Jesus Saves Sinners: Red Letters Series #21

Matthew 9:9-13 (KJV)  And as Jesus passed forth froMatthew 9:13 (KJV) BUT GO YE and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.m thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.  [10]  And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.  [11]  And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?  [12]  But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.   [13]   But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

neal-e-johnson-oQC81OHcl4Q-unsplash

Photo by Neal E. Johnson on Unsplash

An interesting truth about the Book of Matthew is that it’s writer was not called to follow Christ up until chapter 9 of the Book. His calling is in Matthew 9:9, just prior to the Pharisees first attack on Christ’s ministry.

I want you to notice the difference in what Jesus said to Matthew,
and in what He said to the Pharisees.

The Sinner Is Saved By Following Jesus

Earlier in the day Jesus saved a man “sick of the palsy”. We’ll study that text tonight. Jesus has just had a full day saving sinners and healing the sick. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all report on what comes next – and you learn a little more about the man Jesus saves by looking at the whole testimony.

Matthew 9:9 … as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

Mark 2:14 …And as {Jesus} passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

Luke 5:27-28 … after these things {Jesus} went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

Matthew is writing about himself, but note that he refers to himself in the third person. He said “Jesus saw a man named Matthew”. It is almost as if Matthew is ashamed of himself. We have all done things that we are ashamed of. If you haven’t, then you have never really examined your life. We are all sinners. We are inherently born sinners because of what our forefather Adam did. God told Adam:

Genesis 2:16-17 … the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

God created mankind in love. God put Adam in a perfect place, and gave him a beautiful Eve. But Adam sinned. The Bible tells us that:

Romans 5:12 … by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Humanity is broken by sin. We cannot fix ourselves. We need the Lord.

Too many people think that salvation is a self help product for the religious. It is not. Jesus must save you. The manufacturer of humanity must change out our hearts – He will only do this if we will heed His call and follow Jesus!

I don’t know what my water bill is going to be this month – but I learned a lesson from it. As summertime approaches I got my old garden hose out to set up my garden. As the end with sprayer on it was broken I decided to “repair” it. I went down to Lowe’s and bought a repair couple r, came back, put it on my hose, turned on the water and watered my garden plot. Then I went inside. Guess what I forgot to do? Turn off the water. Sometime that evening the water pressure in the hose blew the couple r off, and water ran steady ALL NIGHT LONG. When I got up the next morning I could hear sounds from my bathroom water pipes. I quickly went outside, turned the water off, and hit myself in the head. I should have just bought a new hose. Too many people come to Church to put a couple r on their soul. They make the outside look good. They dress up, clean up, sing hymns. What we all need is not a man-made patch, but a new life from Jesus Christ.

We must follow Jesus to be blessed. You only get a new life when you follow Jesus. Matthew 9:13 (KJV) BUT GO YE and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.Choose life. Choose Jesus!

I believe that Jesus deliberately sought out Matthew, and called him to salvation. The Bible says:

Matthew 9:9 (KJV) … {Jesus} saw a man, named MATTHEW, …

This is not Matthew’s given name. We are told in Mark:

Mark 2:14 {Jesus} … saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom …

The man that Jesus saved was using the name “Matthew”, but he was born with the name of “Levi the son of Alphaeus”. The name “Matthew” means “a reward”. The name “Levi” means “attached to God”. Matthew underwent a name change. His father Alphaeus, on seeing the little baby born, he called him “Levi” because he wanted him to grow up and be attached to God. Every parent who loves the Lord wants their children to grow up and love the Lord. Yet at some point as he grew Levi drifted away from God. He drifted so far away that he chose to work for the Roman Empire as a “tax collector”. That’s what Matthew was doing when Jesus called him to salvation. Matthew had left his family, left his friends, left his upbringing. Matthew was seeking pleasure from money.

Money in itself is not evil, but the Bible says:

1 Timothy 6:6-10 … godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Money can be a snare, a trap. Matthew fell in love with money. He left all to seek riches – and was lost because of it. Matthew should have been Levi, but Levi traded what was best for the lesser. God should have been his reward. Instead, Matthew is off from his family. He is like the Prodigal Son who is eating the food fit only for the hogs. He is like the rich young ruler who came to Jesus saying:

Luke 18:18 (KJV)… Good Master, what shall I do to INHERIT eternal life?

His words are interesting. “How do I INHERIT eternal life?” An inheritance is only given to a relative of the deceased. Do you know how to INHERIT eternal life? You must die to self. The old man must die.
You must follow Jesus.

Jesus told the rich young ruler …

Luke 18:22 (KJV) … sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and COME, FOLLOW ME.

How do you have eternal life? You cannot let the things of this world be your reward, your gods, that which you live for. Whatever stands between you and God will damn you forever. Get rid of the gods. Get rid of anything that keeps you from your Creator. “Come, Follow Me” says Jesus.

Matthew 9:9 (KJV) … {Jesus} saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed Him.

