Mat 18:28 “…Pay Me That You Owe”

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Mat 18:28 “…Pay Me That You Owe”

Mat 18:26  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 
Mat 18:27  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt
Mat 18:28  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.

Rom 15:1 We That Are Strong Ought To Bear The Infirmities of The Weak…

There is a spirit of self-righteousness which is part and parcel of the law of sin which is in all of us:

Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

This self-righteous “law of sin… in [our] members” is just part of our “marred… sinful flesh” (Jer 18:4; Rom 8:3), and even when it is manifested for us to see, it still cries out to the Lord Himself:

Job 27:5  Far be it from me that I should justify you. Until I die, I shall not retract my integrity from me.
Job 27:6  I hold fast by my righteousness, and I will not abandon it; my heart shall not shame me any of my days.
Job 27:7  Let my enemy be like the wicked and he who rises against me as the perverse. (LITV)

Like Job, before being rebuked by Christ, our self-righteousness is not made manifested to us until we are forced to confront it because of our relationships with our own equally self-righteous “miserable comforters”. None of us can see ourselves by or of ourselves. It requires the relationship of another, who may well be sacrificed for our sake, for each of us to be dragged to the mirror and made to face that most insidious self-righteous, “pride of life” beast within. Only then will we, with King David, confess “I am… that… wretched man”.

2Sa 12:1  And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2Sa 12:2  The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
2Sa 12:3  But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
2Sa 12:4  And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
2Sa 12:5  And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
2Sa 12:6  And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
2Sa 12:7  And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
2Sa 12:8  And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
2Sa 12:9  Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

You and I are this rich man. We have received so much mercy from our heavenly Father. He has forgiven us a debt which we could never have hoped to pay, and He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavens.

This is what we have been “freely given”:

Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Eph 1:7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

We have all freely been granted “the forgiveness of [our] sins”, and we have been blessed by and “according to the riches of His grace”. As such we are spiritually wealthy and are the partakers of “all things” (1Co 3:21-22), and as such we should be willing to forgive those who have sinned against us and who are our spiritual debtors:

Mat 6:12  And forgive us our debts [G3783: opheilema], as we forgive our debtors.
Mat 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Mat 6:14  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Mat 6:15  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses [G3900: paraptoma], neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Luk 11:4  And forgive us our sins [G266: hamartia]; for we also forgive every one that is indebted [G3783: opeilema] to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

1Co 3:21  Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

However we are still in marred vessels of clay, and as such we must be on our guard against our “sinful flesh” which would have us to take our brother’s only precious lamb or grab him by the throat and demand that which what we, in reality, have no right to demand of him at this moment, considering the generosity of our own master’s mercy “according to the riches of His grace”.

As Matthew 6:12-15 and Luke 11:4 demonstrate, the debts of both servants of Matthew 18:23-35 are sins against their Lord and against each other. Sin is Biblical indebtedness whether to God or our fellow man.

This unforgiving attitude toward our brothers and sisters is the spirit we are confronting today. This spirit is common to us all. This spirit would have us to think that we are more forgiving and more righteous and more full of integrity than our brother or sister who has offended us.  We literally look down on and belittle a weaker brother for not being as high on the ladder of righteousness as we see ourselves being. Of course the Truth is that our ‘ladder of righteousness’ is really nothing more than a ladder of self-righteousness, and we are nothing more than miserable comforters and a Pharisee who is thanking his Creator that he “is not like  other men”:

Luk 18:9  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Luk 18:10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Luk 18:11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luk 18:12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luk 18:13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luk 18:14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

It must be a really self-righteous person who would “trust in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others”, and indeed it is a really self-righteous person, because you and I are this Pharisee before we become the repentant and humble publican. If this is not your problem, then I rejoice with you that you have matured to the point that you really honestly believe and know that it is God Himself who is working all things after the counsel of His own will, and I rejoice with you that you are given to see yourself as “chief… of sinners” and that you are now able to identify with and struggle with a weaker brother instead of despising him for being weak. But even if we are all that spiritually wealthy, we still struggle to appreciate the fact that it was only yesterday that we were forgiven a debt so great that there was no hope of ever paying that debt.

We quote Matthew 18:15-17 quite often in this fellowship because we recognize that these verses are the antidote for the spread of spiritual leaven and spiritual leprosy and heresy within the Lord’s body of believers. These instructions are simple enough to read and to believe, but they are not so easy to administer in a spirit of humility:

Mat 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.
Mat 18:16  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.
Mat 18:17  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.

