PASTOR WOOD’S Message notes
LINK TO PASTOR WOODS “RIGHT TO DIE”
Message Notes: January 23, 2022
Title: “The Dignity of a Person”
Text: Luke 8:36-50
Goal: That the hearers sanctify all human life as persons whom Jesus loves.
Getting Started: Making the cut. From the school lunch room to the kickball field to the NFL.
I. Sizing up a “sinful woman”.
A. She is community outcast.
1. She seems to be waiting for Jesus when he reclines at the Pharisee’s table.
2. She is the Butt of small town gossip and Pharisee scowls.
3. Prostitution may have been the only means to survive—not necessarily chosen.
4. Such a situation could have fallen upon Ruth in her day had not Boaz redeemed her and Naomi.
5. The cost was to never be loved nor truly accepted.
6. Until she meets Jesus who seems to be the only one to acknowledge her in a positive way.
B. May have been an open house.
1. Community members may have been allowed to listen in.
2. Mark 2:1-12—crowded house did not stop the paralytic lowered through the roof.
3. It’s not until she is “touching” Jesus that the host seems to react.
C. All the sinful woman sees is Jesus and care nothing about being humiliated in front of all the others.
1. She washed his feet in her tears, kissed his feet, and dried them with her tears.
2. And then poured perfume on them—an act of repentance and commitment.
3. What appeared as an inappropriate public display of her sinful lifestyle was doubly shocking because Rabbi Jesus welcomed what she was doing.
4. But we understand as Jesus did that this was a public display of repentance and worship.
5. She loves much –the pharisee loves little.
6. She is a better host than the Pharisee.
II. “What makes you a person?” –The heart of prolife debate.
A. Prochoice, Peter Singer, and Ultitarianism.
1. A person is a person if they are self-conscious and can reason.
2. A preborn is a “non-person human being”.
3. The personhood of the mother then is the priority over the non-person biological human in development.
4. Same applies to developmentally disabled, and dementia patients—Euthanasia becomes morally and ethically needed for the “greater good.”
5. This philosophy has permeated into the Affordable Care Act of 2009.
B. But who actually gets to determine personhood?
C. The heart of the beholder. –“Out of the heart come evil….” (Matt 15:18-19)
D. Consider Jephthah the Gileadite in Judges 11.
1. Jephthah was rejected by his brothers because of their father’s sin.
2. Later those elders and brothers would come calling for him to save them from the Ammorites. And he does.
3. By God’s grace Jephthah took an ugly situation and turned it into a beautiful one.”
4. Yes, God’s grace can do that!
5. Jephthah is very much like the sinful woman in his rejection. But it is in God’s acceptance that both find a place at the Lord’s Table.
6. She changes and is the hero of Luke 7.
E. Sizing people up as sinners do…
1. “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him, namely that she is a sinner.”
2. Turning people into something else makes it easier to justify our sinful behavior toward them.
3. Simple hospitality, or the lack of it with Simon was the first sign of stripping away the personhood of Jesus and the woman.
III. God has the power to bring life from what is dead.
A. Dr. Bernard Nathanson—once the Abortion King later the strongest advocate of Prolife in Jesus until his death in 2011.
His Autobiography: The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind–1996
B. This is the power of forgiveness in the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
1. Personhood is in the heart of the beholder.
2. Out of the heart are the things that really matter.
3. From the heart of God (John 3:16-17) we see what really matters in Jesus’ cross and resurrection.
4. The cross is God’s answer to how much a human life is worth.
5. “’Go in peace your faith has saved you’ …too”.
6. Bodily resurrected not as tissue, as a fetus, nor as a non-person but in the image of Jesus.
Wrapping Up: Legislating life never takes the cross into an account. Legislation will not solve our problems. Do not place
too much hope in a flawed, sinful, and highly influenced court system which routinely plays favorites with rich, powerful, and ungodly types. The true blessing of the prolife movement is the ability to love, teach, and forgive. The ability to change a heart like Bernard Nathanson’s or yours or mine is the true miracle of life. We have within each of us the ability to bring life or destroy it by the way we love or deny love to others. However, in Christ we see that Jesus chooses for you and I to have life and to have it in full.
Taking it Home
1. What is most the most remarkable thing that impresses you most about human life?
2. How deeply do you love God?
3. Are you a hospitable person? What is your favorite way to welcome someone?
Consider Reading Psalm 139—take note of how much the Lord pays attention to us.
PRINTABLE PDF: WSjan23.PDF
Dear Grace Congregation
I am very humbled and grateful to have been in the Lord’s service for 25 years. I am grateful to have served here at Grace for twenty of those years. Thanks to all of you for making our family a part of Grace’s family these twenty years. Thank you for the kindness, the fun, and the joy of last Sunday’s celebration. Thank you for the great meal and fellowship. Thanks to the youth for remembering Michigan Jones so fondly. Thank you for your cards and gifts and for the many expressions of love. Thank you for putting up with all my VBS ideas and hanging in there with me each year. Thank you for your patience when I am a little slow or dull. Thank you for including us in your own milestones. Thank you for allowing me to continue to work side by side with you in this ministry. The family of Grace has been very consistent in its support of its staff and is a big reason I remain here as pastor. We love this congregation and look forward to many more years together with you.
Love in Christ
Pastor Matthew Woods (PW)