Do you love me?


Hollyview Family Fellowship
January 26, 2014
Adapted from Kyle Idleman
sermon three: choosing intimacy..Do you love Me?
Luke 7:36-50
Fiddler on the Roof…
Do you Love Me?
We are continuing our study entitled “Not at Fan”
And the question before us today…..Is the same question Teva asked of Golda
Do you love me?
Only it is Jesus asking us as his followers…..Do you love Me?
In Luke Chapter 7, we read about two people who encounter Jesus on very different paths. Jesus is invited to eat at Simon the Pharisee’s house. Simon doesn’t give Jesus a kiss when He walks in, though that was the custom—at least on the hand.
Typically the custom would’ve been to wash the feet of your guest or to have a servant do it.
Jesus’ feet went unwashed. Oftentimes when you had a guest, especially a distinguished guest, you would give them some inexpensive olive oil to anoint their
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head. That was their custom. None of this happened for Jesus.
So Jesus is eating at this house of Simon, who has treated Jesus shabbily and in the middle of their meal there is an uninvited guest.
And the Bible tells us in Luke 7 that she’s a known sinner, a woman of ill repute.
Can you imagine the scene this stirred?
She walks into this house and she is weeping and she is crying, (outbursts of emotion usually make us feel uncomfortable) and she falls at the feet of Jesus and the tears are now dripping off her cheeks and onto the dirty, muddy feet of Jesus that should’ve been washed by Simon.
And she sees that they’re not washed; she sees how her tears are making the dirt run off of His feet, and she undoes her hair.
I don’t think she planned this. She would’ve assumed His feet would be cleaned, but they were dirty.
So with her tears she washes His feet and with her hair she dries His feet. She begins to kiss them, crying, broken. She pulls out a jar of very expensive perfume and she pours it
on His feet.
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Let’s freeze that moment; we’ll come back to it. Keep this story in mind as we talk a little
bit about intimacy.
I’m not sure if you know this or not, but when a baby is born, it cries a lot.
It has no other way to communicate, no other way to say what it wants or needs. Most of us men are pretty clueless to decipher the code. We know they are crying, we just don’t know what they want.
But a mother knows. She would listen to the cry and say, “Oh, she’s tired.” Sure, enough, the baby needed a nap. Or she’d say, “Oh, she’s hungry,” and so you’d give the baby a bottle and all was right with the world.
Mothers have an intimate, intuitive connection with their babies. In fact, there’s almost no relationship more intimate than a mother and her baby.
Because a mother is able to know and understand her child’s wants and needs in a way that no one else can.
Surely you’ve been in a room before with friends or family and a baby starts to get fussy?
All of the sudden, everyone’s passing around that shrieking baby like a hot potato, hoping to see who has the magic touch.
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Nobody can get the baby quiet, but then mom walks in the room, and the baby just hears the voice of the mother and is somehow calmed.
That’s an intimate relationship, knowing and being known completely.
In a picture, that’s intimacy.
And until you’ve witnessed or been in that kind of relationship, you won’t know what intimacy is.
I could read you the definition, explain where the word comes from or how the word is used, but you wouldn’t really know what intimacy is.
So let’s keep this picture in mind of a Mother and her baby
The first thing I want you to know this morning is……
1) God Knows You Intimately
Probably the best Biblical word for intimacy is the word “know.” It is first used in the context of relationships in Genesis 4:1.
Genesis 4:1 (ESV) 1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”
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And the Hebrew word for “know” here is the word “yada’.”
The definition for yada’ is “to know and to be known completely.”
When the Bible says Adam knew Eve…It is more than sexual intimacy….. It’s this intimate connection on every level.
To know, to be known. I think it’s a beautiful picture. There’s something to be said for the
sacredness of sexual intimacy that when we first read about sex, it’s about intimacy, not about physical pleasure.
There are other Hebrew words that could have been used, words used later in Scripture referring to the physical act, or even procreation, but here it is this intimate connecting.
One Hebrew scholar calls it, “A mingling of the souls.”
