Sunday, April 17, 2022. Welcome to St Joe Community Church. Today’s message is entitled Jesus is Alive and was delivered on Sunday, April 17, 2022 by Greg Byman. For more information visit www.StJoeCommunityChurch.org, click on the Sermons tab, and find today’s broadcast.
Jesus Is Alive!
What are you looking for?
Relief from troubles, difficulties, pain?
A good life, family, career, happiness?
Purpose in life?
Where are you looking?
-The women were coming to the tomb on Sunday morning
-An angel descends from heaven causing an earthquake
-The angel rolled back the stone and sat on it
-other accounts…moved/picked up the stone
-1-2 ton stone
-Jesus was already gone
-The guards “became like dead men”
-men guarding a dead man became like dead men!
-The angel knew the women were looking for
-Jesus who was crucified- killed, executed
-He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said.
-was raised- God the Father raised him from the dead
-Jesus predicted his resurrection
-We don’t know HOW Jesus was raised
-The stone was rolled away to SHOW he was raised
-Come and see- Jesus was not where they put him Friday
-Then go quickly and tell his disciples
The Resurrection Story
Told by all four gospel writers
-no one ever stayed “raised from the dead”
-Matthew is writing much later, a body was never found
-Lazarus may have died by now, he did at some point!
-Jewish men would NEVER have fabricated a story with
Women as the primary witnesses
-all four gospels write unique details, no collusion, no lie
-everyone who saw Jesus alive staked their lives on it
-many were willing to be killed than recant
He is not here. He is risen!
Stop looking for answers in dead places
Trust that Jesus can take care of any problem you face
Trust everything Jesus says
They set everything up, they allowed us to come in early and set things up. And when you joined our church as a portable church, it was more like you'd say, "Great, you own a truck with a hitch because you can join, right now. Like, no membership fee if you come." No. And now, if you can walk to church from your house, that's great because we don't have a lot of parking. Anyway, all kidding aside, we were sitting there looking and waiting for cars and people to come. We'd sent the flyers out. We'd sent word of mouth. We'd had public events to tell people, people were praying all over the country for us. And we were just like, you know, 20 minutes till, and I knew - pick your denomination. They had to have been some denomination because everybody comes in late, you know, like whatever's going on here. And we're like, who's coming? Who's coming? Who's coming?
And if it's just us, we're still going to praise and worship God. But it'd be really nice if some people joined us. And they did. And suddenly it's like a traffic cop... I mean, literally it felt like policemen just stopped on Maple Creston and said, turn, turn, turn, turn, turn. And they all just started coming in. And a bunch of people that we had never met in our entire lives joined us for worship that day. Some are still members and worshipers with us today and others have moved on. A lot of our people that were with us at the beginning are still with us and we're still with most of the people that join. Anyway, but seriously, we had a blast of a time.
And so, Easter Sunday - so we always celebrate our anniversary on Easter, even though the 20th of this month is actually when we started, but we celebrate on Easter. And what a grand time it is to talk about the stories of lives that have changed, hundreds of people that have come to faith in Christ; many of those baptized in our church family. Over a hundred people that have been sent on missions somewhere, either here in the United States or somewhere around the world to send them out in Jesus name, to come back. God is doing His work and he's continuing to do work. And we're not looking at the rear view mirror to say, look what we were, but we're then the wide front window, the windshield of life to say, where is God taking us next? That's what it's all about, because we haven't arrived. We've arrived when we're in heaven. We've arrived when we're in heaven. And until then, we got something to do. We got something to do for the Lord Jesus Christ. And I prayed that you've come here ready to hear what God wants for your lives. I pray that I'll just share what God wants me to say that it might be an encouragement to you, it might be strengthening; it might illuminate what God's word has already said in this very familiar story.
Someone asked me that was John. He says, isn't it hard to sometimes - you have to share the same story everybody knows every year on Easter. And so, I'm going to talk about Jonah today. No, I'm not going to do that. You know, because you're like, what can you say? And you don't want to be creative, so creative that you like out create God, and that would be like blasphemy, so I'm not going to try to do that, so very simple story. I pray in very real ways that you will hear a fresh word from God this morning. That's my prayer. So the first thing I'm going to ask you is what are you looking for? What are you looking for? What are you looking for in life now?
