Memphis Belle

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Luke 1:1-38
Luke 1:39-80 Luke 2:1-38 Luke 2:39 - 3:17 Luke 3:19-4:23 Luke 4:14-5:11
Luke 5:12-26 Luke 5:27 6:11 Luke 6:12-49 Luke 7:1-23 Luke 7:24-50 Luke 8:1-18
Luke 8:19-40
Luke 8:40-56 Luke 9:1-27 Luke 9:26-50 Luke 9:51 to 10:24 Luke 10:25-42
Luke 11:1-13 Luke 11:14-44 Luke 12:1-21 Luke 12:22-48 Luke 12:49 - 13:17 Luke 13:18-35
Luke 14:7-35 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:24-32 Luke 16:13-31 Luke 17:1-26
Luke 17:26-37 Luke 18:9-27 Luke 18:31-43 Luke 19:1-27 Luke 19:28-48 Luke 20:1-26
Luke 20: 27-47 Luke 21: 5-36 Luke 22: 1-20 Luke 22:21-34 Luke 22: 35-53 Luke 22: 54-71
Luke 23: 13-43 Luke 23: 43-56 Luke 24: 1-35 Luke 24: 36-53    
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Luke 7:24-50

 

“And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John.  What went ye out into the wilderness for to see?  A reed shaken with the wind?  But what went ye out for to see?  A man clothed in soft raiment?  Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.  But what went ye out for to see?  A prophet?  Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.  This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.  For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist:  but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.  And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.  But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.  And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I then liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?  They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling to one another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.  For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say He hath a devil.  The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!  But wisdom is justified of all her children.  And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him.  And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down at meat.  And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him:  for she is a sinner.  And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.  And he saith, Master, say on.  There was a certain creditor which had two debtors:  the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.  And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.  Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?  Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.  And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.  And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman?  I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet:  but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.  Thou gavest me no kiss:  but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.  My head with oil thou didst not anoint:  but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.  Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much:  but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.  And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.  And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?  And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” 

 

“As you’re turning there by the way, ladies tomorrow night, of course the Woman’s Study will begin here in the church at 7:30, ah, no child-care.  Don’t bring your kids or infants and say ‘I didn’t think that meant children and infants.’  That’s what it means.  And I encourage you, it’s going to run through the spring towards the end of the summer, the beginning of the summer, so the ladies have a great time.  Once in a while I’ve had opportunity to speak at the Women’s Study.  Man, that’s a fun study, because they are raring to go, away from the husband, away from the kids, away from the dishes, away from the vacuum cleaner, they are ready to go.  And that’s a great study, so I encourage you tomorrow evening that begins.  We are really at verse 24, I’m going to back up to verse 19 after we pray, and we’ll look at our passage from there.  ‘Father, we do settle our hearts as we continue.  We thank you that we can gather in a public facility, Lord.  We think of those in Chechnya that are believers, that are persecuted, that are threatened with death.  Lord, thank you for the open door and the wonderful opportunity Lord to give something of ourselves to those particularly of the household of faith that are less fortunate.  And Lord, we are blessed Lord, beyond, Lord what we I’m sure have had time to thank you for everyday.  Lord, to sit here in a facility with air-conditioning and heating and clean rooms, and Lord, Sunday school and the bookstore and tape-lending and Lord all of the tools you have given us.  Lord, let us be great stewards over these things.  Father, I pray you would do that in my life, Father, that we would buy up every opportunity, as you say in your Word, particularly as we see Lord your return drawing near, that Lord, more than ever we would walk circumspectly in this present world, Lord, taking every opportunity you set before us.  Give us wisdom Father.  And Lord we according to your abundant mercy lift our lives to you once again, living sacrifices, Lord, that you might transform us Lord, renewing our minds by the power of your Spirit.  Lord, never let us be conformed to this world, Lord.  We trust in your power, your keeping, in Jesus name, amen.’

 

Because of Unfulfilled Expectation, John Doubts Jesus’ Messiahship

 

