Why You Should Invite Sinners Into Your Inner Circle

by | Jun 6, 2016 | Evangelism

“As Jesus was at supper in his house, many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples. For there were many, and they followed Him. When the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, ‘How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?'” (Mark 2:15-16, MEV).

In the earlier years of his ministry, Billy Graham was frequently criticized for associating with members of Christian traditions different from his own. He defended himself with this poem:

He drew a circle that shut me out;
Rebel, heretic, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win,
He drew a circle that took me in.

That’s exactly what Jesus does for us, and with Levi and his “sinner” friends. He took them in!

This is the third time in Mark’s gospel that Jesus was in a home: first, Peter and Andrew’s for the healing of Peter’s mother- in-law (Mark 1:29-31); then the home where the paralytic was let down through the roof (Mark 2:1-12); and now, third, the home of the tax collector Levi.

Jesus told Levi earlier in the day, “Follow Me!” And the first place Jesus took Levi was Levi’s own home.

Too frequently I look at Jesus’ call as a romanticist: faraway places, splendid fields of glory, euphoria in life. But like Levi, the first place Jesus calls you and me is to our homes—where the issues of life unfold daily.

And look who comes to dinner with Jesus at Levi’s house! Not your average church crowd!

I tend to hang around people I know because that’s where my comfort level is. How different is the gregarious Son of God! While He Himself is righteous and without sin, He continually opens Himself to the company of those whose standards fail to meet even the demands of the “good moral persons” within His own society: He dined with political pariahs—tax collectors who collaborated with an occupying military force and sinners—those who kept neither the ceremonial nor the moral law.

It is often true that the longer we follow Christ, the fewer non-Christian friends we have. We enjoy the company of those who share our faith and values. We need to more carefully assess how our own friendship circle aligns with what Jesus did.

Recently our family was on a cruise and, on the last night, a young lady who had been our server asked me privately if she could ask a question. Evidently, she had listened to our table conversations as she brought food and observed our time of prayer at the beginning of each meal. Her question was profound: “How can I know which way is the right way?”

How can we answer spiritual hunger like that? Of course, I gave a verbal witness and have sent follow-up material. But the best answer can be given only in the context of presence. Jesus was present at the table with sinners and tax collectors. Rather than give them a lecture or sermon, He took time to be with them.

Once people know you, they can begin to trust you and open their hearts. In turn, you will have earned the right to be heard. So let’s draw a circle that takes them in!

A Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You ate with sinners and tax collectors for I now feel welcome at Your table. I see that my own sinfulness is not a barrier to Your availability to me. You welcome me into Your presence. {eoa}

Excerpted from Dr. Wood’s book, Fearless: How Jesus Changes Everything, available from Vital Resources. George O. Wood is the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

For the original article, visit georgeowood.com

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How Do You Leave a Church That Becomes Toxic?

How Do You Leave a Church That Becomes Toxic?

Two weeks ago, I shared several practical guidelines on how to leave a church gracefully. I wrote this because I hear so many stories about people storming out of churches because their feelings got hurt. But one astute reader didn’t appreciate my observations because...

Prophetic Word: There Will Be a Day of Reckoning

Prophetic Word: There Will Be a Day of Reckoning

“Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and...

How You Can Plead the Blood of Jesus in the Courts of Heaven

How You Can Plead the Blood of Jesus in the Courts of Heaven

You have an enemy. His goal is to keep you from entering a covenant relationship with God. However, once you do, his goal changes. He wants to make you doubt your identity, doubt God’s ability and keep you from walking in your purpose. He changes his accusations...

Why God Will Sometimes Hesitate to Give Your Mountain

Why God Will Sometimes Hesitate to Give Your Mountain

Recently, I was having a discussion over coffee with a group of friends when one of them asked the question: “Can you believe how much the world has changed in what seems to be a very short time?” My answer was: “Yes. Yes, I have no problem believing how much the...

8 Reasons for You to Speak in Tongues

8 Reasons for You to Speak in Tongues

If a person were to ask, “Why speak in tongues?” couldn’t we also ask, “Why pray?” The Word of God shows a definite value in praying with an unknown tongue. Jesus tells us that “it is necessary always to pray” (Luke 18:1, MEV). Later, in speaking of prayer, Paul...

What ‘The Jetsons’ and Cindy Jacobs Prophetically Got Right

What ‘The Jetsons’ and Cindy Jacobs Prophetically Got Right

Just as the 1960s cartoon The Jetsons depicted a future full of video phones, robotics and Google-style office space, some modern-day prophets have prophesied about a future full of exposing corruption, fighting for individual freedom and shining a light on truth. One...

The Blueprints for Building a Powerful and Abundant Life for Jesus

The Blueprints for Building a Powerful and Abundant Life for Jesus

Have you ever seen blueprints? If not, blueprints are detailed drawings, containing specifications approved by the builder of a home. A blueprint fully outlines the quality of the materials needed to build a stable and trustworthy home. For a Christian, the Bible is...

9 Reasons Why God Never Tries to Prove His Existence

9 Reasons Why God Never Tries to Prove His Existence

God is self-authenticating. He never tries to prove His existence because it is already evident through the created order. Since He is the only objective being, all other living and nonliving objects emanate from His creative fiat word hence all reasoning (different...

RECENT ARTICLES

Dutch Sheets Prophesies: The Evil Plans of the Wicked Will Boomerang Back

The events of last week have shocked many Americans. While my responsibility and calling is not to defend individuals or political parties, it is worth pointing out that what the Left did on 8/8,...
How Prophetic Evangelism Is Impacting Change in Today’s Culture

How Prophetic Evangelism Is Impacting Change in Today’s Culture

Dr. Candice Smithyman, host of Manifest His Presence on the Charisma Podcast Network, recently interviewed apostle Stacey Campbell, founder of Shiloh Global about how prophecy can impact today’s culture. Apostle Campbell is passionate about teaching young people and...

Prophetic Vision: Three Tables Are Set

Prophetic Vision: Three Tables Are Set

Recently as I was worshipping the Lord, I went into a vision where I could see I was in a dark and very deep valley. It was nighttime, and the valley was surrounded by tall mountains. On the top of each I could see the outlines of men and instinctively knew they were...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]