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Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: “The Real Jesus” — Sermon #12: “With the Powerless” 1996-1997

The teaching is based on Luke 7:36-50, Story of woman washing Jesus’ feet with tears in Simon the Pharisee’s house.

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

In this excellent series of sermons, Keller seeks to give his congregation a biography of the life of Jesus. Prior to Christmas, the sermons focus on the incarnational stories. Following Christmas and leading up to spring, it focuses on the encounters and events of His life. Leading up to Easter, it focuses on the final week of Jesus’… well, I can’t say His life, because He’s still alive… but you know what I mean.

Tim Keller tends to relax and humble me in Christ, whereas Mark Driscoll tells to get me excited and bold in Him. Both preach the gospel and tend to teach through books of the Bible.

For me, a guy who tends to gravitate toward extremes, it is very good for me to listen to both of these men to combat my generally religious, I’ve-got-to-earn-Jesus tendencies.

I generally listen to sermons while running or driving, so these notes are far from complete–but since I try to jot down notes afterwards anyway, I might as well share. I heartily recommend purchasing Tim Keller’s sermons from his website, and heartily encourage you not to rationalize stealing them!

This sermon hit my religious bones good, hopefully crushing them a little more.

With the Powerless

(Luke 7:36-50, Story of woman washing Jesus’ feet with tears in Simon the Pharisee’s house)

  • The story is about two people–the woman and Simon
  • The story is about two seekers–Simon invited Jesus over (invitation to relationship) and the woman came to him
  • Simon had conditions: he wanted a discussion, a high-minded conversation; he didn’t want touching and weeping and letting down of hair!
  • The woman had no conditions–she came and gave her fear (letting her hair down in front of these men could have been dangerous), her money (the alabaster jar of perfume was expensive), her very livelihood and career (wearing an alabaster jar of perfume around your neck increased your sexual appeal; she was a prostitute; to pour out these jars required breaking them due to the narrow neck). Shecame to Jesus unconditionally; if He was who He said He was, she implied, He could have what little she had.
  • Aspects of Simon religion:
    • Jesus says, You don’t get it! You don’t see that you can’t make it!
    • Simon thinks he can pay the cost for the forgiveness of debt.
      • Whether a spider bite kills you are a lion rips you to shreds, you’re still dead–one person is pretty-looking dead, the other is ugly-looking dead, but both are dead. The same with our debt.
      • Forgiveness never happens without someone getting hurt–someone gets wronged, and either the person who owes it pays it or the person who deserves to get it has to absorb it. We can’t pay it, so God has to get hurt.
      • Some ppl bristle when Keller says, “If you don’t come to God through Jesus, you have an impersonal religion”
        • What did it cost your god to have that personal relationship with you. Where is the agony? Where are the thorns? Where are the nails?
          • Don’t believe all that is necessary? Well that’s exactly why you’re not weeping and letting your hair down and laying all you at the feet of Jesus! That’s the reason it’s impersonal! It cost nothing.
          • Your religion is more like Simon’s, not hers. You don’t see or know the cost.
          • If you get rid of the messenger and just have the message, there’s no weeping, no tears, no joy, no power.
    • Simon’s religion is academic.
  • Because of the two understandings:
    • Simon gets exactly what He wants–a seminar. An academic experience. And an insult, and a cold shoulder.
    • The woman gets an ability to love she didn’t have before. The reason she’s able to love now is because she sees that she’s forgiven.
      • Your ability to love people and life is completely due to how deeply you see your sin and your ability to be forgiven.
      • If you have too high a view of yourself, you’ll see yourself as undeserving of the hurt you receive, and if you have to low a view of yourself, you’ll see yourself as undeserving of forgiveness–and either way you won’t be able to forgive.
    • She didn’t just get the ability, she got a love that could fill her up.
    • She doesn’t care what anybody thinks. When everyone turns around, she lets her hair down (an outrageous action). In doing this, she showed courage. She didn’t run. By surrendering to Jesus, she got power. She found that she would never have to surrender to anyone else.
      • Your faith has saved you–past tense! In Simon religion, you never have a past tense! You’re always hoping you’re saved.
      • Jesus says, literally, “Go into peace.” The power you give to me, the more you’ll get back.
  • Do you have Simon religion?
    • Look at this woman. This is the gospel–it’s not the powerful, it’s the marginal who show you how to become a Christian.
  • Are you a believer?
    • Do you love like this woman? Do you have this kind of satisfaction in Jesus Christ? Are you having trouble loving life?
      • It’s in your power! You have forgotten your debt. You have forgotten His life.
      • Hymn: Take my love, my Lord, I pour / At Thy feet its treasure store; / Take myself, and I will be, / Ever, only, all for Thee. / Ever, only, all for Thee.
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About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at TeachingtheCore.com. He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

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