Reject Not The Counsel Of God

Photo by arquidis molina on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Luke 7 verse 28.

Opening: When I was a little boy – around 7 years old – my high tech was a little pocket radio. It wasn’t much – I don’t even remember where I got it. It ran on one 9 volt battery. I kept myself in batteries by digging into the cracks of couch and chair cushions looking for lost change. That little radio only received the AM stations. The station I loved listening to was WKIX (850 AM). WKIX played rock and pop music – this was long before RAP or Hip Hop had come along. I loved singing to the radio, and tried my best to memorize those songs.

There was one song that came out in 1965. The lyrics were by songwriter Hal David, and the music by Burt Bacharach. That song was “What The World Needs Now Is Love”. When Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, singer Jackie DeShannon’s version of the song was played over and over on the radio. I loved and memorized the song:

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No not just for some, but for everyone

What was interesting about the song – and something I didn’t realize until just the other day – is that the song is addressed to God. The song only has two stanzas. Listen to the first stanza:

Lord, we don’t need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last ’til the end of time

Lord, don’t you know …”. We need to tell infinite and eternal God, the Creator of all things, that we need love. Now listen to the second stanza:

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, Lord, if you want to know

What gets me now that I am much older, and a Christ follower, is that we humans thought we needed to tell God we need more love. God has been telling us this from the beginning of human history. We didn’t need to forbidden fruit that Adam ate. We don’t really need most of the things we possess. We all need love. We all need Jesus! It’s not God’s fault that we don’t have Jesus. It’s our fault. If you have Jesus, you will love. If you have received Jesus as Lord and Savior, you will love. The Apostle said:

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

When Jesus came to this earth from Heaven, leaving His glorious Throne, He walked among us, showing us what love looks like. We are told in

1 John 4:16 … we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Salvation comes when we “know and believe the love that God has toward us”. We believe that we are sinners in need of the Savior. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior sent of God the Father to this earth. We believe that faith in Jesus brings forgiveness of sins. Hiding in the shadow of His Cross, we who believe and have been saved by the love of Christ, we now love those who are near us.

The Pharisees And Scholars Of The Law
Of Moses Rejected Both John And Jesus

The forerunner of Jesus the Messiah was John the Baptist. John baptized people to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. Jesus said of John:

Luke 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

Why was John the greatest prophet, of all the prophets up until this moment? Because the other prophets foresaw the coming of Christ, but John actually saw the coming of Christ. John baptized Jesus, and heard the Father say, “This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). John was the forerunner of Jesus, Incarnate God, Himself baptized by John. If God is love, and He is, Jesus is the manifestation of Who God is. Jesus loved. He loved everyone.

Jesus loved the blind, the cripple, the diseased, the disenfranchised, the demon possessed, and the dead. Jesus lovingly touched and healed whosoever would come to Him, humbled and believing.

John endorsed Jesus, and Jesus endorsed John. From that moment on those who believed …

Luke 7:29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John

Word Study: Justified God. In the Bible it says that God justifies us {Greek δικαιόω dikaióō, [pronounced dik-ah-yo’-o]} when we believe on Jesus (Romans 3:21-26; 4:5-8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Justification is when God declares you righteous, right in His sight, because Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin. We are told in Romans 5:9, “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! But what does it mean that the people and the sinners called “publicans” Justified God when they were baptized? It means that they proved their faith in God by their actions. They declared God righteous, and Jesus to be the only sent Redeemer from Heaven.

A saved or “justified” person will prove their inward faith by outward acts of obedience.

But not allJustified God. We read:

Luke 7:30 BUT the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

The Pharisees and Lawyers (NOT Lawyers like our Brother Jerry Bridenbaugh is, but Lawyers who specialized in the study of the Law of Moses) rejected the testimony of God. When John came baptizing, he did so at the direction of God (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; 4:5). What John did, he did in love and obedience to the Father. What he did was “the testimony of God”. Further, Jesus endorsed John’s ministry. As Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, then His endorsement is “the testimony of God”. Further, when Jesus was baptized by John, the Holy Spirit of God descended and lit on Jesus (Luke 3:22). This is “the testimony of God”. The Pharisees and Lawyers rejected the threefold “testimony of God” by refusing the Triune Witness that came through John’s the Baptist’s ministry.

As this is like a courtroom setting, and the Three Witnesses of God have been rejected, Jesus as a Chief Prosecutor sums up the state’s case against the Pharisees and Lawyers.

Luke 7:31-32 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? {Jesus is speaking of the Pharisees & Lawyers} and to what are they like? 32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.

