BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 19, Day 5: Matthew 18:21-35

Summary of passage:  Peter asks how many times should you forgive someone who has sinned against you.  Jesus says 77 times.  Then he tells the parable of a servant who owed his master millions of dollars.  He begged for mercy and the master let him go and canceled the debt.  But when that servant was owed a few dollars by another man, he had the other man he choked him and had him thrown in jail over it!

When the master found out, he had the servant called in and told him he should have had mercy on the man just like he had and he had him tortured because of it.  Jesus says God will do the same thing if we do not forgive others.

Questions:

12a)  Peter thinks there is a limit on the number of times you can forgive someone before not forgiving them and possibly throwing them in jail or what-have-you.  Asking about his brother shows he doesn’t get the parallel between God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others.

b)  The world follows Lamech’s view:  that if he is wronged 7 times he will have his revenge 77 times. The world does not forgive; it only seeks vengeance.  Jesus said to forgive unlimited times.  Lamech said to seek vengeance unlimited times.

13a)  It is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants who owed him so much money that they would never be able to repay it and therefore had to be forgiven or face eternal hell.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We must forgive others since God has forgiven us the immensity of our sins for our sins are 77 times greater (or infinitely times greater) than any other sin committed against us by others.  We forgive over and over again as God does us.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It would be a calmer place to live.  Less stressful.  More encouraging.  Happier.  If we truly understood the enormity of our sins then nothing others did to us would matter.  Strife would end.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Oh, Lord, forgive me that which does not deserve forgiving.  Without your grace I would be nothing.  Thank you, oh Lord, for your forgiveness of my sins and help me to show my gratitude as I forgive others.  Amen

Conclusions:  I liked this lesson.  Very powerful parody in the undeservedness of God’s forgiveness and how we are to extend the same to others.  Always easy to say and not so easy to apply in life, thus making it a good lesson to hear over and over again.

End Notes:  If you were a first century Jew, you were taught you could only forgive someone up to 3 times and that’s it.  Here, Peter doubles that, thinking himself generous, which of course, Jesus says is ridiculous.  This is Peter, after all.

Note the anger of the man who had basically just been set free by his master.  He grabbed the guy by the throat very threateningly and demanded payment.  How many times have we done the same thing:  our anger so overpowering us that we blow something up that was so very minor in our lives?

The man was blind to his own sin (as we so often are and why we need people to point it out like Lesson 4 just pointed out) and instead of mercy now received justice.  Note we deserve justice but God gives us mercy anyways if we ask His forgiveness and repent.

Since God who forgives (when He doesn’t need to since He has nothing to be forgiven of) us who are full of sin, we must forgive others who need forgiveness every day of our lives.  We have no right to hold onto grievances.

You can forgive sins but the sinner still faces consequences like in the case of murder.

Forgive others or you yourself will be tortured.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 19, Day 4: Matthew 18:15-20

Summary of passage:  If a believer sins against you, go to that person first to try and resolve your differences.  If he will not listen, bring some other believers along.  If he still resists, take it to the church and then to other legal means if the differences remain.

If many believers ask for the same thing, it will be done by God as He is with them when they are together.

Questions:

9a)  If one person suffers, every person suffers because of it since we are all part of a whole.

b)  If a believer sins against you, go to that person first to try and resolve your differences.  If he will not listen, bring some other believers along.  If he still resists, take it to the church and then to other legal means if the differences remain.

10a)  Tolerance and forgiveness.  We should be filled with grief and comfort them.

b)  To bring them back to Christ.  To restore them gently.

11a)  Binding and loosing means exercising judgment on conduct–either being bound to the law or loose (unbound) to the law.  Here we are talking about sin as well.  So if both parties have a heart for God whatever they agree to do or forgive will be honored in heaven as it was agreed upon on earth.  See HERE for more details.  In essence, churches do have the authority to discipline if it is done in with the right heart: God’s.

b)  The source is God and He is the ultimate authority for when you come together to bind or loose properly in His name, He is there among you, leading and guiding you to the proper conclusion.

Conclusions:  I can’t stand it when we’re told to read a passage (in this case Matthew 18:15-20) and then the first question immediately sends us somewhere else and asks a question on that passage.  Then we aren’t studying Matthew; instead, we are studying 1 Corinthians.  It drives me nuts!  I just have this great passage of Matthew in my head and now I have to leave it to linger and go some place else!  Just don’t call it the study of Matthew then.

I wish BSF would have touched upon verse 19 and it’s context as it applies to individuals in terms of the power of asking for prayer from others (even if it’s just a couple).  How we don’t have to worship in a “mega-church” to have God with us.  How we can meet as a family even and pray in His name and it will be done.  How the most important thing is that we meet in Jesus’ name and call upon His authority in our lives.  How He hears the cries of His lost sheep and He goes and brings them back.  To me, this is more powerful than understanding where the authority of the church comes from in the Bible.

