September 3

Matthew 21-22, Psalm 92

We all try so hard to fit in and to appear tolerant and relevant. Most mistakenly feel that by doing so others will be attracted to us, Christians, and want to join our ranks. Pope Francis went so far recently as to caution his adherents from trying to reach the Jewish people with the saving knowledge of Jesus remarking that they have their own path. When comforting a crying boy whose father was not a believer as to where his father's destination was he gave the platitude of God is love and understands. God is indeed love, and being compassionate when one loses a non-believing loved one should be met that way, but it should more importantly serve as an opportunity to present the true gospel message. The truth is most of us are afraid to be too polarizing and for the most part we look no different than everyone else. Why are we so afraid? Why won't we take a stand? Why do we play it so safe? One of my friends and relatives when he wanted to get baptized after coming into a saving knowledge of Jesus backed down after the onslaught by his family members who belonged to a mainstream denomination and deemed the baptism insulting to how he was raised. I'm in Italy now and heard in the square someone on a loudspeaker singing and entertaining the audience. If we were given the microphone would we use it to make others laugh, make others like us,etc. or would we take that opportunity to reach out with the gospel message.

Jesus couldn't have been more clear with His message, which is just as relevant today as it was when He first spoke them. Concerning our Jewish friends, Jesus clearly stated in Matthew 15:24, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." In the Parable of the Vinedressers, God continually sent His people, prophets to bring them into a real relationship with Him, eventually sending His own Son. But they were all rejected and some were killed and the message then went out and was given to another. Those responding recognize the message and correctly state in Matthew 21:41, "He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons." Though this refers to the "time of the Gentiles", we often make a serious mistake. I have a good number of Jewish brothers and sisters in my church who have given their hearts to Jesus. I also have a good number of "Christian" friends and family who belong to mainstream denominations and feel they are safe but have never given their hearts to Jesus. Just like being in the "right" club didn't help the Jewish people then, being in the "right" club doesn't help the majority of our friends now. In fact in the next Parable our eyes should all open at the man in 22:11-13, "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then the king said to his servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' ". He concludes in 22:14, "For many are called, but few are chosen."

From generation to generation there are only a remnant or few who are willing to put on the true robe of salvation. To do so will often lead to being marginalized, ostracized, and unaccepted. Most care more about being right with the world than being right with Jesus. Just like most of the Jewish people missed their Messiah at His first coming, most of the "Christians" will miss the opportunity for salvation at His second coming. There is no one right church and any true Christian can worship at whatever Christian institution they want. But if the leaders of those groups are stating things which are incorrect Biblically why are so many not bothered. If the majority filling the pews are like the man without the proper wedding garment in the Parable above, why do most of us look no different. We must all take a good look in the mirror and ask ourselves who we really stand for. Success in this world often will mean fitting in, but success in God's eyes will often mean just the opposite. To be a Saint, means to be set apart. Are we? Are we willing? Only those who are willing to place on the robe of salvation dipped in the blood of Jesus are allowed to enter. Are we wearing that robe? And if so, why isn't the world seeing it? We should all consider the words of Jesus in Luke 9:26, "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory,".

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster