By Pastor Greg Byman
April 1, 2018
St Joe Community Church
What is basic Christianity? That Jesus Christ rose from the dead and proved that his claims were true, most importantly that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the one and only Son of God. This is Christianity at its essence—"Christianity 101.”
Pastor Greg Byman delivered “Easter—Christianity 101” on April 1, 2018.
Pastor's Notes & Sermon Transcript
Pastor's notes are not available for this sermon.
By Pastor Greg Byman
Easter is Christianity 101
St. Joe Community Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Sunday, April 1, 2018
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I don't remember an April Fools Day being Easter in my lifetime I'm not that old well some of you think I am. Or bipolar me thinks I'm young but anyway Easter we just we're just saying holiness faithfulness righteousness. That's what you want from me but then we said in the in the refrain or the or the chorus but I can't do it transform me you're the one that that has to do it you have you have to take my mind my heart my soul my life I can't do it God. And so this morning that's a great segue into this message I just thought it be great for us to just stop and talk about Christianity want to one you know when you go to college you have a one hundred level the new two hundred level in the three hundred level four hundred level if you get that far and you have you have you have classes and you start at the basics the one hundred level classes are the basics the foundation for how you get to know and learn everything else that you have to learn and so I just titled this morning's message Christianity want to one what does it mean to be a Christian that's that's what we're going to talk about and if you have your bible turn or connect yourself to the Bible app on your phone to John chapter three and John Chapter twenty we're going to talk about both of those today John Chapter three right in the middle of that passage I'm going to read in just a moment is John three sixteen which is a very popular Bible verse you see people with placards in the middle of worse in the middle of worship services in the middle of stadiums John three sixteen and you'll see that a Super Bowls and you'll see that at championship national championship football games and sometimes basketball oftentimes it's during football games there were some guy that actually has decided that he would get his notoriety by putting it on his T. Shirt placards up and he had a rainbow wig some of you may be old enough to remember that guy he's Al He's crazy by the way. He's now in jail serving a life sentence for trying to bomb people and kidnap people anyway he was kind of crazy but so so John three sixteen has been used to for people to get their. Last minute of fame or a few minutes of fame some people use it because they think that's and then other people I've even seen like George three one twelve or something like that where they're mocking John three sixteen it's even so popular that even The Simpsons had some guy at a stadium saying John three sixteen and it was kind of like a mockery of the fact that this is what you always see and so what is that verse Tim Thibeault how many you know Tim Thibeault he's kind of a famous football player for those of you don't know football you don't care but but you should care about this he's a really devout follower of Christ he's is known more for his faith than he is is his added aptitude as far as an athlete although is a great athlete but he's also known for his Christian faith and during an interview with Carrie Connick Jr over a year ago in December T.-Bo was asked to explain the incredible thing that happened immediately after he led the Broncos to an upset playoff victory over the yes Steelers sorry Steelers fans in two thousand and twelve and he was talking about that victory that brief claim to fame that he was a quarterback for the you know now is a baseball player but he was but something exciting happened back then when he was a quarterback for the lake Gators the Florida Gators he would put John three sixteen at during the national game he put John three sixteen under his the you know the black stuff they put there for that to keep themselves from shaded from the lights in the stands and everything and he put John three sixteen and he put other Bible verses he decided to put John three sixteen he kind of changed things up and coaches don't like that by the way once you're so you're on a winning streak they don't want anything to change they want their kind of superstitions they don't want you to wear the same they want you to wear the same socks that you wore I mean anything you did and you're on a streak don't change anything including the verse so we actually got permission from the coach. Urban Meyer to change the verse to use a bit you boys uses all of us a new unit is this a national championship unit in the coach got I believe the Lord told me to do that that night during the national championship game for the Florida Gators three years earlier than two thousand and twelve ninety four million people Google John three sixteen. What is that verse. And impact on our nation during a game when people are watching something for entertainment they actually went to the spiritual things. But fast forward to the upset when over the Steelers in two thousand and twelve you campaign anything in front you can put bible verses on the N.F.L.'s anything and he's got to be. It's just kind of code of conduct you cannot put any verses or anything you can't put advertisements only what the N.F.L. says you're allowed to put on uniform on your face anywhere it cannot go there however people remember it was an interesting night. And extatic T.