It’s hard to understand this until you see the difference between a brand new couple
and a couple who’ve been together for a long time.
Kyle Idleman tells this story…
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A few months ago, I was out on a date with my wife. Whenever we go out, I’m not allowed to face the TV in the room, otherwise it’s not really a date for my wife.
It’s just her watching me watching whatever’s on. I just can’t help myself.
So because I’m not allowed to watch the TV, I found myself watching these two tables near us. Two different couples sat at each table.
One table had a young couple. They might have been newlyweds, but I bet they were still dating. This couple was all over each other. Snuggled up close, talking to each other rapidly. They were making jokes, interrupting one another while their food was getting cold. But they didn’t care. They just kept talk, talk, talk, talking.
Next to them was this elderly couple, and I’m guessing they had been married for decades.
It’s possible they’ve spent over half their lives together. They didn’t say a word. Nothing. I watched as they just sat there in silence, not saying anything.
I finally pointed this out to my wife, and I said, “Look at that. Isn’t that kind of sad? It starts off this way, with this couple just talking, talking, talking, so much
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to say, so much to share, and then decades later you have this elderly couple just sitting there in silence, and it’s sad.”
And my wife said, “I think it’s kind of sweet.” I kind of nod in silence, trying to be agreeable, but I had no idea why that was sweet. Why is it sweet for me to sit here quietly? I don’t understand. And then it hit me.
It’s sweet because they are communicating in silence.
They’re connecting in silence. For them, just being together is ample space for connection.
They’re able to communicate without saying anything. I don’t know what they were saying to each other—maybe, “Why is that guy staring at us over there?” But they sat at their table, and they were able to connect because they share an intimate bond.
Now, you may not think that couple was actually able to talk to each other without speaking, but you understand their connection.
You understand what it means for a woman and man to have intimacy, to yada’ each other. But what I’m about to tell you will seem a little bit strange.
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If you trace the usage of yada’ through the Old Testament, you’ll find that over and over again, this is the same word that’s used to describe God’s relationship with us. Over and over, yada’ is the word that’s used to describe how God knows you and how He wants to be known by you.
The same word, the same connection used to describe a man and a wife is used to describe how God wants to know you.
Our relationship with God is to be a love relationship. A relationship of head and heart.
It’s not a casual encounter. It is yada’, a deep knowing. It’s intimacy. David uses the word yada’ about six times to describe how God knows us in
Psalm 139. He writes:
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.
You know, You know, You know. David speaks to God in this intimate way.
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It says, “God, You know how I feel, You know how I hurt, You know what I’m thinking.”
It is no mistake that the church; that is us; the people of God are called the bride of Christ….and He loved us and gave himself for us.
The second thing I want you to know is……..
2) God Wants You to Know Him
While it’s crazy that God knows us that deeply and intimately, it’s even more crazy to me that God invites us to know Him.
God wants His soul to mingle with ours. For some wild reason, the Creator of Heaven and Earth has offered an invitation to you and me.
He’s opened his heart and said, “I want you to know me more closely and minutely than you know anyone else. I want you to know my heart, to connect with me on a level that can only be reached through the most vulnerable intimacy. I want our souls to come together, for both of us to know the other deeply and wholly.”
When we read that in Scripture, it sounds kind of poetic and beautiful like classical literature. I think people are comfortable reading that like they would a piece of poetry. But if someone actually sent you a
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letter with that in it, you’d probably freak out a little bit.
Reading that from a real person, wouldn’t it kind of make you blush? It’s almost too much, right? You feel almost claustrophobic when you get done reading it. That’s ok.
Many of us have a hard time knowing how to deal with intimacy. We can do pretty well at avoiding it, but when it’s right in our faces, some of us kind of lose it. That’s why it’s not surprising that one of the most common responses to intimacy is fear.
You could understand that, right?
Honestly, intimacy can be pretty scary, because it involves allowing yourself to be vulnerable. And many people fear intimacy with others and with God because they know that vulnerability and pain go hand-in-hand.
