GUIDE TO WORSHIP
Tax collectors were among the most reviled people in Jesus’ day because of the corruption associated with the office. Matthew, the Apostle, was one of these. Matthew was free to assess the value of the goods carried through his region and, like other collectors, demanded a tax higher than what the government required and kept the difference for himself. Now, we see why people hated tax collectors so much.
Galilee also viewed the tax collectors as traitors, because they were representatives of Rome’s oppressive government. Matthew went by the name Levi, making it likely that he was a Levite (Luke 5:27–28). According to the Pharisees, this would make his cooperation with Rome much worse because God set apart the Levites for Himself (Num. 8:5–22), not service to the pagans. It is easy to see why the Pharisees were upset when Jesus called Matthew as His disciple and then dined with him and other sinners (Matt. 9:10–11; Luke 5:29–30). Eating a meal with someone in the first century shows relational intimacy, and our Savior reveals His love for tax collectors and others deemed beyond forgiveness when He dines with them.
Let us not forget we are all recovering Pharisees who must get over our tendency to frown only upon certain sins. John Calvin comments that we must “never think it strange that He should gather to salvation those who have been the worst of men, and who have been covered with a mass of crimes.” We, the church, must welcome repentant abusers, repentant homosexuals, and others often seen as beyond God’s forgiveness. We deserve His pardon no more than they do. Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners.
THE PREACHED WORD
Scripture: I Samuel 23
Sermon: The Making of a King: A Man of Many Companions
Jesus! What A Friend For Sinners (Matthew Smith)
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‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
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What A Friend We Have In Jesus
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DECLARATION OF FAITH
Westminster Shorter Catechism: Questions 88-90
Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.
Q. 89. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching, of the Word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.
Q. 90. How is the Word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
A. That the Word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer; receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.