Sermon – Banquet for the Bad Guys (Luke 15:1 – 15:32) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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The Gospel According to Jesus' Enemies

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Banquet for the Bad Guys

Rory Kinnaird, Luke 15:1 - 15:32, 9 June 2024

As we start a new series in our evening service, Rory preaches to use from Luke 15:1-32. In this passage we see Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners, and we hear the objection of the religious leaders to this. Jesus responds with three stories about how when something (or someone) is lost and is then found, the owner rejoices! But what does this mean for his listeners, and for us today? Does God really treat the worst of the worst that way?

Luke 15:1 - 15:32

15:1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering grounds to hear Jesus.

But the pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered. This man welcomes sinners and eats with them. Then Jesus told them this parable. Suppose 1 of you has a hundred sheep and loses 1 of them. Doesn't he leave the 99 in the open country?

And go after the lost sheep until he finds it. And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says rejoice with me. I found my lost sheep. I tell you that in the same way, There will be more rejoicing in heaven over 1 sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who do not need to repent.

Well, suppose a woman has 10 silver coins and loses 1. Doesn't she light a lamp? Sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it. And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, rejoice with me. I have found my lost coin.

In the same way I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of god over 1 sinner who repents. Jesus continued. There was a man who had 2 sons. The younger 1 said to his father, father, give me my share of the estate. So he divided his property between them.

Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country who sent him, to his fill at fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no 1 gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, how many of my father's hired servants have food to spare?

And here I am starving to death. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him, father. I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like 1 of your hired servants.

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, father, I've sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, quick, bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet, bring the fattened calf and kill it.

Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead. And is alive again. He was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the elder son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called 1 of the servants and asked him what was going on. Your brother has come. He replied, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.

The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father. Look. All these years, I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.

Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when the son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fat and car for him. My son, the father said, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.

Thanks, Chris. Well, good evening, from me. My name's Rory. For those who don't know me, I'm 1 of the members of staff here at Cornerstone. And, we're we're beginning a new series tonight, which is which is really exciting.

Let's let's pray as we begin. And then we'll get stuck in. Father, we thank you so much, for your words. And we thank you so much for the lord Jesus. We thank you for his, just incredible storytelling that we've just seen, but we also thank you that he is a truly glorious, lovely 1, who loves people.

And so we pray father that as we look at this passage, and as we think through the statement that we're gonna think through, we pray that we will be more in love with the lord Jesus Christ as a result. Pray for anyone here who doesn't know you yet. We pray father that the first time they might see who Christ is, who they are, and they may trust in him. And so we pray these things in Jesus' name. Well, you may have heard the phrase, many a true word is said in jest, or many a truth is said in jest, apparently, James Joyce wrote it in a in a in a poem or something like that.

And essentially it means that we we may make a joke, but actually when we joke, we might say something true. So for example, you might look at our our eldership, and you might say, well, they're at the, generally, a likeable bunch of elders. Apart from Chris Tilly. Right? And that that truth would suggest that he's not a likable person, and we shouldn't trust him.

So don't trust a word he says when he gets back up. No. He's lovely. That was an example. He's a great lad.

I love you, Chris. Okay? Or or or you might make a a slightly silly joke when someone keeps on forgetting things and you think you say, oh, have you got, you know, Alzheimer's or something? And then they could turn out that they do. And the in in the chest, you've made a stupid joke, but you found out there's actually a truth behind it.

Many a many a truth is said in jest. Many a truth is said in jest, not always on purpose, but also and I think what we're gonna see in this series is many a true word is said in irony. Many a true word is said in irony. There are there are many times where there are double meanings, that are said. Some sometimes someone will say something, without their knowledge, They they they they there's actually a greater significance to to the phrase that they think there is.

It might be an accident that they've stumbled upon a truth that they weren't aware of. And this series that we're going to look at is all about unintended true sayings. K? It's we got it from this book here. It's called The Gospel, according to Christ's enemies.

