Scripture: Luke 15.
Luke 15:1-2 (NLT)
1 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.
2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my life today?)
This is a chapter often preached on because of the story of the Prodical Son, but God really spoke to me this morning from a slightly different angle. Right at the very beginning of the chapter we are told that Jesus’ teaching seemed to have attracted notorious sinners. Just imagine, these are the folk that we strive to find ways to get them into our churches, but have such a challenge in trying to find the right programs or the right giveaways or the right meals to attract them. Now stop for a moment and consider that if we were to be like Jesus, and if we were to follow in His footsteps, these are the folk that we should be gearing our ministries towards, and not necessarily the influential in our membership, or not even those that tend to give us gifts or tickle our ears with encouraging words. Now, in verse 2 we find the real church today, for I assure you that if our church leadership concentrated heavily on the poor, the needy, the down-trodden, the unsaved, or hung out in areas where the notoriously sinful people hung out, our church membership would have a hay day whining and complaining and calling pastor and his team some real choice names. Can’t you hear us say, “I sure hope he thinks about who pays his salary”! Friends, it is so unfortunate that our churches have become an entertainment center for our pious Christians, catering to their every whine or complaint. If we truly follow Jesus’ example, our church services would be filled with more folk that need the Lord, than those who know Him but feel an obligation to tradition in being dressed up and in church service so all our friends could see how ‘religious’ we are. I wonder how we would honestly answer the question today, if asked “How are you following Jesus’ example in your church today”?
(What I will ask of God, in order for me to properly apply His Word to my life)
Lord Jesus, please forgive us for the unfortunate path we have taken in our churches today, for it seems like we have become more of an entertainment show, or theater for the entertainment of our attendees. Jesus taught in a way that attracted sinners, I pray that our churches will place that as priority in their planning sessions, so that sinners will be invited, welcomed and accepted in our churches to listen to the Word of God preached. Help us to individually get excited about inviting our non-Christian friends to church with us, and may they find a place of refuge as they attend. As we see Christians trying to build relationships with non-Christians, please help us to not be judgmental, but instead admire the example You set before us in all that You have taught us in this chapter of Luke. Lord, may we be more like You every day. Lord, may our churches follow more of Your example every day.
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