Grace Community Church

Messy Mercy and Morphing Methods

Given on July 31, 2022 by Brett Helvie
Scripture: Matthew 9:9-17

Why were the Pharisees upset that Jesus was dining with Matthew and his friends? What criteria were they using to determine who was acceptable to God and belonged in his kingdom? How does Jesus calling Matthew the tax collector challenge their thinking of who was “in” and who was “out” of God’s kingdom? What criteria was Jesus using?
Read Luke 18:9-14. Are there any people or groups of people that you naturally tend to look down upon and who end up on your personal, “I’m so glad I’m not like them!” list? Are there any things we can do or ponder that will help us move from looking at people with “contempt” (or “haughty eyes” – Prov 6:16) to seeing them with Jesus’ eyes of compassion and mercy?
We can use the Bible as a mirror to point out where we personally need to grow and change or as binoculars to criticize and point out where others need to change. Which approach do you tend to use? Do you have any friends that are “tax collectors and sinners”?
What “litmus tests” do you use to determine if someone is a genuine Christian? (For John’s disciples it was regular fasting) Can you support them from Scripture or are they a personal application/passion that you may be turning in to a universal rule for every believer? How can understanding that spiritual growth is a lifelong process allow us to view others more mercifully?