The following blog post contains notes and application questions from our July 1, 2018 message, The Outsiders: Levi, the Tax Collector. This message is part of our series, "The Outsiders."
Have you ever felt like an outsider? Like everyone else around you knew someone else and you were all alone? Take heart, Jesus came to bring the outsiders in. As followers of Jesus, we are called to do what He did and invite others in. We get invited into the Kingdom of God, but then, if we aren’t careful, we forget to go back out and let others in.
Jesus seeks the outsider
- Mercy > shame
- One of the first people Jesus called to follow Him was one of the last people anyone would have expected.
- God loves people, all kinds of people; especially the sinful kind of people.
Jesus brings the outsiders in, to reach their outsider friends
- God saved you to reach your network.
- We’re not always comfortable hanging out with non-believers; we expect them to act like Christians.
- Jesus had time for people. He was interruptible.
- “Jesus spent His whole life engaging the people most of us have spent our whole lives trying to avoid.” -Bob Goff
- Be wise when engaging with people, and don’t be more irresponsible than Jesus was.
When you no longer desire to reach the outsider, you might be one
- Doctors hang out with sick people. It’s their job. As a believer, remember, you’re the doctor—but don’t catch a sick person's disease.
- There is a constant drift in our hearts to be just like the Pharisees.
- We all have an extremely powerful evangelism tool: kitchen table.
- When is the last time you had a nonbeliever at your table? Is someone more likely to accept an invitation to church or an invitation to dinner at your house?
- If you can afford it, get a table that is bigger than you need and let the empty chairs convict you.
If you’re listening and you feel like you’re undeserving of Jesus—we all are! And yet, He is calling you in. He has invited you to the table. If you are a follower of Jesus, be reminded of Jesus’ commitment to the outsider. Seek people out and bring them in to your table. If you are a believer and feel no burden to seek out the outsider, please acknowledge how your heart has been hardened. You have bought into a false Christianity as dangerous as the heresies you hate, a Christianity that is not consistent with the heart of the Father.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- Take a quick inventory of your last 30 days: how many times did you seek out an outsider? Did you seek someone out for the ultimate purpose of sharing the hope you have in Christ? Whatever your answer, don’t be discouraged, but rather, build upon it. Commit to seek out an outsider in the next seven days, share who that person is with your community group, and ask them to both pray for you, as well as hold you accountable to seeking that person out.
- List the top ten people in your network—family, co-workers, neighbors, friends, etc.—that don’t know the Lord. Pray for these people on a consistent basis, and establish a proactive plan to seek all ten of them out over the next few months.
- When is the last time you had a nonbeliever eat at your table? Invite someone who doesn’t know Christ over to your home for dinner in the next two weeks.