Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Passport (07/25/05)
TITLE: What Happens After John 3:16
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The church, let me repeat, it is the church or who we might call ‘religious people’ that sets heavy burdens upon the shoulders of people, just as Jesus said in Matthew 23:4(NIV), “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”
We must be reminded and we must remind others, Jesus is our passport to freedom. He did not intend for people to feel guilt, condemnation, judgment scorn or ridicule. The grace of God and the mercy of Jesus do not give us liberty to sin, but the blood of Jesus is our freedom out of a dark and dreary prison cell. Our relationship with the Lord should not be like that same dark and dreary prison cell.
So what if you bleach your hair and like to wear false eyelashes and fake nails? What difference does it make if you decide to take one day and spend it on the couch with a box of chocolates and watch Barney all day with your kids? And what!?! You did not wear a tie to church last week; you have got to be kidding! You did not read your set amount of scriptures today? You sometimes like to listen to the ‘music you grew up on’ in the car, with the windows down and the wind blowing in your hair?
Aren’t those things trivial in the grand scheme of life? Nothing you do wrong and those things you do ‘oh so right’ will not earn your way into the Kingdom of heaven. If Jesus wants to see a change in someone, He will speak to their heart and CONVICT them of that issue. When we tell someone how we think they should or should not be living, we place CONDEMNATION upon their lives.
Many like to memorize and quote the verse John 3:16(NIV): 16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” However, have we ever purposefully chosen to take that one step further and read and quote what verse 17 says: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Go ahead! Be free! Jesus said it was ok. Take off your shoes, walk in the sand, tip toe through the tulips, run through mud puddles, eat ice cream for lunch, ride the merry-go-round and blow bubbles with your bubble gum. The religious people will be standing there with their hands on their hips, shaking their heads and oh so wishing they could walk in your shoes.
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