Outsiders Looking In

We had been in Washington for about 6 months and someone suggested that we take part of a big local hit, The Deming Logging Show. We were sitting watching loggers do some crazy and amazing things while striking up conversations with those around us.

Alyssa was talking with this older gentlemen who was telling us the history of the logging show while explaining what was taking place at each event. We smiled blissfully as if we understood everything. It was fun and we enjoyed the festivities. Alyssa then shared with him that we just moved to Washington from California and the gentlemen said, “I knew it, you don’t look like you are from here.” We knew were were the outsiders joining a new community had a good laugh at the exchange.

Have you even been an outsider and looking in? 

The Bible addresses this in a bigger way that those outside of Jesus, because of sin, were outsiders unable to come close to God. The Apostle Paul writes, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). He is writing to Gentile Christians to show that before Christ there was this separation from the Jewish people. But now in Jesus that separation has been broken down (he calls it the wall of hostility- Eph 2:14). 

This is great news! As an outsider we could never come close to God. Sin had separated us. Our situation was hopeless and helpless. But, because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection we can be brought near. 

We go from rebellious insurrectionist to the kingdom of God (Eph 2:1-3), to his children (Gal 3:26). For those in Jesus are no longer outsiders looking in. They are brought near and included. They are not strangers nor aliens but citizens of his kingdom (Phil 3:20). No longer can one be an outcast because of sin but accepted and forgiven.

How Does This Happen?

Paul tells the church that we are brought near because of the blood of Christ (3:14).

This speaks that Jesus is sacrifice, he gave himself.

We know that there needed to be a sacrifice to pay for sins. This is to show that there was a cost and that was Jesus’ life. His blood which was the payment of sin made it possible for us to draw near to God. 

Because of this- Those who were outsiders were brought near as close as possible. We can’t do anything to be near. Our situation outside of Jesus is that it is impossible. But only because of Jesus and his great love in which was shown to us by him taking our punishment for our sin we can. Do you know him? Have you responded to what Jesus has done for you? Call on the name of Jesus to be saved (Romans 10:9-13).

The Restorer of Manhood

Here is the video of our men’s Summer study as we look at the seriousness of our sin and the greatness of God’s love and mercy from Ephesians 2:1-10.

We see that the Fall (Gen 3) affects not just our spiritual condition but even our identity. In this study we look at how sin has shaped our identity but in Christ we have a new and better identity.

What Should Be the Most Influential Institution?

what is the Most Influential Institution?When one thinks of an institution they may think of education, government, the church, marriage, family, and even state correctional facilities. What is considered an institution? Which institution holds the most influence? Which one should hold the most influence? Each holds its importance. Marriage and family are rooted at society and carry a lot of influence but not most important. Education, good and does it molding of children and influences (negative and positive) should not be the most influential in our society. The government which has its own institutions within it, and holds power, is not the most influential.
Pastor and teacher Ray Ortland defines an institution this way, “An institution is a social mechanism for making a desirable experience easily repeatable. An institution is where life-giving human activities can be nurtured and protected and sustained.” Here there can be many institutions that fit this definition like sporting events but where more than ever can human activities be nurtured, protected, and sustained the strongest? It is the church. (The church in this meaning is the Biblical church made up of Bible believing Christians. Pastor Mark Dever defines the church as “The church is that collection of people who are hearing the Word of God, responding to it with their lives, and who have obeyed Jesus’ specific commands to be baptized and proclaim his death in the Lord’s Supper.”)
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