On the outside looking in…

Invisible boy 2
Being on the outside looking in is not pleasant.

The Invisible Boy.

A story is told of a boy, a poor boy who lived in a time when children were seen but not heard. He was eight years old when our story begins and the hunger created by his growing body was driving him to take every advantage he could to get food; he would beg, steal or borrow whatever it took to get the few meagre rations that were available to an invisible boy of his time.

As time went by his mother died; the only person who knew his name the only one who heard his voice and the boy faded into the shadows of the night.

Surviving on the instinct of self-preservation he went from place to place. At Christmas time when others were celebrating he used to go to the windows and wipe away the frost from the glass and watch. He would remember his mother and shed a tear and when the hunger pains started again he would search through the rubbish bins in search of leftovers. There standing on the outside looking in the invisible boy passed his darkest hours longing to be on the inside and belong to a family again.

One night when it was particularly cold as he was gazing in a window, a face popped up looking back out at him, the face of a girl about his age. His instinct was to run but there was something hypnotic about her eyes; he wasn’t sure if it was the cold that had frozen his feet to the spot or if the girl had some sort of power over him. Their eyes locked for what seemed like eternity in only a few seconds, then she was gone but our invisible friend had been seen.

looking-through-window
Someone is looking for you through the window.

The door swung open and the girl’s mother appeared like an apparition through the fog calling out, “little boy, little boy; are you hungry?” Summoning all his courage he answered, “yes mam”. To which the little girl’s mother replied, “come in then and eat with our family, we have plenty.” Reluctantly he accepted her invitation to come, he was wary at first thinking it was “too good to be true” but as the door closed behind him and the warmth of the fire stung his frozen cheeks, he felt for the first time what it was like to be on the inside.

The Christian family were poor themselves but they opened up their hearts and their home to the invisible boy and from that day on he became a part of their family no longer on the outside looking in, no longer the invisible boy.

It is God who sets the solitary in families Psa 68:6 and there is no other religion that cares for the poor, only Jesus who came to bring good news to the poor (Luke 4:18); but there is another message I want you to see from this story. It is the message that the invisible boy is you and me; the offer is there, God opens His home and His family to all the invisible of this world. If you are in distress or in debt or if you are dissatisfied with what this world has to offer Jesus says, “Come unto Me all you dispossessed of this world and I will give you rest”. Matt 18:

After entering in, the boy finally knew what it was like to be on the inside rather than on the outside looking in. Ask yourself today, are you on the outside of the family of God looking in wondering what it would be like to be on the inside, never thinking it possible that you could be adopted like the invisible boy. Do people look right through you as if you weren’t there; does the world seem to pass you by and leave you starving? Are you cold and dirty from the effects of the neglect of this world on your soul.

Well there is hope for you in Jesus; Jesus says, “come into My family.” John 1:12;  “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name”: listen to these words and then decide for yourself if you believe this. You can be on the inside, adopted into the family like the invisible boy and feel for the first time the warmth of God’s love; if you receive these words of mine today and believe in Jesus and answer his call.

Where do you stand? If you are standing on the outside looking in wondering what it would be like to be on the inside then you need to consider the words of this sermon today. Give Jesus a chance, hear His message today; even if you have come to church all your life but you still feel as if you are invisible; this message is for you and it is time you entered in to Christ.

2Cor 5:17 if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. If you want a new life you can have it if you enter in to Christ.“How do you do that?” I hear you thinking: Galations 3:27 “For as many as are baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” If you put on a coat you are “in” the coat right? “Covered” by the coat you are warm and safe; even if you are dirty underneath no one can tell because the coat covers the dirt. In the same way the answer to the question, how do I enter into Christ is given here in this verse. As many as are baptised into Christ have put on Christ; they are no longer on the outside looking in from the cold but they are “in” Christ like a warm cloak, no longer cold and dirty from the neglect of the sin of this world but warm and the sin is covered in the cloak of Jesus.

jesus_robe
The robe of Christ covers our sin.

I’m sure the first thing the mother wanted to do for the invisible boy after his first meal was to give him a good bath and a change of clothes; that is what happens when we first believe in Jesus and decide to follow His call, “come in”; when we enter in to Christ we have a little taste and see that the Lord is good then we wash up for dinner and get changed into fresh clothes; washing the dirt of sin off our heart in baptism into Christ and putting on Christ in this way.

Sids Baptism 10-05-2009 061
Coming up out of the water after I baptized my own son into Christ.

There is no limit to how many may come, if you think you have missed out the news is good; the word says, “as many as” are baptized and that leaves no one out. As many as come in to Jesus through faith repentance and baptism, do have the right to be one of God’s children, to be a part of His family and that’s a promise; no longer the invisible boy standing on the outside but a child of God on the inside.

Yes we all have a friend in Jesus as the great hymn says;

 

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

 

invisible boy
Are you an invisible boy thinking no one cares; Jesus cares.

What a friend we have in Jesus indeed who bears all our sins in His body on the cross; who considers our grief from day to day, who am I that He should be mindful of me? He is still our refuge after these two thousand years; our friends may forsake us but He never will and we look forward to the appointed time when He returns to gather us home. Until then we take all our cares and our troubles, to Him in prayer. Jesus stands before The Ancient of Days, The Lord God Almighty, pleading our case, mediating for us; who am I to have such great attention paid to me the invisible boy each day?

