Radical Christianity Part III | Luke 5:27-32

YouTube video sermon

Jesus did not come to save the righteous, he came to save sinners!


Luke 5:27-32 ESV After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” (28) And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. (29) And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. (30) And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” (31) And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (32) I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

  • We are now on our third sermon in the series titled “Radical Christianity”. And today we are going to talk about how the religious leaders thought that Jesus was keeping the wrong company, He was spending time with the wrong people, He was hanging out with the wrong crowd.

*Bring up the Title Slide*

  • So first we talked about how Jesus was accused of healing the wrong people…
    • Then we talked about how Jesus was accused of the wrong theology, claiming to be God and offering fogginess to ANYONE.
    • And today we are going to talk about Jesus being accused of keeping the wrong company.
  • Have you noticed something in this series? When people talk about radical Christianity they often talk about Christians bombing abortion clinics, protesting Pride parades, or being overly Holier than Thou. But in this series… it seems like we keep going back to loving the unlovable, doesn’t it?
    • And really that is radical Christianity, I hope we are all starting to understand that by now… the truth is, radical Christianity is following ALL of God’s commands, including the commands to love EVERYONE, even our enemies.
    • Show me a Christian who opens his home to the homeless, visits prisoners in jail, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, and visits the sick… That’s a radical Christian! And there are far to few…
      • A radical Christian is someone who truly believes John 3:16… that Christ died for the WORLD!
      • A radical Christian is someone who is willing to go into the world and be all things to all people so that SOME might be saved.

1 Corinthians 9:20-23 ESV (20) To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. (21) To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. (22) To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. (23) I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.


  • I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
    • Paul had found a treasure of Great worth, hadn’t he? And he wanted to share that treasure with others so they too could enjoy it.
      • The great thing about the treasure of the gospel is that it is the one thing that grows in value as you share it with others.
    • Paul understood that, and so did Levi (who would latter be known as Matthew)… and that is why Levi left EVERYTHING behind to follow Jesus, and he did all he could to bring others with him…

Point One – Jesus Calls People Indiscriminately

Luke 5:27-28 ESV After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” (28) And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

  • Jesus calls people to follow Him. All kinds of people. Jesus does not discriminate in His calling. Jesus call’s people indiscriminately.
  • April 16th was tax day..
    • Now when it comes to taxes I find that there are really two kinds of people… people who file their taxes as soon as possible, and people who file their taxes as late as possible.
    • I find that those in the first camp, people who file early, often LOVE tax season… why? Because they are getting a return!
    • And those who file as late as possible, they tend to HATE tax season… why, because most of the time these are the people who owe money on their taxes…
      • I am in the second camp, I filed on Monday, the last day to file… And I eneded up cutting ol’ uncle Sam a huge check…
        • And ugh…. THAT HURT.
      • But regardless of what kind of tax season person you are, I think we can all agree that it just stinks to pay taxes… weather you pay it in a lump sum like we did this year, or you pay it out of every single paycheck you take home… it’s just no fun.
      • In fact, the IRS headquarters in DC, amazingly enough, has an amazing 2.7 Stars on Google Business reviews… even though twice as many people gave it 1 star as did gave it 5, I suppose there are some people who understand that taxes are a necessity and do a lot of good for our nation when used properly…
    • But imagine if you KNEW that the IRS was actually stealing your money. Not just taxing you, but actually stealing from you.
      • That’s what Tax collectors did in these times, they would purposely over tax you and literally pocket the extra. And there was nothing you could do about it.
        • If they didn’t like you, they could tax everything away from you just for fun.
      • They were a wicked group of people who almost nobody liked (except for other tax collectors).
      • Some commentators actually propose that Tax collectors were as hated then as Nazis are hated now!
    • Yet Jesus called a Tax Collector, the most hated people in society… Jesus called Levi, the Tax Collector, to follow Him.
      • You see Jesus doesn’t discriminate whom He calls.
        • In fact, just off the top of my head here are a few people Jesus specifically called in the New Testament…
          • He Called here Levi, or Matthew, the Tax Collector.
          • He Called a woman caught in adultery and about to be stoned to death.
          • He Called a woman who was married 7 times and now fornicating with a man.
          • He called Paul, a man who made his living imprisoning Christians and watching them be murdered.
          • He Called Zacchaeus, another tax collector.
          • He called a woman who was called someone who “lives in sin”, most likely a prostitute.
          • And lastly, while not from the New Testament but still important, He called me… a snot nosed teenager with abundant sins and addictions.
        • I said it before and I will say it again, Jesus does not discriminate… not base on age, race, background, education, culture, sin… NOTHING. Jesus calls indiscriminately!
        • There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, and there is no discrimination either! Hallelujah!
      • So Jesus calls this tax collector, Levi, without discrimination… and look how Levi responds…

