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The One with the Pharisee, Prostitute, and Jesus, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 12, 2022 9:00 am

The One with the Pharisee, Prostitute, and Jesus, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 12, 2022 9:00 am

Grace. It’s the thing we need the most, and the thing we deserve the least. While many of us understand in our heads the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we often allow our hearts to forget just how amazing the good news of the gospel really is.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. You see, for those of you who come in here and you've got mistakes and shame and pain, 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. Grace. It's the thing we need the most and the thing we deserve the least. Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D. Greer shows us in our teaching series called In Step that when we allow the grace of God to truly amaze us, our lives will undoubtedly look different. You see, while many of us understand in our heads the importance of Jesus' sacrifice for us, we often allow our hearts to forget just how amazing the good news of the gospel really is. Now, if you've missed any of the previous messages in this teaching series, you can catch up online at J.D.

Greer dot com. But now here's Pastor J.D. with the conclusion of a message we began yesterday titled The One with the Pharisee, the Prostitute and Jesus. 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' 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 Bill Maher seems to know. But is that really what Jesus meant? Is what he meant don't tell other people they're wrong?

I mean, think about it. Didn't Jesus spend an entire lifetime pointing out people's wrongness? Wrongness in what they think, wrongness in what they believe, wrongness in what they're doing? 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 down. He radiated acceptance and love. In John 12, he said 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 breaths, 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. Number one, 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 salvation.

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 or 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. As far as I can tell, it's 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 is not gonna feel like something you gotta get dragged to. How long can I use the coronavirus as an excuse not to gather with people?

And there are people that do it for safety reasons and there are people that just feel like, 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 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'll give me 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. We 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 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. Maybe she tried for a while to make money in other ways, but 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. There was 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. Then she went there again and again and again. Every single time the shame increased.

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. 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. 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 because 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 do the disciples do? We just don't know. See, some at 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 and 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 which of those people are you showing the acceptance of Christ?

And 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 pasts 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 me this didn't take years to deal with. Counseling and just dealing with some of the pain that she was bringing into the church. Sometimes people like this don't know the right things to do in worship, and like this woman, they do something that is awkward and borderline inappropriate. I remember having a little conversation. Well, it wasn't exactly a conversation. It was right after I preached a message.

I think it was at the Briar Creek campus. A man walks up. And you can just tell, looking at the guy, church is not a typical place for this guy to be. He walked by me very quickly, and then he turned around, 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 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. At some point, he's going to be sitting in the service, looking at the words on the screen of the, you know, the song, and be like, why don't they use curse words in those songs? He's going to 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. God will overlook that in this story, this woman, as an expression of worship, pours out a, I mean, what other word do 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 flask. If you've been around church, you've heard this, they 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, an aroma that would have lasted no longer than a couple of hours. We know from other accounts that some of the disciples thought this was an incredible waste, and they were like, look, if anything, and 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 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. Generosity is first and foremost a declaration to God about how valuable he is to you. 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 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? It's how you're giving. It's how 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? 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. 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 we're resentment floods up in your heart and you just you kind of bow up a little bit at best, I'm not honestly, I'd 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. I told you the word of 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 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, for those of us in a 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 close by 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 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 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. That means you to understand that the arms of Jesus are not arms of Jesus stand open wide for you. You say, no, no, no, I've made too many mistakes or my mistakes are 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 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. Have you come open-handed to the Lord? The arms of Jesus are wide open to you today.

Will you respond? The gospel is at the core of all we do here at Summit Life. If you joined us late, or if you'd like to study the complete unedited message transcripts, you can find all of our messages and many Bible study tools free of charge at Pastor JD, we've learned around here how important it is to know the Bible. I know that for me, I want to be able to recall scripture easily, but I'm a little rusty on some of the memory verses that I learned as a kid.

And I have the desire to know more scripture by heart, but just need a little push sometimes. You know, there's a little different tricks that you can use, but really it just comes down to reading them, saying them back. A friend of mine who's extremely good at this taught me to do it by simply reading a verse 10 times, then saying it 10 times, and then reviewing it once the next day. And he said, you'll have it memorized.

And that's certainly been true in my life. We've produced this pack of 50 memory cards, which is designed for you to memorize one a week in the year of 2022. I would say at most, it would take you 10 minutes to memorize one. And then you put one verse a week in, you review it day by day.

After you get done with a year, think about it. You got 50 promises of scripture, 50 living words that are in your heart that the Holy Spirit can bring to mind whenever He needs to counteract some deception coming from the depths of your heart or from our enemy. I think these will be a tool that can really transform how you see yourself, how you see your world, and how you think about God.

So go to today and reserve yours. The cards are made as small as two and a half by three and a half inch size for quick reference, putting on the fridge, or even sticking in your wallet. You could even give them away in greeting cards to encourage others.

And they're a great inspiring reminder to your loved ones that God is always with them. As our way of saying thank you for your one-time donation of $35 or more, or for your monthly commitment as a gospel partner, we'll send you our brand new exclusive resource, the Rejoice Always Memory Burst Cards, to help you not only remember, but apply the Word of God in a fresh way this year. Ask for your set today when you call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or you can give online at I'm Molly Vidovitch. Join us again Thursday when Pastor JD takes us back a few weeks to Christmas when we visit the first part of the Book of Luke. I'm always up for that, so be sure to join us right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-28 17:40:40 / 2023-06-28 17:50:24 / 10

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