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Loving the Unlovable

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Everyone that we meet has a story and everyone that we meet is in need of love. God has placed us in this world to be those agents of love for Him. As a church we should always be on the lookout

Notes & Transcripts

Loving the Unloved

Theme Bible Verse:
1 Peter 4:8 ESV
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Prayer

Introduction (Daniel)

Good morning Living Word Church. I want to welcome everyone once more to today’s Youth Sabbath. An event like this has a special place in my heart because it was on a Youth Sabbath that I had the first chance to preach my first sermon and to hear God call me for the first time. I would even dare to say that if it it was not for Youth Sabbath, I would not be here this morning. I feel very honored as well because now the roles have reversed, and now I have the privilege to help share a message impressed upon one of our very own, Shaila Martinez. You know it was about a month ago that Shaila shared me with this message and so I know that it has long been on her heart to share this message with everyone. Here at Living Word we want to create a legacy of empowering our youth to discover for themselves the talents that God has given to them so that they can then put them into practice to share the hope of Christ with the world. This is why today’s Youth Sabbath is so special. Young people are leading this program and right now I will step back and let Shaila share with you a little bit about the message that we have for you today.

Body

Description: What is today’s message going to be about? (Shaila)

Part 1: The Story of Matthew (Daniel)

Mark 2:13–14 ESV
13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
Matthew 9:9 ESV
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
Mark 2:13-14
Jesus had been teaching by the sea in a boat on the shores of the water. He was forced to do so because of the size of the crowds that made it so that there was barely enough room for Him to move. Not far from where he was teaching, there sat a young man by the name of Levi-Matthew sitting at a tax booth collecting taxes from the people because that was his job. Now, we have to understand that at this time, the Jewish people were held under the control of the Roman Empire. It was to the Romans that they had to pay taxes and so the people lining up to pay Levi were under the frustration of this constant reminder that they no longer held their independence in the same way that they had enjoyed it before. It is because of this that tax collectors were not very popular among the Jewish people or religious leaders.
For some reason the DMV comes to mind. I remember before I got my license hearing the stories that people would tell about the DMV. Most of the people that worked there people would say were in a bad mood already because of dealing with people who were tired, hungry, and had most likely been waiting there for a really long time. What made it even worse is that they had to give bad news to some people when they could not get their license or permits. That is the kind of treatment that I think Matthew was receiving this day. It is hard for me to imagine a single person that would have even smiled at him as they were going through the line. Picture it with me, can you imagine anyone looking down at Matthew and saying the words, “thank you so much for taking my taxes to the Romans.” Not at all. Tax collectors were seen as one of the worse people imaginable because they took from their own and sometimes even cheated their own. They were seen as crooks not worthy of any kind of respect.
What is worse is that Matthew had a bigger problem. You see if tax collectors alone were seen as simply vile, then a Jewish person who was also a tax collector was even more unfavorable. Ellen White says it best in the Desire of Ages when she pens,
“A Jew who accepted this office at the hands of the Romans was looked upon as betraying the honor of his nation. He was despised as an apostate, and was classed with the vilest of society.
A Jew who accepted this office at the hands of the Romans was looked upon as betraying the honor of his nation. He was despised as an apostate, and was classed with the vilest of society.
To this class belonged Levi-Matthew...” (Ellen Gould White, The Desire of Ages, vol. 3, Conflict of the Ages Series (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 272.)
Ellen Gould White, The Desire of Ages, vol. 3, Conflict of the Ages Series (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 272.
Matthew was a Jew who was also a tax collector and who had probably not experienced any kind of love in a long time. He probably felt like he did not belong anywhere. To the Jews, who were his people, he was nothing but a thief. To the Romans whom he worked for, he was nothing but a subject. He was of two world but did not have a place among either one. All of that changed the moment that Jesus came into his life.

