Do you believe? Do you believe in the good news? Do you believe that you can and/or have been redeemed? At the end of my sermon last week – Accepting the Call of God – I stated that we are in a season of spring for the soul. As trees, flowers, and the grass begin to wake up all around us, we have spiritually been in a season of spring where the Lord is looking for souls to wake up at His beckoning call. That call, as we saw last week, is a call of repentance — a call of redemption.
The call of God to wake up has been going out to mankind for a very long time now. When His call did not reach man’s hearts through the prophets, God sent His only begotten Son to tell mankind to wake up. Jesus taught and preached repentance, forgiveness, and salvation.
As Jesus said to Nicodemus, no one can enter the heavenly kingdom unless they have been born of water and the Spirit – we must be born again (John 3:3,5). Just as Jesus told Peter, anyone who has not been washed by Him, will have no part with Him (John 13:8). So, I tell you today that the story of the genuine believer is a redemption story! Those who believe in Christ will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16), however, those that do not believe are condemned already, according to Christ (John 3:18). Why? Because we, everybody, are sinners in our nature.
So, my question today is this: Do you believe? Do you believe that you can and will be washed clean of your sins? Do you believe you can and will be forgiven by God because of your faith? I simply want to know this: Do you believe you can and will be redeemed by Christ?
Feeling Not Worthy
Sadly, there are many people in our world today that do not believe they are worthy of being redeemed. I believe this to be the case for a few reasons that I briefly want to touch on.
One of the obvious reasons as to why some would believe they cannot be redeemed is because they have absolutely no faith. This point, in my opinion, is the most obvious point, however, I don’t want to focus on this group of convicted sinners because they are already condemned. However, there are those who I believe are open to one day believing in the Lord, but the way in which they view themselves keeps them from turning to the Lord today. So, I want to focus on this group this week.
For this group, the first reason as to why some do not feel that they can be redeemed is because they realize the wickedness of their ways and have great shame and embarrassment. Not only is shame and embarrassment present here, there is also a great amount of guilt that is present. In this guilt, comes a sense and a belief that God is not pleased with them and will have nothing to do with them. The mindset that spawns off of such a belief is one that can be very tragic and very harmful.
Lack of love for oneself
Now, there are several people who sadly live in our world believing they are not worthy of being loved by others or even loved by the Lord. I would tell you that everyone is worthy of being loved! Yet, there are those that would push back at the mere idea of being loved and I believe that this happens because they struggle with loving themselves. Struggling to love yourself is very tragic and very harmful.
Scripture typically speaks to the idea of having unconditional love for our neighbors as we are repeatedly told to love our neighbors. However, the idea behind loving your neighbor is that you would love your neighbor with the same love that you have for yourself. What becomes clear in scripture is that the love of self is one that is natural to us.
When we love ourselves, it should be easier for us to love those around us, if we don’t become selfish. When we love ourselves, it becomes easier for us to know the kind of love that is good for us; we are better able to realize that we are most certainly worthy of being loved and will not accept a watered down version of love. I would even suggest to you today that loving yourself is the first step in actually drawing closer to the Lord. What do I mean by this?
Loving your soul (yourself)
In the book of Proverbs, it is said, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good” (Prov. 19:8). When we love our own soul, we can better care for our soul. So, when it comes to taking care of our soul, we will search for the one who truly loves our soul and can heal our soul in times when our soul is grieved. The one that I speak of today is the Lord and Jesus said of the Lord, if we truly seek for the one who can heal us in our soul, we will find Him (Matt. 7:7).
Sadly, we live in a world that wants you to believe that you are not worthy of love. With each and every day that passes by, the world does its best to beat you down and tear away chunks and pieces of your soul. Of course, the one behind creating the sense and idea that you are not worthy of love, and therefore mercy and forgiveness, is Satan. Satan would love for you to believe that you are not redeemable and that God will not redeem you.
To believe that the Lord cannot or will not redeem you would be to question and to doubt the Lord’s love. So, in order for us to be redeemed, we must first love and care for our soul. We must then prove again today that the Lord truly does love all of us, even when our sins are many. We must see this today so that you can know that the Lord not only loves you, even when you have trespassed against Him, but He is more than willing to redeem you (us) of our sins.
God’s Redemptive Love
Today I want to show you that anyone is redeemable in God’s eyes. We should not ever doubt the Lord’s love and faith towards us. As John wrote in his first epistle, and as you have heard me reference a lot lately, our God is both faithful and just to forgive those that confess their sins to Him (1 John 1:9).
The sinful woman
To show you that you can be redeemed, I want to focus on a passage of scripture from Luke’s gospel where Jesus enters the home of Simon, a Pharisee, who had invited Him to dinner (Luke 7:36-50). You may find it peculiar that this Pharisee invited Jesus into his home but this was not all that peculiar when you consider that the religious leaders had been testing and trying to find fault in Him. Jesus would use this dinner as another teaching moment to show those around Him the grace of God.
At this dinner, a certain woman comes into focus and becomes the primary subject. Of this woman, not much is known, not even her name! The only thing that we are told about her is that she was a sinner – one who trespassed against God (Luke 7:37). The woman heard that Jesus was at the house of the Pharisee and so she made her way to his house and brought with her an alabaster flask of fragrant oil.
As Jesus sat at the table, we are told that the woman went and stood behind Him weeping. So, why was she weeping? I believe that she was weeping because in her heart, she knew of her sins, and I genuinely believe she wanted Jesus to make her well. By this point in His ministry, it was well known that there was something special about Jesus. People would come to Jesus to hear Him teach, preach, and they would also come to Him for healing.
So, she was weeping because she was a sinner. As we see in today’s key verse, her sins were many. Now, I do not believe that this statement is something that is solely assigned to her. In fact, I believe a lot more people should have been in that house that day! In fact, you and I, if we were living back then, should have desired to be in that house! All of our sins are many – none of us are perfect.
