Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is your Church Accepting?

In the passage of Hebrews 11:32-40, we are shown the great Christian axiom of being Commended for their faith. This means being blessed by God, and this has nothing to do with health and wealth as some like to say; rather we honor Him by our trust and obedience which we receive in His perfect timing. Divine commendation is having the approval of God because one chooses to take what He gives and live by it. And them we have the responsibly to exercise this inside and out.

This is about our dependence on Christ, as our High Priest He gives us so much we should never take it for granted or ignore what He has done. He invites us to go to Him at any time to be in the presence of God. Do you know what He has done for you? You have access to God; a personal relationship is now extended to us that was only rarely dispensed in O.T. times! If we live the opposite of His call and that is not having hope, faith and confidence in Him so we can life for Him? How would this realte to how we do our churches?

If Christ is giving us deliverance, how are we being that example to others?

In the recovery movement, there is a theme that makes it so successful for those who strive to get their lives together and off their addictions and problems, this is acceptance. It is why people go there and are willing to ignore shame and apprehensions. You can go to virtually any AA or twelve step group worldwide and you will be accepted. When you arrive you are greeted, welcome to come in, feel no judgment or condemnation; rather you will receive acceptance and caring ears from others who have been there. You can safely say your troubles without retaliation or gossip then seek honest help and even publicly confess and repent. But, if you tried to do this in virtually any church, and dared to admit your problems to its pastors and peoples, confess your sins publicly, you will not be very well welcomed. In fact at most churches you will at least be shunned or you will be gossiped about and even be asked to leave for being a disruption or a distraction. And if there is an attitude of help there, the pastor or leader with a caring heart perhaps may take you to the AA group that meets there.

Why the problem?

A church is a hospital for us all, sinners in the hands of a loving and caring God. Who is angry at sin and died and rose to bear it on our behalf. We all have there, I am a sinner and I bet you are too. Yet, we all have a God who condescend and reaches down to us to lift us up out of our mire of transgression and helplessness, to forgive, cleanse and restore us when we receive Him and then repent, this is what Redemption is all about. The strange thing is secular folks seem to get this better than us as local churches. Why is that? Why can’t we be more accepting to each other’s plight? Not accepting of sin, but to help the sinner, for we all are sinners, whether a homosexual, one with a drinking problem, one with anger issues, one who gambles or is addicted to pornography or is just lonely and depressed or the one thing God hates most… which is being prideful! (Why do not our Christian leaders who are in the spotlight with other sins get on that bandwagon too, speak against being prideful, our Lord did (Matt. 23)!) Why can’t we admit our need for God’s impact and redemption, seek His face completely, listen to one another’s woe and be there as listeners and helpers, for this is what Jesus does for us and asks us to do for one another. This is one of the imperative roles for a good church. How would our churches grow better with the attitude that we are all sinners, let our pride go and be more accepting to others with sincerity and the love and Fruit of our Lord? How would we grow in our relationships and spiritual maturity? Just by realizing our dependence on Christ and exercising this by being more accepting and helpful!

So do outsiders have access to God in your church and heart?


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