The Tale of Two Debtors

 

THE TALE OF TWO DEBTORS

A SERMON FROM LUKE 7.36-50

By Kevin W. Bounds



Introduction

  1. A Jewish man stepped in and watched a part of [Adolf] Eichmann’s trial and burst into tears. Some next to him said, “Your anger must be unbearable.” He said, “No, it isn’t anger. The longer I sit here, the more I realize I have a heart like his.”[1]
  2. We ALL need forgiveness for our depravity. Mark Twain quipped, “We are all like the moon. We have a dark side we don’t want anybody to see.”[2] How true it is! However, some refuse to see their own Charles Swindoll records,

Webster says depraved means, “marked by corruption or evil, perverted, crooked.” It’s important that you understand this is an internal disease; you can’t detect it from the outside. Most folks don’t look depraved. Most of us do a masterful job of covering it up. But never doubt that underneath, deep down inside, there is this disease that eats away at us and pollutes our thoughts and our words (intellect), our relationships (emotions), and our actions (will). [3] 

  1. In Luke 7:36-50, we are given a tale of two debtors which illustrates the need we ALL have for mercy and grace. This sermon will examine the debtors, the debt, and the dispensation in the parable spoken by Jesus. It is important that a parable lays alongside , in this case, it is the story that is unfolding at the banquet of the Pharisee.

[PAINT THE SCENE]

  1. There has been much debate concerning how many times Jesus was anointed. There are four records in the Gospels (Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Lk 7:36-50; Jn 12:1-8). My opinion is Luke’s account is an earlier anointing of Jesus. There were three anointing events (Matthew and Mark being the same event). Warren Wiersbe writes, “Do not confuse this event with a similar one involving Mary of Bethany (John 12:1-8), and do not identify this woman with Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2) as many continue to do.”[4]

 

The Debtors [41]

“A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii and the other fifty.”

The Pharisee

  1. What can we know about this person from this text? The first thing is that his name was Simon (40).
  2. Although he was a Pharisee, it is possible he invited Jesus to his home because he was curious about Him. This would explain the internal turmoil he was having about Jesus allowing this woman to touch Him (39).
  3. He was blind to his sinfulness, the woman’s worth as a human, and who Jesus was!
    1. A perfect illustration of this man’s attitude can be seen in Luke 18:9-14. [CITE]
    2. Simon the Pharisee was the perfect example of what Jesus spoke of near the end of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:1-5). [TURN]
  4. Wiersbe writes, “The parable does not deal with the amount of sin in a person’s life but the awareness of that sin in his heart.”[5]
    1. How much does it take to be in debt? Or sinner?
    2. Simon had a sin of the spirit, and the woman had a sin of the flesh. The Apostle Paul writes, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (KJV 2 Cor 7:1).
  5. We ALL need forgiveness!

 

The Woman

  1. Although many have argued that this woman was a prostitute, it cannot be confirmed by this passage. However, it is a good speculation.
  2. Why did this woman approach Jesus? If you look at a harmony of the Gospels, right before this moment, Jesus declared

“[28]  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29]  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [30]  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (KJV Matt 11:28-30).

  1. It is evident in this passage that whatever her past, she was convicted of it. However, it is a thought that if she were a “working woman,” her precious gift was more than likely purchased with her profits. Even her very best offering was tainted. All she could give Jesus was the best of her sinful past.

 

The Debt [42]

“When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both.

So which of them will love him more?”

  1. We ALL need to be graciously forgiven!
  2. It is noteworthy that forgiveness comes before the love. The writer of First John states, “We love, because He first loved us” (NASB 1 Jn 4:19).
  3. The Apostle Paul explains this in Ephesians 2:1-10. [TURN]

 

The Dispensation of Grace [48-50]

 “And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

  1. What right did Jesus have to declare her forgiven? This was not the first time Jesus has made such a statement (see Luke 5:21).
  2. What saved this woman; her faith or works? [READ VERSES 44-48] One Bible scholar writes, “We are not saved by faith plus works; we are saved by a faith that leads to works.”[6]
    1. Paul writes,

[4]  But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, [5]  He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, [6]  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, [7]  so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (NASB Tit 3:4-7).

