“No shirt, no shoes, no service.”
As a pastor, I love to hear people quote the words of Jesus! However, sometimes they may quote it wrong or conveniently live their lives ignoring some important teaching Christ laid out for us. With that in mind, we present our new sermon series “Things Jesus Never Said!” Part 1: “No shirt, no shoes, no service.”
“No shirt, no shoes, no service.” – This saying seems to have gotten it’s start during the 1960’s when the Hippies came into being – discrimination and pre-determined judgements of such individuals especially from store and restaurant owners as to the suitability of those in various stages of dress or “undress” as it were, explode in the early 70’s with signs popping up everywhere. Reasoning included the hygiene issue as well as what type of attire was “suitable” or social acceptable for dining experiences and certain shopping venues. Even signs saying “No Long Hairs” became quite popular as men’s’ hair length dropped to the shoulder. Certain behaviors and life-styles were soon associated with individuals not conforming to the standards indicated on these signs. Discrimination and judgement became the order of the day.
Jesus never said: “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” or “You’re too far gone to be saved.” or “Only hang out with those who are like you or those you like.” or “Church is for those who have their act together.” or “It wouldn’t be appropriate for ‘some’ people to show up at church.”
Why are we so quick to evaluate people? Our tendency is to judge people by what we initially observe. Many of us can formulate an entire personal portfolio simply by seeing where someone lives or, what someone drives – even before we see them. But oh, how the judgement breaks wide open when we see them and talk to them!
We as human beings seem to have the innate characteristic to judge – it’s simply ingrained in us. We have personal parameters as to our definition of acceptability and we have, as a default mechanism to determine whether or not an individual measures up.
In the 1950’s in Maryland, young people had the tendency to quickly put people into one of two categories: the “squares” and the “drapes.” Basically, the squares were those who followed societal rules, especially with their dress code. They didn’t approve of those who rebelled against the socially established norm. Conversely, the Drapes challenged the norm by either adopted the “biker” look, i.e. boots, leather jackets, slicked back hair and t-shirts with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve or the tough-guy but pretty-boy image, i.e. tight pants and shirts with fancy stitching at the collar and sleeves, the wearing of pink and black – pink shirt with vivid black stitching, black pants with pink stitching up the sides, black boots, hair slicked back into a duck-tail – well, you get the idea.
So vivid were these stereo-types that a movie called “Cry-Baby” was made in 1990 centering around this theme. According to Wikipedia, the basic synopsis centers on a group of delinquents who refer to themselves as "drapes" and their interaction with the rest of the town and its other subculture, the "squares", in 1950’s Baltimore, MD. "Cry-Baby" Walker, a drape, and Allison, a square, create upheaval and turmoil in their little town of Baltimore by breaking the subculture taboos and falling in love. The film shows what the young couple must overcome to be together and how their actions affect the rest of the town.
We all have the flaw of bias in our sin nature. In fact, I wonder what our first impressions would have been when seeing Jesus for the first time?
Isaiah 53:2-6 (The Message) - ”The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.”
How did Jesus view people anyway? What pre-requisites were required to get His attention and subsequently into His Kingdom?
Luke 5:29-32 (NLT) – “Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?” 31 Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
Luke 5:29-32 (The Message) - Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. “What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?” 31-32 Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.”
In John 4, Jesus meets a woman while resting near a well. The encounter is unique for many reasons. This woman was of loose morals and was of a people group (Samaritans) that the Jews despised. These facts were noted, then simply ignored. Instead of looking the other way, Jesus captivates her with conversation unlike anything she’d ever known.
In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus encountered a man with leprosy. As this man kneels before Jesus, he is not repulsed, nor does he recoil at the closeness of the man – instead – Jesus reaches out and touches the man and heals him.
In Luke 21 Jesus views a poor widow as she gives her offering and validates her offering as superior to the rest.
In John Chapter 8, the teachers of the religious law and other spiritual leaders came to Jesus with a woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus saves her life and teaches the accusers a valuable lesson.
In Luke 19, Jesus goes home with a notorious wealthy tax collector – despised by all the people – and they when they saw him go to his house, the couldn’t help but muttering to themselves; He is going to the house of a sinner.”
But perhaps the crowning touch of how Jesus views people is illustrated by this incredible story found in Luke 7:36-50 (The Message) - 36-39 One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.” 40 Jesus said to him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Oh? Tell me.” 41-42 “Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?” 43-47 Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.” “That’s right,” said Jesus. Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.” 48 Then he spoke to her: “I forgive your sins.” 49 That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!” 50 He ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Do you understand the truth about God’s heart for every human being regardless of who they are or what they’ve done?
Jesus never put any restrictions on His love and subsequently on His offer to forgive and make it possible for anyone to have eternal life with him.
No one is too far gone – no one is unacceptable, no one. That is the beauty of our Savior. The criminals, the insane, the beautiful, the ugly, the diseased, the immoral, the poor, the rich, the educated and the un-educated all gather at the foot of the cross and are rewarded the result of why He came – forgiveness, hope and peace.
Are you willing to reach your hand to every human, period? As a follower of Christ, we must, and we will.
There are two parts to today’s sermon: Understanding Christ’s position with all mankind as Lord and Savior and our standard as His followers.
Do you feel unacceptable in the sight of God? You’re not – come to Him today.
Do you judge people based on your own evaluation? Don’t! It does not mark you as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Will you reach out your hand to anyone, regardless of how they look or act or what they’ve done? Reach out today – you will fulfill what God desires of you and your rewards will be incredible.