Let’s begin in verse 19 and read down to verse 23 where we left off.  Well verse 18 says, “And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things [the miraculous ministry of Christ].  And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?  When the men were come unto him, they said, John the Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?  And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.  Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.  And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (verses 18-23).  And it ends, by the way, with a stern rebuke.  Now, again, John the Baptist is in the prison in the Fortress Marcarus, he’s been there for about ten months.  John the Baptist is an outside kind of guy, he’s used to hanging out in the wilderness, he’s not used to being cramped in, in the darkness.  He’s used to eating locusts and wild honey, and preaching out in the open air, and all of a sudden he is thrown into this prison.  And remember, as we look at John, it tells us in John’s Gospel chapter 1, “There was a man sent from God.”  Remember as we look at his life, John the Baptist was a man, and he was the kind of man that you and I are, a hu-man.  And yet he was great, Jesus tells us.  Luke 16:16 says the prophets prophecied until John, he was the last of the Old Testament prophets.  Jesus will tell us “Of those born among women, none has arisen greater than John, but he that’s least in the Kingdom is greater than John.”  So Jesus’ own words will tell us, he’s greater than Elijah, he’s greater than Isaiah, greater than David, greater than Abraham, greater than Abel, greater than all of the Old Testament prophets we’ve known and are familiar with.  And it tells us in John chapter 10, verse 41 that John the Baptist did no sign, he didn’t speak in tongues, he didn’t heal anybody, there’s nothing like that attached to him.  The greatness of the man was directly related to the fact that he was a prophet that was prophecied of by the Old Testament prophets of the one who would be able to point his finger at the Messiah, and say, “Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.”  So his message was more clear and more direct and more current than any prophet that had ever prophecied.  And yet, Jesus says, he who is least, that’s you and I, in the Kingdom, is greater than John.  So for me then, as I, because believe it or not, our message is more clear.  We know the chapter.  If we were in prison we wouldn’t have sent a messenger to Jesus saying “Are you the One to come, or should we look for somebody else?”  We might have sent a messenger saying ‘If you love me, how come your are letting me stay in this dungeon?’  or we might have sent him a messenger saying ‘Get me outa here!’  or we might have sent a messenger saying something else.  But we see a clearer picture than John the Baptist did.  And as we look at him, we have a great picture of what was his greatness, what his frailty was, and yet the wonder of the man, I think.  Now look, the rebuke is in regards to this, that because of unfulfilled expectation, he is doubting Jesus at this time.  He had known Jesus, he had pointed at Jesus, he had said “I must decrease that he might increase.”  And he had told the world, ‘This is the One, the latchet of whose sandals I’m not worthy to unloose, he will baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire, even now he’s gathering the wheat into his garner and he’s going to cleanse away the chaff with unquenchable fire.’  He had had a remarkable message, and now we find him struggling, and we find him doubting.  And it is because of unfulfilled expectation.  And there is a stern rebuke that comes, “Blessed is he who is not offended in me.”  In other words, Jesus is saying, ‘I’m doing things in a way that John the Baptist did not expect me to do them, and I am not doing things that he did expect me to do.’  And I think sometimes as Christians, you know, we struggle here.  We get saved and sometimes we’re enjoying that initial experience with Jesus so much that it blows our minds, and he’s being so gracious to us and nurturing us.  And the Bible tells us, as newborn babes we should desire the sincere milk of the Word, and we’re on fire.  And then we find, though, as life goes on, that we are not in heaven, we’re still on earth.  We find as we go on that our bodies are breaking down as they get older, we find as we go on that Christians have great difficulty sometimes, I think of those,  that prayer-group in Kentucky where the kids were sitting in a circle praying, and a classmate, 14, and killed three of them while they were in prayer.  And if God is God, why would he let this happen?  And, you know, God is doing something in a way that we didn’t expect him to do it, or it doesn’t seem right to us.  Of course, the ultimate slam is if we say ‘If I was God’, you know, that would make the world a better place, wouldn’t it?  [laughter]  ‘You  know, if I was God, I wouldn’t do it this way.’  And one of the things that stumbles us is when Jesus does not do something we expect him to do, sometimes giving us a husband, sometimes getting rid of a husband.  [laughter]  You know, sometimes we expect, ‘Well if you love me, Lord, and I seek you in my heart, and I don’t want to consume this in my own lust, and this is your Word’ and we don’t see it pan-out the way we expect it to, or if he does something we never expected him to do, and we’re saying, ‘Lord, how could this be?’  And John the Baptist is there, and he’s struggling with that.  And Jesus had come to do his Father’s will, he said ‘My meat is to do his will, and to complete the work of the one who sent me.’  He’s saying to John, ‘I’m fulfilling what the Old Testament prophets said of me, I’m doing the Father’s will.’  And he’s saying to John the Baptist “And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me.”  And we have a picture of John the Baptist, to be offended, it’s the scandelon, it speaks of stumbling or it’s the part of the trap that the bait is attached to, the scandelon.  And it’s very interesting, Jesus is touching John the Baptist where he hurts, and says, ‘Hey look, as great as a prophet he is, this is where his struggle is right now.  I am not fulfilling his expectation.  And because of unfulfilled expectation, here is the greatest prophet that’s ever lived, doubting.’  Now, in one sense that’s an encouragement to us, because we see that there was a man sent from God, just like today he sends a man or a woman, a human being.  And as Jesus gives his estimation of John, he’s going to say he’s the greatest prophet that’s ever lived.  Now he doesn’t send that message back to John, he waits until John’s disciples leave, and then he builds John’s ego when John won’t hear it.  He just says to these guys, ‘You go back, and you tell him this.  You’re seeing the dead raised, the blind, their eyes are being opened, the deaf are receiving their hearing, lepers are being cleansed, demons are being cast out, the poor have the good news preached to them.  And blessed is he whosoever is not offended in me.  Go back and tell him that.’  And John’s disciples then begin to walk away.  And as they walk away, then, then Jesus starts to say something different to the crowd. 

 

Jesus’ Real Description of John the Baptist

 

Verse 24, “And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see?  A reed shaken with the wind?”---now John was down preaching by the Jordan and it was common for the reeds to grow there.  Jesus was saying, ‘You didn’t go out there to see a reed shaken in the wind.  He wasn’t blown by the political wind of the day.  He didn’t compromise.  You know the Pharisees overlooked Herod’s sin, John’s the one who stood out there and called him an adulterer, told him that he was living in sin.’ He said ‘You didn’t go out there to see a reed shaken in the wind, John was not blown by the moral wind of the day, he wasn’t compromising morally.’  He was an austere man, he was out there.  They said that he had a demon, we’re going to read that.  He was a prophet, his life was set aside to God.  ‘You didn’t go out to see a reed shaken in the wind.’  Jesus was saying ‘If there was some weakling down there, nobody would have gone out, there’s enough of them everywhere.  You went up there to see somebody with guts.  You went to see somebody who stood up for what they believed, and who spoke the word that God put in his mouth.  He says, “But what went ye out for to see?  A man clothed in soft raiment?  Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.”---not in the king’s dungeon.  ‘You didn’t go out to see somebody putting on a fashion-show,’ John was dressed with a leather girdle, had grasshopper legs in his beard.  You know the world likes a compromiser, the world likes celebrities, you know.  Isn’t it interesting, sometimes we get mad when we hear our Congressman is making $200,000 a year, plus perks.  Hey, what’s Bobby H. gonna make next year?  That’s ok, that’s ok, 5 million for two years, that’s ok, it’s ok, he’s our football player, not our Congressman.  And it is ok with me.  [laughter]  ‘But you didn’t go out to see somebody arrayed in gorgeous apparel, you know, those politicians are somewhere else, they’re in kings’ houses.’  That’s the kind of person the world loves, somebody who compromises, doesn’t offend anybody, nice to everybody, on everybody’s good side, coming up with a plan to make everybody happy, a celebrity.  ‘That’s not who you went out to see.’  “But what went you out to see?  A prophet?  Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.”  Jesus says ‘Yes…’  “This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.  For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist:  but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (verses 24-28).  Isn’t it interesting, he says this after John’s messengers leave?  And he gives you now his appraisal.  I’m wondering, when John is back in prison and these messengers come back, and they say ‘He said to tell you this, we saw the dead raised, the blind receive their sight, saw the deaf hear’ and so forth, and he says blessed is he whosoever is not offended in me.’  And I wonder if John thought, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t have doubted.’  You know, he was back in prison, wrestling.  And yet Jesus, isn’t it interesting to see God’s view of him?  I think of Paul when he started the riot in Jerusalem, all along he thought ‘If I could just get back to Jerusalem and share my faith with my countrymen, I’m a Jew of the Jews, of the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised on the 8th day, I have all of the credentials, if I could get back there and share with them, certainly I could communicate Christ to them.’  And Paul goes back and he starts a riot, you remember what happens, the Romans had to rescue him.  And he’s thrown in the dungeon, and that night it says Jesus appears to him in the dungeon, and says ‘Paul, you gave a great testimony.’  Paul’s down there condemned, the Devil’s hacking on him, he’s thinking ‘Oh, I blew it, I started a riot, I wanted to tell people about the love of Christ, the army had to come in, single-handedly I brought the army in.’  And Jesus says, ‘No, you gave a great testimony, and I’m not done with you, I’m going to send you to Rome.’  And I think in the same way, here’s John the Baptist, he’s struggling, but God’s standing outside of him, saying, ‘This is the greatest prophet that ever lived.’ 