And it says, unintended statements of saving truth. Unintended statements of saving truth. And we're gonna look at Jesus' enemies. I'm gonna see that there are statements that Jesus' make that that Jesus' enemies make about Jesus and about what Jesus is about, about his gospel. And often what they are saying are meant to be criticisms.

They're meant to be slanderous against Jesus. But, actually, they turn out to be true. And that's what we're gonna see. The first 1 today, and it's brilliant. So I hope you're ready.

You're awake. Let's have a look at this. In Luke 15, we're introduced to 2 groups in the first 2 verses of Luke 15. You might have seen in the first group r verse 1, the tax collectors and sinners. You got the tax collectors and sinners on 1 hand, And our second group are the pharisees and the teachers of the law or or the scribes as other as other rare versions would have it.

Now if you know anything about your history of these times and how Jewish people view tax collectors, you will know that tax collectors are some of the most despised people in society at that time. They are seen as traitors to Israel. They're seen as the ones that have betrayed their people, betrayed their god and they've gone over to the Romans, and they started working for them by taking money off the Jewish people and giving it to the Romans. They're not the people that you wanna hang around with. I I I was I remember once looking up the most despised jobs today.

It's like, and apparently lawyers was once. If you've got any lawyers, no 1 likes you. Or or you think about people that take off you, you're parking parking attendants. Doesn't everyone hate parking attendants? Sorry to get some gripes of our chest here, but that's what they do.

When they they take our money and they give it to the government, the enemy, who no 1 likes these guys. Or or we've just been slapped with a load of DARFid Charge Fines. No 1 likes, though, whoever's running that business, is it a business? I don't know. Taking our money for going through a jolly tunnel, to go to the government.

That's what tax collectors are like to see worse than that. They're like the repo man. That the the the the people that you don't wanna have anything to do with. It's a job that we don't wanna know you if you've got it. And alongside those tax collectors, we put in the sinners as well.

The sinners are those who are morally questionable. The sinners are those who are against what people say is right. The sinners are those who are addicts. The sinners are those who are prostitutes. The sinners are those that you don't wanna have anything to do with.

I'm sure you can think of some people that you don't wanna have anything to do with. That's your first group. And then you got your second group, the pharisees, and the teachers of the law. These are the law abiding guys. These are the guys who know the law back to front.

These are the guys that you probably do want as a neighbor because they will do everything right. These are the people that are the cultural gatekeepers of society. They decide what you should say. They decide what is right. They decide how you should act.

If if you think about them today, because often we go, who are the who are these guys today? And, we might think religious people, but, really, the people today who decide these are our politicians, aren't they? It's our media who decide what we should believe and what we shouldn't believe. It's our celebrities and our intelligent academic people that decide what flags we should waive, what short what calls we should get behind. What things we can wear and say, do.

That's our second group. It's the religious, the self righteous. So what do we have with these 2 groups? Well, the first group you'll notice in verse 1, the ones that no 1 wants to know These are the ones you'll see are gathering around to Jesus. They're all gathering around to hear Jesus.

They're They're drawing close to him. They they they've seen something about Jesus that is just so attractive that he's like a magnet and they're they're they're being drawn towards Jesus and they're thinking, his words is different. He is so different to anything else. He's so different to that second group the way that he treats people is so different. He doesn't just judge us.

He doesn't just dismiss us. He doesn't just avoid us. That's not Jesus. Now he has time for us. He'll eat with us.

He'll teach us. So different. And when that second group see it, your notice in verse 2, When they see how Jesus acts towards these people that they believe are so reprehensible, They say this is totally unacceptable. Nope. The fact that Jesus eats with sinners that he hangs around with them, completely discredit this credits who Jesus is.

He's not worth following. If he's gonna hang around with those people, what does that make him? And so you'll notice that they start to mutter. It's a a sort of a grumbling. It's a murmuring.

It's a whispering negatively. You might have heard people around you do this. Did you see? Did you hear what he said? Did you see what he did?

