Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Growing God’s Kingdom

Luke 13 (also Matthew 13)

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

18 Then He said, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches."

[This is one of those parables that drives the skeptics crazy, because it is a paradox, and they don't understand it, so their interpretation concludes that the information provided is false. In Matthew's account of this passage it says the mustard seed is the "least of all the seeds", so the skeptic says the mustard seed is not the smallest seed, there are a few plants with smaller seeds. The Greek word rendered smallest is "mikros" which means really really small, like in the word microscope. And as we learned in the parable of the sower, that seed is the Word of God. So a retranslation of Matthew would say "The mustard is small among seeds, but great "meizon" among herbs when it is grown", which is the absolute literal truth.


Now the second part is even harder, because Luke says the mustard grew and became a great tree, Matthew just says it became a tree bigger than the other herbs. The skeptic will say the mustard is a garden plant not a tree, so the passage is completely false. Well it turns out the mustard plant is one of the most prolific plants in that part of the world. There are over 100 varieties of mustard plant, ranging from big leafed garden plants where you would get mustard greens, to 30 foot tall trees, and what they all have in common are those little bitty seeds. Now the most common mustard in that part of the world would grow up to 12 feet tall, most of that in one year. The Greek word for grow is auzano (owx-an'-o) which means to give increase, and the Greek word for great is "megas" which means great, exceeding, or strong. So here's the thing about the wild mustard common in the Mediterranean, it grows like a weed. You can't plant just one mustard plant, because even if you do it will quickly become many and take over your whole garden. So the greatness of the mustard plant is not in how large one tree grows, but in how quickly one tree becomes many. And that is exactly how the kingdom of God has increased on the earth.

  • At the time of Christ's ascension he had about 500 followers
  • On the day of Pentecost that number increased to about 3,000
  • By 100 AD there were about 7,500 Christians in the Roman Empire
  • By 250 AD there were 1.1 million Christians
  • By 312 AD Rome had 9 million Christians, and in 313 Constantine ended the persecution of the Christians faith in Rome. Followers of Jesus had grown from zero to nine million during 300 years when your faith in Christ could easily get you put in prison, beaten, and killed.
  • In 325 AD Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire
  • By 350 AD 52% of the Roman Empire was Christian, about 32 million people
  • Today 1/3 of the World's population, over 2 billion people, say they are Christian

The kingdom of God grew just like a mustard seed.


Ok, so you have the first two parts of the paradox but what about the last. The branches of a wild mustard tree are very wispy, they bend easily, and they are not the stable platform a bird would pick to build a nest in. So again this parable seems flawed, because the kind of mustard you might plant in the garden is not the same variety that becomes a 30 foot heavy wooded tree. So how do birds nest in those wispy branches? I read the blog of a North African Missionary who said he never understood this parable, because he saw lots of wild mustard trees but no bird nests in them. One day he walked outside and on his porch and saw a few leaves and flowers from a mustard plant, and this scene repeated over the next few days. Then finally he saw a birds nest above one of the beams of his porch, and looking close he saw the nest was made of the leaves and branches of a mustard tree. You see even though the mustard tree might make a poor platform for a bird nest, the thin branches and leaves provide excellent material for making a nest, and that is exactly what the parable says "the birds of the air nested in its branches".


So who are these birds who nest in the branches taken from the mustard tree? I believe these represent false teachers who would take from God's kingdom to build up their own. People who take the popularity of Jesus Christ, and twist little bits his Word into another gospel, they use to draw away part of the Church, enrich themselves, and promote social and political agendas which bear little resemblance to the Apostles Doctrine. In fact in Matthew's Gospel this parable is sandwiched between the "Parable of the Tares" and the explanation of that parable, where he says that the tares are the "sons of the wicked one", that the devil mixes in with the children of God. It is also consistent with the parable of the Sower, where the birds are sent by Satan to take away the seeds which are the Word of God. That is the longest explanation of two verses I have ever taught. But that's ok we only have about a dozen more verses to go.]

The Parable of the Leaven

20 And again He said, "To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened."

[The common leaven here is yeast, a fungus which leavens by consuming sugar or carbohydrates and releases carbon dioxide. The CO2 gets trapped in little bubbles within the bread doe and causes it to rise. Now once yeast is activated, it is worked into the bread and allowed to rise. Then the doe has to be kneaded again to work the leaven into more of the doe, and then wait while it rises again, and you repeat this two or three times until the whole lump of doe has risen with the gas from the yeast. The commentary says this was about 50 pounds of meal so it would take a lot of kneading to get the yeast worked into that lump. Unless the whole lump is exposed to the leaven the loaf will not rise and cook evenly, part would bake flat and hard and not very desirable.


