Summary: We tend to think of some people as almost unsaveable, but is that true? And when Paul describes a litany of sinners, he also notes that "such were some of you." Truly, there will be scoundrels in heaven, including you and me
Scoundrels in Heaven
November 16, 2014
In the midst of preparing this sermon this past week, our brother in Christ, Mike Ferrill, went to be with the Lord. I considered what the best way to honor Mike’s memory would be – to preach what I’d already begun to plan, or to do something else?
But as I thought about Mike, and what was important to him in this life, I thought that the best way to honor him would be to preach this message, because Mike’s heart was to see the lost saved, to see those in darkness brought into the Kingdom of Light.
It drove nearly everything he did, so as I thought about this, I could hear Mike appreciating the things we’re going to explore together this morning. I trust that, most importantly, it will glorify God, but also honor the things in this life that were the most important things to Mike.
Have you ever thought about the people you know who seem to be unsavable – or the least likely to be saved? I want you to picture some of these people you know in your mind. It might be a neighbor. Or a co-worker, or a schoolmate. It might be a family member.
But now, with a picture of that person or persons in your mind, I want you to take a moment to consider why they seem to be unsavable? Some of those people Mike worked with in one of his passions, his work with the Christian motorcycle association, probably would look to many of us as unsavable.
My guess is you’re like me when I did this exercise. You probably think that this person seems unsavable because of what you know they believe or don’t believe, or you know they do, or both. Maybe it’s their hostility toward God or Christians. Maybe it’s a blatantly immoral lifestyle. Maybe it’s their atheism.
Maybe it’s their piercings or tattoos, or their alcohol or drug abuse. Maybe it’s because they’re homosexual and proud of it, or an adulterer, and it doesn’t bother them. And we have some scripture that, without a proper context, seems to justify this kind of thinking.
How about this one:
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV) 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
But here’s where we get to this morning’s sermon title:
Scoundrels in Heaven
We look at these people we’re thinking of, and we think, there’s no way this person could become a Christian, or at the very least, even if we’re a little more trusting in God than that, we might think – boy, it’s sure unlikely that person will ever come to Christ.
Or even the reverse is true. We see someone who lives a good life. Very moral.
Maybe they share your politics. Maybe they even go to church sometimes. They’re decent, kind, compassionate people, but you happen to know they’ve never been born again. And you think, “I could really see this person easily becoming a Christian.”
Now, let’s be honest with ourselves. We might never voice it, but most of us have probably thought something like this before – that is, either we have a hard time imagining this person getting saved, or we have an easy time imagining another person getting saved.
But when we do think either of these things, we’re undermining the grace and mercy and power of God, that’s at the heart of the way we’re saved, and dismissing the true gospel, the good news, of how people gain eternal life.
For starters, let’s read the verse immediately following the passage we read a moment ago.
1 Cor 6:11: And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Such were some of us. Some of us were sexually immoral. Some of us were adulterers or idolaters. Some of us practiced homosexuality. Some of us were thieves, or greedy, or drunkards. We were scoundrels. Just bad people.
Actually, all of us were bad people, scoundrels, even if this list of sins, which is hardly a complete list, doesn’t include the kinds of “respectable” sins everyone here is guilty of.
Romans 3:10 (NIV) As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;
But we must remember what scripture tells us, which is why there will be scoundrels in heaven. Of course, they’ll all be former scoundrels, because their sins will have been covered by the blood of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 6:11, it says we were washed, sanctified, justified.