-Bo was celebrating with teammates in the locker room and preparing to speak to the press when a Brock Broncos P.R. guy approached him almost to get he to speak he said you realize what happened tonight because yeah we just beat the Steelers or we're going to cope play the Patriots which they got squashed by the way but anyway some of you Patriots fans are happy about that you're mixed emotions some of you but anyway he says no what when no no no no no you don't realize it happened exactly three years ago you were John three sixteen under your eyes during tonight's game three years later you threw for three hundred sixteen yards your yards per rush were three point one six. Your yards per catch were thirty one point six and the ratings for the game was thirty one point six at the time and the time of possession was thirty one point six minutes Harry Connick Jr asked him the question and in his book shaken which is a really great book and there's a bible study that goes with that reply has been a lot of people say it was a coincidence I say big God. Is a confirmation in his mind and heart that God was working in his life and he still Yorks in his life today. John three sixteen is a verse that a lot of people know. But not enough people believe in. A lot of people have read the verse and they say yeah I like that verse it's good verse but they've not put their faith or trust in that verse some people read the verse and they realize that every verse in the Bible is in the context of a bigger story and so I want to read the bigger story I want to read up the context or the verses surrounding John three sixteen Salissa stand one more time I'm going to read to John chapter three verse fourteen and following and then I'm going to flip over right away and read the five other verse in chapter twenty that's already written up here for you to know about and so let me read that for us together just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life for God loved the world in this way he gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life for God did not send his Son into the world that he might condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him anyone who believes in him is not condemned but anyone who does not believe is already condemned because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God and then John the Apostle as he wrote this whole story of Jesus' life after His resurrection he's kind of buttonholing the conversation and he tells the story of Doubting Thomas doubting Thomas who does later became very bold Thomas but in chapter twenty verse twenty six after eight days his disciples were indoors again and Thomas was with them even though the doors were locked Jesus came and stood among them and said Peace to you he'd have to say that if he just appeared out of nowhere and be like whoa the door was locked to what is Jesus oh my Going to us peace to you I'm sure they were unsettled. In verse twenty seven Then he said to Thomas who had doubt it said if I don't see with my own eyes I won't believe he said Thomas put your finger here and observe my hands reach out your hand and put it into my side don't be a nonbeliever but be a believer and Thomas responded him this is an act of worship my lured in my God and Jesus said because you see me you believed those who believe without seeing our boy. Asked and Jesus before many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book but these verse thirty one are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God and by believing you may have life in his name and God had his blessing to the reading of His word you may be seated so this morning the question. That I want to ask is what is a Christian. What is a Christian. Some people say well an American is a Christian now there was a time period when a lot of people actually said that born America born a Christian and I say that kind of an accent because I just sort of how you heard it. Now I know that we're becoming a lot more multicultural and a lot more faith religions that are being elevated to prominence in our nation and so I think that in general that era is passing that people don't just assume that because you've been born in America you're Christian although some people still think that for some reason because we were founded on Christian principles because we have a Judeo Christian values system that was infiltrated into the system that we have today not so much adhering to it so much but it was where we were founded upon we were a Christian nation and so I must be a Christian because I I was born in a Christian nation well there's not a whole lot of credible evidence to support that and and what if that was the case then we'd all be Christians and there's a lot of people who don't claim Christianity is American so I don't know if that's so true. And then some people say well. I was born in a Christian family. I was born into it you know I tell people here all the time I was I had a drug problem as a kid they drug me to church and that's not really funny for the people who are