You can do the same thing in some recipes with baking soda and baking powder, which react chemically with the other ingredients to make CO2 and cause the doe to rise. I remember once Tonia was baking a cake which used baking powder, but her baking powder was too old, and had become inactive so that it made no CO2, so the cake never rose, and was ruined.


I think this parable is teaching of the spiritual growth in the life of a believer as the Spirit of God slowly changes each area of your life to make you pleasing to God. Sadly there are preachers who profess an unconverted form of Christianity which says that your belief in God does not need to change your life, God loves you just the way you are, what you do in your body doesn't matter as long as you believe. But the Bible tells a different story.

  • Romans 12:2 says to be "be transformed by the renewing of your mind"
  • I Peter 2:2 says to "desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby"
  • Ephesians 4:1 says "to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called"
  • Philippians 4:9 says "The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do"
  • II Corinthians 3:17 says we like Christ "are being transformed into the same image from glory"
  • II Corinthians 4:16 says "the inward man is being renewed day by day"
  • Luke 3:8 says we are to "bear fruits worthy of repentance"
  • I Corinthians 6:9-10 lists all kinds of sexual sins saying those who do them would not inherit the kingdom of God, then verse 11 says "And such were some of you. But you were washed"

We have a transforming salvation, that gives you a genuine love for God and his people, while making us disgusted by sin especially our own. Salvation that does not change you is no salvation at all, according to the Bible.

The Narrow Way

22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then one said to Him, "Lord, are there few who are saved?"
And He said to them, 24 "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' 26 then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.' 27 But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.' 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last."

[In Matthew 24 Jesus said that in the last days false teachers would arise and deceive many. I see today that false teachers are already among us. And they turn people from the narrow way. Through them people seek, materialism, social tolerance, world peace, a greener planet, whiter teeth, fresher breath, and anything else you can think of other than God. But mostly they want someone to tell them that their sin is not a problem, God understands. But those who follow false teaching have a future filled with "weeping and gnashing of teeth".]

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Never Stumble

Matthew 24:3-14,

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

    4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

[Wars, false Christ's, conflict around the world, famine, and earthquakes in various or "diverse" places, are all signs of the "season" that will precede the end-times.]

9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10
At that time many will turn away [
skandalizo (skan-dal-id'-zo) to cause to stumble]
from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

[Christian persecution is already happening in China, Singapore, and almost every Muslim country, but verse 9 says this will expand to "all nations". Any many who profess faith in Christ will turn away, stumble or fall, and even betray other believers, following false prophets, and false Christ's. But even during this terrible time, the faithful will preach the gospel to all nations, before the end. It disturbs me to think that some who come to church with us, will be those who will stumble, and betray faithful Christians. Sadly too many people take the initial step of faith toward Christ, and stop there. As we saw in the parable of the sower, these will never bear fruit to give witness of their conversion.]


2 Peter 1

1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

[Before your conversion Satan had you locked in a box called corruption, where he could always bind you because of your fleshly desire called lust. By grace through faith, we have been born of the spirit and escaped from this bondage of corruption. But faith is not the end this lifelong Journey of Truth we read about in John 14:6, it is just the first step.]

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.


  • Faith – persuasion, reliance upon Christ for salvation, assurance
  • Virtue – praiseworthy valor, devotion to your mission
  • Knowledge – devotion to study God's word
  • Self-control – temperance, discipline, not wasting what you have
  • Perseverance - enduring, patience, to continue to the end
  • Godliness – holiness, being separated from corrupting influences
  • Brotherly kindness – genuine affection for brothers and sisters in Christ
  • Love – Agape, loving the well-being of another, self giving love

These represent the Christian walk, the steps we add to faith to attain Christ likeness. This is the growth we should see in the life of every believer.]

For if these things are yours and abound, you
will be neither barren nor unfruitful
in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

[Just as we did not obtain faith through our own strength, neither will we these other steps. We seek them in and through the Lord. We pursue them in our daily conversation with the Lord, as he speaks to us through his word, and we speak to God through prayer. ]

Matthew 6

5 "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

[It is a sad irony, that the model prayer Jesus gave to teach us the essential attitudes for effective prayer, has itself been used as one of those vain repetitions. Some people only pray prayers written by others never speaking from their heart.]
8 "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

      Our Father in heaven,
      Hallowed be Your name.

[The word for father here is not formal but, familiar, It indicates a personal relationship. But Jesus did not say "my father" he said "our father" for the disciples, like us, have the adoption that makes us sons to our heavenly father. The first attitude of prayer is seeing it as a personal conversation with your father. "Hallowed" means holy, the second attitude of prayer is to remember the holiness of God]

       10 Your kingdom come.
      Your will be done
      On earth as it is in heaven.

[The third attitude of prayer is submission to the will of God. Not "God here is my list of stuff I want you to bless", but "God I stand ready to do your will"]
       11 Give us this day our daily bread.

