In our text today, we discover Jesus extending an invitation to Matthew to follow Him. This tax collector immediately left his table and followed after Christ. One of the very first things we find Matthew doing is entertaining other sinners in his home for them to meet Jesus.
Of course the religious leaders, the Pharisees and teachers of the Law could not believe that Jesus would eat with such individuals, a house full of sinners. However, that is the very reason for which the Son of God came to earth, to deal with man’s sin problem and make a way for man to be forgiven and reconciled to God.
In His conversation with another sinner, Jesus told Nicodemus, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17)
For those who have never responded to Christ’s invitation to follow Him, the invitation is open to you. For those of us who have already responded, hopefully we will learn about inviting those who need Christ to meet our Savior.
No doubt we have all heard, read or said, “With friends like these…..who needs enemies.” Just a casual reading of the book of Job could make you wonder if that phrase did not begin with Job.
With the situation and miracle that we read in Matthew 9:1-8 (also in Mark 2:1-13 and Luke 5:17-26) we would most definitely see the need to change the phrase to state, “With friends like these I am truly blessed.” The four friends of the paralytic would stop at nothing until they took their friend in need into the presence of Jesus. They knew that only Jesus could meet the need of their friend and regardless of the energy, cost, embarrassment, or ridicule they took their friend to Jesus.
We all have friends that have many needs, but the greatest need is the one that is reveal in Matthew 9:2, and that is the forgiveness of our sins. Only Jesus can forgive us of our sins. Many here today have experienced the wonderful forgiveness of sin in salvation and in daily life, but what about our friends that have never had that personal experience of forgiveness. What are we doing to bring them to Jesus? What effort or cost are we willing to pay? Are we willing to pray daily? Are we willing to take the time out of our busy schedules and meet and share with them?
Where would we find ourselves if it were said of us, “With friends like these…”
The question was once asked about Jesus, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the waves obey Him?” Not only has Jesus proven through the demonstration of power that He has authority over nature, as we learned last week in A Word to the Storm, but He also has power and authority over Satan and sin.
In today’s passage, we have a picture of what Satan can do to people.
John 10:10 says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Satan is a thief, and his ultimate purpose is to destroy you. He seeks to destroy your life, your home, your marriage, your children, etc.
For that very reason, the Apostle Peter tells us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (I Peter 5:8-9)
But the good news is that Jesus has a word for the enemy, Satan and his demons, and we are going to learn, not just about the impact and influence of the enemy but about the sovereign authority of Jesus our King over the unseen spirits of evil.
In this sermon, we come to one of my favorite events recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In the story, we discover that the disciples were caught in the middle of a very severe storm. In fact, it was so severe that even as experienced fishermen they cried out, “Lord, save us!”
No doubt these experienced boatmen exercised all of their expertise and skills in an attempt to survive the storm, but they were eventually overcome and finally in desperation they turned and called on Jesus.
There are some incredible truths in these few verses that offer great insight in how to face the storms of life. It has been said well, “You are either just coming out of a storm or you are about to enter into a storm.”
James 1:2 tells us, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Notice that James did not say “if” but “when”. We all experience storms in life. The real issue is how will we encounter the storms we experience.
Hopefully, we all will discover how to face our storms with the promises, presence and peace of Christ, as we look at today’s message. One word that you may want to hide in your heart is Psalm 46:1-2a, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.”