Summary: A call to all Christians to exercise the privilege of winning souls for Christ.
27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him. 29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Throughout the years many sermons could have and probably have been preached on the lyrics in various hymns. When I read this scripture, one song came to my mind over and over. The song is called "Just As I Am".
Charlotte Elliott, who wrote this wonderful song, was born in Clapham, England, in 1789. As a young person she lived a carefree life, gaining popularity as a portrait artist and poet.
By the time she was thirty, however, her health began to decline rapidly, and she became a bedridden invalid until she died at the age of 82.
With her health failing, she became depressed and felt she needed help in coping with her situation. Then, in 1822 an evangelist visited her in her home in Brighton, England....
His visit proved to be a turning point in Charlotte’s life. In counseling her about her spiritual and emotional problems, he shared this truth with her, "You must come just as you are, a sinner, to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."
Each year throughout the remainder of her life, for more than 50 years, Miss Elliott celebrated the day on which that evangelist led her to a personal relationship with Christ... she said she considered it to be her spiritual birthday.
Although she didn’t write the words for this hymn until 1836, fourteen years after her conversion experience, it’s apparent that she never forgot the words of that evangelist, for they form the very essence of this hymn.
There is no way of knowing how many people have been touched by this song in the almost 200 years since it was written... Upon her death Miss Elliot’s family found more than a thousand letters among her papers from individuals around the world, expressing testimonials for what this one hymn had meant in their lives. With that one song Charlotte Elliot reached out to others with the message of hope in Jesus Christ.
That message is just as vital, as valid and as important today as it was almost 200 years ago. The message that Jesus himself proclaimed, that He wants us to come to Him just as we are....
In our scripture this morning Jesus Himself says that He had come to call sinners to repentance....
We sit here today in God’s house praising Him and singing songs of worship to Him and that’s wonderful, but we all too often forget that the mission of each and every Christian is to win souls for Christ!
How easy it is for us to think to ourselves that it’s someone else’s job to do that.
How easy it is for us to not want to bother ourselves with reaching out to someone in need....
Folks, take a look around you, outside this church... There are literally thousands of people in this county alone that don’t know Jesus and yet, we are content to live out our lives without ever so much as mentioning Jesus to someone else.
Not only did Jesus call us to come unto Him for our own sakes, we have been called to that highest of callings, winning souls for Our Lord!
There was a man who went to Ghana in Africa in the 1980s and he met a man there who hated Americans... This man was a native African and had embraced the communist notions that were being espoused by most of the leaders in that country at that time.
When this black man from Ghana met this white man from America he proceeded to light into him with a vengeance.... He ranted and raved about the injustices done by Americans in the world and blamed Ronald Reagan for everything from oil shortages to the drought which killed most of the cattle in that area.
The man from America said that it was all he could do to keep from jumping in to defend the United States, but, something in the back of his mind told him that he wasn’t there for that reason....
So, after the man from Ghana had finshed his rant and had sat down in his chair, he asked the American man, "Don’t you have anything to say?"