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Faithlife

25 Luke 7.36-50

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How Big is your Debt

Luke 7:36-50

v    Opening Illustration

Ø     Do you remember when you were first in love with your spouse?

§        They were all you thought about, focused on

·        Oblivious to the world around you

¨     Go to dinner and only focus on each other

Ø     Love is oblivious to the world around them

Ø     It does not care what it looks like to other people

§        Movies

·        The Graduate

¨     At the end

Ø     Benjamin Braddock

Ø     Elaine Robinson

v    Love is focused on the object of their love

Ø     Much like the woman in our text today…

READ 7:36-38

v    The question that this text asks of us

Ø     The subject that is placed in front of us

§        The matter that demands that we answer after reading this is…

·        Do we really realize how desperately we need forgiveness?

¨     This woman did!

v    Here we are introduced to “a woman who had lived a sinful life in this town…”

Ø     A prostitute

§        She had encountered Jesus at some point earlier

·        Could have been the sermon on the mount

·        Could have been a parable

·        Could have been one of the many miracles Jesus performed

¨     We are not told

v    But what we do know is that she realized who Jesus was

Ø     The son of God…the forgiver of sins

§        Perhaps she was there when Jesus tells the paralytic in chapter 5

·        “Your sins are forgiven”

¨     And she wanted that same forgiveness

v    So she enters the dinner party that Simon the Pharisee has invited Jesus to

Ø     Not uncommon for people to come and go

§        Explain here

·        Most well to do people has exterior courtyard

·        People could come and go, listen to conversation, even enter conversation

v    But this woman comes right up to Jesus’ feet with the intention of anointing them with fine perfume

Ø     But instead begins to weep

§        To weep at her sin

§        To weep because she realizes the perfume she was going to use to ingratiate herself to Jesus is nothing compared to her sin

§        She weeps in repentance

v    Have you ever wept in repentance?

Ø     Not because of difficult external circumstances

Ø     Not because of the consequences of your sin

§        But because of your inward condition of sin

v    Rev William Seeker, seventeenth-century British minister wrote…

Ø     Some have tears enough for their outward losses, but none for their inward lusts; they can mourn for the evil that sin brings, but not for the sin which brings the evil. Pharaoh more lamented the hard strokes which were upon him, than the hard heart that was within him. Esau mourned not because he sold the birth-right, which was his sin, but because he lost the blessing, which was his punishment. This is like weeping with an onion, the eye sheds tears because it smarts

v    Have you ever realized how desperately you need inward forgiveness

Ø     …and wept?

§        Because it is not the outward circumstances that we should mourn…

·        But the inward condition of sin

v    This woman realized her inward condition…her desperate need for forgiveness

Ø     And she wept

v    If fact, she is so remorseful and repentant that her tears begin to stream down her face and drop on Jesus’ dirty, dusty feet

Ø     Seeing this she lets her hair down and begins to wipe them off

§        In Semitic culture, this was shocking

·        A public taboo

v    Yet the woman does not care what people around her think

Ø     She just loved Jesus

§        She loved Jesus so much that she was oblivious to those around her

v    What a challenge this puts before us!

Ø     Do you love Jesus enough not to care what people think of you?

Ø     Are you willing to hang it all out there for Jesus?

§        Are you willing to tell your neighbor and friend that Jesus loves them…

·        Even if it might sound odd to them

§        Are you willing to ask those around you not to take the Lord’s name in vain…

·        Even if people look at you strange

§        Are you willing not to laugh at crude and dirty jokes…

·        Even though it is expected of you

§        Are you willing to speak the name “Jesus” in a public place

·        Even though people might look at you strangely

Ø     For many Christians these are real challenges!

§        People might think us strange

·        They might think I am some kind of “Jesus freak”

·        They might think I am some kind of “religious fanatic”

Ø     How are we supposed to forget what people are saying or thinking?

§        Hebrews 12:2 tells us how to accomplish this

·        Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith

v    That is what she did

Ø     She focused on the object of her love and not on those around her

§        She cared what he thought

§        She cared what he said

v    That is what we have to do…Keep our eyes focused on Jesus

Ø     Did you listen to the words of the praise song we sang today…

§        Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face; And the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace

·        If we concentrate on what our savior is thinking about us…

¨     What this world thinks of us will become less and less important!

v    For there will always be people who judge

Ø     There will always be people who do not realize their need for forgiveness

§        As Simon did not

Look at what Simon thought about what was going on…

READ verse 39

v    Here Simon is not only judging Jesus for letting her touch him

Ø     But also judging the woman for being such a great sinner

§        You see, Simon was a Pharisee

·        Part of the clergy

Ø     He viewed himself as a good man, a righteous man

§        A man with much less sin in his life than this woman

·        Blaise Pascal said…

¨     There are only two sorts of men, the one just - who believes himself a sinner, the other sinners - who believe himself just

Ø     Our goal should be to be righteous, but recognize our sin

Ø     Simon was a sinner who believed himself just

v    And Jesus, being God, knowing this decides to teach Simon…

Ø     How desperately we all need inward forgiveness

 

READ v. 40-43

v    The point of this parable is not that one had less debt than the other

Ø     The point of the parable hinges on verse 42

§        Neither one had the ability to pay

·        Both had a debt that they had no possibility to pay back!

