Message of Love

Have you ever been invited to go to church by a friend? If you have, you might have graciously declined the offer or said something like, “That would be nice, but I’m busy this Sunday so maybe sometime in the future.” Your friend likely smiled and said something like, “Ok, open offer, anytime.” And you walked away thinking, ‘Phew, that was close.’

Let me clue you in to something about your friend’s invitation. You were not invited because they think that their church is some great fraternal organization and you would benefit from being a part of it. And they didn’t invite you because they think that what you really need is to associate with “good people”, like those in their church. The likely reason that they invited you is, they hope, that by coming to church, you will hear a message of God’s love for you that can absolutely transform your life. They invited you because they have far more confidence, that you will receive the message coming from their Pastor, than if they try to share that message with you themselves.

Often people who are invited to go to church expect that they will be loaded down with a bunch of rules and regulations while being subtly relieved of their hard earned cash. This may be true in a few unfortunate cases, but in most cases, the hope is that you will be relieved of the anxiety, stress and burdens of life with which we are all, too well familiar. The message that one will hear in a good biblically based church is this: “Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” That’s not a bunch of rules and regulations, it’s just the opposite. Jesus, who spoke those words, spoke them to people like us, who were overwhelmed by the pressures and confusion of life. They had been taught by their religious leaders that if they wanted to be acceptable to God, they had to be good. But the details of being “good” were all wrong and beyond reach. Their religious leaders bound up heavy burdens of rules and regulations and placed them on the shoulders of the people. Lots of dos and don’ts. Since generally speaking, rules only spotlight one’s failure to keep those rules, many people had given up on trying to be acceptable to God. Some had given up on God completely.

Jesus came to tell all people that God already loves them, and that He understands their failure and frustration. He wants us to recognize and understand that the sins we commit have separated us from God BUT, He also wants us to understand that because God loves us, He has provided a way of restoration for each of us. And it’s not through a bunch of dos and don’ts. The way of restoration is not through working harder at being good, but rather through trusting in the person and work of Christ.  It’s being honest with God and ourselves that we have failed life miserably and we need His forgiveness and provision. And God is more than willing to provide both. This is the greatest news that man has ever heard, yet many refuse to receive it or even give it honest consideration.

When your friend invites you to church he or she is simply hopeful, that in church you will hear this message of love from a trained Pastor, who will present it to you clearly and in a way that you can receive it. Their invitation is not one to bondage, but rather to freedom, peace and a lasting hope. Therefore, if you are invited to church by a friend this season, I hope that you will say yes. Your friend’s invitation, as annoying as you may find it, is an act of love. If you go, you may come to the realization that God already loves you far more than you can imagine.

 

You will think about that…

 

God Bless You and…See You on The Road.

Bob Anton: Long Island Lights Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association

For more information on CMA or questions or comments concerning this column, please contact Bob Anton at 631-897-8122 or baftmny@aol.com

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