Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P36 (01-13-21)
Scripture instructs us to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith. What is the attitude of our hearts? God came to reveal to us the attitude of our hearts, the condition of our soul. He did this so we might see our utter wretchedness and seek a Savior in Jesus Christ, that we might receive His righteousness, for we never had any of our own.
But what is our tendency in our humanity? Instead of looking at our sins in light of perfect righteousness, we compare ourselves with others saying, “I am not as bad as that woman over there.” As the apostle Paul says, he who compares himself with others is not wise. So we need to ask ourselves probing questions. For example, looking at the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13, of who God is, since God is love, how well are you doing in the love department? If God, who is love, is alive living in you, then what kind of nature should be observed coming out of you? So, the types of questions to be asked are: “Is God alive living in you? Is He in you? Is He there in your heart? Do you have the life of God living in you?” That is how you test and see if you are even in the faith, or whether you are walking in accordance to your flesh or the Spirit who lives in you.
So listen as we look at Jesus encounter with an outcast woman who came to find Jesus at the Pharisee’s house. As you ponder over this story, what is the Spirit of God trying to reveal to you concerning your heart, not the woman or the Pharissee’s heart, but you personally. What attitudes are in your heart? What was the nature of God in this story? Was He demonstrating mercy, kindness and grace? As you encounter various examples of Jesus interacting with people when he walked the earth, ponder over what spiritual truth God wants to see formed in you.
Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Where these have been forgiven, there is no longer a sacrifice. It means that if my sins have not been totally forgiven then there has to be a sacrifice. So let me ask you a question? Is Jesus going to come and die again? No, he isn’;t. So what are you going to conclude about the one time he did? That it is finished.
28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Why did he pour out this blood of his. This is the blood for a new covenant, that is talked about in Hebrews.
16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.
So, it is a blood covenant.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
He gave us a new covenant, my friends. A brand new covenant. This is the blood of it. It is His life laid down for you and me, paying a debt He did not owe for you and me, who owe a debt we could not pay. This was all prophesied. So it is not the case that this man Jesus came on the scene and was a martyr. This was all prophesied, by Zecharaih, for example. Listen to what he said.
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins
Who is the only one who would ever have authority to forgive sins? It would have to be God Himself. Man does not have the authority to forgive sins. A priest does not have authority to forgive sins. In the Old Testament, you had a priest as a representative between man and God, but it took the shedding of blood to forgive sins. The priest did not lay his own life down and shed his blood for you and me. He merely initiated the activity. He was there. He was the one who took the blood that had already been shed by someone else and not his own.
24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
He, the high priest, went into the Holy of Holies, not with his own blood, but with the blood of someone else, in order to present it to God, and doing so in such a way he had a bell and a pipe tied around his legs, so in case he died in there, they could pull him out. Only the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies. But today, that curtain has been rent in two, enabling all of us, Jew and Gentile alike, to enter into the Holy of Holies, calling Him, ’Abba, Father”. Why? Because forgiveness has taken place, the shedding of blood, not by the blood of a bull or a goat, which cannot take away sin. Atone for it? Yes. Take it away? No.
I do not want to get nit-picking on this, but the fact of the matter is that atonement is not used in the New Testament. That is an Old Testament word. That means covering. We call it the atoning death of Jesus Christ. I am sorry, but He did not have an atoning death. His death took away sin. You are taking His blood sacrifice in the same category as the blood of a bull or a goat. The blood of bulls and goats atoned. Jesus did not come to atone. There already was a system of atonement. He came to take it away, to do something only God can do, the sacrifice of God Himself on behalf of man.
Man cannot forgive sin. You cannot come to me saying, “Okay, I am going to intercede for you before God, and your sins are forgiven”. I do not have any authority to do that. I have authority to tell you your sins are forgiven by God, but that is authority given to us to represent God on this earth. But I do not have the authority to forgive you of sins. I have authority to tell you that he has already been forgiven. And you do too. That has been given to you by God. You have authority from God to proclaim the good news.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
You have authority to do that because God has given it to you. I have authority to do that because God has given it to me. But I have no authority at all to forgive sin. Only God can forgive sins and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. That is why it says this.
13 Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
It is not talking about you and me walking around forgiving one another. I do not have authority to forgive you, nor many times the desire. It is because of Christ Jesus, alive living in you, who has forgiven you, that I have the authority to pronounce that Christ has forgiven you, and Christ, who lives in me, has already forgiven you. Therefore, so do I.
Let us look at how Christ forgave sins. Let us look at the example of the paralytic. Only God can receive worship and only God can forgive sins.
We have watered it down with the blood of bulls and goats. Today we water it down, by saying man is the source of forgiveness. There are those who believe a priest can absolve someone of sin. There are also people who teach that you are forgiven when dunked in water, as if water can forgive you.