addicted have addiction issues but but but the reality is it's stuck. But it was because my parents were Christian that I was a Christian I had at some point in my life I had to decide whether I was going to put my faith in Jesus Christ and I did that and I'm one of those kids that say I was there were people that are that were dirty outside the church I was dirty inside the church OK I can count on both hands how many times I didn't go to church growing up some people can count on one hand how many times they did go to church. Growing up it there's no difference between those people the difference the difference is they were the same because being a Christian isn't about going boring born into a family that goes to church I don't make you Christian Some people say well you know. I'm just going to be really good and good people are Christians Well you know a lot of Christians are good people but just being good doesn't make you a Christian couple weeks ago we had a training thing and a guy was telling us how to share a face some of you were at this and any and a question that I will commonly asked people how good is good enough how good is good enough I know people who have lived their entire life for Jesus Christ and as they get closer and closer to their impending eternity with God They go I don't know if I'm good enough I don't know if I did enough oh Lord have I lived up to them to the things that I said I believed in if someone like that who has lived all their life for Jesus has invested their entire life in the things of the Lord has put their faith in Christ has believed his promises and even at the end of their life they're going all I don't know. It is not by what we do that makes us good enough it's what Jesus did that makes us good enough. You see the problem is no one is good enough to be automatically called a Christian. I mean if you're a parent you know that you these two little children that look so beautiful in the crib become little heathens. And when you say I mean your first worst of them or not yes it's now no. Don't do that. And I don't want to compare kids to dogs but I mean that's the first thing you say Paris are a little dog and she's trying to get her nose in one trash can and then she goes to find another trash can to get some out of there and like Paris and she looks at you like what we mean in me and that's what kids do so we did that's what I did. In fact that's what I still do I found the extra chocolate finally all week long they've been hiding the chocolate on me what Lynette says I put it up ice you can reach it thank you. Making fun of me. My wife if she wants to keep chocolate in the house she doesn't tell me where it is I found the hiding spot and then I went in there and it was there any more but it looks I mean smiles you know Paris. Gray. We are by nature sinful we don't deserve to be called a Christian because we're good enough nobody is I wasn't you weren't none of us are and if we don't get to that point we're never going to understand what it means to be a Christian see a Christian is one who is personally trusted in Jesus Christ as their spur single Savior and Lord the person who now has a relationship with God not a religion towards God. It's a relationship not a religion so how do we put our trust in Jesus I'm glad you asked me that question so that's what we're talk about there's two parts to it that day and then a conclusion what do you do about it so that now you go so the first part this morning is we must trust that Jesus came to die for our sins. We've got to trust. And listen to the passage where Jesus is explaining to this nicotine is by the way this story is in the middle of the night. And this religious leader who was a god fear he I mean he was kind of a step above the rest of the guys the US and we're trying to plot how to get rid of Jesus how to kill him nicotine this is think and there's something real about this guy and I'm going to figure it out we think he's probably the one that that tried to to make sure that the body of Jesus was well cared for in his death we think he could Amos was was a believer in the end there's no proof of that but there's an inference that he probably became a follower of Christ after the resurrection of Christ but naked Amos is an older man he's trying to figure out what's going on as a religious leader and he knows religion is bankrupt his life is trying to figure out what how do I get this figured out Jesus he comes to at night maybe because he didn't want the fanfare of people knowing it was there maybe he was afraid of what his friends might think he was trying to some of you or you snuck into church today because you're you know like I don't people know I came here I am curious but and I'm being polite to the person inviting me but I I kind of want to just kind of sneak in and figure it out and sneak out you know I'm just glad it's not been our out here how you got here why you got here I'm glad you're here because there are people that just need to kind of like nicotine is kind of in the middle and I kind of figured out. You're think or you're wondering you've heard the story is it true I know I'm not measuring up to what I think is the purpose of life I'm trying to figure out why I'm here by the way in your bulletin We're going talk about April twenty second right after the April twenty first party there's nobody else coming in by the way. Good job to