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Friend of Sinners

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
January 15, 2022 6:00 pm

Friend of Sinners

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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January 15, 2022 6:00 pm

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Have your Bibles with you that I was your turn with me if you would to Mark chapter 2 will be looking at versus 13 through 17 he went out again beside the city at all the travelers coming to him and he was teaching them as he passed by solely by the son of Althea's sitting at the tax booth and he said to him, following the and he rose and followed him as he replied to the table in his house.

Many tax collectors and sinners reclining with Jesus and his disciples. There were many following and the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors said to the disciples. What is a gate with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus heard it, he said to them, those are well have no need of a physician. Those who are sick.

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners that with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly father is passage before today as a wake-up call. You call a man to be an apostle, who had a horrible reputation a corrupt way to make a living and horrendous past we look at this story and we are wild by your grace, you change this man's heart. He changed his behavior.

He change his eternal destiny. Pharisees had no use for this man. He wasn't worth giving the time of day to but Jesus you transformed. You gave them life regarding faith you gave them hope and he used him as a powerful evangelist, a gifted teacher and a writer of one of your Gospels father speak to us through this passage forces to look into our own hearts, and ask yourself the question, would we have encouraged this man and accepted him. Would we have snubbed in rejecting.

Like the Pharisees did fathers help us to be compassionate but not compromising. Help us to not only receive grace but to give it heavenly father we wanted Christ prayer of thanksgiving for those in our congregation who are sick and going to times of trouble, and you put your hand on them and minister great healing to them week. Pray for Orinda torrent says she is recovering and going to therapy and pray father that she might get totally whale from the stroke.

Thank you Lord for rich for Eugene's recovery and for the way he's healed from this operation that he's had in pray father that he will recover completely and we thank you father that he is able to be with us tonight. Heavenly father, we have too many for me to mention tonight that are suffering the code of the disease. I pray heavenly father you would have mercy on all of them a pray father that he would have mercy on our families on our church, our nation and our world that Lord you would just lift this filthy disease off of us that that we might be saved from it. Lord just to be with us now in great power for it is the precious and holy name of Jesus that I pray.

Amen. You may be seated. When I was a young pastor my first church in Creekmore North Carolina when I was in that church. I preached on this particular passage and I remember preaching on the power of grace and the sin of self-righteousness. Remember preaching to them about the call that we as Christians have two minister to unbelievers and to get the gospel to them and I can memorably and very tough on Christians who just seem to avoid unbelievers after service was over I had a man in our church to come up and speak to me at any said Douglas. I feel like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place and assume what you mean by that and he said well I'm a father of six kids and he said I feel a tremendous responsibility to protect my children from evil, and then he shared with me several verses I will share a few of them with you. First Corinthians 15 verse 33. Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts morals. Proverbs 1320 who ever walks with the wise becomes wise. The companion of fools will be destroyed.

Proverbs 1530 1P's ear listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Proverbs 220 so you will walk in the way of good men, and keep to the pass of righteousness. He said Doug I've always taught my children to avoid hanging out with it with people who don't fear God and live their lives out is if there is no accountability to God. He said I was in the church when I was a kid. He said all my friends were heathens and any said that when he was just 13 years old. He got addicted to pornography in the way that he had and happened was that he went over to his friends house and his friends dad had a whole stack of Playboy magazines if they got into every time he went over there. He said doing he was 17 years old he got addicted to alcohol any said it happened when you go over his friend's house and his dad what it would offer them drinks every time that he would go over there and just got hooked. He said most of my bad habits came from hanging around ungodly people first Corinthians 15 verse 33 does say bad company corrupts morals, patient Doug, I came to Christ, at age 21, I got married I felt then, when we had children a tremendous responsibility to protect them from evil people who would entice them to to be evil and to disobey the Lord. He said we don't let our children spend the night with with other families that we don't know when or that we don't trust hey said we have a kind of a policy that we try to teach art our children when they date is there gone to two today in a group setting, and he said we absolutely try to forbid our kids to to date unbelievers. He said so far. My kids are doing a whole lot better than I did and he said they don't have to deal with the strongholds in the ingrained thought patterns that I have built up in my life. It is a young kid and he said how I protect myself and my family from evil and still at the same time care enough in love unbelievers enough to minister to them and get the gospel to. I knew what this man was telling me. I knew that had great merits. I was in agreement with what he was doing in his life and in his family.

