Have you ever felt left out? Think about the situation when you were little on the playground getting picked for kickball and you were the last one left. How did that make you feel? I am sure no one reading this enjoys feeling left out. In fact we often try and make sure people feel included. Just this week Valentines day occurred. Valentines day is enjoyable for many that are married or have a significant other. However, some feel left out and I heard on the radio that the day after Valentines day is national singles awareness day. Why is that? It it to make those who felt excluded feel included. People can easily feel left out and often we take drastic measures to make them feel included.
People often claim that the church is exclusive that we are in the practice of excluding others. However, the message of the Bible is quite contrary. Let us look at some verses that actually teach the opposite message that the church is inclusive.
Matthew 11:28 says "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Notice the words "ALL." What does the word all mean? It means everyone is included. Notice what the verse tells ALL to do to come to me. We have to seek Jesus. We can not claim the church is exclusive if we are the ones who are not seeking Jesus.
Galatians 3:28 tells us "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Notice the stipulation of "In Christ." In Christ their is no distinction. However, those outside of Christ and those in Christ are different.
Colossians 3:11 tells us a very similar thing saying, "where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all." Again their is no distinction, but notices that applies to those who are in Christ.
1 Timothy 2:4 says "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." God desires all men to be saved. But does that mean that everyone will be saved? We know from other scriptures that not all will obey. However, God wants all men to be saved.
We all want to be included and feel like apart of what is going on. We on the other hand hate the feeling of being excluded. However, when we feel left out or excluded who is doing the excluding? God, from the verses we looked at is very inclusive and wants all men to be saved. So when we feel excluded that is on us and we are not responding to God as we should. Another thing worth noting is that this does not mean accepting people as they are without the necessity of change. If we know their is sinful behavior in our life the expectation is we take care of it. The world wants the church to be inclusive in the fact that any sinful lifestyle is accepted by the church. However, that is not that picture the Bible paints.
So the question is who is doing the excluding? God's love is inclusive and and includes all men, but not with the necessity of obedience to his will and word. We can't expect the blessings of being in Christ without doing the things that are necessary to be in Christ in the first place. Obedience is essential.
Feeling excluded? Lets do what it takes to change that today!