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Showing our Love for Jesus

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Showing our Love for Jesus

Luke 7:36-50

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - April 14, 2013

*Our baby, Katie, is 26 years old now, but I still keep this note from her in my wallet. Katie gave it to me 18 years ago, when she was 8. On the outside it says: "Keep forever." And on the inside it says: "I love Dad. I love Dad. I love Dad. I love Dad." Twenty-four times, "I love Dad!" Then it says, "P.S. And it’s true."

*Katie wanted to show her love for me. And God wants us to show our love for Him. How can we do that? How can we show our love for the Lord Jesus Christ?

1. First Church: We must have love's motivation.

*The woman in our Scripture today had this kind of motivation. Her strong love was motivated by God's mercy. Please take another look at her in vs. 36-38:

36. Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat.

37. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,

38. and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

*To get the picture here, we need to know that the Jews of that day did not sit at tables in chairs the way we do today. They leaned on pillows toward the table, so their feet were angled away from the table. And when you invited a guest into your home, other people would gather around the wall to watch and listen. (1)

*The woman in our story was watching the meal from behind. And she was a sinner, a notorious sinner. She was someone who had a terrible reputation. She may even have been a prostitute and a criminal. We don't know her name, but she was surely someone who needed to be saved. And she was saved! She was forgiven by Jesus in a big, big way. Thank God we have a merciful Savior who is willing to forgive us so much!

*The self-righteous Pharisee in today's Scripture was named Simon. And he was repulsed when Jesus allowed this wicked woman to wash and kiss His feet. Luke explained it this way in vs. 39: "Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, 'This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.'"

*It is easy for us be like that Pharisee, and set ourselves up as better than this woman, because most of us have not lived notorious lives. But the truth is that all of us needed a big forgiveness. We all needed big forgiveness, because even one sin was enough to send us to hell for all eternity. And we have sinned countless times in our thoughts, attitudes, words and deeds.

*Of course, Jesus knew what this self-righteous Pharisee Simon was thinking. And starting in vs. 40:

40. . . Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you.'' And he said, "Teacher, say it.''

41. There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

42. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?''

*You may remember that a denarius was equal to a day's wage for a working man. So one of those men owed 500 days' wages, while the other owed 50 days' wages. But we must understand that all of us are the debtors Jesus mentioned here.

*And 500 days' wages may not seem such a high hurtle to us. But in Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus told another parable about our giant sin debt and our need for forgiveness. In this other parable, the servant owed his king "ten thousand talents." How much debt was that? Well, the heavy common talent used in New Testament times weighed 129.6 pounds. So ten thousand talents of gold would be 1,296,000 pounds of gold. At Thursday morning's price of $1,565 per ounce, that would be $32,451,840,000!

*That kind of financial debt would crush just about anyone, but our sin debt is infinitely higher than that. How many sins have you committed in your life? -- Surely not 32 billion, but you have sinned a lot. And you have sinned more than you think, because every time we sin, we are not doing something good we ought to have done.

*I would hate to know how many sins I have committed. But even if it was only one, that would be a crushing weight on me. One sin is enough to send us to hell, because God’s standard for Heaven is absolute perfection.

*The truth is that we need God’s merciful love as much as the worst sinner who has ever walked the earth. Remember what Alan Perkins said: "It doesn’t matter if you’re a little better than someone else, or even a lot better than someone else. You’re still guilty of sin. You’re still condemned. The person who jumps halfway across the Grand Canyon winds up just as dead as the person who only jumps 8 feet out from the cliff. They both fall a mile to the bottom." (2)

*All of us are the debtors Jesus talked about in vs. 41-42. Some of us may owe a whole lot more than others. But no one is able to pay what he owes to God. Jesus Christ was the only one who could pay that sin debt. And that is exactly what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross for our sins. Now the risen Christ will save all who receive Him as Lord and Savior.

*All of us needed God’s forgiveness. And receiving His forgiveness motivates us to love the Lord. As 1 John 4:19 says: "We love him, because he first loved us."