[The forth attitude of prayer is trust, trusting God for your daily provision. This goes with submission for if we trust God to meet our needs we are more willing to submit to his will.]
       12 And forgive us our debts,
      As we forgive our debtors.

[The fifth attitude of prayer is forgiveness. Seeing Christ's blood was payment for all our sins, how can we hold any offence against a brother.]

       13 And do not lead us into temptation,
      But deliver us from the evil one.
      For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

[The sixth attitude of prayer is to resist temptation and evil. Satan is always waiting to tempt you to sin. Pray that you do not fall for his lies. The last attitude of prayer is hope. Always looking hopefully for the coming of God's kingdom. If we pray with these attitudes, pursuing these steps of faith, we will never stumble. Making your call and election sure, means living this lifetime journey of truth, following the steps of faith.]



Signs of the Times

Revelation 12

The Woman and the Dragon

 1 A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who "will rule all the nations with an iron scepter." And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

[First the woman represents Israel

The twelve stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel some argue in prophecy after the advent of Grace that Israel is replaced by the Church. In Luke 22:28 Jesus tells his disciples that they will set on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes. In Rev. 7 the 144,000 are sealed before the day of wrath, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. In Rev. 21:9-21 John saw New Jerusalem with 12 gates and over each gate was written the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, so yes Israel is still very relevant to prophecy.

The Dragon is Satan, throughout the Old Testament Satan is referred to as the serpent, even a flying fiery serpent, In Rev. 20:2 is says an Angel "laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years".

The 1/3 of the stars of heaven are the angels who rebelled with Satan we will see that in a few verses.

The woman's child is Jesus Christ, as Psalm 2:7-12 tells us he will rule with an iron rod or scepter, as does Revelation 2:27, and 19:15. This also is another strong indicator that the woman is Israel as Mary was a Jewish maiden, as the Church cannot give birth to her own Lord.]

7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.


[This is the rebellion of Satan against God, Also recorded Isaiah 14

12 " How you are fallen from heaven,
      O Lucifer, son of the morning!
      How you are cut down to the ground,
      You who weakened the nations!
       13 For you have said in your heart:

      ' I will ascend into heaven,
      I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
      I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
      On the farthest sides of the north;
       14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
      I will be like the Most High.'
       15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
      To the lowest depths of the Pit.

Since that rebellion Satan has made himself an enemy of God, and tries to oppose every plan of God.]

13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.
14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.

[The "wings of a great eagle" represent deliverance from the persecution of Satan. In Exodus 19:4 God speaking of delivering Israel out of Egypt said "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings", Isaiah 40:31 says that those who wait on the Lord will "shall mount up with wings like eagles". So eagle's wings are a sign of divine deliverance. This is one of those prophecies that could refer to two different time periods. It probably most directly refers to the protection or sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7 prior to the pouring out of God's wrath. It could also refer to Matthew 2, the flight to Egypt, of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, to escape Herod's conspiracy, to kill the newborn, "King of the Jews".]


Matthew 24:3-14, 30-31, 36-44

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

    4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

[Wars, false Christ's, conflict around the world, famine, and earthquakes in various or "diverse" places, are all signs of the "season" that will precede the end-times.

  • There are 42 current world armed conflicts
  • There were 32 earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or higher in the last 7 days
  • Estimates of world famine range from 800 million to 2 billion people, as much as a third of the world population.]

9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

[Christian persecution is already happening in China, Singapore, and almost every Muslim country, but verse 9 says this will expand to "all nations". Any many who profess faith in Christ will turn away, and even betray other believers, following false prophets, and helping to persecute Christians. But even during this terrible time, the faithful will preach the gospel to all nations, before the end.]

30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the peoples of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

[The world will mourn, but everyone will know when Christ returns. And Angels will gather in the elect from all over the world, north, south, east and west.]

The Day and Hour Unknown

 36 "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, [e] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

    42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

[So no one knows the day and hour of the Lord's return, but Jesus said we can know the season. More important than knowing the time of Christ' return, is being prepared for his return. Every day we should ask, "If this was the day, what would I want to be doing when the Lord returns".]

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Learning to Forgive

Matthew 18

Dealing with a Sinning Brother

 15 "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
18 "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

[Here Jesus establishes the steps to resolving sin within the Church.

  1. Approach the sinning brother privately.
  2. Approach the sinning brother with mediators who are respected by both him and you
  3. Take the sinning brother before the Church, if he will not submit to the authority of the Church then he will be an outcast.]


