Don’t Be A Grinch

Have you ever thought about quitting? I know that it is not easy and many of us have fallen back into the old pattern. That is why we need Jesus in our lives daily. We need His help if we are to quit self-righteousness (Matthew 9:11-13) As we look in on the self-righteous Pharisees, we are witnessing them watching Jesus. Here in Matthew 9, Jesus is eating with the likes of Matthew and other sinners, leading the Pharisees to want to weigh in. Matthew 9:11~And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (ESV) Jesus hears what they ask; so He says, in Matthew 9:12~But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well, have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (ESV) Jesus is saying, If you are as spiritually healthy as you claim to be, you don’t need Me, because you already are under my care. Are you under the care and compassion of Jesus? Thus He says, Go and learn what this means (9:13). In other words, they need to understand the Bible and learn how to apply it. That is why being in Bible study is vital for spiritual growth. 

Quoting Hosea 6:6~For I desire mercy (חֶסֶד checed), not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (NIV) The word (חֶסֶד checed) in Hebrew and (ἔλεος eleos) in the Greek is kindness or goodwill towards the miserable, it’s an outward manifestation of compassion. So when we’re in sin, the Lord shows compassion on us in our miserable state. Hosea’s condemning the mechanical sacrifices of the Jews and their lack of compassion. We cannot live by a rote ritual of the mindless mastering of process. Jesus is telling the Pharisees to apply Hosea’s words to their lives. 

Finally, Jesus says, in Matthew 9:13c-d~For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. (ESV). Luke adds to repentance in Luke 5:32. Jesus is obviously referring to the self-righteous Pharisees, who think they are righteous and refuse to recognize their sinfulness. Paul declares that apart from Christ, we got nothing. Romans 3:10~As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; (NIV) This is a paraphrasing of what we find in the Old Testament as David writes of how Sin is the disease of mankind, and it is to be seen as malignant and an epidemic. 

Psalm 14:3~All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (NIV) The cry of Psalm 14 is for fools to turn to God (v1), and that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! (v7) Moreover, this is reiterated for us again in Psalm 53:3~ Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (NIV) This is again, David, reminding us that we are not good. Paul says nothing good dwells in us. (Romans 7:18) We need the righteousness of Jesus, and He comes only to people who see their need for repentance. 

The self-righteous Pharisees see no need for repentance; therefore, they wrongly believe they have no need for Jesus as Savior or Messiah. Our world is filled with those who believe that they are good and that that is enough. It is not. Isaiah 64: 6~All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away. (NIV) Isaiah is speaking of a menstrual rag. That’s not clean. 

If our desire is to follow Jesus then we must recognize our need for Him to be Lord over all of our lives. This means we accept Him as our sin sacrifice and must learn to walk out our faith daily. Today, what good have you been clinging to that you need to let go of, and again cling to God. Hear me, it is OK to be proud of the good things the Lord has helped us to do and accomplish, but those good deeds cannot and will not save us. That is why we must quit self-righteousness and cling to Jesus who is our righteousness before God. Take time to clean your life up today and ask the Lord to help you let go, and renew your faith. Then take time to worship Him for who He is and all He has done.

The Great Commission

We have seen Jesus demonstrate His power over disease, nature, the spirit world, and sin. He continues to show His limitless power because He is omnipotent. All these miracles are to authenticate who Jesus is so we will follow Him. If you are following Jesus, you will do these five things: Win, Quit, Resist, Connect, and Remember

Today, let’s look at winning the lost (Matthew 9:9-10 ) Christ Jesus is on a prayer walk along the seashore (Mark 2:13) in Capernaum, when He sees Matty Nice sitting at his tax table. Our gospel’s author is AKA Levi Levy, the one who presses out the tax of his people. He’s an unscrupulous Jew extracting the Juice of Jewish wallets for Rome. Taxes pay for the Roman domination of Israel and collectors were notoriously corrupt, overcharging people, and keeping the difference. In our culture, Matty Nice would be lumped in with the pimps and pushers peddling sin. When Jesus sees him sitting at his tax booth, He says, that’s the guy…Levi Levy, join my posse’ Matthew 9:9~ …and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. (ESV) 

That guy? The indecently immoral, the profligate prodigal, Levi Levy? No one wants to be his friend, to offer him grace, or to share any good news for fear it would cost them. He’s a tax collector and there’s no telling the hourly rate they charge on joy. Christ Jesus looks at him and says, he’s perfect and ripe for a change, come Matty Nice, join the journey through life and faith. Salvation is a wonderful miracle, changing us from death to life. Grateful for the love and acceptance Matty wants to reach his lost friends for Christ, so he throws a party. As Jesus kicks it at Matty’s table, many tax collectors and sinners come to eat with Jesus and His disciples (Matthew 9:10) Just as He did with Matthew, Jesus calls all His followers to be fishers of men and women (Mark 1:17). If you are not fishing for men and women, you are not really following Jesus. 

Who has the Lord brought near your life that you could share the amazing life of faith with? I bet if you pulled back a little, you would notice that someone has been around a while, looking for a life-altering change. Today, let’s take time to pray for them and yourself. Ask God to help give you a moment and the words to say as He wins their heart.

Join Project Pray

Today is First Friday. From 6pm tonight until 6 pm tomorrow many will be praying, and I want us to partner with Project Pray. Let’s take extra time to pray for the lost, pray for those who are struggling and straggling, pray for unreached people groups, pray for missionaries to have the support, words, and opportunities to share God’s precious and holy word, pray for our nation (we need a revival, holiness, sane thinking), pray for our community, pray for our families, pray for yourself. Ask God to move, ask God to guide your prayers.