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The Power of Love

The Power of Love

What does it mean to accept Jesus Christ? 

Some would use the language of accepting him as their “personal Savior” although this is not a phrase used anywhere in the Bible. 

Today we are going to look at the story of a “woman. . . who had lived a sinful life.”  In fact the Bible clearly tells us that she was a prostitute. In the NLT we read that she was a “certain immoral woman.”  She was a sinner in need of a Savior. She had been rescued from a life of horrible and devastating sin. She was a new person. 

All of us were born sinners according to Psalm 51:5 where the Psalmist David writes, “For I was born a sinner—yes from the moment my mother conceived me.”
According to Isaiah 53:6 NLT, “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” 

Sin is transgressing against the will of God. Doing wrong instead of what we know is right. When we are living with sin in our lives we are in desperate need to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. The Bible clearly teaches that without Christ in your life you will die in your sins and be lost for eternity. 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NLT

Before we look directly at this woman’s story I want to ask you a couple of questions. Have you invited Jesus Christ into your life? Have you accepted Him? Has He accepted you? Can you point to a moment where the transformation provided by Christ began? 

The story we are looking at today is found in Luke 7:36-50: 

 36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat.[h] 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. 

 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” 

 40 Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” 

   “Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied. 

 41 Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver[i] to one and 50 pieces to the other. 42 But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” 

 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.”
   “That’s right,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. 

 47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” 

 49 The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”  50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke 7:36-50 NLT

The very first thing we learn about this woman is that she was a sinful woman. 

She found sin to be enslaving.

In verse 47, we read that her sins were many. What we know for sure is that her sin was repeated over and over. It was a life of slavery. It was a life that even if she wanted to she had no way of escaping on her own. For every woman who is guilty of this kind of sin there is always a man involved who shares in that guilt. Let me assure you that while often the man may get away with participating in this kind of sin on this earth the Bible says that we all will pay consequences for any kind of sin. In Galatians 6 we find this truth: 

“ 7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” Galatians 6:7-8 NLT 

Without question I believe that there are some people here today that are enslaved by the power of sin. You may or may not feel bad about it. In fact, the longer you indulge in a sin the less conviction you will feel or the less the Holy Spirit will deal with you about it. 

Jesus said in John 8:34: “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.”
Your sin may not be adultery or lust driven like this woman but it could be anything from plain old dishonesty to living a full blown life of hypocrisy. No one needed to tell this woman that she was enslaved, just like anyone bound by a habitual life of sinfulness she knew. No one who has ever been a slave to something out of their control ever intended to become a slave or stuck in a bad place. 

I have great news for you today. There is hope. There is power to deliver you from your worst sinful habit. Notice what happened in the story of this woman. 

She found a faith that was encouraging 

She somehow had a great faith. Most people struggling with something this big will avoid coming to Christ because they feel guilty and somehow unworthy to ask Him for anything. She believed that if she would come to Jesus Christ that he would welcome pardon and deliver her and she was absolutely right. 

For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matthew 9:13 NLT 

Throughout the record of Jesus time on earth we find Him on more than one occasion drawing fire from the religious people of His day for spending time and eating with blatantly sinful people. He would often remind those who were criticizing Him that He came to this earth with on purpose and that was to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15) 

In verses 37-38 we find five things that her new found faith and grace encouraged her to do: 

 36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.

She knew.  She knew that Jesus was nearby and was accessible. In Acts 17 we find this truth: 

““He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man[f] he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. 

 27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your[g] own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. 

 30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.
Acts 17:24-30 NLT

She brought. She brought a token of her love for God. When you come to Jesus it will not be because you are coming just out of the guilt produced by your actions. When you come to accept Christ and be accepted by Him you come because you really believe that He loves you and came to change and transform your life. You will come and be drawn by a clear picture of His love for you. The greatest gift you can bring to Christ is your self and your sin and let Him deliver you. 

She wept.  When we come to Christ it is best to come with genuine sorrow. Sorrow that we have been such a failure. Do you know how wonderful it is to admit that you have a problem? She wept openly and in fact could not stop weeping. For this lady it was a mixture of guilt and the fact that she was openly making an appeal for help. From the time I was a little boy sitting on the front seat of a church I have watched people come to Christ. I can tell you that more often than not there are tears. It’s okay and perfectly normal to come to Christ broken in spirit. 

She knelt. This is really surmised but to wash our Lord’s feet with her hair she was either kneeling or bent over. Both actions are a sign of respect and contrition or sorrow. Maybe she was praying the words of David and Psalm 51: “9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

She kissed. To have someone wiping your feet and kissing them would be uncomfortable to say the least yet Jesus did not pull away from her. He did not stop her to tell her to go away. He will not push you away either. 

There are times when I feel obligated to expose you to writings or thoughts from the past just because so few of us are readers these days. You would be amazed what you could discover if you turned off the television and picked up a book. 

In the 1700’s Charles Wesley wrote over 5500 hymns. One of them long ago lost to most people is filled with the attitude we need to possess to rightly bring our sin to Christ. I am reading three out of what was a thirteen verse song: 

Depth of mercy! Can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?
I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.
If I rightly read Thy heart,
If Thou all compassion art,
Bow Thine ear, in mercy bow,
Pardon and accept me now.
(Story of actress from Wesley’s day)

She found a love that was all encompassing

   “That’s right,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. 

 47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
 

A. The Lord’s Approval

Can you imagine what she must have felt when she heard Jesus speak on her behalf?  How overwhelming would it be in your life to be able to lay down to sleep tonight and know that you had the approval of the Lord in your life? You can know that approval today. 

B. The Lord’s Forgiveness

Again can you imagine these words spoken over your life? “I tell you, her sins – and they are many – have been forgiven.” You can hear those words today. 

C. The Lord’s Assurance

Up until now He has been talking about her but in verse 48 he addresses her directly: “Then Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” Do you long to hear those words today? Wouldn’t you like to know without any doubts or misgivings that your sins have been forgiven? 

D. The Lord’s Commission

When you come to Christ He gives you a commission. You aren’t left to just sit around this earth waiting for Him to return although He is coming back someday. 

50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace"  Go. . . is something Jesus always says to His followers. Go in peace, Go and tell, Go and sin no more, Go make disciples, He has always been about telling us to go. . . Now I want you to see what this all looks like. I want you to feel the sorrow that comes with sin and the joy that comes with transformation.

Video

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:8-9 NLT

I invite you today to come to Christ. You can bring all the things that are weighing you down and even destroying your life perhaps. This is not about telling anybody but Jesus. When you come forward to pray you come in the same spirit as this woman who came with sadness and overwhelmed by her sin but having enough faith to believe that if she would just encounter Him He would change her life forever. 

What about you? Is this your day to lay down whatever you walked in here with today?

Prayer

Benediction: As Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”



2009/10/04