Would You Return to Christ?

Chris Genetti is pastor at Living Waters Tabernacle of Exeter.

The Easter season is quickly approaching. I would like to take the opportunity to personally invite you back to church. There are many legitimate reasons folks have fallen away from the church. There has been abuse, neglect, and even hate perpetrated by the very people who profess the name of Jesus. However, these are not excuses to scapegoat the only One who truly made the ultimate sacrifice, so that we would enjoy reconciliation with God for eternity. 

Whatever justification we have for not continuing with church, I want to share that God is our Creator, the giver of your life! Life is far more painful when we are separated from His love and presence. Life departed from God is void and hopeless, depraved of His purpose and direction. But I have a wonderful revelation to share with you. Jesus’s greatest trait is His ability to forgive and welcome you back into His fold! 

Take Jesus’s strongest Apostle, Peter, for example. Peter was enamored by the young Rabbi from the first moment that Christ called upon him. Peter’s life was completely changed as Jesus taught him lessons about loving your enemy, that the poor are blessed, and that their inheritance will be the Kingdom of God. Even more, Peter intently fixated on the command to love God with all of his heart, soul, and strength.

However, Peter failed in many ways. He acted out impulsively, neglecting his Master’s teachings, failing even to be faithful. On the eve of Christ’s crucifixion, when He was arrested, Peter turned to violence in his impulsion to protect Christ: “Peter, having a sword, drew it, and smote the high priests servant, and cut off his right ear.” Jesus rebuked Peter and said, “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?” To make matters worse, this would not be Peter’s only grievance. When Jesus needed the emotional support of His followers the most, Peter would deny his Master. Jesus reiterated Zechariah’s prophecy saying, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” Peter quickly repudiated Jesus, responding passionately, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” He continued in dramatic fashion, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” After years of witnessing Jesus’ miracles, Peter’s flesh caused him to sin. Imagine the level of disappointment Jesus must have Garden experienced towards His most ardent pupil. Not only had Peter fallen asleep in the of Gethsemane when Jesus asked him to pray with Him, Peter’s flesh now raged with violence. But worst of all, Peter will swear an oath that he never knew Christ!

What I find most amazing about these events is that Jesus had premeditated forgiving Peter. While informing him that he would deny knowing Christ, Jesus had already planned reuniting with His disloyal following. Just prior to His arrest, Jesus arranged with His inner circle, “After I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Astonishingly, Christ would forgive not only the Romans, not just the unfaithful religious Jewish aristocracy, but even more so, he forgave those that wounded Him most personally. God desires a relationship with each of us! The Lord knew that man’s involvement of the church here on earth would be imperfect. I believe the Lord even knew at this very time, there would be a falling away. But I want to express to you this Easter season, that no man has authority over the church. Christ and only Christ, has been afforded that authority. As much as the church needs to seek forgiveness of the people, we the people, also must seek forgiveness for denying our Christ. Through the evidence of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, we can be assured that His forgiveness and love abounds! I pray this article inspires everyone that may read it to return into the hands of Christ. Please help your local church grow, keep it accountable, and share with one another through fellowship what the Lord desires. Please reunite with our Creator, He gave His life for your eternity.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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