If rejection is something you deal with in your life, today’s message will hold some critical answers you need… Listen and learn how to apply God’s Remedy for Rejection...
It’s good to be with you again as I continue to share with you on our theme for this week, Rejection: Cause and Cure.
Yesterday I explained that God’s remedy for rejection is provided by the death of Jesus on the cross on our behalf. At the cross a divinely ordained exchange took place. Jesus became our substitute. He took the evil that we might receive the good. There are many aspects to this exchange. I’ll mention briefly just a few. Jesus was punished for our sins that we might be forgiven. He was wounded for our sickness that we might be healed. He was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteous with His righteousness. He was made a curse that we might receive the blessing. He died our death that we might share His life.
But the culminating evil that Jesus took upon Himself on the cross, was our rejection. First He was rejected by His fellowmen. Finally He was rejected by God, Himself. In the midst of unnatural, fearful darkness, Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” But there was no answer. For the first time His prayer went unanswered. He bore the final penalty for our sin, rejection by God, rejection by His Father. The rejection of the Father broke His heart and He gave up His spirit, but the purpose of God had been accomplished. The record of Scripture continues: “At that moment, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” The tearing of the curtain represents the opening of the way for us to have access to God. The fact that it was torn from top to bottom indicates that it was a work of God, Himself. Jesus had paid the price for our acceptance.
Today I’m going to explain the practical steps by which we can enter into that acceptance, which Jesus has already purchased for us.
Now I have dealt with many, many people over this problem. God has given me the ability to diagnose it and to prescribe His remedy. I want you to listen carefully. I’m going to speak simply. I’m not going to give a lot of fancy explanations or theology. I’m going to be very practical and down to earth. There are four main things that you need to do to experience acceptance with God. The first is, you have to forgive every person who has rejected you or harmed you in any way, and probably there are more than one such persons otherwise you wouldn’t be rejected. Listen to what Jesus says in Mark 11:25:
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (NIV)
That’s absolutely all inclusive, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive, and then God will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, God doesn’t forgive you. This applies especially in our attitude toward our parents and most commonly its our parents that have caused the problem of rejection. But in Ephesians 6:2 and 3 Paul says this:
“‘Honor your father and mother’, which is the first commandment with a promise, ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” (NIV)
The preceding commandments carried no promise with them. They were absolute, but with this commandment of God there is a promise. The promise is that if you obey the commandment, it will go well with you and you will enjoy long life on the earth. But if you do not honor father and mother, let me tell you, it will never go well with you. There will always be something missing in your life. Again I speak on the basis of experience. I’ve dealt with dozens of cases where lives have been changed when a person, a man or a woman, realized that he had a scriptural obligation to honor his parents. That doesn’t mean you don’t see their faults, you don’t see that they have been the cause of your rejection, but you forgive them and you determine as far as lies in your power, you will honor them. That’s the first essential step, and remember particularly the importance of your relationship to your parents. I have never known a person with a wrong relationship to parents who really was blessed and prospered in life.
Secondly, you have to lay down the things that rejection has brought in this train, bitterness, resentment, hatred, rebellion. These things are poison. If you nourish them in your heart they will poison your whole life. They will probably cause you deep emotional problems and quite likely also physical problems. You cannot entertain these things. By a resolute decision of your will, push them from you. Say with a decision of your will, “I lay down bitterness, resentment, hatred and rebellion.” They say to cured alcoholics, “Resentment is a luxury you can no longer afford.” that’s true. None of us can afford resentment. It’s too expensive.
The third thing you have to dois an act of faith. You have to believe what God said in the Bible. You have to accept that you are accepted in Christ. Let me say that again. Accept that you are accepted in Christ. this is what the Scripture says in Ephesians 1 verses 4 through 6:
“For God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will, to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One he loves.” (NIV)
So God’s purpose from eternity was to make us His children and He accomplished it, He made it possible through the death of Jesus on our behalf on the cross. So you have to believe that God wants you to be His child. You have to accept that when you come to God through Jesus, God accepts you. He will not turn you away. He will receive you. I love that alternative translation of Ephesians 1:6 in the King James version: “God has made us accepted in the Beloved.” That’s in Jesus. When we come to God in Jesus, we’re the objects of His special favor. That’s the real meaning of that word. Let me tell you this, God has no second class children. We’re not tolerated. We’re not held at a distance. God doesn’t try our case and see whether we qualify. When we come to Him through Jesus, He welcomes us with open arms. We are from then on His children. The objects of His special favor and love, protection and provision.
The fourth step in acceptance is to accept yourself. Let me say that again, to accept you yourself. And many times this is the hardest thing for us to do, to accept ourselves. We look back over a record of failures and false starts, maybe the way we failed others. We may look back over a broken marriage, over children who went wrong, over financial disaster. We may label ourselves “failure,” but God labels you, “My son, My daughter.” And you’ve got to accept yourself, because God has accepted you. You see, when you come to God in Jesus, you’re a new creation. “If any man be in Christ, he’s a new creation. Old things are passed away. All things are become new and all things are of God.” That’s the new creation. Don’t think in terms of yourself before you came to Christ, because since you came to Christ, you’ve become a new creation. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We who are in Christ, are God’s workmanship.” That word in the original means “an artistic masterpiece.” The Greek word is poema from which we get the word “poet.” We are God’s masterpiece. If you criticize yourself, you’re criticizing God’s handiwork. So don’t do that. Accept yourself, because God has accepted you.
I want to tell you the story of a woman I dealt with once. I was at a camp meeting and I was on my way to preach and I was in danger of being late. I was going very rapidly in one direction and this lady was going very rapidly in the opposite direction and we literally collided. So after we’d kind of picked ourselves up, this lady said to me, “Oh, Mr. Prince, I was praying that if God wanted me to speak to you, we’d meet.”
“Well,” I said, “we met. What’s your problem? I can give you just about two minutes.” So she started to pour out her problem and after about one minute I said, “Stop. I’ve only got one minute longer, but I think I know your problem. Would you say this prayer after me?” And so I led her in a prayer. She didn’t know what she was going to be saying. I made her say this after me. “God, I thank You that You love me. That You gave Jesus, Your Son to die on my behalf. That He bore my sin. That He took my rejection. That He paid my penalty. And because I come to You through Him, I’m not rejected, I’m not unwanted, I’m not excluded. You really love me. I’m really Your child. You’re really my Father. I belong to Your family. I belong to the best family in the universe. Heaven is my home. I really belong. Oh, God, thank You, thank You.”
I prayed like that and then I said, “Goodbye, I’ve got to leave you. God bless you.” About a month later I got a letter form that woman. She described the incident and how we’d met and so on, and she said, “I just write to tell you that that simple prayer that I prayed at that time with you has completely changed my whole life. I’m a different person. My problems, basically, are solved.” What solved her problems? Passing from rejection to acceptance and she did it through faith.
Let me list those four steps: forgive every other person; lay down bitterness, resentment, hatred, rebellion; accept that you are accepted in Christ; accept yourself.
All right, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time.
Tomorrow I’ll be explaining one more important state in achieving acceptance. And that is, finding your place in the Body of Christ.