5 Things God Can’t Do – 4) God Can’t Reject you.
Gladstone Baptist Church – 30/1/05 pm
(Adapted from “It’s Impossible for God to Reject You” – By Mike Howerton)
Tonight we are going to be talking about the fact that it is impossible for God to reject you. Paul raises an interesting question on this topic in Romans 8:35, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?” If you take a look at that question you will see that at the very heart of that question is a human dilemma - Am I acceptable to God? Am I acceptable in who I am? That’s what we’re going to be talking about tonight.
All of us want to be accepted somewhere and by someone. We all have a friendships that are formed based on who accepts us in our life. We get together with people who accept us on one level or another and we form these little pacts – I’ll accept you if you accept me; I’ll look after you if you look after me. We go through life in little acceptance pacts. We crave acceptance.
Do you remember the TV show Cheers. Do you remember the tag line for that show? It was set in a bar where “Where everybody knows your name”. The world craves that kind of acceptance, where everybody knows your name, where everybody loves you and where you’re acceptable. Because of this, because we struggle for this acceptance, we have to deal with insecurity. This insecurity is heightened when we experience rejection in our lives.
We’ve all encountered rejection in one form or another. Some people experience it almost constantly and that hurts us. But I want you to grasp tonight that it’s impossible for God to reject you.
Now I need to clarify myself here before we go on. The bible teaches us that there will come a time when God rejects people. It will occur in heaven at the final judgment where Jesus identifies those who have chosen Him and those who have rejected Him. At that time, Jesus will judge people based on their decision and for those who have rejected Him, He will reject and sentence them to an eternity away from his presence – we call that place hell. Although they will cry out in distress and even plead for mercy, it will be too late for that. God will have no other choice than to reject them as judgment for their own choice. This judgment will take place after you die or after Jesus comes back – which ever comes first.
I am not talking about God’s ultimate judgment tonight – because that is more of a judgment than an out-and-out rejection. The question I want to know is whether God will accept me here and now if I want to accept Him while I am still living. Will He find me repulsive? Will He accept me regardless of what I have done? Will He unconditionally welcome me or will He put conditions on my coming to Him? That is the question that I want to pose to you tonight and the answer that I want to give you tonight is that it is impossible for God to reject you. Why? 3 reasons …
1. God LOVES YOU as you are now.
The first reason is that God loves you right now, just as you are. Rom 8:38-39 (Living) says this “For I am convinced that nothing [Underline that word in your Bible] can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.”
There’s nothing that can separate you from God’s love. This doesn’t say that nothing can separate us from Him because we ourselves can make that choice to separate ourselves from God. What it does say, though is that nothing can separate us from God’s love.
It says as plain as day that there is nothing that can make God stop loving you. There’s no way that God will reject you because He loves you too much. He’s always loved you. Right from the beginning of time, God loved you and wanted to have a deep and intimate relationship with you. He doesn’t expect you to do anything to earn this love, His love is UNCONDITIONAL.
During the Korean war, there was a 19-year-old American guy who joined the army and he went to Korea to fight in the Korean War. While he’s there he meets a girl and dates her for awhile, gets her pregnant. Then when his tour of duty’s over he goes home, never to be heard from again. Meanwhile the young Korean girl is faced with a huge burden to bear. Dating the American soldiers was socially a taboo in itself, but now she is pregnant. When the baby – a girl – is born she has lighter skin and light wavy hair and she stands out like a sore thumb. Her family kicks her out of the house. Society rejects her. She is met with curses and insults everywhere she goes. People literally spat on the mom and the little girl. It wasn’t easy.
When the child was aged 7, the mother couldn’t cope with the rejection and insults any more. She abandoned the little girl in the street. So this little girl is trying to survive on the streets at seven years old. Her clothes quickly become like rags, she’s eating any rubbish she can find. All she has ever known is rejection. They had a word for her in the Korean language she was called it again and again. She thought it was her name for awhile. It’s one of the worst words in the Korean language. It means “ugly alien devil”. That’s who she thought she was. All she knew was rejection.
Finally she found her way to an orphanage. It was overcrowded and dirty but it was better than being on the streets. One day there was some excitement around the orphanage. The rumor was that there was an American couple coming. They wanted to adopt a little baby boy. All the little boys in the orphanage got all excited. They tried to make themselves presentable and they lined up in a row. This American couple comes in. They start to go from child to child. This couple just radiated love. It was so obvious that they loved kids, and that if they could, they would have taken them all home with them. They were meeting all the children, playing with them, showing them love, but this little girl knew there was no way they were going to choose her. She stood off in a corner. She knew that somebody else was going to have hope, somebody else was going to have a future but it wouldn’t be her.
