Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Even Tax Collectors Can Be Saved

Isaiah 65:1-16; Mark 2:13-17 / Isaiah 55:1-13

I. Follow Me

A. When people arrived, Jesus taught. And he went forth again by the sea side; and the entire multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. (Mark 2:13)

1. Jesus is the wisdom of God. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (1 Corinthians 1:30)

2. Heavenly wisdom continually calls out to the world; the problem is that people do not want heavenly wisdom. Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? (Proverbs 1:20-22)

3. Wisdom other than that from heaven is self-destructive. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1 Corinthians 1:19-20)

B. Jesus called a tax collector and the man followed Him; in that time and place such people were not expected to be interested in religion. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow
And he arose and followed him. (Mark 2:14)

C. The tax collector held a party to introduce Jesus to his fellow tax collectors and other socially undesirable people; new believers are likely to know other people who might be prospects for the gospel. And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. (Mark 2:15)

II. People Did Not Like the Implications

A. Why should Christians take an interest in undesirable people? And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? (Mark

B. There have always been people who thought religion was for people who appeared righteous rather than for people who needed to become righteous.Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. (Isaiah 65:5)

C. In another place Jesus told a parable presenting the situation from Gods perspective. What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them,doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:4-7)

III. The Gospel Is Designed for Undesirables

A. The undesirables were Jesus target audience. When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:17)

B. People who think they do not have problems do not look for answers. But when
Jesus heard
that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. (Matthew 9:12)

C. People who do not feel the need for Jesus have been anesthetized to their own need; people who cannot feel pain are in constant danger and people who claim pain doesnt hurt are insane. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15)

D. Once the problem is recognized, it can be resolved. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

E. God pardons. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7)

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