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November 23, 2020 1:00 am
If you have your Bibles. You may want to turn to Luke chapter 7 we will be looking at verses 36 to 50. The saving of you reading these words from English standard version here. Now the word of the Lord.
One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisees house and reclined the table, and behold, a woman of the city was a sinner when she learned that he was reclining at the table in the Pharisees house brought an alabaster flask of ointment and standing behind him at his feet. Weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment now and the Pharisee who'd invited him saw this he said to himself. If this man were a prophet he would have known who and what sort of woman. This is who is touching him for she is a sinner and Jesus answering said to him.
Simon, I have something to say to you, and he answered, saying, teacher a certain moneylender had two debtors one owed 500 Mary, I am the other 50.
When they could not pay. He canceled the debt of both now which of them will love him more. Simon answered the one I suppose, for whom he canceled the larger debt and he said to him you have judged rightly in turning to the woman he said to Simon, do you see this woman, I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she is wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss from the time I came in. She is not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she is anointed, my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins which are many, are forgiven. She is loved much but he who is forgiven little loves little Annie said to her, your sins are forgiven and those who were at table with him began to say among themselves who is this who even forgives sins and he said to the woman, your faith has saved you go in peace. This is God's word. Please be seated and join me in prayer. Father God we come to you humbly. Now we ask that as you are in this place you would give us a strong awareness of your presence with us. Jesus you are the living word and we ask that you would open this your written word to us this evening. Holy Spirit speak to us draws near and Lord, to you alone be all honor and glory for us in your name we pray, Jesus. Amen. Well, as Doug said my name is Rick Harper. I am so glad to be with you tonight. I'm a pastor in the same Presbytery as your three pastors here at Grace and our family has been worshiping now with you for a while. I've written to meet many of you this is such a wonderful place and you guys have great pastors here. I told this to Eugene this rather intimidating stepping into Doug Wagner's pulpit but your pastors. One thing I know about all of them.
They're the real deal and you're blessed to have them here while I'm a pastor in the same Presbytery as them. Why my worshiping with you because for now.
You are our home church and we are in the process of being called overseas to a work in central Europe. I've been asked by surge, which is the missions agency to go into mentor pastors there and several of the central Europe countries. I can't fully I don't have time. In this moment, but would love to tell you about the exciting stuff. God is doing in central Europe. It's blowing me away and I'm excited to be part of it. The work basically you can think of it this way, is there asking me to come alongside other pastors. Local pastors to help them live out and thrive in the gospel themselves so that their churches may flourish in the gospel in their churches may take the gospel into the dark world around them.
It's an exciting thing.
God is doing some amazing things.
There and we invite you to be part of it. We actually need a team of people as Doug mentioned this morning who would be willing to support us in prayer and financially if God so leads you.
We have information if you would like to even just read anything about it or if you want to sign up for our mailing list. What we do is we send out monthly updates by email, some by video. We also do video devotionals that if you sign up you'll get those so that's all for that.
Something before we begin a dog told me I could choose anything to preach on tonight and I hate that because there's always this pressure of you think you've got a certain passage nailed or you think somebody really neat.
Grace needs to hear this passage is not the case at all.
So the here's how I came to Luke seven verses 36 and 50.
He asked me one day and then told me I could preach anything so what I did was the next morning I use a lectionary go through systematic readings of Scripture like you do in the services here and Luke 736 and 50 with the very first passage I read I said that says good as any, and the fact that it was Jesus at a meal, and this happens me Sunday evening before Thanksgiving, I thought, okay maybe there can be some connection there that's that's the only reason why is I said nothing about. I think you guys need to hear this passage no agenda and it is just this was the very first one and sometimes I get asked what's your favorite passage of Scripture.
I always answer it happens to be the one I'm studying today so this is my favorite passage of Scripture right now I were to look at. I got three main points.
But don't get too excited because there's three sub points to the second point so so we got six things were in a look at tonight on the first is what we will consider as the propulsion of grace.