I believe that what he was doing was scriptural.

I believe that if what he was doing was God honoring. So as we look at this passage tonight. I want to own state balanced giving grace, showing mercy, loving the unlovely but not compromising, realizing daily.

The need to seek holiness and to stay pure and leaving our family. That same way. Bad company corrupts morals in Mark chapter 1 we saw that due to a healed lepers disobedience to Jesus that that Jesus, had to start doing things secretly this man that was a leper have Hansen's disease. It was the worst form of leprosy. When people got Hansen's disease. They didn't live. It always brought death and so Jesus did hear a just an unbelievably powerful miracle.

Jesus healed this man and healed him completely and when he did these holes in the man's face were completely cleared up.

His skin became pure as a baby skin all the stench from his sperm at the cane skin was gone totally and completely, and they could run a good job he could play could do pretty much anything you wanted to do. So he went to the priest and the priest declared him clean and said, you are free to go. Your claim he rejoined his family. He went back to work. Everything was so much better. But Jesus gave him the command and that command was that he was not detail what happened to him. He was not detail what Jesus had done. He did not obey that command. He went out and he began to tell everybody that he need he disobeyed the Lord because of that, that the the public.

The popularity of Jesus begin to skyrocket. So much so that Jesus could not go into cities, they could not go into these bigger tales because the crowds would just come around and and it would be too great. And so what did he do, he had to go out to the desolate places and he went out just to come to get away from the crowds, he had to go out to the outside. The Scripture tells us that is something to me it was just very interesting that he left Capernaum for a while and then came back to Capernaum. They came back after a few weeks I think he did it secretly.

Scripture says that he came back home, his home.

Capernaum was Simon Peter's home.

Once he got in the house.

It seemed that it was just a very short period of time people knew he was there.

Everybody started coming in the house got so crowded if there were 4 million who brought a paralytic to that house if they hope Jesus would heal and they ended up taking that paralytic lifted him up on the top of the roof and they they dug through the roof, dug a hole in the roof in the Lord that paralytic down to the feet of Jesus. Jesus forgave them of his sins and Jesus healed him of his paralysis. Just like that Jesus knew at this point in time that that that preaching inside was just not feasible anymore. So the Scripture tells us that he went down by the sea, got out to the great outdoors and then the crowds could gather the craft could be a rounding and that's where he went. So that's the setting I got four points and I will share with you this evening consists discerning this passage .1 the call of a social outcast. Verse 13 through 14. He went out again beside the civilian all the crap is coming to doing and he was teaching them and as he passed by.

I saw Levi, the son of Alpheus sitting at the tax booth any said to him, follow me, and he rose and followed him. Jesus was going back three Capernaum the past by a tax booth.

The tollbooth and is a total station where he saw Levi, the tax collector, and he walked right over to him. Look right in his eyes and said to him, followed me there was Levi.

Levi was a Jew we know better by the name of Matthew now.

This Matthew was the one who wrote the gospel of Matthew. It was a man that we know a lot about Matthew was a Greek name. They probably gave it to him after his conversion, because it means gift of God. What he did. He was a tax collector. He was a tax collector that works of the Roman government and what he would do is he would. He would tax the Jewish people and he would overtax them and then take the over taxation and put it in his own pocket and keep Sosa not only what was he working for the Roman government. I hated him for that, but he was stealing from his own people out. One commentator described the situation this way, tax collectors, continually looking for ways to squeeze extra money out of the and were aided in their collection by thugs and lowlife swords. The on the poll tax, income tax, about 1% and land tax 1/10 of all grain and 1/5 of all the wine and fruit taxes were levied on the transport goods and produce the use of roads across the bridges and other miscellaneous activities.