Luke 5:27-28 ESV After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” (28) And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

  • Levi left EVERYTHING.
    • The guy was sitting at his desk, at his job… and he just gets up and leaves everything!
    • You don’t just walk away from a government job y’all! He had no recourse, everyone hated him and if he were to be wrong about following Jesus he would have nowhere to return.
      • Yet he left everything, his job, his life, everything… and of course we know how that turned out for him… he ended up writing the first Gospel! What a blessing to be called to such a high honor.
    • You see Jesus doesn’t discriminate who he calls, I believe that Jesus calls everyone… I think that is pretty easy to gather from the following three verses:

John 3:16 ESV For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

2 Peter 3:9 ESV The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Joh 6:44  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

  • Let me recap these three verses for you… God so loved the WORLD… that’s everyone. God is not willing that ANY should perish but ALL should come to repentance…
    • So God loves the world and want’s everyone to be saved…
    • But only people who are called b the father can be saved…
    • Therefore, if God want’s everyone to be saved and only those called can be saved then I think it is fair to conclude that everyone is called.
  • And I truly believe that, church, I believe that everyone is called… but many reject the call. I don’t think God forces anyone to come to Him… Jesus certainly did not force Levi to follow Him, yet Levi Chose to follow Him…
    • Matthew could have stayed there at that tax booth and stayed Levi for the rest of his life, he could have died in his sin and spent eternity away from God in the eternal lake of fire… that was his choice… but Levi chose Jesus! Amen!
    • I chose Jesus too! And I hope all of you have chosen Jesus too! If not, make today the day you chose to leave everything behind and follow Jesus!
  • And Levi did more than leave everything behind… that brings us to point two this morning:

Point Two – We Should Be Bringing People to Jesus

Luke 5:29 ESV And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them.

  • You see, Levi did have friends… but all of his friends were other Tax Collectors! So, finding the Christ, Levi does what is only natural… He throws a big party and invites all of his friends, the tax collectors, to sit with Jesus!
  • Now, this is a point that often get’s twisted in order to justify sin, so I want to talk about it a little bit.
    • Yes, Jesus dined with sinners… yes He spent time with sinners… but here is one thing Jesus never did with sinners… Jesus never sinned with sinners.
    • Not only that, but look where Jesus did His ministry. He did His ministry in homes, in public places, and he did a lot of ministry in Synagogues, I.E. churches.
      • We never see Jesus going to a bar, or a brothel, or a strip club, or anything like that… and these places absolutely existed at the time… but Jesus did not go there.
      • Again, Jesus did His ministry in homes, in public places, and in churches…
    • YET TIME AND TIME AGAIN I HEAR PEOPLE SAY “Well yeah I go to the bar every weekend… but I mean Jesus hung out with sinners right?!”
    • “I mean, I want to reach the unreachable, so I have to go to were they are… right?!”
    • Y’all, everybody at that bar has a home they live in, most of them have jobs, they go to public places… Minister to them there, or, you know, invite them to church, invite them to your home, invite them to a meal and fellowship. You don’t have to go to bars to reach the sinners church!
    • Worse yet, I hear this as an excuse to maintain close friendships with worldly people, that is, people who are not Christians.
      • This, church… let’s get radical… this is sin. It is sin to maintain a close relationship with a friend who does not know Christ.
      • If you find yourself spending a lot of time just “hanging out” with people who are not Christians… something is wrong… either they should be coming to Christ from your testimony, or they should be repulsed by the Light that is within you… Don’t take my word for it, look at what scripture has to say…

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ESV (14) Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15) What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