Looking at verses 36 to 38 Amiri that to you once again. One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisees house and reclined the table and the hold a woman of the city who was a sinner when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisees house and brought an alabaster flask of ointment and standing behind him at his feet. Weeping, she began to wet his feet, her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with ointment, each gospel has an anointing passage and it the other three Gospels.
It's all the same anointing I John tells us in that anointing happens to be Mary and it happens right before Jesus's death. However, in the Luke. This is a different anointing passage is a different woman is a different time much earlier in the life and the ministry are of Jesus and its unique and how it's set apart from the other three accounts now Luke is made clear. If you read before these verses in the chapters preceding it that large crowds have been following Jesus. There is momentum and excitement surrounding this man and somewhere, some time this woman has previously heard Jesus speak. When I told where we don't know exactly when, but sometimes she has come into contact with Jesus. Prior to this dinner in Simon's house.
We know that because she is not converted in this passage. This is not her salvation account. Is he at some point. Previously, she heard Jesus and trusted in him and what we have in this passage is the outflow of her conversion.
What we think of as private life in the Western world was not the case in this time period, and context.
Just so you can get into in your mind.
The setting this house would have been built around a central courtyard.
Often times it was a garden, sometimes of the fountain in the center and that is where people would host important dinners. That's what's going on in Simon's house there gathered around the central courtyard and yet we have open floor plans in our homes but never would. We have an open house where for having people over dinner anyone from the neighborhood can just walk in. That is exactly how it was in this situation it was normal for people at these kinds of dinners to come and to go from them.
Those eating dinner. It was a low table they would reclined leaning into it with their arm on the table there left arm and they would eat with their right hand and their feet would be behind them so you can imagine there's a table in this courtyard. Simon is invited Jesus as an honored guest and all kinds of other important people to rub shoulders with this fascinating figure, and they're all reclining at the table and all the guests who aren't actually invited to the meal. There standing bus behind the feet of all the people reclining at the table and the purpose was to the those who walked in can hear the dialogue and listen and be part of it all. Behind the feet is where the woman was as with all the other uninvited guest and this woman is not named, but she is known by her reputation to everyone in Simon's house she's a woman with a notorious reputation.
Most commentators believe that based on the word that is used about her. She was most likely a prostitute. And though this gathering is open to the public. It was understood.
This was not meant for her kind, it may be open, but not her, not the people like her and she comes anyway prepared to face down the stairs of contempt. She comes to be despised for the sake of what she's about to do. She stoops of the feet of Christ to do for him what Simon failed to do a lot of commentators believe that maybe she was even prompted because she was so upset at seeing the discourtesy of Simon towards Jesus, that she had to make it right. There's nothing in here to suggest that the tears she was shedding were planned. A lot of commentators think she probably plan to anoint him if she had the opportunity, but there's a big problem here. She's overcome by emotion. The anointing she wanted to do, but her emotions get in the way you see, she cannot contain herself as she gets near to Jesus, you can imagine she's wanted to do this when our hands are quivering, her makeup is running down her face. She is a mess and she's actually creating a mess of a scene in the dust is being splattered up by the profuse amount of tears rolling down her face.
The text tells us that literally. The tears are hitting the dust and Jesus's feet are getting dirty because there's so much coming down and notice this. No one said a word the whole text. To this point there's not one bit of dialogue. The woman before she can anoint Jesus's feet.
She has to dry the tears in the dust off. She doesn't have a towel so would she do she takes down her hair.
When she did this, everyone in the room is scandalized. We don't have this, but in that culture. No woman was allowed to let down her hair in the presence of men only in front of your husband.
In fact, the talented allowed Jews to divorce their wives. If a husband ever caught his wife letting her hair down in front of another man. The whole crowd would've been scandalized.
