Last week... We saw the Deep and Passionate Love...That Our Jesus has for each and every one of us! How He Loves us through anything we do or say...
How He not only Cares about us...But is Powerfully Affected…By our pains, joys, failures and sins... In an Intimate and Genuine Way!
How that Great Love caused Him to give up all He Counted Valuable...To become a Servant and Savior for US... His True Love!
Let me ask you something... Seriously...When we realize He has this kind of Love and Devotion to us...Does it not compel you to want to love Him back…With the same passion?
When you try to show your love to someone...To whom you hold dearer than life...
Where do you start?
Usually... By learning what the deepest needs and desires…Of their heart may be... Gifts they like...things they like to do...places they like to go…And giving yourself to fulfilling those desires! Right?
We are living in a world that could care less...About anything Jesus Desires today...A world HE CREATED... Think about that. The majority despise anything…He even Loves or Represents anymore...Those who do care... Are still so far from the life...To which He has TRULY CALLED US LIVE... With HIM!
Shouldn't WE... Of ALL people... This dwindling group of Disciples…Who still proclaim His Name...Give our FULL ATTENTION…To what Our King's Desires may be?...And work to meet those Desires like no one else?...IF WE DO NOT... THEN WHO?
LISTEN CLOSELY! It is not someone else's job…To live radical and separated for Christ...If you have chosen to follow Him... IT IS YOUR LIFE CALLING!
Especially considering...That our time to live for Him on this earth... Is down to the last hours... Maybe minutes!...And we'll never have this opportunity again!
This Lesson is simple... And this lesson is by no means what I had in store for us...On this Picnic Morning! But I absolutely believe it is what He Wants us to Hear...On the celebration of our Anniversary as His Church...So let's just jump right into our Text…And let Him Lead from there!
Love For Sinners!
Jesus is in the Town of Capernaum... And He calls Matthew...One of the most socially hated and selfish people amongst the Hebrews! Imagine someone swindling you for money…And sending it to Hamas or Russia! I'm sure the other disciples were not exactly thrilled about this new addition! But in his calling… Matthew immediately leaves behind:
Matthew 9:9 (HCSB)
9 As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So he got up and followed Him.
In the parallel account of Luke 5:27...We discover that Matthew was so overwhelmed with Jesus...That he hosted a great banquet for Him at his own house! And in his desire to share this Wonderful Man he had just met...Matthew makes a "Banquet List"…Of his former friends and associates...Filling the banquet…With all of the "Non-Christian Type" folks...A crowd honestly... To make any of us uncomfortable and out of place!
Picture a pastor caught at dinner with radical "wokes"…Christian haters…And street walkers…
Matthew 9:10 (HCSB)
10 While He (Jesus) was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples.
Understand that Jesus did not…Go out partying to meet sinners! He did not join Matthew's friends swindling taxes to relate! He did not sit in the local brothel to socialize and meet sinners! But He was quick to join them in the most intimate of open, social interactions of the day... Sharing a meal! He was quick to show genuine interest in their lives... Just as they were… Right there! He was quick to show acceptance and love... Even in their sinful, selfish state...IN such a real way...That it attracted them... In their needs and pains...Like no other
"religious" person... Or any person... Ever had before!
Jesus was quickly criticized by those…Who worked hard...To separate themselves from such openly sinful people... Who were living against God...
Matthew 9:11-12 (HCSB)
11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when He heard this, He said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do.”
Jesus' Answer was direct... And completely eye-opening...As it pointed to the SOLE REASON HE HAD COME! We are ALL sick with sin... ALL broken and misguided! How could Jesus reach those in most need of…THE SACRIFICE HE CAME TO GIVE...UNLESS He reached FOR them...WHILE… THEY WERE STILL…LOST, BLIND, ANGRY, LUSTFUL, AND SELFISH? How could He make them see His Heart... See True Love...When all they'd known was the world around them? UNLESS HE CARED ENOUGH…TO MAKE THEM HIS WORLD IN THAT MOMENT? UNLESS HE CARED ENOUGH TO... PUT THEM ABOVE HIMSELF FOR THAT MOMENT?
How could that be done…If Jesus only paid attention to those…Who were ALREADY walking in the Light?!
