Summary: The Big Idea: When, as a Christian you feel left out of this world, the good news is that you are still locked into God.
LEFT OUT BUT LOCKED IN
Living Courageously In A World that Doesn’t Want You,
Knowing Confidently that God Does
1. When I last checked, none of us are living as Christians under any direct pressure to reject Christ. In fact, in our society, having a little Christianity is still okay and somewhat popular. Being a Christian does not keep out of of the banking system. We can still interview and secure good paying jobs. No one is pouring out death threats against us for attending church. We are not locked out of our society, especially in Central Pennsylvania.
2. In fact, it is probably okay to be a “little bit Christian.” However, when our faith begins to concretely change what we truly believe or how we think and behave, we can become problems for those around us. As such, we may in fact experience more subtle forms of mistreatment (ridicule, slander, exclusion, etc) for truly living out our faith. We may not be “locked out” of our communities, neighborhood, families or marriages, but certainly, we have felt the pain of being “left out.”
a. If, as a Christian, you have been dismissed as stupid by your science teacher and/or your peers for holding to a Creationist view of the world, then you know what it feels like to be left out.
b. If, as a Christian, your former friends change the vocabulary and tone of their discussion when you walk into the room, then you know what it feels like to be left out.
c. If, as a Christian, you are misunderstood and emotionally, mentally or physically mistreated by your unbelieving husband or wife, then you know what it feels like to be left out.
d. If, as a Christian, you are irritated or agonizing over the little derisive comments your parents make about your conversion to Christianity, then you know what it feels like to be left out.
e. If, as a Christian, you are misunderstood by your heathen employer and/or colleagues for your honesty and integrity, then you know what it feels like to be left out.
f. If, as a Christian, you struggle to maintain your virginal purity while your boyfriend or girlfriend is pressuring you to give it up or get lost, then you know what it feels like to be left out.
g. If, as a Christian, you are channel-surfing the television and feel guilty about choosing any one of the programs on your 70-plus channel cable system, then you know what it feels like to be left out.
h. If, as a Christian, you have doubts about your salvation because of unwelcome mistreatment that has come because of your faith, then you know what it feels like to be left out.
Transition: If you are living through, or have lived through any one of these circumstances, you know the pain and anxiety that comes with them. However, there is hope and encouragement for you. A positive present and an unimaginable, sensational future awaits you. This morning, the Big Idea of this sermon is that when, as a Christian you feel left out of this world, the good news is that you are still locked into God.
3. A Matter of Perspective: Sometimes we are like the little boy who was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball & bat. "I’m the greatest hitter in the world," he announced. Then he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed. "Strike One!" he yelled. Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, "I’m the greatest hitter in the world!" He tossed the ball into the ir. When it came down, he swung again and missed. "Strike two!" He cried. The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat & ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together. He straightened his cap and said once more, "I’m the greatest hitter in the world!" Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed. "Strike Three!" "Wow" the boy exclaimed, "I’m the greatest pitcher in the world."