Of course it's a prostitute letting her hair down. How dear she she shouldn't be here in the first place and she bends down and starts taking her hair and wiping Jesus's feet, cleaning them off drying them. She breaks every social taboo in doing this, and she is a self forgetful mass. It's like she doesn't care about what anyone else in the room is thinking and what what's going on here. This is why I call this section, the propulsion of grace is that Grace has propelled her into action for her Savior where she wanted to she wants to show him her love. She wants to serve Jesus because she has experienced the love of Christ in her life. Her actions are all evidence of her adoration is her love for Jesus that allows you to show up in this hostile crowd in the first place, and despite her sad past. This woman is brimming with spiritual life and consider Jesus in this the people looking on our scandalized and shocked.
But Jesus gives no indication of desiring to move away from her of trying to distance himself from her. He gives no indication that he even wants to push her away from him. When she came to Jesus. We have no sense of any judgment holism in Jesus and Jesus did not do what so many people do which is condemn the outward sins while ignoring the inward sense. Jesus freely received her to himself as he does all centers who come to him. You see, one of the important things understand about this text is this woman did not do these things in order to receive grace. She did these things because she had already received grace. Jesus makes this point clear the very end of the chapter and the point is this grace that has been received always propels the recipient into some kind of action is to grace changes us.
Grace impacts our worship. It causes us to love Christ and the love his church well and deeply. Grace is what propels us into action, to share our faith even when we may be mocked for doing so. Grace is what allows us to deny ourselves for the sake of Christ. Grace is what prompts acts of service, it generates true generosity in our giving, it allows us to sacrifice all for the one who saves us you know of William Whiting boarding. He was the heir of the famous Borden family.
He was 25 years old. He Artie graduated from both Yale and Princeton and he was air to the vast Borden estate palatial houses a family income that was estimated in today's dollars would be about $750 million and William Whiting boarding because of his faith in Jesus Christ was propelled to give his life away in service to the one who saved him what he did. He became a missionary to Muslims and everyone thought he was insane. William Whiting Borden died a few years into his ministry to the Muslims. And when people found his Bible, they found written in large letters on the back no reserve no retreats and no regret see Borden was propelled by grace to give his life away for the king who saved his life.
Grace always propels God's people into action for the kingdom.
And that's what this woman is doing in this passage she is serving and loving her king because of the grace she's received.
The second thing from this passage was to consider the destructive power of self-righteousness. There's three aspects to this. And these won't show up on the slide for the first is self-righteousness blinds us. Look at verses 39 now when the Pharisee who'd invited him saw this he said to himself. If this man were a prophet he would have known who and what sort of woman. This is who is touching him for she is a center. Can you hear the contempt in this Pharisee's mind it to me.
I love this look like a master artist in this passage because here still in verse 39 no warrant has been spoken slightly doesn't say this out loud, he's just thinking this and he is thinking. Jesus can't be a prophet because of what he is allowing was Jesus do. He shows he knows exactly what I was thinking improves is a prophet by answering directly Simon's very thoughts is wonderful. Jesus is not just a prophet is of the Messiah. He's the hope of Israel, and here's the point Simon missed out on the fact that the Messiah was reclining at his table in his household and he missed it because his self righteousness is put blinders over his eyes. Simon's not only blind Jesus is also blind to the woman and that's why Jesus says to him in verse 44 Simon, do you see this woman what assignments he when he looked at this woman and his smug self-righteousness.
All she was with her sin. No longer is this person a person of worth and value. A person made in the image of God. All she is is sin. She's contemptible to him. His self-righteousness allowed him to treat her with disdain, and he actually felt justified in his contempt.
Here's the sad fact of the matter. Self-righteousness will do the same within us. It will always blindness to our Savior and it will blind us to those around us.
The second aspect of self-righteousness that self-righteousness breaks fellowship.
Look at verses 44 to 46 Jesus says to Simon I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in.
She is not ceased to kiss my feet.
You did not anoint my head with oil, but she is anointed, my feet with ointment Simon self-righteousness is not some private spiritual problem. Our self-righteousness is never some private spiritual problem.
Why, because self-righteousness manifests itself in broken relationships all the time.
