“God Wants Everyone”
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, 6who gave himself a ransom for all… NRSV
God wants everyone, but not everyone wants God. He could have made us to be slaves but He chose to give us freedom. We would never feel like we were His unless we had the choice to willingly walk with Him.
In our epistle
for this week we hear
e know people who have made a choice to not follow Christ. They typically plan to grab all of the gusto they can get for as long as they can. They usually soon discover that the wild and crazy lifestyle brings about terrible consequences: addiction, loss of career, loss of friends and a lonely life cut short. Sometimes they blame their plight on family, or even God, but in reality they chose to run from God.
The Good News is that as long as there is breath all can come to God at any time. I have heard deathbed confessions that sounded hollow; but others were genuine. I feel that those who open their hearts to God during their last days will be welcomed into His Heaven with open arms.
It seems like we used to hear tales of teenagers “running away from home.” It used to be more common for young boys with a few dollars saved up to catch a railroad car to anywhere. Most would turn around and come home quickly after encountering a few real life scary hobos. Some would come home with tales of great exaggeration. Some were not heard from for many years. Some would come home in a coffin, others were lost forever. Most knew that they could have come home anytime. Parents and friends would welcome them with open arms and they could have a new start, a new life.
History is full of the biographies of persons who ruined their lives and had also run from God, into terrible situations and afflictions; but, these same persons had their lives restored through the love of God.
Let’s hear a few sentences from Francis Thompson’s, “THE HOUND OF HEAVEN,” written shortly before his own tragic and wasted life ended.
I fled Him down the nights and down the days
In one last effort to climb out of the filthy drug infested streets of London, Frances Thompson sent a large packet of poetry to a religious publishing agency. The editor set them aside for a few months. When the packet was opened the poems were immediately recognized for their beauty. With great effort the editor uncovered Francis Thompson’s whereabouts in an opium den. There was a brief time of rehabilitation, but soon the call of alcohol and drugs got the best of him and he died tragically at age 48 curled up in an opium den.
But still God seeks us with a hope that will not ever completely let us go, even though we try to flee from Him.
I ask this one last question. Have we all surrendered to God’s call?
sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor