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Called out, not kicked out
Pastor Mike Novotny
by Pastor Mike Novotny
July 1, 2024

If I were Jesus, I would have eaten the Lord’s Supper alone. Why? Because I would have kicked out all the apostles long before that Thursday night! Read through the gospels and you’ll find Peter, James, John, and the boys saying and doing such absurd things that you expect Jesus to stop his journey, pull out his hair, and scream, “Enough! I’ve had enough! You all are done!”

But Jesus didn’t do that. He often called them out, but he never kicked them out. For example, when James and John wanted to torch the ungrateful Samaritans, Luke writes, “But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village” (Luke 9:55,56). He called them out (“rebuked them”) but didn’t kick them out (“he and his disciples went”). That’s the tough yet tender love of our Savior.

He’s the same way with you. Through his Word and his people, Jesus might call you out. There will be some tough moments indirectly (through a sermon/written devotion) or directly (face-to-face with a concerned Christian) when God will expose your sin and call you to repentance. But the goal is never to get rid of you. With a tender heart, God will forgive you for your sins, offer his Spirit to help you change, and continue to walk with you “to another village” in your journey to heaven.

Christianity is not a religion of unconditional acceptance. It is, however, a faith filled with unconditional love. That was true for James and John, and—thank God!—it is still true for me and you.