Summary: A brief message on accepting all who need Jesus
Attracting the Opposites Luke 15:1-2
I think it’s amazing when we look at the people who followed after Jesus.
• I’m not talking about the disciples that He called to follow Him ~ I’m talking about the other people that we see around Him most often.
• It seems that opposites really do attract ~ unfortunately, for the wrong reasons.
• Luke 15:1-2 are great examples of this (read)
Here we have two groups of people: tax collectors & sinners, and Scribes & Pharisees.
• One group that were attracted to Him because they liked to hear His word; and other who hated Him because of His Word, and yet, neither could not forsake Him.
• The Pharisees and scribes were as constant in their attendance as the tax collectors and sinners who gathered together to hear Him.
I). Why did the tax collectors and sinners draw near to Christ?
A). First of all because He did not look down on them the way the Pharisees and scribes did.
• Jesus was willing to let them come near to Him.
B). Second, the tax collectors and sinners came near to Christ because they heard from Him words which they heard from no one else.
• They heard Him and marveled; for He spoke as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
C). This happened to the extent that the Scribes & Pharisees could hardly stand it: (v.2)
• It was bad enough that Jesus put up with them ~ it was ten times worse to sit down and eat with them.
• You can almost hear them saying, “That miserable tax collector. He’s a traitor to his own people and a thief. I’ll dare Jesus allow them to sit at the same table with Him.”
• “And that poor woman—surely Jesus were a real prophet he would know what kind of woman it is that is touching him.”
II). Why did the Scribes and the Pharisees hang around Jesus?
A). They thought themselves the best people of the day.
• They seemed like a very religious people ~ and they were:
• They were very observant of all religious order ritual & tradition.
• Very careful in keeping the observance of the prescribed feasts;
• Very exact in tithing all their property, and saying their prayers.
B). They couldn’t stand the fact that Jesus would allow these poor, uneducated, ignorant people to come so close to him.
• What is their problem???
III). One big problem they had was is that of spiritual pride.
A). Any pride is a danger, but spiritual pride is perhaps the most dangerous.
• The Scribes & Pharisees were a lot like too many people in our churches today:
• They will go into worship and keep all the traditions & rituals & duties; they will pay all of their tithes & make all of their sacrifices!
• But outside the Church ~ in the real world ~ they live, act, think and talk like the world!
B). Spiritual pride leads to exclusiveness!
• Like the Scribes and Pharisees, we think of ourselves better that “those people” (even others in the church).
• We dress better, look better, pray better, give better, think better and just simply ARE better than they are!
• And try as they might, they will never live up to our standards and therefore will never be as good as us!
C). Sadly those who suffer from spiritual pride are rarely aware of their condition.
• They recognize that they have a form of godliness and see that as being sufficient.
• As a result they are bored with worship (especially the sermon) although they will be there on Sunday morning because it is expected of them and they want to be sure that everyone else sees them fulfilling their “obligation”;
• They find no reason to attend Sunday school, evening worship or Bible Studies;
• They are hyper-critical (especially within the church itself).
• They desire to serve on boards & committees, but find no idea or suggestion other than their own of any value.
D). If there is one great practical lesson that needs to be learned by these Scribes & Pharisees, it can be summed up in these words of Jesus, "The last shall be first and the first last."
• This is the doctrine in the organization of the kingdom of heaven.
• The outcast is no longer an outcast.
• The despised and rejected of men has become the very pattern of spiritual life.
• Christ broke down the walls that separated all of us from God ~ not just a favored few.
And so as a result the Church is called to be family, the communion of saints.
• If we learn to recognize that this family bound by anything other than the Word of ~ and the love of God, we will have become the Church that God has called us to be.