May 19

The flipside of realizing how vile and wicked we are deep down inside (what is known as our sin nature, and the total depravity of man) is that the grace Jesus saved us with is greater than our sin.

  • “Grace is not amazing until you know the wrath of God.”—Steve Lawson

This is what makes forgiveness so overwhelmingly awesome! It’s not until we see ourselves for who we really are, for how utterly wicked and unacceptable we are to God, that we can fully appreciate the enormity of His grace towards us. It should grip us and motivate us to serve Him with more dedication and love. We should be continually and immensely thankful. We should quickly feel the guilt of our newly committed sins and immediately confess them to Him, saddened that we have interrupted our relationship with Him. And our love for Him should grow deeper yet.

If you look at some of the ancient paintings about the woman caught in adultery, she is in the midst of everyone, looking down, holding robes around her. In other words, the imagery of some artists emphasized the hurried manner in which they rushed her to Jesus after dragging her out of her affair. It’s an imagery of embarrassment as the crowds are staring at her and her sin is being exposed to everyone present. But, the next thing we realize is that the Jews were attempting to have Jesus give them the go ahead for a stoning under the Mosaic Law. Whether they were really intending on doing that or not, imagine how her embarrassment now turns to fear for her life.

  • Luke 7:36-39 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was 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, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. 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 sinner.”

What is there about the woman caught in adultery that aligns so well with Jesus’ other interactions with immoral women? The above story calls the woman a “sinner” which literally, in this case, means an immoral person, who has vices and sinful addictions. Of course all people are sinners, but in this context is labeling her as a probably a prostitute. The woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the woman cleaning Jesus’ feet were all sexual deviants.

I think what you can see is that society was against their sinful lifestyles (and rightfully so), but there’s no evidence that anyone showed the love of God to any of them. Only Jesus was against their sinful lifestyles while also offering forgiveness. And as mentioned previously this week, His forgiveness wasn’t, “You’re forgiven, I have no other requirements of you.” That’s the unbiblical version of Christian forgiveness we see too often today. No, His message was, “You are forgiven, now live righteously and stop your sinning.”

After Jesus perceived this Pharisee’s thoughts, He told a parable about forgiveness and then challenged his concept of sin and forgiveness:

  • And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 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. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”—Luke 7:40-50
  1. When you look at the mirror of your life and consider how deep, dark, and evil you really are, how much you hated God and despised righteousness, and then remember when Jesus chose to save you and pulled you out of the throngs of eternal, spiritual death, instilled faith into you and you responded with repentance and were forgiven, just how much were you really forgiven? How has this affected you? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. The more you were forgiven the more you will love Jesus. How does the reminder of your past compared to His grace and mercy draw you closer to loving Him? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • “Jesus Christ is able to set us free because He has dealt with the sin that enslaves us.”—Sinclair Ferguson
  1. If you think that Christianity is about confessing your sins once for salvation and then never confessing them again, you are very mistaken. You see nothing in the Bible about a one-time confession Christianity. In fact, I. John 1:9 reminds us we need to confess our sins.
    1. A Christian confesses his sins, a lost person doesn’t even think he’s a sinner.
    2. Take time now to look at sins you haven’t confessed yet and bring them to Jesus to take care of.

Last Kiss (Early 1960’s hit written by Wayne Cochran, Joe Carpenter, Randall Hoyal & Bobby McGlon)

[Chorus]

Well, where oh where can my baby be?

The Lord took her away from me

She’s gone to heaven, so I got to be good

So I can see my baby when I leave this world.

  1. People judge themselves and others with unrighteous judgment on many levels. One way in which this is evident is that we think God accepts us based on our own personal righteousness. Ask a hundred people if they believe they will go to Heaven, and most (who believe in Heaven) will tell you they hope they will be good enough (like in that song above). But, very few will accept the idea that a cannibalistic, homosexual rapist, necrophiliac serial killer like Jeffrey Dahmer could be forgiven by God and allowed into Heaven when nice people who die without Christ will go to Hell (note: Dahmer was saved not long before being murdered in prison).
  • Luke 5:32 “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
  • Samuel 16:7 “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
    1. Jesus allows how many unbelieving, unrepentant people into His eternal presence? ____________________________________
    2. Each person who needs salvation must first be _____________________________________________.
    3. Self-righteous people who think they just need to be good enough to go to Heaven are actually on their way to __________________________________________________.
    4. Have you met or led people to the Lord who have honestly confronted and seen their sin? If so, what was their response to the forgiveness they received from the Lord? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. That story really should be each of ours, regardless of how “bad” or “good” our past was.
      2. Simon, the Pharisee, did not end that day with Jesus a forgiven, saved man. As much as he kept the Law and was righteous in his exterior life, his heart was black and wicked. Yet, the prostitute was forgiven that day and found salvation.
  • “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners: forgiveness is for the guilty. Do not attempt to touch yourself up and make yourself something other than you really are; but come as you are to Him Who justifies the ungodly.”—Charles Spurgeon
  • “To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing.”—Martin Luther
  • “No child of God sins to that degree as to make himself incapable of forgiveness.”—John Bunyan
  • “You have been forgiven, so act like it!”—A.W. Tozer

Joy  Song by Steve Taylor & Peter Furler, sung by the Newsboys

You give me joy that’s unspeakable

And I like it, and I like it, yeah

Your love for me is irresistible

I can’t fight it, I can’t fight it, yeah

 

If life is water, I was dry as the Tucson dirt

If it’s a gamble, I’d already lost my shirt

If it’s a journey, I was dazed without a clue

I flipped a “U” back to the first love I ever knew

 

You give me joy that’s unspeakable

And I like it, and I like it, yeah

Your love for me is irresistible

I can’t fight it, I can’t fight it, yeah

You carried the cross and took my shame

I believe it, I believe it, yeah

You shine your light of amazing grace

I receive it, I receive it, yeah

 

If life’s a battle, the invasion is complete

If it’s a rhythm, I have found the perfect beat

If it’s a renaissance, I’ve got a new birthday

The world don’t give it

And the world can’t take it away

You give me joy that’s unspeakable

And I like it, and I like it, yeah

Your love for me is irresistible

I can’t fight it, I can’t fight it, yeah

You carried the cross and took my shame

I believe it, I believe it, yeah

You shine your light of amazing grace

I receive it, I receive it, yeah

 

[Bridge]

I’m bowed and broken, everything’s new

All that I need, you’re like water to seed

And how your love, rights everything wrong

And In my weakness

You’re ever stronger, You’re pulling me back

Where I belong

 

You give me joy that’s unspeakable

And I like it, and I like it, yeah

Your love for me is irresistible

I can’t fight it, I can’t fight it, yeah

You carried the cross and took my shame

I believe it, I believe it, yeah

You shine your light of amazing grace

I receive it, I receive it, yeah

 

You give me joy that’s unspeakable

And I like it, and I like it, yeah

Your love for me is irresistible

I can’t fight it, I can’t fight it, yeah

You carried the cross and took my shame

I believe it, I believe it, yeah

You shine your light of amazing grace

I receive it, I receive it, yeah

 

You give me joy that’s unspeakable

And I like it, and I like it, yeah

Your love for me is irresistible

I can’t fight it, I can’t fight it, yeah

You carried the cross and took my shame

I believe it, I believe it, yeah