Sunday, September 4th 2022Jay Perillo - September 4, 2022
Community Group Study Notes
This Sunday, we have live preaching at each campus. If your group is made up of different campuses, you may not have all heard the same message.
1. Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture passages and main idea of the message. If members of your group attend multiple campuses, be sure to share highlights of Sunday’s message from each campus!
2. How did Sunday’s message confirm and/or correct your previous ideas related to the message topic?
3. In what ways can you apply today’s message to your life?
As a group, determine an action step related to the message that everyone in the group will take this week. Examples include practicing a spiritual discipline, meeting with a trusted brother or sister in Christ for discussion and accountability, or committing to a mobilization challenge.
As a group, create your own mobilization challenge. Consider awareness challenges, service challenges, blessing challenges, or sharing/speaking challenges. As you complete your challenge, share your experience at thechapel.com/shareyourexperience
- It is good to be with you, Chapel family. There's a story in Luke 7, oh, it's not gonna be on this TV screen. I'll either read it over you, or if you'd like to, you can find your copy and go to Luke 7. It's a story of Jesus. He's at a dinner party. And the very thing that the people in this passage needed is the very thing that you and I need today. So, I'm not sure what you're looking for from God. I'm here to tell you, in this passage is something you absolutely need. 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, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him. What kind of woman she is, that she is a sinner.' Jesus answered him. 'Simon, I have something to tell you.' 'Tell me teacher,' he said. Two men owed money to a certain money lender. One owed him 500 denari, the other 50. Neither of them had the money to pay him back so he canceled the debts of both. Now, which one of them will love him more?' Simon replied, 'I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.' 'You have judged correctly,' Jesus said. 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. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman from the time I entered has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven for she loved much, but he who has been forgiven little loves little.' Then Jesus said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.' The other guests began to say amongst themselves, 'Who is this who even forgive sins?' Jesus said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.'" So, Luke has recorded for us a story of Jesus at a dinner party. And you and I, we can extrapolate, we can learn some things from this passage just by us understanding some of the context, but what you and I can actually do is we can step into the culture. And this passage is even far more rich. Now, people who are far smarter than me, they call these things cultural scripts. And what they basically mean by that is, in order to understand everything that's going on in a story like this, you need to know the culture. It's a great advantage to live in the culture. Cultural scripts at times are almost like a cultural shorthand, almost like a slang, maybe in a sense, but provide a deeper, rich, robust meaning in terms of all that's going on. How about this? I'll give us an example of a cultural script for us here in our society. On Thursday, the Mafia is journeying to the West Coast to battle the defending champions. Okay, so, that sentence in and of itself has some meaning, right? So, on Thursday, the Mafia. Now, when I say the Mafia, you could perhaps think like my ancestors, my family, right? But I'm not, right? Participation time, when I said that, who did I mean?
- [Congregation] Bills.
- Yeah, right? Bills Mafia, right? And they're journeying to the West Coast. Well, there's a lot of coastlines on this planet, but where are they heading?
- [Congregation] California.
- Right, Los Angeles, California. And they're doing battle. That can mean a number of things, but what is happening Thursday night?
- [Congregation] Football.
