Amazing Story, Beautiful Savior (Camp Meeting, 8/19/19)

Posted by on Aug 19, 2019 in Pitman Camp Meeting, Sermons, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

Rev. Jeff Crispin brought the message to the Camp Meeting service on 8/18/19, and his family helped bring the music.  But God’s gift of grace through His Son over-arched and under-girded all of the preaching and musical talents this human family.  The music and the sermon took us to a story of Jesus’ beauty: an amazing story of how God removed the barrier of sin and how He longs to be in fellowship with all of us.  As the ukulele trio sang, “My Worth is not in what I own,”  our purpose for life is not in what we do, but in the God who created us.



Jeff’s wife, Carol, led the hymn sing with her keyboard.  We always open with “In the Garden” (written by C. Austin Miles, a Pitman resident), and then we sing favorites requested by the congregation.

After the hymsing, a ukulele trio from Jeff’s church  (Joy Community Fellowship) drew us into the message with their music and tight harmonies.  They introduced the sermon with the song, “My Worth is Not in What I Own.”

I will not boast in wealth or might, Or human wisdom’s fleeting light.

But I will boast in knowing Christ at the cross.

My worth is not in skill or name, In win or lose, in pride or shame.  But in the blood of Christ that flowed.

I rejoice in my Redeemer.  Greatest Treasure, Wellspring of my soul. I will trust in Him, no other. My soul is satisfied in Him alone.





Rev. Jeff Crispin brims over with enthusiasm for the Word and a love for Jesus.  He can’t be “penned in” behind the railing that lines the auditorium’s chancel, nor can he be trapped by a microphone.  Jeff lives, breathes, and moves by the Word of God.  And so he choose to speak from “ground level”, in the center aisle of the auditorium.

Jeff has served as a United Methodist pastor and he is now serving as one of the pastors in his church (Joy Community Fellowship).   He is also a physical therapist in town.  He is constantly meeting new people and nourishing trusting relationships with people in all walks of life.  And beyond that, he is a loving father and devoted husband.

But his most important relationship is with Jesus.  This divine Son of God who restores our sinful relationship with our righteous Creator.   Without Jesus in our lives, and without the Holy Spirit who gives us life and breath, we can do nothing.

And tonight, like the many times he has spoken, Jeff’s message was about that awesome beautiful Savior and His amazing grace.  The scripture was from Luke 7:36-50.

Click the following Drop Down box to read the passage…

Luke 7:36-50

36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.

37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,

38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.”

41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”

44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.

45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.

46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.

47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”




An Amazing Story

This passage tells a real story with real people.  You can put yourself into it.  The Pharisees were the super religious “church people” of the day.  They saw Jesus as this radical who was upsetting all norms and threatening to take away their influence.  And so they wanted to trap Jesus.  They invite Him to this party, and in wanders this “sinful women” (probably an adulteress).  Everyone in town knows that the woman who wandered into the courtyard of this house was someone who should not be invited.

But Jesus sees something else.  He turns this story of sin and envy into one of amazing forgiveness.  Jesus knows who this woman is.  He knows who the Pharisees are too. 

And so instead of rebuking her, Jesus lets this “sinner” wash His feet.  He receives her worship and then He forgives her with a forgiveness that would cost Him His life.  The irony in the story is that this “sinner’ is the only one in the house (other than Jesus Himself) who is right with God.

This story isn’t only a story of a prostitute or adulteress (or whatever her sin was).  It’s THE story of human existence.  It’s our story; the story of every human being who has ever lived.  Just like the “Beauty and the Beast,” THE story is all about redemption and grace. 

All of us fall short of where God wants us to be.  None of us deserves a full relationship with our Creator.  Just as this woman didn’t deserve to be in the presence of Jesus and the religious leaders at this dinner, our deeds haven’t earned us a seat at God’s table.  And yet, Jesus lets us come to Him.  All we have to do is to have faith and wander in.  He hears our cries of repentance.  He accepts our worship.  And then He forgives us and removes the sin which disqualifies us from being with Him.

It’s an amazing story.  It’s our story, and it happens every day.


A Beautiful Savior

Jesus isn’t simply a “great teacher” or a person to admire.  The Son of God has an eternal greatness and power which make Him completely unique among all the people who have ever set foot on this earth.  Jesus is beautiful.

Beauty in Power.    Earlier in this chapter (Luke 7:1-10) Jesus heals a Roman Centurion’s servant.  Jesus didn’t even see or touch this servant.  From a distance, the Centurion made his request and from a distance Jesus healed the servant.  In Jesus’ beautiful power, He doesn’t even have to have a physical presence.  Along the way, He comes upon a funeral procession (Luke 7:11-17).  Instead of joining the mourners, he ends the funeral; by raising the corpse! 

This chapter shows Jesus’ power over the human body: over disease and even over death.  But all of humanity’s problems, including disease and death,  boil down to one key problem:  Sin.  There’s no medicine, no government, no religion that can solve this problem.  And there’s nothing that can solve all of our other problems until the problem of Sin is solved.

And Jesus is the only One who has the power to remove the problem of Sin from us.  We see this in the final three verses of this passage: 

Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.

And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.

Jesus uses His beautiful power to forgive this sin-sick woman and to restore her life.  And that same beautiful power is available to all of us.

Beauty in Grace.  Grace is defined as an unmerited favor.  God’s grace is unlimited.  No matter how messed up we are, God’s grace has the power to restore us to a full relationship with God.  And we don’t have to do anything other than to believe.  The woman in this story did nothing to earn Jesus’ favor or forgiveness.  She simply expressed her love.  Those who are forgiven much love much. 

The message for us is that Jesus came to forgive sins.  He came to solve our number 1 problem: Sin.  When we recognize how deeply we’ve been forgiven, we will turn to God in love.  John Newton (who wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”) was a big bad ugly slave trader.  But he experienced the beauty of God’s grace; God’s Amazing Grace.  Towards the end of his life, Newton summed up his life by saying “I’m a great sinner, but Jesus is a great savior.”


A Joyful Purpose

And so what’s it all mean?  What’s the point of receiving forgiveness?  What does grace do in our lives?  Why are we here???  Jesus took all of the laws and summed them up into one concise purpose for living.  Our reason for living is summed up in Luke 10:27:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”


We are here to believe God’s message: Jesus came to forgive my sins so that I can be free to love much.  To love God.  To love others.  And even to love myself.  Faith allows us to take Jesus at His word.  It allows us to submit to His will instead of our own ideas of what will make us happy.  And when we do that, when we’re forgiven much, we’ll discover that our number 1 problem is removed and that we’re free to give and receive love.

Joy comes from living out the purpose that God created us for.  God will pour so much stinkin’ joy into our lives if we would just seek God and love Him. 

We sing the song “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love…”  People notice when God’s peace and love are in us.  They don’t notice religion like the Pharisees had.  What grabs the world’s attention is when someone demonstrates the love that comes when they’re forgiven.  Like the woman in this story.  Those who are forgiven much, love much. 

This amazing story-  this beautiful story-  defines our purpose in life and gives us the path to true joy.  Our purpose is to live out our version of that amazing story; to walk in God’s grace, to “love much” and to experience the joyful beauty of a restored relationship with God.


After the sermon, the ukulele trio wrapped up the message with their final song, “Yet Not I, But Through Christ in Me“…

To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus, for my life is wholly bound to His.

Oh, how strange and divine, I can sing: All is mine!  Yet not I, but through Christ in me.


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