Thursday, August 23, 2018
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"Y'all come see us!" You hear that pretty often in the South. It's called southern hospitality; sort of an open invitation to stop by, as they say, and "visit." That's why I was surprised at the welcome mat they had at a cabin we recently stayed in. I was speaking at a conference in the south, and my wife and I were wonderfully given a picturesque log cabin to stay in. But then there was the welcome mat. Well, it was sort of a welcome mat-maybe more of an unwelcome mat. You walk up to the door, you look down at the mat, and you're greeted with these wonderful words, "Oh no! Not you again!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Surprisingly Welcome."
Somewhere, sometime, you're going to let yourself think about one of life's most important questions, "What's going to happen when my heart beats for the last time, when I keep my personal appointment with God at the end of my life?" How will God treat you? Will He welcome you into His heaven or will He tell you your name was never written in what the Bible calls God's "book of life?"
That won't be decided after you die. It will be decided based on what you do with Jesus while you're still here. And I've gone to enough funerals of people of all ages, and so have you probably, and it's clear that none of us knows how close or how far off our appointment with God is. The point is to be ready whenever and however it comes. Your question might be, "Well, will Jesus welcome me if I come to Him?" You're looking at some of the things you've done, some of the dark secrets that maybe He alone knows about your life, and you're afraid you'll be greeted by words like these: "No. Not you."
Well, you don't have to guess how Jesus feels about you or how He will respond if you come to Him. He tells us in our word for today from the Word of God in John 6:37. Here are the words of Jesus, "Whoever comes to me, I will never drive away." In the original language this was written in, the sense is, "I will never, never, under any circumstance drive away." It's about as emphatic as it can get.
The picture Jesus gives us of this is in His story of the Prodigal Son-the young man who asks his father for his inheritance while his dad is still alive. He squanders it in wild living in another country. So, he ends up in shame, feeding pigs, hoping to eat some of their cornhusks. When he finally comes to his senses, he decides to risk going back to his father in this totally wasted condition. He'll consider himself lucky if his Dad will let him work as one of his hired servants. After what he's done with his life, he expects anything but a welcome. Maybe like you with God. But the Bible says, "while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."
That boy represents you and me. The Father is God. And that's how He's waiting to welcome you if you'll come to Him. That's why Jesus told that story. That means recognizing that the blood Jesus shed on the cross was to pay for your sins, giving yourself to Jesus as the only hope of having your sins erased and then being able to have an eternity in heaven. His welcome awaits you until your life is over. If you haven't come to Him by then, it's too late. He won't be able to welcome you into His heaven because you never trusted Jesus to forgive your sins.
The question isn't so much about whether Jesus will welcome you if you come to Him. It's whether you welcome Him when He comes to you, knocking on the door of your heart, which He may very well be doing right now. If you welcome Him into your life as your only hope, you can be sure He will welcome you into His heaven.
You ready to get this done, get this settled? Tell Him, "Jesus, I'm yours.” Go to our website, ANewStory.com. There you'll find the information that will help you be sure you belong to him.
Remember, Jesus promised "whoever comes to Me, I will never drive away." That "whoever" includes you, so start heading His direction. He'll come running to meet you. After all, He gave His life for you.