All the see? That's what they're doing. I I actually remember being in in, working in 1 place. And if you're in the education sector, apparently, it's absolutely abhorrent if you support the conservative party. And maybe you think that as well.

I don't know. I'm not here to nail my public political colors to the everyone calm down. We're not gonna start a fight like that. I'm not following for Raj or anything like that. I'm not saying that.

But if you're in the education sector, you have to support Am I right, Paul? You have to support labor. They're for the worker. Okay? And and then I remember this this this teacher, I I won't say names or what she's, teachers.

But she comes into the into the staff room, and she said, did you hear about her? She sports the tories. And we were all meant to be a guest. Oh, how dare they? Oh, beast.

That's what they're like. And what is it that they say? What is the first thing that they say? Verse to this man welcome sinners and eats with them. And that is our first statement that we're gonna see because what they intend as a slight on Jesus is actually unintentionally and gloriously true.

This man welcome sinners and each with them. So let's have a look at this this statement. I've got 3 points They're very simple. First point sinners. First point sinners.

What does it mean to be a sinner? Well, Well, like the Faracies and the teachers of the law, I think it's more than just having the job that everybody hates. It's more than just being a parking attendant. And it's more than just being a questionably moral person. I think the reason why we see them as citizens is because it's so easy to spot that they're disobeying the rules.

But actually, being a sinner is so much more than that, and you'll see that throughout this passage. Because when Jesus hears what they're saying, he tells them 3 parables. I mean, it is a wonderful chat there is We could just spend probably forever just looking at these 3 parables. But you'll notice that in all 3 parables, What is common is that they're all to do with lostness. You have the lost sheep.

You have the lost coin, and you have the lost son. What does it mean to be a sinner? It means that you're lost. It means that you're lost. You may have experienced lostness before.

It's it's 1 of the most stressing thing. I remember I was I might have told you this of why I was driving home from Liverpool, and I was meant to be on 1 road, and I ended up on the m 5. And I was driving down there, and I was thinking, this isn't right. And this was before the time, young people, there was a time before smartphones. And you didn't have you had to rely on a map, but apart from the fact that I can't read a map.

I actually don't think I had 1, and I thought I had no idea what I was. I was get it was getting dark and it was getting late. My stress level started to get increasingly higher by the for some reason as well, I just carried on driving. I thought, well, if, you know, if you carry on driving, maybe you'll make it. Actually, I was going further and further away from London when I anyway, it's a scary thing.

That's what lostness is. Lostness is where where and it's particularly when it's dark, lostness is to be out of the light and into the dark. Lostness is to be, is to not know where I'm going and to be directionless. Lost is is is dangerous, because I'm not sure where I'm going. This happened, I mean, this popped since he had, we wanted to do 3 peak challenge.

We got lost on Scarfell Pike. It was probably 1 of the most scary times ever because we ended up on a ridge like this or just stood there. Actually, while I was on my knees, actually, because I couldn't stand on the thing. It was dangerous. That's what being lost is.

It's dangerous. It's directionless. It's distressed. And that's how Jesus is describing sin here. You may remember the story when a great crowd come and see Jesus, and he looks at them.

And what does he see? Whereas he has compassion, he says that he sees sheep without a shepherd. Sheep are incredibly thick animals. They need a shepherd. They need a shepherd to guide them without a shepherd They will get up to no good whatsoever.

They will get caught up in traps. They'll get murdered by beasts. They'll I could go we could go on and on about what will happen to stupid sheep. But, actually, the story of the sun shows you more about this lustrous. Doesn't it?

How is it that we have been that that that sit how is it that we've got lost? Well, look at verse 12 to 16, you'll see that the younger brother The youngest son goes to the father and says, give me my share of the state. In other words, Father, I don't want anything to do with you. I don't want him alive. I wish you were dead.

Give me my money now because that's usually what I get. The money when you die, so I wish you were dead, give it me I'm gone. And how does he spend that money However, he wants to. Spends it on Wild Living says I will do whatever I wanted. This is kind of what we see in judges.

