Sermon Starters

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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

From Rev. Kelly Bedard

(Luke 7:36-50)

*When Moravian missionaries came to the Eskimo people in Alaska, they discovered that their language had no word for forgiveness. So they composed a long, complex word to use in its place... Literally, it translates "not-being-able-to-think-about-it-anymore." (Preaching, July/August 1997)

1. Our guilt may differ in degree, but we all are unable to pay for our sin(s)
2. Only Christ has the right and power to forgive sin
3. So-called respectable people are often not conscious of their need for forgiveness
4. Those most castigated by the world are often most thankful to God and more loving than the self-righteous


1. hamartolos (verse 37): devoted to sin, a sinner; not free from sin; pre-eminently sinful, especially wicked; specifically of people stained with certain definite vices or crimes

2. alabastron (verse 37): from alabastros (of uncertain derivation), the name of a stone; a box made of alabaster in which unguents are preserved; the ancients considered alabaster to be the best material in which to preserve their ointments; breaking the box probably means breaking the seal of the box

3. muron (verse 37): probably of foreign origin; ointment 

4. klaio (verse 38): to mourn, weep, lament; weeping as the sign of pain and grief for the thing signified (i.e., for the pain and grief); of those who mourn for the dead; to weep for, mourn for, bewail, one 

5. denarion (verse 41): "containing ten"; a Roman silver coin in NT time, it took its name from it being equal to ten "asses," a number after 217 B.C. increased to sixteen (about 3.898 grams or .1375 ounces); it was the principal silver coin of the Roman empire; from the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, it would seem that a denarius was then the ordinary pay for a day's wages (Matthew 20:2-13)

6. elaion (verse 46): olive oil; for fuel for lamps; for healing the sick; for anointing the head and body at feasts; mentioned among articles of commerce

7. Faith alone saves, but faith is never alone (Victor Prange)

8. "To love" is the Hebrew phrase for "to show gratitude"

Rev. Kelly Bedard

From Rev. Wayne Dobratz 

Luke 7:36-50

The word "Pharisee" is a dirty word in our religious vocabulary. Their "Mission Statement" marked them as  "those who are set  apart" from evil; those who live a righteous life." Many in Jesus' time considered them to be morally correct and upright-the pillars of the community. The problem was that they thought that way of themselves.

As we visit the home of Simon the Pharisee, Simon's thoughts betray him. As "a sinful woman" was anointing Jesus with perfume, Simon objected within himself, saying: "If this man really were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman this is-that she is a sinner." But Jesus conducts an impromptu class for Simon, teaching him: 

1) That he is a sinner who needs a Savior
A. Of course, Jesus allows a sinner to touch him-he came here to identify with sinners and to save them-cf. Rom. 8:3
B. He came here to be our righteousness-so that we might clothe ourselves with His righteousness and thus be acceptable before God-Rom. 13:14, 2 Cor.

2) That Jesus is that Savior
A. Simon had a low opinion of Jesus-he failed to give him even the most common courtesies-verses 44-46
B. Simon forgot that "man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
C. Jesus saw a heart filled with repentance and sorrow for sin 
1. She was broken because of her sin-Ps. 51:17
2. She gave evidence of her faith with works of love-verses 44-46

3) That Jesus is worthy of our love and service
A. Pharisees love little because they think themselves in little need of forgiveness, verse 47
B. Pharisees spend more time looking at the sin of others than in repentance and works of love.
C. Pharisees "major in the minors," instead of sharing the good news of God's forgiving love in Christ. See Ps. 51:12-17
D. Pharisees need to see how much they have been forgiven before they can love much, verse 47b

Adam Clarke writes regarding what Pharisees need to know: "The woman, whom I have supposed to be a heathen, not having these advantages (of the Jews), having no rule to regulate her actions, and no curb on her evil propensities, may be considered as the debtor who owed five hundred denarii.
And when both were compared, Simon's debt to God might be considered, in reference to hers, as fifty to five hundred. However, we find, both were insolvent. Simon, the religious Pharisee, could no more pay his fifty to God than this poor heathen her five hundred; and, if both be not freely forgiven by the Divine mercy, both must finally perish. Having nothing to pay, he kindly forgave them both." 

Matthew Henry summarizes eloquently what each Christian must teach the Pharisee within: "None can truly perceive how precious Christ is, and the glory of the gospel, except the broken-hearted. But while they feel they cannot enough express self-abhorrence on account of sin, and admiration of his mercy, the self-sufficient will be disgusted, because the gospel encourages such repenting sinners. 

The Pharisee, instead of rejoicing in the tokens of the woman's repentance, confined his thoughts to her former bad character. But without free forgiveness none of us can escape the wrath to come; this our gracious Saviour has purchased with his blood, that he may freely bestow it on every one that believes in him. Christ, by a parable, forced Simon to acknowledge that the greater sinner this woman had been, the greater love she ought to show to Him when her sins were  ardoned. Learn here, that sin is a debt; and all are sinners, are debtors to Almighty God.

Some sinners are greater debtors; but whether our debt be more or less, it is more than we are able to pay. God is ready to forgive; and his Son having purchased pardon for those who believe in him, his gospel promises it to them, and his Spirit seals it to repenting sinners, and gives them the comfort. Let us keep far from the proud spirit of the Pharisee, simply depending upon and rejoicing in Christ alone, and so be prepared to obey  Him more zealously, and more strongly to recommend him unto all around us. The more we express our sorrow for sin, and our love to Christ, the clearer evidence we have of the forgiveness of our sins. What a  wonderful change does grace make upon a sinner's heart and life, as well as upon his state before God, by the full remission of all his sins through faith in the Lord Jesus!"

Rev. Wayne Dobratz

Ministry Health Sermon Starters
Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div. M.S.A., Director
Ministry Health, LLC

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