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Like It or Not

Like It or Not

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Published by Joseph Winston

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Published by: Joseph Winston on Mar 20, 2011
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03/20/2011

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Like It or Not
The Rev. Joseph WinstonMarch 20, 2011
Grace and peace are gifts for you from God, the Father of our Lord JesusChrist.
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ThesemightbethesixmostfrighteningwordsintheEnglishlanguage,“Whetheryou like it or not.”Quite a few children have heard something like this come from the mouth of their parents. “I do not care what happened to you yesterday at school. You cannotstay in your room all day long. In fact, there is no way that you can hide in herefor the rest of your life.
Whether you like it or not
, you will get out of this bedright now, put your clothes on, and go to school.”As we get older, these six words continue to have power over us. It is not hardto imagine a discussion between a husband and a wife that might sound like this.“We have had some good years together and no one would deny that we have hadour share of rough patches too. I would be lying to you if I did not say that I will
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Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, Philemon 1:3.
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not miss the children. I will. No matter what you might say or do, I am leavingyou,
whether you like it or not
.Even at work, you cannot escape the force this phrase has on you. Someoneyou know could be going through this. “The company really appreciates all thatyou have done over the years you have worked here. But you know that times aretough. Sales are down and
whether you like it or not
, adjustments must be made.Today is your last day at work.”No matter how the discussion might occur, the phrase, “Whether you like it ornot” comes at you with a one-two punch. First, it hits you with a dramatic changethat is coming. “You cannot stay at home.” “I cannot love you any more.” “Youno longer work here.” Then, and this can really hurt, you find out that you arecompletely powerless from preventing it from happening. “Go to school.” “I amdivorcing you.” “You are fired.Did you hearthephrase, “Whetheryou likeitornotin today’s Gospellesson?It is clearly there, not once, not twice, not even three times but all over in thediscussion between Nicodemus and Jesus. The most apparent uses are near theend of the lesson. Right there Jesus tells you, “For God so loved the world that hegave his only Son,
whether you like it or not
. (John 3:16a).”Now, I know that you like I have grown used to seeing John 3:16 all over theplace. Crazy looking fans hold it on posters during sporting events. All aroundthis nation, you can find it plastered on the walls of stadiums. It might even be onyour refrigerator door at home.Where then does it say, “Whether you like it or not?”2
 
Listen again to the words of Jesus, “For God so loved the world that he gavehis only Son (John 3:16a).” Here Jesus is telling you that you have no influenceat all on the decision to send Him to the earth. It is even worse than that for you.You have not been involved even one tiny bit in the discussion to make Jesus theSavior of the world. Also, notice that God gives you no alternatives at all. You arefree to find someone or something else as the one that attempts to save you but itwill not help you at all.In other words,
whether you like it or not
, God is sending Jesus. You have nopower whatsoever over God to force Him to change His mind. Jesus is coming,
whether you like it or not
, and He will save, no questions asked, everything thatmakes up this world.What should be absolute Good News that God gave Jesus for the salvationof the universe
whether you like it or not
is far too often watered down intosomething that you would never hear the phrase, “whether you like it or not” nomatter how hard you tried. Take for instance our never-ending desire to associatecause with effect. This is the way of the world so much that it is encoded intoone of the laws found in physics, “For every action there is an equal and oppositereaction.” We say, “If I do this, then that will happen.”You can see the same thing happening here almost any Sunday of the year.Here is what we said this morning.Gracious God, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word, anddeed,bywhatwehavedoneandbywhatwehaveleftundone.Forgiveus and give us strength to turn from sin and to serve you in newness3

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