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Monday, September 26, 2011

Everybody is welcome: Part 1

"For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe."--Deuteronomy 10:17.  Moses, reminding the people of Israel of who God is and reminding them of His nature.  We learn from this verse that God does not show impartiality and in Deuteronomy 10:18 we find that the Lord cares for the orphan, the widow, and does not leave the alien without food or clothing.  Everybody is welcome.

Everybody is welcome. In Christianity, many times we will see two opposite extremes.  Many Christians are quick to point out the love of God whereas many focus simply on the wrath of God.  While both of these are characteristics of God, what focusing on either extreme tends to do is to cause us to fail to emphasize that everyone is welcome in the kingdom of God. When we fail to emphasize this, we can lose sight of the relationship aspect of Christianity.  A point I will explain below.

Everybody is welcome.   Before I get too far into this I do want to state that being a part of God's kingdom does mean we need to submit to what He has asked us to do to enter that kingdom but what we have to understand is that God gives us ALL the opportunity to obey the gospel to enter into His kingdom regardless of sex, gender, or race or even our walk of life.

Everybody is welcome.  To illustrate the point given above a little bit consider this.  When someone welcomes us into their house, we are expected to abide by certain rules. Therefore, if necessary we need to make changes to our behaviors and attitudes if we expect to stay in that house for any given period of time.  The same is true of those who want to remain in God's house. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:15 that one reason he is writing is so that one might know how "to conduct himself in the household of God" and from Scripture we know that the household of God is His church.  We don't have time to look at what Paul is specifically referring to but we know from this statement is that if we expect to be welcome in God's house, His church, there are certain rules we have to abide by.  This was true in the Old Testament and the same is true in the New Testament.  If people do this, everybody is welcome.

Everybody is welcome.  Please understand I am not painting Christianity as simply a set of rules.  The simple fact that everybody is welcome demonstrates the love aspect of God's plan of redemption for ALL people.  Christianity and our relationship with Christ is so much more than just a set of do's and don'ts.  It is ultimately about having a personal relationship with Christ and the point of today's blog is that everyone is welcome into God's household and into that relationship beginning by obeying the gospel and staying faithful to the commands Christ has given in the pages of the New Testament.  We know from Deuteronomy 10:17 that God does not show partiality nor take a bribe.  We can't buy or earn our salvation as it is the free gift of God given through the gospel, the power of God for salvation, for the Jew and the Greek per Romans 1:16.

So in conclusion, my encouragement to you is this.  I mentioned that being welcome into God's house requires us, if necessary, to make modifications to our behaviors and attitudes.  This is the concept of repentance. If we want to be welcome into God's house, if there is something we must turn away from we cannot delay.  If we lie, we must lie no longer.  If we steal, we must steal no longer.  If we are one that tends to show favoritism, God is impartial so we must do so no longer.  If we are looking at things we should not be looking at on the internet and on our computers, then we must do so no longer.  In the context of Deuteronomy 10:17, we also notice one more thing God commands Israel to do in response to God's impartiality.  He tells them in Deuteronomy 10:19 to show love for the alien. This is a concept we will look at in the next part of this two part blog of everybody being welcome.   Thanks for reading everyone and I pray you might be able to apply this to your life.


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