1. You can tell a sinner that unless he repents and believes he is going to hell, but you won’t love him through the process of understanding the implications of these truths.
2. You only want to “hang out” with Christians who are as serious about the Christian faith as you are.
The Pharisees were very selective about who they were seen hanging out with. If you didn’t meet there standards they weren’t going to come anywhere near you. They didn’t have the time or the patience for sinners. They were too busy living “holy” and “serious” lives to minister to people struggling with sin (i.e. The Parable of the ‘Good Samaritan, or The Pharisee who thanked God he wasn’t like “that” sinner). Jesus on the other hand came into the world so that He could minister to people struggling with sin. In fact, Jesus is only interested in ministering to people who are humble enough to admit their problem with sin. That was Jesus’ point in Mark 2:17 when he said,
“It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
If you think that you’re “spiritually healthy” and don’t need help with your sin then you probably would have had more fun with the Pharisees than with Jesus. In fact, if you follow Jesus then your mission is to help people struggling with sin. That is the whole point of the Great Commission. Making disciples requires that we invest our time, energy, and prayer into individuals who are not as “serious” as Christ as we are. Find someone struggling or growing and help them. That’s what Jesus did!
3. You protect your personal ministry because it is your identity.
The Pharisees hated Jesus because he was elbowing in on their market-share. They were the spiritual leaders of Israel; they were the men that the people looked to for directions; they were the final authority. This was their identity. They cared a whole lot more about preserving that identity than being the people of God. That’s why when Jesus showed up they tried to discredit his ministry. They accused Him of using the power of Satan (Mk 3:22). They tried to trap him with deceitful questions (Mk 12:13ff). They even publicly challenged Jesus’ authority (Mk 8:11-13). Why? At least part of the reasons was because their identity was wrapped up in being a “Pharisees” and they were afraid Jesus was going to change that. They were insecure.
If you are protective of your ministry in the church; if you are upset when anyone else speaks with the person you’re discipling; if you are trying to be known as the “best Sunday school teacher in the church” instead of a follower of Jesus, then you would probably be more comfortable hanging out with the Pharisees. As Christians, our identity is in Christ. We don’t have to be insecure. We can know that we will be saved because we are “in Christ” and we can be comfortable ministering however Christ has gifted us. If he made someone else a better Sunday School teacher than you, who cares? Your identity is in Christ not your “Mad felt board skills” in the Sunday school class.