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4 Words 2 Change U Life

Luke 7:36-50
 

 

Can four words really have a big impact?  Sure they can! 

Examples:

I'm sorry, it's cancer.  Yes, you are pregnant.  You owe ten thousand.  Please take a number.  The baby needs changed.  You are being audited!  [financial equivalent of a colonoscopy]

 

Jesus changes lives, and did so in our text with just four words. [read 36-43]


True story--there was a woman who was on an overseas flight. Called flight attendant over to her and told her she was having a heart attack. Flight attendant asked, “Is there a doctor on board?” At that point, 67 people raised their hands. Obviously, they were doctors.  "Which of you is a heart doctor?"  They all kept their hand up.  They were headed to a convention for cardiac surgeons.

Imagine her joy when she saw the doctors. They were ready, willing, and able to effectively diagnose her problem and prescribe the correct treatment. They had the knowledge, the expertise, and the desire to take care of her and meet her needs.

Friends, I want to tell you that our wonderful Lord stands ready, willing, and able to help you today.  He is the Great Physician and your being here is not by accident, it is by Divine Appointment!
- He has already diagnosed your problems.
- He has already prescribed the correct treatment through His Word.
- He has the knowledge He needs about you because He knows everything about you, even the things you haven’t told Him or anyone else.
- He has the expertise and the ability to take care of you.
- The greatest thing of all is that He has a deep desire to take care of you and see you made whole again.

Where are you in this story? Who are you in this story?

Are you the woman? –  In those days women were not invited to nor accepted at banquets. They were treated as 2nd class citizens. Jewish rabbis did not speak to women in public. They did not eat with them in public. A woman of this type would not have been invited to the house of Simon the Pharisee. Though her sins are not named, we get the impression that she was a woman of the streets w/ a bad reputation.  She was from the “red torch” district!
- She sensed a desperate need in her life.
- She knew she was a sinner.
- She was deeply convicted about her sin.
- She approached Jesus in spite of all the strikes against her.
- She gave her most highly valued possession – perfume…that which she used to wear to attract men to herself she now used to anoint Christ.

- Her hair, a woman’s glory, she humbly used to dry His feet.
- She surrendered herself in total humility.

Are you the woman?

Or are you the host? –Simon, the wealthy Pharisee, was the host of this banquet. The homes of the wealthy often had an open courtyard, usually in the center of the house.  Sometimes the host would allow the public to stand around the outside of the courtyard and listen to the discussions, especially when the guest was a great teacher or some celebrity.
- He, too, was a sinner in great need. But he did not realize it because his chief problem was blindness – spiritual blindness.


End of v. 39 - It was easy for him to say, “She is a sinner!” but impossible for him to say, “I am a sinner!”  Both phrases have 4 words, but only one is life changing.
- He was considerate, but self-righteous.
- He considered himself better than the woman.
- He sensed no need for forgiveness in his own life.
- He was a good ole’ boy…a good moral person – good in religion; good in outward behavior.  And sadly, the Bible says that many good people are lost and on their way to hell, because they don't realize you can't get to heaven by being good, only by being saved from being bad.

Which person are you? All of us are in one category or another – either we sense our great need for salvation or we don’t. Look again at Jesus’ words in v. 41-43. The parable that Jesus told does not deal w/ the amount of sin in a person’s life, but the awareness of that sin in his heart.

How much sin must a person commit to be a sinner?  Simon and the woman were both sinners. Simon was guilty of hidden sins of the spirit, especially pride, while the woman was guilty of sins of the flesh. Her sins were known, while Simon’s sins were hidden from everyone...except God.  THE POINT IS THAT BOTH OF THEM WERE SPIRITUALLY BANKRUPT & COULD NOT PAY THEIR DEBT TO GOD!

There we are! All sinners…All spiritually bankrupt…All unable to pay our debt to God…All in desperate need…And all here in the presence of the One who can forgive our sin and set us free.

What an incredible moment when Jesus said those 4 life-changing words in v. 48 – “Thy sins are forgiven”. Listen to those words again. Say them w/ me. Take the statement apart:

Thy” – the pronoun of the 2nd person in the nominative, objective case, indicating the person being addressed.


In other words, He’s talking to YOU. He’s addressing THEE. He’s addressing ME.  He’s addressing WE. This is not some cold, impersonal, or flippant comment. He’s not talking about someone else’s sins. He’s talking to YOU. You can’t do anything about anyone else’s sin, so quit worrying about them, and start dealing with your own. Jesus is addressing YOU today.

sins” – Those times in your life when you have missed the mark; erred; offended someone; wronged someone; made a mistake; had sinful desires; not believed; had no faith; did not trust God; were lewd in words or actions; habitually messed up; deviated from God’s plan for your life; failed in the performance of your duties; broken an OT commandment; broken a NT commandment; fallen short.  [a friend of mine in the ministry always says, 'God forgive us for our falling shorts!']

        The Bible says we all have sinned and fall short, no matter who we are.

 

Ill.-- A little boy had just gotten saved and sat on a bench next to an old man who looked upset. The little boy said to the man, "Sir, do you need to get saved?"
The man, startled, said abruptly, "I’ll have you know I’ve been a Deacon in this church for over 30 years and Chairman of Deacons for 15 years."
The little boy responded, "Sir, it don’t matter what you done, Jesus can still save you!"

are” – a simple verb declaring and affirming this truth right now. “Thy sins are _____________” what?  Fill in the blank...
- Obvious? Hidden? Fun?
- Heavy? Weighing you down?
- Killing you? Destroying you? Destroying others?
- Keeping you up at night?