 

The Difference Between a Prophet and a Priest

 

Now it’s interesting, he should have been a priest.  His father, Zacharias was a priest.  He was in Aaron’s line.  And you know a priest has a much easier job than a prophet.  Because a priest, if he wants to know how to do something, ‘What do I do now?  Oh yea, I turn back to Leviticus, ok, this is how I make this sacrifice, this is how I do this, a heave offering, a wave offering, this is what I do here, and this is how I go in on the morning, I offer this sacrifice and this sacrifice in the evening.’  And the priest’s life is very ordered and this is the way he does things, and ‘this is how I do this, and this is how I do that.’  Prophet, much different.  A prophet is the one who is listening, you know, he doesn’t get his marching orders for the rest of his life written out like that, in one sense.  But he’s daily listening for the voice of the Lord.  Interesting, it says ‘the prophets wrote, Behold I send my messenger before thy face.’  I have a question mark in my Bible next to that, ‘Lord, is that me?  That’s what I want to be, Lord, I want to be your messenger, I want to be able to say what Paul did, ‘I have delivered unto you that which I have received of the Lord.’  You know, I don’t want to sit down somewhere with some book on the greatest sermons ever, and just get all the outlines, you know, this outline and that outline.  ‘Lord, I want to get an outline from you.  I want to know what you’re saying, Lord.  I want to be your messenger.’  And you see, as I look at this interesting situation, Jesus says the greatness of the man was that he was his messenger.  The greatness of the man was not that he understood everything that was going on.  He didn’t, and he had questions.  And when he got in trouble, and didn’t have the answers, he doubted.  Imagine that.  Just like you and I.  But the greatness of the man was in this, when he did know, he opened his mouth.  When he did know what God wanted him to do, look out!  And you see, God doesn’t hold us accountable for what we don’t know.  He holds us accountable for what we do know.  And what do we do with what we do know?  That determines our greatness in the Kingdom.  Do we bow the knee of our heart to the things that we know that he’s setting in front of us?  In our private lives, is there integrity there, when we’re in a place that no man can see?  And we do those things sometimes, or play with those things, or maybe it’s sin, or whatever, thinking ‘Lord, nobody can see, it’s between you and I, and I know you’re changing me.’  No, the greatness of John the Baptist was, even in the wilderness, when he was young, maybe 14, 15, he was alone in the desert, when he heard the voice of the Lord he yielded to it.  His greatness was in his obedience.  His greatness was in that he responded to what he did know.  Does that mean that there were things that he didn’t know, that he struggled with?  Of course, you and I have those things too.  And Jeremiah struggled, and David struggled, and Abraham struggled.  And Paul says, him and Silas, he despaired of life itself.  ‘We wished we were dead, we were overcome when we came into Asia.’  And with all of them, and all of us, there will be in our lives, times when we don’t understand why the Lord is doing what he’s doing, or we don’t understand why the Lord is not doing what we think he should be doing, if we wrote the script.  And at that time he says to us, ‘Blessed is he whosoever is not offended in me that I’m not stumbling them, but that they can know in their heart I’m fulfilling the Father’s will, even in this difficult situation that seems to reflect none of God’s love.’  But what Jesus will brag about before the Father, and the thing that we will receive rewards for when we stand at the Bemis throne of Christ, are the things that we did do, that he put in front of us.  It’s ‘How do we respond to the things we do know?’  You know, I heard Charles Swindol say a number of years ago, and I think he was right, it was on a tape-set he had on marriage, and it was a great set.  And he said, “But our problem is,” when he was all done, he said, “we don’t lack for knowing, we lack for doing.  All of us wives” (speaking on behalf of you wives) “have heard the verses, we’ve heard the text, we’ve heard Dobson, we’ve heard Swindol, we know what it says, and it’s impossible, that’s why we don’t do it.  And all of us husbands know, we know, lay down your lives as Christ laid his down for the Church.  Love your wives the way Christ loved the Church, sacrificially, he entered into the Church’s world and bled for the Church, to benefit the life of the Church, and to give life to the Church.  We know.  We don’t lack for knowing.  We lack for doing.”  And the greatness of a man, or a woman, or a child in the Kingdom of God is directly related to, the throne they bow the knee to.  It’s directly related to their obedience. The authority that we walk in is directly related to the throne that we bow to.  It isn’t related to what we don’t know.  Yes, and Jesus even said to his disciples “I have many things to say to you now, but you’re not yet able to bear them.”  And you know, I still think there are things like that in our own lives.  I think of what’s going on in my life now, and I think ‘If Jesus would have told me some of the things that he was going to take me through the day I got saved [called] I’d have said ‘No, no, no thanks.’  You know, but just as we raise a child at home, as they grow and as they learn, and slowly more is expected of them, and it’s for their benefit, we want to see their best.  And God does the same with us.  Allen Redpath, when he was dying, Don McClure told me, he went, flew to England, walked into his bedroom, and Allen Redpath (and they had lived together for awhile) said, “I knew you would come.”  And he was dying of a terminal illness, he was in great pain, had served God greatly all of his life, written many books, well respected, well loved of believers.  [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Redpath]  And Don asked him if he was ok, and he said “I don’t know,”  he said, “I’ve realized in my pain, that the greatest battles are fought right before the war is over [cf Matthew 24:9-14].”  And as Jesus looked at John the Baptist, he says, “Behold, my messenger…”  I like that.  Lord, let that be me.  What do we have to live for in this world?  Retire and join the golf club?  What do we have to live for, except other human beings?  What will survive eternity but human lives?  The rest, it’s gonna burn.  It’s fun now, I understand, it’s gonna burn. 