But then something happened. Out of the corner of his eye the man saw the little girl standing off to the side. He walks over to her and does something that she’d never experienced before. He reached out to her and took her face in his hands and said, “This is the child I want. This is the child I choose. This is the one we came for.” Picture this moment. She’s sitting there. She’s filthy, dressed in rags. By her own account, she has lice in her hair, boils on her skin, her teeth were rotten. It didn’t matter to this guy. He looked at her and said, “You’re precious to me. I accept you just as you are. My love for you is right now. I don’t care about the other stuff. I accept you just as you are.”
This is a true story. But what is even better, is that this is exactly how God treats us. God looks down on us and He sees the things we’re not happy about. He sees the shame and the guilt and the sin that’s upon us. He sees right through us and knows our secrets. But it doesn’t matter. He loves you right now, just as you are.
Not only does God love you just the way you are,
2. God loves you TOO MUCH to leave you that way.
John 12:47-48 says, “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.” That is the judgment we talked about earlier, but Jesus says, I am not here to judge people – that’s for later, but now I want to save people.
Jesus’ plan of salvation involved 2 parts. Firstly, He had to save us from our sins – that is why he died for you and me. Secondly though, He wanted to help us move on from that kind of a sinful lifestyle.
Think about the story of the little girl in Korea. It was a wonderful thing for the man to go over and take his hands and put them on the face of this little girl. But what kind of love, what kind of acceptance would it be if they just left her there? If they didn’t bring her home? That’s not acceptance, that’s not true love. And that is why God doesn’t do show us that he loves us. He wants to transform us into the people that we could be and that we should be. He loves you way too much to leave you as you are.
God wants to offer you three things.
1) He wants to change you in ways you cannot change yourself. All of us have stuff in our life that we’re not proud of, stuff that we have tried before to cut out, or habits we have tried to generate in our life and we can’t do it. We fail. God can change you in ways that you can’t change yourself.
2) God wants to give you a reason and purpose to live life. He wants to empower you to do the right thing, to give you strength in your day to day life. He wants to infuse you with a heart for others. He wants to give you a new heart so that your vision is not like a microscope where you’re only focused in on you. God wants to broaden your perspective. He wants you to see the world like He sees it.
3) God wants to save you for eternity. He wants to save your souls forever. The cost to you? Nothing - it’s completely free. You can accept it today. But just because this gift is free doesn’t mean it’s cheap. This gift cost Jesus Christ everything – his life, his death, his blood, his sweat, his tears – all of it. Jesus paid the ultimate price so that you and I could receive this gift for free. He was willing to pay this because He loves you and He loves me.
God can’t reject you. He loves you exactly where you are but He loves you way too much to leave you there. But that is not all. 1 more think I want to share with you
3. God loves you too much to GIVE UP on you.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” From Isaiah, God speaking, Isaiah 43:25“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake and remembers your sins no more.”
What the first verse says is there’s nothing too big for God to forgive and in the next verse He says when I forgive something I forget it. It’s gone. That’s incredible. There’s nothing too big for God to forgive.
It’s impossible for God to reject you. He won’t reject you no matter if you rejected him. No matter how many times you lie, God won’t reject you. No matter how many times you’ve cheated, He won’t reject you. No matter how far you’ve gone sexually, He won’t reject you. No matter if you have killed people. He won’t reject you. No matter if you’ve killed an unborn child, He won’t reject you. No matter if you’ve rejected yourself, God won’t reject you. It’s impossible. He won’t give up on you. He won’t give up on you until you breathe your last breathe – when it’s too late.
There’s nothing too big for God to forgive. He will never reject you based on what you have done.
The question has never been “Will God reject me?” But the question is, “Will you reject God?” It is impossible for God to reject you, but you certainly can reject God. That’s your freedom.
God’s not pressuring you at all. The deal’s on the table, an open invitation. Come back next week if you like – it’s okay. But I will tell you this, the longer you remain in indecision, the more comfortable it is to be there. And ultimately if you just stay in indecision, ultimately the indecision itself becomes the decision.
It’s like if you had in your hands a helicopter ticket to Heron Island for a week’s holiday - all expenses paid. The helicopter took off at noon tomorrow and you just had to decided whether you wanted to go or not. So you talk about it, talk to your family, your friends. Should I go? Shouldn’t I go? It gets to 10 a.m. tomorrow morning and you still can’t decide if you want to go. The helicopter leaves in 2 hours. If you can’t decide you want to go and it’s 1:00 p.m. your indecision has become your decision. It is too late because the helicopter has gone.
God’s offer is on the table, 24-hours a day, seven-days a week for the rest of your life. God wants you to accept him. He wants you to accept his gift of love. There’s nothing too big for God to forgive. He’ll forgive you but you’ll have to accept it. Allow him to forgive you.
That’s a huge truth. These are all huge truths. God loves you as you are. He loves you too much to leave you there. He will never, ever give up on you.
So how do we respond to this truth:
1. ACCEPT God’s free gift of love
It’s as simple as saying yes to him. All of us in our lives have done things we are not proud of – they cause us shame and guilt. God wants to take those things away from you. He wants to take care of our sin problem. He wants to relieve us of the burden that we carry. That’s what God’s plan is.
