Be A Friend Of Sinners

As we begin the process of planting Taproot Church, one of the realities about the life of Jesus that stands out to me most is that he was–and still is–a friend of sinners. Jesus was continually found hanging out with the outcasts of his culture. The tables of tax-collectors, lepers, and sinners were the ones he frequented for his meal time (Matthew 11:19; Mark 2:15; Luke 15:2).

Yesterday I came upon this quote:

To put it simply, Jesus did not keep his distance from anyone who needed the love of God, whether they needed liberation from demons, healing of sickness, or forgiveness of sin. This was his mission from God, and it left him no room for protecting himself from being contaminated by the impurity or immorality of others.*

My prayer for Taproot Twin Falls is that she would be a people who befriends sinners. I'm praying that we would risk contamination to see the poor, the marginalized, the weak–the ones who need the love of God most–actually experience his love.

*Quoted from Jesus: A Very Short Introduction by Richard Bauckham. 

Inside The Heart Of Man

Do you trust people? 

I've found that it can be quite difficult to trust our fellow man. Too many times I've been deceived. To many times I've been made promises only to see them under delivered. Too many times I've made promises, only to under deliver. 

The Heart Is Wicked

The bible teaches us that the heart is not to be trusted.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? - Jeremiah 17:9

This passage is not talking about the physical organ that we know to be the heart. It's talking about our motives. The very core of our being that drives us. It's our heart. It's a part of us that we can't understand. I'm sure you've experienced this. Have you ever done anything that surprised you? Something that you didn't think you were capable of? I have. And it's because my heart is sick.

Jesus Knows The Heart Of Man

Jesus, more than anyone else, knows the hearts of humanity. When he lived on this earth, the bible tells us he entrusted himself to no one because he knew what was in the heart of man. He knew the deceitful nature of the human heart. 

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. - John 2:24-25

These people that Jesus did not entrust himself to were people who believed in him. They were people who followed him. Yet he knew they weren't in it for the long haul. He knew they were only following him for what they could get out of him. 

How many of you follow Jesus like this? You follow him to get out of him what you can, and once you've gotten it, or once things get tough, you're done. I've certainly been guilty. 

Jesus Changes Your Heart

The reality of this deceitful heart is something terrifying. It's a desperate situation that neither you or I can take care of on our own. We need something done to our hearts. Praise be to God, something has been done. 

The promise was made in Ezekiel:

And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh. - Ezekiel 11:19

This promise made is fulfilled in Christ. He took the wickedness of humanity upon himself, calls us to him, and transforms our hearts! In Christ, our hearts are no longer solid stone, but moldable flesh. 

Entrusted By Jesus

This heart change now makes you and I people to be trusted. Yes, still sinful, but no longer deceived like we used to be. It is the Spirit of God now in us that motivates the desires of our heart. Hearts that formerly delighted in rebelling against God now delight in obeying his commands. 

And now Jesus entrusts his mission to you and me.

Before he ascended into heaven, Jesus gave his disciples the command to make disciples of all nations. To bear witness to him. This Jesus, who once trusted no one to bear witness to him, now entrusts this rag-tag group to build his church! That's a big change.  

He continues to entrust his disciples with the same task. Make disciples of all nations. Bear witness to the risen Jesus. You and I can do this, not because of anything that we have done or even continue to do, but because of what he has done and continues to do in us.