S: Luke 15:1-7,27-32 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.
This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him,29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”
O: We Christians who are concerned about following Christ are often "respectable people" because in obeying God's principles, we often look pretty good to the "decent people" of the world.
But the danger of that is that we might feel too "respectable" to associate with the "disrespectable people". Jesus faced that problem with the Pharisees and other religious people of His time. The "older brother's attitude" is a danger we must watch out for.
While we have to be wise as there are conmen who would like to just take advantage of the charity of the church, I've met people who were cheats, ex-convicts, etc. whose lives have been transformed by Jesus Christ. Jesus is in the business of redemption!
A: The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a country club for the rich and respectable. We in our nice middle-classed churches must not be too wary of welcoming the ruffians of this world. We have to follow Jesus' example.
P: Father, help us to welcome sinners and lose the big brother's attitude. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)