  • That’s pretty black and white church.
    • And don’t get me wrong… please keep your acquaintances with your unbelieving friends… please PRAY for them! War for them! Don’t give up on them… but don’t go out sinning with them… Don’t hang out with them while they sin… What fellowship does light have with darkness?
  • Church I want you to lead your unbelieving friends to Christ! I do! But do it the way Levi did…
    • Levi didn’t call up his friends and say “Hey guys, lets go collect some taxes one more time for good ol’ times sake!” NO! He spent his money, used his stuff, and throw a party so that his friends could meet Christ.
  • Do you have a bunch of friends who need Christ? Praise God, bring them to Him! Bring them to church, take them out to dinner! But don’t spend a bunch of time talking about the latest avengers movie, or the weather, or work… tell them about Christ!
    • Afraid to do that?! Invite them to join the Church Softball team. Invite them to go out to see a Christian film. Call them and ask how you can pray for them, then pray for them then and there.

Romans 10:13-14 ESV For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (14) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

  • I was talking to a young man last week, and he was struggling. He was confessing to me that he lives a double life and he hates it.
    • He said sometimes I am on fire for Jesus, I am at the Bible studies, I am steeped in prayer, I am fighting the fight. Other times I am consumed with sin, and worldly passions, and desires… and my mind gets crazy… What’s wrong with me?
    • I said “Do you have friends who aren’t Christians”
    • “Oh yeah, a bunch”
    • “Do you hang out with them a lot”
    • “Uh… yeah, like every week”
    • “What do you guys do?”
    • “Drink and watch sports and hang out at bars”
    • “Hmmm… I think I might know what your problem is”
    • “You want me to just ditch them?”
    • “No! I want you to lead them to Christ!”
    • “I have been trying”
    • “No you haven’t, you have been drinking, and watching sports, and hanging out at bars!”
    • “But that’s all they want to do!”
    • “Who’s leading who bro? Next time they ask to go to the bar say ‘No, that’s not me any more… but I miss you! Hey let’s hang out at church on Sunday, I will buy us lunch afterword… come to prayer with me… come to bible study… come to men’s group…”.
      • It’s not that hard church… and either one of two things will happen, they will come to Christ and be saved… then you have gained a brother… or they will abandon you… but if that is the case then they were never your friend… they don’t want to be friends with you, they want to be friends with the old you.”
    • You know why we are so afraid to invite our unbelieving friends and family to church… it’s not their fault, really, and I don’t even blame those of us with the fear… I blame the church.
    • The church has failed so miserably at Radical Christianity that the unsaved feel unwelcome… but the unsaved should feel the MOST welcome here! Not that their sin is welcome, not that their lifestyle is welcome… but that they are welcome… that brings me to our final point, something that the church has been failing to demonstrate for a long time.

Point Three – Jesus Did not Come to Save the Righteous

Luke 5:30-32 ESV And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” (31) And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (32) I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

  • I belong to a gym called Planet Fitness… I know it’s hard to believe I belong to a gym, but I am trying people…
    • Planet fitness has some… Odd rules for a gym…
    • First, there is a dress code: Absolutely no muscle shirts or tank tops for men.
    • Next was etiquette: No grunting, heavy exhales, or sounds of straining.
    • Your also not allowed to “slam the weights”, even though in every other gym in the world people slam weights all day long with no problems…
  • Why on earth would a gym ban muscle shirts, grunting, and heavy breathing… IT’S A GYM FOR CRYING OUTLOUD…
    • Because they want to cater to chubby out of shape people like me.
    • They know that tubby guys don’t like being around a bunch of muscular men, it makes us feel unmotivated, it makes us feel judged, it makes us feel icky…
      • In fact, plastered all over Planet Fitness is “Judgment Free Zone”.
    • Y’all, if we want to be a church that welcomes the sinner we need to be a judgement free zone.
      • That doesn’t mean we sin. That doesn’t mean we approve of sin. That doesn’t mean we water down the gospel or the preaching or any of that… that’s taking this concept way too far, and it’s unbiblical.
    • But it does mean is this: “Hey, I understand that people sin, I understand that people have lived life’s full of mistakes, I was like that too… and I know of a savior that I would like to introduce these people to”.