¨     So the amount does not matter!

v    And that is our state before God in regards to our sin

Ø     You see…

§        We tend to look at sin as Simon did

·        Quantitatively

Ø     We say things like

§        “At least I am not as bad as fill in the blank”

·        John Wayne Gasey

·        Jeffry Dahlmer

·        This man who murdered his own 8 year old daughter and her friend

v    We tend to look at others and rate their sinfulness against our goodness

Malcolm Muggeridge, the famous British philosopher and journalist who con­verted to Christianity late in life, once told of working as a journalist in India as a young man. One evening he walked down to the river for a swim. As he entered the water, he saw an Indian woman from the nearby village who had come for her evening bath.

Muggeridge immediately felt the lust of the moment, and he was overcome by temptation. He had lived with this kind of temptation all his adult life, but until this moment he had fought it off out of respect for his wife Kitty. But tonight, he was weak and vulnerable. He hesitated just a moment, then began swimming furi­ously across the river toward the woman, literally trying to outdistance his con­science.

But when he was just a few feet away from her, he looked up from the water and what he saw took his breath away. She wasn't a beautiful young maiden, but old and hideous woman, with wrinkled skin, and worst of all, she was a leper. He said later, "The creature grinned at me, showing a toothless mask;' Muggeridge muttered, "What a dirty, lecherous woman!"

But as he swam away from her, a sudden shock gripped him. It wasn't just the woman who was dirty and lecherous, it was his own heart.

v    You see…

Ø     We tend to look at sin quantitatively as Muggeridge did

§        We look at others and rate them

·        Jennifer Willbanks (Runnaway Bride) lying ~ 500 denarius sinner

·        Kenneth Lay - Enron (Cheating) ~ 50,000 denarius sinner

·        John Dilinger (stealing, murdering) ~ 500,000 denarius sinner

·        Adolf Hitler ~  5 million denarius sinner

·        Me ~ 50 denarius sinner

v    But Muggeridge and this parable challenging us to see sin qualitatively

Ø     As Romans 3:23 does…

§        For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

·        We all are unable to pay our debt

¨     Great Chasm that none of us can leap across

Ø     Whether 15’ or 26’!

v    The understanding we have to come to is…

Ø     Whether you are a 50 denarius sinner or a 500,000 denarius sinner

§        You have no ability to pay it back

·        The only way to be released for your debt is to act like this woman

¨     Rush to the feet of Jesus

Ø     Weep and repent and…

§        Realize how desperately you need forgiveness

v    And Jesus goes on to teaches us that if you realize how bankrupt you really are

Ø     If you realize how much you have been forgiven

§        The measure of this realization is found in how much you love

READ 44-50

 

v    3 things that were done when a guest entered your house

Ø     Gave them the Kiss of peace on the cheek

Ø     Had a servant wash their dusty feet

Ø     Anoint their forehead with a little olive oil

§        It was custom and a way of showing respect to the guest entering your house

·        Today we shaking hands or perhaps hug

Ø     Simon did none of these

§        It was an insult

§        It was rude

·        Like if I invited you to dinner, you came and rang the doorbell and I opened it a crack and then walked away yelling over my shoulder to “come on in”

¨     Simon showed Jesus little love

v    Yet the woman…

Ø     Washed his feet with her tears

Ø     Kissed his feet over and over again

Ø     Gave not a drop of olive oil, but a whole flask of perfumed oil in honor of him

§        She could not contain the love she had for Jesus

·        She showed Jesus much love

v    What Jesus is teaching Simon and us is that…

Ø     Depending on how much you think you have been forgiven by Jesus

§        That is how much you will show your love Jesus

v    Downstairs we have two new coffee pots

Ø     Silver, shiny, new

§        Made of metal

·        No way of knowing how much coffee is inside

¨     Except for a little glass tube that runs up the side

Ø     This barometer shows externally how much coffee is inside

Ø     We cannot look inside another person to see how much they love Jesus…

§        But there is a barometer running up the outside of each person here

·        That shows the love they have for Jesus

¨     It is called obedience

v    In John chapter 14, Jesus has just told his disciples that he is leaving them and that they cannot follow

Ø     He gives them instructions on how to show their love for him in his physical absence

§         John 14:15, 21

·        If you love me, you will obey what I command…Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me

v    Today love is not shown by kissing Jesus’ feet or pouring perfumed oil on him…

Ø     It is shown by obeying Jesus’ commands

v    My goodness, Blake, where do we start…so many commands

Ø     Make it simple…

§        Love God

·        Do you want to show God that you love him?

¨     Church, Sunday School, Give, Devotions, Prayer

§        Love one another

·        Mourn, Rejoice, Give in need, spend time with each other,

§        Love the world

·        Evangelism

¨     God so loved the world he gave his son

Ø     His son commanded us to go into the world and show them love by giving them the serum for the poison of sin

§        The Gospel of Jesus Christ

§        The Good news that Jesus already paid for their sins

·        All they have to do is accept it

v    Conclusion:

v    Where is your “love” barometer in those 3 areas today?

Ø     Do you love a little or a lot?

§        That is the gauge that answers the question…

·        Do we really realize how much we have been forgiven?


Notes:

Ø     Carbon monoxide poisoning

§        How it works here

Ø     It is colorless, odorless, tasteless…

§        But it kills

v    In the same way, sin is a silent killer

Ø     It is hard to detect

     You will say that these are small sins, and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy [God]. It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative weight is to keep the man away from the Light. . . . Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts

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