Jesus Chooses the Unexpected
Description: Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) to be one of His disciples. At that time tax collectors were viewed as sell-outs to the Roman empire by proper Jews. When Levi was called, he joyfully threw a party in honor of Jesus and invited all his friends: other unacceptables from society.
Keywords: Gospel, Jesus, God, Luke, narrative, Son of God, Bible, Sermon, Bible Fellowship Church, BFC, Whitehall, Northern Lehigh
Date: November 15, 2015
Speaker: Daryl Crawford
Scripture: Luke 5:27-32
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Audio: Listen to this Sermon (time 39:11)
Notes: Read Sermon Notes
Transcript (new way)
1 “Jesus Chooses the Unexpected” (Luke 5:27-32) CLARENCE REHRIG: May the Lord bless us as we read his word together. “After this He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax booth. And He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything, he rose and followed Him. And Levi made Him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at the table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at His disciples saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ “And Jesus answered them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.'” And may God bless the reading of his word. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Our brother Daryl Crawford has been part of our church 15 years, 20 years? JODY CRAWFORD: Eighteen. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Eighteen years. All right, 18 years. He’s been active in the military and in teaching, and he has served in the military at least 25. How long? 2 DARYL CRAWFORD: Twenty-six. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Twenty-six years. Praise God. Served in Kuwait, in the liberation of Kuwait in the ’90s, served most recently in Iraq. And he is planning to retire, hopefully January or February he’ll be finished up. DARYL CRAWFORD: January 28. PASTOR SCHMOYER: He knows. It has changed though. DARYL CRAWFORD: Not anymore. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Oh. It is locked in stone. Awesome. So we celebrate what you’ve done in the military. And now he is praying to the Lord, seeking God’s will; will the Lord call him into ministry. But certainly he’s going to minister to us this morning. Luke chapter 5. Brother Daryl, we welcome you to the pulpit. DARYL CRAWFORD: All right. So for those of you who are keeping track, the elders and pastors, they went off on their retreat. That’s why I’m here. It’s kind of a B team thing. They had the A team out. That’s kind of how we often work our teams in the Army. We have an A team that’s primary for the mission, and the B team has to sit on the bench and gets — so I’ve 3 been sitting on the bench and waiting. Were you listening when Clarence read? If there’s a passage that gives a guy like me hope, it’s this one. All right? It gives me tremendous hope, because I am first and foremost — he mentioned the military and all that stuff. That’s great. But my first profession is as a sinner, so I’ve been doing that for about 44 years now. Remember that dog that returns to the vomit? I’m that dog that they were writing about. All right? So this brings me tremendous hope, and it also gives me some guidance as to what I’m supposed to do when I encounter Christ. But then it leads me — because I don’t take a hippy’s view of Jesus, that 1970s movie where He was kind of blue-eyed and soft-spoken. No. This is a man who can take punishment, this is a man who can take a beating on my behalf. This man is toughness walking, and it ends with a very tough and a very harsh admonition on me. So it gives me three things. Now, the first point that we’re kind of hitting here, and it kind of correlates to the application that you have in the bulletin, is this kind of encounter 4 with grace. If we take a look at verse 27: “And after that He went out and noticed a tax collector.” So Christ took clear notice of Levi, who is Matthew, sitting in the tax office. “Follow Me.” That’s it. Now, let’s consider a few things here. First off, Matthew is a tax collector. Do you understand what that really means? Matthew is a Jew, right? Tax collectors were working on behalf of Rome. You’re a traitor. He’s a traitor to his own people. Amongst his own people he was like an anathema. They didn’t want to deal with him, they didn’t want to hang out with him, they don’t want him to be part of their social gatherings. He is like dead to them. He’s off their Christmas card list. And Jesus takes notice of him. Isn’t that awesome? I’m just like this guy. I’m broken, I’m pathetic. I’m the dog. Christ took note of him just like He takes note of us. But notice also how clear and how simple this is. He doesn’t say hey, Matthew, repent. He doesn’t say hey, Matthew, do whatever. Hey, Matthew, make a bunch of rules for yourself to 5 follow. He doesn’t say anything like that. He says what? Follow Me. How simplistic is that? He’s not asking actually up front for faith. He’s saying service. Because faith is implied, isn’t it? “Follow Me.” Isn’t that the gospel like simplified? Isn’t that just — what’s a whole lot easier? Consider it from Christ’s perspective. What was easier for Christ? He noticed him, He’s calling this man. We can talk about concepts of election, we can start talking about reform doctrine. We’re not going down that road. We’re just going to talk simply about follow Me. What’s easier to say? Hey, Matthew, act, follow, or believe all these things. The belief will come. Follow, simply get in line with Him, the Spirit will work. So what’s Matthew’s example? If we look at 28, does it give a long litany of and Matthew sat and contemplated; Matthew