- Exactly, it's a football game against the defending champions or the Los Angeles Rams. That's almost like a cultural script. And I just wanna take a few moments and allow this narrative to just rest on our souls and our time together, because as I said before, as I studied for this passage, you need this, I need this every single day, actually. All right, so, Jesus is invited to a Pharisee's house. We see later that this Pharisee's name is Simon. So, He's basically going to what you and I would classify as almost like a dinner party, because here's the deal, in this culture, in this context, two experts, two scholars of the law. They would have a dinner together. There'd be a great spread of food, they would eat and they would converse. They would talk about the law or aspects of the law. And here's the deal. The village, the people surrounding the town, they were actually invited to go and observe. It was partially educational. It was also a form of entertainment. And you're like, "Wait, what? These boring first century people are just going to someone's house and just watching 'em stuff their face and eat food and you call that entertainment." Be careful, 'cause if the Lord told this 100 years from now, you never know there might be a society that said, "Wait, those people spent hours watching a YouTube video with cats, and they thought that was entertainment?" Wait, "Those people took a picture of every meal that they had while they were on vacation, and they thought that was entertaining?" And wait, "Somebody double tapped it and a heart exploded?" But they would go as a form of entertainment and watch, and then if they were lucky, actually, if there was food left over, they could actually partake in that as well. And so, if you're wondering, how is this woman here? The host, you can tell is not a big fan of her, right? He's already judged her in his heart. He does not want her there, but she's there. She's not necessarily breaking and entering. She's just doing, again, what is custom. And so, this woman attends a dinner party. Now, we don't know much about this woman. We're not necessarily given her name. We do know this. She has previously had an encounter with Jesus, because from the moment she steps in there, she's overcome with emotion. Perhaps she heard Jesus's greatest sermon, the Sermon on the Mount that we read a few chapters before this story. Or maybe she saw Jesus heal someone like a paralytic or someone who was blind. Regardless, she sees Jesus as someone who can give her what she needs, what you need, what I need, it's hope. And so, she comes and she's overcome with emotion. She's at his feet weeping uncontrollably. Now, you might wonder, okay, so she's participating in observing this dinner conversation, but how is she at Jesus's feet? Like, is she under the table, awkward? Like, what is going on? So, when Jesus would be eating, don't think of a table like you and I think of a dinner table. Think of more like a coffee table. And so, what they would do is they would almost be reclining in terms of leaning on their elbows, eating with their back feet spread behind them. So, that is how she is both behind Him and at His feet. And so, as they're listening to the two teachers of the law, Simon and Jesus talk, she just weeps uncontrollably. She's overcome with emotion. Speaking of YouTube videos, I fall in the same category. I was watching a YouTube video. Two men, two older men reunited for the first time since the one had freed the other one from a concentration camp in World War II from the Holocaust. You see one with a cane, one in a wheelchair, and just a man overcome with emotion as he sees a symbol of the freedom and the restored humanity that man represents, overcome with emotion. That's this woman. Now, she's labeled a sinful woman. And again, a cultural context. That absolutely speaks to her sexual conduct in the society she lives in. We're not exactly sure, could mean a couple of things. Could mean she's a prostitute, could mean she's an adulterous, we're unsure. But either way, her decisions of her past have labeled her in her society. She weeps and then she does something that is dishonorable in her culture. She lets her hair down. Women only wore their hair up in public. A woman would take her hair down on her wedding night, if you understand what I'm saying. The cultural context of this is she is saying, "I am surrendering everything to this man, because I believe He has the hope that I need." And she wipes her tears. And then she annoints Him with perfume. Now, we know that Simon didn't perhaps view Jesus as an honored guest because he didn't do any of those three traditions that you would do to an honored guest. Someone came and they were honored. You would do at least one of these three things, maybe all of them. You would greet them with a holy kiss as a sign of respect. You would anoint them. It would typically be oil just because that perfume can be very expensive and oil is cheaper, and you would wash their feet, right? Because walking around sandals and dust, right? And Simon does none of those things with Jesus. It almost demonstrates that Jesus, or Jesus to Simon was almost more of a curiosity, but most certainly not an authority. You and I should pay attention to that because we could surround ourselves with spiritual or religious activities or services like this and be close to Jesus. But if He's just a curiosity and not an authority, we would perhaps be forgiving and foregoing the grace and the hope that Jesus has to offer. And then she takes the symbol, the product of her past. This jar of expensive perfume, perhaps what she used to allure men in her profession that made her dishonorable, or a product of a decision she made. And what does she do with her past? She gives it to the one who freely receives it, Jesus. She takes the product of her past and brings it to Jesus. Jesus being Christ. Here's the conversation that's going on in the mind of Simon. And He says, "Simon, I have a story I have to tell you. Two men owed money to a certain money lender. One owed him 500 denari, the other 50." A denari is an average day's wage. So, think of a middle class American, an average day's wage. That's what one denari is. One owed 50 days' worth, the other 500 days' worth. Neither of them had the money to pay him back. So, what did the money lender do? Canceled the debts of both. He tells an incredible story that's not even necessarily realistic, right? 