JESUS, THE FRIEND OF SINNERS

     Ok. So I am really rough around the edges and probably not the best guy to be a preacher. Still that’s what I am. Paul said “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.” In other words, I am going to pop if I don’t tell somebody about Jesus. That’s the way it is for me. It might seem like I would make a better bouncer. But really, I still am a preacher. So since this is Sunday; I have modified one of my messages for my online friends; [YOU]!

     We are going to talk about that nefarious “S” word. And no I don’t mean stinky stuff in the toilet. I mean SIN. Yucch. There’s that word. No wonder people don’t like talking about it. I don’t like writing it. But there it is anyway.

      The Purpose of this BEAM is to deal with that S word practically. First, I realize that word deals with me. So relax, I need this stuff just as much as you do.  The only context that I am going to deal with the “S” word is as it relates to the message of Jesus. Since He is my best friend ( Yeah, my Master too) that is the only context I am interested to share about. So on to the meat of why I am writing. 

     Jesus is the friend of sinners!  To get what His message was all about, you must realize that sinners are attracted to Jesus and He to them.  And if we are like Him, they will be attracted to us and we will feel the heart of Jesus towards them and their suffering.  Furthermore, we are just like those that we are trying to reach and full of human error and conflict that needs the touch of Jesus.

            The process of understanding who we are spiritually is one of the most significant realizations, we can learn in life.  And it is greatly accomplished through a process of identification.  (Big word but bigger concept).  Who we are spiritually is not so much known by self-awareness as it is through Divine awareness.  And Divine awareness is achieved through Identifying with God, God’s presence and God’s work.  (In other words, don’t go telling others about Him, if you don’t really know Him yourself).

         A great Hymnist penned the following words:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!  What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!  O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.  Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?  We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.  Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?  Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.  Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?  Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.  Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.  Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear.  Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear.  May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.  Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.  What a Friend we have in Jesus

(Hard to add anything to that).

     Think of the words “Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear.”  And what greater burden has Jesus borne for us than removing the penalty and peril of our sin. {J Geils Band; angel in the centerfold playing in the background. Gotta cut that off. Real distracting to this purpose. lol}  Seriously, The scripture speaks of Jesus actually taking our sin upon Him. 

     The picture comes to mind of one taking a heavy load from another and carrying it Himself.  Christian Theology refers to and inherent problem in mankind; a birth defect if you will. This constant indwelling condition of humankind is referred to as the fallen nature of Adam.  Or more literally, the human degeneration that was the very cause for Jesus going to the cross. {Heavy stuff but true}.

     Everywhere you look in our world there is evidence of this mortal impurity that infects the human race.  Sin is all around us.  There is degeneration everywhere.  In fact, not only is this dread malady of impurity all around us.  This degeneration is also in us. Even the best of us. In fact, this is the great promise of the Christian Gospel; to effectively and permanently deal with this mortal soul sickness. [In other words, we all need help that we can find in Jesus to deal with the cruddy stuff in our lives].

     Recently, I have been going through a process of identification and deep soul-searching.  I have been realizing, identifying and confessing character faults.  Many of which, not only had I not admitted to others; I had not admitted them to myself.  That is in fact the greatest treachery of this debased condition.  Firstly, it affects us all.  Secondly, Not only do we have this dread soul sickness.  We have an innate tendency to deny that we have it. You can paint a garbage can and make it look pretty but you have to clean it on the inside for it not to stink.

     For this reason, the process of self evaluation I have been following is only effective if a standard of absolute truth is adopted and followed.  As Jesus has said:  The truth WILL set you free.  But the very essence of the truth about ourselves is hard to accept.  So, in this process, I have learned to accept many difficult things about myself, in order to get beyond the reigns of self and truly give my life controls daily to God.  [Seriously guys; this is the goal and daily practice of my life.] 

     In order to achieve this turnover of the controls of the life from my hands to Gods; I have been forced to candidly admit that I do not have to look any farther than the mirror, to find good examples of degeneration.  Paul said he was the chief of sinners.  Yet he became the chief apostle.  So there is hope for you and I that if the greatest example of degeneration can be rescued; so can we.  Because Jesus loves the fallen.  So He loves sinners like Paul, you and me.. 

     The day you think that you have moved beyond the ranks of sinfulness is the day that pride has eaten your humility and you are self-righteous and most especially sinful.  Oooh! There is that unpopular word again. And I understand why. People have learned this word from those who practice it.  Also people have learned this word from church institutions that no more embody the truth of Christ, than the outhouse is an example of clean-ness.  In fact, these institutions [often churches] very frequently are chocked full of The kind of sinfulness that Jesus disdained the most: religiosity.  That’s right. No other form of sinfulness did Jesus point out and oppose more, than those who claimed to be religious and without sin. It is not too strong to say that Jesus hated this condition.

     #1- So I start the message of this BEAM by pointing the finger of accusation first at us, as Christians in the church.

     We must remember that  JESUS is our friend, THE FRIEND OF SINNERS.   Remembering that we are candidates for the very help we offer others Help’s as Christians Relate to those we should be reaching.  We need to identify with others. We should be identifying with what’s going on with sinners.  Though Jesus did not identify with the sinfulness; He did identify with their humanity.  Get out of your holier than thou, goody two shoes shell and remember that we need Jesus as much as everybody else.