He Saw

Mark 2:14 ESV
14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
says
The Bible says that as Jesus was about to pass from there, He SAW Levi sitting at his usual booth. I want to also note that the Pharisees had also seen Levi collecting taxes from the people at his booth, but both the Pharisees and Jesus saw different things when they gazed upon this tax collector. You see, the Pharisees saw someone who belonged to the lowest part of society because of what he did for a living. In other words, all the Pharisees saw when they looked in the direction of Levi was a tax collector…his profession. However, when Jesus looked upon Matthew he saw someone that could be receptive to the gospel. It was with eyes of love toward someone whom the rest of society had deemed unlovable that Jesus was able to walk towards this person and speak to him: “Follow Me.”
When dealing with people that feel like they are unloved, we have to be willing to first see the world, the people in it, the way that Jesus saw Matthew. He did not pass judgement because of what Matthew was doing, He looked at him through a gaze of love.

The Power of Shame

Ellen White writes about Matthew in the Desire of Ages and says:
“Matthew had listened to the Saviour’s teaching. As the convicting Spirit of God revealed his sinfulness, he longed to seek help from Christ; but he was accustomed to the exclusiveness of the rabbis, and had no thought that this Great Teacher would notice him.” (Ellen Gould White, The Desire of Ages, vol. 3, Conflict of the Ages Series (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 272.)
Matthew had listened to the Saviour’s teaching. As the convicting Spirit of God revealed his sinfulness, he longed to seek help from Christ; but he was accustomed to the exclusiveness of the rabbis, and had no thought that this Great Teacher would notice him.” (Ellen Gould White, The Desire of Ages, vol. 3, Conflict of the Ages Series (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 272.)
Matthew knew exactly who Jesus was and had even felt at hearing His words that He could go to Him but something held him back! He was use to being ignored by the rabbis, the religious leaders and even from his own people. So even though he felt called to go to Jesus, he had no reason to believe that Jesus would treat him any different. He felt like Jesus would not even notice him!
Ellen Gould White, The Desire of Ages, vol. 3, Conflict of the Ages Series (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 272.
In other words, it was shame that was keeping Matthew away from Jesus. Shame is a powerful thing friends and it can keep many of us from so much. As a result of all the judgement that Matthew probably recieved every time that he was at his booth working, there came a moment where he must have no longer felt that he was worth much. That is what happens when you feel like you do not belong. Shame tells you that you are not worth anything. Shame tells you that you are the problem. Shame tells you that you will never amount to much. It was shame that old Matthew that Jesus would never notice him! And that he better stay away!
When we come across people who feel unloved, we have to be ready to face the shame that they might feel in themselves.

The Power of Jesus Love

Just like Matthew, we praise God this morning because it is the love of Jesus that can break the power of shame. Jesus love tells you the exact opposite of what shame would tell a person. Jesus love says you are worth something. Jesus love tells us that we will amount as high as His kingdom that He has prepared for everyone. Jesus love tells a person that the are loved, cherished and valued by the God of the universe!
When Matthew was faced with this love and admiration in the words, “Follow Me,” he had no choice but to obey in that very moment. With no thought to how he would live or sustain himself, no doubt questions that he had probably asked himself when he took the job in the first place, he got up and followed after Jesus.
When we come across people that are unloved, we must also be ready to share with them the love that Christ brings to the world which is a love that tells everyone, we are valued in the eyes of God. The story of Matthew reveals to us that even people that are ashamed or have been diminished by the rest of the world, they also have a place in the circle of Christ’s love.
I want to turn the microphone over to Shaila now who will tell us about another individual who also experienced this love from Christ.

Part 2: (Shaila)

Matthew 26:40–45 ESV
40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Application: What should we do? How can we do it? (Shaila)

Conclusion (Daniel & Shaila)

Living Word…this week as you go about your days and times at work or at school, I want us to keep in mind these stories. They tell us the kinds of things that even people today experience all around us. As agents of God’s love, it is our responsibility to share with them the only love that will bring any kind of fulfillment. We want to encourage everyone once again with the verse that is found in
1 Peter 4:8 ESV
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Closing Prayer (Daniel)

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