  1. How did this woman know her faith saved her? God told her! He tells us too!
    1. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 (NASB)
    2. [38] “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, [39]  and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. Acts 13:38-39 (NASB)

 

Conclusion

  1. We ALL need forgiveness!
  2. Richard Hoefler’s book Will Daylight Come? Includes a homey illustration of how sin enslaves and forgiveness frees.

A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target.

As he came back to Grandma’s backyard, he spied her pet duck. On impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit, and the duck fell dead.

The boy panicked. Desperately he hid the dead duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

            After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.”

But Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you Johnny?” And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So Johnny did the dishes.

Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help make supper.” Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of. Johnny wants to do it.” Again, she whispered, “Remember the duck.” Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, finally he couldn’t stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he’d killed the duck.

“I know, Johnny,” she said, giving a hug. “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”

 


 

[1] Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson,1998), 155.

[2] Ibid., 155.

[3] Ibid., 156.

[4] Warren Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2007), 160.

[5] Ibid., 160.

[6] Ibid.,160.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Swindoll, Charles R. Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Nashville, TN. 1998.

 

Wiersbe, Warren. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament. Colorado Springs, CO. David C. Cook. 2007.

 


in-the-word-together-with-tag

Chained by Expectations

A SERMON FROM LUKE 7:18-35



By Kevin W. Bounds

Introduction

            Expectations can be misleading. I recall when in the parts business as a counter salesman, I would speak with customers all over the southeastern United States. While conversing on the telephone, I would form a mental image of how I thought the person on the other end of the line might look. Later on, in my career, I became an outside salesman, which allowed me to see the people I once only could visualize. They never looked the way I expected them to look. I learned a valuable lesson. Expectations can be misleading.

In Luke 7:18-35, the characters in this narrative deal with their expectations. This sermon will look at: 1) John’s expectations of Jesus (18-23) 2) The people’s expectation of a prophet (24-30) and finally; 3) What Jesus says about misleading expectations. By examining each aspect of the passage, we will see that if we are not careful, we too can be chained by expectations.

 

John’s Expectations of Jesus (18-23)

  1. First, it is important to look at John’s question concerning Jesus. He asks, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” (19) [Emphasis added].
  2. The Hebrew people had long anticipated the Messiah (or Anointed One). Messiah is the Hebrew title for this person, and Christ is derived from the Greek title of Christus.
  3. Of course, many different opinions were formed on how this coming Deliverer would look and behave.
  4. Per the Prophet Daniel, the timing was ripe for the Expected One to arrive on the scene. Four hundred and eighty-three years had passed since Artaxerxes issued the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. (See Daniel 9).
  5. Earlier, John the Baptist dealt with the people’s expectations (see 3:15) by point to Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. However, Herod would have John arrested and John at the time of this passage was in prison.
  6. Why would John the Baptist now be questioning Jesus whether He is the One? It is possible, the answer can lie in John’s expectations.
  7. Turn to Luke 3:15-17.
  8. In verse 17, the imagery that John the Baptist uses is one of judgment. It was a common perception in the day of Roman occupation that the Expected One would thrust out all enemy forces from Israel. However, John was imprisoned and this probably made him start to question.
  9. Having a larger view of God’s purpose of Christ’s first Advent, we know that His Second Coming will fulfill John’s expectations. Remember, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (NASB Jn 3:16-17).
  10. Look back a Luke 7:23 for this is a key verse to understanding this passage. John was borderline offended because he was chained by his expectations.

 

The People’s Expectations of a Prophet (24-30)

  1. In this section, there are two groups of people; the common people and tax collectors and the Pharisees and lawyers.
  2. Jesus addresses misguided expectation by asking a series of questions.
    1. “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? (24).
    2. “But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are splendidly clothed and live in luxury are found in royal palaces!” (25)
    3. “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet.” (26)
  3. John the Baptist didn’t fit many of the people’s expectations.
  4. The Apostle Paul explains the principle further. He writes,

(26)  For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; (27)  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, (28)  and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, (29)  so that no man may boast before God. (NASB 1 Cor 1:26-29).

