Summary: When we belong, we feel validated and included. When we belong, we do not feel lonely or feel like we do not matter. We become an important part of the whole.
Sermon: Belong to Believe
The clip we just watched is from the movie Antwone Fisher, which is the true story of a young man abandoned at birth by his mom. He was raised in abusive orphanages and foster homes. (Thank God for a loving family) When he turned 18, to escape homelessness, he joined the Navy where his anger came to the surface. After several fights, he was ordered to go through counseling, where his Psychologist encouraged him to find his family to begin healing. The part we watched IS his own family, which he finally found, welcoming him with a feast he had only dreamed about. For the first time in his life, he is being valued & accepted. For the first time in his life, he also belongs somewhere….MAYBE this isn’t you. Belonging is one of those unconscious needs we have. It is part of our DNA (“belonging” chromosome); that is the reason why many people find so much meaning in becoming official members of something they believe in.
When we belong, we feel validated and included. When we belong, we do not feel lonely or feel like we do not matter. We become an important part of the whole.
Even as we celebrate Easter, we cannot ignore that Jesus had a hard time fitting in... Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with pain…” THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS: Because he was rejected, Jesus understands the need to belong. If you are in that same situation, you need to know that God has a place for you in his kingdom. You are important to God. He “showed his love for us by sending Christ, his son, to die for us…” Romans 5:8
This same message of hope and resurrection has been preached on for generations. Jesus died for something. Jesus stood for something. THAT WAS YOU!!! He came (was crucified and rose again in a day like today) to rebuild an authentic community where everyone who believes in him would find [HOPE] a place to belong and believe.
JESUS WAS AN OUTCAST: he didn’t sugarcoat, stood his ground, held on to love. Like him, there are so many people now a day that have a hard time fitting in (in life), consider themselves...
a) AUTHENTICITY: He was clear about authenticity when he spoke about some of the phony religious leaders
b) EVERYONE: His message of the cross was clear: came to seek and save what was lost
c) Because he was rejected, so that we could belong and believe
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:19-22 (MSG) says, “That's plain enough, isn't it? You are no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You are no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He is using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he is using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.”