Small Group Questions Week 47

The Gospel of Matthew

Week 47 – Setting Sinners Free


Last week we covered a passage of Scripture that is widely known as Jesus’ teaching on church

discipline. In truth, however, it is about much more than discipline. Upon closer inspection, it reveals God’s

faithful love toward anyone who claims to follow Jesus but continues to sin (despite continually being called to



In the passage this week, Jesus continues teaching about relationships. This time He answers a natural

question that arises when restoring a habitual sinner to fellowship (from 18:15-20), how many times does a

person need to forgive someone who has sinned against him/her? From His response, it is clear once again that

God’s heart is bent toward restoring those who have sinned but are genuinely repentant.

Opening Questions:

• What is forgiveness? How does the world see it? What is the biblical view?

• Why do we struggle with forgiving others?


Matthew 18:21-35

Discipleship Questions:

• Today’s passage begins with Peter asking Jesus a question (v21). How does his question relate to what

Jesus taught in v15-20? What is Jesus’ answer (v22)? What does Jesus teach Peter about forgiveness?

• Have you ever struggled with forgiving someone who keeps sinning the same sin? If so, what was the

struggle for you? How did you handle it? If you’ve never struggled with this, can you think of a perpetual sin

against you that would cause you to struggle? What do you imagine you would do in response?

• Does forgiving someone mean there are no consequences to the person who sinned? Why or why not? If

not, give examples of what that might look like.

• What about an abusive situation where the person sinning is physically/verbally/mentally/etc. harming

someone? What would you recommend to the one being abused in this situation? (Does a person who is

regularly abused need to remain in a situation where he/she continues to be abused?) If not, where and how

do you draw the line?

• Should we extend forgiveness to a person who has not asked for it? Why or why not?

• Jesus then tells a parable to ensure that Peter (and the other disciples) understand certain truths about

genuine forgiveness (v23-34). What have you learned through Jesus’ teaching in this parable?

• Jesus closes His teaching by making a bold statement (v35). What are your thoughts on how this statement

relates to the issue of salvation (being forgiven of one’s sins and declared righteous). What does it reveal

about God’s heart?

• Imagine that a co-worker has lied to you for the umpteenth time but has likewise confessed it and asked for

your forgiveness. Explain how the process of forgiveness happens (from God’s point of view).

• What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you today through His word?

Prayer time:

Pray that we will readily (sincerely from the heart) grant forgiveness to those who ask us to forgive

them, but especially the ones who sin against us and ask for forgiveness repeatedly.