Have you ever walked out of a church service in a daze? You know the message was good, but you don’t know what it was about. You tried to understand what the preacher was getting at, but you’re not quite sure. You look at your Bible, look at the preacher, look back at your Bible and are a little confused. He didn’t help you understand what God was saying.
Could any of this uncertainty be because you knew the preacher before he excepted his calling? Maybe it has everything to do with how you and the preacher willfully participated in sin together before the pastor or preacher was regenerated into a vessel of honor. Maybe it’s because of the taste morsels of gossip coming from those trusted friends that have an ought against him. I went to preach a “YOUTH” day service at such a church on Sunday and the rejection of the adults prompted me to search scripture to try and gain some leverage on this matter. I always want to improve my level of maturity in Christ.
To reject someone is to refuse to accept them. For example, if a man applied for a job with a company and they decide to not accept his application then they have rejected him.
The word rejection means that someone is either in the process of being rejected (not accepted) or has already been rejected.
Most people want to be liked so it is difficult when we are not accepted. This rejection may be because of the way we look, our personality or our behavior. To be rejected is an unpleasant thing to be cast on to you. It can be extremely hurtful.
Rejection by those close to you
Rejection from those close to you can be extremely painful because we trust these people more than others.
Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
Mark Ch.6:4 NIV
Jesus says in this verse that a worker for God (prophet) is never honored in his hometown. But this didn’t slow down his work for God, as this work was far more important than being respected or honored by others. If family, neighbors or friends don’t respect your work for God then don’t let this rejection stop you from serving God.
Overcoming rejection through teamwork
When the disciples travelled through the countryside, they did it in pairs. As individuals they probably could have reached more areas of the country but Christ didn’t want this. He decided that as a pair they could encourage and strengthen each other, especially when they were facing rejection. When we are facing rejection we can get strength from God but he also encourages us to meet our needs by teamwork with others.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians Ch.3: 9 NIV
Serving Christ requires us to work with others – as a team.
Overcoming rejection by drawing close to God
Christ gave an example of complete trust in God.
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly. 1 Peter Ch.2:23
The example of Christ was one of absolute non-resistance to evil and complete trust in God. He could have avoided all his trials (Matthew 26:53), but he knew that the path of salvation lay through suffering and death, and like a good shepherd , he led the way. He overcame the rejection by others by putting complete trust in God.
Rejection of others
We are told by Paul to not reject others but rather accept each other.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans Ch.15:7
Accept other believers and don’t reject them on the basis of some trivial matter.
Rejection by God?
God promises never to leave or forsake us.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews Ch.13:5 NIV
God confirmed to Israel that we had not left them:
For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. Psalm 94:14 NIV
Paul made a similar point to the first century believers:
I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel:
Romans Ch.11:1-2 NIV
Even though Israel had rejected their Messiah and had refused to listen to Paul’s preaching, God’s promises were still relevant. If it is true for the Israelites then how much more so for the believer! God will never leave us or forsake us, providing we do not leave him.
And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Hebrews Ch.12:5-6
Silence – Rejection by God?
Job suffered a lot in his life. He was especially upset because God was silent and gave no reasons for his suffering. Job misinterpreted this silence as meaning that God was rejecting him. This apparent rejection by God bothered Job even more than any suffering he was going through.
“Only grant me these two things, O God, and then I will not hide from you: withdraw your hand far from me, and stop frightening me with your terrors. Job Ch.13: 20 – 21 NIV
Job didn’t want God to “withdraw your hand far from me”, in other words, reject him. God’s silence does not mean he has rejected us. Sometimes we will intervene in our lives in unseen ways.
Rejection of God
Sometimes, through our actions and thoughts we can make the mistake of rejecting God. This can be done in a number of ways:
Sometimes selfishness can lead us to rejecting God. The Israelites did this:
You have said harsh things against me,” says the LORD. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’
“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.’ “
So here is a case showing the people’s arrogant attitude toward God. They basically rejected God saying “It is foolish to worship God and obey him. What good does it do to obey his laws, and to sorrow and mourn for our sins ? From now on, as far as we are concerned, Blessed are the arrogant, for those who do evil shall prosper, and those who dare God to punish them shall get off scot-free”.
So, we can see from these verses that selfishness is a rejection of God and all that he represents. Is that the same with us sometimes? Do we sometimes ask “what good does serving God do for me?”. If we do then our focus is selfish. Our real question should be “What good does serving God do for God?”
- Trusting our own judgement more than God’s judgement
There are many people in this world who ignore the evidence of God’s existence. The Bible tells us that these people are foolish.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.Psalm 14:1
There are others who are wicked because they refuse to live by God’s commandments. We become like these people when we rely more on ourself than on God.
- Trusting other humans more than God
Some people put church leaders or other people before God.
This has happened in the past as well. For example in the time Of Samuel. The true king of Israel was God. However, the nation of Israel wanted another king.
Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the LORD at Mizpah and said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your calamities and distresses. And you have said, ‘No, set a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and clans.” 1 Samuel Ch.10: 17-19 NIV
Israel rejected God by asking for a human being instead of God as their guide and leader. If we look at history we can see that men and women have continually rejected God. This practice continues even today. We need to look at our lives and decide what is our highest priority. If we push God aside and treat someone or something else as being more important then we are rejecting God. There are many examples in the Bible for us to learn from and they all teach one thing – God should be foremost in our life.
- Not taking up God’s offer of salvation
God loved us so much they he gave us his only begotten son. Jesus perfect life, his truthful words and his sacrifice of love are designed so that we sit up and take notice and follow the example of Jesus. If we do this we are taking up God’s offer of salvation.
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
” ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone [cornerstone]; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Matthew Ch.21:42 NIV
However, if we ignore God’s gracious gift of his son, then we rejecting God himself.
As we might expect, the people whom God condemns are those who do not recognise their need and who are unwilling to submit to God and His word. Such were the Pharisees:
They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Matthew Ch.23:4
Such men are self-righteous and have lost their sense of dependence upon God. They may be divided into three classes:
- Those who ignore God’s word completely, who are willingly ignorant:
Like the people who lived in the days of Noah, they refuse to heed the warnings given by those who preach the way of righteousness. They deliberately choose to remain in darkness. Noah had certainly preached to his contemporaries, but when the flood came “they knew not”. They knew all right; they had heard the message, after a fashion. But inasmuch as they did not want to know, their ears had been shut to Noah’s saving message. The disciples were told to “shake the dust off their feet” when leaving the houses of such people.
- Those who deliberately distort it or reject God’s word:
The Lord refers to blasphemers against the Holy Spirit, for whom there is no forgiveness. These are “false prophets” who present a distorted gospel and invite men to believe in a hope founded upon the quicksand of human reasoning.
- Those whose lives do not sincerely attempt to reflect God’s word:
They are hypocrites, who act out a part when it serves their purposes; their piety is based upon self-interest. The Lord has a stern warning for those who hear the word of God but either ignore its directions, or manipulate its teaching to suit themselves:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew Ch.7:21
It is evident that although God’s love for man was such that He willingly provided His Son to give his life for our sakes, the very lengths to which He went are a vivid reminder that God does not tolerate disobedience. It is not in man’s interests that He should do so: God wants us to be obedient to His commands, because He knows that this is to our eternal advantage.
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