reflected for many hours on Christ’s complex message of follow Me? What did he do? Jesus called him, and it says, very simply, “He left everything behind and rose and began to follow Him.” 6 Now, there is some discourse that goes on when we look at Luke 5:27-28. Some books have been written about did Matthew already know Christ? Was he already familiar with him; did they already have a previous relationship? Pastor Tim preached on Peter, the calling out of Peter. We already know that Christ and Peter would have had a previous relationship. Odds are they didn’t in the case of Matthew and Jesus. Now, would Jesus have known of him? That seems pretty certain. Jesus was already making a name for himself in the area, so Matthew would have known of Him, but did Matthew have like a relationship with Jesus? Like Jesus walking over to an old friend and say hey, come with Me. That’s not what’s happening. He’s calling him out. He takes notice of him, and He calls him out. “He left everything behind and rose and began to follow Him.” Now, that also raises some question of, well, does that mean he literally just stood up from his desk and just took off? Maybe. Maybe. What does that mean? We’re supposed to simply 7 drop everything, sell our house, give everything up, and just follow? Maybe. What did Christ ask him to do? Follow. What does Christ ask you to do? Follow, follow His lead. If His lead is such that you give up things, then give them up. Because what do you get? What’s at the end of it? Christ. Does anything else matter? Is this not the simplest gospel message in the entire New Testament? It doesn’t get any easier than that, does it? Matthew’s example that he’s setting for us is simple. When Jesus calls him out, it’s the recognition that we sinners, we need to recognize our need for repentance, we need to recognize our need to follow. When we experience grace like this — because that’s what it is, right? Is He condemning? Did Christ say a single condemning word to him? No. He noticed him and called him out. We should be willing to leave everything behind. Think of the work that Christ already accomplished on your behalf. Did He take pain for you? Did He suffer privation on our behalf? Hasn’t He already earned our trust? We like to herald in our society heroes, 8 those who will do things — who will give up, will self-sacrifice. Well, who has self-sacrificed more on your behalf than Christ? The one who didn’t deserve any of the punishment took it all. Before you were even around He already by his own actions should have earned your respect, should have earned your trust; He should have earned your follow-ship. Faith is implied in that follow-ship. It’s clear. So let’s just take a quick look then at 29, because 29 is a different example. If up front the example is Matthew being if you will — it’s almost like Christ is overlooking who he is. He’s not. It’s just that that doesn’t matter, because he’ll be new once Christ gets His hands on him. He’s something different, so we’re going to look at this point. Verse 29 is how do we react to that encounter with that kind of gracious God? What do we do? Well, verse 29. “And Levi gave a big reception for Him at his house. There was a great crowd of tax gatherers and other people who were reclining at the table with them.” This must have been incredibly shocking for many people. Consider, if Matthew’s the tax 9 collector, again the guy who works for Rome, the fellow who the Jews would have not liked. Many of them would have despised him for his position, they would have viewed him as a traitor to his race, viewed him as a traitor to their people. Who is Matthew probably hanging out with? People just like himself, sinners? Those who other members of that Jewish community would have turned their eyes away from. Matthew throws Christ a party and invites all of his friends, all of his associates. What’s he inviting? Sinners like himself. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? When you encounter Christ’s grace, when you encounter the hand of God, aren’t you supposed to share it? If you pop a headache medicine that took away your headache really fast, don’t you tell your friends? You should try this, it really works. Well, when we encounter Christ that lifts the pain of sin, shouldn’t you tell them about that, too? He brings in all of his associates, if you will the lowest, the folks that no one wants to be seen with. And we’ll see where this plays out in the admonition. The folks that a clean 10 person, a rabbi, a Jew’s Jew, should not be seen with, and Christ goes happily, because Matthew happily brings in those that he realizes need what? The same cure he just got, the same call he just got, that same simple follow Me that he just got? This is again not the most-liked group. I’m sure this group would not have won the who’s who of Israel here. But he’s responding to the call. He’s using his excitement at being called out by Christ to share that same feeling, that same need for repentance, for forgiveness, for follow-ship with his peers. And Christ, to his credit, is completely interacting with these sinners. He’s not distancing himself. Well, I called one sinner, I called Matthew, but I really don’t want to talk to the rest of these dirty people. That’s not Him at all, is it? He wades into the crowd that requires repentance. Thank God for us that He does. His character, his character seeks the flawed, it calls out the flawed. That’s why this is so hopeful for me. He’s not calling them just to repent, He’s calling the flawed to 11 follow. Now, consider, so he’s interacting with sinners, He’s calling the flawed out. Consider Matthew. Why does everyone know the name Matthew? Because when you flip to