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The One With the Prostitute, the Pharisee, and Jesus

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
November 22, 2020 5:00 am

The One With the Prostitute, the Pharisee, and Jesus

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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November 22, 2020 5:00 am

As we continue our “In Step” series through the book of Luke, Pastor J.D. teaches about the scandal of grace. Grace offends most people, particularly religious people. We are hard-wired to think that our worth is a result of what we do. Do good things, get good outcomes. Do bad things, get bad outcomes. Grace throws this whole system aside. And thank God it does, because without the scandal of grace, none of us would have any hope.

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Do what you do well for the glory of God and do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God. That's what we have said now for the last several years of what it looks like to actually follow Jesus is to answer that question. Whatever God made you good at didn't necessarily make you good at preaching or leading worship, but he made you good at something and you should do that well to the glory of God, but why not also do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God and the place you choose to pursue your career?

Why wouldn't one of the primary factors of where you live and pursue that career be where you can be a part of something strategic that God is doing? You know, when we talk about generosity here at the Summit Church, we're not just talking about finances. The question that we have now asked for two years as a part of what we call first is what would it look like for us to put Jesus first, not just in our finances, but we say our time and our talents in addition to our treasure.

And so praise God for a story like that of a couple who is responding to the extravagant generosity of Christ by putting their yes on the table and then letting God put it on the map and then praising God that the place he puts it on the map is on the beaches of Puerto Rico with one of our church planting teams. Amen. Amen.

Amen. What a great story. Well, listen, Joby Martin, whom some of you know that name is one of our favorite guest preachers here at the Summit Church, he tells a story about the early days of his ministry. Joby was a youth pastor at a church in North Myrtle Beach, but because the church could not pay him full time, he took a second job working at a gym right there on the strip there in North Myrtle Beach. He said the gym owner was a pretty smart guy and so he walked right across the street to the Crazy Horse Gentlemen's Club and offered all the ladies that worked there a free membership to his gym. He said all of a sudden all the men in the North Myrtle Beach area started coming to his gym to work out.

Joby said that when business was slow because he worked there at the gym, he would do some of his sermon prep in the smoothie making area, he said, and so I got to know some of these women. He said I learned that they had names. He said names, their real names were not Bambi and Sinema and names like Carla and Sharon. I learned that they all, he said, had a few things in common.

He said at least the majority of them, maybe not every single one, but they all had a few things in common. He said first none of them wanted to have the job that they currently had. He said most of them had taken the job thinking they would do it only for a short time in order to get out of some financial crisis issue that they were dealing with and then they planned to leave.

He said for most of these ladies, those financial issues had had had something to do with being abandoned by a man. He said most had kids and they didn't want their kids to know how mommy made money and he said all of them, he said, had to drink or take some substance before they perform. Joby said he invited one of these ladies to come to church with him one week in. He said it was pretty obvious just by the way that she was dressed, who she was, or at least what kind of work that she was in. He said that when she came in and sat down with him, a lot of people in this small little Baptist church that he was youth pastor at were whispering and kind of pointing her direction. He said at the end of the service, one of the deacons asked to speak to me in the pastor's office and he said when I got there, we were joined by the pastor and a couple of other deacons.

The deacon explained that the purpose of the church was to protect its members and especially their children from women like that. Joby said that when he walked back to the car, he said she was sitting inside the car crying. He said I tried to lie and tell her that the discussion wasn't about her, but she wasn't stupid. He said she knew that the meeting had been about her and he made this statement. He said, how was it not heartbreaking that a woman like that feels the most degraded when she walks into a church and that she feels more love and acceptance dancing in front of drunken men on vacation than she does in a place that bears Jesus's name?

And by the way, let me just say if that's you today, let me briefly pause just to say two things. First, I am deeply, deeply sorrow, sorry that you have been treated that way by people in the church. That is wrong and Jesus is quite the opposite of that.