those guys but but on the day after our party I'm going to start a whole series called Why am I here why on earth am I here and our Bible studies are going to start our small groups are going to start up again relaunch and we're going to re gonna read through Bible stories to talk about while on earth my hear the purpose of my life and we'll be doing that starting in the middle of April you see we've got to trust the Jesus can die for sins and and that's what nicotine US is trying to figure this out and earlier he'd say You must be born again of how the world can a man my age be born again Can I crawl into my mother's room I think what is really saying many say that he was saying look how can I get rid of the junk in my life I've lived a lot of junky stuff I mean I I'm old enough I know that I've blown it how in the world can I get a fresh start how can I get a clean slate and who says you know what you've got to be born again. And Jesus points to an Old Testament story and Numbers Chapter twenty one where he said and just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert so I must be lifted up so that all who believe will be saved and have eternal life. Moses and the people the people were rebelling us got and a bunch of snakes broke out and we're not going to any snakes here promise I will run if I see a snake OK but that they were biting people and people were dying they had rebelled against God And so the curse was hey you're going to die and he said Moses here's what you do take a certain make a serpent and he made it out of bronze put it on a pole and tell the people that everyone who looks at the serpent up on the pole will live that's the silliest course I mean if a doctor said take this medicine don't take it put it on a pole put it up on high and then you to if you look at the pole with the medicine on top that pill you'll be cured of cancer what that's the weirdest thing but it happened and they were cured and this story is kind of like a foreshadowing of what's about to happen in the Old Testament than the first part of the Bible is just getting us ready for when Jesus shows up OK and that's and so Jesus reaches back and says just as Moses This was an accidental this was intentional God put it in the history books of the Jews and said Just negativeness as you've read that Moses lifted up so the man Son of Man will be lifted up later and John Chapter twelve it's recorded that Jesus said that if I be lifted up I will draw him in and of on myself and he said this is signify what kind of death that he would die by crucifixion he predicted that he would die by crucifixion you realize that Jesus told everyone around him before it happened I'm going to be killed he also said in three days you Destroy this temple me and I will rise up in three days he predicted his death how he would die and he predicted that he would rise again you see we've got to trust the son to live forever we've got to trust him what Jesus did for us and this word believe it's in here several times we must believe we believe believe in trust it's it's it's a relationship putting our trust in Jesus Christ it's like saying I believe that that chair that I'm sitting on will hold me up and I put my body down and I sit on it it's like saying I'm going to get on an airplane and I'm going to fly to another destination I trust that this plane this hunk of steel will actually lift off the ground and get me to another place safely my favorite. Airplane ride is where they have one hundred percent success rate and landing or taking off and landing that they're both equal. Right. You know I want to make sure they land as successfully as they take off. And I usually I'm fine up in the middle part it's usually I'm like this until the last set of wheels go down and then I'm hoping the runways long enough and I can't see but I I do this you know. There's no windshield where I sit. But I've trusted my life in the pilot's hand and the air traffic controllers hands I put my trust. I do that every day we're going to we're going to go to Boston this afternoon we're going to head out to Boston to see my son in college and we're going to get the car and I trust that everybody coming this way stays on their side. I'm trusting that. It's faith and other people around me now I'm going to be defensive driving may be offensive to some people hopefully not but I'm going to defensive drive and somebody is doing this weird stuff I'm going to you know. But generally speaking I'm trusting and putting my faith that the people writing and driving around me are following the rules of the road so that we all stay in our lane you put faith in things every single day. You drink water out of a tap but you trust somebody made it OK if you're a city person you're trusting this entire municipality of Fort Wayne to keep us safe you put a lot of trust in a lot of things and what Jesus saying today is don't just believe in me believe on me that's how we live forever that's how we erase the sin in our life that's how God takes the credit out of our life and sets us free from that crud that was in our life. We believe in and verse sixteen he love the world this is motivated because God loves us so much now the bible verse John actually writes in other stories that God is love. God is love. His nature is to love us not to condemn us for God so loved the world that he gave us one and only son you can put your own name