  1. The next two verses are pivotal!
  2. In verse 29, the “unacceptable of the day” acknowledged God’s justice. This Greek word is It means to show to be righteous, declare righteous.[1] The same word is translated “vindicated” in verse 35.
  3. In verse 30, the religious folks did not acknowledge God’s justice, but “rather rejected God’s purpose for themselves, having not been baptized of John.” The Greek word (boule) translated “purpose” means counsel.[2]
  4. The religious people were chained by their expectations!

 

What Jesus Say About Misleading Expectations (31-35)

  1. Since the religious people’s expectations misled them to reject John the Baptist as a prophet, they ultimately rejected Christ.
  2. John came in one fashion and your rejected him. The Son of Man came in another fashion, but you rejected Him too.
  3. The Apostle Paul captures many of the Jews’ perception of Christ. He writes, “For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,” (NASB 1 Cor 1:22-23).
  4. Remember, “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”(NASB Luk 7:23) and  “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” (NASB Luk 7:35).

 

Conclusion

  1. Often, we allow our expectations to chain our perception of God. If Jesus was really the Son of God, He ____________ (fill in the blank).
    1. I once was acquainted with a man that said he decided to be an atheist because God didn’t answer his prayers as he expected.
  2. Often, we allow our expectations to color our awareness of God’s love for us. If God really loved me, He would ___________ (fill in the blank).
  3. In John 11, Martha’s expectations of Jesus were that he should have come and healed her brother, Lazarus.
  4. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (NASB Isa 55:9-11).
  5. Trust God not your understanding!
  6. Don’t be chained by your expectations! To mix metaphors, don’t think you can place God in a box.

 

[1]New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, (Anaheim, CA: Foundation Publications, 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1344”.

[2]New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, (Anaheim, CA: Foundation Publications, 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1012”.

 

The Lord of the Sabbath – Luke 6:1-16

THE LORD OF THE SABBATH:

A CASE FOR COMPASSIONATE CONFRONTATION FROM LUKE 6:1-16

By Kevin W. Bounds



 

Introduction

  1. In a world immersed in social media and a twenty-four-hour news cycle, everyone has an opinion. Now people can rant online without the consequence. Now people take to the street with picket signs protesting anything. Don’t believe me? Then you have not had social media, watched television, or read the newspapers lately.
  2. In this volatile mix of opinions, how are Christians to behave? Many think disciples of Jesus are to remain dormant and docile. We are assumed to follow a plastic Jesus. A false representation of the Founder of Christianity as a pussyfooting politically correct prophet (if there is such a thing). HOWEVER, this is not the Jesus of the Gospels. Yes, He was compassionate, but He was also confrontational.
  3. Often, the idioms like “judge not” or “cast the first stone” are quoted out of context and passages of making a whip of cords to remove people from the Temple are never mentioned.
  4. Yes, we are to be non-violent. However, Christians are called to like Christ. Who was compassionately confrontational.
  5. In Luke 6:1-16, we witness Jesus displaying a compassionate, yet challenging approach in His ministry. This sermon will look at the actions of Jesus and attempt to convey how we should apply the principles drawn from those actions in our daily lives. In the sermon, we will look at three different scenes: 1) the confrontation in the fields (vv. 1-5) 2) the dispute in the synagogue (vv. 6-11) 3) the ordination of the Twelve (vv. 12-16).
  1. Concerning this passage, Warren Wiersbe writes, “For over a year, Jesus ministered as a popular itinerant Teacher and Healer, and multitudes followed Him. But now the time had come for Him to “organize” His followers and declare just what His kingdom was all about.”[1]
  1. It is noteworthy at the end of the previous chapter, Jesus gives a parable concerning new wine in new wineskins (Matt 5:36-39).

Confrontation in the Fields (vv. 1-5)

  1. Jesus was unafraid to share a controversial truth with those whom He disagreed (v. 5). However, it was loving compassion which drove Him to confront the misinformed.
  2. In these five verses, we witness the disciples of Jesus walking through the “cornfields” – other translations render it grain fields – harvesting by hand and eating the corn/wheat.
  3. The Pharisees were not accusing of stealing because in the Law there was provision made for people gleaning from others’ fields. Moses writes,

 When thou comest into thy neighbour’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn (KJV Deut 23:24-25).

