And about a year and a half ago, my car was hit and I pulled into to the parking lot that was nearby and the person took off never to be seen again.
And it drove me crazy. And to this day, it still drives me crazy. I walk out every morning and I see my bumper hanging off a little bit and it frustrates me and it really convicted me going through this lesson. I was just like, man, I know I don’t even know who hit me, but if somehow I saw that person, I knew that they were the one that hit me before doing this lesson. I don’t think there was much of a chance that I would show them mercy.
And that was convicting to me that something that little and I would not give them mercy. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. And as we learned today, the opposite is also true. If you are not merciful, you will not be shown mercy, and that’s quite the motivator. But as we close, let’s be even more motivated and compelled by the love and the mercy shown to us by God and his son, our Lord Jesus, when he died, so that we would have the opportunity to share that mercy with others.
And let’s focus on that as we prepare to take communion with our families. Let’s pray together. Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the mercy that you’ve extended to us, the mercy you continue to extend to us each and every day. Thank you for your son in the way that he carried on that mercy to the cross and that we have the chance to participate in that mercy by showing it to others and showing you to others. God, I pray that we will never lose sight of the things that we have been spared of God.
I pray that we will never withhold that mercy that you’ve given to us, that we will extend it freely to those even when it is the most difficult. They we’ll pray for people, pray for the loss, pray for those that hurt us and hurt others. God, that will take the small steps to being able to show that mercy and that we will always continue the domino effect that you started. We love you. We thank you again. It’s in your son’s name.
I am really grateful for people who are willing to to take up the challenge of challenging preaching, and I am I’m really grateful, as I said, probably a number of times at this point for Mike last week, but also for Chase this week.
And I think that it’s a tough task to call people to the standard of Jesus in terms of being merciful.
But the scriptures that he chose and I think the way that he called us to Jesus, his standard of mercy is it’s challenging for me.
And, you know, our group last week we had a we had a really good discussion about the idea of hunger and thirst for righteousness. And I hope that you will do the same, whether you are with your community group right now or if you happen to meet with them maybe tomorrow or in the week upcoming, if you can discuss how we can be merciful. You know, I know that if we ask God for opportunities to be merciful, he’s going to deliver.
And I’m sure that, you know, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably praying for those opportunities and hoping that you can really make him happy. You can make him proud with with the chances that he gives you. Let’s continue the conversation. And I pray that that’s that that’s on your mind and in your heart as you go forward this week.
And, you know, just in life in general, hopefully you can you can really make God happy with the chances that you have to be merciful, because we know that we have this unpayable debt. You know, the what was it, two hundred thousand years that we would need to to work?
It’s it’s amazing when we think about what we’ve been given and the opportunity that we have to be merciful to those that that we have the chance to be merciful to. So I just I hope that you’ll do what Chase is asking and really what Jesus is calling us to do.
And, you know, as as always, we have we have Kingdom kids, many services that take place at 10:30. And so if if you happen to be joining us at 9:00, that’s coming up right after service. And as always, you can just catch those on YouTube, 10:30, a really, really great opportunity for your children. Many of you have asked and you might be wondering about what to expect for the holiday season.
And so keep keep your eyes peeled for announcements on that. We will do our best to offer that information as we are sure about what will take place. Check the realm. Check back here in our live streams. We’ll be in touch soon with information. As always, we just want to say that we love you. Thank you for joining us. And hopefully you can go out there and make God proud with the way that you can be merciful.
We love you. We’ll see you soon.