Early in our ministry here at MCC we recognized that God was gathering people in Memphis Indiana who were willing to give “church” a Second Chance. Many who were looking for a New Beginning in their life. And to all who have gathered, we have experienced God do amazingly more than we ever hoped or imagined. We truly found that 2nd chance, that New Beginning.
This weekend, we turn to an encounter that two individuals have with Jesus in Luke Chapter 7, verse 36 when confronted with the opportunity of a new beginning. One a Pharisee, the other a “sinful” woman.
As you read through this account, or listen while you are driving along in the car, make note that the sinful woman was “seeking”, she was “repentant” while the religious host missed the need for grace all together.He was self-reliant, arrogant and judgmental.
Now, notice the grace that Jesus showed to both. The offer of grace and a new beginning were offered to both.
There are 4 principles from this story that we need to consider when faced with the reality of our own sin and our need for a New Beginning:
First, I need to go to where Jesus is.
Sometimes, when life is a mess, there is a part of us that says “church isn’t the place to be”, “they won’t accept me there”, “I’m a hypocrite for going now..” But the first thing we need to do when we feel like crawling away is to come to where Jesus is. This woman in Luke 7 may have felt out of place in the home of a self-righteous Pharisee. People may have told her, “You don’t belong with Jesus. He’s good, your filthy….” But she went to where He was anyway. Jesus said: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)(NIV)
Once we come to Christ, I think the second thing we need to learn from this woman is to Allow myself to be overwhelmed by his incredible love for me. It’s OK to cry. When we come to Christ, being in his presence is stronger than the sin that binds us and for a moment we are overwhelmed with just how much God loves us. The reality that He has taken all of our hurts, all of our burns, all the punishment of hell, on the cross for us. The Apostle Paul wrote: “(I wish you could) grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18)(NIV)
3rd, We are to Genuinely repent of our sin. It’s what we see in the life of this woman and don’t see in the life of Simon is that this woman was sincerely sorry for what she had done. If she was a prostitute, perfume was one of the tools of her trade, and so she poured it all out on the feet of Jesus. It was as though she was saying, “I’m not going to need this anymore.” This weekend we will go into detail about what genuine repentance looks like. God said in Isaiah 66:2: “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)(NIV) A.W. Tozer said, “God loves the bent knee, the broken heart and the wet eye.”
And Finally, this is when I trust God’s grace and live forgiven. Jesus said to the woman in this account: “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you.” He didn’t say, “Your penance has saved you. If you’ll do four hundred hours of community service, I will save you.” Her forgiveness was granted to her instantly by the grace of Jesus because she put her faith in him. Acts 15:11 says, “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved.” (Acts 15:11)(NIV) “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)(NIV) God gives us his grace because He is so good, not because we’re good. His grace is sufficient, it is complete no matter the sin. The old has gone, the new has come.
The 2nd thing Jesus said to her is: “Now, Go in peace” because He wanted her to now live confidently in the assurance of His Grace.
God’s hope for you is the same through your encounter with Him. Come and experience His grace. I look forward to walking through this encounter with you this Saturday at 5:30 and Sunday morning at 10:30.