Summary: Jesus came to call sinners to himself. Do I fit that description? Am I a sinner?

Don’t Call me a Sinner!

Matthew 9:9-13

“I don’t think I am a sinner. Sinners are bad people. Hitler comes to mind. He was bad and evil and when he died I think he went straight to hell. Straight to hell! He deserved hell. There are lots of people I hear about in the news that are sinners. They are real bad. There are the rapists and the child predators and the murderers. They deserve all the judgement that God is going to give and they won’t be in Heaven. I am not like these bad people. I try to be good and I try to live by the Golden Rule. There are thousands of people just like me. I am sure that God is not worried about us and will be happy to let us into Heaven.

What did you say? Haven’t I once in a while done something bad? Well, little things. I mean, compared to Hitler I am sure God didn’t even take notice. What did I do? Now that is getting just a little bit personal. I am sure you and I have done about the same kinds of things. Maybe we cheated in school and maybe we grabbed a candy bar from the store when we were kids. And probably we both did some things on a date we maybe shouldn’t have done. But those aren’t bad things. Those are things that we all do. God isn’t holding that against us. What kind of God would bother with the normal stuff we all do as we grow up? OK. I stand corrected. I didn’t stop doing some of those little things when I became an adult. But I haven’t hurt anybody.

Let me get this straight. You want me to list all my normal bad things on a piece of paper? I am not sure I want to list everything I might have done that were a little bit bad. No. I am not saying I am feeling guilty about them. I just don’t want to let them be on a piece of paper. What if my wife sees the list? Or my kids? What would they think?”

And so the argument begins to fall apart the more this person talks. It isn’t that this person hasn’t done bad things. That isn’t the issue. Rather, this person doesn’t want to think his bad deeds will be held against him or her. As he looks around at other people he can always find evil people. He is not like that. Therefore he isn’t so bad. And not being so bad means that God is OK with him. And when he gets to Heaven he will be allowed in.

But I don’t think God thinks much of this argument. For one thing God is not bad. He is not evil. I would even go so far as to say that God is Holy. He is perfect. He has never done evil and never done bad. He has no evil motives. He never tries to do something that is less than noble and pure. He lives in Heaven and this Heaven is perfect. It is everything this earth is not. That is why it is Heaven. It is a wonderful place of beauty and orderliness. It is ruled by perfection. There is nothing sneaky going on in the corners of Heaven. People aren’t fighting and hurting each other in Heaven.

Can the person mentioned above be allowed to enter Heaven? I don’t think so. On his list are some bad things. Not big bad things but nonetheless they show up if you suddenly step into Heaven where there is no bad – not even a little bad. If God were to allow this person who has a little bit of bad in then a smudge appears. Now add a few more people with slight smudges and the color of Heaven begins to lose its shine. It is a conundrum that cannot be allowed in Heaven.

God says that the bad – little, big, small, enormous – is sin. Hitler sinned. The rapist sinned. The student who cheated on the exam sinned. It may appear that these shouldn’t be judged by the same standard. The student is not Hitler. And God probably doesn’t look at the sinning student in the same way as he looks at Hitler. But the problem is that no sinner can enter Heaven because the contimanation would break the system of Heaven down. Do you want to go to Heaven and find out it is not perfect? Do you want to live in eternity in another system that is like earth with all it problems?

Would it surprise you to know that you are a sinner and that by accepting this means you are closer to getting into Heaven than you thought possible? Jesus said he came to save sinners. You need to admit you are a sinner in order to be saved. And part of being saved is being saved from living in eternity in hell because you couldn’t get into Heaven because of your sin.

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Paul Humphrey

commented on Mar 19, 2007

Good sermon!

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