Sermons

Summary: THE MOST IMPORTANT CALL THAT YOU MAY RECEIVE IN THIS WORLD IS THE CALL OF GOD ON YOUR LIVES. THIS IS A CALL THAT WILL HAVE ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES TO YOU AND THOSE AROUND YOU, DEPENDING ON HOW YOU ANSWER IT.

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CALLING ALL MATTHEWS

LUKE 5:27-32

WHILE PREPARING FOR TODAY I READ AN AMUSING STORY THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU.

THREE GUYS WERE HIKING IN THE WOODS WHEN THEY CAME TO A RAGING RIVER. NOT SURE WHAT TO DO THE FIRST GUY LOOKED TO THE HEAVENS AND SAID “GOD, PLEASE MAKE ME STRONG ENOUGH TO GET ACROSS THIS RIVER.” POOF! HE HAD BIG ARMS AND LEGS AND HE JUMPED IN AND BEGAN SWIMMING. TWO HOURS LATER AFTER A FIERCE STRUGGLE, HE MADE IT TO THE OTHER SHORE.

THE SECOND GUY SEEING THAT, LOOKED TO THE HEAVENS AND SAID “DEAR GOD, GIVE ME ENOUGH TOOLS TO CROSS THIS RIVER.” POOF! HE WAS GIVEN A ROWBOAT. AN HOUR LATER, AFTER NEARLY CAPSIZING HE MADE IT TO THE OTHER SHORE.

THE THIRD GUY SEEING ALL THIS LOOKED TO THE HEAVENS AND SAID, “DEAR GOD, PLEASE MAKE ME SMART ENOUGH TO CROSS THIS RIVER.” POOF! GOD MADE HIM A WOMAN…AND THEN HE LOOKED AT THE MAP, WALKED FIVE MINUTES UPSTREAM AND CROSSED THE BRIDGE.

WE LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE WE ARE CALLED BY MANY THINGS. TELEPHONE CALLS BECKON US, DOORBELLS SOLICIT US. THE ALARM CLOCK TELLS US THAT IT IS TIME TO BEGIN A NEW DAY, EVEN IF IT RINGS AT NOON. THERE ARE CALLS BY THE BOSS AT WORK, FROM TEACHERS AT SCHOOL, FROM FRIENDS AND RELATIVES. THERE ARE SOME CALLS THAT PEOPLE FEEL THEY CAN’T REFUSE, THE CALL TO GO FISHING, OR TO THE BEACH, OR THE CALL OF AN ICE CREAM ON A HOT DAY. ONE THING IS FOR CERTAIN, WE ARE CALLED BY MANY THINGS IN MANY WAYS.

MAY I ASK YOU ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT CALL THAT YOU MAY RECEIVE IN THIS WORLD. THAT CALL IS THE CALL OF GOD ON YOUR LIVES. THIS IS A CALL THAT WILL HAVE ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES TO YOU AND THOSE AROUND YOU, DEPENDING ON HOW YOU ANSWER IT.

OUR CHURCH HAS REGISTERED WITH THE BILLY GRAHAM ASSOCIATION FOR THE “MY HOPE” CAMPAIGN WHICH WILL CULMINATE IN NOVEMBER WITH A TELEVISED ADDRESS BY BILLY GRAHAM. THIS IS THE WAY HE HAS CHOSEN TO CELEBRATE HIS 95TH BIRTHDAY. THIS IS A DIFFERENT TYPE OF CRUSADE MEETING IN THAT IT WILL BE HELD IN THE LIVING ROOMS OF PEOPLE ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA.

THEY ARE CHALLENGING US WITH A CALL TODAY, AND THAT CALL IS TO BE LIKE THE APOSTLE MATTHEW. TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT THE APOSTLE MATTHEW’S CALL, AND SEE HOW IT APPLIES TO OUR LIVES, PARTICULARLY AS WE CONSIDER THE “MY HOPE” CAMPAIGN THIS FALL.

BACKGROUND:

FIRST OF ALL, LETS CONSIDER SOME OF THE BACKGROUND TO MATTHEW’S CALL. WE KNOW THAT MATTHEW’S CALL TOOK PLACE DURING THE FIRST YEAR OF JESUS’ PUBLIC MINISTRY, SHORTLY AFTER THE CALLING OF PETER, JAMES AND JOHN.

WE KNOW THAT MATTHEW’S NAME WAS LEVI, AND THAT HE WAS A TAX COLLECTOR, FOR WHICH HE WAS HATED BY MANY IF NOT ALL THE PEOPLE.

THE ROMANS COLLECTED THEIR TAXES THROUGH A SYSTEM CALLED “TAX FARMING.” THEY ASSESSED A DISTRICT A FIXED TAX FIGURE AND THEN SOLD THE RIGHT TO COLLECT THE TAXES TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER. THE BUYER WOULD THEN HAVE TO TURN OVER THE ASSESSED AMOUNT AT THE END OF THE YEAR BUT ANYTHING COLLECTED OVER AND ABOVE THAT WAS HIS TO KEEP.

THE TAX COLLECTOR COULD INSPECT THE GOODS OF TRAVELLERS AND LEVY A TAX ON THE MERCHANDISE. A TAX OFFICE OR BOOTH WOULD BE SET UP NEAR THE EDGE OF TOWN USUALLY ON MAIN ROADS. ROME COLLECTED THREE PRINCIPAL KINDS OF TAXES: A LAND TAX, A HEAD TAX, AND A CUSTOMS TAX OF 2-5 PERCENT OF THE GOODS BEING TRANSPORTED.


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