So, we would have all been just like her – weeping in the presence of the one who can heal us of our sins. You see, she was standing in the presence of holiness and I believe that she felt great guilt and shame about her sins. This guilt and shame, and seeking to be healed spiritually, caused her to humble herself. In this humbleness, we are told that she began to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears and her hair, and then she anointed His feet with a kiss (Luke 7:38).
Now, this may seem odd to us today, but back then, washing the feet of guests was a common courtesy. When someone journeyed to your home and their feet were dirty, you would take off their sandals and wash their feet as a show of being welcoming and grateful for a visit. As shown when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples (John 13:1-17), to wash the feet of your guest was also a humble act of service.
The pharisee’s apprehension
We are then told that Simon, the Pharisee, took notice of what the woman had done for Jesus and he had certain thoughts. He said within himself, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39). Simon felt that it was wrong for Jesus to allow the woman to touch Him because she was a woman of the city (the streets) – a sinner.
You see, the Pharisees were ones to have very little to do with sinners. As we will see here at this occasion, Jesus would constantly point out to the religious leaders how it was not right for them to ignore the ones they should have reached out too. They would barely even talk to sinners so because they were not talking sinners, they were not teaching them. Something as simple as Jesus sitting down to eat with sinners was something the Pharisees frowned upon (Matt. 9:10-11).
In the eyes of the Pharisees, sinners were irredeemable and I tell you, as the faith leaders back then, their way of thinking was a major problem. I say this because as we saw last week, the call of God is a call to repent and this is a call that spiritual leaders ought to be sharing with all people! If we are not sharing the call of repentance, forgiveness, and salvation today, something is not right!
The sinful woman forgiven
So, Jesus constantly shared the call of God when He taught repentance and forgiveness. Jesus called on all to repent. So, while Simon, the Pharisee, saw an irredeemable sinner in the woman, Jesus saw a soul that could be redeemed! I want you to understand today that you may think that you cannot be redeemed but the Lord says otherwise!
Let us remember that while Jesus was in the world, He said to the people, “I did not come to judge the world but to save the world” (John 12:47). When the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who was caught in the act of adultery, Jesus forgave her. Jesus was not going to condemn this woman in the same manner that Simon and the other religious leaders would have.
The Lord’s judgment of who and what we are is far different from the judgment of man. As I have shown in the past, our judgment comes with failure because we are of sin, whereas God’s judgment is righteous.
To show you what I mean by this, we can take a look at what Jesus said to Simon about his thoughts on the sinful woman. After briefly explaining forgiveness to Simon (Luke 7:40-43), Jesus pointed out the humbleness of the woman’s heart to wash His feet. This was such a humble action for her to take when we consider that she was not in her own home. Jesus even pointed out that Simon did not even have the courtesy to wash His feet and it was his home (Luke 7:44-46)!
Simon was not welcoming, and I believe he was not welcoming because he intended to antagonize Jesus rather than gain understanding. Simon looked down on this woman because of her sins because he thought himself perfect, yet, he was not a perfect man – he needed to humble himself just like she did. The sinful woman had a humble heart and in that moment, Jesus acknowledged that her sins were many and in that moment, Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:48,50).
To paint this picture for you today: we don’t know all of this woman’s sins, but they were many. I tell you that I believe her sins weighed on her greatly! Yet, this woman knew she needed healing and came to the right place to get healed, regardless of what others may have thought or even said about her. You see, it did not matter what others thought or said about her sins because in the Lord’s eyes, she was worthy of His mercy and grace.
Be Healed and Go in Peace
If this woman ever thought she was not worthy of the Lord’s mercy and grace, we see that her heart led her to Him; she may have been trembling and afraid to go to Him but she went! Again, the Lord loves the soul that is poor and contrite and trembles at His word (Is. 66:2). God loves the God-fearing believer!
Don’t ever let your guilt hold you back from coming to the Lord today because He is more than able to redeem you from your sins! Do not ever let anyone tell you that you are not worthy of the Lord’s mercy and grace – they do not speak for the Lord if they tell you this and they know nothing about His grace!
God is love
As John said in his first epistle, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
When Paul defined love to the Corinthians, I want you to understand that he was also defining the Lord as well. To paraphrase what Paul said to the Corinthians: “[God] suffers long and is kind. He does not envy; does not parade Himself and He is not puffed up. God thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth; He bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. God never fails” (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
I tell you today that God will never fail you. Where we are too busy trying to tear each other down, the Lord is ever hopeful that you will return to Him. If you feel like you are irredeemable today, I tell you that God is patiently waiting for you to come to Him so that He can redeem and heal your wounded spirit.
Personally, I believe the woman had been weeping in her soul from the guilt and the pain of her trespasses and in that moment Jesus took that heavyweight away from her. The Lord desires to do the very same thing for all who are of a contrite spirit and will humbly come to Him. Again, Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
When you get so down on yourself because of the guilt of your sin and you feel that the Lord has turned from you, know that the Lord endures – He suffers long. When those around you look at you in the manner that Simon looked at the sinful woman, just remember that God is always with you. When people are trying to tear you down, just remember what Paul wrote to the Romans. Paul said to the Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
I want you to know today that you have a Redeemer in Jesus Christ – He is with you. The Lord loves you, so, do not tear yourself apart and do not let others tear you apart. Also, do not weigh yourself down with the guilt of sin and do not let anyone else do the same. You are worthy of love and you are most certainly worthy to be redeemed.
Again the questions remain: Do you believe? Do you believe that you can and will be washed clean of your sins? Do you believe that you can and will be forgiven by God because of your faith? Do you believe you can and will be redeemed by Christ?