A short series on the most powerful book in the world
Jesus Friend of Sinners
Jonathan Mast, Associate Pastor
"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. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'
But when he heard it, he said, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice." For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.'" (Matthew 9:9-13 ESV)
When you don’t believe that you are sick there can be no cure. When you don’t believe that you are lost you cannot be found.
The sicker the man the more he needs a doctor
and the more sick he is the more ready the doctor is to see him.
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6 ESV)
If you want to win people to Jesus Christ you are not going to win people who think they are righteous. You are only going to win SINNERS.
"The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life." (1 Timothy 1:15-16 ESV)
Small Group Discussion:
Read Matthew 9:9-13. How did Matthew end up becoming a follower of Jesus? Would you have chosen him to be one of Jesus' followers? Why or why not?
Are there people who may be waiting for an invitation, but we like the Pharisees think that they would not at all be interested in spiritual things so we don't invite them to follow Christ or even to come to church?
When Matthew chose to follow Jesus, what did he lose or leave? What did he find and take with him? What may we lose or find if we chose to follow Jesus?
What were Jesus' 3 responses to the Pharisees? What did each of those responses mean?
“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heavens and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’”
1. God’s plans and thoughts don’t fail. (v. 8-9)
Romans 11:33-36: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?’ For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
“God’s plans don’t fail, even when they involve my failure.”
2. God’s Words don’t fail. (v. 10-11)
INFALLIBILITY: The words, claims, promises and prophecies of God’s Word will never fail to be what God says they will be.
Water your life with God’s Word.
Trust God no matter what is going on in your life.
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
S M A L L G R O U P Q U E S T I O N S
Question #1 – Isaiah says that God’s thoughts and plans are infinitely higher than ours. Share some plans of God in your life that weren’t your choosing but showed God’s genius.
Question #2 – Read Isaiah 55:8-11 & Romans 11:33-36 out loud. Discuss how much greater God’s thoughts and plans are than our thoughts. Now read Proverbs 3:5-6. Why is our tendency to still “lean on our own understanding?” How can we resist leaning on our own understanding and trust God?
Question #3 – Think through what you know of God’s Word … What are some of the many purposes He wants it to accomplish in our lives?
Question #4 – Discuss practically how we can be watered regularly by the Word of God. What sustainable plan can we set up? How can we help each other? How do we make sure it’s not all about knowledge but rather life change?
What in the World is Going On?
What In The World is Going On?
Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.”
The text is split into two main truths:
1. Chaos comes when God’s Word is ignored.
2. Happiness comes when God’s Word is followed.
James 1:22: “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves, do what it says.”
I Corinthians 8:1: “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that ‘we all possess knowledge.’ But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.”
Matthew 7:26: “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”
If God esteems heart obedience over mere intellect, so should we.
Ex. the Jones (Curtis). Donny and Jenny – inviting people. These people left all the brainiacs in the dust when it came to what matters most to God – simple obedience – loving God and loving others – reaching out. Fruit of the Spirit, relationship with your spouse, kids, others.
I keep God’s Word by reading it to live it.
1. Continual. Sustainable plans. Bible App. Booklet. 365 Devotional.
2. Changing. Ask, “what’s my next step?” Pray for life change. If we read and stop at knowledge, we are the foolish man in Matthew 7.
3. Community. Have someone to check in with. Let them ask you the hard questions – Let them ask how you are growing. What needs to change?
S M A L L G R O U P Q U E S T I O N S
Question #1 – What examples do we see of decay in our world as we’ve moved away from obeying God’s Word? What examples do we have from our lives when we’ve moved away from obeying God’s Word?
Question #2 – Read Prov. 29:18; Matt. 7:24-27 and James 1:22-25 … discuss the differences and dangers between knowing God’s Word and obeying it. How do we deceive ourselves?
Question #3 – How can we guard against the self-deception of merely knowing or hearing the Bible? How can we help each other to value heart obedience and avoid becoming modern day Pharisees.
Question #4 – What are practical ways we can read and live out God’s Word every day? Discuss plans that are “continual, life changing and community oriented.”