-How can we show our love for Jesus Christ? -- We must have love's motivation.

2. And we must have love's demonstration.

*We must find ways to demonstrate our love for Jesus. How did this lady do that? How did she demonstrate her love for Jesus?

[1] In vs. 37, this saved sinner demonstrated her love with an honorable gift.

37. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil.

*An alabaster box of fragrant oil or ointment: If it was the same kind used to anoint the Lord six days before the cross then it was very costly. John 12:5 tells us that other box was worth more than 300 denarii, and that was a whole year’s salary for an average working man.

*Think about how much you make in a year. That’s how much that other alabaster box cost. Great love is always willing to pay a great price. And this sinner woman gave her best. I am sure that today she would say: "It was worth it!" Jesus was worth it!"

*How did she demonstrate her love for Jesus? -- With an honorable gift.

[2] Next in vs. 38, she demonstrated her love with open honesty.

*There she "stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil."

*This new believer was bold; she was open; she was not ashamed of Jesus. There was no doubt about where she stood! She demonstrated her love with open honesty.

[3] She also demonstrated her love with humble service.

*Again in vs. 38, "she began to wash (Jesus') feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil." She stood behind our Lord, and then bowed down on the floor to wash our Master’s feet. That was humble service. She was serving Jesus the best way she possibly could.

*The Salvation Army was founded by William Booth in London in 1865. Today the Salvation Army serves in over 100 countries, all the way from Australia to Zimbabwe. Millions of people have been helped. No telling how many have been saved.

*The work had already spread to 41 countries by the time William Booth died in 1912. But near the end of his ministry Booth had the tragic loss of going blind. How easy it would have been to question the Lord: "God I have been faithful to you. I have served you with all my heart Why did you let this happen to me?"

*But that’s not what happened at all. Booth’s son had to break the bad news to his dad. When he did, William said, "You mean that I am blind?" "I fear that we must contemplate that," his son answered. "I shall never see your face again?" asked the general. "No," said his son, "probably not in this world."

*Then the old man reached out until he grasped his son's hand, and he said, "I have done what I could for God and for the people with my eyes. Now I shall do what I can for God and for the people without my eyes." (3)

*May God give us that kind of trust and devotion to Jesus. May God give us the love to serve the Lord the best way we possibly can. That’s what the sinner woman did when she bowed down to wash the Lord’s feet.

-She demonstrated her love with humble service.

[4] And she demonstrated her love with all her heart.

*The woman's greater love was the point of the Lord's parable in vs. 41-43:

41. There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

42. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?''

43. Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more.'' And He said to him, "You have rightly judged.''

*Her greater love was also the point of the Lord's praise in vs. 44-47:

44. Then (Jesus) turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.

45. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.

46. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.

*There was a special tenderness in the way this saved woman treated Jesus. She wept because she was sorry for her sins. She wept because she loved Jesus.

*There was also a special abundance in the way this saved woman treated Jesus. She showed heart-felt devotion by the variety and the volume of her actions. She found new ways to show her love, and she kept on showing her love. So in vs. 47, Jesus finished His praise by saying this to the self-righteous Pharisee: "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.''

*"She loved much." -- I hope that Jesus will be able to say that about us! And He will be able to say that if we demonstrate our love with honorable gifts, open honesty, humble service, and all our heart.

-We must have love's demonstration.

3. Then we will also have love's communication.

[1] Our love for Jesus speaks to the Lord.

*And what does it say? "Lord Jesus, You are worthy of my worship, service and love!" And "Lord Jesus, I know You are both able and willing to forgive my sins!"

*This notorious sinner was certainly forgiven. Jesus made that clear in vs. 48-50:

48. And He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven.''

49. And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?''

50. Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.

*"Jesus, You have forgiven me! Thank you!" That’s what our love says to the Lord.

[2] But our love for Jesus can also speak to the lost.

*And it says: "Even though you are on the wrong road, you can turn around. You can trust the Lord. Jesus loves you. He died on the cross for you. He rose again from the dead. He's alive! He has forgiven me. He has saved me. He will forgive you. He will save you. He will change your life!