The Pharisees and Lawyers consider themselves the Elders of Israel. What does Jesus say they are? Prosecutor Jesus says, they are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another. They are sitting in the marketplace. The marketplace is where buying and selling goes on. They are neither buying nor selling. John the Baptist came representing the Kingdom of God, and Jesus Christ it’s King. John came on a mission from God. In the Marketplace of Human Ideas John taught that we are all sinners, and that as sinners John preached that we are to “bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin] (Matthew 3:8, Amplified Version). In repentance the sinner turns to God, and turns away from sin. In repentance the sinner’s eyes are on Jesus!

The Pharisees and Lawyers refused to repent. They rejected the counsel of God by refusing to submit to baptism – their hearts were hardened. They SAT in the marketplace, neither buying nor selling, doing all they could to disrupt the business at hand. They were useless. Not only were they like orange cones disrupting a busy highway, the Pharisees and Lawyers spent their time calling one to another. Vendors in the Marketplace would call out the names of their products. John kept calling out “Jesus”, trying to get a lost world to come to the Savior. Not only did the Pharisees and Lawyers refuse to sell, they impeded what John and Jesus were selling. Why?

Because it was all about them. Their agenda had nothing to do with God, nor the Kingdom of Heaven. They wanted to be gods, wanted to be the center of attention. We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.

The whole point of the Pharisee and the Lawyer was
confusion. They were agents of confusion.

What they said was confusion. Jesus indicted them:

Luke 7:33-35 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. 34 The Son of man {that’s Jesus} is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! 35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.

They couldn’t be pleased unless you were dancing to their tune. The Pharisees and Lawyers – who should have been staunch defenders of God and His Word – were agents of darkness and rubes of Satan. The Pharisees and Lawyers were not concerned with the love of God, nor with loving God. They were concerned with what would make them happy. Period! Jesus told these unbelievers, wisdom is justified of all her children. That is, if you are following wisdom (the way of God) then it will be proved by the fruit of your life. The Pharisees and Lawyers had no good fruit. The fruit of their lives was to tear down and destroy the souls of others. The fruit of John the Baptist’s life and Jesus’ life was to draw people into the Kingdom of God. This proverb is much like the proverb of Luke 6:44-45, “each tree is known by it’s fruit. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh”.

Self Righteous People Will Never Understand Grace

But Jesus is not done with the Pharisees. We read:

Luke 7:36 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.

Here we see the depth of the love of Jesus! Jesus is not one Who says, “Do what I say, but NOT what I do”. No, Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Plain:

Luke 6:29-30 … unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee …

Jesus has been frequently attacked by Pharisees. The Pharisees are “filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus” (Luke 6:11). Jesus healed people on the Sabbath Day, a terrible offense to the Pharisees and Lawyers. They were constantly picking, plotting, planning harm to the Lord. A Pharisee named Simon the Leper invites Jesus to dinner (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8). A lesser man would have run, but not our Jesus. Jesus Christ came to this earth to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Though repeatedly rebuffed by the Pharisees, Jesus still wanted to save them from the snare of self righteousness.

Then a Pharisee invites Jesus to dinner.

Though Luke does not give his name, Matthew (26:6) and Mark (14:3) both call him Simon the Leper. He was Simon “the Leper” because at one time he had leprosy, a terrible affliction in the early world. Leprosy was easily diagnosed, as it is a skin disease. The Law of God diagnosed what leprosy looked like, but did not offer a cure for leprosy. For this reason leprosy was often used as a symbol representing sin in the Bible. When Miriam, Moses’ sister was given leprosy when she failed to trust God (Numbers 12:5-9). Elisha’s servant Gehazi is given leprosy because he is greedy (2 Kings 5:20). Joab, King David’s nephew, was cursed with leprosy because he murdered Abner (2 Samuel 3:29). And King Uzziah offered incense in the Temple to himself, causing God to inflict him with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26). Leprosy, a real disease, is often used to illustrate sin.

Leprosy corrupts.
Sin corrupts.
Leprosy destroys families.
Sin destroys families.
Leprosy can kill.
Sin can kill.
Leprosy makes a person alone, separated from God and friends.
Sin makes a person alone, separated from God and friends.
Leprosy is diagnosed by the Law.
Sin is diagnosed by the Law.
The Law cannot cure Leprosy – only God can.
The Law cannot cure sin – only God can.

Simon had been a leper, but he is also a Pharisee – so he knows what the Law says. The Law says:

Leviticus 13:46 … as long as the plague is in the leper, he is defiled and unclean. He shall dwell alone outside of normal society – he is not allowed in the city (author’s paraphrase).

Simon would have never been at his home, much less invited Jesus to his home if he were still a leper. God in His Grace healed Simon of leprosy!
Simon had no reason to be self righteous!

