Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Fragrance of Forgiveness

Pastor Brad and our youth are back from CHIC and Brad felt immensely invigorated once again by the experience. He welcomed us warmly and shared a few insights from the week. The theme was Five. And it's aim was to sink home five important questions for young people of all ages.

1. Who are you looking for ?
2. Who do you say that I am?
3. Do you love Me?
4. Do you want to be made whole?
5. Who should I send?

The key announcement today was that Tuesday evening there will be a council meeting. This is an important one as summer is flying fast and there's a lot to do to get ready for fall.

Darlene, for an introit, performed a beautiful rendition of The Lord’s Prayer….

Singing and worship was led by Brad and Chuck with Darlene’s accompaniment.

Before the offering Brad shared another anecdote from CHIC. One evening an offering was taken for Covenant work in one of the neediest countries in Africa. The youth and chaperones gave an impressive $127,000.

The Scripture reading was from Mark 6:14-29.


Louie Giglio was the last speaker… He said that commitments are not an endpoint but a launching point. Pray for your kids.

The Fragrance of Forgiveness

Today's sermon was drawn from the Gospel of Luke 7:36-50

Brad begand by noting that the world is full of smells. "Think about it… is this a good smell or bad?"
Coffee in the morning
Magic Markers
My mom’s new perm
Spring rain
Wet dogs
Crackling fire
Bacon frying on the pan, burgers on the grill…

This story from Luke takes place around dinner time and you can guess that there were plenty of smells, aromatic fruits, breads, etc.

Notice how Jesus was always getting invited to parties. He must have been a pleasure to be around. The religious leaders didn't like some of the people whom he went to parties with. Some were even notorious sinners. There's the story of Zachias, and another time he went to the house of a Roman IRS agent named Matthew. And in this story it was a Pharisee named Simon, with lots of guests.

Unexpectedly an uninvited woman enters the party and a new smell would soon fill the atmosphere… the fragrance of forgiveness.

This was a woman who practiced a lifestyle of habitual immorality. She hears that Jesus was going to be there and she shows up. At one time in her life she may have even been there on business. On this occasion she brought an alabaster container of perfume.

The reason she was there is because she had previsouly had an encounter with Jesus and she was no longer in the business. She had been changed by Jesus. She was now a forgiven, priceless, treasured child of God. Her past erased, her body no longer for sale because her soul has been purchased.

This woman walks in to the party, and becomes emotionally wrecked. Before she can get the alabaster jar open she begins to cry. The emotion was not refined, was not properly contained dignified emotion. She was sobbing, like a heavy rain. She’s weeping, undoes her hair and wipes the Lord's feet with her hair. And then pours the perfume over his feet.

As the woman does all this, Jesus doesn’t say, “What in the world are you doing? This is not a proper thing to do.” He just allowed it to happen.

Brad commented, “I think Jesus was basking in her changed life. He took in the fragrance of her forgiveness and said, ‘Man, that smells good.’”

Another smell in the room was the smell of judgmentalism. Simon was thinking to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

In verse 40 Jesus answered this man’s thoughts. “Simon, I’ve got something to tell you.”

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Now here’s the 26,000 dollar question. "Which one will love him more?"

In verse 44 Jesus turns toward the woman, but continues talking to Simon. "Do you see this woman?" And you can hear the intonation, "Do you see her as she really is? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Note: It is not her love that saved her. It’s His love that saved her. Jesus hates what sin does to us…. And the reason she is this way is that she has been forgiven.

Simon knew the essence of God’s message but it didn’t touch him. She was devastated by it, by God’s love.

How is your love for God these day? Do you find yourself more like Simon or the woman?

These are important questions to ask ourselves. Do I still find his grace amazing? Do I pour my love out on Him in uninhibited ways? And how is my love for other people?

When the love and grace of Jesus found me it changed me. When you know you have been forgiven lavishly, you lavish love on others.

In verse 48 Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Shock. Horror! This was even more shocking to the Pharisees than what the woman had done.

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Jesus’ blood is “tough on dirt.” He is able to clean up any sin, any stain. And He is entirely approachable. Let Him transform you today.

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