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Who are you following?

Matthew 9:9-12

Mark 2:14-17

Luke 5:27-32

I remember when I was a Freshmen college student at God’s Bible School and at that time I was singing in the quartet and it was a great blessing because it took care of my school bill. In that quartet we would travel almost every weekend and go to churches all the way from New York to Oregon, and from Florida to Minnesota! And before we would take out on these trips it was always my responsibility to make sure the van had fuel and the oil was o.k. I remember one weekend we were headed out for the weekend and the President at that time was Dr. Bence C. Miller. Here I was a freshman out checking the oil in the van and Bro. Miller wanted to ask me a few questions and after all he was my leader so I thought I should do {what I could} to answer a few questions! And here is how our conversation went! He said, "What you doing Sonny?" (He always called me Sonny) I said... Well, Bro. Miller I am checking the oil on the van?" He said, "No no, I mean who is going with you?" Well, Bro. Miller, Don Davison is our representative for the weekend," Then he said, "No, No, I mean where are you going?" And I said "well we are going to Columbus In." Do you want to go with us? "No, No, No, it’s o.k. it’s o.k." and he wandered off to his mansion across the street. He was my leader....but I’m not real sure, on that day, if he knew where he was going!

Who are you following?

The passage that I read in your hearing this morning talks about a follower, a leader, and a response to leadership!

As an opening line this morning I would like to say that if you are a leader, you are one who understands that with the package of leadership comes awesome responsibility!

{Annual meeting...went well!}

In looking at this story there are two key figures...one being Jesus and the other being Matthew, the Tax collector. In this story publicans, Tax collectors, sinners were synonymous! (Car salesmen, lawyers, sinners) HA! This story also has a group of ‘holier than thou’s’ and they are the Pharisees!

That gives us a little background into this story so let’s split it up into three parts and see what it is that God wants to teach us this morning through HIS word!

First of all....

I. Jesus Called v.9

Jesus’ words to Matthew the tax collector were "FOLLOW ME!"

A. Why do you suppose Jesus called Matthew? I think it could be summed up this way....Jesus called Matthew to follow Him because Matthew, the publican, the tax collector, the sinner, was following the devil. In this day and age nothing has changed! Jesus still calls. Christians who are true representatives of Christ are calling out to sinners as well! That’s why we meet here every Wednesday evening at 7:00p.m. to pray for sinners. Jesus still calls by His Holy Spirit–through Christians.

B. Why do you suppose Matthew answered the call?

I believe Matthew answered the call because Matthew knew that Jesus can give happiness, holiness, and Heaven. And my friends that is why men, women, boys, and girls, are still coming to Jesus today ......because deep down inside they want to be happy, holy, and go to

Heaven!

I. Jesus Called

II. Jesus Ate v.10

I know some of you have been working hard to lose some weight and some of you have put your money ahead of your mouth and the competition is building to see who can lose those pounds the quickest! Competition is good! You know .... Jesus ate as well. But it is interesting to take a look at the crowd that he had gathered round Him at this meal. My question to you this morning is.... "When was the last time that you sat down to eat with the express purpose of eating with sinners?"

Did you notice the question that came to the disciples? The Pharisees now enter the story...those self righteous, holier than thou, group of synics, and they enter the story with a question "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"

Is that a good question?

Someone said that there is no such thing as a bad question but in this case I totally disagree. These Pharisees, these holier than thou, supposed God followers were asking a question they had no business asking! You see the real work of the church is not when we get together for a church picnic.....the real work of the church is not accomplished by patting a fellow saint on the back......the real work of the church is not when we smile at each other because of the fact that we have a lot of the same values....the real work of the church is done when individual Christians take it upon themselves to make friends with sinners! Not to the point of joining them but to the point of leading them to Christ! When was the last time you sat down with a sinner? When was the last time you had someone question your so-called better judgement because of your dealings with sinners?

I. Jesus called Matthew

II. Jesus ate with sinners

III. Jesus Saved Matthew and He still saves today! V. 9

"Jesus saves, he still does, he’ll make of you, something new, cleanse the sin that was, the Holy Spirit whispers, no more must you be enslaved, just remember, Jesus Saves!"

If you are not careful you could miss the main point in the story. All three books that tell the story of Matthew the tax collector never mention his response in word but in Luke’s gospel we do see some action. In Luke 5:28 it says when Jesus spoke the command "Follow Me" the response was, "Matthew left all, rose up, and followed Jesus." Now if my observation is on target, and if being a publican, tax collector, and sinner is one in the same, when the scripture says that Matthew left all that means he stopped following the devil and started following Jesus. I can hear Matthew saying, like Bro. Rowan Fay said in camp meeting last year....

"I’m connected, WOW!"

That’s what happens when old things pass away and behold all things become new!

Back in 1830, George Wilson was convicted of robbing the U.S. Mail and was sentenced to be hung for his wrongdoing. President Andrew Jackson issued a pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it. The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, who concluded that it would be necessary for Wilson to be executed. This is what the Chief Justice said..."A pardon is a slip of paper, "the value of which, is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged."For some, the pardon comes too late. For others, the pardon is not accepted.

For Matthew, the tax collecting’ sinner all that was required of him was to follow Jesus and leave his sin behind!

1. Jesus Calls

2. Jesus Ate

3. Jesus saves He saved Matthew and HE can save you too! Who are you following?