Brand New Life, Part 7 - From Scum to Saint @imagechurch Dumfries, VA
Often times we are so focused on our current situations that we do not see the value of what is in front of us. During His life, most people could not see the value and worth of Jesus, could not see what He could do for them.
We cannot see any value in Jesus until we are willing to admit that we already have gods that we worship before the one true God, Jesus.
Many of us who sin will categorize other sinners as worse than we are, but we must all remember that ANY sin still separates us from God. Jesus spoke out and called Matthew, who would later write this very Gospel, to follow him. Those that Jesus called were all simple, common, and dirty people.
Jesus did not just spend time with people, He invested time and energy into equiping them to do His mission.
Jesus clearly spells out that he is not here to call the righteous, but to come save the sinners. Those who are not sick have no need of a doctor. Tax collectors were seen as LOWER then even prostitutes, that culture despised tax collectors. Our biggest arrogance is when we think "I have sinned, but have never done THAT"
Matthew wrote the Gospel but only mentions his name twice, once when he listed the name of all the disciples, and the second was in this passage, to tell the story of when Jesus changed his life. That should be our natural instinct when coming to Jesus. The next thing that Matthew did after he met Jesus was to invite others to meet him. That which we are passionate about is what we share with others. What are you passionate about? Who do you hang out with?
Those that we spend most of our time with should be those that are on mission with Jesus. But we should also have time invested in those who do not know Jesus, because THAT was the mission of Jesus: reach, teach, equip, and send out.
Tax collectors were treated as badly as gentiles when it came to God. The temple would not allow him beyond the court of the gentiles.
cf Luke 18 We should not pray as though our sin is better than any other person. Humility is the desire of the heart of God. When we feel far off from God is the best time to reach out to God. His grace makes a way!
WE ARE ALL FAR OFF, APART FROM JESUS!
Tax collectors following Jesus turned their world upside down. The people who were the sinners among sinners, now were following the One True God, completely different than their previous life. This is a true picture of repentance.
Matthew uses MORE Old Testament scripture than ANY OTHER Gospel. When he met Jesus, he dove into the word. The same picture for us to follow. Matthew received a Brand New Life
What happens when we get a Brand New Life:
- We are humbled by Jesus and given confidence from Jesus
At the end of the day, after all our theological debates, we must all come to the same conclusion: Jesus loved us FIRST! When Jesus melts our heart of stone, He gives us His power: to love the unlovable. While we were still still, Christ loved us and chose to die on the cross for us.
When we come to know Jesus we should confidently serve Jesus. Don't wait for someone to ask you to serve.
- We are passionate about Jesus
Notice that when the Pharisees questioned the actions of Jesus, they did not ask Jesus, they went to His disciples. If others ask us why we do the things we do for the kingdom of God, let Jesus speak to them.
What we are passionate about is what we will talk about! Matthew threw this party at his own house, inviting everyone he knew to come to know Jesus. Jesus came to where these people were to speak to their hearts.
"Why are you hanging out with these people, don't you know that they are breaking OUR rules." If we cannot confront someone face-to-face, then we are cowards. No one likes confrontation, but we must all do it. The Pharisees were cowards, never coming directly to Him, yet Jesus was always talking to them.
"go and learn what this means" was a phrase that, in that day, would have been used to rebuke someone. He was telling those people who were supposed to "know God" to go and learn.
The ultimate desire, lived out, in Jesus ministry was to help people know God. They could not do so without the help of Jesus, and His death on the cross.
JESUS LOVES SINNERS! If Jesus loves us, then that means we are sinners.
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