Summary: A sermon to encourage us to welcome people into God’s family no matter who they are...because we all require Jesus.
One day a new couple to town arrived at church.
Out the front of the church was a huge sign that said everyone welcome.
As they got out of their car some others in the car park, said, "good morning, how are you!"
And walked with them to the front door of the church and said look after church we have coffee and something to eat in the hall over their.
They were then greeted at the door by two happy people
and as they were given the bulletin,
they were told that the entire service would be displayed on the powerpoint.
As they sat down in walked a rough looking man, he looked as if he hadn’t shaven or showered.
As he sat next to them he said, "good morning, welcome!"
Then as another person walked in, then leant over to the rough looking character, and they said, "How are things going, Bill?"
The worship began.
It was a mixture of hymns and songs.
The language used in the bible readings, hymns and liturgy did not require a doctrate of theology.
And the sermon was understandable but not light on.
Then as the couple were leaving they were again invited to the hall for coffee and something to eat.
The lady hesitated beacuse she didn’t drink coffee, however decided to go because of how friendly they were.
To her surprise she was offered an arrange of refreshments, including her favourite herbal tea.
This congregation had obviously thought about being a welcoming congregation, no matter who came into their presence.
Today we are going to explore this idea of being welcoming,
and how the arms of the church,
our arms can open wider to include everyone.
However it is important for us to get a clear perspective in what it means to be a welcoming Christian community.
Over the last number of years,
an incredible amount of energy has been spent in congregations around the world,
to help them be more welcoming.
Some have done it …others have failed
Some congregations have become very welcoming but have lost their Christian identity.
Others, unfortunately are still not very welcoming.
So where do we start as a welcoming Christian community?
We need to be clear on what basis we exist.
In other words, what are welcoming people to!
So our starting point should always be;
what is our relationship with God?
And the reading from Romans 3 today highlights this.
From verse 23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
In other words,
not one of us is qualified or has the ability to be considered good enough for God on our own merits…
On our no one can never live up to God standards.
Not one of us is good enough to be here!!
Without God none of us, including me, are good enough to be called a Christian!!
We need to remember that without God we would be like a sailor stranded in the ocean after their boat sank.
We would be drifting in the ocean.
No matter how hard we swam.
We could never reach our destination.
As Christians we always require God’s help.
And yet God does welcome us!
Now consider what this means for you and how you relate to each other?
How you relate to those who are new in your life?
Consider how this affects how we relate to people on the fringe of this congregation.
Consider how this affects our relationship to other people who are yet to know the Jesus we know?
First of all it does not mean we do nothing, simply because God will do it all for us!!
Listen again to verse 31, this time I am reading from the New Living translation bible
"Well then, if we emphasise faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfil the law."
Each one of us is called to be God representatives in the places God has placed us.
We are God’s representatives here this morning.
We are God’s representatives when we are at home.
We are God’s representatives when we are at work, at school, in fact anywhere we go.
And remember being God’s representative.
God gives us help!!!
He gives us help to show love to Him and to show our love to EVERYONE around us.
He does this in many ways.
He gives us a community here, where we can and should support each other.
A community where can also learn from Him.
And a community where he constantly is assuring us that he has accepted each one of us through His son Jesus.
Think about how we are and can reflect this in our lives?
And this lead us to a second thing we should think about from Romans 3:23