  1. The scribes and Pharisees were disturbed by doing this practice on the Sabbath. The interpretation of the Sabbath was the source of contention here. Jesus is not negating the Sabbath because the Sabbath is good. However, Jesus was confronting the neglect of human need by the scribes and Pharisees.
  2. For Jesus, the key to the Sabbath was that God made it for man and not the other way around (see Mark 2:27).
  3. In verses 3-4, Jesus explains interpretation to the Law was to be done with loving compassion, especially when a human need was involved. (See 1 Sam 21:1-6). The scribes and Pharisees had missed it by a mile!
  4. In verse 5, Jesus makes a remarkable statement about being “Lord of the Sabbath.” Rest assured his audience did not miss the claim to deity. Who can say such a thing but God?
  5. Jesus moved by loving compassion boldly spoke the truth!
  6. You will inevitably encounter people who will not accept the truth of Gospel. You should not shy away from conflicting views but lovingly stand for righteousness.

 Dispute in the Synagogue (vv. 6-11)

  1. It is important to notice that Jesus picked this fight in the synagogue. He was moved by loving compassion to help those that could not help themselves.
  2. The scribes and Pharisees were more concerned with the working hands that were meeting human needs in verses 1-5 than they were of the human need to have working hands! This man was handicapped by his infirmity.
  3. A “religious spirit” is more concerned about what others are doing wrong instead of helping others.
  4. Jesus called them out by pointing to the heart of the issue in verse 9.
  5. Jesus backed up his claim and interpretation with action. He miraculously healed the man’s withered hand.
  6. Does anyone like being called out? The scribes and Pharisees were not different. However, they were driven to the kind of madness that desires to kill!
  7. YOU WILL, in a world that is counter-gospel, will experience hatred. However, you must be willing to stand for truth. Jesus did!

 Ordination of the Twelve (vv. 12-16)

  1. It is no coincidence that Jesus ordained the Twelve, after this rejection by the scribes and Pharisees. Yes, I do believe this ordination was symbolic of a “new nation,” since there were Twelve Apostles; one for each tribe.
  2. However, I believe it was also for practical purposes. Jesus knew that eventually He would lay His life down and His message needed to continue. To perpetuate the message, He made disciples.
  3. Confrontation can lead to casualties, but we must reproduce through discipleship. Spurgeon/Whitefield comments about John Wesley’s ministry.
  4. I know it may be a horrible illustration but to control lice, you must stop the reproduction. The same goes for weeds too!

 Conclusion

           In a world filled with opinions, you will face conflicting views (i.e. Bible, social issues, politics). However, we must not resist violently with rage, but loving confront the falsehoods with truth. Much like the men down through the ages: Martin Luther stood against a corrupt church, William Wilberforce strove to end the English slave trade, and Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his life for the sake of civil rights. But more importantly, Jesus bleed so we could know the truth and be set free. We must be unafraid to share controversial truth because HE is with us (Mt 28:18-20; Heb. 13:5) We speak for the ones without a voice or the ability to rectify the injustice done to them, even if it cost our lives! In case we pay the ultimate price, the message of truth must be passed to the next generation of Jesus followers!

[1] Warren Wiersbe The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, 2nd Ed., (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2007), 153.

Jesus Uses Empty Vessels – Luke 5:1-11

JESUS USES EMPTY VESSELS:

A SERMON ON THE CALL OF THE DISCIPLES IN LUKE 5:1-11

           By Kevin W. Bounds


***Sorry for the inconvenience but recording begins approximately 20 seconds***


 

Introduction

DETOUR

The year was 1920. The scene was the examining board for selecting missionaries. Standing before the board was a young man named Oswald Smith. One dream dominated his heart. He wanted to be a missionary. Over and over again, he prayed, “Lord, I want to go as a missionary for you. Open a door of service for me.” Now, at last, his prayer would be answered. When the examination was over, the board turned Oswald Smith down. He did not meet their qualifications. He failed the test. Oswald Smith had set his direction, but now life gave him a detour. What would he do? As Oswald Smith prayed, God planted another idea in his heart. If he could not go as a missionary, he would build a church which could send out missionaries. And that is what he did. Oswald Smith pastored The People’s Church in Toronto, Canada, which sent out more missionaries than any other church at that time. Oswald Smith brought God into the situation, and God transformed his detour into a main thoroughfare of service. [1]

Brian L. Harbour, Rising Above the Crowd.

