ETERNITY WITH GOD!

Being with God for all eternity would be like a totally complete state of peace and satisfaction. Such a state is not attainable by mankind alone, since as we know, man is a creature who is never satisfied—-we always want more.

The best method for me to describe this is by example. Some time ago, my primary care physician referred me to a hematologist because of abnormal laboratory results. On the day of my appointment, when I was almost at the office, I looked at the referral form and realized that I was almost an hour early. I telephoned to check and see if I could come on in anyway and I heard this message…. “office of hematology and oncology”. I thought, “this is a cancer doctor”. Of course I had heard this same salutation when I initially made the appointment. This time, however, my heart suddenly began to race and I felt this overwhelmingly sense of anxiety and fear. As I entered the office, I noticed the waiting room was practically full. My perception was that not a single person was at ease, not a smile was visible. As I sat down, I said to myself, “I will not submit to any feelings of anxiety, fear, or worry; fear is not of God; I am a child of God; I trust Him; and I am covered by His grace”.

Even more quickly than the negative feelings had come, I felt an instant sense of calm and peace. It could be likened to a sudden feeling of warmth on an extremely cold winter day. I would imagine that being with God for all eternity would be like having that feeling of warmth all the time. It could also be likened to the feelings of a child who is totally secure and happy being in the arms of a loving parent.

 

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

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  THE WOMAN WHO LIVED A SINFUL LIFE

Bible Study Lesson 6/25/2016 Key Scriptures: Luke 7:36-50

Supporting Scriptures: Luke 19:2-3; Romans 3:23; Is. 55:8; Rom. 6:23;

Matt. 7:1; Matt.23:2-3,13-14; Rev. 3:20; Zec.1:3; Matt. 28:19-20; John 3:16; Matt.22:37-38; John 14:23; Matt. 10:33; Prov. 3:6; Hebrews 8:12

  1. THE TITLE:

Many times in scripture the main character is named, such as Zacchaeus, a man of short stature who climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. (Luke 19:2-3). Other times, as in this lesson, no name is given. While pondering the reason why, consider this: any name would be appropriate; male or female. Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

  1. HER CHARACTER:

“She was a notorious sinner, possibly a prostitute or adulteress. Rather than trying to defend what was indefensible in her life, she admitted her sin and made a spectacle of herself in a passionate display of love and gratitude.”  WOB, pg. 171.

In our humanness, we often attempt to categorize sin. For many a “LITTLE SIN” like lying is insignificant, while a “BIG SIN” such as murder is unforgiveable. In opposition to our thinking, let us look at Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”, declares the Lord. We know that God hates all sin, for He tells us “the wages of sin is death…”. (Romans 6:23) Therefore, as we look at the character of the lady in this lesson; ourselves; and the many others in which we come in contact, let us remember “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”. (Matt. 7:1)

  1. HER SORROW:

“That she had offended God so grievously”. (biblegateway.com)

  1. HER JOY:

“That Jesus forgave her sins and commended her great faith and love.” (biblegateway.com)

  1. THE INVITATION:

One of the Pharisees named Simon invited Jesus into his home for dinner and Jesus went and reclined at the table. (Luke 7:36) Based on scripture, we know that the Pharisees were experts in the law. They believed in God, but not that Jesus was the Messiah. Repeatedly, they attempted to entice Jesus into saying something they could use to bring about his arrest, imprisonment and crucifixion. In regard to the Pharisees, Jesus stated “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach”. (Matt. 23:2-3). Repeatedly, he referred to them as “hypocrites”. (Matt. 23:13-14)

Initially, we don’t know why Simon extended the invitation or why Jesus accepted; we simply know that it was done. Here is something we do know in full detail, Jesus has extended an open invitation to all of us. He says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me”. (Rev. 3:20) We can rejoice in the knowledge that God’s invitation remains open even when we err and fall into sin, if we will sincerely repent (as the woman in this lesson). Let us remember the words of the Lord in Zechariah 1:3, “Return to me”, declares the Lord Almighty, “and I will return to you”.

  1. SHARING THE GOSPEL:

A woman in town who lived a sinful life heard that Jesus was dining at Simon’s house, so she arrived uninvited with an alabaster jar filled with perfume. (Luke 7:37)

Apparently, the woman had already heard Jesus speak or at least had heard about Him. She had seen or heard of His many miracles, healings and teachings. After hearing, she responded by seeking Him out and going to where He was. Obviously, she desired to connect with Him, learn more and pay homage to Him since she brought along a gift- love offering.