What we do not quote quite as often is the message contained in the latter part of this 18th chapter of Matthew. My King James has the subhead:

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Mat 18:21  Then came Peter to him [Christ], and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Mat 18:22  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Mat 18:23  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
Mat 18:24  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
Mat 18:25  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.
Mat 18:26  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:27  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
Mat 18:28  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.
Mat 18:29  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:30  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
Mat 18:31  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Mat 18:32  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:
Mat 18:33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

You and I, when we refuse to “bear with the infirmities of the weak”, are treating our weak brother as if he has spiritual riches which he simply has not yet been given, and we are not willing to wait for him to be given that much spiritual wealth and the means to overcome his spiritual poverty and humble himself and pay his debt against us, his sin against us, or to overcome his own debt and sin against himself.

Look at who those are who will be at the marriage supper of the Lamb:

Luk 14:16  Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
Luk 14:17  And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
Luk 14:18  And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
Luk 14:19  And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
Luk 14:20  And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
Luk 14:21  So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
Luk 14:22  And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
Luk 14:23  And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Luk 14:24  For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Those people who made excuses for why they could not come to the Lord’s “great supper” are the same as the unforgiving servant of Matthew 18:

Mat 18:28  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.

When this servant was forgiven his non-payable debt, he was, in effect, invited to the Lord’s great supper. He was obliged to be there when the Lord called him, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches made him forget what his Lord had done for him. He demanded immediate payment from a fellow servant whose debt was a pittance of the debt owed to their master. Demanding the immediate repayment of that debt is the spiritual equivalent of being distracted by the cares of this world and being deceived by the riches of this world: “I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go see it, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I must go prove them; and, I have married a wife.” Those are all worthy endeavors unless they mean more to us than our service to our Lord who has forgiven our non-payable debt, and we are to show that same mercy to our weak and indebted brother and sister in Christ.

What the Lord is saying is that when we expect immediate payment from a poor and weak brother or sister, and we demand complete humility and spiritual maturity where it simply does not yet exist, then we are doing nothing less than taking our weak brother by the throat and demanding of him “Pay me what you owe and do it right now or else!!!” As many of us have already learned, myself included, such an attitude turns the wrath of our Lord against us, and it is we who then must humble ourselves and ask forgiveness of our weak brother whom we have offended. Do not reason within yourself that the offender has been the Lord’s servant for so long that he should be more spiritually mature than he is. The speed with which we grow is in  the hands of the Lord, and in His hands only. Our weak brother is weak “for [our] sake”. He has been given to us to show us where we ourselves are yet lacking in love and the inability to forgive those who are indebted to us.

Mat 6:12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Luk 11:4  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 3 and read a little further:

1Co 3:21  Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1Co 3:22  Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
1Co 3:23  And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

What is the reason we are given for admonishing us not to “glory in men”? The reason is that “all things are yours… the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours.”

“The world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours” are truly all inclusive words. These words are but a reiteration of this verse of Ecclesiastes 9:

Ecc 9:2  All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

If indeed all things are ours, and if it is true that all things come alike to all, then it follows that none of us have any right to look down on a brother or a sister for any reason whatsoever. The fact is that the Lord really is at this very moment “ruling in the kingdoms of men” and “working all things after the counsel of His own will”.

Dan 4:17  This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Lord willing, Ephesians 1:11-12 are referring to you and to me. But what are the chances of “being predestinated… to the praise of His glory” if we are not first made capable of accepting our brother and sister as the Lord has made them? How can we “be to the praise of His glory” if we are demanding more of a brother or a sister than he or she is capable of paying or delivering to us at this moment?