there I've done this before let's do it again for God so loved the world but put your name in there when I say this For God so loved Greg one more time put your name in are not mine for God so loved Greg for God so loved you and me that he sent his one and only son he was motivated by love to bring you to himself You couldn't come to him because you were dirty he came down in his perfect righteousness and came down to you all of the religions in the world say we have to climb a mountain we have to get to a pinnacle we have to do a certain thing we have to act certain way we have a checklist of things we must accomplish or we will not be saved and Jesus says no no no no no no all you've got to do is believe when I'm lifted up on the cross that I paid for your sins that I died on your behalf so that you would not have to perish in your own sins but they would not perish but have eternal life perish the ultimate reality of our sin when we die to be fully separated from God forever and to receive the just punishment of our sins to offend and infinite holy God requires an infant measure of punishment and we stand condemned in front of a holy God we're already condemned. It says in verse seventeen though Jesus didn't come to condemn the world but that through the world through Him The world may be saved. Let's think about this religion always harps on condemnation it always harps on condemnation it's a guilt tactic sometimes parents use guilt tactics to get their kids to do things. They'll pull the card up like. When I was your age I used to walk uphill both ways. Three feet of snow in July Yeah. Unusual summers. When I wanted roller skates I had to go out and find pebbles in the driveway that were around enough I fashioned on in a little tiny tube of thing. And I took six pieces of wood and I carved a little wheels out of them and I put them on an axle bobby pins for my mother's hair thing and then I took an old pair of tennis shoes that are really too big for me so I cut the toes out of the front I could stigmatise through and then my and then and then as my roller skates. I'll be thankful I gave you those whatever it is you gave me parents can use the guilt trick to get their kids to do something to believe something to manipulate them into obedience. One famous youth writer used to say rules without a relationship equals rebellion. If you have a bunch of rules. And no relationship with the kid they're going to rebel because it's all about the rules it's about putting a carrot just far enough in front of you that I'll never get the carrot I'll never be able to be good enough to get the blessing from you and the Run kids will run from that but if you just become their pal and not their parent and you just want to be their good friend their best friend and you never have any rules they'll walk all over you and they'll never learn what authority is and they'll never have a relationship with you the way it ought to be. Because a relationship is based on truth. And a trust in that truth. And God says I've not come to condemn you you're already condemned you're already condemned in your sin we don't have to go over that anymore everybody here is a center we're all guilty of something and if you didn't do it if you thought it it's as if you did it Wow Thank you Pastor you may never have cheated on your spouse but if you've ever had a dirty thought about another person that you were married to while you were married you're an adulterer So Jesus said. We're all guilty in some way of not doing what we're supposed to do and got and Jesus said I didn't come here to tell you what you already know I came here to rescue you from it. I'm came here to let you know that God in spite of your sinfulness instead of your rebellion and spite of your condemnation he wants to get you out of that mess and build a relationship with you if you'll just trust me. That I'm going to die for you so that you don't have to die in your sense we must trust that Jesus came to die first since God sent His Son to die for us we must trust that son and what he did to live forever he was motivated by is love we're already condemned this isn't a this isn't a news to anybody and everyone who trusts in Jesus will not perish but receive a terminal life. That's the good news scripture of. The Bible number one we must trust that Jesus came to die for his we need to believe that we need to believe it we need to hear it we need to know it we need to hear the warning signs that we can already be we're already condemned and we're just waiting to perish but before we perish if we will look up we will not perish but will have eternal life. In one nine hundred eighty the Mount St Helens volcano in Washington State erupted may eighteen releasing more energy than Hurricane Katrina and making it the America's most powerful natural disaster in recent memory. This picture is a picture of a guy named Harry Truman not the president. Who was the closest to the volcano and became nationally and even enter nationally famous for his refusal to leave his lodge on the side of Mount St Helens he was portrayed by the press as a sort of a record wrester and loner who defied government authority he had known the law is for more than fifty years and his refusal to evacuate cause difficulties for local law enforcement in fact people would say Harry Truman's up there in his lodge Why can't I go to my property. He was even