1Peter 2:24 “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”

Psa 33:14-15  “From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; 15 He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.”

Psa 8  “What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?”

Psa 114:3  “Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?”

Psa 68:19 “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.”

Psa 103:2  “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:”

Psa 116:12  “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?”

That is the big question, If Jesus did all this for me then what will I do for Him?

What will I render unto The Lord of Lords who daily considers my plight and loads me with benefits, what will I do for Him? How will I ever repay Him for the debt O owe Him for taking my guilt away and giving me hope? What gratitude I should have for Jesus finding the invisible boy.

I could climb the highest mountain or cross the widest sea, though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing (1Cor 13:3); it still does not pay the debt I owe Him. What He wants is our love and of course Jesus said, “If you love Me you will keep all my commandments”. (John 14:15)

When the people of the world came to Joseph for life giving grain in the 7 years of famine in Egypt many years ago; when they had spent all they had and hunger drove them back to cast themselves on the mercy of Joseph, what did he do? He accepted their land and as payment and he accepted their loyalty if they had no land; people sold their loyalty to Joseph in exchange for salvation. They had nothing left to give but themselves and their loyalty and that was enough. (Gen 47:15-26) Their reaction to Joseph from vs 26 was; So they said, “You have saved our lives; let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.” They gave their all to Joseph and became loyal servants in exchange for life giving grain.

SOS: It is the same with this debt we all have to God; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death (Rom 3:23 and 6:23) but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We all need God’s forgiveness to save our souls but the ransom for one’s soul is very costly, it continues forever (Psa 49:7-9) and we have nothing but our soul, ourselves, our loyalty to give in exchange for eternal forgiveness, like the people who came to Joseph; but your loyalty is enough for Jesus and his sacrifice satisfies His father, God.

Illustration:

awl
This is an awl used to pierce the ear.

In the old law a servant must be set free after 7 years’ service but if he does not want to go free if he loves his job, his life with his master, then he can offer his loyalty forever by the piercing of his ear to the doorpost with an awl as a sign of loyalty. Ex 21:5-7  and he shall serve him forever. The loyalty of the servant is a wonderful gift to the master; he has the right to go free into the world but he gives up that right because he loves his master. He gave his all to the master. Today we see all sorts of earrings some very large which I find a bit creepy, (no offense to you if you have one of those) but it doesn’t carry the same meaning as it did back then. However, there is a signet in the commands of Jesus that we must do to indicate our loyalty to Jesus.

In the same way the servant gave up his right to go free into the world so to we must give up our right to the things of this world, we must give our all to the master if we are to have our sins forgiven and be saved. The gift of one’s loyalty to Jesus forever is enough and baptism is the ear piercing of loyalty to Jesus who takes away the sin from our heart and the guilt from our mind giving us a clear conscience a new start. We have nothing to offer but our love and our loyalty in exchange for His forgiveness of sin, but that is enough for Jesus.

The old hymn Rock of Ages verse three says;

3. Nothing in my hand I bring,

simply to the cross I cling;

naked, come to thee for dress;

helpless, look to thee for grace;

foul, I to the fountain fly;

wash me, Savior, or I die.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

let me hide myself in thee.

 

What Jesus did on the cross, compels me to love Him and give my life as a living sacrifice as He did; holy and acceptable unto God; this would be my reasonable service given what He has done for me.

Romans 12: 1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

I must choose the holy road with Jesus over the worldly road of my own lusts which drive me to sin and rejection of Christ. We all must choose the path we will travel and make the bed we must lie in this life; and what we choose in this life will indeed decide the fate of our souls in the next life.

You might think it impossible to have a clean mind and think holy thoughts having so many unholy thoughts over the years. We all battle our flesh every day, even the apostle Paul battled with the old man.

In the days of Noah just before the world was destroyed by flood (Gen 6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.) The thoughts of every person was only evil continually and God was sorry that He had made us; Jesus said that it will be that way again just before He returns to judge the world. We all live in a world where the people have forgotten God and their thoughts are only evil continually and God is not happy.

Today, psychiatrists battle depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses with drugs and therapy. They fight a loosing battle when the solution is offered here in vs2.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We are called to be not conformed to this world; I battle to keep evil from before my eyes, every day it is there, beckoning, persuading, saying come. This constant bombardment has an effect on our minds and if we are to see clearly we must wipe our minds clean. Some religions do this through meditation, emptying the mind and centring the body, forbidding to eat meat etc etc. I say to you all these efforts have no effect. Only God offers a cleansing of the mind through the Holy Spirit; no other religion offers anything like this. You can be transformed if you choose, by the renewing of the mind; when the Holy Spirit enters in, He renews the mind and gives us a new start. No one offers this except Jesus; forgiveness for what we have done; freedom from the guilt and a hope for the future; that’s a wonderful benefit we have in Christ. But we must be in Him to have that benefit not just on the outside looking in…

As we said at the first If any man be in Christ He is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. (2Cor 5:17)

Why don’t you take Jesus up on His offer and come in from the cold. There are no invisible boys in the family of God; with Jesus as our big brother there is always someone to look out for you, there is always someone who sees you like the little girl looking back through the frosty glass. Psa 33:14-15 “From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth;15 He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.”

You are fashioned by God Himself individually and He will never overlook you if you come in to Christ.