Christians, we have heard the word Redemption, we sing about being redeemed, we understand the basic principle, but I think all too often we do not meditate on the definition. The definition of “redemption” on Google, pops up the Christian definition: “the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil” but to better understand the idea, the second definition gives better clarity: “The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.” We often say we are redeemed, saved from sin, but we have to meditate and understand why. Today being “Good Friday” and heading toward Resurrection Sunday, what better time to talk about redemption.
I grew up in Iowa, one of the few states that have a redemption policy for their beverage cans and bottles. People in Iowa save their empty cans, wait until they have a nice hoard, and then take them to the can redemption center. When I lived in Indiana, I was so surprised to experience a different policy. When you are done drinking a can, you crush it, or toss it in the recycling, no hoarding, no Saturday morning trips to the can place. You see, there is no redemption policy, they are “worthless” in the State of Indiana. In Iowa, whenever you buy a case, 12 pack, or individual beverage (alcohol, pop, or other sugary drink, usually not water) there is a 5 cent “deposit” per individual can, you pay to the store. When you empty the containers, you take them to a special can redemption center, and you get your nickel back.
The can is worth 5 cents because I bought it for 5 cents from the store, the redemption center wants it back, because it’s worth 6 cents to them to get the cans back to the distributer. When sin entered the world, we essentially sold ourselves to the enemy. He had the rights to us, to lock us away in hell until judgement day. When Jesus came and died on the cross, He used His own blood, the highest currency in existence, and He bought us back, regained possession, in exchange for His blood payment, and cleared our debt. With a selfless act of redemption. He has set us free, paid a debt we could never pay, so that He could return us to the Creator, our Father God. You see, we are much more valuable to Him than we know.
The sad fact is, in Iowa, where we have redemption, there are still people that throw their cans and bottles on the side of the road, in the trash, in the ditch. They do not value a nickel, they do not want to go through the hassle of “saving” up all those cans and taking them to the redemption center. Sadly even us Christians look at people the same way. We see certain groups, sects, religions, cults, ethnicities, countries, regions, cities and we think the act of getting those people “saved” is not worth it. We see the hassle of traveling, preaching, teaching, praying, as too much work. Maybe it’s because we ourselves have been redeemed, that we forget just how high of a price there is on each and every individual out there. From the unknown orphan in a remote African village, to the lady that just served you your pretzel in the mall. Jesus paid the ultimate price for EVERYONE, not a select few, not a certain group.
A couple of weeks ago God tested me, I was running errands and I saw this lady that had come to our Church, I had not seen her in a while, but God had brought her across my path a couple times and I felt led to say something. So as I stood at the counter, I said “you look familiar” and she wrinkled her face, I said, “don’t you go to Abundant Life?” (my home Church). She said, “yeah, but I haven’t been there for a while” I said, “well just to let you know, we switched to one combined service at 9:30 a.m. now.” She said, “oh, really, I had not heard.”
I thanked her and she handed me my $3, you see, I had just given her 60 bottles and cans. As I left the redemption center, I felt God say, “It’s not your responsibility to make her come, it’s your responsibility to invite her.”
So it’s Good Friday, we are all headed to the “redemption center” on Sunday, so what do we do? To be honest, I have never invited anyone to Church, but I feel an overwhelming realization as I write this, to take the time and at least invite one person. A single solitary person I run into, just invite them, tell them the name of the Church, the time of the service, and that I would love to see them there. I urge you to join me Christians, to step out of your comfort zone, to look at the people around you as the high value they are to Jesus, and to try and lead them home.
82% of people say they would go to Church if invited. Only 2% of Church going people, invite people to Church. 98% of Christians NEVER invite anyone to Church. I am tired of being in the 98%, I am stepping over to the 2% this weekend, I have a 4 out of 5 shot that the person will go, and I have absolutely nothing to lose. Will you join me? Will you invite one person to Church? There will be so much rejoicing in heaven, if we all step out of our comfort zone and help return God’s children to Him, He’s waiting.
Father God, I pray for boldness for myself and anyone else who decides to take on this challenge this weekend. I pray you deliberately put people in our way, whose hearts are willing and open. I pray that you nudge our Spirits to step out and invite them, and fulfill our responsibility and purpose, in the Mighty, Powerful, REDEMPTIVE name of Jesus, Amen.
Be blessed Christians, and have an Amazing Resurrection Sunday!
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believe, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the price of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)
For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)
Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:14 (NASB)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 (NIV)
Who gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds. Titus 2:14 (AMP)
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10 (NIV)
written and posted by Daniel Poggensee | 2016