influencing people to go to up into the danger zone Mt St Helens was bubbling is about to erupt. And they were telling everybody get off the mountain. The blast was so powerful that it broke off trees ten feet in diameter as if they were matched six Harry Truman's lodge was instantly destroyed and all the structures structures on Spirit Lake were his lodge was were buried under two hundred feet of avalanche debris and not a sign of them was ever found again all Harry Truman had to do was accept the truth about his circumstances he was already condemned by standing there and all he had to do to keep from perishing was to listen to the warning sign and remove himself from the danger you see everyone in this world is already condemned we're all Harry Truman's saying I'll tell you what I'm going to do God And God said Oh no I don't want you to die in two hundred feet of debris I don't want you to be buried in your sins I don't want you to stay addicted I don't want you to keep destroying your relationships I don't want you to keep living a life of misery of no purpose of no meaning I don't want you to keep doing the things that you keep doing over and over again expecting a different result I want you to find life in My Son Jesus if you'll just look up to what he did to die for you he came to rescue us from perishing in the biggest but do that will ever appear in all time don't be like Harry Truman but in addition to trusting that Jesus came to die for a sense I told you there were two things The second thing is this we need to believe that He rose again. That he was rather risen again on the third day indeed he has risen he has risen Yes indeed he has risen. Our crosses do not put Jesus on the cross because the cross is empty. We do look at a horrible symbol of execution on the most horrific things that could ever been done to a human body. The Romans believed that it was more important for that person to suffer in their death than to have the mercy of death itself and that they would take as much pain out of a condemned prisoner as they possibly could before he breathed his last it was so screw saying only awful and horrific and inhumane that if you were a Roman soldier you were not allowed to be crucified it was that bad Jesus took the pain he took the staying he took our punishment but three days later April Fool's Satan Jesus is alive three days later he came back to life he said you put me in the grave to Destroy this temple in three days I'm going to rise it up and indeed he did. And as Luther Whitfield when he preached to us on Sunday so Friday morning another who us was maybe it wasn't him it was somebody I know is weighing going and he said. They rolled the stone away not for Jesus to get out for us to go in to see one there anymore Jesus is alive. Many saw Jesus resurrected. Now there are a lot of people. Who accept the historical testimony that Jesus died but there are fewer people fewer historians that will actually believe the miraculous story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ although it can be shared and said For people who are willing to actually study to examine the evidence to see if there is a verdict of yes or no for those that since it can clearly look at the case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ as least Robel did and has articulated in a book called Case for Christ there's a movie about him and there was actually a documentary that was that he narrated about his journey as an atheist to discover whether or not Jesus really was who he said he was and now he's a true blown follower of Jesus Christ many have believed this go backwards for more. Many a believed but we must study and decide for ourselves. You see Thomas in chapter twenty is saying I know you saw him and I can see him he may have appeared to you guys but he hasn't cared to me and the moment he shows up IMO I want to see it for myself I want to see the side that was pierced and was see the arms the hands that were pierced with the nails unless I see it myself I'm not going believe it. And in the mercies of God Jesus shows up in the room and he says Hey Thomas come here Thomas. And I don't think he was mocking him I think he was truly loving him so hey look. I really did come back to life look the side that was pierced that water flowed out because my heart had burst and and blood and water gushed out and there was a Roman soldier that surely this must have been the son of God that happened and this body right here bears the marks that I'm the same one that died on the cross and here I am a life Thomas is my Lord and my God and he worshiped him there's no evidence that Iraq heard that Thomas had to touch Jesus at that point it was just Jesus in His presence and for you this morning maybe the presence of Jesus is somebody in your life that's invited you to consider putting your faith in Jesus this morning you've heard the story you've heard the joy of the heart of the singers up here saying I I think there's something different about these guys are some different about these people look I've put my eternity I staked my whole life on the fact that Jesus came back to life. I guess is it it's all or nothing. I'm all in. And I live it all the time course I'm still becoming what I've say I believe we're all in progress wrong process of becoming We're all hypocrites and recover I say we say that a lot around here we don't always live up to what