Friday, August 2, 2013

What Is Going On Here?

I remember at school feeling very much left out of things because I had not yet found a group to which to belong. Everyone always got categorized so you neatly fit into this bizarre society in middle school. It wasn't until I hit High School before I found a group where I felt accepted and included. Once there, I would do anything to defend my friends. It became like family.

Finding a like-minded group to be part of is only natural. Most of our friends will have several things in common with us and being with them is not difficult at all. It is why they are our friends. But, such groups are also hard to break into. This is true of a small group of friends or even a church. People become like family and anyone entering as a stranger can feel they are not part of the group.

Exclusivity happens in all kinds of societies; sports, politics, education, religion. You don`t have to look any further than the Christian Church to see how exclusivity works. We call them denominations and each believes they have the exclusive truth of Jesus. If you can understand this (and many don`t) then you can understand what Jesus was up against while speaking to the woman at the well.

She was a Samaritan and had exclusive access to this well, which was thought to have belonged to Jacob. This is how groups often act, as if they have exclusive access to something no one else does:

“Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where are you going to get this life-giving water? Our ancestor Jacob dug this well for us, and his family and animals got water from it. Are you greater than Jacob?” (John 4:11-12)

She had no idea that she was speaking to the Creator of Jacob, the one with whom Jacob had wrestled. But none of this mattered to Jesus. It was plain foolishness. He transcends such trivial matters as traditions and history. What God offers us is greater than anything that man has to offer. His power is greater than any barriers we can erect:

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

There are those lost in sin today who cry out the anthem of freedom. They champion their right to do what they want, no matter the offense against God. Homosexuality is only the latest in a long list of things that we have set our heart on that flies in the face of the love of our Holy God. But getting into these groups is hard, when they have become like family and are strengthened in what they consider to be exclusive to them. It is their sin and no one has the right to come against it.

What Jesus has to offer goes beyond any limited freedom we have in this place. God is not limited by our small vision or understanding. He is not limited by sexual orientation. He is not dragged down to our level. Marriage is only an invention for earth. When we are called home we will be lifted beyond these shadows to stand in the true reality of God. God is not limited by the barriers of exclusivity; he transcends them all. He reaches into all these groups and offers hope, joy, peace, and reconciliation; not by him bowing to our will, but us recognizing that his is the only truth, the only way.

This is not about sexual orientation but about what is and is not acceptable and holy in God`s eyes. It doesn`t matter what the rest of us think; it is God who defines the holy and the common. Our insistence to be exclusive does not create a barrier for our God. He is greater than all of it and he has decided to love. However, his forgiveness and grace remains for those who are willing to let the barriers fall and repent of their sins. Those who remain behind the barriers are lost. It is to the lost, those behind the barriers, to whom we have been sent.

Let`s see those walls fall my brothers and sisters as we fight for, not against, those lost in the darkness of this world.








2 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

WHY WERE DENOMINATIONS CREATED?

Were denominations created so the could teach the apostles doctrine? No they were not.

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.(NKJV)

The Roman Catholic denomination was established so it could teach the doctrine of popes, cardinals, the doctrine of the Roman Catholic denomination.

The Lutheran denomination was formed so they could teach the doctrine of Martin Luther.

The Baptist denominations were brought into existence so they could teach the doctrine of John Calvin and that of Baptist preachers.

Denominations were formed so they could teach doctrines contrary the doctrine of the apostles.

Can you name one denomination that teaches the terms for pardon that the apostle Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost?(Acts 2:22-41 ......40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them,)(NKJV)

Peter did not preach. .1 Salvation by good works. 2. Salvation by Law keeping. 3. Salvation by grace alone. Salvation by faith only. 5. Salvation by saying the Sinner's Prayer.

Peter preached. 1. Faith; John 3:16. 2. Confession; Romans 10:9. 3. Repentance; Acts 2:38. 4. Water Baptism; Acts 2:38.
Peter preached the apostles doctrine.

Denominations were created to teach and preach the doctrines of men.

Mark 7:5-13......"making the word of God of no effect through your traditions which you have handed down. And many such things you do."(NKJV)

Denominations were created to teach the traditions of men.

If all believers in Christ taught the apostles doctrine, found in the New Testament Scriptures, there would be no denominations.

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Paul Van Buren said...

This is good and very well said but you did leave out the baptism of the Spirit and we cannot afford to leave that out.