ILLUSTRATION: Send a doctor overseas as a Missionary...And he gets there but refuses to treat patients...Stays at Hotel! His reasoning is... "They are sick and I don't want to be around them!" What if the doctor assigned to Little Avery had said…“I can’t stand to be around sick children… Sorry!”
Jesus drives this point home…With a quote from the Prophet Hosea...Which was originally given to…A sinful, fake society of Hosea's day!
Matthew 9:13 (HCSB)
13 Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus’ Reply was almost a cut back at them! “Why does THEIR Teacher eat with sinners?..” “Why doesn’t YOUR teacher give you Truth?” Here is the Passage from Hosea in entirety:
Hosea 6:6 (ESV)
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
"LOVING MERCY... AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD!" DID YOU GET THAT?!
GOD IS NOT LOOKING FOR OUR WONDERFUL SELF-IMPROVEMENT... TO IMPRESS HIM...WHEN WE COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THOSE STANDING AROUND US! WHEN WE COULD CARE LESS ABOUT SEEKING HIS REAL PRESENCE...IN OUR LIFE ABOVE ALL!!
Jesus was saying that... HIS DESIRE...Was NOT simply for them to be righteous and holy before others!!! BUT TO HAVE REAL LOVE AND MERCY FOR SINNERS! AS HE DID!...AND TO WANT HIM...MORE THAN PLEASING OTHERS ON EARTH...MORE THAN POPULARITY, WEALTH, SUCCESS, PLEASURE...TO REALLY BE HUNGRY TO FIND HIM!
In our day... RIGHT NOW...Do you think pro-abortionists, transsexuals, socialists, drug addicts...Or anyone else you might be at odds with morally...
Are one IOTA different to us...Than these people were to the Pharisees? Or even to the disciples?
So... To be like Christ... To continue the Work which is HIS DESIRE TODAY...
What should be our goal?...To distance ourselves from them completely...
As we resist their beliefs? NO....To consider them "enemies" in our minds...
“Who are simply deserving of the Judgment they get?” NO...To work so hard to squelch their sinful influence...That we lose any care or concern for them as individuals?...NO.
WHAT IF JESUS HAD DONE THAT WITH US? GET THIS… His Blood was Shed for THEM! His Desire is for THEIR hearts as well as ours!...And the only way ONE SINGLE PERSON MORE...WILL EVER BE REACHED...IS IF THEY SEE GENUINE COMPASSION... JUST AS JESUS SHOWED!
WE MUST...CHANGE OUR VIEW AND ATTITUDE ABOUT PEOPLE...NOT SIN!
Do you really understand…Just how much WE are like the audience…To which Jesus was Speaking?
We are BENT on judging and shunning...Those who are sinners against God today! We are bent on striving to look and act right…In our culture... To our church friends…And yet... Very few are radically chasing after HIM! WE HAVE MISSED HIS DESIRE COMPLETELY!!
Who is worse? Those who don’t know Him…Or those who DO… Yet are uncaring about the uninformed and lost around them?!
THE QUESTION IS...ARE WE CONCERNED ENOUGH... DO WE LOVE HIM ENOUGH...TO BE DIFFERENT… REALLY DIFFERENT? TO FULFILL HIS DESIRES FROM HERE ON? OR... WILL WE BE LIKE THEM?...AND SIMPLY WALK AWAY UNCHANGED?!
Something Totally New!
Immediately following this Answer from Jesus...Another question was given...
About the methods and practices...To which He and His disciples followed as "holy men"...Because they were not in adherence to the "TRADITIONS"...Of other Religious leaders and their followers!
Matthew 9:14 (HCSB)
14 Then John’s disciples came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?”
First of all...This was NOT a Commandment from Scriptures...Only ONE Fast was Commanded by God...And that was during the Feast of Atonement! The ceremonial fasting twice a week practiced by the Pharisees...And the many additional fastings done by them and others...Were great... But, were NOT a requirement!!...And they were OFTEN done with nothing but show and pride...
Having no real heart for God or people!
Jesus Gives a Powerful and Awakening Response! Which is often one of the lesser understood saying of Christ! This is unfortunate... Because of the weight of the Answer! Jesus Addresses the question directly!