the beginning of the New Testament, there it is, right? So the very flawed individual, the same guy that other Jews would not be seen being around, is the very man who will be inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the gospel designed for the Jews. Now, did Matthew have a clue of that when Christ says follow? Did he say, sit down, I need you to write a gospel based upon what I tell you? No. He just said follow. And in the end how well does that work out? Consider the previous example of Peter that we got. How flawed is that guy? And I got to be honest though from my perspective. You know, I’m anxious to see Jesus when I get there, but I really want to see Peter because I am the kind of sinner after Peter’s own heart. Who’s the guy who chopped the ear off? That’s Peter, yeah. Who’s the guy who gets yelled at by Christ the most? That’s Peter. Christ called 12 him Satan. “Get thee behind me, Satan.” That had to hurt. Ouch, right? And Christ says, “You’re the rock; you’re the rock upon which I build my church.” He can take the flawed, the broken and use it to tremendous glory. He takes busted shards and puts them back together and makes it better than it once was. Not by following a bunch of rules, not by anything than follow Me. It starts simply with that. God chooses us in spite of our flaws, doesn’t He? Thank God that he does. He takes us in in spite of our flaws. He employs His plan in us when we follow. He’s about our usefulness. He is about our potential. He is about what He can achieve through us because of what He can achieve in us when we follow, when we’re called out. The application for this part as you see in your bulletin, “I will make time to interact with an unsaved person in a personal setting.” Christians, isn’t it easy to wrap ourselves up in like Christian things? How easy is it to hide just in the Christian things? Never leaving, interact only with other believers, 13 interact only with the church family, avoid all of the bad stuff that’s out there. Is there plenty of bad out there? What does that bad need? The only thing good is Christ, right? That’s the only good thing. Every pure and good things come from above, right? When we hide ourselves and associate ourselves only within our little Christian bubble, like I’m the bubble kid. I’m going to crawl inside my Christian bubble, and you roll around, keep everything else, the rest of the world I’m going to keep at a distance. Do we actually achieve the end that Christ seeks? Are we sharing the grace, are we sharing it? He called the detestable. Last week we were looking at — was it the leper last week? The paralytic was last week and the leper was two weeks ago. Lepers: out of the way, unclean, nobody wants to be around them. Christ was. And we don’t want to be around sinners? Well, how do you get a sinner to the place where they recognize they need repentance, how do you get a sinner to that simple follow Me unless you’re around them? Look at the example of the setting here. He 14 called all of his friends. He brought them in, he holds the reception. Christ uses broken pots. This is a prime example. He wades into that room full of broken individuals. Out of it will come Matthew, one of our, well, writers of the gospel. All right. I’m kind of flying through the first two points because, I got to be honest, the point that grips me the most is the third. If the beginning of this is all about God’s grace, picking, just grabbing a guy literally out of the tax collector’s booth and saying follow Me and if it’s about that man’s just immediate response to the call; if it then transitions to that man and his excitement and his joy at having encountered Christ, the absence of judgment, the grace, bringing all of those people in so that they can meet Christ, so that they can share in that. But the end of this, the end of this ought to hit us pretty hard. Up front is kind of a feel good, isn’t it? I mean think about it. Just like Matthew, God reached down and said “you.” Is that pretty excellent? He didn’t do it because you’re awesome. He did it because He’s 15 awesome, right? For His own glory. Not because you achieved something but because He has desired in some way to achieve something through you. He’s going to use you to His glory, to His effect. Hopefully, like Matthew, in that excitement we share it, we embody it, we bring it up around the whatever. Water cooler? We bring it up wherever. We’re oozing it out, people can see it, whether it’s lifestyle evangelism or whatever. But then we get to 30. In 30 through 32, this is not just some condemnation of the Pharisee. This is a very, very clear call to us. Look at 30 through 32. “And the Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples.” Notice it didn’t say they were grumbling at Christ; they grumbled at His disciples. “Saying, why do you eat and drink with the tax gatherers and sinners? Jesus answered and said to them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a physician but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.'” If we look strictly at verse 30 right now, we 16 see something that the Pharisees are focusing on. The Pharisees are unable to recognize if you will the righteousness of God in Christ. The Pharisees are looking if you will to their own righteousness. They’re not just looking to their own. “Why do you eat and drink with the tax gatherers and sinners?” They’re not just looking at their own, they’re judging the righteousness of others. Thank God He doesn’t do the same, right? If the hand of God’s judgment was on you now, could you stand? Anybody in here able to stand up against God’s judgment right now on your own based upon your own righteousness? None of us can stand up to His judgment, can we? We can’t even stand in His presence. Do me a favor. I want you to turn to John 8 for a moment if you would. John chapter 8, we want to take a look at verses 14 through 18. This is something that struck me as I was reading this because what I’m seeing is a spirit of judgment on the part of the Pharisees, right? Well, take a look at Christ’s own words here. John 8 verses 14 to 18. “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Even if I 17 bear witness of myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You people judge according to the flesh. I’m not judging anyone. But even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for I am not alone in it, but I and He who sent me. Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true. I am He who bears witness of myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” Christians, this means that Christ has the right to judgment. Christ is the legitimate judge. He has the opportunity, He’s got the right to judge you, well, on everything you’ve done, right? But I go back to verse 27. Did He? He said follow. He has the right to presume judgment on you, and you can’t stand against it. It’s not possible. But look at what the Pharisees do. They should not judge, and they do. Is that spirit of judgment winning anyone to the “follow Me” camp? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be about? Win them to the “follow Me” camp, show them Christ. 18 I’m going to do a little calisthenics. I want you to turn to something different. I want you to go to Luke chapter 18. In Luke chapter 18 we’re going to look at verses 9 to 14. This to me is the beginning of His great admonition, His warning. A warning not just to us; it’s a warning to non-believers, it’s a warning to believers, it’s a warning to the world. Most of us are pretty familiar with this passage, right, Luke 18 verses 9 to 14? “And He also told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves” — i.e, were self-righteous, not counting upon the righteousness of Christ — “that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt.” They were judgmental, they had a spirit of judgment. “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax gatherer.” That’s an interesting comparison. “The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other people — swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax gatherer. I fast twice a day, I pay tithes of all that I get.” 19 Great. Good for you. “But the tax gatherer, standing some distance away, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven” — He didn’t even feel worthy to even look to heaven — “but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner.'” That’s it. No grandiose prayer. Begging for God’s mercy, recognition of his need of salvation, of repentance. “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” Christian, do you see, if I look at Luke 18:9 to 14 and I take it back now to Luke 5 and I look at 30 through 32, I’m seeing the cost here of self-righteousness. When we trust in our own righteousness over the righteousness of Christ, what do we get? Nothing. We stand in sin. How can you follow Me when you’re worried about your own self-righteousness? When you’re so desperate to have self increase, how can Christ increase in you? When we look at 31 to 32, I got to be honest, to me this is the gospel form again simply. If 20 it wasn’t simple enough in 27 with just follow Me, it’s simple also in 31 and 32. Again, “It is not those who are well who need a physician but those who are sick.” Got it. He is because I need him. Do you need him? He calls because we’re lost. He heals because we’re the ones who are sick. He does what He does because we require it. We’re so broken we can’t even find Him without the call. We’re so sick we can’t crawl from our death bed without His healing. He’s calling sinners to repent, He’s calling sinners to follow Him. “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” He is suspending judgment, the one who can judge. Going back to the previous verse, the one who has the right to do it suspends it for those who answer the call. Now, I do have a little struggle. Because I was reading this and reading this, and it’s got to be almost a month ago. Reading it and reading it, and I’m sitting — it was about a whole afternoon, wasn’t it — sitting on the sofa. And like I’m baffled, and I just don’t know why I’m baffled. 21 “I have not come to call the righteous,” that became very difficult for me. I was trying to figure out: Okay, now. All right, God, what are you saying? Like what do you mean? Romans 3:10 came to mind, right? “There are none righteous.” Okay. So “I’ve not come to call the righteous,” but there are none righteous. Are we in trouble? I mean if there are none righteous and I’ve not come to call the righteous, we’re in the cold, y’all. Yeah, I said y’all. You’ll get used to it. You’ll probably hear more. What does He mean? I got one more place for us to turn. I want you to go to Romans chapter 3. I wrestled and wrestled and wrestled, and it was actually after — I don’t remember which sermon it was that Tim was preaching. I was like, wait a minute. I think I’m getting it. Let’s go to Romans chapter 3. My pages are kind of all bent together, so I’m struggling here. And we look at verses 19 here to 24. “Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God, because by the works 22 of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, but through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, for all those who believe, for there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” So “I’ve not come to call the righteous.” There are none righteous. But now I get something