As children of God, it is our responsibility to spread the good news telling others about Jesus. He commands us to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

Like the woman in our lesson, after hearing about Jesus our desire should be to make that connection with Him. We can rest assured that “God desires a continuing love relationship with us that is real and personal”. (Experiencing God; Henry and Richard Blackaby; pg. 52 2007).  In Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment.”  While requiring our love, remember that God first demonstrated His love for us in that “…..He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16)  How appropriate is that age-old childhood song: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so”.

  1. WE SHOULD DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE FOR JESUS OPENLY!

After entering Simon’s home, the woman stood behind Jesus at His feet weeping; wet His feet with her tears; wiped them with her hair; kissed them and poured perfume on them. (Luke7:38). Her love for Jesus was shown through her humility (the washing of His feet); tears (outward display of love and devotion); and unselfish giving (the alabaster jar filled with  perfume). Scripture doesn’t indicate that she ever spoke a word, but her love and devotion was evident.

As believers, we should demonstrate our love for Jesus openly by living righteously and loving others as He commands. He tells us in John 14:23 “anyone who loves me will obey my teaching”.  He further states in Matthew 10:33, that, if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before His Father.

  1. HATERS WILL HATE

When Simon saw what the woman was doing, his mind went straight to the negative. He thought to himself, “If Jesus is a prophet he would know that the woman touching him is a sinner”. (Luke 7:39)  Now Simon reveals his true character and doubt of who Jesus is. How quickly he was ready to judge, placing himself above the woman, as though he was not also a sinner. Additionally, he seemingly places himself above Jesus, believing that he knows more because he recognizes the woman as a sinner while Jesus does not.

  1. IGNORE STUMBLING BLOCKS

Jesus knew Simon’s thoughts and responded by explaining a parable about two men who owed a debt, one 500 denarii and the other 50. Neither man could repay the moneylender, so he forgave both debts.  Jesus then asked the question, which of the debtors would love the most (be the most grateful). Simon answered the one who owed the most and Jesus replied that he was correct. (Luke 7:43-44)

The parable was meant to teach a lesson. Both Simon and the woman owed a debt that could never repay. Consider this summarization from Bible Gateway: “Though Simon’s sin was less obvious, it was the more dangerous. He was like a man who was following a map he was certain would lead to heaven—but when heaven came down and walked into his house, he didn’t even know it. The woman on the other hand, realized just how lost she had been. Forgiven much, she loved much. She found heaven at the feet of Jesus.”

Jesus went on to point out all the expected amenities Simon had failed to offer as a proper host, such as water to clean His feet; a welcoming kiss; or oil for His head. The woman, however, had done all these acts of love by washing His feet, kissing them and anointing them with oil. (Luke 7:44-46)

In our daily lives, there will be stumbling blocks. There will people who question our commitment to God; criticize our actions; intentionally place obstacles in our way, and even slander our name and more. Remember that God is omniscience, omnipresent and omnipotent.  Trust completely in Him, stand firmly on His promises and “in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths”. (Prov.3:6)

  1. JESUS RESPONDS TO OUR FAITH

Jesus supports the woman and says to Simon, “Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown”. (Luke7:47). He also says directly to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven”. (Luke 7:48)

We know that the woman was not saved because of her actions or the expensive perfume, for it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us”. (Titus 3:5) Jesus makes it perfectly clear in Luke7:50 when he says to The Woman Who Has Lived A Sinful Life, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace”.

  1. STANDING ON THE WORD

God has promised, “For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more”. (Hebrews 8:12)  “This story isn’t included in scripture just so we can see the forgiveness given to one sinful woman, it is included so that we can know that no matter how sinful, how broken, how entrenched in error we might be, forgiveness is available if only we seek it in faith—he’s promised.”  biblegateway.com/devotionals/women of the bible/2014/09/29.

Bibliography:

Holy Bible, New International Version, (NIV) Study Bible, Copyright 1985, Zondervan Corporation

Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Copyright 1999,2002 by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda; Zondervan

Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Henry and Richard Blackaby, Claude King; Copyright 2007, Reprinted 2015

biblegateway.com/devotionals/women-of-the-bible/2014/09/29