Those assorted duties and tariffs were especially prone to corruption, since they could be easily inflated and collected under threat of harm. Tax collectors were notorious for exploiting people charging more than was necessary or reasonable and then for those unable to pay loaning money at exorbitant interest rates worse. Tax collectors were seen as traitors to their own people.

They extorted money from their fellow Jews in order to support the corrupt infrastructure of foreign oppression.

The Jewish people categorize these tax collectors is the very dregs of society. They label them as BNS sorry and is wicked as murderers, robbers, liars and and child molesters.

Everyone looked on the tax collectors with disdain effort ever shine wrote a great book meet New Testament commentary, and in this commentary was to explain about the tax collectors and there was one group of tax collectors that work had responsibility for whole regions of or areas of land.

There are many different little tax collectors layer those big tax collectors recall the great monkeys and then there was the little tax collectors that went to the tax booth like Levi and he was called a little monkey and he was the one that was responsible for collecting the taxes get the money getting it to run and then pocketing so much of himself. Here was here was Levi or Matthew felt a little monkey and what was see he was a man who had very few friends and everybody looked at them as is as if he were stone ball. We got to dog to their home dioxins and the oldest one is eating. She's sweet she can be Kate on the other hand, is a scoundrel's all week long I've been calling Kate little Mikey and I don't think she understands it, but that is not a compliment. When Jesus walked up to the tax booth. He looked into Matthew's eyes and he said follow me when he said that everyone around layer including Peter and Andrew, James and John were absolutely shocked and I thought a simple what does Jesus not know you. This is this is a guy with no integrity.

This is a guy who is a horrible center. This is a guy that can't be trusted.

This is a guy that will give us all a bad reputation, and I think that's what the disciples were even thinking so if the disciples that want to love Jesus were thinking that and what you think the enemies of Jesus were thinking the time they the Pharisees.

They were thinking that this is a great thing for us because it puts Jesus in a horrible horrible light, but this is utterly amazing.

Out of all the people in Capernaum, Matthew was the most unlikely to be one of price disciples you know that's one of the trademarks is the ministry of Jesus when it think about who became followers of Christ that I think of Mary Magdalene.

She was at one time demon possessed in Jesus that are free. I think she was probably a woman of the streets. Jesus cleansed her and set her free and she became one of the greatest followers of Jesus that ever lived. There was Simon the zealot who is just a political radical, and he, he became a disciple of Jesus folks. Jesus doesn't just judge us from where we are judges us, for we were headed. We did remember that centuries ago, a number of workmen were dragging a a great marble block into the city of Florence, Italy, and it'd come from the very famous marble quarries call the curve on and they were going to use this particular block of marble until tooth to sculpt out a discussed statute that will would be of an Old Testament hero.

What will the sculptors came around they took a look at it every one of them said no nose got some imperfections in it. We reject that we don't want that. So it stayed out in the churchyard is just a useless block for over two years and this sculptor came by one day and took a good look at it. He noticed the great beauty in it he said to sculpt it. The matter what the other guys play and so he took it as a project.

He began to do sculpture he worked on it for two years. Finally after two years he finished it up had it veiled up and then there was unveiling. He took the veil off and when he did, there was just a great chorus of praise that sculpture was called David and the one who sculpted it, sculptor was none other than Michelangelo books that sculpture today is still considered to be one of the most beautiful works of art that there's ever been Creek that there's ever been made. Michelangelo took the marble that everyone else had rejected and he saw the potential in it and then used it to make a masterpiece to know that's what Jesus does with us in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10 the pot. The apostle Paul said, for we are his workmanship. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works that word workmanship means it's a show window now nothing special about the show went. Is it you don't look at the show window what you want to see is what's in the show window when they put the that the things in the window that that you want to look at that that they want you to buy. That's what they want you to look at folks. That's what we are what people are to be looking at is not us that is what Jesus is made of us.

