Christianity is not an exclusive club. Jesus didn’t put limits on who was welcome to come and hear His teachings or who could partake of His grace.
Exclusive: excluding or not admitting other people or things
Yet, there are ministers and entire churches that are fixated on not letting “those people” in or not letting someone join them if they do this or don’t stop doing that. (There are times when people must be removed for a season – that’s scriptural and not the topic of this post.)
Jesus did tell a few people that wanted to follow Him that they weren’t ready for the commitment required to be one of His disciples. He even dropped bombs that ran off a bunch of people that had been following Him around with wrong motives (see John 6).
He didn’t care who came to hear Him speak. The message didn’t change – it was (and still is) for everyone. (That’s just one of the reasons it is called Good News.) He healed the sick and broken. He even raised the dead without asking them if they believed in Him.
It’s a real problem, brothers and sisters, for us to disqualify anyone seeking Him. We pick and choose who can come in the door, who can stay, who can say the prayer of salvation, who can be baptized, and who can keep coming back.
It is nothing but religious pride that has you looking for reasons to exclude anyone!
Religious pride is more of a problem in the church than anything else. It’s what leads you to be a self-righteous, finger-pointing hypocrite. It’s what keeps you from effecting real change in your community. It’s what keeps you from growing spiritually.
How can we bring change, hope, and restoration to a dying world if we are busy constantly condemning it to Hell? If you want to see the Kingdom, you have to have open gates. Revelation 21 & 22 give us a look at what the Kingdom looks like. (Some believe this is purely a view of the future, I believe it is what we should see now!) It says the gates never close and that [those with sin issues] will remain outside, but those that choose to will enter – that is what our churches should look like, and we are the church.
And why would they want to enter in? Have you seen the image you are portraying to them about what you think about them? (Not you specifically, you as in all of you as a group of people that claim to represent Jesus.) Picket signs and political campaigns make me sick! Grow up. Follow the words of Jesus – if you want others to follow you, you have to humble yourself (this requires serving them). They won’t follow an arrogant jerk through the doors of a church for fear of what’s on the other side. But, if you can be humble and loving, representing the Kingdom of peace and joy, they might just want to see what’s going on inside that funny little brick building (probably with stained-glass windows and a steeple on top).