The Church That Welcomes Sinners
When Jesus was teaching, the disreputable people of the town gathered around him to be close to him. The respectable people, in this case the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, wouldn’t go near Jesus in case they ended up touching or having to talk to one of those people.
Like today, there were many religious teachers in Jesus’ day. However, one of the things that most marked out the ministry of Jesus in the eyes of his contemporaries was that he welcomed sinners, and he expects his church to do the same.
We often say that we welcome sinners, but do we really? Or do we wait to welcome them only once they have repented, reformed, and been transformed? Do we only welcome presumed “ex-sinners”?
God’s purpose for his church is that it be a place where sinners are welcomed: not acceptable sinners, not mild sinners, not reformed sinners, but actual, real-life sinners.
We can get very focused with our churches. There are some churches who are for older folk, while others are out to attract young families with children. Some churches unconsciously target middle-class people, and some churches work with the poor. But what if your church were simply a church that welcomed sinners? What would that look like? Would you still like to go?
Of course, we’re all sinners, but I’d like you to think of someone who would be considered a “public” sinner by your church. How can you personally do something practical to reach out to that person in love?
By Dr. Eliezer Gonzalez
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