 

The Right to Kill Yourself---and how

 

Now, you and I, he says “he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he [John]”.  John was the greatest born among women.  Now you and I have had more than that.  Everyone in this room was born of a woman.  And then we were born of the Spirit.  So we were born twice.   By the way, if you’re here and don’t know Christ, that’s the rule, you have to be born twice.  The Bible says there are two deaths, very important for you to understand.  Physical death, and spiritual death.  Physical death is temporary, spiritual death is eternal.  See, that’s how Satan deceives someone into committing suicide, is because they think that if they kill their physical body, they’ll be out of pain.  That’s the deception, it just begins then goes on eternally.  [There are various beliefs about what heaven and hell are within the Body of Christ.  To read about some of these, log onto:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm]  But the good news is, there is a way around that, there’s a way around it.  If you want to kill yourself, you can kill yourself.  But you have to know how to do it.  Because there’s no sense killing your body.  It got dressed, brushed its teeth, drove to church, it’s sitting here listening to me.  The body is not what you’re trying to kill, you’re trying to kill something inside, kill the emptiness, kill the pain.  There’s a way to do it, and Paul gives it to us when he says “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live.  Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.  And the life that I now live I live for the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”  So there is a way.  And Jesus says it.  You loose your life for the Gospel, and then you find it.  If you struggle and strive to find your own life, you end up loosing it and end up with nothing.  So, if you are only born once, the Bible says you die twice.  But the Bible says this, if you’re born twice, you only die once.  So you were born the day you were born, and the Bible says you need to be born-again.  If you’re born-again, you can enter into the Kingdom of God, you may die physically, but you’ll never die spiritually, you’ll live forever in his presence, in glory, and in wonder, and in joy.  [Comment:  And this living forever occurs at the resurrection to Immortality, spoken of by Paul in 1st Corinthians 15:49-54.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm]   You have to make that decision, born once, you’ll die twice, born twice, die once.  You and I, he says, are greater.  ‘He who is least in the kingdom is greater than John,’ because we were born of women like John, but then we were born-again, by God’s Holy Spirit, which has given us life, same life, same life, available. 

 

Wisdom is Justified of Her Children---Look at the proof, the fruit

 

“All the people” verse 29, “that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.”  They justified God, because they had been baptized with John’s baptism, they liked that.  Jesus was saying, ‘John the Baptist, greatest prophet that ever lived.  All the sinners said ‘I like that, he’s the guy who baptized me, I was baptized by the greatest prophet that ever lived’, that looks good on your resume’.  “But the Pharisees and lawyers [these are doctors of the Law] rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him” (verse 30).  “The counsel of God against themselves” means that they were convicted in their hearts, they knew what John was saying was true and that they were sinners.  “And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?  They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.  For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.  The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!  But wisdom is justified of all her children” (verses 31-34).  You know, Jesus is saying, ‘This is the greatest prophet that ever lived.  The sinners and the harlots and the prostitutes listen to him, and responded, because they knew they had sin in their hearts, but the religious people of the day, the Pharisees and Sadducees rejected the counsel of God and turned away [because they couldn’t see the sin in their own hearts].’  And Jesus said, ‘What do I liken this generation to?’  He said ‘They’re like kids playing in the marketplace.’  They’re saying, ‘Let’s play wedding’ and some of them are saying ‘Nah, we don’t want to play wedding.’  And then some of them say, ‘Well let’s play funeral,’ and they’re saying ‘Nah, we don’t want to mourn.’  He said, ‘You don’t know what you want, you don’t want to be happy, you don’t want to be sad.’  He said, ‘In fact, John the Baptist came to you, he’s an austere man, he’s a prophet, he lived in the wilderness, no compromise.  You say he’s demon possessed.  Now the Son of man is come, eating and drinking, spending time with human beings, and you say ‘Oh, he’s just a glutton and a drunkard.’  But Jesus says, “But wisdom is justified of her children.” (verse 35)  You see, you can sit here tonight, you can say ‘Ah, don’t give me that church stuff, you guys are crazy in here.’  Well, wisdom is justified of her children.  You know, if you find something that is more life-changing than Jesus Christ, I would like to know about that, because I haven’t.  And you can criticize the Church [Body of Christ], you can criticize religion, do all of that, but when I see someone who used to be a druggy like me, and see their life transformed, or see someone who used to be an alcoholic and see their life transformed, or see someone who says ‘You know, I couldn’t even talk, I didn’t even like to talk to people’, people used to say, ‘What’s wrong with him, he doesn’t even talk, what’s wrong with that guy?’  And he won’t even shut up, now.  You know, I remember when I was in high school I couldn’t even read Cliff Notes [laughter], let alone the book I was supposed to be reading.  I read all the time now.  Wisdom is justified of her children, look at what is produced, and you can see.  Look at the fruit of something, and you can determine what it’s like.

 

The Story of Simon the Pharisee

 

