Every and All

Dear Church Family,
 
You’re receiving this email on Friday. However, it’s about 9AM on Thursday as I am writing it. We just finished Morning Prayer on Facebook Live a few moments ago, and the hymn that we heard this morning is one of my favorites, “Come Sinners to the Gospel Feast.” Penned by Charles Wesley (who along with his older brother John founded the Methodist movement), this hymn captures the truth that, in Jesus Christ, God has indeed come for ALL of us. Absolutely no exclusions. In fact, I want you to notice how many times the word “all” or “every” appear in these lyrics in reference to human beings.
 
 Come, sinners, to the gospel feast;
let EVERY soul be Jesus’ guest.
Ye need not one be left behind,
for God hath bid ALL humankind.
 
Sent by my Lord, on you I call;
the invitation is to ALL.
Come, ALL the world! Come, sinner, thou!
All things in Christ are ready now.
 
Come, ALL ye souls by sin oppressed,
ye restless wanderers after rest;
ye poor, and maimed, and halt, and blind,
in Christ a hearty welcome find.
 
My message as from God receive;
ye ALL may come to Christ and live.
O let his love your hearts constrain,
nor suffer him to die in vain.
 
This is the time, no more delay!
This is the Lord’s accepted day.
Come thou, this moment, at his call,
and live for him who died for ALL.
 
(Charles Wesley, “Come Sinners to the Gospel Feast,” 1747, emphasis mine)
 
Charles Wesley wrote these lyrics in large part because of a theology that was prevalent in his period (and is still prevalent in some churches even now today) called Calvinism, which held that God hasn’t come for all but only a select few, a group of people whom Calvinists call “the elect.” (I won’t get into all the differences between Calvinism and Wesleyanism in this email. However, if you’d like to learn more, check out this link: http://www.crivoice.org/tulip.html.) Charles and his older brother didn’t hold back when speaking out against Calvinism. They maintained the Scriptural teaching that God hasn’t come for some or event most. Instead, God has come for ALL. Indeed, God’s heart beats for ALL human beings (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9).
 
So rest assured that no matter who you are or what you’ve done (or haven’t done) in life, God’s heart beats for you. In Jesus Christ, God has come for you. Yes, that includes you. You mean as much to God as the sending of his Son.
 
Blessings,
Chris
 
p.s. Please join us for online worship this weekend as we close out our series called “The Short of It: The Entire Story of the Bible from Creation to New Creation.” We’ll be talking about the return of Jesus and New Creation this weekend, so don’t miss out!
 
p.p.s., Meet Me in the Lobby, our time of virtual gathering in between Sunday services, begins this Sunday (August 16) at 9:30AM. You’ll receive an email later today and again on Sunday with instructions on how to join. Hope to “see” you then.