Outline: Jesus calls Matthew the tax collector to follow Him. What Jesus' call was for; our need; His call to us; cleansing; power to live in obedience. Presupposes background knowledge.
|Theme:||Cleanse, purify; Obedience; Saviour of Sinful Men; Repentance; Life of Christ; Leaving old way, begin new way; Satan (the devil); Power of God / Jesus|
There was a man named Matthew who sat in the place of customs gathering taxes from the people. He had a good job. He had enough to eat every day.
One day while Matthew was sitting in his place, a man passed by. His face showed that he was a good man. He said to Matthew, "Follow Me." Matthew got up and left his money and began to follow Him. Matthew invited Him to his house, and other guests came in with them.
Why did Matthew wish to follow this man and leave his money? Because this man was not like us. There was in Him a strength that was not in any other person. When He spoke, words came from His mouth that people had never heard before. He it was Who created us, for it is written: "Without Him was not anything made that was made." He was Jesus Christ, Who came to this earth to make us ready for heaven.
He said to those who were sitting in Matthew's house, "I did not come to call the righteous (good people), but sinners to repentance." He knew that all of us had sinned. He did not say, "I know that you are in great trouble. Some of you are slaves. Some of you are poor. Some of you are sick. The Roman people are oppressing you." He knew that the Romans made it very hard for some of them. [Lest this might be mistaken to mean the Roman Catholics, perhaps you can get around it in areas where they are known -- say "another government" or something like that]. But He said nothing about this. He knew that they had an enemy which was much more dangerous than the Romans. He knew they were needing something much more than food. He knew the Romans had power to hurt them only in this world, but Satan could take them to everlasting hell. Christ wanted to give them words that would help them to be free from Satan. He knew they needed bread to eat, but they needed much more, something for their souls. For this reason He said to them, "I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger." He did not mean their bodies would not get hungry. He wanted to satisfy their hearts.
Matthew did not return to his work. He stayed with Christ and His friends. He went everywhere telling people about the power and love of Christ. He wanted all his people to believe on Jesus and receive this peace in their hearts.
My friends, Christ is still with us. We are not able to see Him, but we know He is with us. He died, but He rose from the dead. He said He would never leave us if we receive Him. He calls us today as He called Matthew. Will you follow Him? You must leave your sins, but He will help you. He will cleanse the sin from your heart and place His Spirit in your heart. He will give you power to obey His words. You will not want to leave Him, because He will fill your heart with joy and peace.
He is now preparing a wonderful place in heaven for those who believe in Him. He is coming back some day to take them there. Afterward there will come terrible calamity upon those still living on the earth who have not received Him. Where will you be at that time? Will you be sent to the place of fire? Take care that you will not be among His enemies. He will pardon you if you will repent now, but when He comes, it will be too late.
Matt. 9:9; John 1:3; Matt. 9:10, 13; John 6:35; Heb. 13:5; John 14:2, 3