Tom Scott - 29/09/2013
Date: September 30
Levi was nothing more than a tax collector and yet Jesus chose to call him as a disciple. That is the amazing way that God works in people’s lives. Jesus had an unbelievable way of seeing the best in people. So many individuals flocked to Jesus because of the way he valued the tax collectors, fishermen, and sinners he met along the way. As a church we have the opportunity to value people in much the same way that Jesus did so long ago. We are more than a face in the crowd or a name in a book. Here are five questions to help us reflect upon what we see in Luke chapter five.
1. Bob Seger wrote a song back in 1978 about feeling like a number. He talks about being a file for the IRS and a phone number for Ma Bell. Bob wants to scream that he is more than a number; he is a man. Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt like a number to a company or an account number for an institution?
2. Levi was sitting at his booth when Jesus spotted him on the side of the road. Jesus asked Levi to follow him just as he had Peter and the other fishermen. Levi immediately got up, left it all to follow Jesus. Do you think that it was an easy decision for Levi to follow Jesus?
3. Jesus went to Levi’s house for an evening meal. Levi invited all his fellow tax collectors to come over and meet Jesus. As they are sharing a meal together some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law started complaining that Jesus was eating with these tax collectors and sinners. Jesus told them that he had come to call these sinners to repentance. How would you have felt if you had been a tax collector at the table when Jesus said this?
4. The church has the ability to value people just like Jesus did at the banquet that Levi threw in his home. One way that we show people value is by seeing people for who they are in Christ. Acts 10:24-25 talks about the fact that God does not show favoritism, but accepts people from every nation. We have to see beyond the surface level of a person to see what is in their heart. What is the greatest obstacle to our seeing people as they are in Christ?
5. A second suggestion for how we value people is to invite them to follow us. The apostle Paul asked the Corinthians to follow his example as he followed the example of Christ. We are valuing people by asking them to join us in walking with the Lord because we are developing a personal relationship with them. Is there someone in your sphere of influence that you could invite to follow you and you follow the example of Christ?
Next Sunday we are starting a new sermon series called: Family Revolution: Empowering Today’s Family with God. Be sure to invite someone to come with you as we study the life of Timothy from the scriptures. There are lots of extras in the work for this series. Hope you have a great week in the Lord!
Introduction: As Jesus is walking along the road, he meets a tax collector by the name of Levi. Jesus will invite Levi to come and follow him. Without hesitation, Levi leaves everything so that he can follow Jesus. The church should be a place where people are valued. As we look at this passage of scripture; we will discover what this looks like for the church.
I. Jesus spotted a tax collector.
A. Levi was at work when he met Jesus. Matthew 9:9
B. Levi left everything to follow Jesus. Luke 18:28
II. Jesus ate with a tax collector.
A. Levi threw a great banquet. John 12:1-2
B. Levi had some unhappy guests. Matthew 11:19
III. The church should be a place where people find value.
A. We should see people for who they are. Acts 10:34-35
B. We should invite people to follow us. 1Corinthians11:1
C. We should build people up, not tear them down.
Conclusion: Many of those in Galilee would have been shocked to see Levi counted among the disciples because of his occupation, but Jesus did not let that stop him. Jesus asked Levi to follow him and that is what the former tax collector did. The church should be a place where people are valued because of who they are in Christ. Our challenge is to be the kind of church where people can find their way back to God. Will you help us fulfill this challenge?
Key Thought: We can help people find value in God’s eyes