Summary: Adapted from Brother Newlands’ Love The Sinner Hate The Sin Sermon. Everyone of us are damaged goods in some way. Jesus will accept us and make us whole.
I passed out "As Is" Tags before worship and asked everyone to wear them through worship. Then after the sermon I asked everyone to take their tag out with them and give it to someone else this week and explain that Jesus will take you "As Is".
As you all know by now Trista and I like to buy deals. As a matter of fact there have been several things that I really wanted that I didn’t get because I couldn’t get a deal and several things I didn’t want that I bought because it was such a great deal.
In certain stores that I frequent there is a little section of merchandise that is usually a great deal. The prices are usually several dollars less that the exact same item would be in another part of the store. The tip off is a usual two-word phrase that you see on the tags, or on a sign hanging somewhere in the area: As is.
Sometimes they are called slightly irregular, sometimes they are called seconds but whatever you call then this is another way of saying, these are damaged goods. The store has given you fair warning: This is the department of something’s gone wrong. You are going to find a flaw, a stain that won’t come out, a hole, a zipper that wont zip a seam that’s not straight – there will be a problem. These items are not normal.
We are not going to tell you where that flaw is. You are going to have to look for that, but we know that it’s there. So when you find it, and you will find it, don’t come whining to us. Because there is a fundamental rule in this corner of the store: No returns, No Refunds, and No exchanges.
If you were looking for perfect you have walked down the wrong isle. You have received fair warning. If you truly want this item you must take it, As Is.
If you have ever dealt with another human being in your life you will notice that you have come to the “As Is” section of the universe. Think for a moment about someone in your life. Maybe the person that you know best and love the most. If you were honest you would have to admit that that person was slightly irregular. In dealing with perfection if you walked down the people isle you are in the wrong place.
Sometime ago a magazine article caught my eye. “Totally Normal Women Who Stalk Their Ex-Boyfriends” It was the normal part that struck me. What would a normal woman look like? What would a normal man look like? And if the obsessive stalking of an ex-love was not just normal but totally normal what would you have to do to be a little strange?
We all want to be normal, but the writers of the scripture insist that no one is normal, at least not as God describes normal. “All we like sheep have gone astray.”
I like what John Haddington said, "I have been comforted for more than 20 years by the thought that Jesus welcomes, not only sensible sinners, but stupid ones as well."
That is what I want us to see today. Jesus came into the world & saw sin as it really is - with all of its heartache & filthiness. He died because of the sin but He always had great love & compassion for those who sinned.
Now I don’t believe that Christ was a soft, weak, sentimentalist who never condemned sin. Time & time again Jesus stood before the sinner & said, "Go & sin no more!" But He was never so blinded by their sin that He did not see the good in them - qualities that were worth saving & redeeming.
In our text today we read the question is asked, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors & `sinners’?" When Jesus heard that, He said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Jesus was the great community builder. He understood what it was to see people with their “as is” tag and accept them anyway. And in His acceptance He made us what we want to be. So today I want you to see Jesus - His attitude toward sin, & then His attitude toward the sinners. And in order to do that, let’s look at three people & their encounter with Jesus.
I. The Woman At The Well - John 4:1-42
The first is a Samaritan woman found in John 4.
Jesus going against tradition went through Samaria. When noon came He sat down by the well near the Samaritan town of Sychar while the apostles went on into town to purchase food. As Jesus sat there, a woman came out of the city - a woman who was tired of being the butt of gossip, tired of being abused & the object of jokes by the respectable ladies of the town. Her “As Is” tag was big enough for everyone to see and she was surely the topic of discussion.