The Lord Jesus was a “friend of sinners”! He was! And I want to be too. From August 3-5 I will be leading a “Theology Matters” retreat with young people on this topic at Dayspring Bible Camp in Missouri.
In this six-part study we have already seen that we need a theology which undergirds our efforts to reach lost people. We need a theology of lostness, a theology of friendship, a theology of worldliness, and a theology of evangelism.
Let’s notice this morning a fifth theology which we need to rightfully be a friend of sinners like Jesus was and that is —
V. A Theology of REPENTANCE!
What we mean here is that we need a solid grasp of the great joy of starting over! Of admitting where we were wrong. The North Carolina preacher Vance Havner once said, “An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” We have many excuses for not being a friend of sinners — and we want to examine one of them in this post.
The great theologian Carly Simon sang, “I haven’t got time for the . . .” (she was singing about pain, but you get the point). “I’m too busy to get involved with unsaved people,” some Christians might say. “I’ve got church meetings, small group, mission trips (to reach lost people over the ocean), and I need to have some quality time for myself!”
Repentance is a change of mind and heart about a matter. The repentant believer says, “Lord, I’ve been wrong not to intentionally pursue relationships with lost people. I’m sorry, Lord. Please forgive me and help me be more like my Savior!”
Although there are a number of other excuses we Christians give for not spending time with sinners, this issue of time cannot be avoided. All of us have exactly 24 hours each day, right? Well, one scientifically-minded person wrote the following question to a website: “Why do we have 24 hour days if the earth actually rotates every 23 hours and 56 minutes?” One smart person responded, “23 hours and 56 minutes is one ‘sidereal’ day with respect to the stars, but by then the Earth is in a slightly different position in its orbit around the Sun, so it takes an extra 4 minutes to make one ‘solar’ day (the number of sidereal days in a year is exactly one greater than the number of solar days).” I didn’t really understand that much at all. But at the very least we can say that each of us has 23 hours and 56 minutes every day to experience. And to use.
Someone named Alice Bloch said, “We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves.”
The Lord Jesus intentionally spent time with the lost. He socialized with them, ate with them, fed them! He listened to their questions; He told them stories; He loved them. May I ask you, what are you going to do with your 23 hours and 56 minutes today? (to be continued)