Are you part of the “Inn crowd” or the “Stable crowd”

Are we part of the “inn crowd” or part of the “stable crowd.”  This of course is a play on the Christmas story.  There was no room found in the inn for Mary and Joseph, but the King of kings was worshipped by shepherds in a stable.  One of our church members went on a trip, and on the trip picked up a sign that another church used.  The sign and my reading in the Gospel of Luke made me think about things that are happening in our country today.  It also reminded me of a conversation that I had with another gentleman recently.  I recently had a conversation with a gentleman about the truths found in Scripture.  He was bothered by some of the statements that Jesus made.  I doubt that this man is alone in his feelings about some of Jesus’ sayings.  I explained that there are a few things that we need to realize about Jesus and His teachings.  First, truth is truth no matter if we like it or accept it or not.  Second, Jesus wasn’t worried about making friends and pleasing people.  His desire was to do the will of His Father.  Finally, Jesus’ words often offend us because He didn’t do things or say things that way that we think He should.  In the opening of Luke 17, Jesus tells a story about 10 lepers being healed of their disease.  Yet, only one of them came back and praised God for His work in healing them.  Jesus says this man was a Samaritan.  For most of us, that isn’t a big deal.  However, to a Jewish person that was a huge deal. In those days, Samaritans were hated by the Jews.  A Samaritan was someone who has a Jewish ancestry, but they chose to marry outside of the Jewish race during the Old Testament times.  To a Jewish person, a Samaritan was a traitor.  Jews actually tolerated Gentiles better than they tolerated a Samaritan.  Therefore, when Jesus presented a Samaritan as doing the right thing, this was highly offensive to Jesus’ Jewish audience.  For a Jewish person, they believed they would automatically go to heaven because they were Jewish.  Yet, Jesus had been teaching that it is faith that saves a person, not your ancestry or your works.  I believe we are seeing a lot of this same thinking in America today.  We often have a “me vs. them” mentality.  I am grateful that God allows me to live in America,  to have heard the Gospel, as well as, the freedom to be able to go and worship Him anytime and any place that I desire.  While I am proud to be an American, my first allegiance and loyalty is to the kingdom of God.  I am a disciple of Jesus first, a citizen of America second.  However, we as Christians in America must understand that the Gospel is bigger than America.  Jesus said that it is meant to go to the ends of the earth.  In His sovereignty, God is bringing the nations to us.  We must not waste our opportunity in sharing the Gospel with those who are here.  Yes, I believe the immigration issue needs to be settled.  However, while the government is working through this situation, I as a citizen of the kingdom of God, must evangelize those who are here. I need to be more concerned with their salvation than their country of origin.  To do anything different than this dishonors my Lord, and misrepresents the truths of Scripture and the kingdom of God.  I realize that some may misunderstand what I am saying here.  It is not my intention to be offensive or controversial.  Rather, I seek to honor my Lord and Savior in presenting the truths of Scripture as they are recorded.  May we love the Lord and others as we are commanded, and take the Gospel to those that God sends us to and brings to us.

 

-Pastor Justin

 

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