'Cause that would almost be like Wells Fargo, whatever bank, whatever money lender calls you on the phone tomorrow and says, "Happy Labor Day. Guess what? Your mortgage is canceled. You don't have to pay another mortgage payment. You're done, you're all set." Somehow you're like, "That's crazy. No, that's never going to happen." And you're right. I mean, you're probably right. You're right, it is very unlikely to happen in this society. And He looks at Simon and He speaks to him and He speaks to the posture of his heart. And He says, "Now, who do you think is gonna love more?" Simon says, "I suppose the one that had the bigger debt." Now, what Jesus is not teaching us in this passage is that in order to love God the most, you gotta live the craziest life. You gotta commit every sin in the book, at least five times. That is not what Jesus is saying there. That would probably contradict, I don't know. Many of other things he would say would most certainly contradict parts of the New Testament. Like when Paul says, when grace increases, does that mean I should sin all the more? By no means, right? Paul talks about this idea of cheap grace. What He's saying is when someone realizes how much they truly have been forgiven or how much grace they actually need, love overflows out of their heart. Simon had a small heart that could only love a little because he didn't realize how much he needed the grace of God in his life . And then Jesus looks to the woman and says, "Your sins are forgiven." The other guests go, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Who is this that is forgiving sins?" Because in their culture, only one person could forgive sins, God. That's Jesus's great revelation throughout the gospels claiming to be deity. Making claims that He knew would send Him to the cross, that He would be crucified as king of the Jews. He knew exactly what He was saying. But He demonstrated His power and His authority to forgive sins by healing on the outside like the paralytic and the blind man, and also healing on the inside the sins of people. And He proved it all. When we just sang a few moments ago, when He nailed all of our sin and shame to the cross and defeated them all and did what no other person has ever done, defeated death. The resurrected Jesus Christ. He says, "Your faith has saved you, go in peace." Jesus is teaching on the saving faith that you can find in Him. We read it later in Ephesians 2:8-9, right? "For it is by grace, you have been saved." Through faith, it is a gift from God, not by works so that no one can boast. You can't earn it. You can't perform to a certain level. Church is not about a group of people that are good morally or the best of the worst morally. No, church is a room full of sinners that need grace and we all need it. He says, "Your faith has saved you. Now go in peace." And so, I'm here to tell you this morning, according to the scripture and the authority of scripture, that you need, the grace of God in your life. You need it the moment you confess Jesus as Savior of the world and Lord of your life, and you need it every single day. You need grace if you're stepping in to these doors or you're watching on one of our platforms. You need grace if you've been making decisions that have brought you far from God, but you also need grace if you've been here every Sunday in and out and connected to this study or that study or that community group, or are serving in that capacity. We all need grace. So, I wanted to take a few moments while we're together and based on scripture, teach what grace is and what God has to say about the grace that He gives. First thing, grace is extravagant. If you think that family member or that friend that always sends back their order at dinner, or that coworker that always comes to work or always sends out that chat, or that email is a little bit extra. I'm here to tell you, grace is that much extra. Grace is extravagant. A Greek New Testament scholar gives us a great working definition for grace that is far better than I could come up with. His name is Spiros Zodhiates, right? My name is Jay. If you're getting a definition from me, from Jay, I'm like, "Grace is a good gift from a good God," right? Look at this definition. I just love it as a Bible nerd. "The absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to humanity in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver." That's right, ah. That is wordy, I love it. The absolutely free expression. Grace, you can't earn it. This isn't a religion based off of earning something, that when you walk into the presence of God, God's like, "Great job, you earned it. You finally did it, you earned it. You finally have this level of holiness, or piety, or morality, you earned it." No, it is the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God, or grace. And what's the motivation? 'Cause this is to all of humanity. Well, it's in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver. What does that mean? It's motivated by God, can only come from God. And the only motivation is God, the goodness of God. And so, if you're struggling in your life right now, and if you're wondering or questioning is God really good? I'm telling you His grace speaks volumes. Good grace from a good God. You and I don't earn it, we don't deserve it. That is the foundation of the gospel that Jesus Christ came to give hope in life to humanity.
