Thesis:Love arises out of the experience of grace.
Introduction:In our study last week we made the claim that Luke was attempting to reveal to his reader the most fundamental principle of a life of faith. Beneath "faith" is "love". On the human side of things, when "love" reaches to a certain point in its development, "faith" in the Beloved is more or less "automatic". The two are seriously intertwined like food and drink. Food without sufficient moisture is indigestible and water without nutrients cannot keep one alive. Even the Lord's Table tells us that the "Body" alone is not sufficient, nor is the "Blood" alone; it is only by the Body and the Blood that we possess the Life of God.
This means that we need to understand where "love" comes from if we are to understand how "faith" works. This is at least a part of Luke's intention for his record of Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee.
Another of our "points" last week was this one: that we can often grow in our understanding by having a "contrary example" to use as a contrasting background. The intricacy of the design of a snow-flake is far easier to see if the flake rests upon a frozen piece of black construction paper than if it rests upon other flakes of snow. Simon the Pharisee serves us as a piece of frozen blackness as we look at the issue of "love for Jesus".
This morning we are going to pursue this study by looking into Jesus' response to Simon.
I. Jesus' Words as "Response".
A. Luke clearly intended to record Simon's thoughts as soundless words that none could hear.
B. By casting Jesus' words to the Pharisee as an "answer", Luke also clearly intended to reveal that what Simon truly thought was abundantly met by Jesus' treatment of him.
1. He had said that a true prophet would know things about those with whom he had to do apart from "human" abilities.
2. Jesus' words as "an answer to his thoughts" revealed that He was, at the minimum, at least what Simon believed to be true about "prophets".
3. This revelation required an immediate "adjustment" in the Pharisee's "faith" system if it was to have its beneficial impact.
a. It is at this very point, however, that the interaction of Love with Faith steps into the picture.
1) If "Truth", as revealed, is to have its beneficial impact, it must be allowed to displace whatever lies rest in its place.
2) But whether "Truth" will be allowed to displace the lies is entirely dependent upon the underlying "values" that have permitted the lies in the first place.
b. "Truth" is established by the combination of "Revelation" and "Faith"; but "Love" is the dominant controller (Note carefully John 5:44).
1) At some point, "love" has to be turned into "Love".
2) It is the burden of this particular paragraph in Luke's message that addresses how this happens.
II. Jesus' Words as a "Response to Simon".
A. The issue of the name is raised by Luke's deliberate inclusion of it in the face of the fact that many of those with whom Jesus dealt go nameless in the records (as, for instance, the "sinner" in this text).
B. The issue of "names" has always been more than merely "interesting" in the biblical records.
1. In our larger text, we have already run into two facts regarding "Simon" as a name.
a. First is the fact that it is used in contexts of those who think more highly of themselves than they have a right to think.
b. Second is the fact that Jesus Himself changed the name of one of the "Simons" who had a place in His inner circle to "Peter" because He did not want him to be linked to that name any longer.
2. As an aspect of the biblical attempt to enable believers to buy into the Love/Faith issues that determine the quality of our experience in both time and eternity, Revelation 2:17 exalts the issue of having a "name" to one of the highest levels of value.
III. Jesus' Words as a Revelation to Theophilus.
A. The entire essence of Jesus' simple story and question is His point that "love" arises out of an understanding of "grace".
1. In a very "simple" statement, 1 John 4:19 tells us that "we" love because "He" loved.
2. But the simplicity both hides and assumes the presence of some other critical issues.
a. God "loves" everyone, but not everyone "loves" Him back.
b. The Bible "blames" this faulty response on "hardness of heart" (Romans 2:5) and it teaches that such "hardness" develops incrementally as the values of the heart are allowed to dispute, and reject, the revelation of the Truth (Hebrews 3:8, 15; Hebrews 4:7 and Romans 1:21).
3. Thus, the need for "grace" to enter the picture.
B. The details of Jesus' simple story are revealing.
1. Jesus deliberately used a setting of human "values" ("love") that, though intensely corrupt, served, nonetheless, as a brilliant light upon the issue at stake.
a. Remember that Luke 16:14 tells us that the Pharisees were "lovers of money", so the choice by Jesus of a "money" story is significant.
b. For those trapped by their lust for stuff, there is an incredible level of response when that bondage is broken.
2. One issue of Jesus' story is the degree of bondage involved.
a. One debtor was looking at what would have taken him many years to escape in a legal system that required one to "sell himself and all his possessions" (Matthew 18:25).
b. The other was only looking at months.
3. Another issue is the creditor's "grace".
a. This is not cast in terms of "generosity".
b. Jesus deliberately cast this in terms of "grace" ... a "deliverance" from what was justly owed.
IV. One Caution: God is not "Buying" Loyalty.
A. In the ungodliness of the world, promises are given to grant false "means to life" in return for "loyalty" and threats are made about life/death that assume a huge lie (the idea that physical life is "valuable" above all other considerations).
B. In the godliness of the Truth, promises are made only to enable "Life", not to bring the believer of them into "bondage".