"Rejection and Acceptance" Sermon / Luke 10:1-20 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday July 7th 2019 / Season of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: Luke 10:1-20; Psalm 66; Isaiah 66; Galatians 6
Theme: “Rejection and Acceptance”
Intr – An 18-year-old girl came to her father with a request: “Dad, you know, the time has come for me to go to college and work on my future. That means I need to invest now more time and…money. Do you think you can help me? Is there a way we could raise those thousand dollars I need?”
What about the Father saying bluntly: “Well, this is your problem. I did my part so far, now you better find your own way in life”.
Perhaps you’d say, “That wouldn’t happen”, or on the other way around, “Yes, I’ve seen that happening”.
Anyway, the feelings involved here are not outlandish for any of us: acceptance and rejection. The girl was looking for the former. If the father answered the way I mentioned, he would be giving her the later.
Acceptance and rejection are words that are a part of our daily vocabulary, if not in our mouths, at least in our minds.
_If you stop to think, most of the relationship problems in the world - which trigger other bigger problems - boil down to acceptance/rejection. Resentment, Vengeance, payback…
_This topic may be related to two things basically:
1)the way we feel accepted or rejected in life;
2)The way we accept or reject things in life;
In the Gospel of Luke, not only on today’s pericope but in the wider context as well, we see some of both as well as in the parallel readings from our Lectionary.
Luke – The context provides us with some of this: “Who is the greatest?”, “Against and/or for us”, “A Samaritan village rejects Jesus”, “The Cost of following Him”(as we talked about it last Sunday).
Then Chapter 10 starts with the sending of the 72 in pairs to proclaim the Gospel. Jesus gives them specific instructions, and they contain provisions for both acceptance and rejection.
How do you feel when you feel rejected? How do you act when you feel rejected? This is a feeling and a situation that goes deep in our souls, and it may imprint a negative stamp in us that we will carry for life, if not addressed and dealt with.
A solution could be to pay to be accepted, as it is a norm in many situations in our life. If that was the case, how much would you pay to be accepted?
_We usually have to pay to be accepted. In clubs, parties, groups; in special events and special meetings; even in some churches. One spends much money to get the outfit, shoes, accessories, car, house, person, well... that which will make him a part of that group he admires. Human beings are willing to spend huge amounts of money for the feeling of being accepted and included. Humans crave for a sense of belonging.
_How much would you pay in order to get in that university you always dreamed of? And how much for that desired vacation or in order to become a member of an exclusive group? How much is the perfect outfit worth? How can we calculate the price of being accepted, integrated, and valued in human society?
Now, there is only one acceptance that truly changes our lives. How much would you be willing to pay for it?
Forget the math. There is no need for payment. And, actually, you would never be able to pay for it. This acceptance is given to you...free of charge. If you want to feel, actually, not only feel but to know that you are truly accepted, turn to verse 20: “rejoice that your names are written in heaven”. When repentance and faith are present, God’s acceptance is present as well.
Well, this sounds just like another Bible verse, where is the comfort, pastor? Think about these situations:
_What if a person you love, which you have hurt badly in the past, eventually accepted your apologies?
_What if the University of your dreams accepted yours, or your child’s application?
_What if the person you admire the most (I don’t like the word idol) in music, sports, or whatever, accepted you over for a talk, a cup of coffee, or even to spend a weekend?
_What if the Queen accepted you into the Palace to spend a week in her presence?
Does that feel like special? I bet it feels. Now, what about God himself accepting you? Not an energy, not a concept, not a psychological crutch; God Himself.
In Christ, through repentance and faith, you are not only special, not only accepted, not only the first on the line, the appreciated costumer of the month. Your name is written in Heaven. You are His.
Isaiah 66 – If you still have any doubt, God uses the highest illustration of love and acceptance a human being can experience: that of our mother.
Psalm 66 – That’s why the Psalmist talks about an “Awesome God”. His deeds are second to none. This brings us the certainty that God accepted His people before and loved them. He will do it again. 
That’s why Jesus didn’t take the easiest way on His walk on Earth – which might have brought him wider acceptance - but the right one – which drew lots of rejection. For why on Earth would the son of God Himself come down to be innocently delivered as a criminal to be crucified?
Now, as we place faith in Him, as we are called to faith, comes the second way we can talk about acceptance and rejection: the easiest versus the right way.
As Christians, our life certainly will have acceptance from people who are happy to see our life going the right way even when it is not the easiest. But also, we will face a good deal of rejection – when our face meets the hard, cold wall of indifference, arrogance, questioning, and ultimately mockery and denial.
Again verse 20 comes to mind. The disciples experienced different things in their mission. Even demons were subjected to them. Jesus tells them though that these shouldn’t be the greatest reason for joy, but rather that book in heaven with lots of names on it – including yours.
Do you feel rejected in life? Turn to Jesus.
Do you feel tempted to accept the easiest way out of problems that may come for standing our ground? Turn to Him.
Do you feel joy for being accepted and for the privilege even of suffering for Christ name? Thanks be to Jesus!
This acceptance, inf forgiveness and love, may be extended to our neighbour, as we saw in Galatians 6.
Cc – Back to the illustration that opened our sermon, after hearing the request the Father smiled her daughter as he embraced her in loving acceptance, and said: “My dear, I’m glad you asked. Actually, the thousands of dollars are already prepared for you, since your mother and I started a savings account in your name for that purpose in the year you were born. It is all done, it is all already prepared. It is all yours!”
Do you feel anxious, rejected, sad, melancholic? You are accepted. The Father has already prepared forgiveness, love, smile and acceptance. In hundreds of thousands each lot. He hears your prayers, he hears your call, He hears you. He has everything already prepared by His Gracious hands.
 The text does say – say to God, How awesome are your deeds! The psalmist points to God particularly pointing to His deeds. His action, His works already accomplished. Why does he do so?
How can you know that you, singular, and the Church, plural (as we mentioned above) will be able to survive and remain faithful to God’s Word facing the cultural war that has been fought on our faith and principles? Because it has happened before. In the first century; in the fifth century; in the XVI century. And so on. That is the point the Psalmist is making here. He points to God’s deeds and says implicitly: “ Hey folks! Hey you! He did it once. He did it twice. He did it over and over again. He was then. He is now. He will always be. He will do it again!” Because: He is awesome in his deeds!