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The The Answer to Your Deepest Need

(135)

Sermon shared by Andrew Clark

August 2002
Summary: Exploration of forgiveness.
Denomination: Holiness
Audience: Seeker adults
Sermon:
Luke 7:36-50
(Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman)

Title: The Answer to your deepest need
Theme: Forgiveness
Aim: To present the need for forgiveness that will make the congregation ask if they are missing out on something.


Introduction

A Salvation Army Officer, who worked with street people, was approached by a prostitute who was in a desperate situation. He wasnít in uniform, she didnít know he was a Christian, she just knew him as someone who might be able to help. She described the mess she was in: she was sick, she was homeless, she was a drug addict and had a two year old daughter that she couldnít even afford to buy food for. The officer was upset but horrified to see the womanís situation, but he tried not to let it show. He asked her if she had ever gone to the church for help . She looked at him in amazement "church!" she said, " Why would I ever go there? Theyíd just make me feel even worse than I already do!"

I guess you could say that the church has lost touch with the Jesus who was a friend of the outcast and the sinner. Perhaps because the church sometimes seems so unforgiving, we have lost what forgiveness really means, we have forgotten how Jesus forgave. You may not think so, but our greatest need is forgiveness. Do you not think so? Well, letís look at the story to see what we can discover.

1. The heart of the Pharisee

Perhaps the church today, perhaps you, have the heart of Simon the Pharisee. He was the man in whose house Jesus was having dinner. It was normal custom for people living in Israel at the time of Jesus to welcome visitors with a kiss, to give them water to wash their feet (they wore sandals on dusty roads remember) and anoint his head with perfumed oil. Simon had not done any of that. Perhaps we could say that maybe Simon felt that he was a good man, on equal standing with Jesus, he thought he was just as good as Jesus so he wasnít going to lavish any kindness on him.

What kind of heart is it that has that attitude? The heart that has no regard for Jesus. No regard for anotherís comforts, a puffed up image, the view that he didnít need a saviour.

We can tell more about Simonís heart when the former prostitute came into the house. He certainly didnít want to have anything to do with this woman; he certainly didnít want her in his house. More than that, he definitely thought that someone like Jesus shouldnít be mixing with the likes of her!

Simon was too busy looking at the faults in others to see the sin in his own life. He was too blind to see his own need.

Of course, Jesus, being God, knew what Simon was thinking. So Jesus, in the way that only he could, addresses Simonís bad heart by a little story.

2.The heart of the matter

Jesusí story was quite simple. Perhaps I can re-tell it by using a modern example.

There was a man who had purchased a bicycle from Halfords using his credit card and another man who purchased a brand new motorbike from Halford on a credit arrangement. The bicycle cost about £120, but the motorbike was almost £12,000! The man with the bicycle only had it to travel to a job which he didnít really like anyway, then he lost the job and couldnít afford to keep the bike. But the man with the expensive motorbike had just been made redundant in his high paid job, there was no way he could make the payments, and he was
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