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A Friend of Sinners

by Wayne Dailey,
Senior Pastor, Bethel Revival Center

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A Friend of Sinners

by Wayne Dailey
Senior Pastor, Bethel Revival Center
43 Norwood St.
Everett, MA 02149

Luke 7:34
The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

Think about what they were branding Jesus as: a glutton and a drunkard! A friend of publicans and sinners! They were criticizing Him for this: but actually, when it came down to the truth of the matter, Jesus was a friend of publicans and sinners.

Rejecting God's Counsel

These religious leaders rejected the counsel of God. Bear this thought in mind: don't reject the counsel of God that brought Jesus into the world to suffer and bleed and die for you.

The down-and-outers realized that John had come to prepare the way for the Son of God. They opened their hearts to accept the counsel of God and received mercy at His hand.

God desires that all receive Jesus Christ, all receive His mercy and grace, all receive His forgiveness and the gift of everlasting life. It is His counsel to bring salvation, and make a way of escape that every sinner would have the opportunity to receive everlasting life.

II Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The Pharisees and lawyers spurned God's mercy and grace. They hardened their hearts, and treasured up against themselves wrath unto the Day of Judgment. How blind they really were. The marvelous light of God was shining two-fold right before their eyes! But they wouldn't receive it. They totally turned their backs on God and on His counsel, continuing to go on trying to establish their own righteousness.

Why Did Jesus Come?

Look at the counsel of God and see why Christ came. He came to give His life as a ransom, that He might redeem sinners from their sin and grant them everlasting life. Realize that He came to be the friend of sinners. This world was lost — dead in trespasses and sins, away from God, fallen deep into depravity — and Jesus came to save to the uttermost.

A True Friend

If you need a true friend, know that Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother — see Prov 18:14. He is a friend who will forgive you, a friend who will show you love and mercy, a friend who will never fail you nor forsake you.

He won't look at who you are and condemn you. He won't look at how far down you've gone and hold it against you. No, He didn't come to bring condemnation. He came to bring salvation — to all who will believe.

John 3:16,17
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.

Yes, Jesus came to save those who have lost their way in life, those who have gone into the paths of darkness, those who have gone down the road of ungodliness and unbelief.

See John 1:6-12
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe.

The Light of the World

Jesus, the Light of the world, is shining a beacon light in your direction. He wants you to turn and look unto that light — and see that He stands and offers His mercy and grace and pardon unto you. See that He wants to deliver you and set you free. He wants you to know that, in His love and in His mercy, He has done something wonderful for you.

Accept His redeeming work today. Accept the grace and mercy which has been bestowed so freely upon all mankind. Through His grace and mercy, you can find forgiveness of sin — and the blessing of everlasting life.

Luke 7:36-39
And one of the Pharisees desired Him that He would eat with him. And He went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.

And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment and stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

Now when the Pharisee which had bidden Him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him: for she is a sinner.

Two Attitudes

Two people with two different attitudes about Jesus: both seemingly knowing something about Him — yet each having a different reaction.

The Woman

The woman had somehow heard of Jesus and of His love and mercy. Knowing her condition, she sought forgiveness of her sins. When she found out that Jesus was in the Pharisee's house, she came and fell down at His feet. Then she began to weep and cry over her sins.

In this, we see a picture of what it is to be a repentant sinner. We see someone who knew she was lost, knew she was on her way to a devil's hell, knew her life was shipwrecked. Yes, this woman knew she needed help — and she found Jesus as the Saviour, the only One who could give her that which she needed in her soul.

The Pharisees had accused Jesus of being a friend of publicans and sinners — and here we find a sinner has come to Him, falling at His feet weeping and crying. Jesus did nothing to chase this woman away. He didn't rebuke her: but rather, let her do what she felt in her heart to do.

And this is the way true salvation can come to you. It can get you so broken up within that it will cause you to weep and cry before Jesus. When Holy Ghost conviction comes upon you, that's the time to repent and turn to the Lord. When God is dealing with you, to where you feel like weeping and crying over your past sinful life, that's the time to cry out for salvation.

When you truly repent, you will feel sorry about your old sinful life. You'll want to do something about it. You won't want to continue in your sins any longer.

This woman felt the dealings of God in her life. She recognized she was a sinner, headed for hell and destruction. And, right away, she responded to the warm love of God that was made manifest unto her.

We can see that Jesus, indeed, turned out to be a friend unto this sinner. He reflected this in what He did, allowing her to come and seek God at His feet.

If you're in need of salvation today, Jesus wants to show you His love and friendship, His grace and mercy. He wants you to come and seek out salvation, confess and forsake your sin, turn your life over to Him.

If you're in a sinful state today, I want you to know that Jesus won't cast you aside. If you come to Him, He won't turn you way. I don't care how low you've sunk in sin. When you come to seek His mercy, He will draw you unto Himself. He will forgive you of your sins, and wash you clean with His Blood.

The Pharisee

The Pharisee had a different attitude about this. When he saw this sinner repenting and turning to the Lord, he had a wrong thought in his heart about her.

We want to note that Jesus showed Himself merciful and loving to this Pharisee. He came and sat down to meat in his house, and showed Himself to be a friend. Yes, Jesus showed Himself to be a friend unto this religious Pharisee, as well as to the publicans and sinners. He loves everybody. That's what the Gospel is all about!

