How did Jesus Interact with Sinners?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Reformed, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Reformed

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    In another thread there are some who believe that Christian business owners, and those who agree with them, are not displaying the love Christ by their unwillingness to do business with homosexuals under certain circumstances. They pointed towards Jesus' public interaction with sinners as an example as to how Christians are supposed to act. Let us take a look at that, shall we?

    Matthew and Mark recount the same event in their gospels. I will cite Mark:

    Mark 2:14-17 "As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.
    And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Jesus sharing a meal with sinners was not the same as condoning or participating in their sin. Jesus ate with them because He used the opportunity to proclaim to them the gospel of the kingdom. It was out of this group that Jesus called one of His disciples, Matthew (aka Levi). Matthew gave up his sinful lifestyle and followed Jesus.

    In John's Gospel there is the familiar story of the woman at the well:

    John 4:7-26 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

    Jesus chose to engage this woman in conversation; a shocking thing since she was a woman and a Samaritan. Jesus spoke to her about "living water", a euphemistic description of eternal life. But further down in the passage Jesus revealed this woman's desperate need for forgiveness from her sins. He exposed her adulterous and immoral lifestyle. She had multiple husbands and was presently living in fornication. Jesus confronted her with her sin. The story concludes in verses 39-42 with many of the Samaritans coming to faith in Christ. Since no one can be saved without turning from their sin (repentance), it is reasonable to assume that Jesus exposed their sin as well.

    As Christians we are to follow Christ's example. We should talk to sinners -- all types of sinners. We should not fear to talk to homosexuals. We do not need to celebrate their lifestyle in order to introduce them to Christ.

    Now, I do not think that serving a homosexual person is celebrating their lifestyle. If a homosexual goes into a Christian-owned coffee shop and orders a latte and bagel, the shop owner is not violating his conscience nor condoning the homosexual's lifestyle by serving them. But a Christian business owner's conscience could be violated if they believed they were celebrating or condoning unbiblical behavior by baking a wedding cake or catering the wedding of a homosexual couple.

    One poster inferred that it would be hypocritical for a Christian baker to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple, yet not have any qualms about someone who was getting married because of adultery. Apples and oranges. It is quite obvious that a couple are homosexuals if the wedding is between two women or two men. The business owner does not even need to ask any questions. The head piece of the cake will give it away. But a man and a woman who are getting married may never admit that one of them recently left their spouse.

    And what of the double standard? If the wedding was between two satanists, would there be anyone who would criticize the Christian business person who refused to participate by offering his services? I seriously doubt it.

    The Christian business owner who refuses to participate in an ungodly event is not spreading hate. That same business owner may display charity towards homosexuals and adulterers alike in almost any other setting. But let him protect his conscience and even some Christians will accuse him of hate.
     
    #1 Reformed, Mar 3, 2014
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  2. JamesL

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    In reference to the OP, Jesus didn't call anyone to "turn from sin" before He pronounced them forgiven. Not if you use "turn from sin" in reference to stopping a particular behavior. He always pronounced them forgiven BEFORE He said "Go and sin no more"
     
    #2 JamesL, Mar 3, 2014
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  3. JamesL

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    I typically don't delve into this arena, simply because most of those on either side are there on political grounds rather than theological grounds.

    The bible references are usually nothing more than a cover to bolster a position that has been reached already. It amounts to scriptural abuse in many cases, even if the person has the right view.


    If we want to get into hypothetical examples, there are some subtleties which can really get nit-picky.

    Suppose a gay person wants to buy a cake from a baker? Should the baker refuse?
    What if the cake is a wedding cake for the gay person and his/her lover?
    What if it's a birthday cake for a child who is being raised by a gay couple?

    What if a gay couple comes into an ice cream shop? Should they be refused?
    What if they want to order one ice cream to share? Does that make a difference?
    What if they have two kids? Would only the parents be refused?

    If more professional athletes "come out", should we boycott all sports? What if it's the owner of a team who comes out?

    Should there be a difference between providing a service for vs. accepting service from a gay couple?

    What if you call a painting company, and they send out a flamboyant guy to do prep work?

    What if you go to have your taxes done, and you find that the CPA is in a same sex relationship? Should you let them do your taxes?