- All you can think about?
ill--James Garfield was a lay preacher and principal of his denominational college. They say he was ambidextrous and could simultaneously write Greek with one hand and Latin with the other.

In l880, he was elected President of the United States, but after only six months in office, he was shot in the back with a revolver. He never lost consciousness. At the hospital, the doctor probed the wound with his little finger to seek the bullet - to no avail.  Today we know it went thru his vertebrae and lodged between the spleen and pancreas. But the dr. couldn't find it, so he tried a silver-tipped probe. Still he couldn't locate the bullet.  Garfield’s body simply wouldn’t give it up.  They took Garfield back to Washington, D.C.   Despite the summer heat, they tried to keep him comfortable. He was growing very weak. Teams of doctors tried to locate the bullet, probing the wound over and over. In desperation they asked Alexander Graham Bell, who was working on a little device called the telephone, to see if he could locate the metal inside the president's body. He came, he sought, and he too failed. The president hung on through July, through August, but in September he finally died-not from the wound, but from infection. The repeated probing, which the physicians thought would help the man, eventually, killed him. So it is with people who dwell too long on their sin and refuse to release it to God. We must get honest w/ God and admit to our sinfulness, or there can be no… [forgiveness]

 

“Thy sins are…” [still weighing you down?]


forgiven – What a word! It means that you have been pardoned; your sins have been canceled. You have been loosed, and set free. Your sins have been released from you. You have been freed from the slavery to sin to become a servant of God your Creator. You now have the ability to follow after God instead of fleeing from Him. You now have the ability to flee from sin and run to the Lord.

What does this mean? What are the implications for us today? To know that your sins are forgiven means:
- There exists the possibility of a personal relationship w/ God.  To have a “right relationship” we must be right w/ God.  [just like your spouse…when feuding, you have a relationship, but it’s not right until it’s made right…forgiveness must be obtained thru some means!]
- Jesus’ death on the cross makes your forgiveness possible. He paid the price. He was the perfect sacrifice, the perfect Lamb that was slain for my sins and yours.
- Jesus’ resurrection from the grave makes a relationship w/ God possible. If He had stayed in the grave, we would have no Savior, no eternal life, no place in heaven.
- There exists the possibility of a restored relationship with God. [vertical]
- There exists the possibility of restored relationships with others. [horizontal]

        Ill.-- There was a widow who had “Rest In Peace” inscribed on her husband’s tombstone.  When she learned that he left her out of his will, she added the words, “’TIL I GET THERE!”
- Because we are forgiven, we are called to be forgivers. Until we do, our relationship w/ God will continue to be hindered.

And we must forgive ourselves…some of you may need a big dose of Extra Strength “Forgiven-All”! [slide]  Some have a hard time releasing others because you won’t release yourself…accepting God’s forgiveness makes it easier to grant it to others even if they aren’t worthy...either!

 

Ill.-- A pastor [I won't name him] finished his message early one Sunday, (ok, so, you know it wasn’t me!) and he wanted to check his congregation’s understanding. So he asked, "Can anyone tell me what you must do before you can obtain forgiveness of sin?"
There was a long pause and then, from the back of the room, a small boy spoke up, "You have to sin."

We don’t have a problem fulfilling that prerequisite.  But Jesus reveals that another requirement for God to forgive is our willingness to forgive others. Now is the time to step out of that spirit of unforgiveness, confess it to God, repent of it, and forgive those who have wronged you.

 

Ill.--February 24, 2005   Just days after the head-on crash that killed their three sons, Nathan and Connie Backstrom did something most people would consider remarkable: They forgave the person responsible.

Matthew, Jacob and Justin Backstrom died after a man, 22 at the time of the accident, swerved into their car on a dark two-lane road. He apparently was using a cell phone and had been drinking that night.

"This young man has consequences for his actions, and so I can forgive him because my God has forgiven me," Nathan Backstrom said days after the accident. "It is my duty as a Christian. I can't live the rest of my life carrying that anger."


CONCLUSION – Back to the story we started with. It would not have done the woman on the plane any good at all if all 67 doctors offered their help and assistance...if she refused to accept their help.
- “I don’t need it.”
- “I’ll be OK.”
- “I think I know what to do.”

- "I'll deal with it later."
- “This heart attack really isn’t that bad. It’s not that serious.”
She had to accept their help. She had to surrender herself to their knowledge and expertise. She had to humble herself to admit that she needed help!  Most of all, she had to TRUST them.


In 1830, George Wilson was arrested for mail theft and sentenced to execution by hanging. Pres. Andrew Jackson granted him a pardon, but he refused to accept it. Should Wilson be freed or hanged? Chief Justice John Marshall issued this decision: “A pardon is slip of paper, the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged.”

v. 50 – The sinful woman placed her faith and trust in Jesus. That moved Jesus to forgive her sins and set her free to go in peace.
- There is great peace when we know we are forgiven and when we have forgiven others.

Simon could have had the same forgiveness. But his faith was in himself. What about you?

[some sermon material courtesy Jon Daniels, SermonCentral.com]

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