- Grace is bigger than the sum of your sins. God wants you to know that. We have it recorded for us in Romans 5. "The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase." What that simply means is, in Genesis, right? In Genesis, sin enters into the world. Our hearts get stained by sin. What does the law do? The law reveals how far off we are from God, His holiness, His purity, His perfect law. The law reveals that. We look at the list of the laws and go, "Wow, all right. Maybe I did okay in that one, but I struggled in all of those," right? That's what the law does, but where sin increased, graced increased all the more so that just as sin reigned in death so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord, wow. Grace increased all the more when sin increased. We've all got a past. People call it baggage. We all carry around the weight of the poor decisions we made, some of the darkness that's it resided in our hearts or in our heads about ourselves, about others. We carry that around with us, but grace, it's not too heavy. Grace can lift all of it. Grace is greater than the sum of your sin or your past. Grace is also brighter than the darkest of your sins. God wants you to know that too. Let's read that together. "In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding." What does that mean? That nothing is hidden from this God, the God who knows everything about you, every single detail, still gives you grace. Nothing is hidden from God, but nothing you could have done could cancel out the grace that God wants to give you. That's incredible, because at times you and I, we can be vulnerable enough to say, "Okay, hey, I'll reveal some of my sins," or "I'll reveal some of the stuff I did." Maybe the ones that are maybe a little bit more appropriate or a little bit more acceptable. Yeah, everyone struggles with patience, yeah. Let's face it. I'd be at the front of the line. If there was on this screen, either a list or reenactment of all my junk of my past, both my actions and my thoughts. I would want to just run backstage. One time I heard a pastor say it this way. He said, "If all of you knew the things that I've done, you wouldn't sit and hear me preach." He said, "But if we knew everything that you've done, we probably wouldn't let you in the doors anyways." When I first heard that, I was like, "Oh, man, no, that's kind of almost promotes wearing a mask at church," right? Because the church, it's not a museum or a hall of saints. It's just a hospital of people who are getting healthy, who are sick. But his point is that God has seen everything. Nothing is hidden. There's plenty that I have done in my own personal life that I would've never thought qualified to even do what I'm doing right now. I thought I disqualified myself as a teenager, but God's grace, brighter than your darkest sin, greater than the sum of your sin. The grace of God is extravagant. Grace is also for everyone. Grace is for everyone. Notice, Jesus not only demonstrates grace to the sinful woman. He demonstrates it to Simon as well. Jesus chooses to enter the dinner party, chooses to be dishonored, and then speaks to Simon's heart as He sees and hears what Simon is thinking in a graceful way, and tells him a story. He's patient with Simon. And He says, "Simon, your heart is small. You need to understand the grace of God in your life. Grace is for everyone, it's for the sinful woman. It's for the 'polished spiritual church person.' Grace is for everyone, everyone needs it." 2 Corinthians 4:15 says this about grace. "All this is for your benefit so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving." Grace is on a mission and it's more, and it's more. If church were the Oprah Show and I was, I guess her, and grace was a car, all of you can look underneath your seats right now. And you get grace, and you get grace, and you get grace, and you get grace. Grace is for everyone. Grace is for the one who grew up in the spiritual home. Grace is for the one who didn't step into the doors of their church until they were in their middle ages. Grace is for everyone. Grace is on a mission for every man, woman, and child. Grace more and more, it is for everyone. Grace also should be extended. Grace received should be grace extended. 1 Peter tells us this. "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." Faithful stewards of God's grace. We talk about being a steward here at the Chapel, 'cause we see that all the way from the beginning, God looks at Adam and Eve and says, "You are a steward of this planet and your life." And so, you should be a steward of your time. God's given you so much, your days are numbered, right? Your life is like a vapor, you should give God your time, you're a steward of God's time. You're a steward of the talents that God gave you. The gifts that God gave you, you should steward them in such a way where you're not only looking to build your own personal empire that will likely fade in just a few short decades, but instead to live for the kingdom and put your gifts and your talents towards that kingdom. And then also, right? Your treasure, your time, your talent, your treasure. And so, you should give your resources, should steward them knowing that they're God's to build the kingdom of God. But you and I are also stewards of God's grace. That the grace you have received, those