13 Luke 5.27-31
Are you “in-Sync” with God?
Open to p. 1599
v The Dirty Dozen
Ø Great movie with an all-star cast
§ Lee Marvin
§ Telli Savallis
§ Charles Bronson
§ Donald Sutherland
v Premise is that Lee Marvin has this group of 12 army criminals and train them for a secret mission behind enemy lines in Nazi Germany
Ø The whole movie builds up to the meticulously planned mission that Marvin has carefully put together
§ Down to the minute by minute execution
· Comes the time when they are about to parachute out and they all synchronize their watches
v This shows that they are all prepared to carry out the plan
Ø If they did not synchronize their watches, the mission would never be completed
§ Each would be doing their part randomly…
· The mission would fail
v In the same way that that mission had to be totally synchronized…
Ø So we have to be synchronized with our Lord Jesus Christ
§ He has a plan
§ He has a mission
· And to complete it his followers have to be “in-Sync” with Jesus
v The text before us today shows us how ‘out of sync’ the religious leaders were in the time of Jesus
Ø And reminds and challenges us to be “in-sync” with our Lord
v The Call (5:27-28)
v Out text opens up with Jesus calling Levi to be one of his disciples
Ø This is another name for Matthew
§ The Gospel writer
v Now we do not know what led up to Levi responding to the call to “follow me”
Ø Maybe he had heard Jesus preach or teach
Ø Maybe he had been present when Jesus cast out the evil spirit in Capernaum
Ø Maybe he had been in the room when the paralytic was lowered from the roof and heard the exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees
Ø Perhaps Jesus just changed his heart instantaneously
§ We don’t know
v What we do know is that Jesus called a Tax Collector to be one of his disciples
Ø And eventually one of his apostles!
v And what we have to realize is how shocking this was
Ø It would be like asking a member of the mob to become a disciple!
§ John Gotti, Gambino, Castilano
§ But that analogy does not work because for some reason Americans have a sort of admiration for the mob
· Maybe more like a child molester!
¨ Reviled, loathed, detested, hated
v They were classed together with robbers, murderers
Ø They were ostracized and shunned
Ø So hated, they were barred from the synagogue worship
§ They were hated because of how they extorted money and took advantage of their fellow Jews!
v You see…
Ø Roman Gov’t farmed out their tax collection to the locals
Ø They would assess a region and then sold the rights to collect it to the highest local bidder
§ Basically two types of tax
· State Tax
¨ Set amount just for existing on Roman occupied territory
Ø Usually 10%
§ Here there was not much room for extortion
· Duty Tax
¨ This was not regulated
¨ Here was the opportunity for the tax collector
Ø Tax on anything
§ Imports & exports
§ Road use
Ø Thus a tax collector could stop a person on the road and tax him on the spot for as much as he wanted
v Tax collectors were wealthy not because the Romans paid so well
Ø But because they extorted money from their fellow countrymen
§ And they were absolutely despised because of it
v Yet Jesus approaches him and says…
Ø “Follow me”…”come with me”…”be with me”…”I want you in my company”
§ He calls the lowest of the low to associate with
· To be in his inner circle
v And Levi gets up and follows Jesus
Ø And Levi truly throws himself headlong into his discipleship
§ By throwing a party
v The Celebration
Ø RQ: Why would Levi (Matthew) throw a party?
§ For the same several reasons that we should celebrate…
· For Himself
¨ Years ago…Debutante ball
Ø Used to have when a woman came of age
Ø Important milestone
Ø Coming out in society
¨ This is Levi’s “coming out” party
Ø He has parted from his old life and begun anew
§ And he wants to celebrate his new life in Christ!
· Ps 51:12
¨ Restore to me the joy of your salvation
§ There should be a celebratory aspect to our salvation
¨ Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”
¨ Ebenezer Scrooge’s joy at his salvation
Levi also threw this party …
· For Jesus
¨ To honor the one who saved him
Ø That is what we do every Sunday!
§ That is the heart of worship
¨ Explain worship
Ø God is who we are here to please, honor, worship
§ When we realize this, so many questions go by the wayside
· Q: Did you like the music?
· Q: Did you enjoy the sermon?
· Q: Did you like the people?