Then a woman enters Simon’s home. We read:

Luke 7:37-38 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, 38 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.

This woman had been afflicted by the leprosy of sin for much of her life. Whereas Simon is known as “The Leper”, she is merely “A Sinner”. Why was this woman at Simon’s home? The Soniclight Commentary notes that “Social custom allowed needy people to visit such meals and to partake of some of the leftovers. Moreover it was not unusual for people to drop in when a rabbi was visiting”. Luke does not tell us what this woman’s sin is, though we can guess. The woman brings an “alabaster box of ointment”, an item that would have been extremely costly. Small alabaster vials filled with costly perfumes were often worn on a cord around the neck. This woman “wash{ed Jesus’} feet with tears, and wipe{d} them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment”. As Simon watches this, he judges both Jesus as well as this woman.

Luke 7:39 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.

This leads us to believe that this woman was a prostitute. Joel B. Green in his book “The Gospel of Luke” called her “a prostitute by vocation, a whore by social status”. This woman not only washes Jesus’ feet – she KISSES His feet repeatedly – a sign of humility, love, and deep respect.

When Simon sees this, he spake within himself, condemning Jesus as no Prophet, much less a Rabbi – and this woman as a “sinner”, a defiled person God would have nothing to do with. Jesus knows what Simon is thinking. He says:

Luke 7:40-43 … Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

Word Study: First we need to note Simon’s hypocrisy. Though in his mind he has judged Jesus as “no prophet”, he calls Jesus “Master”, the Greek διδάσκαλος didáskalos, {pronounced did-as’-kal-os}, a reference to a “master Teacher”. Religion and the Law of Rites and Sacrifices often makes hypocrites – and this is no exception. Jesus gives a beautiful illustration with two men who owed much, though one owed 50 pence and the other 500. Jesus asked Simon, “if both debts were forgiven these men, and neither had the money to pay, then which man would love the creditor more?” The answer is simple.

The one who owed the most.

Now, WHO is the one who owed the most? For years I thought it was this unnamed woman. But now I don’t think that is the case. Simon had leprosy, a terrible disease that is symbolic of sin. God has intervened in his life, curing him, and restoring Simon back to his home and his family. Simon should be immensely grateful to God for what He has done. But instead, Simon doesn’t feel grateful. Simon is a Pharisee. He follows the Law. Simon deserved to be healed, because he kept the Law of God as all Pharisees did. And as a keeper of the Law, Simon is upset that this tramp would come in his home, and wash Jesus’ feet. Oh, and by the way –

Simon was doing Jesus a favor by allowing Him to come into his home! How dare Jesus allow this woman to come in and wash His feet! Simon is blinded by self righteousness. Jesus now highlights this woman’s actions.

Luke 7:44-47 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. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 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.

Saving faith comes to Jesus, and bows down at His feet. Saving faith clings to Jesus, adoring
Jesus as the Savior and Lord.

Simon had been greatly blessed by God. One commentary suggested that Simon might have been a leper that Jesus Himself healed, and so he now invited Christ to his home to “even up the score”. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I do know this.

You cannot be saved and NOT love Jesus. We love Him, for He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Though Jesus was a Guest in Simon’s home, he made no effort to provide even the smallest amenity – like a wash basin and a cloth – to the Lord. He fed Jesus, but begrudgingly. The woman, on the other hand, ministered to Jesus. She ministered to God! Jesus said, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Luke 7:48-50 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Jesus forgave the woman’s sins. Why? Because the Bible says:

Psalm 51:17 (NET) The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit – O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject.

There has never been an animal sacrifice that made payment for sin. God allowed animal sacrifices and rituals, such as those found in the Mosaic Law, to teach Israel that sin can only be covered by Blood. It is not the Blood of animals that makes payment for sin. Oh no! It is

1 John 1:7 (ESV) … the Blood of Jesus {God’s} Son cleanses us from all sin ..

Because Jesus died for our sins, and we have called upon Him believing, Jesus has said, Your sins, which are many, are forgiven. Your faith in Me has saved you. Go in peace!. The others wondered, Who is this that forgives sins also? It is Jesus, and only Jesus. Our Lord Jesus said:

John 5:22-27 the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23 That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

Have you received the Lord Jesus as your one and only Savior? If not, I beg you, turn to Him and live! There is salvation in Jesus. He can forgive you all your sins, and bring you into the Kingdom of God. Jesus can baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and empower you to walk daily with Him. Through Christ we have the victory! Blessed be His holy Name! May the Spirit move you to come surrendered to Jesus. Amen and amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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