Simon shows he is a broken relationship with his guest of honor because normally when the host would've gone for a guest like Jesus. Jesus walks in. Simon would immediately put his hand on the shoulder and welcomed him, he would've kissed him on both sides of the cheek with the blessing of shalom, he would've arranged for the guest to have his feet washed with water, sometimes the host would've done it himself. Sometimes he would've had a slave do it but you would wash their dirty feet of the open sandaled and then you would usually get some kind of olive oil mixed with spices and ointment and you would anoint their head is a perfume thing it was all customary signs of honoring a guest see Simon self-righteousness caused him from the very beginning to break fellowship with Jesus and ignoring what he should have done from the start.
None of those things had taken place and here's a great contrast, all of them were done by the sinful woman all the things Simon should have done an even more were done. What a contrast then durian a great scholar and teacher writes this. How often do we treat Jesus the same way. We have invited him into our hearts, but there's far more hospitality for us to give the honor of our worship. The greeting of our prayer.
If we have neglected these privileges remaining indifferent to the presence of Jesus in our lives. Then we have treated the son of God with shocking contempt seems not limited to, Pharisees, we can do it easily in our Sunday worship by just mouthing the words of this are self-righteousness, though causes broken fellowship in the church to you guys know this. In Luke's gospel. This is a constant theme. Grace creates community self-righteousness destroys community. Let me ask you this, when you see sin real sin and other people when their sins smacks you in the face.
How do you respond I love this and I set out below that winter since matching the Al how do you respond do we respond like Simon and we treat them as not even made in the image of God do we reject them out of hand when my professors from reformed theological seminary used to say he still does all the time we Presbyterians believe in the doctrine of total depravity. But when we find any of it in the church kicked the person out his point is that self-righteousness breaks fellowship when you do, what is your heart toward someone. Usually what we do is this. If they sin like us were okay with them if they sin differently than us we judge them.
We need to be careful because the spirit of Simon can creep in to churches so easily. The third aspect of self-righteousness is that self-righteousness condemns us look at verses 41 to 43, a certain moneylender had two debtors one owed 500 Mary. I and the other 50. When they could not pay. He canceled the debt of both now which of them will love him more and Simon's answer here the commentators all agree is very begrudging to Jesus, the one I suppose.
For who we cancel the larger debt and Jesus says you have judged rightly and notice Jesus's parable here does not deal with the amount of sin in a person's life.
What is about is whether or not the person has awareness of their sin. Is he Jesus actually shares is very short parable, genuinely to try and show Simon his problem. There is a wide variety of sinners out there is a wide variety of sinners in this room tonight. Some of us are reprobate sinners. Some of us are respectable sinners. Here's the point of Jesus is parable all sinners reprobate and respectable are dead in their sins. Everyone is equally bankrupt before a holy God.
And we all stand in desperate need of his grace is he and Simon's economy the woman is beyond the grace of God and Simon in his self-righteousness doesn't need the grace of God is he Simon self-righteousness is so blinded him to himself and his own need.
He stands condemned before the Savior see the high class moralist has the same problem as the low class prostitute. You probably have heard of this, the Countess of Huntington was a great supporter of John Wesley and George Whitfield and she invited a Duchess to come in here Whitfield preach one evening and the Duchess wrote back to the Countess, these words it is monstrous to be told that you have a heart as simple as the common wretches that crawl the face of the earth.
This is highly offensive and insulting to me, self-righteousness condemns you, and you know what is not just 20 duchesses they can have that attitude. Everyone everyone stands in the need of grace. Why because, as Paul tells us all have sinned and fall short of the righteousness of God. All we can learn from the apostle Paul in this regard.
In first Timothy 115. Here's what he says here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. This is Paul I am the worst of sinners. What is that is that some pious statement by the apostle.
Not a whole. This is a hard that is been sensitized to the reality of sin by walking with Jesus.
You see, the longer we walk with Jesus, the bigger our sin appears to us because the more we see it for what it really is that we all stand condemned because it in without Jesus we are helpless and hopeless is it with this passage, forces us to ask are we more like Simon, or more like the woman. It forces us to ask what kind of a person will we be what kind of a person.
