A Hospital For the Wounded and Weak
Sermon Reflections from A Hospital for the Wounded and Weak | Alex Hardt | February 5, 2023
In Sunday’s message, Pastor Alex focused on the who Jesus came for and why he came. The passage in Luke 5:27-32 opens with Levi being confronted with Jesus and responding to his invitational command to ‘follow me’. When did you receive Jesus’ invitation to follow him? If you know him as Savior, at some point you decided to follow Jesus. Many who have known Jesus for a long time, since childhood, have difficulty pointing to an exact time when they decided. However, if you see the fruit of your decision – the desire to learn more about Him, to tell others about Him and Serve Him, then don’t let the timing bother you. Have you considered why you said yes? Was it an emotional response to a call from a pastor, was it during a bible study or was it from seeing God’s grandeur in nature? God can and does use all of these situations to lead us into the realization that we need Him! The realization that we are sinful and cannot be holy through any efforts of our own comes from Him. We can never be good enough in and of ourselves. When Jesus calls us and we realize that He is connecting with our heart, mind and soul, then we respond with a resounding YES! Our hearts connect with His love and tenderness, and we encounter His lasting forgiveness. When this happened to Levi, he dropped everything, left his corrupt lifestyle and stepped out in faith to follow Jesus. Levi was undesirable and looked down upon by both Romans and Jews. Yet, Jesus singled him out and called him. The definition of grace is the undeserved favor of God. Levi had not earned God’s favor in any way and yet, Jesus chose him. Each of us who responds to Jesus are sinners undeserving of God’s love and forgiveness, and yet, like Levi, God calls us to himself. I love Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We see in our passage Levi’s response to God’s grace was to drop everything and follow him. That is how it has to be, drop everything and follow Him. He is worthy of all our praise and love and is more valuable than anything or anyone. What do you need to drop this week in pursuit of Jesus? Where can you make time for prayer, study of His Word or fellowship with other believers?
We see from the passage that Levi wanted to tell everyone about his new found love for Jesus. He hosted a large dinner party at his home. It is significant that he did not try to do this secretly but openly invited all those he knew. The Pharisees who criticized the disciples of Jesus about why they would lower themselves to associate with tax collectors and sinners were probably not coming inside to eat with them. They would not have wanted to be defiled by eating in their presence. They would have stood outside the home and spoke with the attendees from outside. In Luke 5:31-32 “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” Jesus was not suggesting that the Pharisee’s were healthy in their faith but that those who realize they need a doctor, someone to save and cleanse them, are the ones Jesus came for. Following Jesus requires a repentant open heart. Levi had been open and recognized his sinful nature and became a follower of Jesus. The result was a change of heart, mind and body towards his whole world. 2 Corinthians 5:17 describes this change succinctly, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! Doesn’t that sound like what happened to Levi? Peter writes and gives us the why of this miraculous transformation in 1 Peter 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Knowing and following Christ changes us because we have new hope, a new life and a new forgiven perspective in Jesus! Praise God!
Pastor’s last point was that Levi experienced joy in this new found life with Jesus. Likewise, we find Joy in Jesus. Sometimes this is not easy as we have many things in the world that would seek to rob us of this joy. Difficult circumstances, hardships, painful relationships, death of loved ones, sickness…., the world is filled with things that would love to take away our joy. Satan works overtime to defeat our joy filled walk with Christ. He cannot take away our salvation but he can destroy our witness and rob us of joy. To counteract this, one must put things aside, and immediately follow Jesus. Focus upon Him and the provision he provides for us spiritually (indwelling of the Holy Spirit), emotionally (a home in heaven, salvation assurance, hope) and physically (casting away our sins, providing for us in so many ways). Scripture is filled with verses that seek to uplift and remind us of who God is and how much He loves and cares for us. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Nehemiah 8:10b “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” Regardless of your circumstances is your attitude like Habakkuk’s in
Habakkuk 3:18? “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
When we choose to follow Jesus, joy comes and we need to learn to be open to it, accept it whenever and however it appears with gratitude and grace, knowing it is from Jesus! Levi did and he was mightily blessed and blessed those around him. He continues to bless us as we read his story and share in his joy.
Know that just like Levi, Jesus came for you and me and died to bring us into His forever family. We now have a new life, a new perspective and a new hope in Jesus. Following Him brings it to us with joy an abundance! Praise God!
The Unknown Love | A Hospital For the Wounded and Weak
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Sermon series, "The Unknown Love " Today Alex Hardt share how to Christ is A Hospital For the Wounded and Weak
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