I can only imagine how much money was on Matthew’s table. Matthew had money – but he wasn’t happy. He needed what we all need. Matthew needed Jesus. When Jesus said “Follow Me” Matthew didn’t question the command. He got up and followed Jesus. We are told in Luke’s account:

Luke 5:28 … {Matthew} left all, rose up, and followed {Jesus}.

Matthew followed Jesus. Where was Jesus going now? Jesus was going to Matthew’s home.

When you follow Jesus, Jesus comes into your home!

This is the way of salvation. Jesus tells you “follow Me”. Some of you have heard the Lord’s call and yet have never followed Him. You have let how others think of you control whether you go forward or not. You are prideful. You may not have a table filled with gold coins, but you have a table filled with pride. You cannot be half saved. You either surrender to Christ, or you don’t.

Salvation is unconditional surrender to Christ.
Salvation is unconditional surrender to Christ.
Salvation is unconditional surrender to Christ.

We are told in:

Proverbs 16:5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

James 4:6 But {God} giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

If you would be saved you must follow Jesus. If you want to be blessed you must follow Jesus. You cannot live your life to please others, nor to please yourself. You must follow Jesus.

There is another familiar story I am sure you have all heard, the Bible story of another Tax Collector named Zacchaeus. The name “Zacchaeus” means “Clean, Pure”, but this man was anything but clean and pure. He, like Matthew, chased after the god of money.

Luke 19:2-3 … Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

Zacchaeus went looking for Jesus by climbing a sycamore tree (Luke 19:4). As Jesus passed by He looked up, and told Zacchaeus:

Luke 19:5-6 … Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

Both Zacchaeus and Matthew did the same thing when they met Jesus. Neither man cared what anybody else thought. Jesus said “follow Me”, and they both followed Jesus. And Jesus went to both Matthew’s as well as Zacchaeus’ homes.

God Cannot Save Prideful Self Righteous People

God can save any sinner, no matter what sin you may have committed. There is no one Jesus cannot heal and no one Jesus cannot save – if you come to Him in faith. We are told in Matthew:

Matthew 9:10 (KJV) And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

Why were these “publicans and sinners” at Matthew’s home? We are told in Luke’s account:

Luke 5:29 (KJV) And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a GREAT COMPANY of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

Matthew (Levi) went home with Jesus that very day and invited all of his friends over to eat with him. If you have fallen in love with Jesus, you will share the love that you have experienced with others. Matthew invited his friends over – these sinners and tax collectors – and they all came.

But the self righteous came as well. We read:

Matthew 9:11 (KJV) And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

The only way that the Pharisees dealt with undesirables was to shun them, to walk away, to ignore them or to ostracize them. We often do this as a society. We put drug addicts in jail because we don’t know what to do with them. We should bring them to Jesus. All that self righteousness and self righteous people can do is CRITICIZE. If you want to help someone, take them to Jesus. That’s what Matthew did, and what we should do. Jesus replied to the Pharisees:

Matthew 9:12 (KJV) But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

The Surgeon cannot stand in a room apart from the one he is operating on. The Doctor must be with the patient if there is ever going to be healing. Our Lord Jesus came to heal the sick. Our Lord Jesus came to save the lost. He said:

Luke 5:32 (KJV) I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus came for the sinners. He came for those who are broken. He comes calling them, saying “Follow Me”.

Luke 19:10 (KJV) For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

If you think that you are right before God Jesus did not come for you.

If you think you’ve got it all figured out,
Jesus does not say “Come, Follow Me” to you.

What did Jesus say to these Pharisees?

Matthew 9:13 (KJV) BUT GO YE and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

To Matthew, a sinner repenting Jesus said “Come” but to the self righteous Pharisee Jesus said “Go”. Christ has nothing for you if you think you are right before God. If you read:

Romans 3:23 (ESV) … for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …

and say “Not me. I’m good. I’m ready to meet God!” then Christ has nothing in you. Your righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) but you do not see nor smell your stench. Christ has nothing in you. Jesus says to you who think you are better than others:

GO YE and LEARN what that meaneth, “I will have mercy and not sacrifice”. Pharisee, you know your Bible. Go back to your Bible. Open it up. Look what God wrote in Hosea:

Hosea 6:4-7 (KJV) O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. 5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. 6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. 7 But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.

God wants His people to know Him. God is the Gospel. The Gospel is not about ME, but about HE. I am broken, but He is not. He was broken so that I might be healed.

Jesus told the Pharisees “Go and learn. Read the Scripture. Read what God said in the Old Testament”. God does not desire sacrifices, but gave sacrifices for sin so that He could give MERCY.

What does God want of us?

To admit that we are ALL sinners who need Jesus!
Every moment of every day.

The Pharisees – the self righteous – are the WORST sinners. Their sin is worst because they do not see it. It is like the Box Jellyfish in the ocean. They swim to it, embrace it, and die in it. What is good?

Micah 6:8 (KJV) {God} hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Acknowledge your sin. Acknowledge you are a sinner, just as all are sinners. Acknowledge that only Christ can heal you of your sin. Then and only then will you hear Him say “Come, Follow Me”.

May God touch your hearts with His Word through His Spirit. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Sermon Series "Red Letters", Sermons Preached and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.