Series: Flying First Class


“No 2nd Class Citizens”

(Galatians 4:4-7)

 

Rev. Billy D. Strayhorn

INTRODUCTION:

      No one really likes labels do they? Especially negative labels and names or stereotype labels and names. Labels and names can be hurtful. What are some of the derogatory names people call each other?

This is the interactive part, it’s OK to talk in church and during the sermon if the Preacher asks you to. So, shout them out, just remember we're in church and there are children present.

      My Dad taught us: "Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you."Did your folks teach you that? Have you taught your kids that? Or heard it from another relative or a teacher?

      You know what? My Dad was wrong. That little ditty we use to try and help somebody whose feeling have been hurt by someone else is wrong, too. It ought to read:

      “Stick and stones do break your bones but words can take their toll. For sticks and stones will make you moan but words will stain your soul."

      Negative words, labels, derogatory names hurt. They are meant to put us in our place, label us and set us apart from the group. They can damage us down deep in our soul and spirit.

      I remember reading a story in Alive Now from a pastor who went to visit a new family in the community. The father of the family introduced his children like this: “This is Pete. He's the clumsy one of the lot. That's Kathy coming in with mud on her shoes. She's the sloppy one. As always, Mike's last.  He'll be late for his own funeral. I promise you.”

      That father did a good job of labeling each of his children with their faults and mistakes. Those tapes will play over and over in their heads and hearts and souls. And people do that to each of us, and to the we love all the time. They remind us of our weaknesses, our failures, our errors, our sins, and for some reason, they won't let us live them down. 

      The Good News is that our heavenly Father is not like that. In Galatians 4:4-7 (NRSV) Paul writes:

[4] But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

[5] in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.

[6] And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"

[7] So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

      In other words, in God’s Kingdom there are “No 2nd Class Citizens.”

I. REJECTED:

      A.  Unfortunately, the world doesn’t know that. The world is still living in the fallen state, separated from God and each other. The world looks at us and calls us, labels us “Rejected” because we don’t fit this week’s fashion statement or drive this week’s in car or truck. The world labels us “Rejected” because we don’t conform to whatever the latest “Cool” is.

      You don’t like American Idol, Big Brother or Desperate Housewives: “Rejected”

      You’re not wearing Gucci, Marni or McQueen: “Rejected”

      You don’t drive a Dodge Ram Truck, Prias or Ford Flex: “Rejected”

      You don’t eat Tofu, Sushi or Fondue: “Rejected”

      You get the idea. If you’re not IN according to someone else’s list then you’re “Rejected”

      B.   In Disney’s animated movie WALL-E, when humankind left Earth, the left robots behind to clean up. Wall-E appears to be the last operational robot. Wall-E spends every day doing what he was made for. But then he is visited by another robot, the sleek and dangerous reconnaissance robot. Wall-E falls in love and discovers what he was meant for. When the ship returns to pick up Eve, Wall-E becomes a stowaway. Wall-E finds out what is like to be rejected. Watch.

Wall-E Clip

      How much more “Rejected” can you feel than to be labeled “Foreign Contaminate?” And in a sense, when we see “Rejected” that’s exactly how we feel, like a “Foreign Contaminate.”

II. TRUMPED:

      The Good News is that Upgraded Always Trumps Rejected. Remember last week we talked about how God has Upgraded us all to First Class? Upgraded Always Trumps Rejected.

      God didn’t create us to be “Rejected.” God created us with an innate need for community. Genesis says that God created us male and female for each other. The implication is that we are meant to be together. We are meant to be in community. We are meant to be connected like family for mutual support and love.

      When we use derogatory names for each other we wound each other. We build walls and giant “Rejected” signs to keep people out. But that’s not how children of God and heirs of the Kingdom are called to live. We’re called to “Love God and Love our Neighbors as ourselves.” Those are the two greatest commandments.

      As United Methodists, we live by Three Simple Rules. Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God. We can’t do any of those with a “Rejected” sign in our hands. Instead we need to constantly carry no only our own Upgraded Boarding Pass, but enough to pass out to everyone around us so they too can know the Love of God in Christ.

      In the Kingdom of God, all God’s children belong. In the Kingdom of God everyone who believes in Christ and is attempting to live a Christ like life, a First Class life, is welcome and expected. Not only that but we are promised the presence of God’s Holy Spirit to remind us that we are God’s Children and Heirs of the Kingdom.

      The Spirit bears witness to our spirits that we are the children of God. The Spirit bears witness to our spirit that  Upgraded Always Trumps Rejected.

      In the Kingdom of God, the simple truth is: "Whose you are" matters more than "who you are."

III. ADOPTED:

      A.  Our Scripture for today reminds us that we have “received adoption as children” of God. That’s Whose we are! AND that’s Who we are! Once we have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, we belong to God. And that’s First Class in my eyes. And it has some pretty First Class promises, too.

      We’ve talked about how words and names and labels can wound us but words and names can also heal, empower and lift up. Do you know what God says about you? Scripture says:

      You are “fearfully and wonderfully made . . .” I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.” Psalm 139:14

      You are created in the image of God.  So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:2

      You are Accepted. “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6

      You are Loved. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” John 15:9

      You are Anointed. “He who establishes us with you in Christ - has anointed us is God.” 2 Corinthians 1:21

      You are a New Creation. “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

      You are Blessed. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” Ephesians 1:3

      You are a Child of God. “It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” Romans 8:16

      You are a Child of Light. “for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5
      You are of great value. “So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31

      You are a Friend of Jesus. “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” John 15:15
      B.   Those are just a few of the things which God says about you. So, you can see there are No 2nd Class Citizens in the Kingdom of God. Upgraded Trumps Rejected every time.

CONCLUSION:

      Close with “I Am God’s Child”

God's Child

(An affirmation to be used at camp or from the pulpit. Do each phrase and have the participants repeat each phrase after you. ie. "I may be young . . . I may be young . . .").

 

I am somebody, Yes, I am God's Child.

 

I may be young; I may be old,

I may be hot; I may be cold,

But I am God's Child, Yes, I am God's Child.

 

I may be educated; I may be unlettered,

I may be free; or I may be fettered,

But I am God's Child, Yes, I am God's Child.

 

I may be black; I may be brown,

I may be white; I may be a clown,

But I am God's Child, Yes, I am God's Child.

 

I may be rich; I may be poor,

I may wear a brace; I may even snore,

But I am God's Child, Yes, I am God's Child.

 

I may be short; I may be tall,

I might have hair; I may be bald,

But I am God's Child, Yes, I am God's Child.

 

I may be fat; I may be skinny

I may have muscles; or not have any,

But I am God's Child, Yes, I am God's Child.

 

I may have a family; I may be a alone,

I may can sing; I may swim like a stone,

But I am God's Child, Yes, I am God's Child.

 

I may live in a house; I may live in a trailer,

I may be successful; I may be a failure,

But I am God's Child, Yes, I am God's Child.

 

I may be a sinner; I may be a saint,

But a nobody, I certainly ain't

Cause my friend Jesus, is my Savior.

And I am God's Child, Yes, I am God's Child!

      Never forget that. Upgraded Always Trumps Rejected. Never forget that you are God’s Child and there are No 2nd Class Citizens in the Kingdom of God.

 

This is the Word of the Lord for this day.

________________________________

 

Bibliography

1.    D. D., Alive Now, May/Jun 1981

2.   

3.   

4.   

 

Other References Consulted