Luke 5:32 ESV I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

  • This is a very interesting verse, isn’t it?
    • Does this mean there are some people that Jesus did not come to save?
    • Of course not! For God so love the World! Jesus came for everyone…
    • But what it does mean is that there are some people who THINK they are righteous… and Jesus doesn’t really want to waste His time on those people.
      • If you don’t think you are sick, then how can I convince you to go to the doctor?
      • If you don’t think there is anything wrong with your car, then how can I convince you to go the mechanic?
      • If you don’t think you are a sinner, how can I convince you to go to the Savior?
    • And I don’t really want to argue with you or try to convince you either…
  • If you think you are righteous outside of Christ, if you have been lying to yourself all these years and truly convinced yourself of that, there is nothing some dude who calls himself pastor can do for you… why would you believe me when you know EXACTLY who you are and chose to consider yourself righteous?
    • The Holy Spirit’s job is to convict the world of sin… if you have rejected the conviction of the Holy Spirit then what do you want me to do? I can’t do a better job than the Holy Spirit. No, my job is not to convict, your job is not to convict… our job church is to offer the Gospel to all, to bring all to the table with Christ… if they reject Him, that is on them, we have done our job, Amen?

Romans 10:1-4 ESV Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (2) For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. (4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

  • Righteousness, church, comes from God and God alone.
    • Our righteousness is like filthy rags compared to God’s holiness… but the righteousness God gives to those who believe is pure and holy.
    • Therefor, church, it is not by our own righteousness that we are ANYTHING, but by the righteousness God gave us through the blood of Christ.
    • And if that is the case, then we should never have the mindset of “I am better than you”, instead we should have the mindset of “I am better in Christ then I could ever be outside of Christ, and you too can become righteous in Christ.”
  • If you have ever been disgusted by the severity of someone’s sin…
    • If you have ever thought “I couldn’t be in a church that has sex offenders in the seats, or homeless in the seats, or illegal immigrants, or sex traffickers, or felons… or whatever…
      • If you have thought that way, to any degree (And I have thought that way before too) then there is a problem… the problem is you are comparing your righteousness to their righteousness…
        • “I would never do that” “I can’t even imagine doing that” “How could someone do that?”
      • You are comparing your righteousness to theirs… but our righteousness is but filthy rags!
      • But if you would humble yourself and compare their righteousness to Christ’s you would see that Christ has shed enough blood to even make the least of these righteous..
        • Christ shed enough blood for the felons, for the homeless, for the sinners…
        • He shed enough blood for that family member that hurt you or abused you…
        • He shed enough blood for that person you can’t stand.
        • He she enough blood even for our enemies…
      • They too can be made righteous in Christ if they would believe… it is our job, church, to bring them to the decision… the decision to believe and accept that righteousness, or to reject it.
    • We need to be a Planet Fitness kind of church. We need to be a judgment free zone!
      • I want to be a place where the sinner feels welcome, comfortable, a place they WANT to come.
        • I am not talking about being seeker sensitive, I am simply talking about being Christ like.
        • Because at the end of the day, if we are being Christ like, sinners are going to get offended in our church (They got offended with Jesus enough to kill Him after all)
        • But if someone who does not know Christ must be offended, let them not be offended by anything else except the Word of God.
          • Let not the way we talk, or dress, or act, or fellowship offend anyone who doesn’t know Christ…
          • Let not the way that I preach or the jokes I say offend anyone…
          • But if someone MUST be offended, let it be by the Gospel. Because at least then we know that we had the chance to preach the Gospel to them.
          • But better yet, Lord, let the sinner, let the prebeliever come in and not be offended at all, not by us or by Your word. Instead let them accept it, and if they do then we have gained a family member for eternity!


  • In conclusion, let me ask you this question: Have you ever NOT gone to the doctor because you were sick? No, nonsense! You go to the doctor BECAUSE you are sick.
  • Yet, I hear so many people I witness to say things like “I can’t go to church, I am to bad” or “If you knew what I have done you wouldn’t want me in the church”… I have even heard “God would strike me down if I stepped foot in a church”.
  • Guy’s, we have an identity problem, Church has an identity problem… for some reason people think church is only for the righteous… but in fact the opposite is true… it’s up to us to fix that identity problem. That’s radical Christianity, and I hope that is the church CLC is and will be! Amen?!

Luke 5:31-32 ESV And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (32) I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”