At the center of church community, there is a story. And it's either the biggest lie ever told or the most important truth ever told. The story is about a God who cares so much about a relationship with us that he put on flesh and blood. The God who exists as triune for all eternity in a perfect, dynamic, interconnected relationship in the cosmos of all creation—this God lived as a human being. He did not live the type of life we'd expect.
He was born in obscurity and worked a blue-collar job. He was homeless and overlooked, tired and hungry, and never owned land. He never built a great career and never got married. But instead, Jesus himself came as a servant, giving up his comforts and conveniences so that he could enter our mess and become our representative. And as our representative, he chose to give his life as a sacrifice.
When Jesus was crucified on the cross, he was crucified outside Jerusalem's gates at Golgotha. When he hung on a cross, the ultimate insider became the outsider. He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus was left utterly and completely alone so that he could become a substitute for sin.
In the mystery of God's kindness, he calculated all of your sins from your first day to your last and imputed them upon Christ. So now you are washed and forgiven by the perfect blood of Jesus. His righteous record is now your own. The Bible calls this grace. It is the greatest gift ever given. When you receive it and believe it, Christ comes to dwell in your heart through faith, and you are rooted and grounded in his love.
And that love changes everything when you realize this stunning truth: I'm no longer an outsider; I have received grace. I've become an insider with God. He receives me. He loves me. He accepts me. He forgives me.
He's going to change you. He's going to challenge your preconceived notions. He's going to conflict with your opinions and desires. Yet, he receives you just as you are and walks you through the process of transformation day by day. The love of Jesus becomes real and reconstructs the priorities of your heart from rugged individualism towards kingdom community.
Want to hear more about this? Check out our recent sermon, "The Better Invitation" on YouTube.