Now, it’s interesting, tied onto the tail-end of this part of the record, is this story of a Pharisee named Simon.  And he ate dinner at his house where a woman comes and begins to pour out the contents of an alabaster box on the feet of Jesus, and to weep, and to wipe his feet with her hair, and to kiss his feet.  Now don’t confuse this with Matthew 26, and I think Mark 14, and John 12, where it tells us at a different dinner in the house of Simon who used to be a leper.  This is Simon a Pharisee.  And it tells us right there (in Matthew 26) that it was Mary, the sister of Martha, John identifies for us.  That is a different event.  [ie, this woman is not Mary, sister of Martha, we don’t know who this woman was.]  Luke alone gives us this particular record, it’s in the house of a religious man, who evidently invites Jesus over, maybe out of curiosity, certainly looking at him suspiciously, trying to find something wrong with him.  It says, “And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him.  And he went into the Pharisees house, and sat down to meat.”  Jesus never turned down an opportunity to eat with somebody.  You’ll notice that about Jesus.  He likes to eat with people.  He’ll say to Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus, come down from the tree, I’m going to eat at your house today [cf. Luke 19:1-10, the chief Jewish tax collector working for Rome stationed in Jericho].  After his resurrection he says to Thomas, touch me, feel my side and the nail marks in my hand, doth the spirit hath flesh and bone?  You have anything here to eat?’  [laughter]  They said, ‘That’s him.’  He said when he comes and establishes his Kingdom, many will come from the east and west to sit down at a table with him, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  In Revelation he says ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anybody opens, I’ll come in and I’ll eat with him.’  [laughter]  Partaking of life.  You know, because it’s at the table.  You know, I love, when I’m away in Israel traveling somewhere, I can’t wait to get home.  I just like to be home.  That’s the way God wired me.  And I love to sit at the table with our four kids, because it is a riot.  I mean, sometimes you have to, you know, get out the Mace and calm everybody down, [laughter] but it is just so much fun, because they’re all so different, one of them is a comedian, at least one of them at every meal, and it’s just so much fun. But there’s so much that goes on at the table, there’s so many dynamics.  And the table is such a wonderful and healthy place, I think.  You know, life is crazy, it isn’t that we get to do it every night, sometimes we’re driving through it at our table, you know.  But at least a couple nights a week we all get to sit together at the table and talk and laugh, and it really is wonderful.  We take turns praying when we pray over the meal, ‘Who wants to pray tonight?’  I like it when Kathy prays on Saturday night, because she always prays for the sermon, and on Sunday mornings she does a good job.  You know, I like to get the best I can, Saturday evening.  “He desired that he would eat with him.  And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat”, to food, to the table.  “And, behold [“Consider this,” that’s what “behold” means], a woman in the city, which was a sinner,”---now evidently she has some notoriety, because Simon’s going to say, ‘Well if Jesus knew who this woman was, and what kind of a sinner she was’, so evidently her sin is well-known, a lot of that lends itself to many thinking she was a prostitute, she may have been, we don’t know.---“when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him, weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself [notice, “within himself”, he’s thinking, you can see a little caption come up], saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him:  for she is a sinner.”  (verses 37-40)  Jesus goes into this man’s house.  Now, in that culture, it was permissible, if some person with notoriety, visiting rabbi, a notable person, a politician, someone of notoriety, famous artist, if somebody came to your house for dinner, it was permissible, sometimes they would eat outside in the courtyard, we’re not told, but it was permissible for folks in the town to come and sit around the wall, and quietly listen to the conversation at the dinner table.  Because they didn’t have cable, they didn’t have remote control on their TV, they didn’t have telephones, they didn’t have fax machines.  You know, big news was, ‘Hey, the itinerate preacher from Galilee is in Simon’s house, ooh,’ everybody would run down there and just sit quietly and listen, and it was entertainment.  They were educated that way, they were informed that way.  So it wasn’t unusual for people to come in.  Now they’re eating at a triclinium, and those of you who were just in Israel with us, we ate at a triclinium, a three-sided table, and someone would be able to walk into the middle then and serve the people that sat around it.  The only difference was, the way they normally did that, is at the triclinium, instead of seats, and we were seated at the triclinium, they would have these long couches, and you would lay at the table, kind of on your elbow, and just eat with your hand, with your feet pointing out away from the table.  I think, maybe they didn’t have TV, but that sounds great.  Just laying down at the table with your elbow by the table, just talking, putting stuff in your mouth, what a great idea.  Eating is one of the things we have as Christians. 

 

 

“Come Unto Me, All Ye Who Labour and Are Heavy Laden”

 

Now, this woman comes in, and because his feet are pointed away from the table, she comes in.  Now, somehow, she’s heard of Jesus.  Either she’s heard Jesus, or she’s watched Jesus, or she’s heard of Jesus, because something has already happened in her heart.  Chronologically, it was right before this that Jesus said “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Maybe she had heard that.  I don’t know.  But this is a woman whose a sinner.  A number of weeks ago we had a prostitute come and get saved at the end of the Wednesday evening service.  When I see someone, and we often do, whose life is riddled with sin, you know, sometimes you look at them and you think ‘How, Lord.’  Not ‘how’ in the sense that they’re worse than you, but you know this was at one point, somebody’s little girl.  I mean, I’ve got an 8-year-old that just kissed me good-bye when I came to church, because she’ll be asleep when I get home.  She’s got her own bedroom, and stuffed animals, and I baby her, love her.  How does someone go from there, nursing at her mother’s breast, to being a prostitute?  How does that happen?  I don’t know, but it happens, doesn’t it?  And yet, whatever condition she was in as a notable sinner, she heard that Jesus was there, and she knew enough about Jesus, that when she came, she brought this alabaster box of ointment.  Now you have to understand, these kinds of containers, normally it was a cruise with a thin neck, and it was sealed.  And the ointment that was in there was very expensive.  We are told when Mary, the sister of Martha, breaks hers, that it was spikenard, very expensive, a year’s wage.  Now what’s the average figure [for today], $30,000, $40,000 worth of ointment.  Normally it was saved for your wedding day.  Here’s this, maybe when she was 12 or 14, maybe her father had given this to her.  And she had been hardened by sin, to where she was able to live that way and survive.  And you and I know people like this, she had put a fortress around her heart.  She had walls built up, because she was going to go through life without feeling any pain, because she had felt enough.  And I doubt whether she had cried a tear in years.  And we can’t see all the dynamics.  She walks into the room, no doubt when she came to Jesus feet, he looked at her.  He gazed into her eyes, and she looked into his face.  And she had with her the one thing that still meant something pure to her, something that was attached to a thousand memories, maybe of being a little girl in her life.  She had come to the place, all of a sudden, where she felt like she could give again, she could be vulnerable.  And the tears started to flow.  She took the most valuable thing in her life and she poured it out on his feet.  And no doubt with the embarrassment of crying, and you’ve sobbed that way, I have, Jesus’ feet are getting wet, they’re dusty, we know Simon hadn’t washed them.  And then she sees that, and then, no towel, she didn’t come prepared, she’s spontaneous, she begins to take the hair of her head, which was the glory of a woman in that culture, and began to wipe Jesus’ feet with the hair of her head.  And Jesus is allowing the whole thing to take place, with  Simon, watching, finding fault with Jesus.

 

Religious People Tend To Think They’re Better Than Sinners

 

“Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him:  for she is a sinner.”  (verse 39)  Now, let me tell you something, Jesus has a remarkable way of bringing people like her, and people like him, face to face.  You know, people who normally would not hang around together, I mean, look around this room.  Now you know, there are people in this room, if you were not saved [called, baptized] you would not hang around with, let’s be honest, look around.  Look around this room.  I mean, come on, just look a little bit.  [laughter]  There are people here, if you were not a Christian, you would not hang around with.  And Jesus has this remarkable way, because of his presence, of tearing down all of those things, and putting people face to face that normally, without Christ in their life, would normally never have sat face to face.  I love it sometimes on Sunday morning when we have some of the motor-cycle guys here in the front row.  And they’re headed down to one of the heavy-metal concerts, something at the Spectrum to hand out tracts.  We pray for them.  And I’ll see one of the old gals whose been in a Baptist church her whole life, 80-years-old out front waving good-bye, they’re starting up their Harley’s Vrooom!  Vrooom! she’s saying Good-bye, good-bye, boys, I’ll be praying for you…You know, you’d never find those people together if it wasn’t for Jesus, [laughter] would you?  Come on, let’s be honest.  Now here’s the problem.  Sometimes when people who normally wouldn’t see each other come together, they face what Simon is facing.  And as we read through this, we’re going to find out Jesus loves Simon just as much as he loves the woman.  And Jesus is willing to forgive him as much as he’s willing to forgive her.  Simon is a religious man.  He thinks he’s better than her.  In fact, now he’s judging Jesus according to the people that are drawn to him.  And let me tell you something, you think that doesn’t go on?  You know how many names we’re called, because of you?  ‘Those xxxx over there in that old meter factory, it’s a cult, you see motor-cycle people going there…’  And there are people that are offended in the Jesus we believe in, just because we let you in here.  [laughter]  And you know I’m telling you the truth.  This guy is offended at Jesus because of who clings to him.  Man I’m glad he lets anybody cling to him.  I remember a year or so ago a relative of mine working in a place said, he was talking and he heard some guy saying ‘Yea, we hear there’s some Hawaiian guy up in a warehouse up there, where they’re all taking money from all these young kids!”  One of the guys in the church here was working with someone who was married to my cousin, and he started to witness to him, and he said ‘Ah, don’t give me that, my wife’s cousin, he’s one of these guys, he’s a screwball’ and he started talking to him and said, ‘Where’s this?’  “Oh up there on Philmont Avenue.’  And the guy from church said, “That’s my pastor here you’re talking about!”  [loud laughter]  And you know there are religious people who are offended because Jesus is doing something in a way they don’t think he should do it.  And I’m glad he is, I’m glad that he is.  And Simon’s saying to himself, ‘This man is not, this is not a prophet, he’s not a holy man’, and the Messiah was sitting right in front of him.  ‘Now don’t give me this, if he was who he said he was, he wouldn’t let this woman touch him.’  And you see his problem is, he thinks he’s better than her.  And you know, religious people do that, they think God grades on a curve.  Like God looks at humanity, and he picks the worst sinner, which is me, and then he picks the best sinner, who thinks he’s something.  And none of us are where we should be.  But the best sinner, because he’s doing better than somebody else, and that’s his only claim to fame, then he thinks God’s going to grade the rest of us on a curve.  No, God’s Law is immutable, it’s eternal, it is unapproachable, and every sinner, every human that ever lived has fallen short of God’s glory and of his Law.  [Comment:  That does not mean Pastor Joe Focht of Calvary Chapel is preaching lawlessness, or that believers are free to go around sinning, breaking God’s Law.  Pastor Chuck Smith wrote the tiny piece at the end of this one-page introduction to the article about what Grace is on this site, and he started the Calvary Chapels in the first place.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm, scroll to that last paragraph and read it, just so that we understand and don’t misconstrue what Pastor Joe is saying here.]  And God does not mark on a curve, he damns the unrighteous, or he forgives them, depending on the attitude of their heart.  And I’m glad that God doesn’t grade on some curve.  Simon says, ‘If he’s who he said he was, he’d know who this woman is that’s touching him.’  Now, isn’t it interesting, guys, that Jesus knows what we think about women?  Ever think about that?  That should shake all of us up.  Huh?  God know gals, what you think about guys, too.  He’s thinking, ‘If he is who he says he is, he’d know who this woman is.’ 

 

Jesus Answers Simon According To What He’s Thinking---a message to the religious, and yes, pastors

 

