The Whole World

Acts 22:22
“They listened to him until this word.”

After his arrest, Paul shared Christ with the mob that tried to kill him. They listened intently to him because his message was fascinating and relevant. It seemed they had a true interest, and even an openness to the Gospel. But that all changed once Paul mentioned the Gentiles. That single word caused the hearers to close their ears, harden their hearts, and reject the message of Christ.

Paul was not the only one to experience people coming close to responding to Christ, only to hear something they did not like and to shut down. We read in John 6, Jesus had developed a very large following until He spoke about His suffering and death. When they heard that, we are told they responded,

“This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”  John 6:60

To which John commented,

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”

On another occasion, a man approached Jesus with a question about how to receive eternal life. Jesus spoke with him about morality then told him to forsake his old life and come follow after Jesus. He seemed to enjoy a discussion about morality, but when it came to transformed living we are told,

“But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”  Mark 10:22

What about you? Is there anything keeping you from committing all to Christ?  Perhaps the requirement of repentance or the need for total surrender? Maybe it is simpler than that; perhaps there is one area in your life that you have been unwilling to give to the Lord. That one area is keeping you from following wholly after Jesus. Sadly, this crowd that was so close to responding to Jesus, became harder and harder.

If there is an “until” in your life, surrender now, at the feet of Jesus, and begin to experience the living water He promised would flow in the lives of those who followed Him.

Pastor Jim

 

Jesus Saves Sinners

Luke 5:30
“Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

IMG_1486The scribes and Pharisees are complaining about Jesus’ actions. They do not think He should meet with sinners. I hear this complaint every time we gather as a church for corporate worship. It is not the voice of the Pharisees that I hear, but my own voice. I begin to think of all the reasons why I cannot enter into the presence of God, enjoy access to the throne of Grace or experience His work in my life. I am reminded of my sins, both the things that I have done and what I have failed to do. Along with those thoughts, comes an overwhelming sense of not being worthy to enter His presence. It is at that moment when this great truth rings out from His Word:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32

Although hidden and unconfessed sin will hinder your relationship with, and experience of, God, Jesus came for sinners. When He entered the synagogue in Capernaum He was drawn to the man with the withered hand. In a room filled with people, He did not avoid the one who needed Him most, but was drawn to Him. He does the same thing today. The very things that we think keep us from being able to meet with Him and experience His grace, are the very things He wants to address in our lives.

If you have sin you have yet to deal with, that you are holding onto, confess it, lay it at His feet, and let Him wash you and empower you for victory. Don’t let your failures keep you from coming to Him, worshipping Him, and experiencing His marvelous grace and power in your life. After all, it was not the voice of Jesus that was keeping the sinners away, He is calling for you.

Pastor Jim