Right? If you remember that this not to hop back onto judges too much, because that was quite a dark time, wasn't it? But judges shows us that people do what is right in their own eyes. And isn't that what the youngest son is doing? He's lost someone to direct him.

He's lost a king, and he's gone. I'm gonna go my own way. And it leads to him desperately starving, longing for home. But he's not the only 1 who's lost here. Did you notice where the older brother ended off in this story?

He also wasn't in the family home. He also is left outside. And so this loss, this you'll notice In verse 24, he's not just lost. He was dead. And again, in verse 32, he was dead.

The lostness leads to deadness. That's what lostness is. And this brothers and sisters, friends who are here, this is what sin is. This is the state of humanity. The state of humanity is that every single person has said, god, I don't want you in my life.

I don't wanna follow your rules. I'm gonna go out myself and as you walk out, you find yourself horribly lost in this maze that this world is. You find yourself in danger. You find yourself directionless. You find yourself to stressed and longing for home.

That's what's sin is. And we're all sin is every single person. The problem is, though, not everyone believes they are. Not everyone actually thinks they are. And so that brings me on to my second point welcomes sinners welcomes sinners.

That's the phrase is that this man welcomes sinners. And eats with them. The word also could be translated as receives or or or accepts them. And and what is the sign that Jesus is someone who receives and accepts and welcomes is, well, number what he's teaching them, but number 2, What does he do with them? He eats with them.

That is a sign of acceptance. I don't invite people over to my house who I don't like. Generally. It was great yesterday for the first time. I had Thomas and Ellie Gan over.

We had a bagel. I didn't say I hate you. Eat a bagel. No. I I I accept people.

I I welcome them in because I I'm warm towards them. And that's what that's what that's what it's saying. It's it's it's those who are welcoming them. And and and it's only those who are sinners though that Jesus is welcoming. Did you see this?

He doesn't say the righteous he welcomes. It's sinners that he welcomes And what does that welcome mean? It well, it means in the parables, what happens to all those that that are lost, they're found, and there is rejoicing. But it's only sinners. It's not righteous.

It is not the self righteous that Jesus is coming to welcome. It's the youngest son That is finds himself where at the end. He finds himself in the banquet. It's not the older son. Why?

Because because this. It's those who are confronted with god. As they're confronted with god, as they're confronted with the lord Jesus Christ, and as they see him, for all that he is, as they see him as he truly is, they realize just how sinful they are. Is that not the truth of this younger brother? The younger brother has gone out.

He's done whatever he wanted. He's got into the old pig, the pig sty. He's looked at their food, thought that looks good. Even that's good for me. And he thought, I have been horrible.

I have been stingy. I have been disgraceful, but my dad is 1 of the most generous dads in the world, and he and he looks after his servants, and he looks after his people, and and and how how awful I have been. I must go back. And what happens when he goes back is welcomed in? The older brother who who's left outside because he's thought I'm good enough.

I'm I've I've served you dad. I'm the 1 who's done everything for you. You haven't even given me a little cough to celebrate with my friends because I actually know what I did to do with your father. Yes. He's left outside.

Because he thinks he's good. He thinks he's right. The sinner is the 1 who is welcomed because the cent it's a bit like, you know when you think you're good at something? Like, sometimes I think I'm good at sport. And then someone comes along and they're clearly very good at sport, and I look rubbish.

Yes? Or or maybe some of you think you're clever. Probably not. You think you're clever, and then someone comes around and they're a genius. Oh, you might have heard the story about where, you know, everyone's heard of Eric Clapton.

Yes? Maybe not, young people, Eric Larson. He's Greg guitarist. The story goes that when he saw Jimmy Hendrix for the first ever time, he was blown away And he they found him out. I think I think it's someone would tell me if I'm wrong.

They find him outside with a cigarette in his hand looking in the distance, and they said, what's going on? He said, I've got to go and practice. Hendrix was so good. This is what Sinner is. A sinner realizes that they are not good.