we say we believe but we do believe in we put our trust in our faith in Jesus Christ because I figured out a long time ago I'm not good enough and there's nothing I can do that will rise me to the top of being good enough to be perfect with God but praise the Lord Jesus was lifted up in my place and when he died on that cross for me he died as if I died on that crossed and when I put my faith in Jesus it's as if he's taking his punishment and he's put it on my life and said I already took care of his punishment for him and when I stand before God Almighty and he say why should I let you into my heaven I'm going to say it's because what Jesus did on the cross for me that I'm allowed to be and because I put my faith in Him I mean the allowed to even stand in your presence God. You see John wrote this. Because he wanted us. To see what the truth was. And we've got to study for ourselves because he says these are written the story all of these stories the things that Jesus did so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God and by believing you may have life in his name let me just put it in a nutshell you see. A while back actually last. Spring break my family and I went to Niagara Falls and there's a picture I think you can see we're kind of it's kind of hard to see us but there's the falls behind us and there was all kinds of stories there were all kinds of stories about daredevils that had crossed not falls on. A tightrope there were stories of people that went down over the barrel there's a story of a little kid that in the I think was two thousand and two or three he actually slipped out of a boat way up river and he had a life vest on and he says he's the youngest survivor of going over the falls and they found him at the base and later on he flew and came out Somehow most people got in the wash and they can't get out from the falls and they drown because they can't get up out of the water at the bottom of the falls for some reason he had popped down lived Charles Blunden was a tightrope walker is famous he was from Europe and he came across and he had an act where he would go across right where the Rainbow Bridge is currently he would walk across this this tight rope he even went out there one time cooked in a gun a portable stove ate it and then came back in and he was just this crazy daredevil crazy guy I mean Raese and he would go out on that tight rope he do he do it blindfolded and he had this wheel barrel and they go backwards and forwards he do a blindfold and he is like he is walking down the street like you and I would walk down the street how he walked on that tight rope it was crazy he was just nuts but everybody's like man this guy's he really knows what he's doing he's got all kinds didn't go well and this is Doc in one thousand eight hundred fifty nine. He had crowded watched him they said look at this guy's crazy he had proven that he could do it that was no doubt but now he was asking for a volunteer to get in the will barrel own. He said you believe I could carry somebody across or all we believe you can do it do you believe I can bring them there bring them back and they're all safe and sound Oh yes we know you can do is who wants to sign up to be the first one come on. You would have thought all that belief in the crowd. Everybody saw him do it but I saw him go back and forth there by so they knew he could they'd seen him do it so many times he was so famous people probably came there because they heard from their friends you got to see this guy he walks across he comes back he's safe and sound he knew he could do it. But not a single one ever got the Wilbur with him later his manager finally got on his back and he went across and back but that was later. Charles Blunden said you believe in me yeah well do you trust me get in the will barrel and nobody would trust Him Jesus says Do you believe me do you believe in me do you believe in me. Then surrender your life to me because I've created a bridge between you and God. And all you've got to do is look up trust me instead of yourself trust me instead of your good works trust me instead of your good faithfulness to a marriage trust me instead of trying to stay off of drugs and alcohol and all kinds of things to be addictive and and harmful trust to me instead of a good paying job that will pay your bills so you don't go into debt and do terrible things with with your finances trust me because all the good in the world does not erase the sin that's in our life but all you have to do is not die in your condemnation of your sins but live by putting your faith in Jesus the bridge between us and a holy God I got to do is walk across with Jesus and it's like Jesus standing at the end of the type rope saying Do you believe that I died for your sins Oh yes we do Jesus do you believe that if you trust in me you have eternal life yes Jesus I know that you believe that if you put your arms if you let me carry you I'll take you across this tight rope with all the doom and the gloom are underneath you and all the misery and pain and all of the suffering in the condemnation but I'll rise you up above all the things that you deserve in life and I'll take you safely to the other side to be with God forever do you believe that so many people they want to talk about that at the funeral of a loved one. But how many people in our world are willing to talk about it before the funeral we want