Accepted…the common definition for accepted is as follows “generally believed or recognized to be valid or correct.” “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.” (NRSV Acts 8:14) Accepted… “generally believed or recognized to be valid or correct.” You know I don’t believe that we actually know what accepted means in this day and age since we use it so much for so many things. You can’t turn your computer on or download a program or watch a movie without clicking on an agreement. And this agreement is usually so long and so complicated that no one reads them, but we still click yes, I understand or yes, I agree. Never really knowing what it is we are agreeing to, but we still agree to it. Why is that? And we all do it, it has become the norm. I mean we don’t even look at it anymore. It used to be that we actually read the first paragraph and then we would go…this is a complete waste of time…then we skipped to the end and signed it. Now we just go straight to the end and say I accept…sign me up. But that’s a dangerous practice. Accept is a dangerous word and we need to be aware of that. So, let’s take a closer look at the word accept. Accept is a verb, an action word and although it has multiple meanings it has a single form. Now the definitions for accept are many and we are going to look at all of them and put them into the context with your life and Gods word. The first of these is the “Consent to receive (a thing offered).” To accept…To receive, agree to receive, welcome, take, take receipt of, get, gain, obtain, acquire, or come by. “The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus).” (NRSV Acts 8:15-16) Have you accepted Christ? Have you accepted the word of God? For the Lord offered his son to us.
That if we agreed to receive Him to welcome Him, to follow Him, to accept Him, we would have eternal life. Another definition for accept is too “Give an affirmative answer to (an offer or proposal);” say yes to. Take on, take up, undertake, tackle, take on oneself, shoulder, bear, assume, manage, take responsibility for, be responsible for, engage in, become involved in, take part in, participate in, devote oneself to, concentrate on, address oneself to, go about, set about, approach, handle, get down to, deal with, and get to grips with. Wow! That is a lot. Give an affirmative answer. All of those words just say yes. Yes, is easier to say and more to the point but it doesn’t have as much meaning as the word accept. Yes, doesn’t bear the same meaning it doesn’t have the same responsibility, it doesn’t engage us, it doesn’t involve us. Yes, does not allow us to devote ourselves to or concentrate on the word of God. Yes, is too easy to say. It’s too easy to forget that you said yes. But it’s not the same when you say Lord, I accept you, I accept the gifts that you have for me. I accept the trials and the tribulation that will make me stronger so that your gifts will not overwhelm me. I accept the limitation that you place before me. The pace that you set for me from Lord because I know that you have plans for me and that only good can come from them. And then there’s one of my favorite definitions which is to “Say yes to a proposal of marriage. And I don’t want you to have any doubt in your mind, when you accept the Lord, you are excepting a proposal of marriage. It is the union of the Holy Spirit to us as our eternal counselor, confidante, friend, protector, and light in the dark. Once you receive the Lord you’re bound for eternity. Never to be abandoned or forgotten but “Regarded favorably or with approval;” we are to be welcome, greeted, let in, received, received favorably, embraced, offered friendship to, and adopted. When we accept Christ and we start to follow where God leads, we are regarded favorably with approval by God. Did Jesus have to accept being baptized? What did John say, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” In other words, to do as God instructed. Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (NIV Matthew 3:13-17) Just as Jesus followed where God lead so it should be with us. We should desire nothing more than to please the Lord. “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (NLT Ephesians 1:5) It is our purpose in life, to give pleasure to God. We were designed for that sole purpose and part of that design is also a definition of what it means to accept “(of a thing) be designed to allow (something) to be inserted or applied.” “Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” (NRSV Acts 8:17) We were made to receive the Holy Spirit to be in union with Christ and through that union to abide in the presence of the Lord. Because we have accepted the Word of God, we accept “believe or come to recognize (an opinion, explanation, etc.) as valid or correct.” Believe, trust, give credence to, credit, give credit to, put confidence in, be convinced of, have faith in, count on, rely on, depend on; Jesus as our Lord and savior. And through all of these definitions of the word accept and what it is that we agree to and what we expect of God we skip over the fine print and go straight to the end without ever really knowing what it is that he did for us. There are two more definitions of the word except. These are the ones that we should know the best, the ones that are so self-evident, but they don’t really need a definition but still we forget that’s the original meaning of accept is to “Take upon oneself (a responsibility or liability); acknowledge.” “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (NIV 1 Peter 2:24) Christ alone excepted our sin the sins that we are so could not bear. He took them upon himself and died for us. Which brings us to the final definition of accept which is to “Tolerate or submit to (something unpleasant or undesired).” To endure, put up with, suffer, bear, take, stand, support, submit to, stomach, undergo, swallow. The only person ever to be born without sin, eternal. Still Christ submitted himself, humbled himself and came to us not as an eternal God but rather as one of us with the same hopes and dreams, the same love and compassion that we all share. He came and tolerated our sins and allowed us to nail him to a cross, to suffer and die in agony that we may live joyously free from pain for eternity. Praise his name above all the heavenly host. Praise his name in the highest. Give thanks that he loves us and protects us as His children. Amen!