Summary: Christ receives even thieves and robbers when they receive Him as Master over life.

“After this [Jesus] went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.’” [1]

How perfectly do you obey the righteous dictates of the Lord God? I know you wouldn’t rob a bank, but do you steal from your employer? Have you ever made a personal call on your employer’s dime? Do you ever take an unused bar of soap, or a shampoo sample from the hotel in which you spent the night? I don’t imagine you would murder someone, but in light of Jesus’ warning delivered in His Sermon on the Mount, have you ever expressed your hatred of a brother Christian? You do recall Jesus’ warning, don’t you? “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” The tragedy of this situation is that we went to the House of God, sat before the Lord, sang the hymns of Zion, and endeavoured to worship, all the while harbouring anger toward our fellow Christian. Jesus addressed what should have been done, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny” [MATTHEW 5:21-26]. Well, you get the picture. Unrighteous anger equates to murder if we take the Word of the Master seriously.

How are you doing in the realm of adultery? I trust you have never violated your marriage vows, but have you ever entertained the thought of what it would be to be married to another sister in Christ? Or have you weighed what life would be if only another brother in the Lord was your husband? You do remember Jesus’ words on that subject, don’t you? The Master said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” [MATTHEW 5:27-30]. The statement poses some serious consequences if we take the Master’s Word seriously.

Wow! What about that tearing out your eye business! If every man who lingered over pornographic videos that just “pop up” while he is surfing were to gouge out his eye, there’d be more than a few blind men around. At first we are startled because of what suddenly appears on our monitor. Then, before we know it, we are searching for more such images with which to fill our mind. At first we are revulsed and horrified; but the wickedness of our heart compels us to explore just a little farther. We never pause to think that we are watching the degradation of someone’s daughter, that we are watching the debasement of a girl who in her innocence was enmeshed by the web of terror that now holds her. No wonder the Master tells us that we might wish to tear out our eye since it became the gateway leading to the wickedness in which we are now wallowing.

And what about that business of cutting off your right hand! If every individual that has allowed her or his hand to linger a bit longer than is wise where it shouldn’t be, the field of bioengineering would be totally focused on designing artificial hands. If every temptation to seize what is not ours to hold, there would be a great demand to perfect surgeries to replace the hand of those who suffered the dreadful amputation.

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