Summary: If we are going to be disciples of Jesus then we must adopt His attitude toward sinners, and follow His example in reaching out to the lost.
A. I think that most of us know that God loves sinners and wants them to be saved.
1. The Apostle Paul wrote, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men...”(1 Tim. 1:3-6)
2. The Apostle Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
3. And John 3:16 tells us that it was God’s love that caused Him to give His Son to save us.
B. So we know that God loves sinners and wants them to be saved, and we know that God’s plan for reaching sinners involves employing each one of us.
1. But for most of us that is a daunting task. Am I right about that?
2. We feel ill equipped to attempt such a mission, and we fear that our attempts will be unwelcome by the lost we hope to reach.
3. I love the story of the man who prayed every morning, “Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign to show me who it is.”
a. One day he found himself on a bus when a big, burly man sat next to him.
b. The bus was nearly empty, but this guy sat next to our praying friend.
c. The timid Christian anxiously waited for his bus stop so that he could exit the bus.
d. Suddenly the big guy next to him burst into tears and cried out, “I need to be saved. I’m a lost sinner, won’t someone tell me how to be saved?”
e. The timid believer immediately bowed his head and prayed, “Lord, is this a sign?”
C. In our series Devoted To Jesus, we have been seeking a clearer understanding and appreciation for Jesus, so that our faith may be stronger, and that our discipleship might be more complete.
1. With our Annual Friend Day only one week away, it is the perfect time to think about the relationship between Jesus and sinners.
2. What were Jesus’ attitudes and actions toward sinners?
3. What was Jesus’ mission with regard to sinners?
4. I’m guessing that most of us know the answers to those questions.
5. But let’s be challenged again as we take another look at Jesus and try to learn from Him.
I. Jesus and Sinners
A. I want us to open up our Bibles and follow along with Jesus as we see Him reaching out to the lost.
B. Our first visit with Jesus takes us to Matthew 9 and to the home of Matthew, the tax collector turned disciple.
1. Jesus went up to Matthew’s tax collector’s booth and issued an invitation, “Follow me.”
2. Amazingly, Matthew got up and followed him. (Luke adds that Matthew left everything.)
3. Immediately, Matthew put on a feast for Jesus and invited his friends, fellow tax collectors and sinners.
4. The Pharisees, who were Jewish religious leaders, observed all this and asked Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mt. 9:11)
5. That was certainly something that the Pharisees would never do, they were too pure and holy to be involved in such an activity.
6. They had come to believe that the most important thing about religion was separating oneself from evil, including evil people.
7. The Bible says, “On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” (Mt. 9:12)
8. The Pharisees thought they were without spiritual need, and that these sinners were unworthy of God’s attention, but they were wrong on both counts.
9. The Bible tells us that there are none righteous (Psalm 14; 53; Rom. 3), therefore all are sick and need Dr. Jesus.
10. So Dr. Jesus makes a house call. He goes to a place where sick sinners will be and seeks to make a difference through His encounter with them.
11. How many of them became followers of Jesus that day or in the days that followed, we do not know, but Jesus did the right thing, he made himself available to them.
C. Our second visit with Jesus takes us to John 4 and a well in Samaria.
1. On this trip Jesus was truly breaking all the rules.
2. The most religious and faithful Jews traveled around Samaria rather than through it, so as not to become spiritually contaminated.