Summary: The more we understand our sin, the greater we understand God’s love in Jesus Christ--and the more we love Him for it.
“The Entanglement of Sin”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church,
Newport News, VA
The entanglement of sin.
I don’t know about you, but I’m an expert on this subject…in a sense….
Why do I say, “In a sense”?
Because it seems that as soon as I feel I have mastered or gotten the problem under control in my own life….
….I let it get me messed up again!
Conquering sin is a life-long process, but it is not a process in which we are left to face on our own.
That is, if we are born again children of God.
If we were to have to completely rely on our own power to conquer the sin that invades and tempts to ruin our lives—we would have no chance whatsoever.
As Jesus puts it so correctly in John Chapter 8: “…if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning a Pharisee named Simon has invited Jesus over to his home to have dinner.
Jesus is reclining at the table when a woman suddenly crashes the party uninvited.
She’s weeping, and when she sees that her tears have splashed onto Jesus’ feet—she wipes them up with her hair, kisses them and pours perfume on them.
Simon the Pharisee is incensed that Jesus is allowing this woman—obviously a well-known ‘sinner’ to touch—even His feet!
Jesus, knowing what Simon is thinking, says: “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
He goes on to tell Simon about two men who owed money to a certain moneylender.
One of the men owed five hundred denarii, the other owed fifty.
The moneylender forgave both men’s debts.
“Now which of them will love him more?” asks Jesus.
“Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.’”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus says.
Later in our Lesson Jesus says: “Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
Obviously, the Moneylender in this story is God…
…but who are the two men who owe the debts and cannot pay them back?
I was discussing this passage with a colleague of mine earlier this week.
He said, Ken, I think I’m going to stand up in the pulpit on Sunday and declare: “No person in this church deserves to go to heaven.”
In response, I said, “And probably not everyone is going.”
The two men in the story who owe the debts to God are you and me and the rest of the entire human race!
And the question is not who has sinned more….
…the question is: “Who realizes his or her sins for what they are?”
Walter walked into the church office, as he normally does on Wednesday mornings, and told Betty and I a joke.
It goes something like this:
A man dies and goes to heaven.
As he is being escorted down the hallway to his room, his escort warns him: “Now you must be very quiet when we pass a certain room. Don’t make a peep.”
“Why?” asked the man.
“Who’s in there?”
His escort replies: “That is the room for the people who think that they are the only ones’ here.”
This joke could apply to any one of us.
And I certainly do think it applies to Simon the Pharisee….
…except that Jesus doesn’t pull any punches.
He tells it like it is.
The sinful woman in our Lesson was no more of a sinner than Simon.
As a matter of fact, Simon may have been an even greater sinner.
The key is that the woman realized her sins, she was aware of them.
They tore at her very soul!
She realized how they had ruined her life and alienated her from God….
…and of a life of joy, and peace.
Simon the Pharisee wasn’t even aware that he was a sinner in need of repentance and salvation…
…and this my friends, is the greatest sin of all!
This keeps us in the dark as to the Light and Love of God—this keeps us from entering His kingdom…
…and this will eventually result in our eternal damnation.
For without the forgiveness of sins there is no salvation!
As the Bible reminds us in Romans Chapter 3: “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
Are we aware of the sin in our lives?
And if so, what are we doing about it?
My mother has a real neat conversion story.
One night she went out on the town with some girlfriends—minus one particular friend who happened to be busy doing something else that night.
During the course of the night my mother and her friends gossiped about and basically ripped the friend who was absent up and down nine ways to Sunday.