Are we becoming sometimes Christians thinking that I'm quite all right. We become much more like Simon than we do like the woman who recognizes her sin. If Christians fail to live in humble repentance. We will look more like Simon and this woman and that's part of the purpose of this passage.
Who are we in this narrative account were certainly not Jesus. You are great, great, finally look at the blessing of forgiveness verses 48 and 50 and he said to her, I love this Jesus looks at the woman he said to her, your sins are forgiven and those who were at table with him began to say among themselves who is this that even who even forgives sins and he said to the woman, your faith has saved you go in peace. Jesus says this so all may hear it. He says it for the benefit of Simon and all the onlookers because he is making the point of them. I have the authority to forgive sins. I am not just a profit.
I am the son of God.
I am the hoped-for Messiah and I have all authority to pronounce forgiveness of sins.
Jesus makes that clear to everyone, but he also says these words for the benefit of the woman. She sometimes sinners, sometimes I have trouble believing that God really has grace for me here ever felt that way. See if she had any doubt that evening, Jesus looks into her eyes and with the love and compassion and grace. The living word speaks of life. Your horse's African veggies doesn't visit here physically to do that to us by God's word does it is one of the reasons I believe John wrote one of his letters. If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from someone righteousness now all unrighteousness. Sometimes sinners need to hear those words how wonderful. As we sing my sin not in part but the whole has been nailed to the cross and I bear it no more praise the Lord. Praise the Lord my soul. When you sing those words. I hope you will help with the love and the emotion at the truth. Bear with me one more minute want to miss this one point, I thought it was kinda cool. Jesus says of the woman at in one piece. In the Greek literally it is go into peace and you may not care about this, but I liked it if the rabbis thought that go in peace was a statement, you would say to the dead. But if you say it to the living he say go into peace.
And Jesus says to the woman here. Go into peace step fully into the shalom of God, the flourishing of God in every way in your life. The sinful woman stepped into the flourishing of God in every way. This is the blessing of forgiveness.
Isn't it wonderful that Jesus allows sinners to draw near to him. Here Jesus didn't just come to save people who skip their morning devotions. He came for real ugly sinners. He did come for those who skip morning devotions. He came for those who lie about not skipping morning devotions. Jesus came for those caught up in squalid choices. He came for those living with failed dreams he came for you and he came for me to see we are really good at sending but our Savior is really good African one match when a match. Here's the good news. Jesus still eats and drinks with sinners. The next time we have communion here grace. Remember that it's a meal Jesus and Jesus welcomes sinners into his presence. The bad news is really bad, but the good news is far better God's grace is greater than all of our sin this Thanksgiving and maybe a tough one. I know it's tough for many reasons. Some people can't travel some people. This is your first Thanksgiving without a loved one.
Maybe it's a tough Thanksgiving because of some the things in this passage. Perhaps you've been carrying a load of guilt and shame what Luke seven tells us is drawn near to Jesus because he will not turn you away. Maybe you've been living under the condemnation of a self-righteous twit in your life. Fix your eyes on Jesus, because he will set you free. You don't have to worry when Jesus says you are pure and holy and acceptable.
It doesn't matter what anyone else says his level set you free.
Maybe you've been a self-righteous twit see your sin, your great need of grace and turned to him in humble repentance and here's what you'll find his grace is sufficient for everything doing these things could help us to experience the love and the joy that flow from Christ. This Thanksgiving, and oh what a meal we might have wherever we have it on Thursday). Jesus clearly praise you and we thank you. We are not here tonight because we are somehow good enough. Not one of us is earned anything you have done it all. Lord, thank you that you welcome sinners close to you. You don't push us away. You trust near father God, thank you that because the perfect work of your son, we can call him because of him and him alone. We stand pure holy site. May we walk in the freedom and the joy and the true life that is ours in Jesus Christ tonight and always as you propel us forth to share the goodness in your holy name we pray