*God's Word gives us an example of this kind of testimony in Psalm 116:1-6. Here the writer declared:

1. I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.

2. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

3. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

4. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

5. Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

6. The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.

*Our love for the Lord speaks to the lost. It offers them the mercy we have found in the cross of Christ.

*Of course all of the lost people won’t get the message. Simon and his Pharisee friends missed it here. But a whole lot of people will believe and receive the truth about Jesus, IF they can see true love for the Lord in us.

*Many are waiting to hear from us right now. And you never know what will happen in the long run, when we communicate our love for the Lord.

*Years ago, there was a new college freshman at Morehouse University. His name was Alvin Jackson. Alvin walked in to his first day of philosophy class and sat down. The professor passed out some notes and explained what would be expected. Then, suddenly, he changed his tone and said, "When we cover the subject of Jesus you must know this; what you may have heard in Sunday School or at your church concerning Jesus is wrong. Jesus was a great teacher. He was a wise man. He did many good things. He influenced many people during his day and even unto this day. But he was not the Son of God."

*There was a long pause, as the atmosphere grew tense. Then, that new freshman lifted his hand to speak. And when he was called on, Alvin Jackson simply said: "Yes, He is!"

*The professor responded to Alvin by saying, "Now I know you've probably been told other things back home from your pastor or Sunday School teacher. But you need to know young man that Jesus was not the Son of God. He was merely a great thinker. Class dismissed."

*Alvin’s friends fussed at him after class: "Alvin, what are you doing? Don't ruin this class for the rest of us. Just shut-up and do your work."

*Alvin replied, "This man may know a lot about philosophy. But I can tell already that he doesn't know anything about Jesus. I can't just sit back in class and let him try and convince everyone that Jesus was something less than He really is. I'm going to speak up!"

*The next time the class met, the professor started his tirade all over again. He said that the Bible was written by biased people who believed in Jesus, that there were other people in history, who were reported to have been born of a virgin, and that Jesus could not have risen from the grave. Then he said, "Jesus was not the Son of God."

*Alvin's hand immediately shot-up in the air again. The professor tried to ignore him as he went on with his anti-Jesus message. But Alvin persisted. Finally, the professor called on Alvin with these sarcastic words, "Yes Mr. Jackson, do you have another sermon for us this morning?" Alvin just responded with the same three words of faith that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God: "Yes, He is!"

*The professor turned his attack from Jesus to Alvin. But Alvin continued to stand up for Jesus, the whole semester.

*Years later, Pastor Alvin Jackson spoke at the annual meeting for his denomination. After his sermon, some of the people came up to speak. And after the crowd left, one more elderly man came up. It was Alvin’s old college professor. He walked up to Alvin and hugged him. Then the old professor looked Alvin in the eyes, and said the same words he heard so often from his former student: "Yes, He is!" (4)

*It might have taken years, but Alvin's deep love for Jesus confirmed the soul-saving truth of the cross. And his old professor was saved.

-God wants the same thing to happen through us!


*Christians: We are on our way to heaven this morning, because somebody else in our life loved the Lord Jesus Christ. They demonstrated that love for us, and our lives were changed forever. Now God wants us to have the same kind of love. Show your love for the Lord.

*And if you have never trusted in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, let me tell you: Forgiveness is found at the feet of Jesus Christ. The woman in our story found forgiveness at the feet of Jesus, and that is where you will find it today.

*You are lost without the Lord. But Jesus loves you. He died on the cross for you. And He will save you, if you will receive Him as Lord and Savior.

-You can do that right now, as we go to God in prayer.

(1) "Through the Bible with J. Vernon McGee" - Luke 7:37-39

(2) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “The Tax Collector and the Pharisee” by Alan Perkins - Luke 18:9-14

(3) sermon "Peace Be Unto You" by King Duncan - John 20:19 - Easter Series 2005

(4) SermonCentral sermon "Jesus Is" by Mike Hays - Colossians 1:15

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