MATTHEW 9:9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
INTRO: Two sermons: Follow Me -or- Love the Sinner.
Shouldn’t only God hate sin?
-Sin is serious
The devil is not a toothless lion that pesters us. He is a demonic king. He will destroy your life, ruin your testimony, and kill your soul if he can. Apart from Christ you cannot win.
“Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9)
Jesus said that he hated the sinful deeds of the Nicolaitans. AND “if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
Psalm 119:163 adds, “I hate and abhor all lying, but I love your law.”
“When we become so tolerant that we lead people into mental fog and spiritual darkness, we are not acting like Christians—we are acting like cowards” (A.W. Tozer).
Granted, although dealing with sin is critical because of its destructive nature, we also need to encourage, love, support, and seek to understand. When we forget about grace, we can become self-righteous, rigid, and unloving.
The ability to relate to people on their level, show genuine concern, and love them regardless of their lifestyle is the mark of true Christianity—compassion without compromise.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO YOU: “Men read and admire the Gospel of Christ, With its love so unfailing and true. But what do they say and what do they think, Of the Gospel according to you? You are writing each day a letter to men – Take care that the writing is true; The only Gospel that some will read, is the Gospel according to you.” Truth -n- Love
THIS IS WHY A HUMBLE, GRACIOUS HEART IS SO IMPORTANT. Truth that is not underscored with love becomes obnoxious.
1. Jesus still says, “Follow Me”
Any objection to America’s lukewarm Christianity is met with the triumphant reply, ‘But we are winning them!’ Winning them to what? “To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world’s treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course the answer to all these questions is No.” Tozer.
Keys To Following Him: Balance Love the Sinner / Hate the Sin
Focused on others – living like Christ
Deny the flesh (fast)
The beauty of holiness
Love not the world
Discipline is essential: “I discipline myself…”
True love for God – Who He is not what He gives
In short, Full Surrender: marriage, military, work, etc.
2. “Why does your Teacher eat with sinners?”
“There is no suggestion in Scripture that Jesus purposely assumed the look and lifestyle of a publican in order to gain acceptance…” (John MacArthur)
TAKEAWAY: We are called to minister to others in all areas of life. We cannot totally separate from them, or from the culture. What good is a light that is hidden? But if a relationship is pulling you in the wrong direction, it’s time to re-think the relationship. Unhealthy relationships corrupt godly character and draw us further from God. The Bible encourages us to avoid destructive relationships for this very reason (cf. 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
What direction are they leading you? We should relate but not succumb.
Is the activity God-honoring? Jesus led the conversation and the activity.
If you’re “Everybodys friend,” you may need to work on truth. “Everyones critic” needs to work on love.
I’m often amazed at how many “defenders of truth” overlook the clear-cut Scriptures on “biting and devouring”
“If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Gal. 5:15
3. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”
Do you think you’re well or good?
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Humility recognizes that we are fallible human beings who have sinned against God. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death…”. Christ’s shed blood on the cross only makes sense in light of the consequences of sin. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15). ARE YOU SICK?
4. “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
HOSEA 6 – Cut Me to the Heart for God’s people
CLOSING: Worship…Perplexing: Many Don’t
Parallels traveling: I can’t wait to get home
If you don’t have that longing, ask God why?
The more you are filled the more you want to…
In this sin sick, perverted, God-rejecting culture I must worship!