Do you happen to remember that guy? He is Grover. He taught many lessons on Sesame Street. One lesson that has stuck in my mind is Near and Far. Remember, he would run away from the camera and say,"This is far." Then he wold run close to the camera and say, "This is near. Do you understand? No? You don't understand. OK, This is far." He would run back and forth saying the same thing. It was a classic. There are people who are near and far from God. Too many people think since they sit in a pew so they’re automatically near to God, but they are sadly mistaken. Sometimes we need reminded of what we were and what we are now, providing we have been converted.
WHAT WE WERE
We were without Christ. The apostle refers to those outside Christ as "Gentiles." That word basically means s in without Christ. When we see a person that appears to have it all together and figured out, we call him "with it." We say, "Boy, that Johnny is with it." The person who is "with it" has what everybody else wants. That reminds me of a Poll I read about the other day. A Panel of Women debated on what they thought was a perfect man, a guy who was ‘with it’. You would have thought they would have decided upon some actor or athlete even a wealthy tycoon. They decided that the perfect man was MR POTATO HEAD. They chose him for four reasons: ‘He’s tan, he’s cute, he knows the importance of accessorizing, and if he looks at another girl you can rearrange his face. Mr. Potato head is with it, I guess!
We were in a CHRISTLESS condition. What a terrible condition for a soul to be in! Sin separates us from God. We are all sinners. Rom 3:23 That put us in need of a savior, or in a Christless condition! We must remember sin is sin. We try to put levels on sin, and that shouldn't be. The person who commits murder is just as guilty as the nice next door neighbor that is an unbeliever! Mk 16:16 says mere unbelief brings condemnation and that is being in a Christless condition.
We were aliens to God's people. We must remember that it is no small privilege to be God's family! The word rendered here as “commonwealth” means citizenship, or the right of citizenship, and then a community, or state. The word “aliens” here means merely that they were strangers to God's family. It does not mean that they were hostile to it; but that they were ignorant of it, and were, therefore, deprived of the benefits which they might have derived from it, if they had been acquainted with it. That says we were ignorant of being a member of God’s people, and deprived of all benefits of being in that family. Far to often, we feel that as long as we are not hostile of God and His ways we will be OK. That is so wrong. Ignorance makes us just as alien as hostility!
We were strangers to God's covenant. Christians are a covenant people! Those who are christless, aliens, and strangers have no interest in this covenant or the mediator of the covenant! Therefore, they are also outside of the promises of that covenant. What is the promise of the covenant? THE RESURRECTION!!
We were in a hopeless condition. In book titled “The Apostolic Fathers” you can read about a man named Polycarp. He was a great man who was martyred. The Roman’s tried a long time to get him. It wasn't until he was late in his years until they finally did catch him. Then the magistrate tried to have pity on this old preacher he said, “What harm is there in saying Caesar is Lord and offer him a sacrifice?” Polycarp replied, “FOR 86YRS I HAVE BEEN HIS SERVANT, AND HE HAS DONE ME NO WRONG. HOW CAN I BLASPHEME MY KING WHO HAS SAVED ME?” He was ultimately burned alive! HE WOULD RATHER DIE IN CHRIST THAN BE AN ALIEN FROM GOD’S PEOPLE, A STRANGER TO GOD’S COVENANT, HOPELESS, AND CHRISTLESS, WOULD YOU? Jesus says it is better for us to be lame and in Christ than it is to appear as the rest and be an alien. Mk 9:43
WHAT WE ARE
We, Christians, are blood bought. Paul said the same thing in chapter one. Eph 1:7 The Church is the only organization on earth that is blood bought!
We, Christians, are brought near to God. Although we were Christless, an alien from God’s Church, strangers to his covenant and promises, & hopeless we are brought NEAR TO GOD IN CHRIST! Jn 14:6 We cannot earn, buy, or cheat our way to the Father! WE MUST BE IN CHRIST TO GET THERE!!!
PS 73:27,28 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.
Today, are you near or far from God. You can only be near to God if you are in Christ. Will you tell others the importance of being in Christ? Will you tell others of all God's good works like psalmist? Share the love God has for mankind that is shown through what His son, Jesus Christ, did for mankind on Calvary.
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
We must hear the Word of God: Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4
We must believe or have faith: Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31
We must repent of our sins: Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30
We must confess Christ before others: Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37
We must be immersed into Christ (baptized) Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38
We must be faithful: Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22