that hope at the funeral. But why don't we trust in that hope before the funeral. It's too late if we get to the funeral with not done it it's never too late if we still have breath in our body and it's not too late today. So my final conclusion is this where you spiritually where are you. Some of you are interested you're curious. Pastor I'm not convinced that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God I'm not convinced he came back to life but I'm curious I'm interested you've piqued my interest I'm willing to talk about it more and I want to invite you that are in that boat to come back and keep studying keep learning keep hanging out. Keep hanging in there keep leaning in read the Bible for yourself if you need a Bible will give one to you there's Bible laps there's all kinds of versions on your phone if you've got a smartphone that you can read all kinds of things and I would say you can read all what everybody says about the Bible but I'm going to suggest to you that you just get to the source itself and read the Bible and don't take my word for what I said this morning read the passage for yourself study it because these were written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah the Christ the Son of the by believing you might have life in His Name some of you are just interested and I'm encouraging you I implore with you keep growing keep learning keep moving towards what we're saying is true. When some of you you're ready. You're saying Pastor I man I get it I've never found an answer like this I'm ready to put my faith in Jesus Christ in this morning. I just simply said Jesus I believe that you died on the cross for my sense and I admit to you that I'm a sinner but I've done that I I'm not good enough I don't measure up to you and I now put my faith my trust in what you did that you came back to life. That you prove that you have the power over the one thing that humanity is never solved and that's death and if you can solve it for your body you can certainly solve it for mine and I put my faith in you this morning you're ready and in just a moment I'm going to show you how you can respond personally if you're ready and then there's others in this room that you're growing in your faith you've already put your faith in Jesus and you're growing in you're learning what it means to belong to Christ you're realizing that yes you were condemned but you're no longer condemned that Jesus forgave you and you're learning to forgive yourself for the things that you did that you should've done that you're learning that you don't have to live a life of regret and you're not chained to your past the Jesus set you free of the sun has set you free you are free indeed and you're growing in that understanding and some of you in this room you're ready to go and tell other people about it you've invited people here this morning maybe or maybe you're inviting them to the party they were going to have on the twenty first that you're so excited about what you've learned about following Christ that you want other people to know what you have. That it would be a crime for us to have the solution to what life's answers all about and never tell a soul but the difference between ready to receive Christ and growing in Christ is surrendering our life to Jesus Christ you see you can't just be ready to receive Christ you need to surrender your life to Jesus Christ and that's the moment that we become born again that's the moment when we go from death to life we go from being a person who will perish to a person who will never perish but have to learn eternal life a person who is not just believing in Jesus that I believe existed he is a man but believing on Jesus and trusting him with her it's a difference between a relationship with a religion about Jesus and a relationship with Jesus. Let's stand our feet this morning our banns going to sing one more song I don't know where you're at in this possible in this situation but I want you to know that we want you to have the most clear opportunity possible to put your faith in Jesus Christ. We've all gotten our bulletin this morning and in your bulletin is a yellow connection card. And on the back of that connection card is a way for you to respond. Some of you want to learn more and on that you're going to check off I want to know more I want to talk to somebody maybe it doesn't have to be me it's somebody in our church I'd like for some a talk to me about what it means to be a Christian others in this room you if you're ready to put your faith in Christ and I want you to put on that card I'm committing my life to Jesus Christ on the back of that card is that is that remark some of you your have put your faith in Christ and you're ready to tell the world you're Christian and in a couple weeks we're going to have a baptism we already have one lined up we're actually going to have a joint worship service with a few of the churches in this in this in this building and we're going to all baptize whoever it is in our churches that are ready to be baptized and have a joint baptism service together. And we're going to celebrate people putting their faith in Jesus Christ and openly declaring their faith in him and if you're ready to do that I want you to put that on your card I don't know where you're at but I hope that whatever step that you know that God is asking you to make that you'll take it.
B: Bible book