Second, I hope today to demonstrate to you that we don't feel that way about you either. Years ago, Philip Yancey wrote a book called What's So Amazing About Grace in which he explains what a lot of us know all too well and that is a lot of our churches have been very poor stewards of grace. I read that book right after college. I graduated from a Christian school where everything was all about dressing right and talking right and listening to the right style music where the length of your hair and the translation of the Bible that you used were more important than what was going on in your heart and where people often got defined by their mistakes and reduced to labels, divorced, drunk, pregnant before marriage.

That created a community that was a part of that school that looked great on the outside but was filled with a lot of brokenness where people hid on the inside. And so Yancey's book What's So Amazing About Grace really resonated with me and my guess is that that message probably resonates with a lot of you as well. Many Christians seem totally devoid of the one thing that is supposed to characterize our experience with God and that is grace. What saves the Christian is grace. What sustains us is grace. What fuels us and motivates us is grace. What secures our future is grace for it is by grace we have been saved through faith and not even that is of ourselves.

That's the gift of God not of words so that nobody can boast. It is by faith that we have access into this grace now in which we stand from start to finish our walk with God is grace, grace, grace that is greater than all our sin. C.S. Lewis once walked into a room at Cambridge where he was teaching at the time where a group of his fellow professors were discussing world religions and he said they had written all the the characteristics of world religions down on the chalkboard and they were trying to show that all these religions basically taught the same thing and so they saw C.S. Lewis walking by and they said they always called him Jack. Jack come in here for a minute and and you're a Christian tell us what is it that is in Christianity that's not already in all these other world religions. Story goes that C.S. Lewis looked at the the the the chalkboard there for about five seconds and said oh that's easy you miss the most essential element of Christianity and that is grace. In every other world religion acceptance is given because you keep the rules well enough it's wages it is merit if you do and you do well enough you will be accepted by God but in the gospel that is flipped on its head its acceptance is given as a gift as grace and in response to that as a response of gratefulness and worship you obey grace a real experience with grace is the most transforming power on the planet I will say that some of you feel like something is missing in your spiritual life you lack passion you see other people with their hands up and they seem to mean it and you just don't feel that in your heart you feel spiritually dry I want to show you hopefully today that losing touch with grace is at the root of all of that Luke 7 verse 36 this is such a beautiful passage Charles Spurgeon preached five sermons on this passage he loved it so much I've only got one so I'm sorry about that but here we go Luke 7 verse 36 then one of the Pharisees invited him to eat with him he entered the Pharisee's house and he reclined at the table can I just say real quick Jesus had this thing about eating with losers all throughout the gospel of Luke you're going to find him in the homes of let's just call them unpleasant people tax collectors self-righteous religious hypocrites uh prostitutes people with problems I point this out because some Christians seem only to want to hang out with people who have it together they actually think this is best for their family Jesus was not like that Jesus did life with broken and messed up people and anywhere you look for Jesus you're going to find that kind of person around him not the people who have it all together verse 37 again and a woman in the town who was a sinner by the way a woman who was a sinner is bible speak for prostitute she found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house so she brought an alabaster jar of perfume and stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to wash his feet with her tears she wiped his feet with her hair kissing them and anointing them with the perfume kissing and anointing his feet aside from just kind of being gross that was also deeply suggestive in those days taking off your veil and letting down your hair was something that a woman did only in her home around her husband clearly this woman had not gotten the memo on how to act when the preacher came over for dinner well everybody feels awkward and embarrassed except for Jesus he seems quite pleased and so verse 39 when the Pharisees who had invited him saw this he said to himself well well if this man really were a prophet he would know who this who and what kind of woman this is and who is touching him she's a sinner jesus replied to him simon i got something to say to you by the way there's a little prophetic irony at work here because you see what just happened simon just thought to himself silently in his head he thought if jesus were actually a prophet he would know what kind of woman this is and he would send her away jesus reads simon's mind and diagnoses his thoughts and heart which would be another way of indicating that he was a prophet so i feel like he answered simon's question pretty thoroughly there simon said we'll say a teacher a creditor had two debtors one jesus says owed 500 denar