Is There Hope For Me?
We Are In A Mess!
We Are In A Mess!
The past 6 months have been chaotic, haven’t they?
Think about it:
In February we began hearing about COVID and then in March we went into a shut down
The our economy tanked as people lost their jobs and businesses had to close
For many they got sick and/or lost a loved one to the virus
We missed celebrating Easter, Mother’s and Father’s days, Independence Day, Memorial and Labor days, and countless birthdays and graduations.
Then we had the protests for justice and subsequent riots.
What else could go wrong?
How about hurricanes?
What’s next, an earthquake?
Oh, let’s not forget that our schools are doing remote learning and all the stress that comes with that.
To top it all off, we are in the midst of a presidential election season.
What could be worse than this?
The fighting, name calling, lying
Fear if my candidate loses that we are going to be destroyed as a nation
For some people, this is just too much to handle
Domestic violence is on the rise
As is suicides.
You just want to go somewhere and just scream
How are you handling all of this?
I want to do a series of sermons/messages on hope in the midst of all this craziness.
How can we find peace?
Is there hope for us?
And if so, where is it?
For here in the church and those that are watching, as believers we know that our hope is found in Jesus Christ and in Him only
That’s the answer for all of our problems
Despite what is going on around you, if you trust in Jesus, then you can find hope and peace
The answers all come from knowing Him
So, where do we begin?
Let’s look at the hope we can find in Jesus first of all
Then in later weeks, we look at hope in the midst of chaos, hope in the middle of COVID, hope when all is lost just to name a few.
Let’s read Luke 7:39-50
The Story of the Sinner
The Story of the Sinner
Verses 36-38 describe the scene.
Put yourself in the place of the Pharisee.
He’s a religious man.
He’s serious about sin and holiness, morality and immorality.
He doesn’t have just anyone at his table.
He’s taking a risk having Jesus at his table because Jesus isn’t like the Pharisees.
But he’s showing some level of hospitality.
Then into his house—right up to his table—walks this woman known all around town as “a sinner” (v. 37).
Now put yourself in the place of the woman.
She lives in that city, and she knows what Pharisees are like.
They make a big distinction between themselves and “sinners.”
They always reject “sinners” as unworthy.
But Jesus is in the Pharisee’s home, in her city, where she can reach him.
That courage must it have taken for her to enter this Pharisee’s home?
What hope must have been in her heart when she gathered her most expensive possession, an alabaster flask of ointment?
What brokenness must have rushed up in her heart and mind as she stood behind Jesus “weeping” (v. 38)?
Stop and think for a moment,
Have you ever felt like she felt?
You know that you are a sinner and maybe because of how big of a sinner there is no way God could ever forgive you.
That’s where she was, but as she listen to Him teach and what others said about Jesus, she risked seeking Him out for herself.
She knew she was a sinner better than anyone else did.
There behind the Lord, at his feet, she knelt in a pool of her own tears.
Maybe she had planned to anoint his feet with the oil all along.
Then she saw that the host had not washed the Savior’s feet when he entered the home.
Maybe she picked up on the minor insult, as washing a guest’s feet was a common courtesy whenever anyone came to your home.
Maybe she had been to homes and had not been given this common courtesy and knew the insult, or maybe she just loved Jesus.
So she cried—so much that she could wipe the Savior’s feet with her tears—and she took the tresses of her hair and wiped his feet.
Then she kissed his feet in love and worship, and she anointed him with her oil.
It’s a moving scene. In that dramatic moment we are not told what motivated this woman to behave this way, but we do receive a window into Simon’s heart (v. 39)
The Story of the Righteous
The Story of the Righteous
In the Pharisee’s mind, holy men don’t allow themselves to be touched by a sinner.
And prophets can tell “what kind” of people they meet.
She was that kind.
Jesus must not be a prophet.
But Jesus knows what’s in the Pharisee’s mind.
He knows what’s in all of our minds.
In verse 40 the Lord confronts the Pharisee about his thoughts as only Jesus could.
That’s a great thing about Jesus, you can’t hide anything from Him, He knows.
He tells the parable in verses 41-42.
The punch line of the parable is the question, Who loves more—the one forgiven little or the one forgiven much?
Simon answers correctly in verse 43—the one who has his larger debt cancelled.
See the scene in verse 44.
Imagine the Lord’s body language.
“Turning to the woman” but speaking to Simon, Jesus said in verses 44-48, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she, with her tears, has washed my feet and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I came in. You didn’t anoint my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfume. Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
This is when we realize the woman’s motivation for coming.
She came to the house fully aware of her sin.
