Commitment May Bring Rejection - Sunday, 2/27

 AM Service_2.27
Today’s message reflected upon rejection and commitment.  There was something about Pastor’s comment regarding Jesus coming into His own and being rejected that piqued my curiosity.  He referred to John 1:11, and after taking it back to the beginning and reading through to verse 12, I understood ‘His own’ was the human race.  When I take something from Pastor’s sermon and dig into the Word, it takes on not only more meaning but a life of its own.  Check it out – John 1:10-11 ‘He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.  He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.’  Jesus was a human being with human emotions, and you can bet he felt the sting of rejection.  I’m sure we all know what it feels like; a lack of acceptance, to be set aside, disapproved of or dismissed.  Imagine how Jesus felt and look at how He handled it.  If we are committed to Jesus, then we should recognize it as an assault from the enemy and to never let it compromise our commitment.
Pastor Scroggins read through Luke 9:51-62 today, where Jesus and his disciples began the journey to Jerusalem.  He sent some disciples ahead to a village along the way, to prepare for his arrival but the citizens had no desire for His visit so they just traveled to another village.  Jesus did not get mad at this rejection but I bet His feelings were hurt.  Along the way men were asking Jesus if they could follow Him, but they had to take care of personal situations first.  Jesus said “No procrastination.  No backward looks.  You can’t put God’s Kingdom off until tomorrow.  Seize the day”.  That’s a pretty awesome statement; don’t put salvation off because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  Pastor said “Rejection is a major theme in Luke’s Gospel, because it was a frequent experience for Jesus.  It is interesting to note, each major phase of Jesus’ ministry began with rejection…When you look not only at Luke, but other gospels this was a pattern – initial enthusiasm that turns to rejection.”  Surely these experiences were hurtful for Jesus.  It seemed like nobody understood Him.
“How does this apply to us, as the Lord’s disciples?” asked Pastor.  “First, we should realize that it is okay to desire understanding and acceptance and to hurt when it is not received.  Our Lord did.  But then we must also realize that He steadfastly preferred the pain of that rejection than to compromise of His principles or mission.  Are we willing to follow Him in that?”  He then asked us “Are we willing, after being rejected, mistreated, lied about, deceived and abused, to continue steadfastly in His principals and toward His mission?”   Pastor said it is easy to serve the Lord when everything is going our way, but what if the rejection comes from another believer?  “If He had not accepted the possibility of rejection and had been at complete peace with Himself about it, He would have never completed the journey.”  How do we deal with rejection as Christians, then?  Pastor gave us three suggestions;  1) Expect it – those who rejected Him will reject us for the same reasons, 2) Accept it – for one day you will hear God say ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant, and 3) Respond to it – as Jesus did, not with rejection in turn, but with love.
Finally, I don’t know if anyone could have left the building this morning without considering what they may have hanging on the ‘nail’ in their doorway.    “To all who are here today”, said Pastor, “Jesus did not come and die to condemn you, but to give you life…The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy - God comes to give life.  Get rid of everything that has the enemy’s name on it.” 
He then shared a parable from a Haitian pastor.  It is worth repeating: “A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000.  Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor he couldn’t afford the full price.  After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation; he would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door. 
After several years, the original owner wanted the house back but the new owner was unwilling to sell.  So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned.  Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail. 
The Haitian pastor’s conclusion: “If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ’s habitation.”