So many people have experienced a betrayal, or a crushing blow from someone close to them. They opened up, they made themselves vulnerable, and then someone let them down.
And often after a betrayal, people close themselves down to intimacy, protecting themselves from being hurt again.
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And when we make ourselves vulnerable to God, we open ourselves and it is uncomfortable.
Think of the sinful woman in Luke 7. A woman of ill repute, she knew she had sin in her life that made her unworthy to touch the Messiah.
And because we’ve all fallen short, we know that God’s going to look into our lives and find things that He doesn’t condone. So it kind of makes sense that many people would be afraid of that vulnerability.
You may think at this point…of course God knows all my sin…he knows everything….and He does.
But something happens when we acknowledge that sin before Him….we call that confession….and in confession there is a chance for release, an opportunity for forgiveness, and that is an opportunity for love to flow.
The reality is…we discover how much God loves us even in our sin.
Think of Adam and Eve’s sin….what was the first thing they did….they hid from God.
It is usually the first thing we do…..
But what did God do….he pursued them…he went looking for them….he wasn’t ready for their relationship to be over….
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He finds them….he provides for them…..He tells them the consequences of their disobedience and he makes a way for them to come back to Him….he tells them their seed would crush the serpent’s head.
God knows us intimately He wants us to know him intimately……
And he wants us to know him with both our heads and our hearts……
3) Fans Choose Knowledge, Followers Embrace Intimacy
But in church, we’ve often failed to embrace that kind of intimacy with Jesus. Instead, we’ve created a system focused around learning, not unlike Simon and the other Pharisees. Admittedly, our default setting is knowledge, not intimacy.
Think about it: We love learning about the bible and about God….learning fact after fact; story after story.
Memorizing verses….learning history and culture…..and all of this is important….but it is not enough.
We don’t want to know about God….we want to know Him.
Listen to the yearning of Paul’s heart…….
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Philippians 3:8 (ESV)
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
We can’t expect knowledge to replace intimacy, even though we often try to.
And I think we try to substitute knowledge for intimacy because knowledge is so much easier.
It’s easy for us to say, “Well, I know about Jesus,” but He wants to know us.
That’s where we find Simon the Pharisee. He was most likely a scholar…He probably had books of the OT memorized….He probably knew over 300 prophecies of the coming Messiah by heart……(But he did not recognize the Messiah was his guest)
He knew a lot about Jesus and his teachings, and he wanted to learn more. He calls him Teacher, emphasizing that he’s most interested in learning from Jesus, not opening up to Jesus.
Simon sees all this woman does for Jesus, her embarrassing actions, and the Bible tells us in Luke chapter 7, verse 39 that,
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“When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.’” And he says it to himself.
But Jesus, who knew Simon’s thoughts, answered him, “Look, I came in the house. You
did not give me a kiss, not even on my hand.
She hasn’t stopped kissing my feet.
You gave me nothing to wash my feet with, and she is washing my feet with her tears. You gave me no olive oil for my head; she has poured perfume on my feet.”
And people can just see the brokenness of this woman, and then Jesus turns to this woman and He says, “Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.”
Simon brought Jesus to the meal, but all he wanted was knowledge. He wanted to

keep things shallow, and he defined his relationship by not washing Christ’s feet, not caring to kiss him, not being willing to anoint his head, but this woman was willing to open up to Jesus.
She made herself vulnerable, being totally willing to open up and let Jesus know her.
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Jesus reinforces this with a parable…..
Simon, there was a moneylender who had two clients….One owned 500 the other 50….neither was able to pay.
The moneylender forgave them both….
Which one will love him more?
The one who is forgiven the most…….. Simon didn’t think he needed forgiveness…..and he loved little.
This woman knew she had been accepted and loved in spite of her sins….and she responded with much love.
So will you let Jesus know you? Will you embrace the close and intimate relationship He wants to have with you?
Not a fan…but a follower who knows the depths of his own sin and has been accepted and loved by Jesus.

 

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