guy that's about a year and a half you know um salary and the other 50 since they could not pay it back he graciously forgave them both so which of them will love him more simon answered oh i suppose the one who who he forgave more seems kind of a begrudging answer doesn't it you have judged correctly jesus told him turning to the woman he said to simon do you see this woman i entered your house yet you gave me no water for my feet but she with her tears has washed my feet and wiped them with her hair you gave me no kiss but she hasn't stopped kissing my feet since i came in you didn't anoint my head with olive oil but she has anointed my feet with perfume and therefore i tell you her many sins have been forgiven that is why she loved much but the one who is forgiven little loves little then he said to her your sins are forgiven verse 39 those who were at the table with him begin to say among themselves who is this man who even forgives sins by the way that's a good question if jesus is not god how is he forgiving sins sins are committed against god right sins are committed against god which means that that only god can forgive them if i'm standing next to you and somebody walks up and smacks you in the face and i look over at them and i say oh i forgive you you're gonna say uh that was my face that got smacked that means it's my prerogative to forgive and you would be correct so see this for what it is in forgiving sins jesus is identifying himself as god and everybody understood that verse 50 then he said to the woman your faith has saved you go in peace the scandal of grace grace confuses and offends religious people because people who have worked hard and kept all the rules don't like it when those who have not worked as hard or broken some of the rules when they get the same reward that the person who worked hard and kept all the rules gets martin luther the reformer said since the fall our hearts have been hard wired with we call it a wages mentality wages means you do you get paid it means that we get what we deserve we are worth however well we perform and so if we do good things then we get good outcomes if we do bad things then we get bad outcomes it's karma so if somebody does bad things and then gets good outcomes well that's insulting but that is the economy of grace and it is a scandal that we should thank god for because if god did not relate to us by grace none of us would have any hope you see the point of this story is not that this woman is a sinner and simon just needs to learn to deal with the fact that jesus loves sinners too the point is that simon is a sinner just like this woman the only difference is that he doesn't realize it ironically she's got a leg up on him because she realizes her sinfulness and he doesn't because of his upbringing or because of his privileged place in society or because of his good education that his parents were able to get for him he might have learned to cloak his sinfulness better than she has and he might have learned to to kind of harness his behavior into more socially acceptable patterns but his heart has the same sickness as hers think of it like the the coronavirus one of the strange things they say about this disease is how varying the symptoms can be so some who contracted have only a slightly elevated temperature and a little fatigue others especially if they are older or or they're weaker they develop serious lung problems and their vital organs start shutting down but it's the same disease if a babysitter walks into your house and picks up your baby and says oh by the way i've got coronavirus but don't worry don't worry my symptoms are only mild my guess for you parents is that's not okay you don't want that disease anywhere near you god's revulsion against our sinfulness is 10 billion times stronger than the thought of a diseased person holding holding our baby in the sight of god we are we are we are all in the same category as this woman we should thank god that he receives and forgives and embraces sinners because that's all any of us are the scandal of the gospel is not that not that jesus loves bad people too the scandal of the gospel is that jesus only loves bad people because that's the only kind of people there are so if you don't think of yourself as a bad person then you're not a candidate for the love of jesus one of the most important and ironic aspects of jesus's ministry is that sinners felt safe around him look at this woman she feels totally comfortable around him you see what she's doing here is very symbolic like i explained to you this was a symbol of intimacy something women usually only felt comfortable doing in front of their husbands but clearly what she's doing here is not sexual what she's doing represents an intimacy of soul before god she is saying to jesus you see all of me and accept me just as i am and i can let down my hair because i feel safe with you one of the most ironic and most beautiful aspects of jesus life is how safe sinners felt around him in fact you could say that the safest place in all the universe for a sinner to be is to be completely exposed in the presence of jesus the gospel message is that if you will expose your sin to jesus if you will just expose it in all its ugliness and all its messed upness and dysfunctionality if you will just expose it he will receive and forgive you if you keep it covered you're on your own this woman symbolically exposes her brokenness of soul to jesus and all she finds is love and acceptance now jesus acceptance of her didn't mean of course that he affirmed her lifestyle choices or that he was content to leave her where she was her experience