Sunday, August 16, 2009

Calling All Sinners


Luke 5:32 "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

Last Monday night, I went to bed at about 11:30 in Nairobi, Kenya, and I had 2 dreams. (The first dream, with disclaimer – don’t try this at home)

“Everyone I called was a sinner.”

“Every Apostle I called was a sinner when I called them.”

“Don’t be afraid of sinners.”

“I went to Zacchaeus house before he changed … He would never have changed if I had not given him the chance.”

Not everyone will change … But we must give everyone a chance.

As I talked to the Lord and meditated on what the dream meant my mind went to a story about the Apostle Peter recorded in Acts 10.

The story takes place in the old port city of Joppa located on the central Mediterranean shores of Israel. Last month I was in that city … let me show you a brief Postcard I filmed while there.

(Show Peter at Joppa Postcard - 3:52)

Acts 10
13 And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."
14 But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean."
15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common."

The word “common” in this scripture is best defined as unclean, unworthy or defiled.

The next day Peter journeys to Caesarea, about 30 miles northward, straight up the Mediterranean coast. When he arrives at Cornelius’s house, Peter understands what the vision was all about …

Acts 10
28 Then he said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

God may not feel like we feel about some people. We should not make ourselves judge, jury and executioner … nor should we even become the police, but rather, we are called to intercede, be a witness of God’s mercy and grace, and bear the infirmities of the weak.

God’s call and acceptance of person does not depend on what they did or even what they are doing, but rather what they will do!

To be more like Jesus …

1. Fall in love with sinners

John 3
16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

If we want to be like Jesus, we must love sinners.

Mark 10: 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

The young rich ruler of Mark 10 had not, was not, and was not going to obey Jesus … but Jesus loved him and gave him a chance anyway.

2. Speak the truth in love

Do not compromise or be ashamed of the Word

Do not withhold your testimony. You are a witness … be salt and light to a lost and hurting world. (Matthew 5)

You will be surprised just how many people are ready and receptive to change when they hear a true word spoken in love.

Not everyone will change, but we must give everyone a chance.

3. Remember … only God can convict

John 8
9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?"
11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

It’s not about what you did but what you will do!

Tell me … What will you do?