We don't want to be like this Pharisee. We don't want to condemn Jesus because He is the friend of publicans and sinners. We don't want to stand back and point our finger in condemnation of sinners. We've got to understand in our hearts that the Lord truly loves us — and also understand that He loves everyone else, too!

Yes, Jesus loves the sinner who is down in the gutter — and He also loves the sinner who is polished and sophisticated. He loves everyone without exception.

A Parable

Luke 7:40
And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

Jesus was about to tell Simon the message He was bringing to his house. He needed to open up Simon's understanding so he could perceive what was going on in his home that day.

Luke 7:41-43
There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

The Lord always had a way of getting His message across. I shouldn't say, "had a way"; He has a way to enter hearts today, able to open our understanding to the truth.

We begin to look at this parable as simply a parable of two men owing someone money: one owed a lot, the other owed just a little. Neither had any means to pay — but the creditor forgave them both of their debt.

Those who have been forgiven much love much. Jesus was illustrating a point to get this message across to this Pharisee's heart. Up until this time, the Pharisee had no understanding of what Jesus was driving at. He didn't understand that the woman who had wept at Jesus' feet is illustrated in this parable as the one who owed five hundred pence — nor did he realize that he, being quite religious and thinking that he was perfect, is illustrated as the one owing only fifty pence.

Both the woman and the Pharisee were in the condition where they had nothing to pay to atone for their sins. They both had to depend upon the mercy and grace of God to forgive them.

The Pharisee was blind to the fact that a sinner, such as this woman, could receive mercy from the hand of God — and he was blind to the fact that he, too, was a sinner in need of salvation. He thought he could straighten himself out and be acceptable unto God by living a good, moral life.

And life is like that. When those who sink low in sin and ungodliness get saved, as they fall in love with the Lord, their love is usually great. They knew they were headed into the pit, into hell and destruction — and now they reflect a great love and appreciation for the Lord.

There are many in churches today who are like this Pharisee. They have been in church a long time — in fact, many of them grew up in church! Their testimony is generally, I never did anything that was really bad. I never went into gross sin. I never did this. I never did that.

As a result of all they never did, they love little. They place their boast in the fact that they've been a do-gooder, that they grew up in church. They say they've always known the Lord — yet, when it comes right down to having a real love for Him, they are lacking. Something is missing in their testimony. They've been boasting of their goodness, but have said little about God's grace and mercy.

Like the Pharisee, they owed only fifty pence. Their sin debt was very small compared to someone who had gone all out in sin (at least, in their eyes it was small). They should thank God that their life wasn't marred by gross sin — but they should also open their eyes to the debt of sin they do owe.

Isaiah 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Realize that each of us was destined for hell, each of us without exception. We can't impress God with our money or with our goodness. What does God think of our righteousness? He sees it as filthy rags! Not sufficient to pay the debt of sin.

But when we realize there is no way for us to pay our debt of sin, and we cry out to Him for mercy, He will forgive the entire debt. Then, when He has forgiven us, and we have gotten saved, we can rejoice in His grace and His mercy and forgiveness.

Another Look

Now, let's take another look at this woman who was forgiven much. Jesus used her as an illustration of great love: comparing her great love with the little bit of love that was in the Pharisee's heart.

Luke 7:44-46
And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet: but she hath washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

Thou gavest Me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment.

The Pharisee invited Jesus into his home, but he didn't even offer Him a basin of water to wash His feet. He hadn't done much of anything to refresh Jesus.

We can see here that there wasn't much love in the Pharisee's heart. On the other hand, this sinful woman possessed a great love for Jesus, and she manifested that love outwardly — washing His feet with her tears, drying them with her hair, and anointing them with oil.

Luke 7:47-48
Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And He said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

Oh, yes, the Pharisee invited the Master for dinner: but he wasn't as considerate as he should have been. His love was little compared to this woman's love. I imagine she had heard a lot about Jesus — in that she walked into that house, and began to do what she did with tears in her eyes.

The Lord is faithful to work to draw you unto Himself. Can you feel something within that urges you to get right with God? To receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour?

The love of God constrains you to get saved — before it is too late! He offers you His mercy and forgiveness, if you will but turn and cry out to Him for mercy.

This woman came and repented of her sins — and her sins were forgiven. There were no questions asked. She just came to the Lord and poured out her heart in true repentance.

Have You Received Christ
As Your Saviour?

Realize that this same salvation is available to you, today. Why don't you turn to Jesus Christ right now? Come to Him just as you are. You don't have to change your life before you can come to Him. Simply call upon Him and ask Him to save you. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to come into your heart today. If you do this, you will be born again of the Spirit.

Salvation is that easy. It's not complicated. In fact, the reason so many miss salvation is because they don't let the truth get down into their hearts — it's just in their heads.

Romans 10:9-10
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

This woman received something deep down in her heart. The reason she got saved was because she fell in love with Jesus. And, as a result, she found His love flowing back in return.

Realize that salvation is an experience of the heart. We must believe with our heart that the Lord will save us, coming to Jesus in faith, and accepting Him into our heart as Lord and Saviour. As we believe on Jesus with all of our heart, God does a work of creation in our life, creating a new spiritual life within.

II Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The Bible says we are born again of an incorruptible seed by the Word of God. When we give our life over to Jesus, like this woman did, we are born again of the Spirit — right on the spot.

Luke 7:50
And He said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

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