Belong. Believe. Become. Matt Densky - 8/19/2018 Audio Sermon Notes (PDF) Ask a Question Luke 15 begins with Jesus, who we believe is God manifest with flesh and bone, surrounding himself with what society would call “bad people”. In fact, it wasn’t just that Jesus was intentionally trying to collect this lot of people, the Scriptures actually say that it was they who were drawing near to him. There was something so magnetic and so inviting about God’s presence that people flocked to it. They knew they were wanted. They knew they were loved. Of course, those in power at the time felt threatened andconfused by this and so the religious elite of the day, the Pharisees and scribes, began to grumble and complain about who Jesus surrounded himself with. In essence, they were disqualifying him from being truly righteous because he intentionally spent time with those who weren’t.Instead of defending himself or launching into some complex explanation of His redemptive mission, Jesus tells three simple stories - all of which have common themes of something being lost and that same thing being loved.In this picture of God we see a manifestation of His love - it is inclusive, inviting, and immeasurable. The entire chapter beings with Jesus creating spaces for sinners to belong. He welcomes them. He eats with them. What Jesus did (and what we honestly have a hard time doing so often) is creating a reality where people truly belonged even before they believed in Him. What the Pharisees tried to create was essentially a works-based system of righteousness where you had to behave in all the right ways, believe all the right things, and then you could belong. But no one could live that way - not even the Pharisees lived up to their own standards. What Jesus did was welcome people first - allowed them to belong first, sometimes long before they believed and in so doing created a reality where people’s knowledge that they were loved and wanted hopefully led them to a desire to love Him in return.Today is a Sunday where we are focusing on the NextGen ministry. We are reminded that God is for the next generation and He may be inviting some of you to serve in that area. The culture we try to create in NextGen is exactly that which Jesus created when He walked the earth. Belong. Believe. Become.We desire students and children to know they are created in the image of a loving God and that they belong here.We hope that through belonging they would come to believe in Jesus - the source of life and salvation. Over time and the process of discipleship, we help them become like Him through the power of the Spirit.We believe that God may be asking some of you to say “yes” to the next generation. Would you simply ask God if that is something He is leading you into? And if He says, “yes” would you step out in faith to help us create the culture of Belong, Believe, Become?Big IdeaThe love of God is inclusive, inviting, and immeasurable.Jesus created a culture of belonging so that people might come to believe in him and therefore become like him.*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.