Summary: A call for the church to be a place that mirrors the description of the multitude of saints that are worshipping in heaven.
A Place Where Anyone Can Fit In
February 10, 2002
• Stand as we pray the Lord’s Prayer together.
• There is a part of that prayer that I wonder if we ever really notice.
• The part that says Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?
• I wonder if we really mean that? Do we really want His kingdom and His will on earth (i.e, in our lives and in our church) as it is in heaven?
• Let’s look at one aspect of God’s will as it is in heaven. Rev 7:9-10 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
• The apostle John saw in his vision of heaven, a place where every nation (ethnic group), and all tribes and peoples and tongues were worshipping around the throne of God.
• What John saw is “A Place Where Anyone Can Fit In”
• If we pray His Kingdom Come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, do we really want our church to be a Place where anyone can fit in? Regardless of who they are or their station in life?
• Is Bayview Baptist Church a place where anyone can fit in?
• Let’s look at James 2:1-9 and see what God’s word has to say about what our church should handle this subject.
1. The Command: Be Inclusive. (vv. 1-4)
a. Faith and favoritism don’t mix. It starts as a heart attitude and bleeds over into our actions. The way we look at and treat people.
[In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days he read the Gospels seriously and considered converting to Christianity. He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India. So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian. When he entered the sanctuary, however, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested that he o worship with his own people. Gandhi left the church and never returned, “If Christians have caste differences also, “ he said, “I might as well remain a Hindu.” That usher’s prejudice not only betrayed Jesus but also turned a person away from trusting Him as Savior.]
b. Everyone has celebrity status with God. Everyone who comes into this church should be welcomed equally. No one is to receive better treatment because of their economic or social status. The real sin in the church today is not primarily racism but classism. We get all gooey inside when some famous celebrity gets saved but don’t give it a thought when a homeless alcoholic comes to Christ.
c. When we show partiality we are displaying the evil motives of our heart. God is the only judge over who and who does not come into His kingdom.
2. The Conditions: Who belongs in God’s kingdom? (vv. 4-7)
a. Those who are rich in faith.
b. Those who love Him.
c. Our favoritism and prejudice make absolutely no sense.
3. The Character: What are God’s people like?
a. They fulfill the Royal Law. They love others.
i. It shows in everything they do and say. It bleeds over into every area of their life.
ii. They are known as a people who love.
iii. They will deny themselves to show others love.
iv. They are kind. They have a welcoming spirit.
v. They will serve you and not demand that you serve them.
vi. They are the kind of people who will cut their neighbor’s grass without asking.
vii. They are the kind of people who will not only welcome a street person; they will help that person get off the street.
viii. They are not known for fighting for their rights but for giving up their rights.
ix. They would rather be called a fool and suffer humiliation than deny the Christ who gives them the power to love others.
b. They treat Prejudice and Favoritism for what it is: Sin.
Conclusion: On a dangerous sea coast where ship wrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves they went out, day or night, tirelessly searching for the lost. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little lifesaving station grew.