    What if a Christian is in in a bad car accident on a lonesome highway? The only people who stop are a gay couple. Should we refuse to let them take us to a hospital?

    What if a Christian was the only one who showed up to an accident, and it's a gay couple in the car? Should the Christian refuse to take them to the hospital? Would that be considered condoning their lifestyle if they live and continue in their relationship?


    There are probably a million scenarios which could be raised, to show the inherent difficulties of trying to draw a line in the sand.

    I don't condone the lifestyle, for sure. But I also don't condone some of the things I've done since becoming a believer.

    The error most people make is making judgment based on only one brand of perverted behavior.

    There is a scriptural distinction between the inner man and outer man, the spirit and the flesh. The inner man of a believer is righteous, no matter what he partakes in with his flesh.

    Gays have a perverted desire to be with someone of the same sex
    Pedophiles have a perverted desire for 7 year old girls
    Thieves have a perverted desire to take things which don't belong to them
    Gluttons have a perverted desire to eat 3 times more food than what they should
    Drunks have a perverted desire to be inebriated.
    Adulterers have a perverted desire to cheat on a spouse
    Murderers have a perverted desire to kill people
    Gossipers have a perverted desire for what we call "drama"

    Where most Christians are hypocritical is in refusing to acknowledge that all of these perverted desires are simply the flesh desiring what is abhorrent to God.

    We cannot "choose" what our flesh desires.

    A gay person doesn't choose to desire a same sex partner, any more than a 420 pound person chooses to desire donuts and twinkies.

    The choice is in whether or not one gives in. Both the glutton and the gay are reveling in the flesh. Unfortunately, one has been embraced within the church, while the other is rejected.

    THAT is where the hypocrisy lies. The gluttons and gossips are in the church, saying that God hates gays, all the while giving in to their own desires of the flesh.
     
  4. Reformed

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    James, I am not trying to make a political point. I am trying to make the case that a Christian business owner has every right to act according to his conscience, so long as he does not sin by doing so. You are right to point out all the possible scenarios, which only bolster the argument of being bound by conscience.

    In the absence of a direct command from scripture, all any of us can do is to answer for ourselves. Speaking only for myself I would have no problem serving a homosexual in most business settings. Where I would make a distinction is if I believed the business transaction crossed the line between business and the appearance of condoning something that was ungodly. Using the catering example; while I would not cater a homosexual wedding reception, neither would I cater a Klu Klux Klan or neo-Nazi event. While Scripture does not explicitly prohibit such commerce, my conscience does.

    So really, that is my point. Unless it can be proven that an action is inherently sinful, how can we condemn those who act according to conscience?
     
  5. Reformed

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    Let me add that church history teaches that there many Christians who are willing to compromise on matters of conscience. The Donatist controversy is one such example. What Christians should do is not always what they will do. I struggle with that issue myself. I am not immune.
     
  6. JamesL

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    There are a few possible applications here, I suppose.

    It sounds like a political point that the government should not be imposing on Christians that we must serve this person or that person. With this I agree, but it has nothing to do with anything theological.

    It should go much further than Christians vs gays. I believe if someone doesn't want to hire me, even if it's because of my race, age, sex, or religion, that's their prerogative. I don't believe they should get in trouble for discrimination because they have a preference in who they wish to hire.

    If a business owner doesn't wish to serve me a plate of food because I'm a Christian, that should be his right.

    I believe discrimination should be allowed to go both ways, not one way. If people wish to boycott a certain business, they are allowed - for any reason. There is no law which restricts me from boycotting Kosher products if I so desire. There is no law which requires me to shop at a Mexican food store. I can refuse if I want, on any grounds that I want.

    By the same token, if a business wants to boycott Christians, or gays, or white people or black people, it should have the right. What's good for the goose (people) should be good for the gander (businesses).

    I was fired form a job once, for a silly reason. A friend thought I should be up in arms about it. My take on it was this: I'm allowed by law to quit them on a moment's notice, for any reason I desire. If that's my right, it should be their right too. If I can quit them for no reason, they should be allowed to quit me for no reason.

    Like I said, this is more of a political issue than a theological issue. Scripture doesn't address the issue of whether or not we should, or must, or should not, or must not cater to someone of a different persuasion.

    We cannot condemn them, but we can point out the folly of their position.

