Sunday I preached on Anyone Means Anyone. You can read about that here. I emphasized the importance of understanding that Jesus’ acceptance of the “woman of the city” in Luke 7: 37 was monumental, especially to Simon, the Pharisee. His story of the moneylender who had two debtors-one owed him much and one owed him little- was classic Jesus. But what sticks out to me is Jesus’ words to the woman: “Your sins are forgiven…go in peace.” Elsewhere He uses the words “Go, and sin no more.” Expectant in the acceptance was also a lifestyle change.
I think we often lose sight of that in our efforts to be “inclusive.” Yes, Jesus accepts the alcoholic, the homosexual, the porn addict, the divorced, the liar, the ex-con, the person with a sexual past, the religious know-it-all, and so on. But inherent with that is a challenge to change. “Go, and sin no more.” “Stop doing what you were doing and make a change.” Sadly, we forget that. In all honesty, I wish it was just “Come to Jesus and all will be right with your world.” Man, that would make it so easy to convince people to come to Jesus. But, in reality, that would make me no better than the late-night TV hustlers who promise the audience something for nothing. Or the religious TV hucksters who promise something for nothing.
I mentioned Craig Gross and X3Church in my last post. He wrote a book called “Jesus Loves You…this I know.” In it he talks about their outreach and also about his debates with his friend, Ron Jeremy, who is one of the most popular porn stars. One incident stands out in my mind. They were traveling on a bus together and arrived at the destination to protests against Ron. He looked at Craig and said, “Isn’t it sad that my people are more willing to accept you, than your people are willing to accept me?” He was not talking about lifestyle because he knew Craig didn’t agree. He was talking about him as a person. That is an indictment against the church.
Sunday I used the testimony of a lady named Lisa, a former lesbian, who testified to the goodness and grace of God. Lisa is not perfect, but she wants to honor God with a ministry to reaching those she used be like. I preceded my message and her testimony with this song. Please take a moment to soak in the words.
I know I seem to be hammering this theme lately, but this current series and my/our approach of No Perfect People Allowed has focused more attention on it than normal. What are your thoughts? How far should the church go in acceptance?