August 15, 2022 following Alex Hardt’s sermon of August 14.
Where do I belong?
Pastor Alex challenged us to consider where we belong? To what community do we identify with in our lives? After denying Christ, Peter questioned where he belonged. He felt he had betrayed his Lord and Savior and was unworthy to be identified with Him. Jesus felt otherwise as he called him to feed and tend his sheep repeatedly in John 21. Jesus wanted Peter to know in spite of his sin and rejection, Jesus still loved him and had a place in His kingdom for the recommitted and repentant Peter.
How many times do we not try to join a group because we feel we don’t fit in? Or we feel unworthy of being included? Peter certainly felt that way but NOT Jesus! Jesus wanted Peter because He loved him and knew what he could become through Him. I am encouraged by Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God came to earth to save you and me knowing we were sinners. He loves the Peter in all of us enough to come and offer His marvelous and complete salvation. For our part, we need to believe and confess Him as Savior. The result will be inclusion forever into the family of God! We will belong and no one or nothing can remove us from His grasp. A friend of mine has John 10:29 as her favorite verse, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” No matter what, we belong to Him!
Lastly, Pastor Alex emphasized “proximity leads to empathy and empathy leads to unity.” Empathy is different from sympathy. Empathy involves identifying with the feelings, situations, and the problems of another not just feeling sorry for them or pitying them. Being near someone, being involved in their lives- not just as a bystander, leads you to connect with them in a real way. This connection lead to being unified or supportive of one another so we can bear one another’s burdens. Paul speaks of this connection in Ephesians 4:1-3 “ As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Having empathy, bearing one another’s burdens both physically and spiritually leads to unity of the Spirit and peace. I also love Psalm 68:19-20 where we are reminded that Jesus continues to bear our burdens as we walk with Him each day. This gives us hope and unity in the Spirit with Him! “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. 20 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”
Have a blessed week and you consider your place in God’s family and praise Him as He walks with you helping to bear your burdens. May you seek to help others and connect with them in the name of Christ reflecting unity with Him. Remembering always you Belong to Him now and forever!
Painting a New Perspective | Where Do I Belong?
Sermon series, "Painting A New Perspective." Today Alex teaches from John 21.
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