· Q: Did you like the church structure?
¨ When you visit a new church
¨ We are a people so consumed with ourselves that it bleeds over into worship
Ø When the only question should be…
§ Did it glorify God
§ Did God accept the honor & adoration we gave Him?
§ Were our hearts and motive pure?
Finally, and very importantly…
Levi threw the party…
· For his Friends
¨ RQ: How so?
Ø Think about it for a second…
¨ Opportunity to share the Gospel
Ø There is Jesus and Levi spending time with those who need salvation the most!
§ Tax collectors and sinners
¨ Ryle quote
Ø “A Converted man will not wish to go to heaven alone”
v But the Pharisees did not see an opportunity
Ø They saw a rabbi eating with undesirables
v And so they criticized Jesus and his disciples
Ø “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
§ This statement shows how very “out of sync” the Pharisees were with God
· They were focused on all the wrong things
v Pharisees were concerned about their status
Ø Pharisees were a very privileged class of people
§ Jews looked up to them
§ They were listened to
§ They were heeded
§ They were put on a pedestal
§ They were the “crème de la crème”
· And they liked their status
¨ And they were not about to associate themselves with the wrong kind of person
The story is told of a laborer who was a mature Christian and gave a solid testimony before all who knew him. His boss came to him one day and said, "You know, whatever you've got, I want. You have such peace and joy and contentment. How can I get this?"
The laborer said, "Go to your home, put on your best suit, come down here, and work in the mud with the rest of us and you can have it."
"What are you talking about? I could never do that. I'm the boss, you're the worker. I can't do that. That's beneath my dignity."
The boss came back a couple of months later and said the same thing again, “What is it that you have and how can I get it?"
"I told you, go put on your best suit, come down and work in the mud with us, and you can have it." Again the boss became furious and walked off.
Finally, in desperation he came back to the laborer and said, "I don't care what it takes! I'll do anything."
The laborer said, "Will you put on your best suit and come down and work in the mud? The boss agreed that he would do even that. Then the laborer said, "You don't have to.”
Do you see the point? The laborer knew what was standing between the boss and Christ…Pride of self
v And that is what the Pharisees had!
Ø Rom 12:16
§ Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position
· How quick we are to sit at the right lunch table at school
· To leave the a seat at our table at church potlucks for the right person
· To wave to and talk to the right person in town
Ø Napoleon Dynamite ~ Socially unacceptable
¨ When we should be waving over the Napoleon’s of the world
v We do not because we do not want to be associated with them
Ø We are too concerned with our status
v Jesus taught us otherwise in the upper room on the night he was betrayed
Ø John 13:12-15 ~ Jesus washing the disciples feet
§ Jesus was not concerned with his status
· But showed us all that to be something in the kingdom…
¨ You must be willing to be nothing here
Ø If you want to be “in-sync” with Jesus…
§ Reach out to the poor, the socially unacceptable, the sinners
· Throw your “status” to the side
v Pharisees were concerned about their purity
Ø We all should be concerned about purity
§ The Lord wants us to be a pure and holy people
· We are called a “Royal Priesthood” in Scripture
¨ We should seek purity in our minds, lives and hearts
Ø 1 Peter 1:15-16
§ But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy
Ø But the Pharisees had gone beyond what the Law stated
§ They turned…
· Keep away from sin
· Keep away from sinners
v You see…
Ø It developed into segregation
§ It is evident here in the distain they have for Jesus and his disciples eating with those they shouldn’t…tax collectors and sinners
v Pharisees total lack of concern for others indicated that they were totally “out of sync” with God
Ø Superficial observance of religious rites and rituals without love and mercy for needy sinners means nothing
§ Micah 6:8
· He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
§ They had the “act justly” down to the exclusion of “love mercy”
v We have to have a longing for purity coupled with a love for mercy
Ø And this is where many churches go wrong
§ Churches can become so concerned with their purity…
· Their “acting justly”
§ That they forget to ”love mercy”
· They forget to spread the mercy of Jesus Christ to their friends and neighbors
¨ Slowly, over time, the church becomes a country club
Ø It becomes insular and separated from the community
§ That is “out-of-sync” with what God wants
v Illustration: Wesley & coal miners
Ø This is exactly what happened to the 18th century church in England
§ Church had become a place for the aristocracy (those socially unacceptable)
· It had become “out of sync” with the Lord
§ One man stood against this and insisted that all should be allowed
· He was forced to go outside the church to reach these people with the Gospel
¨ He took to open air preaching
Ø Fields, graveyards
§ Poignant account of him preaching to 30,000 coal miners @ dawn
· Tears streaming down their faces when hearing the gospel for the first time!