of grace changed her thank you for taking notes write this down grace does not mean accepting or embracing somebody's simple lifestyle grace means loving and embracing them despite their lifestyle i say that because our society teaches us that when it comes to somebody's lifestyle you've really only got two choices right this is whether you're watching oprah or ellen or bilmar or anybody the here's your categories you can have affirmation or alienation you can either affirm that person fully or the other option is you can reject them but jesus shows us a third option that is neither affirmation nor alienation it is speaking truth with grace speaking god's truth to them but not in a way that pushes them away or that shuts off the relationship one of jesus's most misunderstood teachings in our day is what he says in matthew 7 judge not lest you be not judged people always assume that that means you should never tell somebody what they're doing is wrong or if you do if you do they're going to say well who are you to judge this is the one verse in the bible that bilmar seems to know but is that really what jesus meant is what he meant don't tell other people they're wrong wait i mean think about it didn't jesus spend an entire lifetime pointing out people's wrongness wrongness and what they think wrongness and what they believe wrongness and what they're doing and so did the apostles so not judging somebody can't mean not speaking the truth to them no judging them is what you do after you speak the truth to them after you speak the truth to them do you cast them away or do you draw them close you see judging means pushing somebody away condemning them and shutting them off and that condemnation just means i'm breaking the relationship because you're bad you see even when jesus spoke truth to people he drew them near he radiated acceptance and love jesus said in the gospel of john that that he was not sent into the world to condemn the world but to save it in john 12 he said that that while he was on earth he would not judge anybody now one day one day he'll come back as the judge but during this time on earth he wouldn't do it because he'd been sent out only to extend the acceptance of salvation to all who would receive it and of course that's true of us too for our time on earth that means no matter what somebody has done it means no matter what they've done until their dying breath we extend god's acceptance and embrace to them and we model that that is our only posture toward the world that is the scandal of grace that is the heart of the gospel and see that scandal produces three things in us three things that religion by itself with all of its laws and all of its commands and all of its disciplines can never produce i don't care how intense your religion how deep or thick your bible knowledge is forgiveness and grace are the only things that can produce these three things in your heart number one white hot worship y'all if this woman demonstrates anything else it's an uncontrollable passion for jesus she weeps over her sin she adores with tearful thankfulness her her her salvation she she pours out a bottle of expensive perfume on his feet her love is so strong that she can't seem to even constrain herself here's simon the pharisee for all of his knowledge and all his religion he didn't have any kind of emotion like that in his heart let me ask you are you more like simon are you more like her when was the last time that you wept over your sin and salvation hey if the answer is never i would just say very humbly that you've got a problem if the fact that god himself took on for you an eternal hell that you had brought onto yourself or the fact that he sought you when you were running as fast as you could the other direction if that's never brought tears to your eyes then you've got a serious problem you say well i'm just not that emotional of a person you don't have to be emotional for that to bring tears to your eyes you just have to be human with some semblance of understanding and everybody here as far as i can tell is human but if you're here as far as i can tell is human which means that if you haven't wept over your salvation i'm questioning whether or not you actually understand it jesus said those who are forgiven much which is all of you love much so if you're not loving much it must mean you don't really understand forgiveness again let me be clear let me be very clear the point is not that this woman needs to be forgiven of a lot and the pharisee only a little no both are in a great need of forgiveness because one the prostitute tried to find security and happiness apart from god and prostitution the other simon thought he could win god's approval by showing how much better he was than everybody else both rejected god in their own way and both needed to be forgiven her advantage is that she realizes it and he doesn't which is why she loves jesus passionately and he doesn't friend if your faith is cold if your heart is hard if your worship feels perfunctory then you need to pray that god opens your eyes to see how amazing grace is to see how high and wide and deep and long god's love is for you because when grace is amazing to you worship won't feel like drudgery worship will be your delight coming to church to celebrate god's grace with other people it's not going to feel like something you got to get dragged to how long can i use the coronavirus as an excuse not to gather with people and to there are people that do it for safety reasons and there are people that that just feel like honestly i'm just not that compelled to do it it won't feel like that it'll feel like something