Being forgiving of the sins of a repentant brother or sister works to our own benefit because “all things… life… death… the world… things present and things to come, all are ours”. Did you catch “death and the world”? Why are those two things ours if we are to be to the praise of His glory as those who first trusted in Christ? This is the answer to that question, and it is only those who will be to the praise of His glory” who are capable of acknowledging that “all that is in the world” is in our own flesh:

1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

What that verse tells all who have eyes to see and ears to hear is that “all that is in the world” is within the flesh of every man who has ever lived, which justifies Christ’s words to “this generation”:

Luk 11:49  Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:
Luk 11:50  That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
Luk 11:51  From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

“This generation” is the generation reading those words and understanding what they are reading. In other words, the only people who will be required “the blood of all the prophets… from the foundation of the world” in this age are those who acknowledge that the blood of all those prophets was shed by the same “sinful flesh” which is common to all men. But the sad truth is that we are all first self-righteous Job, and we are all first the self-righteous Pharisee, who actually believes that “I am not as other men”. “This generation” is only those who read Christ’s words and who are made to understand that being judged this side of the grave entails “living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”, including being required of the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world”.  Self-righteous Job in us and the self-righteous Pharisee who thanks God that he is not as other men, thinks that his weak brothers are so unrighteous that they are in debt to us to such an extent that they will never be able to pay the debt they owe us.

These are our specific instructions for dealing with those who we consider to be less spiritually mature:

Rom 14:1  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

There it is! If we consider a brother to be “weak in the faith”, then we are to “receive [him] but not to doubtful disputations [Greek: arguing about discernments].  In other words our leaders ought not be led about by immature “carnal babes in Christ”. New and immature spiritual babes, regardless of their physical age, are not to be permitted to set the agenda within the house of God. This is what they are to do:

Ecc 5:1  Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
Ecc 5:2  Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
Ecc 5:3  For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

A person who comes into the house of God, taking it upon himself to immediately begin chastening the very leaders, is not to be tolerated in “the house of God which is the pillar and ground of the Truth”:

1Ti 3:14  These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
1Ti 3:15  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Along with Ecclesiastes 5:1-3, Paul adds these words concerning how carnal babes in Christ are to conduct themselves when they first come into the church which is His body:

Heb 13:17 Be persuaded by your leaders, and be deferring to them, for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls, as having to render an account, that they may be doing this with joy, and not with groaning, for this is disadvantageous for you.
Heb 13:18 Pray concerning us, for we are persuaded that we have an ideal conscience, in all wanting to behave ideally. (CVL)

Do not come into the body of Christ dictating doctrine and procedures and policy to those whom the Lord has long ago placed in His body as “your leaders”. If you feel led to lead and chasten the leaders of the body of Christ, then they are not “your leaders”, and if they are true men of God they will not permit you to bring doubtful disputations within the body of Christ.

Having said all of that, what then, are the leaders of the body of Christ to do when a weak brother stumbles and falls? We are not left to guess:

Rom 15:1  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Rom 15:2  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

When we see a weak brother struggling just to bring himself or herself to ask for forgiveness, we ought to rejoice that he or she has been given the spiritual wherewithal to do that much. It is not ours to accuse that weak sibling of being insincere in their repentance. It is the place of the strong to bear the infirmities of the weak and to “please his neighbor for his good to edification”. There is nothing edifying about doubtful disputations, but it is very edifying to accept an apology immediately and without reservation. If that apology is not sincere, then that will be manifested in short order by the Lord working within the body and bringing to Him the evil of that insincere brother who goes out and demands immediate and complete payment from a weak brother who is in no position to make a complete payment of a debt that is owed. It is ours to give that brother time to pay us all he owes, as the Lord provides the spiritual wealth and humility for that to be done.

Remember, there was a time when each of us was weak in the faith, unbelieving and unforgiving, and through that time these words have gotten each of us to where we are:

Rom 14:22  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
Rom 14:23  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

None of us can live beyond the measure of faith we have been granted, so we must be as patient with our fellow servants as the Lord has been with us.

When we put the words of Luke 11:49-51 – “the blood of all the prophets… required of this generation” – together with the words of Matthew 7:1-2, “with what measure you mete, it will be measured unto you”, it becomes clear that each of us will be judged with the same judgment with which we judge our weak brother and our weak sister. If we condemn our poor weak brothers and poor sisters instead of remembering the overwhelming, non-payable debt we have been forgiven, then our Lord will not continue to forgive us of that debt.

So let’s be very careful to graciously accept the repentant spirit of our brother or sister and not demand more of them then they are capable of giving us at the moment, because:

Mat 7:1  Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Mat 7:2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Mat 7:3  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:4  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:5  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Let’s remember our Lord’s warning to us concerning how He will deal with us if we forget how merciful He has been toward us:

Mat 18:28  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.
Mat 18:29  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:30  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
Mat 18:31  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Mat 18:32  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:
Mat 18:33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

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