Summary: We judge by what we see. God judges by the heart. His way is better. Let us join God is inviting others into His family.

-Is God’s house for everyone?

-Is anyone welcome in chapel?

-Does God accept anyone and everyone who steps foot in His house?

-Before you answer, let me tell you a little story

-Last week during fellowship, I told some of you about a scene from the Dark Knight, the new Batman movie

-Have any of you seen the movie?

-The Joker threatens the city of Gotham, so the mayor decides to begin evacuating the city.

-The prison is emptied and put on a ferry to carry them away so that the Joker can’t somehow free them and use them to help him destroy the city. In addition, some of the city’s most upstanding citizens are placed on another ferry to carry them to safety.

-A couple of the ferry’s crew hand packages to the captain’s of the respective ships. The Joker gives to each ferry instructions via their PA systems. Each ferry is rigged with explosives and each ferry has the detonator for the other ferry.

-You see the Joker wanted to perform a little social experiment. He wanted to see who thought they were better than the others.

-The upstanding citizens very quickly took a vote to see if they should blow the criminals sky high.

-The guards closed ranks around the prison warden as the prisoners close in to seize control of the detonator to protect what’s left of their lives.

-Who do you think was blown up? Did the prisoners seize control of the detonator after a bloody struggle and blow up the innocent civilians? Or did the upstanding citizens waste the poor thugs?

-Who was more deserving of death?

-Who should have died?

-How does that reflect your attitude towards others?

-How would you feel if an ex-con snuggled up close to you in chapel?

-Would someone’s attire or other outward appearance bother you?

-Would it bother God?

-Why is there a difference?

-There’s a difference because we are judgemental.

-Jesus says in the bible not to judge lest you be judged

-However, it also says that we are to judge others within the family of God

-We are to judge rightly, not hypocritically

-God does not judge by outward appearance but by discerning the heart

-We unfortunately judge by what we see. {PAUSE}

-You know God is actually a radical

-He is radically in love with you, with me, with all people

-What He is doing in this passage of Scripture is changing the world forever.

-God is in the change business

-In Deuteronomy 23, God tells the people of Israel that certain people are off limits and are to be excluded from their community

-In verse 1, God says that anyone who is emasculated is not to set foot inside their camp

-Remember, Deuteronomy was written while the Israelites were in the desert of Sinai, where they wandered for 40 years after being rescued by God from captivity in Egypt

-In verse 3, God says that people from certain lands (Ammon and Moab – modern day Jordan) are to be excluded forever. The Ammonites traced their ancestry through an illegitimate son of Lot, the nephew of Abraham. The Moabites were traced back to Jacob’s son Reuben, whose tribe settled in Moab.

-However, those from Edom and Egypt were to be allowed in their midst after three generations. Edomites are the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob. Egyptians weren’t so bad since the Israelites actually lived there for over 400 years. {PAUSE}

- Now, in Isaiah God is undoing the prohibition that God placed on these peoples

-Ancestry was not going to be as important for the Israelites

-See, the Israelites ran into problems in their years of living in the land God promised to Abraham. They thought at one time that it was all about the land. They could do not wrong because they were living in the land that God had given them. They could do no wrong because of their relationship to Abraham. God took away the land, having the Israelites carted off into captivity in Assyria and later Babylon.

-After 50 years, God allowed some of the Israelites to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and to rebuild the city

-In the time of Jesus, the people now thought that it was the temple that was important. They still thought that their relationship to Abraham was of supreme importance.

-In A. D. 70, because by and large the Israelites had rejected Jesus, God allowed the temple to be destroyed

-So, it wasn’t about the land and it wasn’t about the temple. The Israelites now turned to the word. Now, they are finally getting closer to the truth. They at least discovered the importance of the God’s word but missed The Word. They understood the importance of a relationship. Unfortunately, they thought that it was their relationship to Abraham. {PAUSE}

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