Johnny Hunt invites chapel attendees to receive and practice the forgiveness of God
January 19, 2017
Born in Lumberton, North Carolina, Hunt received his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1981. While attending Southeastern, Hunt pastored Falls Baptist Church in Wake Forest. In December of 1986, Hunt became the pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, where he has served faithfully for all of these years.
Preaching from Matthew 18:21-35, Hunt said, “Most people in congregations are dealing and struggling with unforgiveness. In these verses, Jesus teaches Peter that he doesn’t need a calculator concerning forgiveness but a change of heart. The gospel is about forgiveness, and we’ve been forgiven more than seventy times seven times.”
Hunt said that unforgiveness is a bondage that stifles one’s ability to love and accept people. “Unforgiveness can easily overtake and influence our lives. It might even take us hostage and such a hostage situation can be choking.
“Rather than being unforgiving, Jesus teaches about the depth of forgiveness in a parable,” said Hunt. “A man owed a king ten thousand talents, the equivalent of 200,000 years of debt! And ultimately in this parable, Jesus is giving his disciples and us the gospel. Such a debt is so uncountable, so incalculable, and this is the sin humanity has amounted against God.”
In teaching on forgiveness, Hunt said, Jesus is contrasting the kingdom of heaven and common human standards of evaluating forgiveness. The King pities the man and forgives him of his massive debt, but this forgiveness does not humble the recently freed man. Illustrating the narrative, Hunt said that this “forgiven man” then comes across another individual who owes him three months wages or a hundred denarii. Instead of practicing the forgiveness that the “forgiven man” received from the King, he selfishly demands that the man pay him what he is owed.
“The gospel of forgiveness,” said Hunt, “is that you and I see ourselves in the shoes of that incalculable, unpayable, ten thousand talent debt. Jesus paid and absorbed the debt that you and I were incapable of paying. There’s no way out of that prison, and by God’s grace, Jesus became the door that released humanity.”
Bringing the message to a conclusion and highlighting a practical point of the scriptural passage, Hunt said, “Christ concludes his parable saying that if his disciples don’t forgive others, their Father in Heaven will not forgive them. We can define the gospel like no other generation, but we must be declaring and living out the gospel of forgiveness before all people.”