Matthew 9:15 (HCSB)
15 Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests be sad while the groom is with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
Jesus uses the opportunity to Proclaim His Deity! Asking, "Why should they fast when the Messiah is WITH them?" "When what they long for is WITH THEM?!"...Then He stressed the point... That they would fast later...When the fast WAS REAL...And they had good reason! But then... Jesus follows that Declaration with Two Parables...To bring His answer to bear...On the REAL PROBLEM within their question!
Matthew 9:16-17 (HCSB)
16 No one patches an old garment with unshrunk cloth, because the patch pulls away from the garment and makes the tear worse. 17 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Jesus Gave two examples:
A new and unshrunk patch...Used to repair an OLD garment...Would tear away the old fabric as it shrunk...Ruining the patch and the garment! When new wine was placed into new wineskins...The fermenting wine would expand...And the pliable new wineskin expanded with it! But if an already stretched... And brittle skin...
Were used for new wine...The wine would expand and burst out...Ruining both the wine and the skin!
Here is what Jesus was clearly saying to them:You follow a warped legalized FORM of Judaism…Of outward liturgy and traditions of men...
I did not come to add to... Or fix... What you are doing...Your old ways cannot be made to contain what I Am Teaching! In other words...Your empty acts of goodness... Mixed with judgment of others...Are beyond fixing... Because your OLD sinful hearts cannot stretch to contain what needs to be poured into them! Your fake garments of righteousness will tear away...Under the light of what I am doing!
I have come to change everything...And start completely NEW...With Love and Sacrifice as the Motive...Not more fake holiness and good behavior!!!
My New Ways can only be contained in a new vessel! A NEW HEART!
JESUS DOESN'T DESIRE THAT WE CHANGE OUR WAYS…A LITTLE BIT...
THAT WE PUT PATCHES ON ALL OF OUR HOLES! JESUS DESIRES THAT WE BE MADE NEW! THAT WE CHANGE EVERYTHING... RADICALLY...
THAT WE BE REBORN! In love, thought, motive and passion!! WHEN WILL WE GET THIS?!
John 3:3 (HCSB)
3 Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Get what Jesus is Saying once and for all here...Forget everything for a moment...Jesus Clearly Reveals here... HIS ABSOLUTE, SPELLED OUT... DEEPEST DESIRES! AND IT IS NOT…IN BEING MORE RIGHTEOUS THAN THE WORLD! IT IS NOT IN HOW WELL YOU CAN…SEPARATE/INSULATE YOURSELF FROM SINFUL PEOPLE! IT'S NOT EVEN IN HOW MUCH YOU GIVE OR SERVE!
IT IS IN...
ONE: Having true concern and active love...
For the least deserving in our lives...
Even those considered our enemies!
Meaning to actively, passionately be about His Work...
- Of seeking out, relating to, and telling others of His Love...
- Of meeting them in their needs!
TWO: Seeking Knowledge of HIM INTIMATELY!
Let Him become the thing we TRULY focus on in pursuit!
Let Him be the reason we fast, strive, study, act!
Let Him be the key to every life decision...
(Career, family, time, level of living, relationships)
KNOWING HIM more deeply…Will ONLY COME… AS WE TRULY TAKE ON HIS HEART AND MISSION!
THIS IS EVERYTHING…JESUS BOILS IT DOWN TO IN OUR LIVES!!
Just answer the question right this minute..."Is this what your desire in life is centered upon?" Are you new, different… Born Again?! “Or just patched up?!
We need to make a changing point...Or we will walk away today...JUST LIKE THE PHARISEES!
Let this be OUR Turning Point...TO START LIVING CONSCIOUSLY…FOR CHRIST IN LOVING & SERVING!
THE BANQUET LIST: List of people to pray over... START with enemies! “HIT LIST GOD’S WAY!” Ask God who to invite to church...Ask God to show you their pains, angers, lostness…Ask God to show those with great needs or questioning hearts...Be genuinely interested in unsaved people...Always be humble and serving towards others in contact...ASK FOR MORE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD... IN SHARING HIS PASSION!
Offer yourself radically…
Ask Him to use you to bring others to the Table… To share this Cup…
THAT… IS HIS DESIRE!
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