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It isn’t our job to decide who can be a Christian and who cannot.

No, it is our job to tell the whole world that they can be Christians and to welcome them to hear and receive this Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 18:23,1 Timothy 1:12-16, Matthew 28:16-20)

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It isn’t our job to prequalify who can sit and hear this message and have an opportunity to receive the healing grace and redemption that Christ offers to everyone. (Mark 2:17, Luke 5:32, Matthew 9:12, Revelation 5:9, Revelation 7:9)

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No. Would anyone be foolish enough to believe that the Word of God is unable to overcome any and all sins that might be clinging to those lambs who are lost and in such dire need of salvation? (Romans 8:37, 1 Corinthians 15:57)

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Is anyone misled into thinking that people must clean up their own lives first before coming to Jesus,  instead of understanding that we come to Him because we can’t do it own our own? (Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Corinthians 1:26-30)

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One would think that a true believer and follower of Christ would want the ears of many of the lost close and nearby each and every time that the Word of God is shared,  every time that His praises are lifted – because what greater celebration is there than a lost sheep that is found? (Luke 15:7)

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But how many gatherings fall so deeply into the leaven of the Pharisees, looking down their noses at those “heathens” that dare step foot within their religious gatherings without looking the part of a practiced hypocrite! (Matthew 23:1-39)

Are we so self-righteous that we believe that we can see someone’s heart?

Are we so unforgiving that we will judge a man unworthy of receiving a grace that we ourselves do not deserve?

Are we so untrusting in the complete glory of the grace of Almighty God that we would put limits upon who He might choose to redeem as a demonstration of His power and glory and honor?

Have we fallen into the pride of believing that we are the ones in power,  that we get to decide,  that we are in a position to judge as prosecutor, jury and executioner?

Oh how far have we fallen,  Lord?

How cruelly has the enemy attempted to twist your Word into ways that deny your love and your mercy and your grace and your power?

But that enemy has no power over your Truth. That enemy cannot rescind even one of your mighty promises. That enemy will dig for evidence to pile on as shame and guilt and accusation and judgement, but those chains cannot take hold of a Son of God. Those stones placed in our way on this earth will be rolled away when we rise to meet our Savior in the heavens. Death will have no sting, for once we are absent from this body,  we will be with our Lord in Spirit.

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He who is without sin,  cast the first stone. How many rocks are being thrown these days by those who would call themselves Christians? How much venom drips from the lips of those gossiping in the very pews where they sit – mock God with their empty religious practice and cold, dead hearts? How much evil streams from the judgemental stares towards those who “aren’t the type of people that attend this church”. How much dissention and strife and disrespect is being spoken from political pulpits that pretend to be under shepherds called by God. It sickens me how much of a stench it must be to the high heavens, the wretchedness of the adulterous bride,  who has made much of herself amongst the Sons of Man instead of humbling herself while waiting for the return of her groom. Who is found beating the servants while the master is away.

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Oh Babylon, your walls have fallen, your secrets are bared for the whole world to see the depths of your corruption and deceit, and the hard, cold, darkness of your heart. You who were once a glorious site,  beautiful amongst the whole world, do you have no shame of your own nakedness? Do you deny selling yourself to the highest bidder of earthly prosperity, or seeking honor and glory for yourself amongst men, or strife against one another,  or blasphemous murder in the name of the Lord, or for turning the Lord’s house into a den of thieves selling goods and services, or for making idols of everything before your eyes and hands instead of worshipping your living God,  or for pridefully loving yourselves and forgetting God altogether.

How merciful must our Lord be to not bring utter devastation and destruction to this lost and fallen world. The stench of evil in this world is pungent and thick.  Oh,  that it would be replaced by the incense of the prayers of His saints.

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How much longer must this world remain? I cannot grasp your ways,  Oh, Lord,  but deliver us from evil. Accept us as yours. And teach us to share this Good News to the ends of the earth. Quicken us and equip us for your service,  Lord. Forgive us and redeem us. Open our eyes to see your will and purpose for our life today.

If there is anyone that isn’t good enough to attend my church, I would have to ask myself if I was attending a church at all, or whether it was just a gathering of well polished hypocrites.

No, we don’t want to be worldly ourselves,  but if we aren’t sharing the Good News,  if we aren’t going out and bringing in,  then what work are we doing? What power is being exercised by the Holy Spirit through us? Can we even say that we are alive if we are not growing and bearing fruit?

Oh,  what a troubling lesson if I felt that it was my battle to win. But the victory is complete, I just have to finish this race. So I’ll swallow this message whose words flowed smoothly across my lips and onto paper, but that are bitter to my stomach and heavy upon my toes – and I’ll stay the course,  ever aware of the dangers of empty religious practice that comes from reading the letter of the message but forgetting the spirit of the Word of God.

Teach us to love like you,  Lord. You are our only hope.

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