10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. – John 1:10 NLT
All through the Old Testament God sent prophet after prophet to warn His chosen people of the disasters that were coming if they did not repent and stay obedient to His precepts and laws.Instead they rejected and killed the prophets and returned to their unfaithful ways, worshiping idols instead of the living God.
30 Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.” 31 “But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started.33 Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?–Matt. 23:30-33 (NLT)
Now, God has implemented His plan to redeem the fallen world. He sends John the Baptist to prepare the way for His Son, Jesus. He came to this world to save the creatures that He had created. Jesus was Love and Light and completely obedient to His Father. There was no sin in Him. But His own chosen people rejected Him and sent Him to a cross. To those that did believe and receive Him, He has given the right to be called the children of God. If we remain faithful and carry out our mission, we will see Him in His full glory restored and reigning as King of Kings. Wherever we go, we are witnesses and our actions should reflect the honesty and truthfulness of our words.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” — Mark 3:34 NIV
Our society becomes more and more mobile with each new generation. This has been true from the beginning until now and it doesn’t show any signs of changing. This fact has an upside and a downside. The upside is that God uses these changes to spread the Gospel. Paul went on missionary trips on roads built by the Romans. His travels in one lifetime would have been imposssible a few generation earlier. For years, people debated about whether or not it was possible for every human to hear the Gospel. Now we know that that could be done with one message bradcast on satellite TV. Of course, there are many worldly benefits as well. The downside of all this mobility is the loss of family. We no longer live next door to our parents, siblings or any close relatives. That fact contribues to a lot of loneliness and also the sense of what “family” really means. But, God knew this was coming so He made it possible for us to have family wherever we find ourselves. Each one of us lives in communities where, with a little effort, we could be surrounded by family. Jesus was, at first, rejected by His family. Yet, this did not deter Him from having a family. If you find that your occupation and/or your decisions have taken you a goodly distance from your family, find a Church that believes in the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of Christ. There you will find a new family that can mean just as much or more than your natural family. And, of course, there is always Jesus, a friend who sticks closer than a brother or a sister or a mother or a father.
12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” — Matt. 9:12, 13 NLT
This statement by Jesus is in answer to the Pharisees who were complaining about Jesus and His disciples eating with sinners. Jesus had just called Matthew to come and follow Him. Matthew had invited Jesus and His disciples to his home to have dinner with him and some other tax collecters and disreputable sinners. The Pharisess had referred to the group as scum (verse 11).
Jesus knew that the Pharisees would not accept Him and His teachings because they thought they were righteous already. With whom do we spend our time outside the church building? Do we, as the disciples of Jesus, spend all of our time with other Christians or do we seek the lost and minister to them? Do we have a missionary mentality or is it “We four and no more”? Jesus was sent to seek and to save the lost. Because He did that, He was rejected, offended, persecuted and eventually hung on a cross. He commanded us to do the same and gave us the authoirty to do just that. When we do that, we stand the chance of being rejected, offended and criticized for “eating with scum”? Suffering these things puts us in the same group with Jesus and God is pleased with us. Which is better, to live a lifestyle that pleases God and lay up eternal rewards or to live a lifestyle that pleases men gainng worldly rewards but losing our own souls?
20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. — 1 Peter 2:20,21 NLT
10 Is it not you, God, you who have now rejected us and no longer go out with our armies?
11 Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.
12 With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies. — Psalm 60:10-12 NIV
God had temporarily rejected the nation of Israel because of their continued disobedience and refusal to repent. His rejection of Israel was not total nor permanent because of His covenant to them. As Christians we can be sure that God will always have a remnant of believers to carry on His work. However, God has made no covenant with our nation that requires Him to allow it to stand. It has stood for over two hundred years because of God’s mercy in spite of our rebellion and disobedience. It appears to us that God has rejected us, but it is we who have rejected Him. We, just as Israel, have turned from God to our own wisdom and to humans to help. Human wisdom and human help is worthless. But, it is not too late for us, if we, as a nation, will repent and turn back to God.
As we approach the Thanksgiving season, let us commit, together, to spend three minutes a day praying that our nation will repent, so that God can continue to show us His mercy. Three minutes; one minute praising God for Who He is, one minute thanking God for what He has done, and one minute petitioning God not to withdraw His mercies.
1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior– 1 Timothy 2:1-3 NASB
6 As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” 8 And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. 9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.–1 Peter 2:6-9 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Those that are exposed to God’s Light must make an immediate decision. They will either accept Him or reject Him. There is no neutral ground. “Almost persuaded” is not good enough. We must become totally committed to Jesus. When we trust Him completely, we will never be disgraced. But for those that reject Jesus, they will stumble and fall. If they choose to continue to reject His free offer of salvation, then they choose to go to hell. We have been called out of darkness into His wonderful Light. Therefore,we must be the Light that draws others out of darkness. We have been chosen, made royal priests and a holy nation. We must be ambassadors of that nation and spread the Good News so that others can become citizens as well.
19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” — 2 Cor. 5:19,20 (NLT)
We must speak boldly with no fear of rejection. After all, it is not us, personally, that they are rejecting. They are rejecting Jesus and His plan of salvation. Our part is to scatter the seed, it is God’s part to see that they take root and grow. We must labor in the fields understanding that we may not see the results of our work while we are here on earth. Our treasures are laid up in heaven.
22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
God is waiting to show you the way.
23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”—1 Samuel 15:22-23 (NLT)
When our plans go awry or when we are having a bad day, do we stop and consider that perhaps what we are doing in not pleasing to the Lord? Maybe our failures have more to do with our reasons for doing something than we want to believe. Saul was doing a “good” thing, but because he didn’t complete it as God had instructed, it was not a “God” thing. We start down the Godly path but then we see something that the flesh desires and we hang on to that instead of God. That “thing” or “person” becomes our “god” because we desired it or them more than we desired God. When this happens we are guilty of rebellion and stubbornness. Just as this led Saul to worship idols later in his life, so will our rebellion lead us into idol worship. We would deny that we have idols in our lives, but most every home is full of the signs and symbols of who our “gods” really are.