They realize that they are lost. They realize that they are dead because when they see Jesus for who he is, they realize just how perfect and lovely and glorious and pure he is compared to us. And that's exact that is the that is the the story of many people in the Bible. If you if you go back to Luke chapter 5, you'll find that Jesus gets in a boat with a man called Simon. He says cast out your it's a great story.

He says, cast out your nets. And you say, oh, I've been fishing all jolly nights. And, but I've caught nothing, but because you've told me to do it, I will do it. And they they get the most the most incredible catch of fish that you'll ever see. So much so that the net start to break, and the boat start to sink.

And what's Peter's response? Oh, great. A load of fish. We're gonna make a load of money from this. No.

He gets on his knees. And he says away from me. I'm a sinful man. He he's confronted with the person of the lord Jesus Christ, and he realizes how pure and how powerful and how great and majestic he is, and he realizes that he doesn't compare so ever. He's like Isaiah in chapter 6 who goes and he sees just the hem of the of of the glory of god.

He sees the hem of his garment, and he says, woe to me. I am a sinful man with with sinful lips. He's like it's like Daniel who who's confronted with a vision of god and falls as if dead. He's like John in Revelation who falls as if dead when confronted with the great I am the lord Jesus Christ himself. He sees how how filthy he is.

And and it happens time and time again. Just take the theme of of tax collectors. Just take the theme of tax collectors. Levi. Listen in.

Who's Levi? Good. Well done. Levi knows himself. Levi who actually is Matthew.

In chapter 5, Jesus comes to him and says, come and follow me, and he follows him. And Levi brings him in and has a great banquet. And again, the charge comes to Jesus. Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? Levi is confronted with his himself, but he realized that Jesus is the 1 who is following.

I am a tax collector. I am a sinner, but I will follow Jesus. 4 chapters after 15, you get to chapter 19. You'll find another tax collector. He's a very small man.

Probably your size, Lucas. Maybe a bit taller named Zekaeus. Zekaeus is an abhorrent tax collector. He's a cheat Yet zacchaeus, when confronted with the law Jesus Christ gets at ease sinful, but he realizes that Jesus is where following and salvation come to the house of zacchaeus. But it's not just simple.

I mean, we could reel off all the simple people that God saves throughout, throughout the the Bible, but I'm not gonna do that because we haven't got all the time in the world, but There's loads and loads time and time again, but it's also those who appear moral. Nikodemus was a a a a a a pharmacy He is 1 who comes to know Jesus. He sees himself. He's confronted with himself because he's confronted with Jesus. His friend Joseph of Aramothea, And then think about Paul himself.

Yeah? Paul is like do you call himself the pharisee or pharisees or the Jew of Jews? He's the he's like the best. He's taught by the best. He knows the most.

He keeps the laws. He's zealous for god. Yeah. He says, that's rubbish. When confronted with Jesus, He calls himself the chief of sinners.

I am a sinner. I am the worst of sinners. And so sinful people, when they realize that they're sinful, are welcomed in by the lord Jesus. They recognize their true state as they're confronted with a holy god, and therefore they're accepted. Therefore, they're brought into the feast of god.

Therefore, they they they get the blessings of being with god. That's what happens with the son, isn't it? Son comes home, incredibly gets embraced by his father who who disregard all social norms and legs it out. It girds his loins. If you know what girding your loins means, if you saw Ben's sermon, why wrap your things up He legs it out to his son, and he embraces him.

It says come into the banquet, kill the fat and calf, and the son who recognize that he's a sinner is in the banquet, enjoying the the banquet. He doesn't deserve it. He doesn't deserve it. He knows he's a sinner. He knows he's royally screwed up.

Get by the mercy and grace of god he's welcomed in. That's who was welcomed in But if you've never never said I'm a sinner. If you've never recognized god for who god is, recognize Jesus for who Jesus is, then like the older son, you're outside the banquet. Outside of the welcome, outside of the acceptance. The preacher's spurgeon.

