I’m back on track: here is what I mean to say last night!

Remember that really unfair trick I pulled on all of you last night? Remember when I got you all to take a piece of paper out of a hat and two of you lucky people got gold stars? That meant that you and a friend could sit wherever you wanted to last night (like even on a comfy couch). It was just downright unfair!

Life can be like this sometimes, eh? School can be like this, church can feel like this…and I am sure that Emergency Ministries can feel like this sometimes. It can kind of feel like life is all about what special privilege you have or who you know.

I want to encourage you, however, that the message of Jesus has nothing to do with what you have or who you know. There is no special privilege that exists for just certain people (even for me!) and it does not matter who you know so long as you know Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 3:22-23

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

 

Different religious traditions have disagreed with this very basic notion and have stated that they way to advance in their ranks is to have something great (wisdom, intelligence, money, birthright) or to know someone who does.

The Hindu belief system organizes its people into a “caste system”. There are four classes: priests, nobles, peasants and manual laborers. Then there are those who are outside of the caste system and they are called out-casts.

Those who are born into a higher caste system have access to more spiritual and practical privilege and are believed to have lived better in their previous life to merit this great life now. (This notion of reincarnation is, by the way, completely outside of our Christian worldview. There is only one life here and now; we will move beyond this life but never return in this way again).

Moreover, the Hindu faith follows the law of Dharma, which states that if something has been a certain way it should continue to be that way. To move from one caste to another violates some sort of natural law of reincarnation (which, once again, is bogus).

The message of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with this oppression of some and privilege of others. There is no human being better than us and there is no human being below us. There are no castes. There is no hierarchy, there is no privilege, and there is no birthright. Jesus does not care who your parents are, what house you live in, what part of town you live in, whether crazy guys walk by your house with crowbars (inside joke…ask me about it), or anything else. Everyone comes to God on equal footing.

There are two other popular groups around us today that sometimes invoke (or use) the name of Jesus Christ but do so in a distorted way that does not reflect the truth about God.

Jehovah Witness:

Their belief system states that only a choice number of people will actually make it into the presence of God after this life: 144,000 to be exact. (This number is arrived upon by a misinterpretation of Rev 14:1) Others who follow the JW group but are not quite good enough to make into the 144,000 will get to live in a new Earth, but everything else will be destroyed.

So, everyone is striving to be within the elite 144,000 club. This is not equality before God but instead a competition to make it close to God. Unfortunately they tie this message in with the name of Jesus Christ.

 

Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints):

Faithful Mormon men will be exalted to godhood. The only hope for women is to be sealed in marriage to a Mormon man. It must be nice to be a man, not so much to be a woman. Again, a gross misinterpretation of a number of passages of Scripture is taking place…too many to get into here but stop by and we can chat about it.

Once again, this faith group does not promote equality but rather privilege and getting ahead by who you know (or in this case who you are married to).

Need I say it again: within the message of Jesus Christ there is no privilege, there is no hierarchy that you are placed in because of who your parents are, how old you are, how long you have been coming to church, how long you have devoted your life to Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

 

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

This reality comes with great freedom but also great responsibility. There is nothing that can separate you from the love of Jesus Christ….but there are no automatic acceptance tickets offered just because your family is Christian or because you come to church.

Everyone stands before God as an individual and needs to make that choice to devote their lives to Christ or not. Everyone is actually making that decision continually in his or her life…you are both saying yes to Christ and growing daily in that relationship as you continue to say yes or you are saying no to Christ and are continually rejecting the growth that you could have in a relationship with Christ.

We closed the night last night praying for Jesus Christ to become the leader of our lives; some of us may have prayed that for the first time and others perhaps as a rededication. If you prayed that last night or if the reality of Jesus Christ has really been on your mind lately I want to hear from you!!! Send me an email, a facebook, a comment on this blog, a phone call…anything!

Have a great week! I look forward to the conversations that I will be having with many of you.

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