I look at it this way like that that piece of that big block of marble is us and in the inside that marble in it, is the image of Christ and our sanctification is what is God chipping off the edges and chip enough all the visa marble or not Christ and then shaving it down to gets to the point where you can see the image of Jesus as was sanctification is is what the Lord does for us to Jesus.

As to Matthew follow me.

Luke gives us a little more information than Mark does about what he did for Luke tells us that he left everything and he rose up and followed Jesus not doubt seriously that this was Matthew's first time meeting Jesus. I think the program and several other encounters.

I think he heard them preach before and I think because of Jesus preaching and what Jesus had been doing and in the influence that he had on Matthew, I think Matthew would come to realize that his heart was was empty of joint that his soul was filled with guilt that all these people that he had cheated and he was responsible for he should've been helping them not cheating them and all of a sudden Jesus is opened his eyes. Jesus is opened his heart is not saying anything yet, but he knows he's headed an eternal hail John 225. The Scripture says that Jesus knew what was in man and you. So when Jesus went to Matthew is not just a random choice that he made Hayden just go up to when you think of it up, I'm gonna choose a tax collector L shocked everybody will be fun not was going on here at all. You see, Matthew was chosen by God before the foundation of the earth. Matthew was chosen by God and the Holy Spirit brought deep conviction into his heart and getting my eyes to see and ears to hear and then when Jesus walked up to him looked into his eyes and said, follow me. It was over. I mean it was over. It was a done deal.

He jumped up immediately and what did he do, he left everything he left the money they are paid left a prosperous job you have political and monetary clout. He left money on the table and walked away to follow Jesus. It was Matthew later pin down these words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 16 any man be my disciple. Letting come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me for who so ever would save his life will lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for my sake will save it for what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and to lose his own soul is Matthews writing out those words when he wrote the gospel of Matthew. I think that he thought back to that day when Jesus came to him, looked him right in the eyes. His tax booth and said follow me, follow me. When he did that he left everything… Security left his job a left friends. AE left everything to follow Jesus. That's what it meant to him.

He said you know that was my call. Back then he said it's still my call now set a big sacrifice for him. I don't think he saw it that way.

I think he saw it as the greatest privilege in his life. Jesus had changed his heart, Jesus who changes longings Jesus had changed his desires is what Paul is talking about.

Second Corinthians 517. He said if any man be in Christ is a new creation. Old things are passed away behold all things are become new eyepoint to his tax collector turned fishermen look at verse 15 as you find a table in his house. Many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. Matthew's conversion had the same effect on effect on Matthew is Peter's convergent conversion had on Peter and what was that they both became fishers of men.

Matthew lived in a very large house. He walked away from his job and have a job anymore but but he still got his house and he wanted to bring Jesus over in order that he might blessing noted that he might do something kind of boring EVA to be provided a feast for Jesus and he had a motivation and that not only did he want to bless Jesus we had some friends and he wanted those friends to come in to meet with Jesus. But these friends were spiritually clueless.

They were controlled by the world the flesh and the devil, and they had no idea that they were controlled by the world the flesh and the devil they were headed for an eternal hail and they were either totally ignorant of it. They were totally apathetic.

They just didn't care. These people were Matthew's friends. Matthew's friends included known criminals. Please thugs hit me in and prostitutes that now the Pharisees the in the religious leaders looked all alone on them is the very dregs of society. But Jesus in Matthew looked on Liam as a mission field. They came to party is what they always did it. Matthew's house, but this time it's not that counterparty Matthews a new man is different is totally different is a new creation and and so Matthew won't stand up to hear Jesus.

He wants them to meet Jesus. He wants them to hearing my out Matthew thought to himself. If Jesus can change me. Then Jesus can change anybody hi .3 the contempt of the self-righteous. Look at verse 16 and the scribes of the Pharisees, when I saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors said to the disciples. Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners. The scribes saw that Jesus had called this tax collector to be one of his disciples, and Matthew immediately jumped up, walked away from everything just rejected his security rejected his money rejected everything got up and followed Jesus.

