Monday, November 24, 2008

Left on the Outside

{Luke 13:24-28; ESV}
“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us, then he will answer you, I do not know where you come from. Then you will begin to say, We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets. But he will say, I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil! In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.”

Emotionally this is a difficult Scripture accept. Even though the words come from the mouth of Christ Jesus, we would like it not to be true. If it is true it means that not everyone will be part of the Kingdom of God, and that includes people who worship with you every week. This is not an issue of church attendance or style of worship, but it is an issue of character and faith. It is not the person who says Jesus is Lord who is part of the Kingdom of God, but the person lives their lives based on the Lordship of Jesus.

This, I believe, is the root of the discussion about homosexuality and the Church. Their are people who can’t come to grips with what Jesus says and they want to believe that no one is exclude from the Kingdom, especially if they have declared their love for Jesus. And so you have Emergent leader Tony Jones writing (How I Went From There to Here):
In any case, I now believe that GLBTQ [Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer] can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state.
It is true that each one of us struggles with sin, and if it was up to us to live a perfect life to be part of the Kingdom of God then we all would be in trouble since none of us do. That is not the issue. The issue is whether or not we are going to do what God asks us to do, even if it is difficult to do. That is the issue. Our faith is seen in our obedience to God’s commands, especially when it is difficult to do. When Jesus is King then we will obey Him and thus be part of His Kingdom, but if we are not willing to obey then we will be on the outside.

Take the rich young ruler as an example. His story can be found in Matthew 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-22, and Luke 18:18-24. This young man was a moral man, which is evident by his attempt to keep the commandments (it is my opinion that when he tells Jesus that he has kept the commandments he indicates that when he has sinned he has followed the Law to deal with that sin). He is a ruler, which means he has the respect of the elders of his community (probably the local synagogue). He is also wealthy, which would be a sign, in that culture, that he was blessed by God. The passage even tells us that Jesus looked on him and loved him. Yet, at the end of the story we discover that the young man is left outside the Kingdom of God. Why? The reason Jesus didn’t let him in was because he was unwilling to let go of his wealth and trust Jesus to provide him with life.

The person who is unwilling to give up his/her sexuality and trust Jesus to provide them with life is in the same position as the rich young ruler was in Yet it is also so much more than that. Each of us have issues and sins that we need to give up so we can follow Jesus. The only way we can be part of the Kingdom of God is to submit to the Lordship of Christ Jesus, and that requires obedience.

That is the message the entire Church needs to hear, and not just homosexuals. Remember what Jesus said in Luke 13? There are many people who have committed to their local church, who teach Sunday School, who sing songs of praise, who read the Bible, and yet do not trust Jesus with their lives. They don’t adjust their lives to His will, and the result is that they will be left out of the Kingdom. Just because we many not struggle with homosexuality, doesn’t mean that we are part of God’s Kingdom. To be part of the Kingdom we must recognize Jesus as King in our lives. That isn’t just about saying words, it is about how we live our lives.

  • Point to Ponder: To be part of the Kingdom of God requires us to submit to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.
  • Passage to Remember: Luke 13:24-28
  • Prayer to Pray: Lord God, help me to see those areas of my life that I need to adjust to Your rule, and help me not to condemn others, but to speak the truth in love.

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