The Free Gift of God

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34‭-‬35 NRSV

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:23‭-‬24 NRSV

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

Romans 8:14 NRSV

We think of salvation as some future event, that we’ll be saved from God’s wrath on the Day of Judgment.

And that’s true, if you abide in faith.

For without faith, it is impossible to please God.

That sounds like a challenge right?

How do we do that?

What’s that look like?

Well, I’ve got some good news for you.

It’s impossible to have faith unless God gives it to you.

That’s why the apostles prayed, “Lord, increase our faith.”

Faith is a gift from God.

If you have faith, then you have favor from God.

It’s God’s grace that saves us.

It’s unmerited favor.

Mercy motivated by love.

Take me for example.

When did I come to faith?

When I had it all figured out?

When I was living life correctly?

When I had turned from my sinful ways?

No, of course not.

I didn’t even know what sin was.

I didn’t know what faith was.

I didn’t know who Jesus was.

All I knew was that everything I had ever done, everything I knew, everything I had tried wasn’t working.

Every advantage I was given in life hadn’t gotten me anywhere but homeless, penniless, addicted, drunk, depressed, suicidal, lost and alone.

I was a complete mess.

And I was finally ready to try something different.

All my efforts to numb the pain of living a meaningless, self-serving life of materialism with pleasure and excess failed to work.

I had nothing to offer anyone but my heartache.

That’s when my pride was finally broken.

I didn’t have the answers.

I couldn’t figure it out.

I needed help.

That’s when God graciously commandeered my life.

I went along willingly.

I had nothing to lose.

And everything to gain.

By an act of my own will, I invited God to begin His work of sanctification.

That’s the thing about God.

He’s a gentleman.

And He’s humble.

He has all the answers, all the power, and all the patience in the world.

But He’s not going to force it upon you.

His Kingdom is built on love.

Love ties it all together beautifully.

The one who is forgiven much, loves much.

If God can forgive me, and love me, and welcome me, a once lost miserable sinner, into His loving family, He can do the same for anyone.

That’s what gives me confidence that people are eager to receive the message of Christ when presented with the Good News with love, gentleness and respect.

God wants to redeem us.

He eagerly desires to restore you to health and wholeness.

But that only happens when we get tired of going our own way.

We have to want it.

We have to desire something greater than our mess.

That’s why I love working with the homeless, the addicted, the incarcerated, the poor, the broken, the outcast.

They’re ready.

You don’t need to convince them.

Love them like family.

Feed them.

Clothe them.

Give them something non-alcoholic to drink.

Heal them.

Cast out their demons.

Fill them up with the Holy Spirit.

Educate them and walk with them in their journey to wholeness in Christ.

Be their friend.

Don’t worry about everyone running the wrong way.

Focus on the low hanging fruit.

Reach out and touch the ones that are so readily and easily helped.

The ones in ivory towers will have to wait until their towers fall before they’ll listen.

The poor will always be among you.

The poor in spirit.

May you be the salt and light to this lost and broken world.

And may He give you strength to finish well.

In the Name of Jesus.

Amen.

A heart that turns ⌊from God⌋ becomes bored with its own ways, but a good person is satisfied with God’s ways.

Proverbs 14:14 GW

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