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Exclusive Territory

God's demands of exclusivity are for our own good.

In my economics class, we finished studying agreements. At first glance, my students thought an agreement would limit consumer choice. They're surprised when the hidden logic of economic theory shows that an agreement might make consumers better off.

I want to talk about the term exclusive, but in a Christian context. As in the case with agreements, the word exclusive has some surprising properties. Exclusive is also one of the biggest terms in our culture.

Any institution that tries to be exclusive today is suspect. HSydney College in Virginia is controversial because it excludes female students. The military is controversial because it excludes practicing homosexuals.

Exclusivity is seen as the opposite of tolerance, the opposite of openness, the opposite of freedom. And along comes Christianity, a faith with a book that claims to be God's Word, that supposedly sits above all other books, in which Jesus says, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father except through me or "exclusively through me.

Because we live in a culture that applauds diversity, this exclusivity is a scandal. It's the main scandal of the Gospel.

God places exclusive demands on our behavior.

God places exclusive demands on our behavior, but these exclusive demands can free us to

be all we can be. How can a commandment to not do something be the same as freedom and liberation? When God says, "Don't do this, how can that free us?

The Bible says in one of the commandments that you're not to commit adultery. When you marry, be faithful to your marriage partner in sexual relations. Refrain from having sex until you marry.

What could be more exclusive and binding than that rule? What can be more enslaving, more limiting? The opposite: no ...

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

The exclusive claims of Christ in the Bible are scandalous in our society, which applauds diversity.

I. God places exclusive demands on our behavior.

II. God does not want Christians to be exclusive of others.

III. The gospel makes an exclusive salvation claim.