Our response to God accepting us…
Accepting others as God’s most valued creation.
God loves without exception.
God loves without condition.
God loves without reason.
Shouldn’t we do the same?
God accepts us despite our imperfections and flaws. He sent His Son to die for the very people who ignored and turned away from Him. God loves every race, culture and nation. God loves the poor and the rich, wise and foolish, healthy and sick, criminal and he loves you. He loves everybody without reason. He loves us because he created us.
God’s love and acceptance of us is not the same as approval of the mess we make in our lives. God doesn’t approve of our sin but he loves us, the sinners. We can’t be unloved by him. No matter what we do or say, or don’t do or don’t say, God’s love remains steady.
We often hear the phrase unconditional love. God’s love is the prototype of unconditional love. There is nothing we must trade to get it. There is not a limited warranty. There are no disclaimers or tiny words hidden at the bottom of the page. God’s love is complete and final. God’s love is unending.
When we accept God, we are given a new life, a new nature. No longer are we in it for ourselves. The Bible puts it like this in Luke 9, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” We are to follow Christ. That is why true believers can be described as Christ-followers. Christ-followers follow Christ and begin to see the world as He sees the world. Christ-followers begin to see the world with love.
Someone asked Jesus this, “What is the greatest of all the commandments?” Jesus answered him in Matthew 22:37-40:
Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Can you see the magnitude of His answer? All of the Bible, law and prophets is validated by just these two commandments. Jesus is saying if we don’t love God with all our heart, soul and being and we don’t love the people of the world as much as we love ourselves than we are missing the point.
Jesus explains it again in Matthew 25:31-46
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
We should love without exception.. we should love without condition.
At Stuttgart Harvest Church we throw lifelines not rocks. We live, we laugh, and we love.
One way we love others is to invest in them. Investing in people is another was of saying we serve them and spend time with them.
OK, Your part…
Email me if you choose after you answer the following questions firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is someone that is not a Christ-follower in whom you are (or will begin) investing?
This week will you prove that people matter to God by serving someone who is not yet a Christ-follower?
What will you do to serve them?
Here are some ideas to get you started or come up with some ideas of your own…
Bring them breakfast, a snack or lunch at work.
Leave them a series of encouraging notes.
As you leave to run an errand, ask if there is anything you can pick them up or do for them.
Bring them a coffee.
Organize something for them.
…Now keep thinking… there are endless ways to serve them.
What will you do?
After you do it… tell me about the experience if you want to via email email@example.com
What does it feel like to do something for someone and expect nothing in return?
There is one more part to the element of acceptance. It speaks about wearing the symbol of God’s acceptance of us… we call it baptism.
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