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Scum and Refuse (Which are you?)

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#1 Rick Reed

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 05:42 AM

A controversial billboard on U.S. Highway 441 in Tavares, Florida has some people up in arms and has offended others because of one word. I use it, not to offend – but to encourage.
It reads, “Scumbags Welcome.”
A local church is responsible for the billboard.
But I believe Jesus is responsible for the message.
It’s not a message all embrace – especially “religious” people.
Back in the day Jesus walked, the Pharisees, teachers of the law and scribes were considered the religious elite. Like E.F. Hutton they won their salvation the old-fashioned way, “they earned it.”
Unfortunately for the Pharisees, one can’t earn their salvation – it is a free gift of God. But those who “earn” their salvation tend to look down upon those who don’t.
I know because I was once a Pharisee.
I’ll give you a test to tell whether we are a Pharisees or not. But first I want to get back to the billboard.
A reference to Mark 2:13-17 is included.
In the New Living Translation verse 16 reads: “But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with such scum?’”
I don’t usually use the NLT. In the versions I like, sinners is used in place of scum.
Does saying “I’m a sinner” seem more appealing that saying, “I’m a scumbag”?
It shouldn’t. We’re told in Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Many can say it. But how many of us truly believe it?
Once again, I was guilty of lip service when reciting this verse. Sure, I’m a sinner. But I’m no Ted Bundy.
Oh but I am.
Over and over in Romans Paul tells us, “There is no difference.”
Paul believed it. That’s why he was the most successful evangelist in history.
He went from considering himself the least of the Apostles to the chief of sinners.
It’s an attitude that filled him with gratitude, not self-abasement.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.”
And yet Jesus loves him, and me. While I was an enemy, He died for me.
Here’s Mark 2:13-17 in the English Standard Version, “He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he rose and followed him.
“And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
“And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’”
Here’s the acid test for Pharisees: Read Matthew 20:1-16. It’s been called the Parable of the workers in the vineyard. But I prefer the Parable of the generous master.
Read it and when done, how did it make you feel? If you consider yourself a 12-hour worker, or anything other than a one-hour worker, it probably made you upset. That’s how it made me feel for years.
Read it one more time, but this time cast yourself as a one-hour worker.
Now, how do you feel?
This parable has nothing to do with longevity as a Christian and everything to do with God’s mercy.
Does the billboard offend?
Or encourage?
Are you a sinner or righteous?
Are you well or sick?
Are you a scumbag or respectable?
It makes all the difference because there is no difference.
Thanks be to God.

#2 Julie Daube

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 11:55 AM

Praise the Lord! I can tell you exactly who I am; God's Word tells me that I am a sinner saved by grace. Therefore, I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22); I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2); I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20); I am seated with Jesus Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6); I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me (Romans 8:37); I am accepted (Ephesians 1:6); I am a child of God (John 1:12); I am Jesus' friend (John 15:14); I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him (Romans 8:17); I am united with God and one spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17).

According to christianlifecoaching.co,

"The more you agree with God about your identity in Christ, the more your behavior will reflect your God-given identity. Learn to see yourself as God sees you. Accept what God says about you and become the spiritual person you are. God's opinion is the one that counts. Understanding who you are in Christ will give you a strong foundation to build your life on. Knowing who you are in Jesus is the key to a successful Christian life. Your identity doesn't depend on something you do or have done. Your true identity is who you are in Christ. When you are in Christ, you are a new creation, the old has passed away. It's time to stop living out of who people say you are and take hold of the truth of God's Word." AMEN!!

Bottom line: the only "respectable" thing there is about me is that I belong to Jesus Christ. Without Him, I am nothing but refuse.