    Their fight for the right to refuse service is political, just like the fight to force them to provide is political. And if that's the case, that's fine. They should have the right to refuse - on political grounds. Make the fight about the right to discriminate, regardless of religious persuasion.

    But as soon as the fight becomes clouded with Christian overtones, it is on the cusp of highlighting an enormous amount of hypocrisy in Christians.

    What if someone tried to force Chik-fil-A to open on Sundays? They close for religious reasons, but that would not be the proper grounds to fight on. The proper ground would be the individual right of a business owner to run his business as he sees fit. Just like a barber choosing to close every Monday. That should be his right, whether his reason is religious or not.
     
  7. Iconoclast

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    Jesus never lost sight of the will of the Father or the means which he ordained to accomplish that purpose.
    He was a friend to sinners.
    He displayed a full range of emotions.
    He could be gentle with a bruised reed, he could be stern with false religious persons.
    He had a way of focusing in on each persons sin,and need.
    He always spoke the truth ..in love.
     
  8. Reformed

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    James, the political part is on the side of the government. After all, they are the one's passing laws. The Christian response is on the side of conviction (what does scripture command) and conscience (what does scripture infer).
     
  9. Reformed

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    Anthony, praise God that Jesus displayed His love to wretches such as us!
     
  10. JamesL

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    I understand the government's part in the whole thing. All I'm saying is that "Freedom of Religion" is absolutely the wrong platform for most Christians to argue from. From the standpoint of this nation and its constitution, is a matter of individual liberty - not religious freedom.

    Most Christians who try to make this an issue of conscience are, in fact, being hypocritical toward one faction of sinner.

    When is the last time a Christian refused to serve food to a glutton? Oh, wait. Statistics show that most Christians are gluttons.

    Here's a link to an SBC Life article - http://www.sbclife.org/Articles/2007/01/SLA8.asp

    Here is one quote from it:
    Here's another link - http://www.examiner.com/article/obesity-america-study-shows-christians-more-overweight

    As one obese friend of mine says, "You don't get to weigh over 300 pounds unless you like to eat." He understands it, and revels in it. Just like the flamboyant homosexual, there are many believers who flaunt their gluttonous lifestyle, and sit comfortably in a church pointing out at all the "sinners" with an air of condemnation.

    Honestly, it makes me sick.
     
  11. OnlyaSinner

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    When Jesus asked the woman who was there to condemn her, she replied, "No man, Lord." In that context, her use of "Lord" indicates, to me anyway, that she had come to a saving knowledge of Christ, and it was on that basis that Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn thee." Zaccheus addressed Jesus as "Lord" in the same fashion and went on to demonstrate that his wallet had been saved along with his soul. Those examples aren't ironclad proof, but scripture is firm in noting that eternal forgiveness of sin comes only to those who receive Christ as Savior.

    Note: This is a side point, as I pretty much agree with what you've posted.
     
  12. Yeshua1

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    excellent post!

    To add a few points....

    Didn't jesus also tell the woman caught in adultery that hr forgave her, didi not judge her for her behaviour, but also to "go and sin no more?"

    Didn'r paul state that if YOU regarded something, due to convictions/preferences, to be sin, it would be as to you sin to do that?

    And why won't those same persons claiming that we cannot be showing love of chrsit if we refuse to participaye in their cermonies have the logic to extend that to saying pastors MUST perform wedding ceremonies if asked?

    I see this being the front assault to gettingit to the end game where NO church/pastor/christian will be allowed to voice any concerns on homosexuality, no preaching against it as sin, and no way to refuse gay weddings, as that would be 'homophobia", and seems that many in church would see all of that as being "christ like loving them!"
     
    #12 Yeshua1, Mar 4, 2014
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  13. Reformed

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    We must keep company with different types of people. I have never once argued over this topic based on constitutional grounds.

    But it is not about just homosexuals. The homosexual issue is the one that is gaining traction in the press and the courts.

    You are trying to make a moral equivalence between gluttony and homosexuality? How do you determine whether a person is a glutton? Besides that non-issue you have just raised, most Christian business owners are not refusing to allow homosexuals to be customers. If a homosexual walks into Hobby Lobby, he/she is not asked to disclose their sexuality. They bring the items to the register, pay for it, and leave. The same for racists, bigots, adulterers, pagans, satanists, et. al. But if the racist asks the Christian business person to cater his Klu Klux Klan event, would it be hypocritical of him to refuse? I would really like for you to answer that question.

