A sermon preached at New Hope Lutheran Church, West Melbourne, FL on November 22, 2009 by Pastor Dale Raether Honoring Our King 1.  Our motivation.  2.  Our commitment Luke 7:36-50Maybe you’ve seen this commercial.  A man who had a heart attack is asking himself, “What was I thinking.  I should have listened to my doctor.  I should have taken better care of my health.  I hope you can learn from my mistakes.”  The man’s point is well taken.  Not that we should run out and buy cholesterol medicine, but in the future when we look back at our life now, will we be happy with the way we were spending our time, or will we be asking ourselves, “What was I thinking?”   Today is Christ the King Sunday.  Jesus is ruling in all things to keep our faith safe and to help us grow in faith, so that we may share our faith with others.  However, soon maybe in our lifetime or in the lifetime of our children, He will come again.  Our King will bring with Him the souls of all believers and restore them to their resurrected bodies.  After that He will make all things new again.  On that day, when we look back, how much will we be asking ourselves, “What was I thinking?”      Some will say, what will it matter then since we’ll be in heaven?  It matters now for the sake of love – love for God as well as love for our family, our fellow believers and neighbors.  Since Jesus is our Beautiful Savior, the King of Creation, let’s examine if are we truly honoring Him with our time.  May God’s Word 1. give us the motivation, 2. strengthen us to follow through on our commitment.     We read, “Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.  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, 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.”   Ladies, do you have Thanksgiving Dinner all planned?  How ‘bout this?  When your guests arrive, give them great big wet kisses on both cheeks, take off their shoes and socks and wash their feet (and maybe even throw in a little foot massage while you’re at it).  Then pour some happy oil on their head, because there are oils that when you breath in their aroma, they make you feel relaxed.  So, if you did all these things for your guests, would they feel welcomed, or would they think you’re weird? In Bible times this is how honored guests were treated, except that’s not how Simon, the Pharisee, treated Jesus.  His attitude was he was doing Jesus a favor by inviting Him to His house, but even more he was doing himself a favor, because he wanted to impress his friends with his dinner party.  Anyway, things were moving along, when this prostitute comes waltzing in, who was too old to still get hired.  She proceeds to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair.  And then she pours on Jesus this perfume that she may have used to use for her business.  And she just kept on and on with all this.  Had this woman no shame?  Well, she wasn’t thinking about what others thought of her.  If she was, she would not have shown up there.  Also, her motivation wasn’t the high honor of what she was doing, because she was embarrassing herself.  Her motivation was solely her love for Jesus.   Do you have that much love for Jesus?  We read on in our text, “Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said.  "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"  Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."”  Let’s compare Simon the Pharisee and this woman.  Which had lived a better life?   Simon obviously thought he had.  In fact he thought he was so good, that he didn’t think he needed even a Savior.   And whatever sins he was guilty of, he figured he could make up for those himself.  This woman on the other hand had no illusions about herself.  She could have easily confessed as we do every Sunday that she had a sinful nature, that she had sinned against God in her thoughts, words and actions, and that she deserved eternal punishment.  Anyway, when Jesus said that those who are forgiven much, love much, He wasn’t encouraging us to sin, so that later on we can love him more.  His point was, the more we recognize our sinfulness and the more we loath our sins, the more He’ll mean to us.  So, presumably our lives have been closer to Simon’s than to that sinful woman’s.  Yet we still need to examine our hearts.  Is there pride there?  Have we served Jesus for how it makes us look to others rather than for love’s sake?  If we are guilty of these things, that woman was guilty of adultery, but we’d be guilty of idolatry, for then we would be respecting, loving, and trusting ourselves above all things.     The good news is whether we have been more like Simon or more like the sinful woman or somewhere in between, Jesus loves us the same!  He washed us with His tears, when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane and already starting to feel the guilt of our sins.  Furthermore He has poured not some cheap, shameful perfume, but the fragrance of the perfect life He lived in our place.  Therefore, believe that all your sins are forgiven!  Believe that when our King comes again, He will welcome you into His banquet hall.  There we will thank Him with overwhelming joy.  But why wait to begin?  Why go through another 1 or 2 or 10 more years, about which all we’ll be able to say someday, “What was I thinking?   The best place to start as we examine how we’re honoring Jesus is the time that we’re spending with God.  For example, what’s your morning routine?  Perhaps throw some clothes on, grab a Pop Tart and rush off to work or school.  Or, maybe you get up a few minutes earlier, so you  can flip through the news, before you take off.  Here’s a suggestion.  Why not start with a 10 minute Bible reading – that and a cup of coffee.  As you read, read!  R stands for “relate” to the context and what was going on at the time for the first time listeners.  E stands for “evaluate” what God is telling us about Himself, about us and about our life.  A stand for “apply” this to our life.  What sin do we need to repent of, what hope is God giving us, or what fruit does God want us to produce in our life.  D stands for “decide” how we will respond in our attitudes and actions.   In addition to reading, pray, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight and to cleanse your heart, and also pray for others.  Now, when I say this is a good way to start the day, I’m not saying you can’t also check the news, and maybe a different time of the day will work better for you.  But anyway spending time with God will make the news more bearable and our whole day better, because we’ll know that Jesus is our King. Next let’s consider the time we’re spending with our family.  For example why not be flexible to spend 5 minutes here and there – 5 minutes for an “I love you” or a little encouragement.  But certainly that’s not enough time together, so I would also urge planning and prioritizing dates together or special get-aways.  In addition why not have devotions together and pray together at mealtime or bedtime?  I’m sure no one who does these things, will ever look back and say, “What was I thinking?”  On the contrary, there was a grandmother in my congregation up north.  Her house was always spotless, her cooking was famous.  But once when I was visiting her, she said to me, “Pastor, I only have one regret.  I wish I had let the house go and spent more time with my children.” Spending time with God and spending time with our family can keep us busy enough, especially when you add in working and appointments, and so on.  Yet it’s still important that we also spend time with our fellow believers.  God’s plan is that we come together for worship every week.  However, when we’re worshipping God, He’s talking to us and we’re responding to Him with our prayer and praise, but we’re not talking with each other.  Fellowship, choir, and Bible Classes are good for that.  But we might say, “I don’t have time.”  I’ll grant you that every week goes by awfully fast, in fact the whole year is going by fast.  But let me ask you, does not spending time with our fellow believers somehow make our week go slower?  I would suspect that just as we won’t miss the minutes we give to God for daily Bible reading, so we won’t really miss the time we give to each other.  God will see to that. Finally the group that may get the least amount of our time is our neighbors.  That’s understandable, because every minute of the day is precious.  On the other hand, what’s it going to hurt, if on the way to the car we spend two minutes talking to a neighbor?  Or, if we find out they had a death in the family or serious illness, does it take that much more time to make two pans of lasagna instead of one?  Also, don’t forget the power of prayer for our neighbors.   I pray that some of these things have you thinking about how you manage your time.  I pray even more that God will enable you to see the blessings to your own faith as you respond to His love.  In your service folder is a worksheet on one side and a commitment form on the other.  I invite you to work through the worksheet at home and then make a commitment or a recommitment to God in how you will use your time to honor your King.  And finally, I would suggest maybe hanging on to this, and from time to time I’ll encourage you to look at your commitment again and see how you’re doing.  May you not have to look back on the present and say, “What was I thinking?”  But rather may Jesus your Savior and your King say of you, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”  Amen.  

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