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The Grace of Being Tender-Hearted

Caring for the poor and immigrants doesn't earn salvation; it's the evidence of our salvation.
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Project Hazmat: Handling Today's Tough Topics". See series.


I just read the story of a Pennsylvania legislator, newly elected to the Pennsylvania legislature. He said of his legislative agenda, "I want to make it as hard as possible for illegal immigrants to live in our state." So his first proposed piece of legislation was aimed at barring any undocumented person from attending a Pennsylvania state university, even though they're paying out-of-state tuition out of their own pocket.

When I read this legislator's statements, I realized that politics is a bare-knuckles, take-no-prisoners kind of profession. I understand that there is a constituency in every state for a let's-get-really-tough-on-immigrants stance. I really do understand that. But after this man spends his efforts trying to push through this legislation, I really have to wonder what he would say to his wife at the end of the day. Perhaps he would say something like this:

You know, honey, I spent the day making life as hard as possible for some people living in our state. Today was a really good day because I put my foot on the throats of 17 year-old immigrants and kept them from paying to go to a state university. And best of all, they were defenseless.

Over the last month or so, I have been speaking about the kindness and goodness of God, especially as his grace is revealed through the offering of God's Son, Jesus Christ, for our sins. You can't experience grace for yourself without changing. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:32-5:2:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to ...

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Rich Nathan is the senior pastor of Vineyard Columbus (Ohio), a former teacher of business law, and the co-author of Empowered Evangelicals.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Prepare for God's judgment.

II. Pay heed to your language.

III. Remember that we're all immigrants.

IV. Get to know real immigrants.