From:                              Southside Church <> on behalf of Southside Church <>

Sent:                               Sunday, March 1, 2020 1:01 PM

To:                                   Wynne Lankford

Subject:                          Table Talk - Dining with the Enemy


Table Manners



Table Talk

Sermon Series: Table Manners – Dining with the Enemy

March 1, 2020


Table Talk 03/01/20 Wynne Lankford



Introduction (12 min)

Welcome everyone to your Table Talk small group. Watch the video and share the story below, then open up the discussion with the questions provided.

Table Talk Video: Table Manners – Dining with the Enemy

I have long been intrigued by the stark visual contrast the story of Levi would have posed for all those gathered nearby. 

Levi’s introduction happens around a table. Jesus comes victoriously onto the scene from healing someone who was paralyzed and triumphantly teaching God’s truth in a way that it silenced the greatest teachers of the day around him.

From that vantage, Jesus eyes Levi in the distance. Sitting at a table ornamented with the vestiges of Roman power, Levi is flanked by Roman guards who protect him from retaliation. His own kinsmen would have been afraid to strike out in justice against his indulgence with Roman body guards.

Levi is also surrounded by boxes of money. Taxes he has collected and extras fees he has stolen. The bounty of his sinful choices piled high in treasure boxes flaunting his decision to turn his back on his own people. Levi was born a Jew, but he had chosen to become the enemy of God’s people.

Jesus would surely have something to say about this. And he does!

“Levi, follow me.”

What? That is not what the crowd expected. No rebuke? No condemnation? No fire and brimstone from heaven?

Levi looked around. His Roman guards looked back at him. His money boxes shouted to him. Only a table stood between him and Jesus. What would he do?

The Bible says with such simplicity, “Levi got up, left everything and followed him.” 

The very next scene is also around a table. Not piled high with treasure boxes that blocked his view of his own people, but Levi’s own dinner table. Surrounded with friends and others who shared in his sinful past. Laughing, eating, and celebrating, they were in the presence of someone who protected them, but he wasn’t a soldier. He was The King. They were surrounded by treasure, but it wasn’t gold. It was fellowship with God.

Sometimes an enemy is just a friend we haven’t invited to the right table yet.

- Pastor Reggie Phillips

Prayer (3 minutes) 

Lord, help us to see what you see and hear what you hear as we search the scriptures today. Surely you treated others differently than we are inclined to do and we need your Word to guide and shape us in doing the same. Help us as we gather together to find the joy and freedom that is only found in your presence. Speak to us Lord, and prepare us to listen well. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Starting the Discussion (4 minutes)

1.  Can you share a meaningful moment or nugget of truth that has stuck with you from this week’s sermon?

2.  When is the last time you sat around the table and shared a meal that included real conversation?

Unfolding the Biblical Story (25 minutes)

Read Luke 5:27

1.  Maybe you don’t have anyone you would admit is an enemy (or maybe you do) but we all have people we don’t get along with for one reason or another. When you see an enemy approaching, what is your first reaction?

2.  If Jesus hadn’t spoken to Levi, do you think Levi would have had the courage to get up from his table and go to Jesus?

3.  It is interesting who and what Jesus doesn’t address. What are potential obstacles and threats that Jesus ignores by only speaking to Levi?

Read Luke 5:28

1.  Leaving “everything” is a literary expression. He didn’t leave everything behind and march off into the sunset. For instance, we see his home and friends in the next verses, but what did Levi give up by getting up from his Roman table in front of the whole community gathered there?

2.  Luke takes special note to say that Levi “followed” Jesus. Who was he following before and what is significant about this change?

Read Luke 5:29

1.  Levi still has wealth and influence, but how is he using it now compared to when he was sitting at the tax table?

2.  What is significant about who attends the party and sits at his table?

3.  Who is NOT at the table that might have been expected to be an honored guest in those days, especially given Levi’s prominent political position and the size of this party?

Read Luke 5:30

1.  It is likely that everyone sitting around Levi’s table is a Jew. Why would the Pharisees speak in such marginalizing terms about the guests at the party?

2.  Why do you think the Pharisees complain to Jesus’ disciples about Jesus’ conduct and his attendance at the party? What other motives might be at play here?

Read Luke 5:31

1.  Who is it that answers the Pharisees’ complaint? 

2.  What does this mean that Jesus did in order to respond to the Pharisees if they were outside watching while Jesus was enjoying the party?

Making Scripture Personal (10 minutes) 

1.  This passage begs several questions, the most important may be this: What is Jesus willing to do in order to reach out to lost people?

2.  Jesus doesn’t do what anyone expects at any point in this story. Are you willing to let Jesus surprise you and change your expectations of what it means to follow him?

3.  Whose table are you willing to sit at in order to share the Good News of Jesus and the forgiveness that is found in Him?

Prayer (3 minutes)

Gracious God, you are kind and forgiving when we truly don’t deserve it. You seek us out and call our name when everyone else is willing to give up on us. Levi saw his value in his power and wealth, but you saw his value as a Child of God long after he thought such a thing was impossible. Thank you for extending that same offer to all of us. Help us to follow you, to sit at the table with you as family, and to invite others to join us there. Thank you for the gift of repentance that allows us to leave everything and follow you. In the powerful name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Wrapping Up (2 minutes)

See if anyone has lingering questions or insights to share from your time of study and prayer. Summarize the group discussion as a reminder of what you learned together.

Scripture Challenge (3 minutes)

For your scripture challenge this week, work with your group to try and memorize Luke 5:32. Practice it out loud together, write it out several times and recite it throughout the week. God will go to any length necessary to call us to repentance. Join Him at the table, and join Him in the work. 



Additional resources about this topic

are available from Streams Resources


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