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notes on A Home For Outcasts

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A Home for Outcasts
Truly I say to you that the tax-gatherers and harlots will get into the kingdom of God before you.   Matthew 21:31  NASB
                                                                   by david berkowitz

     This morning the prison's chapel was full.  We had an unusually large turnout for the service, including some new men who recently transferred here from other facilities.
     Anyhow, as I took my place behind the pulpit in order to open the service and begin our time of worship, I reminded the congregation that Jesus' desire is to "save sinners," and how that for the past two thousand years His mission has not changed .  He has come to "seek" and to "save" that which was lost.
     The religious rulers of His day, however, could not understand why such a person who claimed to be the Messiah would bother to eat with, and in their eyes, defile Himself with the outcasts of society.
     These self-righteous leaders and "model citizens", I told the men,  were obviously blind to God's love and mercy, because, according to the Bible, Jesus came to die for those who have sinned.  He came to earth and lived a sinless life, and He willingly paid for our sins with His own blood.
    May I say, therefore, that throughout the centuries since the Lord Jesus walked this earth, not much has changed in the way of attitudes.  While Christ still seeks for the lost, the self-righteous continue to point their fingers and criticize.
     They cannot comprehend what God sees in criminals, homeless people, prostitutes, or the poor.
     But God sees the bigger picture, I explained.  He sees the results of a cleansed, forgiven and changed life.
     Unfortunately many of the so called "good people" of society are living a lie.
     I said this because, as the Scriptures state, there are really none who are good.  "All have sinned and come short of God's perfect standard."  (Romans 3:23).
     So if there is someone who thinks he has his life all together,
I told the men, and if he  looks down on those whose bad deeds are in the open, he is in the worst predicament of all.  Why?  Because he is proud and self-deceived.  He thinks he's done nothing seriously wrong.  And he does not grieve over his sins.
     Meanwhile, in prison cells across the world, or on street corners where prostitutes gather, the gospel is being preached and those "outcasts" are repenting and believing.
     Those who are in such a wretched condition are eager for help, hope, and mercy.  While those who are prosperous and successful in life often see little need for God or to seek forgiveness.
     Plus, like the proud religious leaders during the days of Christ, they looked down on everyone else.  Such people are spiritually
blind, and this is sad.
     But if we understand the gospel, we can know that God  loves us.  He has redeemed all who have placed their faith in Jesus, whether they have criminal records or not.  What an amazing God!
                                                  David Berkowitz
                                                  June 26, 2005
(c) 2005 David Berkowitz

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