· He eventually went on to found a new denomination to reach out to those who were not allowed into the churches at the time
¨ That man was John Wesley and Methodist
Ø Sadly about 100 years later the Methodist church fell into the same sin as the church of England had and became purist and exclusionary
§ It too slowly became “out of sync” with the Lord
· And it took William Booth and the founding of the Salvation Army to reach out to the lowly, poor, outcasts, the undesirables
v There have always been men and women who understood what Jesus says here…
Ø “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
v The Cure
v RQ: Do we all realize the ironic truth of what Jesus is saying here?
Ø It truth of fact, there is no one who is healthy spiritually and that we all need a cure
§ The Scriptures go out of their way to make the point that we are all unrighteous
· That even the things that we think are righteous acts, are as filthy rags
¨ Isaiah 64:6
· That our hearts are deceitful above all else and that we cannot trust it
¨ Jeremiah 17:9
· That our mouths are like open graves and tongues practice deceit
¨ Romans 3:13
· That we all like sheep have gone astray
¨ Isa 53:6
v There is no separate class of “Tax collectors and sinners” as the Pharisees claim
Ø But that we are all sinners in God’s eyes
§ Sick with sin and in need of a cure
v That is what Luke has been building toward these last couple of chapters
Ø In essence…
§ We all suffer from the “high fever” of sin
§ We are all unclean Lepers
§ We are all spiritually Paralyzed by sin
· And we are all in desperate need of a cure
¨ And what Jesus Christ is claiming is that he is the Doctor, the Great Physician with the cure
In 1818, Ignaz Phillip Semmelweis was born into a world of dying women. The finest hospitals lost one out of six young mothers to "childbed fever."
Semmelweis noticed that a doctor's daily routine began in the dissecting room where he performed autopsies. From there he made his way to the hospital to examine expectant mothers without ever pausing to wash his hands.
Dr. Semmelweis was the first man in history to associate the examinations with the infection and death. His own practice was to wash with a chlorine solution, and after eleven years and the delivery of 8,537 babies, he lost only 184 mothers-about one in fifty.
He spent the vigor of his life lecturing and debating with his colleagues. Once he argued, "Puerperal fever is caused by decomposed material conveyed to a wound. . . . I have shown how it can be prevented. I have proved all that I have said. But while we talk, talk, talk, gentlemen, women are dying. I am not asking anything world shaking. I am asking you only to wash. . . . For God's sake, wash your hands."
But virtually no one believed him. Doctors and midwives had been delivering babies for thousands of years without washing, and no outspoken Hungarian was going to change them now!
Semmelweis died insane at the age of 47, his wash basins discarded, his colleagues laughing in his face, and the death rattle of a thousand women ringing in his ears.
"Wash me!" was the anguished prayer of King David. "Wash!" was the message of John the Baptist. "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me," said Jesus to Peter. Without our being washed clean, we all die from the contamination of sin.
For God's sake, wash!
v The cry of Semmelweis is the same cry today
v All I am asking is that you be washed and cleansed by Jesus Christ
v He is the only one that can save you
v Won’t you please wash!
Ø Levi wealthy thus…
§ A great sacrifice to leave post
· Could not go back like fishermen
¨ John 21 tells us that Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John and two others went back to their trade
§ When Levi left, there was no going back
· That is what the Scriptures describe as a true disciple
¨ Luke 9:62
Ø No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.
Ø If you want to be “in-sync” with Jesus…
§ Realize that what Paul said to Timothy (1:15)
· “I am the worst of sinners
Ø We want to be a church that “loves mercy” so much that the outcasts feel welcome here
§ We should become very comfortable being around outcasts
· For heaven is filled with them
¨ For that is who Jesus came to save