End Notes:  We talked about binding and loosing in Lesson 17 Day 4.  Binding and loosing were legal terms in use in the Jewish law in first century AD that all Jews understood.  You were either “bound” or “loose” with regards to Jewish law.  To bind was to be subjugated to the law; to be put under it or to prohibit something.  To loose was to allow something under the law; to permit it.  Here, Christ is extending these legal Jewish terms and laws to his church as well with the caveat that he (Jesus) is the one granting the authority.

This passage as a whole is a warning against gossiping.  Either go directly to that person for a grievance or forgive them and let it go.  We must be willing to help resolve a dispute among others.  This is not interference in an argument but rather a mediation effort.  If the unrepentant one still refuses, then the church is allowed to place the offender outside the body of Christ as a pagan would be.  For God’s power among many of His believers is strong.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 19, Day 3: Matthew 18:6-14

Summary of passage:  Jesus says if anyone causes a child to sin it would be better for him to be drowned in the sea.  Jesus warns of sin, saying it’s better to cut off your hand or foot or gouge your eye if it causes you to sin than to end up spending eternal life in fire/hell.  Do not look down on any of these.

If a sheep herder has one sheep that wanders off, he goes and looks for it and is happy when he finds it. The same with God who is not willing to let any of his little ones remain lost.

Questions:

6a)  “It would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

b)  John had seen a man driving out demons in Jesus’ name and had told him to stop.  Jesus told John not to stop him for the man was doing a miracle in his name and thus will be rewarded.  John was in danger of discouraging this man and maybe committing a sin if he didn’t drive out demons if God had told him to.

7a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Do not judge others.  Encourage others not to judge others.  Point it out to others when they are judging others because sometimes we just don’t realize we are.  Remove any stumbling blocks and have an attitude of peace and not discord.  Sometimes it’s better to mind your own business if you don’t agree with something and let God handle the rest.

b)  Any sin.  We are all imperfect and we all fail as parents in raising our children and dwelling on the “stumbling blocks” I think doesn’t do us any good as I feel bad enough for my sins.  We can’t do everything nor can we be everything; hence, we have God.  I repent, ask forgiveness, and I pray to do better next time.  That’s all I can do as a Fallen parent.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Stress.  Work.  Anger.  Feeling like I’m not in control.  Selfishness.  Not understanding others’ perspective nor taking the time to.  Impatience.  Indifference.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s comforting to know that when I stumble and lose my way God will come and find me and bring me back to Him.  So despite my sins, He takes care of me and loves me.

Conclusions:  7b is WAY too broad in my opinion.  Parents do or don’t do a TON of stuff that causes kids to stumble.  I wish this would have been more focused.  Wish we would have had more than one question on the lost sheep parable.  That to me is encouraging especially after being told to cut off my hand due to sin.

End Notes:  It is one thing to sin but a far greater sin to make others sin as well.  Drowning was a Roman punishment but not a Jewish one; hence, Jesus chose this example for emphasis.

God will deal with those who sin against us.  Thus, we must give it to Him as we ask forgiveness for those who harm us.

I love the guardian angels looking down on us.  Great picture!

God’s love is individual, joyful, seeking, protecting, seeking, and patient with His lost sheep.  So must we be as well.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 19, Day 2: Matthew 18:1-5

Summary of passage:  The disciples asked Jesus who is the greatest in heaven and Jesus said a little child and told them to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven; to humble yourself and welcome the child in his name.

Questions:

3a)  Change to become like a little child–humility

b)  Matthew 5:3-4:  Blessed are the poor in spirit and those who mourn

John 1:12-13:  Those who receive Jesus as their Savior and believe in him will become children of God and be born of God

John 3:3-6:  One must be born again to see the kingdom of God; born of water and the Spirit.

4a)  “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last and the servant of all.”

b)  Humility

5a)  Believers

b)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  Children, those unable to defend themselves such as the disabled and us.  We are the least.  Be humble.  Welcome all.  Be generous and kind.  Follow the Golden Rule.

c)  God and Jesus.

Conclusions:  Not for sure how much I got out of this besides to be humble and if I have Jesus, I am changed.

End Notes:  Note Jesus didn’t just pompously say “Me!”  Instead, he called forth a child, a symbol of his nature.

Scholars say this also speaks to Peter who is declared by the Catholic Church to be the first Pope.  If Peter was to be revered as Popes are, then Jesus would have said so here.  Personally, I just don’t know that much about the Catholic faith to comment on this either way.  This was just mentioned in several commentaries I read on this passage so thought I’d throw it in.

Children in ancient times were seen more as property than as people.  They could be bought and sold at will.  They belonged to the parents until they were married.  This was probably shocking to the discipled to hear.

Jesus changes man’s nature of pride and selfishness into a nature of humility and selflessness–into little children.