Water is not the shedding of blood. Water is a symbol of death, not of life. There is no baptism that can forgive sins. You are baptized for the remission of sins means you have been baptized with the one who is the remission of sins, and that is Jesus and Him alone. All baptism was, in those days, a means of identifying yourself, that I no longer identify myself as being a Jew through an outward sign of circumcision, but I am going to identify myself with being a follower of Christ with the outward sign of being dunked in water. But there is no one dunked in water who is forgiven of their sins. That was merely a means of identifying yourself who did forgive sins. In circumcision, you identified yourself with the one who believed you were saved by being a Jew, and that was circumcision. I am going to change my mind on that, and I am going to be baptized outwardly, just as I was circumcised outwardly, and identify with the one who takes away my sins, and that is Christ Jesus. There is no outward sign that forgives sins. There is no water that forgives sins. Only by the shedding of blood is sins forgiven.
So let us look at Jesus’ encounter with a paralytic.
3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.
Now those are very good friends. There were buddies of this paralytic. Again, did they know Jesus could? Did they think that He would? Yes, they did. They could not get through, so they used Jewish ingenuity. So they dug a hole in the roof of that house to lower the man through. That is quite ingenious.
5 When Jesus saw their faith,
That is an example of faith. That is faith, and putting the works to it, the shoe leather to it. I believe it, and I am going to take him to Him.
he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Can you imagine the paralytic and his buddies saying, “I did not come here for sins. I came to get this guy healed.” Jesus obviously did see the man was in need of physical healing. What did Jesus see? He looks in his heart. What was in his heart? Well, there is something more important than physical healing. You need internal soulish healing. He looked beyond the physical into the spiritual and pronounced, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Even the Pharisees recognized that.
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?
What He is saying is this. Look guys, you say that only God can forgive sin, would you tell me who do you think it would be who would say to this man, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’ and have him do it? Do you think you guys could pull that off? You conduct all of the forgiveness services, of sacrificing bulls and goats, but I am going to ask you, do you think you can pull this off? Do you think you can say to this man ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’ and he will get up and walk? And the answer to that is, of course not. But this same God who says to this man ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’ is the same man who can forgive sins. In just a moment, you are going to hear me say ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’ and he is going to do so, then you are going to understand that this man who says ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’ is the same man who can forgive sins. And you are right, only God can do both things.
9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
I think I would be able to say the same thing, wouldn’t you? We look at this type of thing. Think of the gentleness and the mercy of God. How difficult would it be for a man to sit there, looking at another man. He has not come through a religious system, and he has not even been to Jerusalem U yet. He is claiming to be God and claiming Himself to have the ability to forgive sins. Is there any mystery that religious leaders of the day would be a little hacked at that. Is there any mystery of these religious leaders, saying this man is blasphemous and a heretic. We can be called heretics by just being teachers of grace rather than law. So is it a mystery that that spirit of antichrist, that spirit of rebellion, that spirit of legalism is in them, when we realize it is also in us? Not at all.
In fact I believe it is so obvious. It is easier for us today, because we know the full ramification. Jesus had not been to the cross yet or raised from the dead yet, with that evidence. So God, in his love, kindness and mercy, what did He do?
9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10
So He just told him, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’. What did that prove and what was God wanting to prove? This man is whom you have been looking for all along. This is the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the salvation of Israel. This is everything. He was doing everything God was doing, everything that He knew humanity needed in order to verify the fact that this man walking on the earth, the carpenter’s son is God in the flesh. When I look at that type of thing, it brings about again, the kindness and mercy of God, the understanding He has toward us, of our hardened hearts and our refusal to see what is right in front of our eyes.
Did the paralytic want to be physically healed? Yes, he did. But God saw a deeper need in his life, deeper in his heart, and saying, “your sins are forgiven”. What a story!
Look at this other story of an outcast woman in Luke 7:36-50.
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 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.
Again, this is an expression of worship, which Jesus accepted. Here is an expression of kindness, that He also accepted.
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.”
Is that not just like today. “That woman’s sins are worse than mine.” That is what we do when we judge one another. Do not judge one another. Who are you to judge one another? We are saying, “There is a sinner over there.” Who do you think you are? Is it the pointing of my finger, “There. Do they know what kind of a woman over there?” “That woman is over there again. There is a sinner sitting over there.”
That reminds me of Los Angeles, the Permeno freeway, driving by the San Bernardino mountains. The reason I could not see the mountains, even though it was probably only twenty miles away is because the smog was so thick, that you could not, many times, see those huge mountains, that we got to see when the smog was not there. I used to sit there, driving down the freeway, saying “Look at all the smog over there?” Then, one day, I was driving on the freeway that borders the mountains over there, and looking back on San Bernardino that had been over there. Guess what? I could not see the San Bernardino freeway. “Man, would you look at all the smog over there?”
