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Summary: The Lord Jesus was the Master in approaching people at the point of their need. He knew how to move from a person’s felt need to their perceived need to their human need as a gateway to their spiritual need.

Addressing the Proud Person as Jesus Would (Luke 7:30-50)

Illustration:The pride of your heart has deceived you. --Obadiah 1:3.

As the story goes, Muhammad Ali looked up with that saucy grin of his and said in a slow, gravelly voice, "Superman don’t need no seatbelt!" Without missing a beat, the flight attendant packed a punch with this quick reply: "Superman don’t need no airplane, so how about fastening up!"

Of course, Ali was only joking. If a person really believed he was Superman, he would be seriously deluded. He would be like the ancient Edomites in today’s Scripture who had been self-deceived by their own pride. The truth is, we all have the same tendency.

A. W. Tozer aptly described the kind of Christians the Lord longs for us to be: "Men and women who have stopped being ’fooled’ about their own strength and are not afraid of being ’caught’ depending on their all-sufficient Lord." (Our Daily Bread)

The Lord Jesus was the Master in approaching people at the point of their need. He knew how to move from a person’s felt need to their perceived need to their human need as a gateway to their spiritual need. Let us discover some principles of persuasion from how Jesus successfully approached the proud Pharisee and a harlot, broken and contrite in spirit. May the Lord grant us wisdom to improve our persuasive abilities by studying and following the steps of Jesus.

Christ’s Approach To the Proud (Luke 7:36-50)

1. One day Jesus accepted the invitation of a proud Pharisee, Simon, to have dinner in his home. Jesus never discriminated against anyone for any reason. Jesus willingly faced difficult circumstances for the sake of His mission - to seek and to save those who were lost.

2. Simon, the Pharisee coldly welcomes Jesus to convince all of his friends that he is no special friend of this young upstart religious teacher. Jesus put up with many social snubs and insults for the sake of the Father

3. After the evening with Jesus we understand that Simon did not change his mind about Jesus. Simon remained as he was - curious, but still placing his faith in the traditions of men rather than on person of Jesus Christ and His truth. Simon was willing to talk about the sins of others, but not his own. Still, Jesus succeeded in accomplishing the will of His Father, but giving the people a chance for repentance and faith .

4. Simon and his Pharisaical friends mocked Jesus for associating with sinners, tax-collectors and prostitutes. They could not understand why any religious man would give teaching to the reprobate. Jesus knew that His greatest response would come from those who knew they needed His help, not the proud.

Illustration: Annie Johnson Flint’s life on earth could never be measured in any degree by comfort and ease; quite the contrary, from childhood her body endured the onslaught of Rheumatoid Arthritis until she could no longer rise from bed. Over the years the affliction took a great toll, leaving her with no choice but to seek some comfort from sleeping and resting on soft pillows. Her body developed serious bed sores and finally she suffered the ravages of cancer.

Yet her attitude through all the struggles with pain and confinement may best be expressed through one of her great Christian poems that has been set to music in many hymnals. Her faith in God and His purpose, reflected through these words, portray her deep commitment and disposition of hope and peace:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;

He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.

To added affliction He addeth His mercy;

To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

His love has no limit;

His grace has no measure.

His power has no boundary known unto men.

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,

When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,

When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,

Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

His love has no limit;

His grace has no measure.

His power has no boundary known unto men.

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again

5. Jesus asked Simon, "Which of the forgiven debtors would love his benefactor most. Simon answered, "The one whom he forgave the more." Jesus knew that this would leave a lasting impression in the mind of the Pharisee having spoken the truth with his own lips even though it did not penetrated to his heart.

6. Simon clearly saw the hardness of his own heart in failing to forgive the woman caught in adultery. Jesus puts him in a position where he is indicted by his own words.

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