     We in the church had better be the most cautious. Since it was religious community that was the biggest stench of sinfulness, to our Lord and Savior.  We need to lighten up a little. After all we are only human.

     I recently read this witty remark:  While driving in  Pennsylvania , a family caught up to an Amish carriage. The owner of the  carriage obviously had a sense of humor, because  attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign… “Energy efficient vehicle: Runs on oats and grass.  Caution: Do not step in  exhaust.”

     If you are so religious, you can not laugh or smile; you need to lighten up. So, how do we identify with others?  How do we identify with those we should be reaching?  We start by seeing that JESUS is their friend; THE FRIEND OF SINNERS.

Matthew 9:13
Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

  • Humility starts by recognizing that without Christ; a sinner is what we are.

Mark 2:17
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Luke 15:24
for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

     To identify with those that we should be reaching; we must adopt the heart of Jesus and realize our purpose is to love the hurting, sinful ones around us and that without Him, we are sinners, ourselves.

     2- The second purpose of this BEAM is  Help Others Realize the love of God that reaches to them.                                                                               – Identify with Christ & see that He identifies with hurting humanity

                                                                         –  That is why He is called the “suffering servant” in the scriptures.

Matthew 11:19
The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”

Luke 5:32
I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

Romans 3:26
for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Romans 4:5
But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.

Romans 5:6
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us  sinners.

Romans 5:8
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Paul, The Chief Apostle defined himself as the greatest sinner before Christ. Hmm. That makes me think if he could find help; so can I and so can you.

Matthew 18:12
Parable of the Lost Sheep ] “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?

     To Identify with Christ, we must agree with Him about who we and others are.  People have so many undisclosed motives.  So much need inside for his work of truth and grace, even from the beginning of our lives, as children.

     This bit of humor shows what I am talking about:  

The minister’s little six-year-old girl had been so naughty during the week that her mother decided to give her the worst kind of punishment. She told her she couldn’t go to the Sunday School Picnic on Saturday. 

When the day came, her mother felt she had been too harsh and changed her mind. When she told the little girl she could go to the picnic, the child’s reaction was one of gloom and unhappiness.
“What’s the matter? I thought you’d be glad to go to the picnic.” her mother said.
“It’s too late!” the little girl said. “I’ve already prayed for rain.”

      We start young with motives gone astray.  We all need to identify with Jesus as the Savior of sinners.  God’s heart is to save us from our sinfulness. But it will never happen, until there is an admission of need. I need the love of Jesus to help me identify and deal with my character defects and so do you.

      It is well said:       “We may have come in on a different ship; but we are all in the same boat!”

      3- Help ourselves.  This leads us to the third and final point of this BEAM.  Sinners were attracted to Jesus and      He was attracted to them.  And if we are like Him, they will be attracted to us. And in so realizing this common-ness of humanity we help ourselves better appropriate what Christ has purchased for us on the cross.

      You can not really help yourself, without adopting the heart and philosophy of Jesus.  And you can not adopt the heart of Jesus without Identifying with Christ’s work.

      We identify with Christ by accepting his heart.  We deepen our identification with Jesus by knowing Him in His role as suffering servant.   And how do we know Him in His role as suffering servant?   We identify with His work!  To Find our own mission, perhaps 1st We should come to understand the mission of Jesus!

  • HE ATE AT THE TAX COLLECTER’S HOUSE.
  • HE SAVED THE ADULTERESS.
  • HE HAD MERCY ON THE PROSTITUTE.
  • HE WAS ACCUSED OF BEING A WINE-BIBBER.
  • HE IDENTIFIED SUCCESSFUL PRAYER AS COMING FROM ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS HIS (SINFULNESS) = NEED.
  • THE GOSPEL OF THE LOST SHEEP.  HE WAS ALL ABOUT SEEKING THE LOST.
  • HE SAID HIS PURPOSE WAS TO COME SAVE THE LOST.  (SICK NEED A DOCTOR)
  • HE DISDAINED THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS!  (PUBLICANS, PHARISEES & SADUCEES).
  • JESUS HAD HARSHER THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THE RELIGIOUS THAN THE SINNER.

Luke 15:1
Parable of the Lost Sheep ] Tax collectors and other notorious sinners  often came to listen to Jesus teach.

1 Timothy 1:16
But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

Luke 15:7
In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

      “As you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto Me.”

     So, We can not know the heart of Jesus, without accepting His work as our work.  Mission is not a prerogative.  It is a sacred trust.  We can not deeply know Jesus; without identifying with the passion of His heart.  We must adopt the mission of Jesus to know the heart of Jesus.

     I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don’t want to be.   ——————– I’ve realized that I cannot go back and make a brand-new start.  But – – -, I can start from now and make a brand new end.     

     TO GET THE POINT. 1- We must first point the finger at ourselves and realize the common-ness of the problem.  2- Help others realize that Jesus is there to help them. 3- Be daily mindful that the chief prospect for Christ’s message can be found in our mirror and show Him by letting Christ be real in us.

To Find our own mission, We should come to understand the mission of Jesus!

& Jesus is the friend of sinners, including you and me.


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About timothygrantcarter

Inspirational Speaker, Sales Trainer, Quaker Minister. Entrepreneur, Outdoorsman and Shotokan NiDan. . Visionary; Maker of original sayings, slogans and giver of spiritual help. "If God has a pulse, then I can feel it."
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