I these scribes knew that it was real and now I want you to know that the scribes were very excited about that, for they said the man. This is wonderful because here is a man who was a notorious filthy rotten center and what is he doing he is following Jesus. And now he's gonna ruin Jesus name all what a wonderful thing.

This is so they follow Jesus down to the house of Matthew, you don't move it if you thought about this or not but this to me sounds a whole lot like Samara contemporary news reporters and Heather always tried to dig up dirt and have a get almost giddy if they think they realize that they can dig up dirt on some famous personality and a significantly good thing I can ruin his reputation get excited about that. It's amazing to me is exactly what with the Pharisees were doing. I think the Pharisees probably refused to go in Matthew's house because they thought that would defile them I wouldn't do that.

There were two holy they thought for that. So they peered in the window. I looked in the window they saw Jesus eating with these people and laughing with him and just talking with him and I saw that in that it absolutely enraged the Pharisees and they went to the disciples and they said what is your master doing, why is it that your master each with tax collectors and sinners. We just don't get it on John MacArthur's commentary here so the scribes of the Pharisees were experts in both the Mosaic law and the countless man-made traditions there sec to develop through the centuries.

They claim to be holy. But in reality they were only superficially moral their righteousness was not the result of the transformation of the heart by God, but was an external hypocritical righteousness consisted of nothing more than rule keeping judge mentalism and Atwood showed the Pharisees expected Jesus and his disciples to observe their legalistic prescriptions and extra-biblical regulations when he did not. They reacted with anger and resentment their questions to the disciples is not curiosity. It was contempt. They were that they were not inquisitive.

They were accusatory and they were very vindictive eat and drink and symbolized what symbolized welcome it symbolized caring symbolized compassion and symbolized friendship. Jesus fellowship with the sinners absolutely enraged Pharisees member. The man that I mentions that the beginning of of the service who was concerned about his children, fellowship, and with people who might lead his kids in the sin that we create satanic strongholds and addictions in their lives. What's the difference between him and the Pharisees. The difference between him and the Pharisees is this is a believer is a child of God he didn't hate the sinful people that could wrongly influence his kids. He was just using caution but would not compromise his children were not told to be hateful but to be careful. He was not teaching his children to be judgmental, but to be cautious and not deceived by evil. After getting to know this father little better. I watched what he did. I want to tell. He told his kids to be respectful to unbelievers but to refuse to compromise with evil. I remember him saying this to his kids be the influencer but don't be the influenced be the influencer but don't be the influenced great statement Jesus compromise in any way shape or form with these people with the sinners and tax collectors that he was eaten with absolutely no hot in the exact opposite and and what happened. He was so holy, so godly, so real.

If they looked at him and they started hungering for what he had said this man's got something that we certainly don't have it that this man makes us not only welcomes what he has but makes us with him. That's what he did to them access to key for us were never to be condemning and judgmental for the loving, merciful and can dictate to be obedient to the Lord. Hi .4 is ministering to bruised reeds. Look at verse 17 and when Jesus heard it, he said to them, both are well have no need of a physician, but those were sick.

I came to not to call the righteous, but sinners in Luke's gospel, he adds two words to that he has the words to repentance. Jesus said I came to call the righteous, and sinners to repentance. And in Matthew as these words but go and learn. I desire compassion and not sacrifice the term go and learn as a rabbinic expression to you to rebuke foolish ignorance and that's what he's doing here Jesus is rebuke in the Pharisees because they have absolutely no concern for the souls of the sinful men that he's talking with over in first Samuel chapter 16 verse seven Lord speak in the same one he says the us God does not see as man sees man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. One commentator said it this way coldhearted.

