#637 (14/8/22) WHEN DO YOU POUR OUT YOUR OIL?
(During the summer, I will not be producing our usual daily devotionals. Each week, I will only produce one group study based on the Sunday message. Daily devotions will resume - God willing - on Monday 5th September)
In this blog (based on Sunday’s message) we will be using the account of a woman who poured perfume and tears on Jesus’ feet to learn about worship.
“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him 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.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’ ‘Tell me, teacher,’ he said. ‘Two people owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.’ ‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said. Then he turned towards the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The other guests began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’” (Luke 7:36-50)
PRAYER: Take a moment to pray that God would teach us about worship through this account.
1. ONLY FORGIVEN SINNERS POUR OUT OIL
‘A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them…‘If this man were a prophet, he would’
There is a stark contrast between this woman and Simon and His group of Pharisees. She is extravagant in worship whilst they are judgemental. It’s only those, like this woman, who know that they’ve been ‘forgiven much’ (as in the parable Jesus uses) who ‘love much’. Have we heard the words of Christ to us: “‘Your sins are forgiven…Your faith has saved you; go in peace’?
If we know and are amazed at how we have been rescued our bankrupt and sinful state, we too will be extravagant in our worship.
2. WHEN DO YOU POUR OUT YOUR OIL?
Is the greatness of your forgiveness and the gift of peace overflowing in your worship? Are you like Simon or this woman? Washing feet, a kiss are marks of welcome and hospitality - are we hospitable to Jesus or are we too busy to give Him our welcome and attention?
ASPECTS OF THE ‘OIL’
This oil is a metaphor for worship. What is included in worship? Firstly, worship is every aspect of life; Paul writes; ‘Do everything for the glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 10:31). However, there are discreet practices that the Bible refers to as acts of worship:
Speaking praise (Ephesians 5:19).
Shouting praise (Psalm 95).
Singing praise. (Psalm 147, 149).
Using instruments to accompany worship (Psalm 150).
Thinking and reflecting on God - communion for example.
Giving financially is worship (Philippians 4:18; Malachi 3:10)
Serving people with our gifts for God’s glory his worship (1 Corinthians 14:26; 1 Peter 4:10-11)
Use of the body - Dancing, kneeling, raising the hands, prostration etc.
I. WORSHIP WITH THE CHURCH
Firstly, our worship - we pour out our oil - with the gathered church. We are to be a people who are devoted to worshipping together. John Wesley exhorts us:
‘Sing All – see that you join the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing.’ (John Wesley)
II. WORSHIP ON YOUR OWN
May we pour out the oil of our love in the secret place where only God sees us. If we will only worship in public what does this say about the authenticity of our devotion? Are you Simon the self-righteous or are you this woman who pours out the oil of worship? Have you come to Jesus for forgiveness and peace? When, where and how will you be with Jesus alone to express your worship? Will you put ‘first things first’? Will you deny the demands of news, messages, WhatsApp, notifications, games, Wordle… to do what must be first in our lives?
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR PERSONAL REFLECTION
Did God speak to you about anything from this blog or Sunday’s message?
What, if anything, is hindering you in your public and private worship?
If a new believer wanted advice from you on how to worship in private, how would you outline the practices that you currently find helpful?
As an application, try to memorise the words of 2 or 3 really good worship songs and try to sing these regularly.
SIV (Serve, Invest, inVite) - Why will worship make you more ready to share your faith?
SIV (Serve, Invest, inVite) - Do you have any non-believing friends that you would like to pray for?