She had a reputation in the town, but the town didn’t know her failures as well as she did.
She probably forgot more sins than they would ever be aware of.
She knew the deep pain and brokenness of life apart from the mercy of God.
She knew her debt before God—a debt she could not repay.
But she sensed something about Jesus.
Jesus is a Savior who forgives the biggest sinners.
She understood that Jesus could remove her guilt and shame, grant her a new heart, and give her a future.
The more she remembers her sin, the greater Jesus appears.
The more she weeps over her sin, the more she delights in the Savior.
She knows she can rise up from that spot a new creature because Jesus makes things new.
The biggest sinners who see and weep over their sin can come confidently to Jesus for forgiveness.
How Big of a Sinner Are You?
How Big of a Sinner Are You?
I’ve heard some people say, “I’m too much of a sinner to come to church.” or “God won’t help me because I’m a big sinner.”
Do you ever feel that you have messed up so bad, God can’t love any more?
I do sometimes.
Let me tell you something, there is hope if you feel that you are too bad for God to love or even forgive.
The many biblical terms translated in English as "forgive" reflect a beautiful array of meanings: to cancel debts; to lay aside or to cast away sins; to spare, to cleanse, to rescue, or to free the sinner.
What is the most important biblical meaning of God’s forgiveness—above all, it is a reconciliation, the restoration of a friendship with Him that has been marred by sin.
The prophet Isaiah put it this way: "Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear" (Is. 59:2).
Our wickedness is an offense to God’s holiness, and we aren’t on "speaking terms" until the offense is forgiven.
But Christ’s sacrifice has made a way for us to be reconciled.
In Colossians 1:13 -14 says, “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. 14 In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Then in verses 21-22, “Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds as expressed in your evil actions. But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him.”
Like the woman in our story today, the sins that comes between God and us can be cast aside so that we can be made whole and receive the hope we so desperately seek in our lives.
We can’t find it in our jobs, our schools, our politicians, our doctors, our play things, drugs and alcohol or other additions.
It can only be found in Jesus who through His sacrifice made a way for us to receive that forgiveness that can bring peace, love, joy and assurance that in the end it will be fine.
As we begin to realize that forgiveness, then our love for God will grow even more.
We find the secret of a passion or love for God: The greater the debt, the greater the devotion.
This woman, freed from the burden of her shame, poured out on Jesus a lavish love in response to a lavish grace.
For someone whose very life had been given back to her washed clean, no gift, no sacrifice, no labor was too great for the Beloved Lord Jesus.
That night there was kindled in her a consuming passion for the merciful One who had set her free.
When we experience the love of God in our lives, we want to know him more and more each day.
In my life, as I do this, then all the chaos just seems to be just an annoyance.
God loves me and He will give me peace through what ever I am facing.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
That’s a promise from God! And you can count on it!
I have prayed time and time again in the last 6 months and given God my anxiety, worries, and concerns
Each time, I receive that peace and that brings me hope that I’m going to make it through.
Do you love Jesus?
Do you love Jesus?
Back to our story
Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”
I mean, they knew He could teach and preach, probably could heal and all of that, and cast out demons, He could even forgive sins.
They knew He had done it.
He didn’t say in verse 48, “God has forgiven your sins.” He said, “Your sins have been forgiven,” and she knew it was He who had done that.
He affirms her condition of forgiveness.
And the people all said, “This man forgives sins,” that’s as far as they would go. Always asking questions, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”
They should have been able to answer that, shouldn’t they? Who can forgive sins alone? God.
Her salvation was evident, not by something she said, she didn’t say anything, but by her love to her Savior, so profuse and so passionate, “You have been and continue to be forgiven.”
And then in verse 50, He said to her, “Your faith has saved you,” it’s not your love that saved you, it was your faith that saved you, that produced your love.
It was your faith that saves you, always, “For by grace are you saved through faith,” Ephesians 2:8 and 9, “that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast.”
It was your faith that saved you, it’s always faith that saves, always, always, always.
And because your faith saved you, your love is manifest because your sins are forgiven.
“Go in peace,” literally, “Go into peace, Go into God’s Shalom and live there forever.”
Have you come to Christ in faith and embraced Him and experienced this powerful and total transformation of forgiveness so that you’re literally filled with joy and gratitude and love?
We should be marked by that.
It is that profuse love for Christ that is the single greatest proof visible to people of the power of the gospel.
An ungrateful, loveless Christian undercuts the testimony of the gospel.
Let us put on display our gratitude, our lavish love to our Christ and the world will take note that our sins have truly been forgiven.