you can't wait to do and if you're in a circumstance where you can't do it the cry of your heart will be i can't wait to be around other people to celebrate the grace of god white hot worship that's your first effect of knowing you've been forgiven number two acceptance of others around the summit church we always say those who believe the gospel become like the gospel the acceptance that we have received from jesus forever redefines how we receive others i mean i don't feel like this woman in the church from this point on would find herself looking down her nose at other people in the church and wondering i wonder what his story is oh yeah i've heard about that i knew about that guy's marriage i knew about what went on in her life i don't think she was like that because every time she walked into church all she could think about was where she was when jesus found her in fact i think it's kind of important how luke who obviously was a member of the early church how luke refers to this woman verse 37 he calls her a woman who was a sinner he calls her first a woman he identifies her first as a woman a human being with inherent dignity she's somebody's sister somebody's somebody's daughter somebody's mother perhaps that doesn't mean she's not also a sinner it just means he sees first in her something he can't relate to he sees first somebody made in the image of god like him who came into the world just like he did with the same needs and hurts and desires in fact if you give me a little a little artistic license here i can't help but wonder how this woman became a prostitute we can't be sure it doesn't tell us it's possible it's possible that she chose this path despite a loving father and mother who raised her the right way and and provided for her that is a possibility but it's unlikely right we'd have to admit that it's very unlikely what's more likely is that something happened to her something happened to her life at some point that totally derailed her maybe she got raped maybe her husband abandoned her with no way to pay off her deaths or no possibility of owning land in first century israel no way to get remarried now that's how a lot of women in those days became prostitutes in fact maybe even darker because we know this happened maybe her dad sold her off as a little girl to pay some debts that happened and maybe she tried for a while to make money in other ways but there there just finally came a day when she got so desperate that the thought crossed her mind well there's always that way to make a living at least i wouldn't starve and then she meets a man who didn't care about what her name was didn't want to know her name she walked away after being used with enough money not to starve and then she went there again and again and again and every single time the shame increased and eventually the shame becomes unimaginable and the pain becomes unbearable she just got into a cycle that she didn't know how to get out of now hear me i'm not saying her actions are justified i'm not trying to excuse her i'm just saying that those of us who are not currently walking down a path of darkness might consider that the darkness that some of the people around us have experienced is what has led them to those paths darkness you and i have never had to go through or the undeserved graces that god gave us to keep us out of that darkness we ought to consider that to this woman luke says i see you first as a woman i see you first as somebody whose pain i understand as somebody who is made in the image of god just like me who's not made of any different substance that i'm made of whom god loves and whose pain breaks his heart you see for those of you who come in here at one of our campuses sitting in your home watching later this week online and you've got mistakes and shame and pain and maybe that's the reason you're watching online you're like i can't go into a church too many people know what's happened in my life i want you to hear from me directly you are not your divorce you are not your rape you're not your abuse you're not your pride you're not your addiction you're not your pain you're not your sin you're not your past you're not your future you're not your stupidity you're not your bad choices you are god's child that is who you are by the way by the way scholars point out that this story ends with a question it never totally resolves after jesus accepts this woman the question is does everybody else the story never tells us luke never tells us what happens did simon say hey okay pull up a chair and let's talk theology what the disciples do we just don't know see some of church that's a question for us how are we going to receive sinners look at your own circle i know it's easy to kind of nod your head be like yep that's right i don't care if they sit seven rows away from me that's going to be great i'd love to be a part of a church like that look at your own circle who is in your circle how many broken messed up people are a part of your circle to what tarnished broken person that other people kind of shake their heads at and tell jokes about to what should those people are you showing the acceptance of christ and so let me just say it if we're going to be a church that stewards grace well we're going to have to get used to our church feeling a little messy because i'll tell you what i've learned in two decades as a pastor people who actually have broken paths don't get like automatically sanctified when they walk into the church building and i'm sure this woman brought all kinds of baggage into the church all we get is this little story here but you can't tell us this didn't take years to