God’s Value System

January 12, 2020

Luke 7:36-8:3

I have in my hand two bills of different values.  Same weight, same material, same production costs, but different amounts.  So why is one bill more valuable than the other?

We have determined that one of these bills will trade for more goods and services than the other. One of these bills is worth more because the treasury department says it’s worth more.

It has been assigned a higher value than the other.

Just as we assign value to money, we also assign value to people’s time.

Our society has determined that an hour of a doctor’s time is worth more than an hour of a cashier’s time, unless you happened to be standing in the line of a cashier.

An hour of a teacher’s time, unfortunately, is worth much less than it should be, which is the reason it’s becoming more challenging to attract people to the teaching profession.

An hour of my veterinarian’s time is worth more if my dog is dying than if my dog just needs a yearly vaccination.

We’ve determined what people’s time is worth based on which skills we value most, and which skills we need the most at any given time.

We value people’s time on how much we have to pay for it or how much intangible benefit it brings.

Can you place a value on the time of a friend, a parent, a child, or a grandparent?

When we only value people for their profession, power, or money, we’ve left out some of the most important values like love, wisdom, friendship, companionship, guidance, encouragement, and sacrifice.

This is the reason God’s value system is different.  Jesus taught us a lot about how God values people in the way he interacted with people from all walks of life.

One day, two different worlds of people collided in the same place.  One was wealthy.  One was poor.  One was male, the other female.  One was very religious and proud.  The other was known to live a sinful life, but she was humble.

Listen to this conversation Jesus had with a Pharisee named Simon, who had invited Jesus to his home for a meal.

On one occasion, “36 one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is-that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.   46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

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

The Pharisees were among the wealthiest Jews of Jesus’ day.   Simon understood monetary debt, but unfortunately, his understanding of spiritual debt was not the same.

In the Law of Moses, there were redemptive provisions to forgive the debts of others every seven years.

But in Simon’s day, people who owed lots of money often ended up becoming slaves.

The woman that came to Jesus had a tremendous spiritual debt.  She believed that Jesus could forgive her sin debt, so she came to Jesus with a heavy, broken heart.

She broke open an alabaster jar of perfume she had with her to anoint Jesus’ feet and to worship him.

Simon thought this was distasteful, disgraceful, and a waste.

Jesus knew the heart of Simon.  Jesus knew that Simon did not understand God’s value system.

As the women washed Jesus’ dirty feet with her tears, wiped them clean with her hair, and applied sweet perfume that filled the room, he knew that Simon was passing judgment on this woman.

So Jesus asked Simon a question about the value system of a world he knew he would understand: money.

He proposed a simple scenario of two men who could not repay their debt.  One man owed 500 days of wages and one man owed 50.

It was a simple question.  If the creditor forgave both debts, which debtor would most likely show the most love in return?

The obvious answer is the one who had the largest debt canceled.

Some have suggested this woman was a prostitute, but we don’t know.  The scripture only says she had lived a sinful life in the town.

We do hear enough to know that the Pharisee was keeping score.  He knew the woman was heavily in debt spiritually.

Simon thought she was so far in debt that she was unredeemable.

How many times have we thought that about people?  We think they are not church material, so we don’t invite them.  We don’t think they are even interested in spiritual matters because the life they are living is so contrary to the life of Jesus, so we don’t bring up Jesus or the church in the conversation.

People know when you think they are not worth the effort.

Simon also believed that if Jesus were a prophet, he would have known what kind of woman she was.

And that’s the point.  Jesus did know.  He also knew what kind of person Simon was.

This woman was not in denial about her lifestyle.  That’s the reason she had come to Jesus.

Have you ever known anyone that was in financial debt, but they just kept on spending?

They acted as if there was not going to come a day when their bill would have to be paid in full?

People do that with all kinds of decisions.  Many people live in denial that they will not be held accounting for their actions, and they just keep living a life contrary to the ways of God.

But this woman no longer thought that way.  She knew she needed to have her sins forgiven, unlike the Pharisee.

Sometimes when we make mistakes, we get angry.  We lash out, and we blame others for our mistakes.   This woman was accepting responsibility for the mistakes she had made in her life.  She was not making excuses.  She was broken and humble.

This woman did not come to Simon’s house to bargain with Jesus.   She was not there to make excuses or promises of what she would do if Jesus would help her get her life back together.  She was only there to repent and to worship Jesus.