Colossians 2:13-14 “When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins. He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross.” Our record of our sin is nailed to the cross with Jesus Christ. We’re free from that burden.
There’s a part of the story about this Korean girl that I didn’t tell you. The first time the American couple saw her and showed her total acceptance she didn’t know how to handle it. All that she had ever known were curses and people spitting at her, beating her, rejecting her. Rejection is all she ever knew. So when she was experiencing for the very first time acceptance she freaked out. She responded the only way she knew. She spit in the guy’s face, kicked him in the shin and ran away. It’s a true story. Fortunately for her and for us the couple didn’t quit there. The couple kept on trying to love her and engage in a relationship with her. Finally she said, yes, she accepted their love. They brought her back to America, cleaned her up, raised her, they gave her education. She has a family now.
God’s offer of love leaves the burden of responsibility on you. He is waiting for your response. Will you accept his gift? When you do that, you’ll be ready to move on to the next thing. When you accept that God loves you, when you accept his gift of love in your life...
2. LIVE LIFE with new confidence.
You’ll be ready to live a whole new life with confidence. When we get our heads around this truth that God’s love is totally unconditional, He accepts us just as we are, He’s working in our lives to make changes, all of a sudden it doesn’t really matter what people around me think. It doesn’t really matter if I’m impressive to those that are around me, if I have the right clothes on, the right hair cut or whatever. Those things don’t matter, they kind of fade out in the background. The creator of the universe, the king of this entire playground – loves me. In fact God is crazy about you? Don’t you know that He accepts you right now just as you are? You don’t have to impress him. In fact, you couldn’t impress him if you tried. His love for you is that unconditional.
God wants to make you his child. Galatians 4:3-5 says, “We were like children ruled by the powers of this world. But when the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him. His Son obeyed the Law, so he could set us free from the Law, and we could become God’s children.” We were ruled by powers of this world. What does that mean? It means we’re walking the world’s way. We try to gain acceptance from all many different groups but we’re never sure where we stand. We are controlled by peer pressure and the need to impress. God wants to take us away from that. God does not want us to be slaves to that. God wants us to be CHILDREN – His children who are accepted.
Children have status. They have direct access to their Fathers. They don’t need appointments, they walk straight on in. Children get everything that their fathers own. God wants to bless his children. Everything He has He wants to give to his children. What a unique position to be in.
Accept his free gift of love, realize that you’re a child of God and live with a new confidence. Then the last thing...
3. BE FREE to accept others.
The last thing that this means for us is that we need to allow this love that God’s poured into our lives to spill out on those around you. There’s two kinds of relationships in this world. There’s a vertical relationship that you can have with God. And then there’s a horizontal relationship that you can have with other people. When I get my arms around how God loves me vertically, I can live confidently and start allowing that love to spill over on those that are around me. I don’t have to reserve my love just for those who accept me. No – I can love all manner of people because my value and identity are not dependant on who else accepts me – God accepts me and that is enough.
Unfortunately a big criticism against the church in general is that there are people that go to church that don’t love other people – they judge, they criticize, they gossip and they condemn. The world looks at the lifestyles of people who go to church and see that there is no horizontal love and therefore question whether there can be a vertical relationships. Jesus said this, “The world will know that you’re My disciples if you love one another.” Our horizontal relationships bear witness to my vertical relationship and our vertical relationship should affect our horizontal relationship.
God loves you just as you are. No matter what’s going on in your life God loves you right now. Like the little girl – lice, boils, rags … it doesn’t matter. God loves you and accepts you right now. That’s the bottom line.
The question is, Will you accept him? Will you reject him today? It is impossible for God to reject you. But will you reject him?
Let me close with this: God’s character is beautiful. I hope that you’ve caught a glimpse of that over the last couple of weeks. My prayer is that you see God’s character and experience it in a new and a real way. But if you’ve never said yes to God’s love I’d like to give you that opportunity right now. If you’ve never said yes to accepting his gift of love in your heart, I’m going to give you that opportunity right now. Close your eyes and bow your heads.
As we go to prayer would you just feel God reaching down to you like that dad reached down to that orphan. Feel him take you head in his hands and say, “This is the one that I choose. This is the one I came for. This is the one that I love.” Just say yes to him. Don’t run any longer. There’s no reason. It’s impossible for God to reject you. Don’t reject him in this moment.
If you’re ready to accept him, just pray with me. “Lord, we want to say yes to you today. Some of us in here are saying Yes to you for the very first time. We know you will never reject us, but we want to stop rejecting you. We choose you, God. We trust that you will take care of our past, that you will wipe the slate of our past clean and forget it. We trust you that you’ll give us strength and hope in our present day to day lives. We trust that you’ll prepare a place for us in heaven, that our future is secure because we’re saying yes to you. We trust you. And God, as best as we know how, we want to follow you. Will you help us? Will you help us share your love? We pray this in your name. Amen.