The accepting church

Freedom is found in knowing that God loves and accepts you. When you know beyond all doubt that you are your Daddy’s delight, you will be free from the need to please others. The pressure to perform will lift and the unholy expectations of men will seem ridiculous. My Father is pleased with me. I don’t have to prove a thing! If thoughts of rejection should enter your head, you will dismiss them without a care. God is for me! Who can be against me?

Religion says you have to work hard to make yourself acceptable to God, but the good news declares that in Christ you have been made acceptable for eternity. Nothing you do can make you more or less pleasing to God than you already are. There’s nothing you can do to make him love you more, and nothing you can do to make him love you less.

The good news of God’s acceptance will change the world but first it must change the church.

For too long the church has been known as a place of rejection, judgment, and condemnation. This is the inevitable consequence of a preaching a message that mixes grace with law. This mixed-up message makes the children of God fearful of their heavenly Father. It causes the saints to hang back in the fringes of the kingdom, and it paints a frown on the face of Love.

Can you imagine God the Father frowning at Jesus? Of course not. Then neither is he frowning at you.

In the old covenant they prayed for the day when the Lord would make his face shine upon you, be gracious to you, and give you peace. The good news is that you are living in that day. He is looking at you full in the face and beaming with a galaxy-sized smile. You are the apple of his eye, and he rejoices over you with singing.

When we see that our heavenly Father accepts us, it will transform us from the inhospitable church we are to the accepting church we are called to be.

“Accept one another, as Christ accepted you” (Rom. 15:7). Imagine if we did that. We would open our hearts as we would no longer exclude the rabble and the riff-raff from our congregations and communion tables. Instead, we would have to start making welcome announcements like this:

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, black and proud, y no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are newborns, poor as dirt, skinny as a rail, or got a hitch in their git-along. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Lutheran than Luther, or more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Sophia’s dedication. We offer a special welcome to those who could lose a few pounds, think the earth is flat, work too hard, can’t spell, or came because grandma’s in town and wanted to go to church. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, are three-times divorced, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid, or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you are welcome here. We welcome tourists, seekers, doubters, bleeding hearts … and you. Welcome Home!

Extracted and adapted from The Gospel in Ten Words

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22 Comments on The accepting church

  1. Your posts never fail to lift my spirits.

  2. This is amazing. So in tune with the heart of God…! What an incredible blessing to be in the grip of Grace after unknowingly being bound by a religious mindset. I mean, I still will have that ‘knee-jerk’ reaction as I read the list of people you Welcomed home…And then the Lord reminds me, ‘Yes, even them…Oh, and even you my daughter!’ To be seen as perfect and unblemished is the healing of my heart! Again, thanks for such Truth in Grace.

  3. This is great!

  4. Vimala Stephen // August 1, 2019 at 3:12 am // Reply

    Wonderful message !

    The world is searching for genuine love everywhere but in vain!

    I feel anchored and secure when I know that I’m the most beloved daughter of my Abba who loves me unconditionally and nothing can depart me from His love!

    Thank you Paul for sharing this message !

    In Christ, Vimala Stephen.

  5. Unconditional Love given us to accept and stand in belief to see. As we each have and do go through adversities
    Thank you Paul for this message in Truth and Spirit from Father to us by Son that is risen for us to be new and not of self. As I am in the learning process of this daily in trust to be taught new in his love and mercy for us by Son for us to get new life in his risen life given us, not earned

  6. Mark A Perkins // August 1, 2019 at 5:09 am // Reply

    You are sooooo right Paul! That’s what we are here for!

  7. Ahhh lovely! Just sat down with my morning cuppa and read this new post and my day just got brighter, thank you Paul Ellis! I read a small article yesterday which said, take a ‘love’ break each day to dwell on our Father’s love FOR us…and this post is mine for today.
    God, our Daddy, loves us all, nothing we can do about it that’s just how He is… in whatever condition/place we find ourselves, broken, whole, in doubt, any way whatsoever, He is the great heart Fixer.
    His arms are wide open. Welcome home. How good is our Abba!

  8. Stephen Gunning // August 1, 2019 at 9:30 pm // Reply

    Awesome truth, Paul, thank you! I always find your blogs reassuring and helpful.

    However, is it not also true from Scripture that, as we appreciate God’s unconditional love, we start loving God and He loves us in response to our love for him?