of us who are in Christ Jesus should use whatever gift you have received to serve others and be a faithful steward of God's grace. What are ways in which you can extend God's grace? I'll just give you one for time's sake. Colossians 4:6, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Your words, your conversations, whether that's face to face conversations, whether that's through the work chat, your fingertips, whether they're doing this or this, whatever platform you find yourself on should be full of grace. If you want to be a faithful steward of God's grace, if you want to extend God's grace, you can do it with your words. Of course, you can do it with your actions. You do it in the way in which you serve and love others. But grace received should be grace extended. Grace's extravagant, it's for everyone. And those that have it should be extending it. My question, when's the last time you extended God's grace to someone? And I wanna hold you to a high standard like the scripture holds us. Not to somebody who's easy to love, not to your favorite bestie, not to your loved one. Well, maybe a loved one, but to someone who acts unlovable, it's that difficult coworker. If you're asking yourself, why has God placed me in this workplace? Whatever your work looks like. Maybe you're working from home, maybe it's hybrid. Maybe you're having to go in every day. Maybe you're in the tech field, or you're an educator, you're going back to school, or you're an engineer, whatever it may be. If you're asking yourself, "Why has God place me where I am?" It's to extend grace. Extend grace. So, God is trying to push you towards, that's the invitation. God said once you realize all that you've been forgiven, you just want others to experience, that you should be extending grace to people in your life. And the last teaching point, grace reigns eternal. Grace reigns eternal. Grace reigns through righteousness. This is what Paul records first in Ephesians 2. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." That's your future if you're in Christ Jesus, by the way. "In order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace. It was expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." Grace is only found in Christ Jesus. But the coming ages are going to show, are going to demonstrate, are gonna put on display, are going to show the glory of the incomparable riches of God's grace, that's right. Jesus says the kingdom of God is here. There is a kingdom that is coming. There is a kingdom that has been built. It's a kingdom that is unstoppable. It's a kingdom that is inevitable. This is a kingdom where justice is on display, 'cause there's no oppression, no wrongs, no injustice. This is a kingdom where the holiness of God is on display. We see this purity and His beauty and His perfection. And this is a kingdom that demonstrates the incomparable riches of God's grace, why? Because the only one who deserves to be in that kingdom is God. But others are welcomed in because of grace, because of grace. I put it this way for us in our time together, the extravagant grace of God is available to all who will receive it. So, of course, the question is, will you receive it today? Will you receive the grace of God in your life today? Now, at the end of this service, we are going to have prayer partners and pastors that are up in front here. And you might just be inclined to just get up outta your seat, walk right out through the exit and just walk straight to your car. But perhaps you came in this morning and you recognize your greatest need is God's grace in your life. Maybe that's finding hope in Jesus, or maybe that's grace extended to you in the form of someone praying with you or for you, or over a circumstance that you find yourself in, or you're close to. Whatever that might be, God's grace is here for you. And one of the ways in which it's extended be right front of this stage. But to the person who maybe gave their life to Christ a bit ago, do you still understand, do you still love much because you realize how much you needed that grace? And then when is last time where you stepped into a situation with someone and you just simply extended grace, expecting nothing in return, maybe not even them recognizing your grace at all or giving you any kind of gratefulness or credit or anything, but you just, "I gonna extend grace. I received it from God, therefore I'm just gonna extend it. The grace of God, you need it, I need it every day. May it shape each and every single day of our lives. If you would please, pray with me. As we close our time together, our service, I just wanna pray over you. I want to pray the grace of God over your life, mine included. So, God, I pray your grace. May your grace be the first thing that arises to our hearts and in our minds when we wake up in the morning. God, may your grace that we've received, that we receive, may we extend it as we go about living, working, going to school. And God, when we lay our head down on the pillow at night, may we rest in the grace of God knowing that we are absolutely not worthy, but because of Jesus and what He has done, went to the cross for my sin so that I could receive the grace of God. God made that shape, my faith, and my life, and may my faith and my life not be separate. I pray all these things in Christ's name, amen.