deal with counseling and and just dealing with some of the the pain that she was bringing into the church sometimes people like this don't know the right things to do in worship and and like this woman they do something that is awkward and borderline inappropriate we're having a little conversate well it wasn't exactly a conversation it was right after i preached a message i think it was in briar creek campus man walks up man walks up and you can just tell looking at the guy's like this is church is not a typical place for this guy to be he walked by me very quickly and then he turned around he turns around he stopped he had big tears in his eyes and he just stuck out his hand very quickly a little bit awkwardly and just said pastor that was the best bleepity bleep bleep bleep sermon i have ever heard and i literally did a double take i was like what and the first thought in my heart was you know that might that just might be the most authentic expression of praise uttered in this place this morning god might be more pleased with that sentence than he did anything that i said now i'm not saying that the language that that guy used was okay he'll figure out soon enough that we don't all talk like that he's at some point he's gonna be sitting in the service looking at the words on the screen of the you know the song be like why don't they use curse words in those songs he's gonna have that thought i'm just saying that when lost people find jesus it's messy and i'm okay with that i'm okay with that are you all right number three last thing here extravagant generosity i don't overlook that in this story this woman as an expression of worship pours out a i mean what are the words you use for it i mean what are the words you use for it scandalous outpouring of generosity she kneels down weeping at jesus feet she lets down her hair and then she breaks open an expensive bottle of perfume these perfumes that were kept in alabaster glass uh flask if you've been around church you you've heard this they were were were precious and very expensive they say about a year's salary for the average person there was something you kept for a lifetime used very sparingly if you use them at all and you left them as an inheritance for your kids yet here we have her in one motion break the entirety of the bottle and pour out the content on jesus feet something that would have lasted in a roman that would have lasted no longer than a couple hours we know from other accounts that some of the disciples thought this was was an incredible waste and they were like look if anything she really wanted to give it she should have given it to the poor but jesus rebuked them he said no you don't get it you don't get it this was worship this was pure worship jesus is like look i i can i can multiply bread and fish to take care of the poor i can do that this kind of extravagance is right in light of the extravagance of the forgiveness i've given to her i don't need her money this expression of her worship is right but write this down some gifts are valuable because of the good they can do in the world others are valuable for the statement they make about the heart of the giver and the worth of the god to whom they are given so you hear the summit church generosity is not first and foremost about meeting budgets it's not about taking care of needs generosity is first and foremost a declaration to god about how valuable he is to you now it's been the heart of what we've been doing now for two years with this thing we call first we have wanted to give in a way that shows that jesus is first in our lives i've told you various stories i've told you one about one of our pastors who determined that he was going to make his giving the giving from his family the largest expense his family had every month bigger than what they paid for their mortgage bigger than what they were saving for retirement or for college bigger than their vacation or car expenses in order to do that he said we had to make some lifestyle changes that's one way to do it one way to do it is to to rearrange your budget that way my question for you is not are you doing it that way my question is what does it look like for you is how you're giving is how you're you're using your resources your time your talent and your treasure what kind of declaration is it making to god about his place in your lives about how grateful you are of grace how much you understand grace we've taken this december and we're calling it our december declaration told you it's a time for some of us who've been here for for a while for us to to really focus on finishing strong that commitment we made a couple years ago it's a time for others who are new or here to start giving on a regular basis whether you do that through a one-time gift or you set up recurring giving that can help you give like my family does in more of a consistent disciplined way of every month we're going to put jesus first maybe some of us will realize i've brought this up that there's something in our lives that we're holding on to something in what we call stored assets that we just realized god's saying why are you hoarding that i gave you that to transfer into my kingdom you can trust me with your future you can trust me with with right now just don't live for that invest this in my kingdom use it eternally there's going to be some gift that we offer as an act of worship that declares that jesus is first some gifts are valuable because of the good they can do in the world that's true but the more important gifts are valuable for the statement they make about the heart of the giver and the worth of the god to whom they're