She was accepting full responsibility for the life she had lived.  She believed Jesus was the key to her future and that he could help restructure her life.  She thought Jesus could make her whole again.

She was ready to leave her old way of life and begin a new life as a disciple of Jesus.  She must have met him on an earlier occasion.  She must have heard one of his messages about the grace he offered.  She must have believed that Jesus was the Son of God.

Her heart was heavy with guilt, but it was the hope she placed in Jesus to forgive her sin debt that brought her to the home of Simon.

She kneeled at Jesus’ feet, tears dripping from her face onto Jesus’ dust-covered feet.  She wiped his feet with her hair.  She kissed them.  Then she poured that expensive perfume on his feet.

Jesus took these gestures as signs of her love.

“Your sins are forgiven,” he said, which caused some of the other guests to wonder aloud, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

But the woman knew.  She knew he could help her start over, wipe out her debt to God, not because she deserved it, but because God is in the business of forgiving debts.

This woman had reached a point of rebirth.

What about you? Have you reached a point where you can humbly ask God to forgive sin in your life?

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

Contrast this woman’s actions to that of the Pharisee.

He did none of the customary things to show Jesus honor, respect, or love.  These things are not a part of our culture, but they were customary in the days of Jesus: water to wash one’s feet, a customary kiss on the cheek, oil for one’s head.

The Pharisee was intrigued by Jesus, but he did not love him, or if he did, he loved him very little.

There Jesus sat, a guest at his table with dirty feet, until this woman, dirty with sin, came to wash them with her tears.

I believe as far as his sin debt was concerned, the Pharisee was stuck in the denial stage.  He was a good man.  The community looked up to him.  He lived in a nice house.  He thought he was O.K. just as he was.  But he wasn’t.

Think about it like this.  If you owe the bank $10,000 or $100,000 and you are unable to repay the loan, the bank will still foreclose on you.

Every man, woman, teenager, boy or girl is in debt to God spiritually.  It doesn’t matter how little or how much you have sinned; you don’t have what it takes to repay the debt.

You may be the most moral person in Jackson County or in America, but you are still a sinner, and you don’t have enough goodness in you to repay God for one sin you’ve committed. God’s value system doesn’t work that way.

God’s value system works like this. “For the wages of sin is death”  (Romans 6:23a).  That’s the bad news.

Sin has earned us death, physical death, and spiritual death.  That’s the wage of one sin or one  million sins.  It’s the same wage for a doctor, a mechanic, a teacher, a truck driver, a computer programmer, a Pharisee, or a Prostitute.

In God’s value system, all of our righteousness is as filthy rags.  All of our goodness is not enough to reverse the wages of sin. That’s the reason one out of one people die.  It’s the wage we earn.

Our goodness is just not enough to get God’s attention.  You may deny your sin, be angry about the way things in life turned out, depressed about the state of your being, or try to bargain with God when you get in a tight.

But if you want to solve your sin problem, you need to learn the value system of Jesus.

The Good News is the rest of Romans 6:23: “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (NLT)

Why does Jesus cancel out all our sins? Why is Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross worth that much?  Because that’s the value God placed on Jesus, who was perfect in every way.  God says that his life is enough.

In God’s value system, the debt of the world was placed upon him.  The perfect life of Jesus canceled out the sin debt of the world.

When Jesus rose from the dead, the wage of death we earn was wiped out because Jesus conquered death.

Eternal life is available to every person that comes to Jesus in humility and repentance.

Jesus said to this woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Do you have a ledger of unforgiven sin?  Are you in denial about being accountable to the Lord for even one sin in your life?

If so, why do you continue to carry around that debt when God stands ready to mark your debt  “paid in full?”

This morning if you have never asked God to forgive your debt of sin, why would you risk not being able to spend and eternity with God?

If God has saved you from your sin, what are doing to you show appreciation to him in return?

What sweet gifts are you breaking open in worship to God to say, “Thank you, Jesus, for saving me from my sin?”

Are you like Simon, who thought that just inviting Jesus to his house was enough, but he didn’t even provide him with the customary welcomes because his heart was hard.

Are you grateful enough to the Lord for what he has done for you to bring sweet offerings to him so that the aroma of what you bring will spread to others as a witness to the Lord you profess to serve?

I want to ask you right now to come and pray with Andy to receive Jesus.  Perhaps you know Jesus, but you are not showing Jesus your love and appreciation by what you bring to him like this woman.   The question is, “what changes will you make to show the Lord how much you value him in your life?”

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