The following blog post contains notes and application questions from our July 29 , 2018 message, God Loves Outsiders. This message is part of our series, "The Outsiders." See other messages in this series.
As we wrap up the series, “The Outsiders,” David Leventhal walks us through Luke 26:26-43—the thief on the cross—and shows us how the cross exclaims a warning, forgiveness, and grace. The cross is the exclamation point on this sentence, “God loves outsiders!”
The cross exclaims a warning! (Luke 26:26-31)
- When Jesus is involved, death just isn’t that big of a deal. Yes, we do mourn, but we don’t grieve as those with no hope.
- When you reject God, you are inviting death into your life.
- Jesus loved outsiders enough to warn them about where their life’s choices were taking them. Always. It is not loving to sit by idly while others make choices that lead to self-destruction.
The cross exclaims forgiveness! (Luke 26: 32-38)
- There is simply no hypocrisy is Jesus…He does exactly what He called His followers to do (Luke 6:27-28).
- Jesus can pray for His enemies because He doesn’t see them as His enemies. He sees them as outsiders that need to be brought in.
- Jesus saving Himself from the cross wasn’t an issue of His ability to…of course He could have. It was an issue of priority. Jesus wasn’t about saving Himself…He was about saving others. About saving outsiders.
- The forgiveness of the cross is no ordinary love; it is a love so deep that it extends even to those who hate.
The cross exclaims grace! (Luke 26: 39-43)
- God exists and He is to be feared.
- When an outsider comes home there is an all-out party!
- Grace is always extravagant! It always gives and does more than expected.
- The gospel is open to all people.
- The cross is the exclamation point on the fact that God loves you so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for you so that your sins could be forgiven and you wouldn’t have to live your life now and your eternity forever as an outsider!
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- What area of your life are you actively (or most prone to) inviting death into your life by rejecting God and His way? What’s one way you can wage war against this area and fully surrender it to God?
- From your vantage point, who in your life is God least likely to save? Who in your life are you most prone to be angry with and/or hate? Whether the same person or different, pray for him/her/them, and ask God to give you His heart for them, as well as to save them! Initiate a conversation with him/her/them sometime in the next week.
- Outside of the cross, what is the most extravagant expression of love you have ever seen? What made it so extravagant? Compare the expression of love you came up with and the cross, and then share both of them with someone who is far from the Lord.