DO YOU QUALIFY Andy Hollifield 12-15-17
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Psalms 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
Psalms 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
1 Timothy 1:9-10 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, (10) For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
1 Corinthians 6:8-11 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. (9) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Were! Did you catch that in 1 Corinthians 6:11? He said “were”. Past tense. Not anymore. I am not what I used to be. Why? No other reason but the mercy and grace of God. God’s mercy; not giving me what I did deserve, and his grace: giving me what I don’t deserve. Ain’t that good? Those verses in 1 Corinthians 6 are among my favorite verses in the bible. I dare say that most all of us can find ourselves somewhere in those verses of scripture. Most of us are guilty of at least one of those sins and probably more. Good news! That means we are qualified. Being guilty makes us a prime candidate to receive the mercy and grace of God.
As I sat in church on Wednesday night, something was said that got me to thinking about just exactly who Christ came to die for. As I began to study and read on this a little bit, I realized that I was reading about the dregs and scoundrels of society that I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with. Do you know what the word “dregs” means? It means the least valuable part of anything. I was even more disgusted as I read the definition of a “scoundrel.” It is an unprincipled, dishonorable person; a villain. “Dregs” is used 3 times in the bible and always speaking of God’s wrath. “Scoundrel” is not even used in the bible but there are plenty of examples all the way from Pharaoh to Judas. These people are the people who good people try not to make eye contact with and definitely not engage them in a conversation. We try to stay away from “that kind” of people. They are “the bad crowd” that people’s kids get mixed up and run with. That means that our kids help make up “the bad crowd” that other people’s kids run with. Do you know what that means? It means “the bad crowd” is us. We are the ones that Christ laid aside his royalty for to be born of woman and make a way that those of us that qualify would be able to receive the mercy and grace of God. Have you noticed that we are a little less harsh on the people listed in 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians the closer it starts to hit toward home? When it is our kid then; he is just a good boy or girl who got to running with “a bad crowd” and then when it is us ourselves that are guilty then we begin to compare ourselves to everyone else. We use excuses like “everybody does it” or “I have seen people do a lot worse than me and call themselves a Christian.” The fact is: we qualify. We are those dregs and scoundrels. We are those that the writers mentioned in scripture. When we get that kind of attitude, we are making ourselves judges of the same stuff that we are guilty of.
I know that we can judge a tree by the fruit it bears but we should judge ourselves by the same standard. I am thankful that I qualify. That sounds like a dumb statement but if God’s mercy and grace was only for certain sins then I might not qualify to receive it. God’s mercy and grace is for ALL sin. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” It also says in Romans 2:1 “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” Now I reckon that is enough scripture to cover even the most upright among us. I was guilty way before we ever got this far.
Now that we have all been convicted by the word and are on even ground now, may I remind you that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. You can’t be a little bit guilty, either you are or you ain’t. Romans 10:13 says “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” In John 6:44 Jesus said “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Aren’t you glad for the day when he drew you? Once the Holy Ghost draws you toward God, Romans 10:9-10 says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved.” Did you notice it said “thou”? In John 6:44 it says “draw him.” We have went from a nation down to a certain group and a crowd all the way down to just “thou.” You don’t have to wait on anybody else but YOU have to be obedient when the Spirit draws you. Like I mentioned already, you qualify. You qualify for the full extent of God’s mercy and grace according to his word.
I don’t know where you are at right now but God does. If he draws you, come. And don’t worry, if he draws you; you are qualified. Do you remember where you were when God drew you and then when you surrendered and began to have the full effect of his mercy and grace to flood your soul? It would do us good to remember our birth every now and then. We should actually remember it daily along with a lot of those times when he manifested himself in our lives. When we take the time to remember where we were when God saved us, it will bless us all over again. Those dregs and scoundrels I mentioned; God can fix that too. No matter what it may be, if God draws you he will save you. All you have to do is believe and accept what Christ has done for you. I hope you will be encouraged just by knowing that you qualify for the mercy and grace of God. If you ponder on that thought long enough, I am sure you will be blessed. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!