    Sounds to me like you have a friend who has issues far beyond his obesity. I sure hope you are trying to help him.
     
  14. Reformed

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    1 Corinthians 10:27-30 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

    James 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

    We are dealing in the realm of "what ifs" at this point. The reason I believe this is a matter of conscience is because of the complexity of the issue.

    I know a man who owns an Italian ice wagon. He sells his product at corporate events, fund raisers, and as a street vendor. A local women's rights group was holding a fund raiser for Planned Parenthood a few years ago during the time when the Susan Komen charity temporarily stopped supporting the nationwide abortion provider. The women's rights group wanted to hire this man's Italian ice wagon, with a portion of the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. This man is a Christian. Can you guess what his decision was? I do not even need to tell you, do I? He was not going to fund infanticide.

    This same man parks his van during the spring and summer on a busy street in his city, which is about 300 yards from the Planned Parenthood center. Planned Parenthood employees are regular customers of his. Does he refuse to sell to them? No. Why not? Because selling them an Italian ice on a hot summer day is not equivalent to supporting abortion. In his opinion selling Italian ices at the fund raising event would have been supporting abortion. Is anyone here going to disagree with that?

    Surprisingly he received no push back when he said no to the woman's rights group. They wound up hiring an ice cream vendor instead.

    This man acted according to his conscience. Is he a hypocrite for having done so?
     
  15. JamesL

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    You're right. It's about gays and abortion. The two sins which are supposed to be so much worse than hypocrisy. But Jesus had stronger words against the hypocrite than anyone else.


    The issue is whether or not a Christian should be allowed to refuse to provide a service which he perceives as helping gay people to celebrate their lifestyle.

    But if he serves food to a 460 lb. person who rolls up in a scooter because they're so fat they have a hard time walking, then he is helping that glutton celebrate his lifestyle.

    THAT is what makes him a hypocrite. Not the one act of refusal, but selective refusal against only one brand of sinner and not others.

    And yes, there is absolutely a moral equivalence between gluttony and homosexuality. They are both perverted desires of the flesh. I listed a few equivalent types of sinner in a previous post. The pedophile is no worse than a liar. The homosexual is no worse than the thief.

    Your flesh might desire something totally different.

    It would be hypocritical if he refused to serve a Ku Klux Klan event, while not refusing to serve an Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson rally. That's not a religious issue at all.

    The hypocrisy lies with the double standard.

    You're right. His obesity is simply the manifestation of giving in to a perverted desire of the flesh.
     
  16. JamesL

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    But that's where your argument should be. We aren't a Theocracy, we're a Democratic Republic.

    Christ never called us to change governments and magistrates in order to have a more righteous society. He has promised that things will go to hell on this earth before He comes to establish righteousness.

    If we try to go about making this world a better place through our own brand of government, it is effectually arguing that we don't want Christ coming back. We can do it just fine on our own.

    If you want to make governmental changes, you do so as a citizen - apart from calling it Christian.
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    Because they were not much of an issue in His day. If you think hypocrisy is worse that the slaughter of unborn children then you have a serious issue.

    Apparently even Christians have become desensitized to abortion. Sad
     
  18. JamesL

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    What's really sad is that Christians have become desensitized to more "subtle" sins like gossiping, gluttony, pride, jealousy and such, all the while making mountains out of only a couple of pet peeve sins.

    I agree that many Christians don't give a hoot about abortion, or homosexuality. But the failings of those warped people in no way gives us cause to elevate two or three sins higher than others (including our own).

    And it doesn't give us the right to embrace a "lesser" sinner while rejecting others with what we perceive as greater sin.

    Anyone who tries to categorize sin into varying degrees ought to be ashamed of themselves.
     
  19. Yeshua1

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    Abortion, "gay rights", jesus just a way to heaven, God accepts all sincere religions etc

    And the beat keeps going on!
     
  20. Yeshua1

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    god Himself stated that pride/self rightousness and Homosexuality are all sinning of a degree beyond just being 'equal to all other sins!"

    An unmarried man and woman will fonicate, which is sinning
    but when 2 gay men do same thing, even worse sexual sinning, as against natural order and a perversion!
     

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