It is not the first time I've heard the "Jesus lived among sinners" argument whenever someone tries to justify going to places Christians aren't supposed to be going to or at least should consider twice before going. I've heard it from both non-believers and Christians alike. So if you're ever invited to a place where you know God is not honored and you're invited not to preach the gospel and transform people's lives but just to enjoy it as much as the world does, here are some questions that should be answered along with a refutation of the use of the argument.1. Why are you going to that bar/party/club/concert/R-rated Movie/etc? With what purpose?
2. How are you any different from those surrounding you in said place? Remember be are called to be different, to be in the world but not of it.
And now the refutation.
Yes Jesus dwelt among unbelievers, but if we read scriptures correctly this is what we see:
"While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.
And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.
Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. " Mat 4:19-22
"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.
And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." Mat 9:9-13
Mat 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
John 4:9-26 (The Samaritan Woman)
But then we read something important about these sinners Jesus hanged out with:
"What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' And he answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him." - Matthew 21:28-32
Jesus didn't go their bars and parties to hang out with them and be their bestfriend and then hopefully get them to believe in Him, no he called them out from where they were unto Salvation. These sinners believed Him to be the Messiah they had heard of and knew the implications of it and why he had come. Jesus dwelt among them because they were diseased with sin and needed the cure of Salvation.
"And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." Matthew 9:11-12
The pharisees were sinners just like the publicans and prostitutes and just like you and me, but they didn't think they needed a Saviour they trusted in their own righteousness. But our righteousness will not hold in the day of judgment, because our best of "good" works are as filthy rags before the Lord. That is why we need an alien righteousness as John MacArthur once said, Christ's righteousness which is imputed unto us when we repent and put our faith in Christ, and thanks to said alien righteousness we are Justified before the Lord.
"Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
Although I must confess that I have failed at inviting these old friends of mine out to lunch or coffee, in a neutral ground, with the purpose of preaching the gospel to them. Something to ponder on for when I finally get my driver's license.