Matthew 9:10 — And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?
Over the last few blog posts, we have been discussing just a few of the things in the history of the church. Each of those topics should have been a signal to us that we have lost our moral authority. The reality of each of those signs is that we have not walked out the balance of being grace and truth to a lost world.
The Pope recently made some comments that echo this sentiment when he said, “We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel“ (article). Those comments have taken the Catholic world by storm and caused quite a controversy; though I can’t for the life of me understand why because he is right!
In Matthew 9, we are told that Jesus hangs out with society’s worst characters — the tax collectors and sinners and, also, we know of a few prostitutes who were in that crowd! If we take a good hard look at the life of Christ, we would probably ask the same question as the Pharisees??? Why would He eat with those people?
If Jesus were to be born in 1980 and had just started His earthly ministry today, who would be the sinners and tax collectors He would be friends with and eat with? What would the message of Christ be to the young black man trying to claw his way out of a life of crime or to the homeless person struggling for his next meal or to the woman contemplating abortion or the young teenager struggling with same sex attraction or even, God forbid, the two men who are in love with one another and who want to get married? Would Christ require change before relationship? Would he tell the woman to come talk with me after you decide to keep the child? Would he tell the two men to come and have relationship with me after you two break up and fix your attraction issues? God forbid if you think that way.
We have lost our moral authority because we no longer walk as Christ did, with grace and truth towards those who need the message of the gospel the most. To be honest we have forgotten that we are no better than any of those people even if we have lived a “good” life!
The Gospel tells us that all of mankind is wicked, sinful, and destined for Hell, but God, rich in mercy, sent His only Son to die for our sins and reconcile our relationship with Him. Nowhere does the Gospel tell us to FIX YOUR JUNK AND THEN COME TALK WITH ME.
The Gospel wraps up all of mankind into one category: sin, and I mean all of us — the homosexual, the woman who had an abortion, the Sunday School teacher watching pornography, the thief, the couple who just divorced because they fell out of love, the white guy who hates black people, the couple who isn’t married and having sex, or how about this: the gossips in church!
Just for a second here, allow me to get on my soapbox. I have never seen anyone in the above “sin” list destroy a church besides those who gossip, yet there are more sermons and books about Homosexuality and Abortion than people who run their lips. I wonder why that is?
We are called to be Christ to those who are dying without Him. So let me leave you with these last few questions. Look at your life and the life of the church that you attend. Who is more attracted to you and your church, the sinners and tax collectors of today or the Pharisees or religious people of today?
When your church grows, is it growing because more “Christians” are joining the newest church with the latest and most popular trends or is it because sinners are meeting Christ? Then ask yourself this: Why are sinners more attracted to Christ than me? And why are religious people attracted more to me than they were to Christ?