Sinners, Missing The Mark, Oh If You Only Knew…

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Today I woke up realizing the grace of my God in a new way.  He is been so good to me throughout all of the seasons of my life and I have seen my share of mountaintop experiences and moments of desperate need, darkness, and despair.  This guy has seen a lot but Jesus has been with me all along the way.  He has been so faithful to one who deserved none of it, none of His Faithfulness, none of His Mercy and certainly none of His Love.  I am a redeemed son of the Living God and like the leper, blind man, crippled man and yes even as Lazarus, a dead man, I will always and forever give Him all of my praise, all of my worship, all of my adoration and all of my love to the One who alone is forever worthy.

We are all sinners, do you understand that?  No, I mean really, do you guys understand the fact that we are all sinners?  Well, we are, all of us.  The Word of God says in Romans 3:

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight.  He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Earlier in the chapter we see where Paul talks about how lost we all are before encountering the saving grace of God in our lives:

all people, whether Jews or Gentiles,[c] are under the power of sin. 10 As the Scriptures say,

“No one is righteous—
    not even one.
11 No one is truly wise;
    no one is seeking God.
12 All have turned away;
    all have become useless.
No one does good,
    not a single one.”[d]
13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
    Their tongues are filled with lies.”
“Snake venom drips from their lips.”[e]
14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[f]
15 “They rush to commit murder.
16     Destruction and misery always follow them.
17 They don’t know where to find peace.”[g]
18     “They have no fear of God at all.”[h]

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The bottom line is that we are all lost and without hope of rescue.  Not just the person who is caught up in the most offensive forms of lifestyle living which we could not imagine to degrade ourselves to.  The LGBT community is lost but they are no more lost than a career Christian who denies the power of the Risen Savior in their lives and practically owns stock in a particular church.  We are ALL sinners.

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Sinner is such an ugly word though is it not?  I mean, as Christians, we think of it as describing  the outcasts and the dregs of society.  We thank God that we do not live our lives as sinners do.  I know, I was one of you.  I used to wear my self-righteousness as a banner of favor or as some kind of trophy that I had been given by God Himself.  I was so religious and so condemning of those who refused to accept the truth.  God was surely going to send them to hell if they rejected Him.  Well, was I in for a rude awakening…

What does it mean to be a sinner anyway?  What are the first thoughts that come to your mind?  An evildoer, a wrongdoer, a criminal, a miscreant, a rebel, a lawbreaker, a felon? By now, I think that you get the picture.  Well, this is what Jesus understood, he saw a person who had lost their way.  You know, imagine this for a sec, a person gets ready for a journey and then sets out on the path to their destination.  Somewhere along the way they make a wrong turn and they end up going the wrong way.  After hiking for hours they realize that they are nowhere near where they wanted to go.  They are lost.

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Jesus mentioned the sinner in many ways but more often than not did not refer to them as a sinner but simply as a person who is lost.  The parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost (prodigal) son attest to that.  We are like the people described when it is said in Matthew 9:36, When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

We are all in the same condition without Christ, lost.  To sin, when you break down the definition into the original simply means to miss the mark.  Imagine you have a bow and arrow and you are given the responsibility to hit the bullseye several yards away.  You try and you try but you keep missing the mark.  It is truly frustrating to keep missing the mark and so some of us just quit trying or we aim at finding fulfillment in other things. Some of those things can on the surface look good and some of the things that we may shoot for are the worst things that we humans could ever strive for.  Yet all of them are sin or better put, missing the mark.

God sees all of us as people who are lost.  We need to see the world as Jesus sees them, not so much as the stereotypical American Christianized definition as being dirty and reprobate sinners but as people who have sincerely lost their way with no way of finding their way back to their One and Only Love, Jesus Christ.  When we are allowed to see the rest of the world the way that Jesus has always seen them, we will then be able to do what Jesus did when He was moved with compassion and acted.

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Look at this story from Matthew 20, this is the type of lost people that Jesus came to redeem:

29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”

34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Wow, this is the Jesus that the world needs to know about today, the kind of Jesus who is moved with compassion for all men and all women to be drawn to him. I will leave you with this story about how Jesus reached out to the lost (sinners) of His day.

The book of John in chapter four records a beautiful encounter that Jesus had with none other than a Samaritan woman.  Just think about it when you go to get lunch today or just a drink of water down the hallway at your job.  Jesus was moved with compassion to reach out to:

A)  A Samaritan – who were hated by Jews, they were half-breeds and no better than dogs  in the eyes of Jews

 

B)  A Woman – simply put, women were not even considered as people to Jewish men.         As a matter of fact the prayer that all Jewish men spoke every morning was this:

              “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me a woman.”

 

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And yet, here is the Savior of the world about to set things right in the life of this inquisitive woman.  John 4 begins…

Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.[b] She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,[c] where our ancestors worshiped?”

21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus told her, I am the Messiah!”[d]

27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

 

Jesus said, oh woman, “if you only knew, if you only knew Who you are truly having the honor and privilege to speak to, I am He.  I am the One that your heart has been thirsting for.  Come to me and ask me and I will gladly give you living water, the water that your soul is longing for.”

That is the heart of Jesus for all of us who miss the mark (sin) all of us who are lost (are sinners).  Oh, if we could only be the reflection of Jesus to this lost and dying world.  We are called to be His light, His Hands, His Feet, His Arms and His Shoulders to a world of people who are missing the mark left and right.  They need the forgiveness of God because they do not know what they are doing.  It is our job to tell them about this great Love, this loving God who means everything to us.

Oh, that Samaritan women left her jar filled with water right there next to the well by Jesus and she did not just casually walk back to her village but RAN back to her village and told EVERYONE. “Come and see a man who told me everything that I ever did!  Could He possibly be the Messiah?”  Yes, yes dear woman of Samaria, yes dear people of the earth, He is, the Messiah has come and His arms are open wide and ready to welcome of all you lost sons and daughters back into His bosom.  He loves us all that much, oh if you only knew…

 

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