    John 14:21: “And he who loves me will be loved by my Father.”
    John 14:23: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him.”
    John 16:27: “The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”

    • I think you’re misreading thee verses. It is not transactional; it is inevitable. These are not “if-then” clauses. In fact, the first one is clearly not transactional. It is a statement on the Trinity; if you have a love relationship with Jesus, you have a love relationship with the Father. Think of the other two this way: you can’t love God unless he loves you first. If you love Jesus, it means the Father loves you. It’s evidence or what is there, not a condition toward receiving it.

      • Stephen Gunning // August 2, 2019 at 10:48 pm //

        Thanks Allen, that’s very helpful indeed. I’m sure you agree that if our understanding of Scripture is correct, then it’s important we are able to reconcile all the “tricky” scriptures that appear to say something slightly different. That’s what you have done for me, thanks!

    • God loves all the world, not just the ones who have responded to Him. God loves because He is Love, that’s His nature. Jesus loved the Father perfectly for us, we absolutely couldn’t love God with all our heart, soul, mind. We couldn’t do anything to earn a step up to receive God’s love.
      I am slowly learning that God is the Giver and we are the receivers of everything. As we become aware of His great love for us, something happens in our hearts/souls and bubbles up in joyous response of thankfulness. (we are filled with His Spirit). That is our response to Him, thankfulness.
      The trap of religion/law/works is to make us think we can do something that will make God like us more. It takes our focus off God as we try to make ourselves more acceptable to Him. This path seems right to our natural minds, but ends in sorrow.
      I have spent decades trying to love God, be good, and I am tired of it, worn out from being discouraged and broken. I gave up ( well, I keep giving up is more truthful) and now find such comfort and joy in knowing He loves me, us, no strings attached. Peace.

      • Stephen Gunning // August 2, 2019 at 10:51 pm //

        Hi SM, I absolutely agree with you. God has never had a difficulty giving to man, whereas man has always had difficulties receiving. Grace is mind blowing, and so contrary to how things work in the world e.g. payment for a day’s work done.

      • Sounds like you are been given the opened door to enter in and be new. Not by you, Love it. Amen to die to self is the open door for the new to be new. Amen to you Brother

  9. Ed Anderson // August 1, 2019 at 11:47 pm // Reply

    This IS great! I’m reading the book and it’s a real eye opener and heart warmer! Thank you!

  10. Hello Paul, I’m convinced that father God is lovingkindness and by the spirit His nature of love works in us. This is Kingdom life: loving God and people. But I also see a separation. There is no desire in me to link up in heart with people practicing evil. I also see this in what Paul wrote to believers in 2 Corinthians 6. Be assured, I welcome and love people I meet in this world. I would like to hear from those who have more understanding on this. Grace be with all today!
    Thank you, Lawrence

  11. Thank you for this post Paul. This is exactly the kind of welcome, fit for a healthy church. Now I have a (politically incorrect) question. Suppose we manage do all that (I may be dreaming), and everyone who wants or is led or whatever continues to come to our church and everyone is happy. What happens when the one addicted wants to take on a leadership position? Or the one who identifies as gay wants to be a teacher in children’s ministry?
    I could imagine that there would need to be certain qualifications that need to be met to do either of those things and suppose those folks from skill set perspective manage to prove that. How should the church respond? Of course I’m making assumptions here about how the church views those characteristics. And I’m sure to properly answer more context is needed. But I suspect that no matter how the church responded, Someone’s is going to be upset. Is this solvable beyond just welcoming everyone? Is the church “structure” just not compatible with living in grace?
    I’m not trying to imply anything beyond what I’m asking. I am genuinely asking questions that I don’t know the answers to.

  12. Beatrice Mwaura // August 3, 2019 at 6:05 am // Reply

    Your posts, Paul, are truly inspiring. I have about one year now since I got plugged into the Gospel of Grace, so I have something new to learn everytime the message of Grace comes my way. Coming from a legalistic environment, I keep asking myself, after Grace, what next? The answer I presume is, from Grace to Grace. Yes, I realize its much easier now to work out, show forth acts of the gospel. & im still learning.

  13. Thank you so much Paul – this is brilliant !

  14. Thats great paul,alwys feel at home on e2r,true love n genuine one i find here,freeing messages,, thank you

  15. Jared Westendorp // August 5, 2019 at 8:56 pm // Reply

    Church. I still get hung up on it. The organization of Christians in a club or is it the body of Christ universal? Sometimes I think organizing it brought a ton of problems to the body but then I think of the good things I’ve experienced through it and get off my high horse. That’s when it comes down to believing the love He loves with and passing it on no matter where I’m at and saying, “God welcomes you always.” Thanks for the reminder man.

  16. You are so encouraging and funny at at the same time. Thanks be to God for your ministry. Peace unto you bro.

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