here. Who is righteous? God is righteous. Who imparts righteousness on you? When He calls, what do you get? You get to share in His righteousness, don’t you? Can you make it by yourself? Can the law give it to you? Can you earn it? I’ve been tithing, I’ve been to church, I’ve done this. Can you get it? No, because Christ already got it. In His grace He’s dumping it on you. Our self-righteousness then — if I’m back in Luke, my self-righteousness, my belief in me, my belief in I did, I did, I did; my belief in I 23 can, I can, I can, that’s a Pharisee mentality, isn’t it? If I am absent of humility, I have the Pharisee mentality. It means you’re not trusting in God’s righteousness, you’re relying on your own. I don’t know that you’re capable of following that simple call of follow Me. If you’re so busy chasing after yourself, how do you follow Him? It’s almost as if our own self-righteousness in effect works against God’s righteousness. When we take on that Pharisee mentality, how is it we follow Matthew’s example? How can we possibly share Christ’s abundant grace? He threw the party, right? He invited every sinner he knew, all those that would show up. How do you do that if you’re so busy following your own self-righteousness? How do you win people to Christ? You will fail to share His grace when you’re so busy touting your own. Perhaps it’s very simple. The proper Christian response here, if I’m looking at 31 and 32 and thinking on it, perhaps the proper Christian response is for us to pray for humility. If we pray for humility and if we 24 individually decrease so that Christ can increase, when he increases, the evidence of His grace increases, right? I’m not saying that His grace increases; His grace is. But the evidence of it increases. We need to prayerfully work on are we minimizing our own self-righteousness, our own petty rules we often tout. Well, legalists, legalists, legalists. Come on, Christians. Because all of us have legalism in us, don’t we? Don’t we all make stupid little checklists? You know, even when it comes to sin. Well, this sin isn’t as bad as that sin. Shut up. In the presence of God it’s what? CONGREGANT: Sin. DARYL CRAWFORD: No. It’s death. Call it what it is. Is it a little white lie? No, death. When we make those stupid little checklists, we’re an abomination to His grace. It doesn’t really matter what we think about it, does it? His righteousness matters, His grace matters. Your humility allowing His grace to thrive, that’s what matters. You decrease so that He can increase. When we stand opposed to God’s grace, that’s 25 when we do all these stupid things and make those little check sheets. That’s when we don’t look up to Christ; that’s when we’re too busy following ourselves and trying to justify what we’re doing. Christ will justify. His grace is enough to justify. You don’t have to worry about justifying yourself. All you got to do is follow Me, right? That’s all He said to do, follow Me. If you do that, if you decrease, He increases. Take a look at that last application point. I want you all to think about this. Aaron and I talked for a while about this. This is a tough one. Look at what it says there. “I will identify elements of self-righteousness that hinder my involvement with my church family and its mission.” Examine yourself. Are you part of the family; are you part of the mission; are you part of sharing Christ? Or are you holding yourself back from God’s grace? Are you holding yourself back from Christ’s usefulness? He took a guy like Matthew who was hated, glued him together, and ironically this is the guy who writes the message to the Jewish nation. 26 He takes a violent guy like Peter and makes him the rock on which the church is found. He wades into a room full of sinners to win a few hearts, to share grace. Not to share judgment, not to cast dispersion. How often do we, with our own stupid and foolish and petty little things, do we hinder the work of our Christian family? That’s the admonition here, y’all. I don’t think the admonition is really just for the non-believer who’s self-righteous, I think it’s for us. This whole passage is about us. Just follow, and when you do, just share it. And when you do, stop judging, stop making your stupid little checklists. The pastor said I could go until about 2, 2:30 if I wanted to, but somewhere along the line I figured you all would rebel and attack. I’ve been going over 35 minutes. I apologize. All right. So my amateur theologians, I just want to leave you with this simple thought. What more is there for you than to just simply tell Christ you’ll follow and abandon the rest; abandon the checklists, abandon the silly self-righteous things, right? And if you can do 27 that, you can increase. I don’t know about you . . . a little less important. Like Matthew. He’s not very important, right? All he did was generate a gospel that changed the world. Let us pray. Father God, we are humble before you this morning. Father, thank you for giving us the opportunity to be here. No fear, no condemnation. We come to church, come into your family, come into your presence, Father. Father, we thank you for the opportunity that Your word provides and challenges us. It’s not just always uplifting, it’s not just always happy. Sometimes we have to take some lumps to better understand exactly what Your will is for us, Father. So thank you for the lumps, thank you for the direction, the guidance. Thank you even for the discipline when we need it. We’re just like children. Father, we ask that you just guide us as we continue our service and guide us as we go about our week, Father. We ask these things in the precious name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.