“And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon,  I have somewhat to say unto thee.  And he saith, Master, say on.”  Now Jesus wasn’t his master, he didn’t even like him.  And the woman’s listening [along with everyone else along the wall, remember?  There could have been a decent audience here].  She’s in the middle of all this.  “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors [Simon and the woman]:  the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.  And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.  Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”  Both of them are debtors, both are debtors before God.  “Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.  And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.”  Now he doesn’t want to give this answer, you can tell “I suppose…”  He’s giving up reluctantly the right answer that he knows.  He knows where Jesus has him.  Because he knows in the parable Jesus is saying they are both debtors.  Yes, in Simon’s mind the woman owes more than he does, because he’s a religious sinner, and she’s just a down-home sinner.  Jesus said they’re both debtors, and neither one of them have the capacity to pay their debt, and they are both indebted then.  And it is up to the creditor to forgive both of them.  One is not better than the other.  I think that’s important for us to realize.  You know, because as we look at the story, what place do you put yourself in?  Are you the woman?  Well we are, aren’t we?  I mean, we owe a lot.  But now we’re Christians.  And I hate to say it, but I think sometimes in all of us there’s a little bit of Simon.  We can be a Simon church.  Revelation chapter 2, Jesus says to the Church at Ephesus, you have great programs going, you have discerned false teachers, and not let them into the Church, lots of great works, everything that anyone would desire is going on there.  But I have somewhat against thee, because you’ve left your first love, you’ve forgotten that first-love.  You know husbands and wives how that is.  I mean, when you’re engaged, there’s really something cooking there, isn’t there?  When you first got engaged to that poor woman [laughter], you brushed your teeth, you used deoderant, you would never have picked your nose in front of her [laughter], you combed your hair, you cleaned your car, you took money out of your wallet [laughter].  Isn’t that something?  And then you end up married for a couple years, and what happens to the first love sometimes?  You know, you’re no longer opening the door for her, she asks you for $2.00 for a pair of pantyhose and you say ‘Ah, I bought you a pair of those four years ago, what do you do with them, you play football in them or something?  Deoderant?  Honey, burp! Come over here for a second, will you?’ [laughter]  Well Jesus says the same thing, ‘When you first came to me, when you first came like the woman, when you first came with your tears, when you first came and were willing to let down all of your fortifications and you first came and knew about me and I first revealed myself to you, you came and you poured out your life and said ‘I’m a sinner, will you forgive me?’  And I loved you, and my cross and my resurrection were central in your life, and you were willing to serve in Sunday-school [or Sabbath-school] and you were willing to do anything.’  But somehow as we go on with the Lord, I think we become a little bit more like Simon.  [Simon is one of the “religious crowd,” he’s a Pharisee.  And one of Jesus’ major corrections toward the Pharisees was their overly religious enforcement of the Sabbath, and the religious way they looked down on the common irreligious crowd.  His major correction toward them was on how they observed the Sabbath and the warped way they enforced it on all the common Jewish folk.  To read Jesus’ corrective message aimed at them, and any who are Pharisaic about their obedience to God’s law, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Has%20the%20Sabbath%20Been%20Abrogated.htm]  I heard a survey taken in Christianity Today, of the average evangelical church, fundamental evangelical church, in America and Great Britain.  And it doesn’t reflect us completely.  Total membership of enrollment, this is what they found out about those who were enrolled.  We don’t do that, but, those that were enrolled.  First of all, five percent were non-existent.  Ten percent of those that were on the church enrollment could not be found.  Twenty-five percent of those on church enrollment were alive, but never attended church.  Fifty percent of that which called itself ‘the Evangelical Church’ had no missionary interests.  75 percent of that church didn’t attend mid-week service or prayer-meeting.  And I wonder, you know, there’s between 7,000 and 8,000 adults out here every Sunday, and here we are Wednesday night, mid-week service, this part of the sanctuary seats about 2,500, there are 1,800 of us here.  75 percent don’t attend mid-week service, that suits us pretty well, you know that?  Prayer-meeting on Saturday night, six or seven men are there.  Close to 4,000 men in the church.  You don’t mind if I stick it in a little [laughter], Gill told me to make this announcement…90 percent of what calls itself the Evangelical Church had no family worship, they didn’t attend church together, they didn’t say grace together, they didn’t talk about the Lord at home or didn’t read the Bible together, 90 percent.  95 percent of what called itself the Evangelical Church never led anybody to Christ.  Now, look, if the shoe fits wear it.  You know, this is not captain Kondo, I’m not here condemning, because Simon was just as much a debtor as the woman, and Jesus forgave them both, you know, both of their debts.  And I am glad that now at this point in my life, when I get into a period in my own life where I’m dry, and I get into my routine with Calvary Chapel, and coming and doing what I do, my priest routine, you know, and I lose my prophet routine, and I become more addicted to my schedule than the voice that should be leading me, he doesn’t say ‘Get outa here, you guy’s are a dime a dozen, I’ll get another one.’  No, he comes to me, and he warms my heart, and he breaks me, and he brings the tears back again, like this woman weeping at his feet.  And I find in my own life that he is faithful, and he is just, and he is a good shepherd, he is the lover of my soul.  And he never leaves me or forsakes me.  But how often he has to draw me back to that place of my first love.  And if you and I are going to be worth anything to a lost world, we have to be contagious.  Again, you can’t give somebody the measles unless you’ve got it.  If you’re going to work saying to somebody ‘Hey, let me tell you the good news’  [Laughter]  ‘No thanks, I’ve heard enough lately.’  ‘Here’s a tract, it’s saying you’re going to hell.’  [laughter]  I remember when I first got saved, I mean, I drove people out of their minds, ‘Here he comes again!’  The family stopped inviting me over.  I mean, I just drove everybody crazy, I argued with everybody, I told everybody.  And I like that.  The interesting thing about when we see people get saved, the more people we see get saved, the more unbelievers we have that come [to services there].  You know why?  Because you and I as we go on with the Lord over the years, most of our friends become believers.  And that’s a good thing, I think it’s a natural process.  [It’s a natural process for an alive Christian church or denomination. And when he uses that term, ‘get saved,’ all it means is that they have accepted Jesus Christ into their lives, received the Holy Spirit and are walking the Christian walk, in obedience to the best of their ability to God’s laws, as they are enabled by the Holy Spirit.  Pastor Joe has remarked before that it takes a moment “to get saved” and takes a lifetime to become a saint.  Alan Redpath said the same exact thing.]  But when somebody comes to the altar and they’re saved, the moment they accept Christ, all of their friends are unbelievers, except for maybe the one that brought them.  And we find them coming back the next week, bringing their unsaved friends.  We find the people that have been sitting in the church for twenty years, ‘When was the last time you brought an unsaved friend?  ‘Let me think, do I have any unsaved friends?  I’m not friends with my sister anymore, I’m not friends with my mother anymore, do I have an unsaved friend?  I’m filled with the love of Christ, but I don’t have any unsaved friends’    You know, I just look at this and I think, I’m glad both Simon and this woman are equally forgiven and equally in God’s heart.  And when he tells this parable, both of them are debtors, and both of them are forgiven.  Because I find myself, many times, like the woman.  But I find myself, as I look at Simon, too, like him. 

 

Whoever Is The Greatest Sinner

 

I want to say this to you this evening, if you don’t know Christ, look in verse 44, “And he [Jesus] turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman?  I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet:  but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.”  Simon didn’t see her.  You know what he saw?  He saw the outside, he saw ‘Oh, she’s a prostitute, she’s a druggie, she’s a sinner.’  What he didn’t see was the broken heart inside of her, there was a repentant sinner, there was a saved sinner, that’s what he didn’t see.  He saw the outside.  When you looked at Simon you saw a whitewashed tomb, the outside looked great, and inside he was cold and hard.  He didn’t see her at all.  “Seest thou this woman?”  Let me tell you something about the woman, she’s the sinner in the story.  Which one loves Jesus the most?  The one whom he’s forgiven the most.  You don’t have any excuse this evening if you don’t know Jesus not to get saved.  Because whoever the greatest sinner in this room is, and I know who it is, [laughter] whoever the greatest sinner in this room is, you’re the one who stands the chance to love him the most.  If you’ve been a murderer, you’ve been an adulterer, whatever you’ve done, his arms are open to you.  He receives this woman.  And not only that, he says to the religious person, ‘This is the person that really stands a chance [i.e. the woman] of loving me with all of their heart, because of the great forgiveness that I can shower upon them.’  So you have no excuse this evening, whoever you are, if you’re not saved, and you walk out of here and say ‘I’ve gotta get it together first.’  You never get it together, you come with all of your sins, you come with all of your sins, a million pounds of it on your shoulders, and you come with it, and Jesus takes it off, and you fall madly in love with him, because he forgives it all.  So you have no excuse, you have no excuse this evening.  At the end of the evening we’re going to give you an opportunity to pray and to ask Christ into your heart.  ‘Do you see this woman?  I entered your house, you didn’t give me any water for my feet.’  That was common courtesy in that day, you wore sandals, your feet were hot, they were dirty.  When you came to somebody’s house, imagine how good that felt.  First thing they did is put your feet in cool water, took your sandals off, put your feet in cool water, it must have felt great.  “Thou gavest me no water for my feet:  but she hath washed my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head.  Thou gavest me no kiss:  but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.  My head with oil thou didst not anoint:  but this woman hath anointed my feet with anointment.”  You know, you would expect somebody who says they believe in God, to go out of their way a little bit.  “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much:”---past tense, what Jesus is saying, is when she came in here, and she began to sob and began to wipe my feet, and poured out the most precious thing in her life, it was because she found someplace she could love, and be loved, she found some place where she could be vulnerable, with all of her sin. Imagine that.---“but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”  (verse 47)  Now let me tell you something, when I said to you ‘I knew who the greatest sinner in this room is, it isn’t because “I had a word of knowledge” and I was looking at all your faces, it’s because I live with him.  It’s not my wife, and I shave him every morning, and I put him in the shower, and I look in the mirror at him, and I have to live with him.  [Comment:  I know what he’s pointing to, it’s that “old man” of the flesh Paul referred to, which we have to fight, this old man of the flesh which does not actually die until we die, and then are resurrected to immortality, finally free from our sinful nature.  We can be growing, and overcoming sin in our lives, moving forward in our personal sanctification, and we should be, we should be becoming less sinful every year, more sanctified to the Lord every year.  But we will never be free from sin as Jesus was, not in our natural lives.]  You see, I don’t know what goes on inside of you.  I know what goes on inside of me, for sure.  I don’t know what goes on inside of you, for sure.  I might look at a couple of you, and the judgmental part of me that’s not yet sanctified might say ‘Well they look like trouble,’ but see the bad thing is, I may not look like trouble, and there is trouble inside.  I know myself.  But that’s ok.  Because you know why?  It makes me love him the most.  It makes me love him the most.  I also know who loves him the most in this room.  Me.  Just because I don’t know how much you love him.  Would I trade away my relationship with Jesus for Billy Graham’s relationship with Jesus?  Never.  Because I am sure of what I got.  And I ain’t sure of what he’s got.  I mean, it looks tempting, it looks good, he’s Billy Graham.  But I’m standing on solid ground, right where I’m at, solid ground.  The blood of Christ has cleansed me.  I’m on my way to heaven [i.e. the kingdom of heaven, which by the way, is coming to earth at Jesus’ 2nd coming].  And I would be insane to trade that away for anything.  I know I’m the greatest sinner, but I love him the most, because he’s forgiven me. 

