The Other One Outta The Ninety-Nine
Posted on September 17, 2019 by Erin Culleny in Freedom Fighters
“But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.” — Isaiah 14:13 (NASB)
There is always someone who has forgotten that Jesus has said, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than the over the ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). It’s that proud person who believes they know better than the actual folks in charge and have no problem voicing their opinion. You may hear them say, “It’s nice that you want to help those people out, but can you do that somewhere else?” I’ve experienced this over the past few years and it has led me to say that I’d rather be a healed leper among the lepers who love God than among the religious who keep Him in a box.
I realize this is a pretty strong accusation but I’m not the only one who takes this position. A.W. Tozer once wrote, “Under proper circumstances, Christ is allowed to say, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden’ or ‘Let not your heart be troubled,’ but when the speech is finished, someone else takes over. Those in actual authority decide the moral standards of the church, as well as all objectives and all methods to achieve them. Because of long and meticulous organization, it is now possible for the youngest pastor just out of seminary to have more actual authority in a church then Jesus Christ has.” When I read that I just went…WOW!!
I believe that a classic example of this can be found in the beginning verses of Luke 15. “Now all the tax-gatherers and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. And both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:1-2). I mean, is it crazy to think that the “common” people would press in to hear what Jesus had to say because He was approachable and had a genuine love for the common people? And how about how Luke makes it a point to write down tax gatherers and sinners? The first hated because they profited from their own people and the latter, well, those people were just unclean before a Holy God…said those wacky Pharisees.
Now if you’re like me, you are a no-good filthy sinner as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning (or you open your eyes, whichever comes first). This may have meant that the Pharisees would have called you (and me) one of those “People of the Land.” Ya know, the kinda person that can’t keep all 613 commandments to include their interpretations. As a matter of fact they had this regulation, “When a man is one of the People of the Land, entrust no money to him, take no testimony from him, trust him with no secret, do not appoint him guardian of an orphan, do not make him the custodian of charitable funds, do not accompany him on a journey.” Sounds like something those folks who practice five degrees of separation would do, don’t it? (Oops did I let that slip out…sorry…sorta) Anyway…
Isn’t it a reassuring thing to know that a Mighty God would step down from His rightful heavenly place, take on a common form and hang with us even if we’re surrounded by those do better with their following of 613 degrees of separation, funny walk and silly handshake? I’m sure you’ll agree BUT let’s not forget that Jesus also wants that one outta the other ninety-nine to change their attitude towards those who struggle with staying in the flock.
I’m not too sure how one goes from being in desperate need of a Savior to someone who picks those worthy to receive salvation, let alone allowing them to be part of the Kingdom. I kinda thought that what Paul wrote in Romans went for everyone, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” I ain’t seeing too many dots or titles added to that in my Bible and I hope yours is just the same as mine.
So, here’s the wrap up for today…if you’re a filthy, no good sinner like me, God doesn’t delight in seeing ourselves destroying ourselves, that’s why He sent Jesus. If you’re someone who isolates yourself from filthy, no good sinners like me because of your own self-righteousness, lack of desire to see us come to Christ or you just don’t want us in “your church” please remember it is God who is the owner of hundred sheep, just like you, and when one of you gets lost…He sends Jesus. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Think About This: “The only safe place for a sheep is by the side of his shepherd because the devil doesn’t fear the sheep; he just fears the shepherd.” — A.W. Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! – Psalm 139:17
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.