Freely You Have Received; Freely Give

Public Reading: Luke 11:37-54

The Story:

•    Jesus had just finished warning the people that they needed to hear and obey the word of God when a Pharisee (one of the religious leaders in the community) invited him to dinner
•    When Jesus got there, the Pharisee noticed that Jesus did not wash his hands before sitting down

o    The interesting thing about this is that it was owner of the house’s job to make sure his guest washed up
o    Yet this Pharisee seems to have been “surprised” that Jesus did not wash up
o    While I’m not sure, it could have been that Jesus refused the water and oil and sat down simply to make a point
o    If so, then his actions would have been a lesson just as much as his words

•    Cleaning the inside and outside (vs. 39-42)

o    Jesus uses his actions to point out to the house owner and everyone else that cleaning the outside is not as important as cleaning the inside
o    If our insides are “full of violent robbery and wickedness” then what we do does not matter that much
o    Jesus came not to make us act ok – or to give us a new method of living – Jesus came to radically clean our inside

•    This may sound strange or hard for some of you so I want to dive into this for a moment

o    First off, know this – God the creator created each of us and love each of us

*    We do NOT have to change in order to gain or keep His love
*    He loves each one of us and is pursuing a personal relationship with each of us!
*    This is a fact!!

o    With that said, if we are honest with ourselves, there are things about ourselves that we don’t like

*    I’m not talking about being short, tall, thin or big, loss of hair or any of that

•    That is all outside stuff

*    I’m talking about pieces of us that don’t really belong…

•    Getting angry and snapping at your spouse or kids…only to afterwards think “why did I do that? I’m not like that…that isn’t me!”
•    That piece of us that pulls and drags us into eating that item we wish we wouldn’t….having that last drink of alcoholic that we know we shouldn’t….getting out that item that you know will cause heartache later, but at the time it’s all you can think about..

*    These are the pieces of us that we don’t like to talk about….the pride, the un-forgiveness, the bitterness, the pain, the brokenness of life….
*    These are the things that Jesus came to clean and repair!!!

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. –Titus 3:3-6

o    The amazing thing about this is that we retain who we are!

*    We remain an individual – we don’t give up the sense of who we are
*    Instead, we are made more like who we were made to be

o    We were made ‘good’ – like a mirror we are to reflect our Lord and Creator perfectly

*    Yet life….the pain and heartache of life…not necessary things that we did, though that does play into it, but the injustice and pain of everyone around us – the pain of the earth itself and the animals and planets on this earth
*    All of these caused the mirror – us – to become dented, scratched, broken, painted over, destroyed…..
*    Jesus came not to replace the mirror – not to throw us away as damaged goods – but to restore us!
*    To mold us, to fold us, to repair the damage done to our inner most being

•    To restore us to the good and perfect mirror that he originally created us to be
•    This is cleaning the inside!
•    Justice, Mercy and Love of God

o    When we allows Jesus to clean out the inside of us, then the outside becomes clean as well
o    In verse 42, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they need to do BOTH the things on the outside (i.e. tithing) and the inside (i.e. mercy, justice and love of God)
o    Here’s a tid-bit for you all

*    Justice does not mean getting even or making the other person pay – nor does it mean that everything is ‘fair’
*    Justice means setting something wrong right

•    It means repairing the damage done through injustice – which is the opposite – i.e. taking something right and madding it bad.

*    I firmly believe with everything inside of me that it is not God’s desire or goal to punish anyone!!

•    Oh, we may want Him do to so – we may want to be like James and John who wanted Jesus to call down fire and burn the people of Samaria who rejected him
•    But remember that Jesus rebuked them!

*    God’s desire is that NO ONE would be punished and cast out into udder darkness with gnashing and gashing of teeth

o    Remember John 3:16? Do you remember the rest of the verses that follow it?

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. –John 3:16-21

o    Jesus came, as St. Paul said in Titus to recuse us from the malice, anger, pain and envy that enslaved us.
o    Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one! Not to condemn people! (1 John 3:8)

•    The Key to Knowledge

o    Verse 52 of Luke chapter 11 is one of the sadist verses…
o    The very people who were supposed to be telling the world about God almighty – the ones who had accesses to the writings of the prophets and were blessed enough to study the scriptures night and day….
o    These people kept the mercy, love and justice of God a secret.

*    They locked the words of God up away from the masses
*    Shoot, they didn’t even go into through the door themselves
*    Instead they deemed it too scary and decided to ‘clean’ the outside of their lives while letting the inside rot

o    They sought out the best seats in the house – they build the best buildings – they claimed to have the words of life – but they did not live by them

*    Instead they piled heavy loads onto themselves and the people
*    They tried to force everything to behave as if everything was ok even though it was not

o    It was like the motivation speech that states:

*    “The beatings will continue until morale improves”

•    Holy Spirit

o    We, the followers of Jesus, have been given a very, very valuable gift
o    The Spirit of God dwells inside of us!
o    We have been given new life – a life filled with love, mercy, forgiveness, gentleness, self-control, peace, kindness, faithfulness…
o    Let us allows Jesus to clean up the inside of us while we tell others about Him
o    Let us not hide the key to this new life; let us give it away!

*    As Jesus told the 12 in Matthew 10:8

“Freely you have received; freely give”

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