given what kind of statement about jesus value does your giving make i've told you listen if you if resentment floods up in your heart and you just you kind of bow up a little bit at best i'm not honestly i just rather you kind of deal with that on your own i'm not asking for anything from you bible says god loves a cheerful giver and if your heart is not cheerful when you hear about these things and you're probably not in a place for me to hear that you've got to deal with some questions on your own but for those of you that that don't have that reaction i just want to ask you to pray through and consider this told you the word a very key point in the ministries of the summit church because of lockdown things have been very unusual and there's a lot of new ministry opportunities in front of us so i would just ask you to say jesus it's all yours what do you want with it i want to make an eternal investment i want to i want to do this in a way that declares you're my significance and my security and i want to do so in a way that shows the value i want to declare this to my friends and my family i want to teach my children this i want to show our church this i want to teach the world this this is the value i have it's for those of us in the midst of an uncertain time like lockdown we believe we don't cower backwards in fear we walk forward boldly in faith this is the time to make that kind of declaration hey let me let me close i'm pointing out that these three things white hot worship acceptance of others and extravagant generosity some of the more astute of you notice that they correspond to three of our discipleship identities if you've been doing the groundwork study worshiper family member that's the acceptance of others and steward that's extravagant generosity we see all three of those identities in this story what is most important listen is how are these produced how is worship acceptance as a family member how does extravagant generosity where does that come from answer a deeper awareness of grace that's why we say here that you never grow in the christian life by resolving to do better you don't grow just by doing a groundwork study right you grow by going deeper into the wonder of your salvation we say that growing in the in the growing in the gospel is like drinking from a well you don't get the best water from the well by widening the circumference of the well you get the best water from the well by going deeper into the same well that means if your heart is cold and the christian life feels like drudgery ask god to open your eyes to the wonder of grace he'll do it and when that wonder fills your heart passion for the christian life will follow as naturally as roses on a rose bush let's bow our heads right now let me get you to do that okay just bow your heads and wherever you are as you're doing that let me say to those of you who find yourself maybe like this woman maybe a life filled with a regret over mistakes maybe you're aware of your sin unsure about how god feels about you i need you to understand that the arms of jesus stand open wide for you you said no no i've made too many mistakes or my mistakes were so bad that he couldn't he couldn't he couldn't receive me no jesus said that as long as you're on earth he stands arms open wide not in the posture of judge that's why we say in one of our songs if you're not dead god's not done or to quote an older song dark is the stain that you cannot hide what can avail to wash it away look there is flow in a crimson tide wider than snow you can be today grace grace god's grace grace that can part in and cleanse within grace grace god's grace grace that is greater than all my sinner in the words of another song that you might have heard just as i am without one plea but that thy blood was shed for me and that thou bids me come to thee o lamb of god i come i come are you ready to say that to him right now are you ready to say that to him right now are you ready to say lord jesus i'm here i i need safety i need security i got a life filled with mistakes and regret but i want to come i believe that you can save me and forgive me and heal me and so i lay down any pretense and i just say only you can save me and i surrender are you ready to say that say that to him right now with your head bowed lord jesus i surrender and i receive you lord jesus i surrender and i receive you hey if you prayed that right now i know i can't see everybody but if you pray that right now would you just raise your hand i'm doing this more for you because i i want you to just acknowledge it i see you others of you put your hands up i see several you put it down father i pray for every hand that's raised gotta pray they'd be overwhelmed by grace god may this be the beginning of a life of discipleship god help our church help our church to be a place god that radiates this grace we pray in jesus name in jesus name amen listen as our worship teams come back to lead us just to celebrate god's grace if you prayed that or you got questions about it what i want you to do it's very simple take your phone take your phone and i want you to text the word ready r-e-a-d-y to three three nine three three three three nine three three just text the word ready somebody will get back to you and just say hey here's how here's how you can go forward in the christian life we'd love to have that privilege we won't hound you but it'll give us a chance to start a conversation text the word ready r-e-a-d-y to three three nine three three
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-06 21:19:17 / 2023-09-06 21:34:43 / 15

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