Sermon shared by T. Michael Crews
Summary: An Exposition of Luke 7:36-50
Audience: General adults
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A legend that says long ago, there lived a chieftain, known not only as a strong warrior but also a wise leader who gave his people laws which guided every aspect of life. He enforced these laws strictly, and had a reputation for uncompromising justice.
One day it came to the leaderís attention someone in the tribe was stealing. He called his people together. ďYou know the laws are given to help you live in peace,Ē he reminded them. ďThis stealing must stop. We all have what we need. The penalty for theft has been increased from 10 to 20 lashes.Ē
But the thief continued to steal, so the chief called the people together again. ďPlease hear me,Ē he pled with them. ďThis must stop. It hurts us all when one steals from his neighbor. The penalty has been increased to 30 lashes.Ē
Still, the thief continued to steal. Once more, the leader gathered his people and spoke to them. ďPlease, Iím begging you. For your own sake, this has to stop. The penalty has been increased to 40 lashes.Ē Those who were near saw a single tear run down his cheek.
Finally, the day came when the thief was caught red-handed. As the leader arrived and the crowd parted, the shock hit him. The thief was his own mother, old and frail.
What will he do? the people wondered aloud. Will he uphold the law, or will he sacrifice justice for the love of his mother?
This is the problem of forgiveness.
The Bible tell us the God of the Universe is all powerful, all wise, and perfectly just. Heís given us His moral laws to help us live in peace. In His perfect justice, He encourages us to do what is right and decrees sin be punished severely.
But each and every one of us stands guilty before Him. We have all deliberately done what we know is wrong. And yet He still loves us- even more than this chief loved his frail, elderly mother. Godís Law demands punishment- Godís love desires forgiveness. Justice demands the guilty be punished, but love longs for some way to save the sinner from condemnation. How can you find forgiveness and yet still meet the demands of justice? How can you and I find Godís forgiveness?
This is what I want to talk with you about this morning. Jesus Christ offers us a solution to this problem which can be found in the story of Luke 7:36-50. Letís begin with vs. 36-38.
Finding Godís forgiveness involves understanding 3 important truths:
I. YOUíVE GOT TO ADMIT YOU NEED GODíS FORGIVENESS (v. 36-38)
Before you can experience Godís forgiveness, you have to humble yourself enough to confess your need for His forgiveness.
Evangelist Eddie Martin once conducted a crusade in Bluefield, West Virginia. At the altar call a well-dressed woman came forward.
It was Rev. Martinís custom to have them repeat the sinnerís prayer with him. He took her hand and prayed, "Dear Lord, I know that I am a sinner. I know I canít save myself. I need forgiveness for my awful sins. Please [forgive] me, Jesus." But as he prayed, she was silent. He asked her, "Donít you want to be saved?" She said, "Yes, I want to be saved, but Iím not a sinner." "Then you canít be saved," he said. "Jesus only died for sinners." "But Rev. Martin - Iím a good sinner!"
Luke introduces us to a couple of sinners in this passageóone a ďgoodĒ sinner, and the other a ďbadĒ sinner.
First, there is Simon, whom we are told is a Pharisee= a separated one, known for strict
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