a. He showed you He can visually by cleansing the leper.
(i) He showed He was willing by reaching out and touching him. (ii) He is also willing to touch your soul and cleanse it, if you’re willing to
b. He showed you He can explicitly when He forgave the paralytic.
(i) He saw his faith and declared his pardon. (ii) He went on to heal him to show that what He said was true. (iii) If you come to the Lord in faith, He will also forgive you.
2. Jesus not only can forgive sins, He’s the only way you can be forgiven.
a. He alone has made the payment. b. He alone can reconcile you to God.
1. The Bible is clear that you must come to Jesus for forgiveness; but it’s equally
clear that if you would come to Him, there’s something He must do first: a. He must call you.
(i) Not just outwardly, through the Gospel. (ii) But inwardly in your heart.
b. You can know that He’s called you – through the power of a changed life. c. And you can know, if He hasn’t yet, that He is – through the sense that you
2. This morning, let’s consider these three things.
A. First, if you would come to Jesus for His forgiveness, He must first call you.
1. We read that Jesus left the house and went to the seashore (v. 13).
a. He went there to teach the people – they followed Him, and there He
b. But He went there for another reason:
(i) This is where the ships would land and load and unload their cargo. (ii) This was also where the tax office was located, since tolls needed to be
(iii) More specifically, this is where the Lord would find Levi, also known as
c. We really don’t know how much Matthew knew about Jesus.
(i) Jesus’ ministry was just getting underway – it’s possible Matthew hadn’t
(ii) None of the Gospel accounts show that there was any contact between
Jesus and Matthew, as there had been with Jesus and Peter, Andrew, James and John before He called them.
(iii) He was just working when Jesus walked up and said to him, “Follow
Me!” And when he heard His call, he immediately got up and followed Him (v. 14). (a) This was Matthew’s call to the ministry; but it was more – this was the
(b) This was the day God’s choice broke into history.
(1) This was true not only of Matthew, but of all Jesus’ disciples. He
said to them, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain” (John 15:16).
(2) Those whom the Lord chooses, He calls.
(A) Not just outwardly – by giving them a command they might
(B) But inwardly – a call that would change their hearts and the
whole course of their lives, as it now would Matthew’s.
2. The Lord must call you before you can come to Him and receive His
forgiveness. a. Merely hearing the Gospel is not enough – your heart must be changed. b. The Lord alone can do this through His sovereign call.
(a) He was spiritually dead when Jesus called him – all he was concerned
about was making sure no one brought anything in or out of the country without paying their taxes.
(b) But once Jesus called him, all he could do was follow Him.
(ii) This is what He must do for you, if you are to be saved.
(a) He must overcome the hold sin has on your heart; He must change
(b) He can do this, no matter how bad you are.
(1) Tax collectors were the most despised men on earth – they were
rarely honest and collecting taxes for the Romans didn’t make them too popular either – and yet the Lord called Matthew and saved him.
(2) Paul was a self-righteous Pharisee and persecutor of the church –
and yet the Lord called him and saved him.
(3) Don’t ever think that you’re too bad for the Lord to save. (4) Even if you’ve had a terrible past, the Lord can still save you, He
B. Second, how can you know that He’s called you? You can know through the
evidence of a changed life (v. 15). 1. Matthew’s life was transformed:
a. For one thing, he immediately left his tax office and followed Jesus. b. For another, he began trying to bring others to Jesus.
(i) He prepared a meal at his house and invited Jesus, His disciples and the
(ii) He also invited his friends – the tax collectors and sinners.
(a) He invited the worst of all men – tax collectors were oppressive, they
extorted money, they took bribes, they falsely accused, just to get more money.
(b) An honest tax collector was so rare in the Roman Empire, that when
Sabinus – a tax collector who maintained a clean reputation in that office – died, they honored him with this inscription: “Here lies an honest publican”, i.e., tax collector.
(c) Matthew invited them because they needed to hear Jesus and the
Gospel, even though he would likely be hated for it.
2. You can also know that you’ve received this call when your life is changed.
a. When you’re willing to leave everything to follow Him.
(i) When you’re willing to give up whatever He tells you. (ii) To go wherever He tells you to go. (iii) To do whatever He calls you to do.
b. You can also know it through the desire to bring others to Jesus.
(i) Not just because He commands you to do this. (ii) But because your love for Him and your neighbor will compel you. (iii) If the Lord has called you, your life will be changed.
C. Finally, how can you know if the Lord is calling you to salvation? You can know
when you begin to see your sins and your need of Jesus. 1. Jesus said He came to call sinners, not the righteous.
a. When the Pharisees saw Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners, they
b. Jesus said it was because these were the ones who needed Him – these
sinners – not the righteous. (i) He didn’t mean there were any righteous in themselves – all have sinned,
all have fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23) – but there are those who see themselves as righteous, who don’t see their need for Jesus, such as these Pharisees.
(ii) He also didn’t mean that everyone who is a sinner will necessarily see
(iii) What He meant was that He came to call those who see they are sinful
2. If the Lord calls you by His grace, He will also show you your need.
a. He will show you your sin. b. He will show you what your sins deserve. c. He will make you concerned, concerned enough to reach out to Him.
(i) Has He opened your eyes to the truth? (ii) Has He changed your heart and the direction of your life? (iii) Do you love Him more than any other – so that you’re willing to do
(iv) Do you love your neighbor as yourself – so that you want to see them
(v) If so, then prepare to come to the Table – to thank Him and to ask Him
for more grace to excel in your new direction.
b. But if He hasn’t, then humble yourself before the Lord, admit your sins and
your need for His mercy. (i) As long as you believe yourself to be well, you will never come to Jesus.
If you do, may the Lord wake you up to your sinful and dangerous condition before it’s too late.
(ii) If you are already awake, but haven’t come to Jesus, come to Him now. (iii) He didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners – those who see their
(iv) He waits to be gracious; He waits to minister to your need; all you need
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