- Sermon Notes
January 17, 2021
1. There is a crisis in our world today.
2. Jesus warned of it and we are witnessing the reality of it right before our very eyes.
Matthew 24:12, Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
3. What is the answer to this crisis?
4. This evening as we study Luke 7:36-50, we will uncover the answer by looking to the words of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
5. From Jesus we will learn how to Love Much because He is the One who loves most.
1. When we arrive at Luke 7, Jesus’ ministry has exploded onto the scene in Israel and the ripple effects were felt everywhere.
a. At this time in His ministry, many were in awe of Jesus and followed Him joyfully, hanging on His every word, watching His every move.
b. At the same time, there was growing animosity towards Jesus. The Jewish leaders felt threatened by His powerful teaching and His command over demons and disease.
c. Jesus was and still is a polarizing figure.
2. Jesus touched a leper before He healed him. (5:12-13)
3. Jesus forgave the sins of a paralytic and then confirmed His authority to forgive sins when He healed the crippled man’s legs. (5:17-26)
4. He called a tax collector named Levi (a.k.a. Matthew) to be His disciple and then had the nerve to dine with him and his sinner friends. (5:27-39)
5. Later, the scribes and Pharisees were enraged at Jesus when He healed a man with a withered right hand on the Sabbath and then declared Himself to be the “Lord of the Sabbath.” (6:1-11)
6. Luke describes how a “great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon” came to “hear Him and to be healed of their diseases” and that “those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured. And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.” (6:17-19)
7. News of Jesus’ teachings and miracles even reached the ears of a Roman centurion who had a servant that was deathly ill. Without crossing the threshold of the centurion’s door, Jesus healed the servant because the Roman soldier’s faith in Jesus was great. (7:1-10)
8. Shortly thereafter, Jesus demonstrated His authority over death when He raised from the dead the only son of a widow from Nain.
9. Christ’s teachings and miracles ignited enthusiasm among His followers and unbridled rage among His adversaries. (7:11-16)
Transition – This contrast between Jesus Christ’s followers and opponents flows into Luke 7:36-50.
• There are lessons to learn from both sides.
• The first important lesson is if you want to Love Much, then. . .
I. Ask God to Open the Eyes of Your Heart
APPL – Why do we need to ask God to open the eyes of our hearts?
• Because the enemy of our souls, Satan, has blinded people with his lies.
2 Corinthians 4:4, The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (NIV)
• How does the devil blind people?
Transition – By deceiving them into believing they can see.
A. Some people think they have 20/20 vision
1. Case in point, the Pharisee, named Simon, who invited Jesus to dine with him.
a. Typically, guests would recline on their sides with their heads closest to the table and their feet furthest away. (36)
b. These banquets would often be open to the public so that others could gather to hear what the “important people” had to say; it was not behind closed doors.
c. And those in need could also attend and even eat the leftovers.
2. We do not know Simon’s motives for inviting Jesus to dine with him, but as I said earlier, many Pharisees were quite opposed to and felt threatened by Jesus.
3. We may not know Simon’s motives, but it is clear that if he was trying to trap Jesus, Simon was snared by his own trap.
4. What is also clear from this passage is that Simon believed he had 20/20 vision.
5. Simon sized up Jesus and thought himself to be His superior. This insight is confirmed by what Simon did not do.
a. Simon did not offer water to wash Jesus’ feet which was an act of hospitality. (44)
b. Simon did not greet Jesus with a kiss on the cheek, a common form of greeting in that day, pre-COVID-19 of course. (45)
c. Nor did Simon provide olive oil to anoint Jesus’ head. (46)
6. And when an unnamed woman of ill-repute began to make a scene by weeping at Jesus’ feet, wiping His feet with her hair, anointing His feet with her expensive perfume, and kissing His feet repeatedly, Simon was angered by her intrusion.
7. Simon said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” (39)
8. Simon’s assessment of the embarrassing display gives us a window into his soul.
a. Simon thought he could see but that Jesus was blind.
b. Simon was convinced that Jesus could not be a prophet, let alone Messiah.
c. Not only was Simon convinced that he was more godly than the sinner woman who had invaded his meal, Simon likely thought himself more godly than Jesus.
APPL – Simon was like those who can point out the sins of others yet fail to see their own sin.
• Simon reminds me of those who are always ‘right in their own eyes’.
o They know more than everyone else.
o Their motives are purer than everyone else.
o And if their actions ever miss the mark, they claim their intentions were good.
• Like Simon, they have been deceived into believing they have 20/20 vision when, in fact, they are blind.
• The Bible warns about this kind of blindness.
Proverbs 14:12, There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Isaiah 5:20-21, Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!
• While the unnamed woman’s sins were visible and known by all, Simon’s sins were hidden, yet still known by God.
Proverbs 21:2, Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.
Jeremiah 17:9-10, The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.
Transition – Since God knows what is in our hearts, He alone is able to open our eyes and help us see the condition of our souls.
B. Only God can give us eyes to see
1. Why did this woman weep in public?
2. Why would she wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair and kiss His feet repeatedly?
3. Why would she pour expensive perfume, likely worth a year of wages, on His feet?
4. Because God had opened her eyes to see.
a. As she listened to Jesus teach, she saw the truth about her condition for the first time.
b. And the moment she saw the reality of her spiritual condition, the weight and stench of her sin, she knew she needed a Savior; One who could take the burden of her sin away.