He had a sermon on this. I probably should've just read that out to you. It'd have been a lot more entertained. He's an he's phenomenal. But he says he says this.

It's quite a long, thing. But when the physician opens his door for those who are sick, Let me go there. When full of health, he can win no honor from me because he cannot exert his skill upon me. Does that make sense? The the the person who thinks he's got it all sorted doesn't go to the doctor and doesn't give him any glory because he doesn't think he needs healing.

The benevolent man may distribute all his wealth to the poor, but let someone go to him who has abundance and he shall win no esteem from him for feeding the hungry or for clothing the naked since the applicant is neither hungry nor naked. He doesn't need him. A man who was no sinner, if he could attain to heaven would glorify himself he would not glorify Christ. The man who has no stains may plunge into the fountain, but he cannot magnify its cleansing power for he has no stains to wash away. He has that no he had that he that has no guilt can never magnify the word forgiveness.

It is the sinner then, and the sinner only who can glorify Christ. And, hence, this man received its sinners, but it is not said that he receives any else. He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. He goes on to say this. Is worth reading just for how he speaks.

But allow us to amplify that phrase. This ban received its sinners. Now by that, we understand that he receives sinners to all the benefits which he has purchased for them. If there be a fountain, he receives sinners to wash their minutes. If there be medicine, for the soul, he receives sinners to heal their diseases.

If there'd be a house for the sick, a hospital, a house for the dying, he receives such into that retreat of mercy. It is sinners that all received. It is sinners that all received. He welcomes sinners. Who welcomes sinners?

Well, my third point, this man. This man. You can hear can can you hear the pharisee say this? This man. But this man is the man.

It is the lord Jesus Christ himself. It is the 1 who when Paul says he's the chief of sinners in in 1 Timothy chapter 1, he says in verse 15, Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. Christ, Jesus, came into the world to save sinners. Of whom I am the worst. What an incredible sentence that is.

This man. It is this man who like the woman comes and searches diligently to find the lost. It is this man who is known as the good shepherd who leaves the sheep to find the sheep that is lost. It is this man who is the true elder brother. I don't know if you I don't know.

Dean prayed this this morning. He is the true elder brother. It's a great book called The Prodigal God. I don't want anyone seen this book before. It's wonderful.

So simple. But Callar's point is that a true elder brother would not have been stayed at home, basically happy that his younger brother had left. A true elder brother would have been sent out. A true elder brother would have gone out of his way to go and find his younger brother. I am 1 of 4.

And I am the youngest brother and the best. No. Steven's the best. Look at him. Alright.

Well, I think I I think once I went riding off of my bike, and I rode somewhere I shouldn't have rode down on the main High Street. As I was riding along, there I see my brothers come down to get me. You're in you're in trouble. I was a very young. That's what older brothers should do.

They got out of the way. And they find the younger brother. And that's what Jesus does. He leaves the family home. We've seen this in Philippians too.

He leaves the the riches of heaven and comes to this world to find lost people. Lost younger brothers. He's a true elder brother. He's the 1 who in chapter 19 was the key that says for the son of man came to seek and to save the lost. That is the heart of the lord Jesus Christ.

The heart of Christ is to go out and to find lost people. Some people call him the hound of heaven. He goes he pursues That is the father's heart, the father wants to to find lost people that are so distressed and are are like, are sheep without shepherds. That's his heart always. Not just sometimes.

It's always it's to the very end so much so that we're confronted in in a few chapters in chapter 23 with Jesus on a cross, and there is another simple man there. The thief next to him. He's wrong. He's a sinful man. He says.

Look, we're punished justly for for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But he looks to Jesus, and he's confronted with a pure 1 and says, wow. He's glorious, even though he's pull up on that cross. He's he's glorious. And look how sinful I am.

This 1 has done no wrong yet I have done wrong. I am a lost dead. Sinner. And so as he sees him, he sees that this is the 1 that welcomes sinners. And so he says to that thief, The thief says to the lord, Jesus Christ, sorry.

