June 21 2020 New Beginnings 2- Deconstructing and Reconstructing our Faith and Religion

Pastor Mike's message begins at 24:30 of the first video... Lord, thank You for Your love – thank You for all the dads… - Help us to a greater understanding of what we mean to You and how deeply You are in love with us. Speak to our hearts now.

We started a series on New Beginnings.

Luke 7:36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine 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 sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,

The Pharisee is the contrast…

How do we know this woman? She is introduced as a woman in the city (small town) who was a sinner. This was her reputation. When it calls her a sinner, it’s not like, I’m a sinner, you’re a sinner… - It was clear that this sin is related to sexual immorality and most likely she was the town prostitute.

Just for her to get to the Pharisee’s house took tremendous faith.

Maybe she saw someone else be forgiven?

Maybe Jesus had already interacted with her – that’s my opinion – and maybe He had already forgiven her of her sin. Her actions indicate that she had already received the love and mercy of Jesus in her life. She knew she would be ridiculed – with judgment and shaming – by going to the Pharisee’s house. In broad daylight – in a public event – others would be watching – and she did what she was about to do.

A little factoid – the perfume would have been a tool of her trade – a symbol of disrespect to her body that becomes a tool of sacrificial service and devotion to Jesus Christ.

38 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. 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 sinner."

This is a bit of a before/after story – and the Pharisee is looking at the before side, and Jesus is looking at the after side. Before: Impurity/uncleanness After: Pure/clean devotion to Jesus

Jesus completely flips the way she relates to men. She has spent her adult life relating to men in one particular way – and all of a sudden, this is fully transformed, and she relates to THIS man in an entirely different way.

This Pharisee (and the world and the devil) want to constantly remind us of our sin (and sometimes other Christians – don’t be one of those types of Christian!)

This Pharisee needs his faith and religion deconstructed and reconstructed – even though he is a Pharisee – this woman is a disruptive force to the worldview of this Pharisee. Have you ever been around someone whose approach to Jesus throws you for a loop – someone whose walk is so different from yours that your first thought is that they must be doing something wrong?

Back in the 80s in my life, if someone’s worship was ultra-expressive – I would think something was not right here! Is this thing I am seeing meant to be a disruptive force in my walk with Jesus?

About 8-9 years ago, I started hanging around with some Christians who held to some ancient practices – using words like Lectio-Divina – and it was a disruptive force to my spiritual walk.

40 And Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." (even though Simon didn’t say anything out loud!) And he replied, "Say it, Teacher." 41 "A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 "When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So 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 judged correctly."

The parable is directed at the Pharisee and his wrong attitude – his wrong belief system – and this is in contrast to the woman who knows and is living the way of faith and trust – right in front of his eyes – whose theology is really right in many ways.

He gets the Pharisee to accuse himself in the story – 1 finger pointing and 3 pointing back – and this story is used to tear down his belief system. His focus is on the sin out there rather than his own. Do we focus on the sin out there in society? Or on our personal sin and forgiveness that comes from Jesus?

That should consume our focus when it comes to sin.

44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? (Simon only saw a sinner – not a woman created in the image of God) - 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 gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 "You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.

Jesus takes the actions of Simon – this Pharisee – and Simon – she did it right – and you did it wrong – Simon may have had verses to support everything he did – but her actions were rebuking and teaching Simon! Be like her! And not like you!

These actions are transformative. Think of this woman – the first time she did her job in life – as she lay in bed that night and wept – and now those tears are tears of joy. Think of all these unholy kisses in this woman’s life – and now there is this holy kiss. And this perfume she is forsaking – she is pouring out on Jesus her old way of life and it is turning into sacrificial service. This is an example of discipleship at work.

47 "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."

Her sins are many – and she loves much.

You think you don’t have many sins – but you don’t understand love. You can’t love if you don’t understand forgiveness. We can’t love as we ought.

How do we view ourselves? The one with the less sin or the one with many? That is a problem – all of our sins are many – but they have been forgiven.

48 Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven." 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say 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."

When we say go in peace, we are saying – Peace out! But that is not what He is saying – WHOLENESS – FULLY RESTORED – Fully remodeled! Like those home shows where they completely remodel! Or What Not to Wear – where they completely remodel the outside – but Jesus fully restores us on the inside!

What Jesus has done in her heart is being revealed to the world – and it all began with an understanding of God’s mercy – forgiveness, grace, and love . And all of our new beginnings must begin there.

To do that – we must be given the gospel – the good news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – his victory over sin and death.

Our old person dies – in baptism we are buried – and we are raised as this whole new person – because of the cross and resurrection of Jesus – and we are given a new identity – and the sinner becomes made in the image of God. We become whole on the inside – and live it out on the outside.

3 passages on forgiveness to help us begin anew and live forgiven:

Psalm 103:10

10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

Yay! That’s all you can say! Yay! We can’t make up for our sins, ever. Jesus, not because of us – but because of what Jesus did – He took our sins upon Himself – the ‘reward’ of our sins – so we don’t have to.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Our sins are gone in Christ – as far away as they can possibly be.

13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.

Whatever our father-experience is – we know that our heavenly father is this way only.

Our son and daughter in law came up with our granddaughter – and a baby is helpless – we know their frame – that they are helpless – and what does that do? It creates enormous love in us for that which is helpless. Same with God – these people are helpless – they just sin – it is what they do! And it creates a love in Him for us.

Micah 7:18

18 Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.

God delights in unchanging love!

19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.

Those sins are at the bottom of the deepest trench of the ocean – and no one can see them!

Isaiah 1:18

"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.
Jesus transforms the color of our sin! Like if a carpet is stained, you always know that something is wrong – but not with Jesus’ transformation – we are completely cleaned.

3 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. (Psalm 130:3)

We keep records of sin – and we allow them to determine our relationship with others based on the records we keep – the records we keep will determine our relationship.

Guilt and shame are great motivators, but they always fail. This story tells us that the only motivator is grace, mercy, love and God’s forgiveness.

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