APPL – What did Jesus say that may have opened the eyes of her heart and gave her hope?
• If you ever have read a harmony of the Gospels, you will discover that many scholars believe Jesus spoke these words of hope in Matthew 11:28-30 right before this event from Luke 7:36-50.
Matthew 11:28-30, Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
5. If this is so, it appears that this woman took Jesus at His word, confessed her sin, and placed her faith in Him. (50)
6. Love and gratitude immediately flooded her heart and expressed itself with tears and humble, heartfelt adoration.
a. She did not care what others would think as she wept, her sins were forgiven.
b. She did not care what others would say as she kissed Jesus’ feet, she had been set free.
c. She did not care about her expensive perfume, the great debt of her sin had been forgiven.
ILLUS – As I reflect on this awe-inspiring scene from Luke 7, the words of a former slave trader’s hymn come to mind,
• “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”
• John Newton was right; all are blind until God opens their eyes to see their wretched state and His amazing grace.
APPL – Jesus shared the parable of the two debtors with Simon because He wanted Simon to see as well. (40-42)
• The truth is, we are all sinners.
• The truth is, we cannot repay our debt to God.
• The truth is, God graciously offers to forgive our debt through Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:13-14, When you were dead in your transgressions. . . He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
ILLUS – A baptism interview with a youth that I will never forget.
APPL – The truth is, when you realize you have been forgiven much, you love much.
Transition – The next lesson that stands out from this passage is that we must. . .
II. Stand Firm in God’s Forgiveness
• Jesus’ words to the woman were a confirmation that she had been forgiven earlier.
• As she wept, Jesus was giving her a word of assurance when He said, “Your sins have been forgiven.” (48)
• This could literally be translated, “Your sins have been forgiven and stand forgiven.”
• This means that Jesus was not imparting forgiveness for the first time but was confirming her forgiven standing before God.
• This explains why Jesus consistently regarded the woman as forgiven throughout the story.
• Jesus was authoritatively announcing to the woman that before God she stood forgiven.
APPL – What a great word of assurance for all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, “Your sins have been forgiven and stand forgiven.”
A. Let God’s forgiveness liberate you
1. Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (50)
a. Faith in Jesus Christ saves our souls.
b. We can enjoy God’s peace in our lives because we have peace with our God.
2. But once a person has placed their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, what does the devil try to do?
3. Satan wants to fill their heads with lies and blind them to the reality of their standing before God; that they stand forgiven because they stand by faith in Jesus Christ.
4. Therefore, we must keep our eyes open, stand on the truth of God’s Word, and enjoy the liberation we have in Jesus Christ.
APPL – You see the importance of this lesson in the writings of the Apostle Paul.
Galatians 5:1, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
• In fact, Paul made it matter of prayer when he prayed for his brothers and sisters in Christ, that God would open their eyes.
Ephesians 1:18-19, I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
• As Pastor Rich has said, “Never doubt in the dark what God has revealed in the light.”
• We must never allow ourselves to be blinded by the enemy’s lies.
• In Jesus Christ our sins have been forgiven and stand forgiven.
B. Let God’s forgiveness motivate you
1. When you realize how much you have been forgiven, you love God much.
2. And when you realize you have been forgiven much; God’s grace becomes a motivating force in your life.
ILLUS – It was true for a man named Saul of Tarsus.
• Saul was a persecutor of the early church.
• In fact, he was present when the first Christian, Stephen, was martyred. (Acts 7:58)
• But Jesus Christ confronted Saul while he was traveling on a dusty road to Damascus and opened his eyes to see the condition of his soul and the reality of his sins. (Acts 9:1-9)
• The revelation resulted in Saul’s conversion; he confessed his sins to God and placed his faith in Jesus for the salvation of his soul.
• Saul’s life was transformed.
• We know Saul of Tarsus as the Apostle Paul.
• He wrote most of the New Testament and was used of the Lord to spread the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire.
• What motivated Paul? God’s grace.
• Paul never forgot his past. He called himself the “worst” of sinners and the “least of the apostles” because he had persecuted the church. (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:9)
• But Paul never let his past keep him from his calling, his future, the very purpose God had ordained for his life before he was conceived in his mother’s womb.
• God’s grace motivated Paul every moment of every day.
1 Corinthians 15:10, But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
• And Christ’s love compelled Paul to share the Gospel with others.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
APPL – May we go and do likewise.
• We have been forgiven much.
• How can we not love God much?
• We have been forgiven much.
• How can we not share God’s love with a world that desperately needs Jesus?
Deuteronomy 6:5, You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to eat with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And there was a woman in the city who was a [a]sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and she wiped them with the hair of her head, and began kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a [b]sinner!”
40 And Jesus responded and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he [c]replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A moneylender had two debtors: the one owed five hundred [d]denarii, and the other, fifty. 42 When they were unable to repay, he canceled the debts of both. So which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I assume the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You [e]gave Me no kiss; but she has not stopped kissing My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not [f]anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” 49 And then those who were reclining at the table with Him began saying [g]to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” 50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
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