Faithlife Sermons

The Call of Levi/Matthew

The Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God calls the lowly and foolish things of this world to accomplish His purpose

We have seen up to this point that Mark’s primary concern has been to demonstrate Jesus’ messianic status and authority, to including his
authority in proclaiming the kingdom of God (1:14-15)
in calling disciples (1:16-20)
over demonic forces (1:23-28, 34)
in teaching (1:21-22)
over disease (1:29-34, 40-45; 2:11-12)
and in forgiving sins (2:1-12)
We also saw in the previous episode, the healing of the paralyzed man (2:1-12), Mark begins to narrate a series of five controversies between Jesus and the religious leaders - controversies that highlight authoritative pronouncements of Jesus.
Within in this passage we see the call of Levi, which continues this theme in the context of another key Markan motif:
the humble recipients of God’s salvation blessings.
Forgiveness of sins and healing come not to the self-righteous religious leaders, but to sinners and outcasts who respond with faith and repentance to Jesus’ kingdom announcement.
Here Mark epitomizes Jesus’ kingdom ministry as a joyful invitation to outcasts and sinners who recognize their need of spiritual healing.
It is not an identification with self-righteous people who claim to have earned a righteous status before God.
Mark 2:13–17 CSB
13 Jesus went out again beside the sea. The whole crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 Then, passing by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him. 15 While he was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him. 16 When the scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Central Theme of this passage is that God’s heart for people and his offer of salvation for all who respond in faith.
Jesus treats both sinners and “saints’ alike.
With the announcement of the Kingdom of God means that all must repent and enter in humble submission.
It is the despised that will usually recognize their sinful status and fall on God’s grace for salvation. With the self-righteous see no reason to repent and so reject God’s salvation.
We see that the Pharisaic scribes within this narrative view religion as strict separation from anything that would defile, whether object or food or people.
They despise sinners and expect Jesus to do the same.
Jesus did not come to gain prestige and fame or worldly power, but to bring salvation to lost people.
The Key is not separation but transformation.
Salt and light (images of the kingdom) do not provide defensive barriers, but permeate and transform their environment.
Believers must not build walls of separation from the world.
They must carry the message of grace and transformation into the world.

God Loves All People, Regardless of Social Status or Lot in Life.

Our ministries for the church should focus especially on outsiders. This list should be an all inclusive list.
We often cocoon ourselves in a Christian environment, separated from those who need to hear the gospel message.
This dose not mean forsake the assembly of God means we should be doing what we are call to do. This fall sunder the Great Commission.
Mark 16:15–16 CSB
15 Then he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Matthew 28:18–20 CSB
18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
If we are going to claim that we have faith in Christ, we must also commit to follow Christ.
Jesus taught us that faith means to follow Him.
Luke 9:23–25 CSB
23 Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it. 25 For what does it benefit someone if he gains the whole world, and yet loses or forfeits himself?
Anything less is something else - a wish, a desire, or a good intention.
But it’s not faith, because faith means to follow.
We need to know that Participation in the Great Commission doesn’t require great learning or ability, but it does require regeneration - being a transformed person.
We need to model the love of God before our non-Christian friends.
God call us to be the Salt and Light.

God’s Salvation is Offered Freely to All Who Respond Faith.

Salvation is a free gift it is not earned.
No one, not even the tax collectors and sinners, needed to demonstrate their righteousness in order to earn Jesus’ fellowship.
He accepted them where they were and offered them God’s salvation.
There will be a change in lifestyle that follows an authentic conversion, this transformation is the result of rather than the condition of grace.

God Chooses the Lowly and Foolish Things of This World to Accomplish His Purposes

We see a major difference in the type of men that Christ chose as disciples. Fishermen and Tax collectors, not who you would expect Christ to chose.
Romans 3:10 CSB
10 as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one.
A tongue \-in-cheek memo from a pastoral search committee, notice the candidates that the committee rejected because of serious inadequacies:
Noah: no converts in 120 years.
Moses: public speaking problems; loses temper on occasion
Abraham: ran off to Egypt during hard times; lied to get out of trouble
David: adulterous affair
Hosea: family life in shambles
Jeremiah: too emotional and alarmist; a whiner
Amos: unsophisticated country bumpkin
Peter: bad temper; denied Christ
Paul: Lacks tact; harsh; appearance is contemptible; preaches far too long
Jesus: challenges those in spiritual authority
The committee finally settled on
Judas Iscariot: since “he seems to be very practical, cooperative, good with money, cares for the poor, and dresses well.”
God will choose the foolish things, the weak things, the lowly things to shame the wise and the strong,
1 Corinthians 1:26–31 CSB
26 Brothers and sisters, consider your calling: Not many were wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. 27 Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, 29 so that no one may boast in his presence. 30 It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption 31 —in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.
If Jesus would have chosen the best and the brightest of his day he would have picked the Pharisees and the scribes.
God is more interested in a humble heart of dependence that pride in human abilities.

The Danger of Pride in Human Accomplishment.

Religious leaders of Jesus’ time rejected his ministry because they believed that they were in a different class from sinners.
Pride and self-righteousness was their biggest downfall.
We are all sinners saved by grace.
Humility and compassion should characterize not only our salvation experience, but also our life of sanctification.
Christian leaders seldom fall because of a shortage of gifts but rather because of sins of arrogance - deceiving ourselves that moral standards do not apply to us.
Few churches split because of persecution from without or false teaching from within. Most problems arise from power struggles, whether board against pastor, pastor against pastor, or any number of combinations and reasons.
We are servants of Jesus Christ and as such, we must constantly rehearse the attitude of our Lord, who was not thinking of himself when he took on the form of a servant and died for us.
Like Jesus we should
Philippians 2:3 CSB
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.
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