19 "Again I say[c] to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."

[Jesus here reinforces the importance of unity in the Church and promises to here and respond to prayers when we ask together. He also promises his presence when we assemble together in his name. It is clear that Jesus viewed, unresolved sin, and the resulting bitterness as a danger to the Church, something that could divide us, and hinder the work of the Lord.


The story of Sandy Weill:


Sanford Weill was a stock broker who worked his way up through smaller Wall St. firms until he had controlling interest in Shearson Loeb Rhoades.

  • In 1981 Weill sold Shearson to American Express and became an executive at American Express running their Fireman's Fund Insurance unit.
  • In 1986 he invested 7 million and took over Commercial Credit (equipment leasing)

    Then raised capital by taking the company public (selling stock)

  • In 1988 he paid 1.5 billion for Primerica the parent company of Smith Barney Investments, and AL Williams Insurance
  • In 1992, he paid $722 million to buy a 27 percent share of Travelers Insurance
  • In 1993 he reacquired his old Shearson brokerage (now Shearson Lehman) from American Express for $1.2 billion. By the end of the year, he had completely taken over Travelers Corp and officially began calling his corporation Travelers Group.
  • In 1998 he merged Travelers Group with Citibank (at this point the story should start to sound familiar, as we covered this back in March.)
  • Sandy's mega firm was illegal under the depression era financial services law called Glass-Steagal, so in 1999 Citigroup lobbied congress to repeal the law, which they did, and President Clinton signed it.
  • Wall St. analyst called this new form of financial services firm, an umbrella company, so Sandy Weill took the Travelers Insurance "red Umbrella" trademark as Citigroup's new corporate logo.
  • In 2002 Citigroup spun off Travelers Insurance to raise capital, to invest in what Sandy Weill called "much more high-growth Businesses". Citibank went on to heavily invest in CDO's which are bundles of subprime mortgages sold as securities, that were highly rated because everyone knew real-estate prices would keep going up.
  • In 2006 Sandy Weill left Citigroup taking 1.2 Billion in total compensation
  • In 2007 studies showed consumers still associated the "red umbrella" logo with Travelers, not Citigroup, so Citigroup sold it back to Travelers Insurance.
  • When the real-estate bubble burst, the stock market went down and all these companies that had bet on high-growth investments saw their values evaporate, learning that high-growth also means high-risk. With no capital reserves, big banks stopped lending and created the current recession. Millions lost their jobs, billions in retirement savings accounts lost half their value, and the government is now borrowing and spending trillions to subsidize the cycle of greed.
  • Citigroup stock has gone from $60 per share to under $4, and the government now owns 1/3rd of the company. This week they were removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and replaced by Travelers Insurance. (yes, God has a sense of humor) They also sold controlling interest in Smith Barney, to Morgan Stanley to raise capital.


Sandy Weill's umbrella company has been completely erased and many believe the government will end up owning all of Citibank. Raise your hand if this story makes you angry.

Good, now we are going to talk about forgiveness.

To give up resentment, grant relief from payment, to pardon someone who has offended you.]

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

[Jewish custom held that forgiveness should be granted 3 times, Peter was willing to go as high as seven, but Jesus had a higher standard in mind. The Greek words are hebdomekontakis and is only found this one place in scripture, followed by hepta and the King James translates it as seventy-times seven, but other versions just say "seventy seven". But the normal word for seventy is hebdomekonta, so I think the unique word in this passage probably means the King James has it right. But the real meaning is not in the actual number, but forgiving so much that one could not remember the count.]

23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

[The Greek word for servant here is doulos which means a bond servant. A man could sell his services to pay a debt. Common labor was worth one denarius per day, and a talent was worth 6,000 denarii so 10,000 talents is an impossible sum, equal to 60 million work days. At today's wages that is 3 billion dollars. Now I can't even imagine borrowing 3 billion dollars, but I can imagine that the day that note is called due would be a bad day. This example represent the debt of sin God placed on Jesus during his crucifixion, and the grace of God in granting forgiveness to all who are called to repentance. Watch the crucifixion scene from The Passion of the Christ, then ask yourself, is there any sin too great that Jesus' death could not cover it? ]

28 "But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet[d] and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.'[e]
30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.

[So the servant who's impossible debt had been forgiven, responds to the compassion shown him, by forcing collection of a $5,000 debt, even to the point of sending his debtor to prison. But other eyes were watching his deeds, and the story does not end there.]

32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

[Notice the King calls the unforgiving servant wicked. Jesus put it this way in the Lord's prayer from
Matthew 6:

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Forgiveness is so essential to our faith that God has made our forgiveness conditional, on how we forgive others.

Hebrews 12: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;]