This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Heart of Christ". See series.
We're in part two of a series called The Heart of Christ, and I want to begin this week with a question: Do you remember the first Christian you encountered that left a strong positive impression on you? A camp counselor? A youth pastor? A co-worker? I know that some of you were raised in Christian families with Christian aunts and uncles and cousins. You've been swimming in the Jesus waters for so long that it's hard to look back and remember distinctly. But some of you remember that encounter—you remember the boss or brother-in-law or grandmother or coach who left that first positive impression on you.
A couple months ago I had dinner with a guy named John Dixon. He is a pastor and a writer in Australia. Over dinner I said, "Tell me part of your story." He said that as a 15-year-old kid, he had never been inside a church his entire life, he wasn't from a believing family, and he encountered a middle-aged woman by the name of Glenda, who he remembers clearly as the first positive Christian influence he experienced in his life. Really, Glenda was the only Christian he knew at that point in his life. I want to share John's story with you, and I will at the end of this message.
A history of the separated ones
Let's look today at the Gospel of Matthew, starting with Matthew 9:9: "As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth." Let's pause there for a crash course in the political religious environment of Israel, actually called Judea, in the 1st century. The Romans had conquered almost everything; they were in charge. And they had set up a capitol city in a place called Caesarea. Herod the Great built this city in honor of Caesar Augustus and the Roman Empire. If you were ...
This sermon is available to PreachingToday.com members only.