Legalism may look holy on the outside but it does not please God, who weighs thoughts and motives in their unwillingness to show mercy to others, the Pharisees betrayed the corrupt condition of their stony heart. They claim to rigorous rigorously keep the law they prided themselves on observing the letter of the law by dutifully performing sacrifices and ceremonies that utterly neglected the spirit of the law is demonstrated by their unwillingness to extend grace and mercy to those who needed, I just wonder how many of those conmen and prostitutes and others. Tax collectors and many of them walked out of that supper with Jesus with a changed heart. I wonder how many were broken by the Holy Spirit of God, and walked out following Jesus never to be the same again these arrogant, self-righteous Pharisees didn't give a rip about the souls of these people I sit there on the way to hell anyway they deserve help letting go, not realizing that they deserve hell just as much as they this passage reminds me of the prophecy in Isaiah chapter 42 verse three and is a messianic prophecy in its found also in Matthew's gospel's only gospel that spanned the end and think that's very interesting that Matthew just so picked up on that messianic prophecy and use it to describe Jesus and I think he uses to describe Jesus because he knew that's what Jesus had done for him was that the prophecy say it says that he is a bruised reed he will not break in a dimly burning wick he will not extinguish it. In those days people would make a little musical instrument, and they they would take different sizes of of these reeds and they would tie them together and make an instrument, like a harmonica and they would blow it, it did make a beautiful sound and after that they had done that for a while on some of the reeds would get dry and they would crack and when they get dry they would crack up most of the people would just take that readout and they would throw it in the road and just walk alone and then they get a new one and put in his place. Jesus wouldn't do that Jesus would take that broken rating would put it in a little basin of olive oil and then it was soften up then he would take it. He would hold it tight.

He would take up some thread in Utah around and around and around it until it was perfectly whole again.

He would put it back in the little instrument and use it again and again and again and then there was the smoking flax. The smoking flax was a Wiccan oil lamp and sometimes when the Wiccan oil lamp would get worn out, it would get frayed then it would start smoking the house up so we you that the person the house would take it. He would walk over to the wind and throw it out and then you'd run back outside in each stop it out real quick so it wouldn't start a fire. Jesus wouldn't do that Jesus would take that frayed wig and he would cut off the freight fibers he would take some other flax and he would weave it into the to the old flax and then he would take that wick and would put it back in oil lamp and use it over and over and over again fix the real concern that Jesus had is not about reeds and wigs, reeds and wigs are just inanimate objects and it really matter but Isaiah, Matthew reuse in this to explain how Jesus handles us.

How does Jesus handle us. He picks us up out of our brokenness and he heals us and he makes new creatures out of us. The tax collector, Matthew was broken broken in frayed Jesus forget anything completely forgetting healed him spiritually and made him into a man of God. The Pharisees rejected Matthew they absolutely contending but Jesus didn't Jesus was a friend of sinners and for gazing 16 changed his life made out of him and you creation happened 2000 years ago 2000 years ago. Now let me ask you, is anybody in here that knows one of the names of the Pharisees that condemning nobody knows we don't have any idea hamming you about Matthew.

We know Matthew's name. We know Matthew's name because Matthew was the writer of one of the Gospels. We know Matthew's name because he was a disciple. He was a man who made up impact on this world for the Lord Jesus Christ. That's what Jesus does when he fixes a bruised reed when he takes care of of a frayed week.

What these Pharisees are done to fall into a very deadly trap Jesus explained that trap in the parable that he taught Luke chapter 18 and I wonder when Jesus told a parable if he didn't have Matthew the tax collector in mind.

This is the way it goes.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in them sales. They were righteous and treated others with contempt to me and went up to the temple to pray one of Pharisees. Other tax collector. The Pharisees standing by himself prayed thus God, I thank you that I'm not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get with the tax collector, standing far off would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying God be merciful to me a sinner I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled with the one who humbles himself will be exalted both self righteousness leads us to self-delusion is pray. Heavenly father, sometimes we grapple with life. Sometimes we feel pulled in different directions.

Help us to be cautious and not callous to be loving but not compromising drive self-righteousness and pride out of us and help us to walk in your pants in the beatitude you said blessed are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew was poor in spirit. He was so low that all he could do was look up.

May that be true of all of us, may we realize that the only good thing in us is Jesus forcing Jesus holy precious name we pray. Amen

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