That is a picture of us, always looking at sin over there when we are enmeshed in it ourselves. Jesus is saying, “Why look at the speck in someone else’s eye when you have a log in your own.” Why are you looking at all the smog over there when they are over there looking at all the smog over here? Everyone is adamant about the sins that they particularly are not involved in at this time. In other words, if I am not drinking, and I do not drink, those people drinking are so disgusting, as you are blowing smoke in someone’s face. Then someone over there, who does not smoke, saying after all a little wine is good for your stomach. It is the fact we are so blind to our own sins.
In the final analysis, what you are looking at is what sin is. Sin is unbelief. That which is not of faith is what sin is. What we have to understand in all of this is the fact that sin is anything that is contrary to the nature of God. So you have to look at that, “How do we know the nature of God?” It was told us in 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
God is love. God is patient. When I am impatient, am I walking in accordance with the nature of God, who is love? If I am keeping records of someone’s wrongs, am I walking in accordance with the nature of God? God is love, and God supposedly lives in you and me. So am I walking in that nature when I am keeping record of wrongs? No. If I am thinking the worst of someone instead of the best of someone, am I walking in accordance with the nature of God? No. I am walking in accordance with my own nature. So we have to realize this mindset of the Pharisees is very prevalent today, that we have a Pharisaical mindset if we are saying, “Does he know the kind of woman?” or “I would not go in that worldly house. She is defiled. I do not want to be around that sinner.” They are defiled and do not realize that we ourselves are nothing but white-washed sepulchres with that mindset.
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
We are talking about Mary Magdalene, who had been a prostitute, and here he is entering into a Pharisees home, with this alabaster jar of perfume, weeping at the feet of Jesus Christ. Again, I say that, as we talked about before, it is like Peter when he saw Him walk on water, saying “Depart from me. I am a sinner.” It is coming into the presence of God that reveals what we are really like. That is that mercy of God that brings us to repentance. It is a woman who came into the presence of the living God, seeing the love, kindness, mercy, and the gentleness of God Himself, which brought her to weeping in regard to not only responding to His love and kindness, but weeping over our total inability to ever produce those things, even though in our hearts we want to, but we do not know how to pull that off.
Here is this self-righteous Pharisee, disgusted over the fact that someone is being touched by this poor defiled woman, and saying this to you “Do you not know the kind of woman she is? Obviously, you know the kind of man I am. I am more righteous than they are. I am not not. My sins are not as bad as her sins.” That is a spirit of Phariseeism that is so disgusting and so contrary to the word of God. It is something that it does not make any difference, we have been wallowing in that mindset. We have to come to grips with it, if Jesus Christ, has any meaning in your life at all.
If Christ is not there, then that is another situation. You need to get Him there. You need to see yourself as who you are and become born again, not just with intellectual knowledge of Jesus, but with the reality of Him living in your life, in your heart, not just merely being able to quote the bible. The Pharisees can do that and teach that. Lost people can teach the bible. We are not talking about that. Is there a reality of His love in your heart and in mine? That is all we are talking about. God is love, and if He lives in you, then the reality of love lives in you. If the reality of love is not there, it is because He is not there. You cannot have the reality of God’s love in you and have the mindset of a Pharisee. So Jesus asks Simon. “I have something to tell you.” It is an admonishment. It is kind of like saying, ”Okay, wise guy. I have something to tell you.”
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[5000 million dollars] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back [both broke], so he forgave the debts of both.
Those kinds of dollar figures alleviate most of us. In other words, it is not like they are saying, “Someone owed $5000 and another $1000. I can pay those off. But 5000 million or 500 million dollars, neither one could pay it off. This guy cancelled the debt of both of them.
Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“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.
Those were all customs of hospitality, incidentally.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever 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 fact of the matter is, in looking at that analogy that Jesus gave, 500 million and 50 million dollars, both of those are out of the reach of either one of these people. On the face of this earth, if you and I are looking at ourselves, and you were really bad, and I was somewhat bad. Because you were really bad, you just did not give into booze, you got into sex and booze and drugs, and I just did a little bit of that. And God came to save both of you. If I was looking at the standpoint that Bob was really bad and I was just somewhat bad. It says, which one will experientially love the most? It will be you. You will be saying, “Brother, I do not even know how God reached down and saved me with all I did and all I was doing.” And I am sitting over there saying, “I do not know how God saved me with just a little bit that I was doing, but I can kind of understand that.” Who will be more understanding and more loving? The truth of the matter is, when it comes to salvation, neither one of us could pay the debt. But you see, when we start looking at how many sins you commit up next to how many I commit, then we lose the fact of our total lostness. That is what the Christian world does today.
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