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Jesus Hung Out With Sinners So Often, He Was Accused of Being One!

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

Decades ago, after the Holy Spirit lit my fire for God and evangelism, I intentionally began hanging out with non-Christians. Once I was on a very large boat owned by a man I’d known from childhood, who had a terrible reputation. We were coming through a channel out into Lake Michigan and wouldn’t you know it, but my mother-in-law and a group of her church friends watched, stunned as I passed them, not 100 feet away, out on the deck, with a drink in hand!

Of course the next time our family was together, she just had to know what I, a Christian was doing hanging out with this guy and his friends on a party boat. I tried to make light of it by reminding her that as an evangelist, that boat was a “target rich environment.”

“Well, be careful. You hang out with people like that and ‘other people’ (meaning good, church-going Christians) will think that’s the kind of person you are.” I didn’t want to argue with my mother-in-law, so I just dropped it.

“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’

On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Matthew 9: 10-13

So why blog on this topic, at Christmas? Because many of us are going to office Christmas parties, or gathering with non-Christian friends and neighbors in the next few weeks. So, I’ll share some advice with you, that I gave our grandson Max when he headed off to the University of Michigan. “Max, before you head off to a party or any gathering of non-Christian friends, remember who you are. You belong to God, therefore you have a mission from God to be the salt and light in that crowd. You aren’t better than them. But your mission is to represent Jesus well. You’re not just our grandchild, you’re Christ’s brother. Guard our family and his family’s reputation well, and win the right to introduce Jesus, your brother to them.”

So, in the next few days while you’re still in your car, about to head off to a holiday party, remember who you are, and who you represent and pray this prayer; “Holy Spirit, give me spiritual radar for the one person you want me to begin building a redemptive-relationship with tonight.”

Then confidently enter into your mission field. “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” Matthew 9:37, 38

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