 

You Don’t Need Church, You Need Jesus

 

And you have to understand this, this evening, sin will not send you to hell, rejecting Jesus will send you to hell.  Rejecting God’s cleansing sends you to hell, not sin.  Because you can be a sinner and go to heaven, I’m a sinner, and I’m going to heaven.  It isn’t sin that damns you.  Religious people like Simon might give you that impression.  What damns you is rejecting God’s forgiveness, and it’s offered freely.  And see, maybe religious people make you want to have your first Confirmation, your first Holy Communion, you have to do this, you have to come in a white dress, hold a little thing of flowers…no, no, no, no, no, no.  You come like this woman, broken heart, knowing that he’ll receive you.  Maybe you’re feeling like, I don’t belong in church.  You know, this woman felt ‘I don’t even belong in this Pharisee’s house.’  But because Jesus was there, her life was changed.  This woman is forgiven because she is loved greatly, “but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.  And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.  And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?  And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” (verses 48-50).  Now look, the religious community had condemned her.  Religion hadn’t done her any good.  And maybe you’ve grown up in the church, maybe you’ve grown up with religion, didn’t do you any good, won’t do you any good.  You don’t need church, church didn’t hang on a cross for you.  This is a meter factory, this meter factory didn’t hang on a cross for you.  A building doesn’t hang on a cross for you.  No pastor or priest hung on a cross for you.  Jesus hung on a cross for you.  And when he says to you “Your sins are forgiven,” how do we know that?  Because he said it, because he said he would rise again on the third day, and he did, and he did.  I remember a number of years ago being at a meeting in North Philly, and Reggie White was there, and Hershel Walker was there.  And Herschel Walker said “I grew up poor, we didn’t have a TV.  I never was interested in sports.  Didn’t have a sports hero, didn’t watch a football game.  He said “I had two heroes, one was my Dad,”  and what a great secret that is, dads, and he said, “my other hero was Jesus, because I figured anybody who could die and come back alive again is the kind of guy I want to follow.”  Now, it couldn’t be said more plainly than that.  [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herschel_Walker and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggie_White]  I encourage you this evening, if you don’t know Christ personally, you can trust him.  You do not have the right to say “I’m too much of a sinner.”  Because Jesus said whoever the greatest sinner is, that’s the one who’ll love him the most, whoever he does the most for.  It doesn’t matter what kind of sin you have, or how many mountains it’s pilled into, Jesus can take it away in an instant.  But you need to make a choice.  And we’re going to ask you to come and stand here, if you want to accept Christ as your Saviour tonight.  And you can know you’re forgiven, because he said you’d be forgiven.  And then he said to the woman, “go in peace.”  Can you leave this evening in peace?  When you walk out the doors are you going to leave in peace?  Do you know that if your life ends tonight, you’re going to go to heaven? [Comment:  the Calvary Chapels believe the spirit in man stays conscious upon death, and that the saved individuals’ spirit-in-man goes to heaven to be with the Lord until the time of the 1st resurrection, whereupon it is united with an eternal spirit-body and/or a body of flesh-and-bone.  This takes us to the age-old theological arguments as to whether the spirit-in-man remains conscious or unconscious at death.  The apostle Paul mentions “soul sleep” probably more than any of the other apostles, indicating this spirit-in-man component of the human brain remains unconscious at death.  Belief either way is not a salvation issue, and theological mountains have been built upon this mole-hill of a theological question.  How will we find out?  One way, die and you’ll find out J.  The Body of Christ has various beliefs over this theological question.  To view some of them see http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.] Do you know, like these kids sitting in a prayer-meeting in a school, praying with their heads bowed, three of them gunned down and killed.  Or a car wreck?  We’ve lost people in our church in an automobile wreck.  Do you know that that’s not going to happen tonight?  Life is uncertain, the Bible says it’s like a dream, like a vapor [in essence that’s true, all physical matter as you go really deep down into it, appears to be composed of pure energy, and matter and energy are interchangeable, as has been proven in modern physics].  It’s like the flower of the field, it blossoms today, and then the dry wind blows over it, and it’s gone.  But the Bible says ‘This is eternal, that if you will accept Christ as your Saviour, you will have something that can never be removed and never fades away, it’s never gone, it’s eternal, it is certain.’…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Luke 7:24-50 given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19116]

 

Related links:

 

First Resurrection to Immortality, What Jesus is Offering Us:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm

 

How Do I Become A Christian?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm

 

and,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm

and scroll to the bolded paragraph titled “How to Become a Christian” and read from there.

 

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