It’s Not For Everyone

I don’t usually preach sin. I don’t preach consequences. This is an adult congregation and we have no youth. I know that each of us are aware of the wages of sin. Romans 6:23 tells us everything we need to know: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. I don’t have to tell you these things because even if you’ve never read the bible and have no idea that Romans is a book in it. Even if right now your going “Oh yeah! I know all about Romans, I watched Spartacus on HBO.” It doesn’t matter because Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or atheist we all know when we don’t hit the mark. Are you following me here. No matter how much you believe or don’t in sin we all have a moral and ethical compass that points us in the right direction. I’m also not going to stand here and insult your intelligence and define what is and what isn’t sin. I don’t think it’s up to me and I won’t pretend that I am capable to make judgement on another person, because I too have missed the mark. As Paul said to the Romans in chapter 3 verse 23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  and I am no exception and if you are then this message is for you, because this message is about those who have no sin and those who are perfect and those who don’t need Jesus. Luke tells us in the next chapter that the disciples were complaining because He was not establishing his ministry with good people but rather tax collectors and prostitutes. In verse 32 Jesus tells them  “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” You see the Word, It’s not for everyone.

Now do not take that to mean that the Lord does not welcome all to His table, He does and as I have noted He seems to be particularly fond of us sinners praise God. It’s not so much that, It’s not for everyone as not everyone is for it. I know it make my brain hurt too. Which is why Jesus spoke mostly in parables. However, on this occasion He was very clear. “Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” O course He was reading from the book of Moses and Isaiah’s prophecies for the children of Israel.  And Jesus said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Jesus has just declared that He is the long-awaited Messiah and people are not too happy about this. It’s not even something that I can give a proper analogy for. You see in that time and place there would have been no one who did not know exactly what Jesus was referring to. Think of how David and Goliath have become the example of the right over might or the little guy triumphing over huge adversity. This scripture would have been immediately recognizable as a messianic proclamation. Here I am, The Messiah. Relax I got this. See “all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” They were amazed and you think wow how wonderful, but I read something a little more different in this verse (isn’t it wonderful how the gospels are so alike yet different) Because none of the four relate this episode the same. And, I don’t read it as they showed great wonder, but rather surprise. In other words, they were being just a little patronizing. Kind of like when your five year old comes back with some off the wall statement and then you suddenly realize that it wasn’t, that it was in fact beyond their capabilities and you want to immediately know where did you get that from, whose authority are you borrowing, because it cannot have come from a five year old. And it didn’t, in this case it came from God and “He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’ ” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. And how can He be, they were not being deliberately patronizing or nasty, remember this is Jesus’ home town and he had lived there for years, both as a child and an adult with an occupation.

Which is part of the problem, we all have with our children, it’s always hardest to see the man or women a person becomes, because you can never forget the child that they were. But the truth is our children often surpass us. So, when Jesus came back to His hometown as a famous Rabbi with disciple, that was great and everyone wanted to hear how a carpenter with no formal training could possibly be the great healer and teacher that all Judea was talking about. They just could not conceive of it, and no matter what He said, or did they would be skeptical. Much like people are today when you witness  to them. Even when they see a miracle, they rationalize it away or simple don’t believe. And that’s ok. The way isn’t for everyone. And not everyone is called as Elijah proved in 1st and 2nd Kings when He was the sole priest of Yahweh and he defeated the entire priesthood of Baal. He is right up there with Moses as one of the most revered prophets of Israel and Jesus uses Elijah and his protégé Elisha’s struggles with Jezebel and a newly reborn Israel as an example of why His words are not always for everyone. Jesus points out that “the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” Salvation is not for everyone. Matthew 22:14 Jesus tells us point blank  “For many are called, but few are chosen.” This life isn’t for everyone and there’s no shame in it. There is no need to be angry or like the Galileans were. When they heard this, all in the “synagogue were filled with rage. You see we are a fast food society and for the most part the things that really anger us are petty. Like, someone taking our parking space or any of a dozen things that really aren’t any great inconvenience. We save our hatred for people who are mean to puppy’s and politics, really important things like that. This is not the case in Jesus time, there was nothing more important to these people than God and they were more than willing to kill someone whom they believed was mocking them or irreverent to Yahweh; and they got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. This is how mad they were at Him, this is how seriously they believe in God and they still do too this day.

If you have an opportunity to go to the middle east, please remember that it has been continually occupied by people for millennium for thousands of years, not just a few hundred years and this is an old argument for them. Still, Jesus was one of them and loved by them and I am sure that He too loved them just as much, even though they were perfectly willing to sacrifice him, still He is not for everyone and “he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” Has He passed through your life? Is he just one of the guys in the neighborhood? Here today and gone tomorrow. Is Jesus the most important thing in your life? Because this life is not for everyone. Jesus is “The Spirit of the Lord and he has been anointed and He brought the good news to the poor. He has proclaimed release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, He has let the oppressed go free, and proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor.” Still if you’re perfect and have no sin it’s OK. If you have no need of forgiveness and repentance is something only the guilty do, don’t worry, it’s not mandatory. Christianity isn’t for everyone and if we reject the Lord, He will simple pass through our midst and go on His way and we will never realize how close salvation was. It’s ok. It’s not for everyone.

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