 Empty Nets (vv. 1-2)

  1. Jesus uses seemingly empty experiences to advance his purposes.
  2. Jesus was continuing his itinerant preaching ministry. At this point, Jesus was proclaiming the gospel to those around the lake of Gennesaret. (1)
  3. In a day without megaphones, microphones, or public address systems, the crowd inched closer and closer to hear the words of the grace that flowed from the Messiah’s mouth. In my imagination, I can see Christ being pushed to the water’s edge as the crowd thronged him. To the point, that he begins to look around to find a boat to put some distance between him and the mass of people. This was a common practice of teachers in this day because this would produce an amphitheater-like effect.
  4. Remember God uses circumstances to advance his purposes. In this case, he used nets that returned empty from the night before.
  5. In verse 2, Luke records that the boats were empty because the fisherman “were washing their nets. As the story develops, Luke records this ship is Simon’s and that they had “toiled all night” (v. 5) and had nothing to show for it.
  6. However, the disciples would not have been in the position they were to hear Christ teaching on the shoreline, had they caught fish the night before because they more than likely would have gone to the market to sell their catch. This also means that the boats would not have been in a position to be used by Christ either. Thus, meaning some in the crowd would not have been able to hear the message.
  7. I am certain Simon (Peter) and the other disciples were discouraged after coming back from fishing empty handed. But had they not experienced the seemingly empty experience in the night, they would have missed out on an encounter with Jesus in the morning.
  8. “… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalm 30:5 (KJV)
  9. You may be experiencing a season of seemingly empty toil in your life, but God may be positioning you for a miraculous encounter.
  10. Joseph may have wondered many times what God was up to. And Moses’ forty years on the backside of the desert probably felt like a season of barrenness. But God was positioning them with purpose. He was directing their destiny despite the drought.
  11. Jesus used the empty nets to prepare the boat to be ready for launch!

Empty Boats (vv. 3-7)

  1. Notice in verse 3, Jesus uses the empty boat to bring Simon (Peter) a little closer to him. At first, the fisherman was washing his nets in failure. However, this failure set him up to get closer to the one that has never known defeat.
  2. After being in the boat for a while, Jesus commanded Simon (Peter) to “…launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” (4)
  3. Simon (Peter) would not have been able to launch out if the He would not have been in the empty boat that had been prepared for this very moment.
  4. In verse 5, although he may have thought it was an exercise in futility, Simon (Peter) used faith by making his statement. He stated, “nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”
  5. You may not understand what God is trying to accomplish but just follow his commands. The results will be astounding.
  6. The haul of fish was overwhelming. Neither the nets or the boats were empty now! Their fullness came when it was the appropriate time.

Empty Men (vv. 8-11)

  1. Jesus used the empty nets and boats for his glory. However, what he desires is empty men and woman.
  2. In verse 8, after seeing the miracle, Simon Peter fell at Jesus’ knees crying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” This was the reason for all that had occurred up to this point.
  3. Notice Luke uses the name Simon up until this revelation in verse 8, where he adds the name Peter. This was the nickname Christ would late give him that meant a rock. Could this addition signify that the admission of spiritual emptiness means this the beginning of a transformation?
  4. In verse 10, Christ reveals what his plan and purpose for all the empty vessels that day. He says, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”
  5. The disciples went from failures to fishers of men!

Conclusion

  1. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. Luke 5:11 (KJV)
  2. Often, I have looked at the final verse of the call story and marveled at the faith of these men. They leave everything to follow Christ. Although there is an element of this story that focuses on their faith, I believe it also reveals the faith Jesus had in them. He saw empty vessels he could use.
  3. You may be experiencing an empty season of failure, but Christ can use you. Get in the boat. Get alone with Jesus and allow him to transform you from the inside out.

 

[1] “Detour,” Brian L. Harbour, Rising Above the Crowd,  http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/d/detour.htm, accessed 19 Jan 2017.


 

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