Lord, remember me. Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And Jesus welcomed sinners and with his hands outstretched pissed with nails, but hands that are outstretched that welcome sinners in. Says today. You will be with me in paradise, hallelujah.

How good is that? That Christ welcomes sinners in this man. This is the 1 that accepts. This is the 1 who received. This is the 1 who has his hands outstretched to welcome you in.

And it's not because you're good. It's because you're a sinner. What? Incredible grace. Amazing grace.

Amazing grace that does what that saves a wretch like me. That says I will die for you so that I can bring you into the greatest banquet imaginable, just the chapter before chapter 15. It says here is the banquet, and it's those who are rubbish in chapter 14 who get into the banquet. It is the sick It is the lame. It is the poor, but the righteous ones stay outside of the of the thing.

Make all sorts of excuses just not to be in the banquet, but Jesus says, I will die. To bring you into the greatest party of your life, don't ever say Christianity's boring. It's a great party. And the greatest thing about the party is the lord Jesus Christ, the host of the party stands in the center, and welcomes you in, even though you have no right really, to be in that party apart from the nail wounds in his hands. And so we sing with the hymn writer to god be the glory.

So loved he the world that he gave us his son. Why? Who yielded his life, an atonement of sin, and open the life gate that all make a win, praise the lord. Her perfect redemption, the purchase of blood to every believer the promise of god, the vilest offender. You dirty rotten sinner.

The virus offender who truly believes That moment from Jesus, a pardon received praise the lord, praise the lord. So where are you? Where are you? Do you know you're a sinner? You see Christ.

Look at him. He is gloriously pure and perfect and wonderful. And majestic, seeing for who he really is, and then see that you are a lost and dead sinner, Don't don't keep on denying it. Don't keep on saying I'm not because you're gonna be outside the party. But come, know him, know his healing hands, know his welcome, know his acceptance, know him that he receives you.

And and you might be here going, well, look, you don't know what I've done, Rory. I am apt horror show. Do you know that's the point? You are a horror show. That's the point, but Jesus died for horror shows like me.

Who is the worst. So come, know him, be found, come into the family home, come into the feast and be welcomed by the lord Jesus Christ. I do not Christian, I hope. Hopefully, you're still up with me. I hopefully, you're not asleep.

This is really good news. And do you know there's great assurance in this? There's great assurance in knowing that Jesus died rose again and ascended and is in heaven now interceding for us, and that we are constantly being welcomed into the feast. That's an amazing thought, isn't it? You who get it wrong all the time.

You we might think that might mean you think, oh, gosh. Well, I've I've absolutely rejected them again. Maybe it'll kick me out of the feast. Yet Jesus never does that. The father, the son, and the Holy Spirit constantly moved towards you in welcome.

You'll always be in the feast. So praise god for him. And as you praise him, never take your eyes off him. That's what we should that's the best thing about the that's why I said the best thing about the banquet is that Jesus is there. See him.

Love him. Know him. Understand him. And as you understand them, you know, what's gonna happen, you're gonna understand that you're a sinner even more. It's a weird thing, isn't it?

As Christians, we wanna kind of feel more sinful. That sounds heretical. But not not that not that we wanna be more sinful, but we wanna see Jesus even more so that he's so glorious. And as we see how glorious is, we we more and more so our our hearts will be exposed for who we are. But do you know what that does?

It drives us back to Jesus. And as we try driven to Jesus, And as we understand him, then we pray that our sin and our desire for sin will weaken because someone greater is in front of us, Christ himself. So understand Jesus, understand yourself, and then understand Jesus all over again. This man welcomes sinners and eats with them. Praise god for the lord Jesus Christ.

Why don't you take a minute now? Just have a reflection on what we've heard, and then Chris will bring us to a close.

Preached by Rory Kinnaird
Rory Kinnaird photo

Rory is a trainee pastor at Cornerstone and oversees our Youth Work with his wife Jerusha who is also a youth leader.

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