Now, I am one of those... if you are married, one of you is a shopper and one of you is a buyer. Somebody brought that up. That was a good analogy. And I go back and forth, you know, put me at Menards, I'm a shopper. I'm just looking around. What are you looking for? And you know, they're helpful - some of them are, at Menards, and they're saying, can I help you? And you're like, not really, you know, my wife is tried, but you know, I joke with them. And then at the end of the day, you know, like, is there something you're looking for? And I'm like, "Well, no." You know, and if I am there quick, yeah, but some days I am looking for something, but you know, there's a kickball and you know, we might need a kickball, or cereal, Menards sell cereal. What's that? I'll buy some lumber, buy corn flakes; they both taste the same. I mean, we can do this. This is all good. I like cornflakes by the way, put lots of sugar on it. But I'm telling you what; it's a fun place to be for me. Now, I'm a guy, I like guy things, you know, put me at Joanne's Fabric Shop and you're like, "Well, when can we get out of here?" And as a kid, my mom was a sewer. She sewed my first leisure suit.
Anybody have the privilege of wearing a leisure suit in the seventies that your parents - your mom made you? Well, pray for me. I've got scars. But anyway, I've got awesome pictures of the leisure suit. I think it was burnt orange. I'm serious. This is true, but my mom would go and she would look and look for patterns and bolds of fabric. And I had the most wild, crazy imagination and I can make believe anywhere. I was an only kid for five years and I was the only boy in my house forever, and I had two sisters. I knew how to make things up; you cannot make up make believe in a fabric store. It was just so stink and boring in there. I mean, it was just like, there's another bold of fabric, and there's another bold of fabric and the chairs are too high to get to the fabric. Anyway, it is an awful place.
Some of you, you go shopping because you love your spouse and you go with them. And some of you, you love your spouse enough to not go with them and make them suffer while you're going, "Are we going home yet?" You know, but you're looking for things and you'll know it when you'll find it. And so, I'll know what I'm looking for when I find it. Anybody said that, thank you, pastor, I receive that word. You hear that? Okay. And for those of you, we pray for you, but pray for me because you never get home. And this is a rabbit trail. How many of you say, "Look, honey, I saved $50." How much you have to spend to save $50? That's in my brain. I'm like, there's a percentage here. It was 30% off, that's $50. Like, I wasn't good at math, but I can do the math. We're going to pay for this. Anyway, it's all fun. It's all fun. But, what are you looking for?
Some of you, if in all seriousness are looking for relief, you're looking for answers. You're looking for some kind of a situation, a career change. Maybe no more career. Maybe it's a new season of life. But it's, what do I do with these little children in my life? What do I do when I get children? What do I do, I'm brand new married? How many it's their first Easter married today? Ooh, you're newlyweds. Right here. Right here. Let's give them a round of applause. Awesome, awesome. Okay, have you decided where you're going to go to this afternoon because that's the family you love the most, right? Oh, that's awful. That's awful. That's awful. Okay, but pray about it because you know, we don't want you to offend anybody, no.
How many here - that's the real question is which family do we go to and not offend the other? Yeah, that happens. That's a real story on Easter. But anyway, we're praying for you. We're praying for you. Anyway, I had the privilege of walking up and being with both these couples this year.
Some of you're looking for forgiveness. You're looking for absolutely or some sort of redemption from something. And the question really is, where are you looking? Where are you looking for those answers? Where are you shopping for your life values? Where are you shopping for your self-worth? Where are you shopping for hope and healing? I talked to somebody - I use this phrase and most of you have heard me say it before; "doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result is just silly." It's insanity. And I used that at a car parts store. Yeah, I was shopping. I don't know - I went buying. I needed a part. But I went there and a guy was talking about something, and he says, I work seven days a week. I'm like, really? "Done it for five years." I said really? That is amazing. Seven days a week. I didn't have time to ask him what his family thought of that.
Young man, and I said seven days a week, wow! Are you getting ahead? That's a lot of time to be getting. He says, "Not at all. I'm getting behind." Huh? I said, you know, if you don't take off a regular time, like take of; God will give you a bunch in a row. And I said are you getting ahead? "No, I'm not getting ahead. I'm farther behind than when I started all this. I said, you know, doing the same thing over and over again as what - and the counter clerk, her name is Angel she said. Insanity! And why is it that we think we're looking for all the answers in all the wrong places, looking for that country song. I'm looking for love in all the wrong places. You're looking in the wrong places and you keep thinking you're going to find it. How many times you go to the closet looking for the one thing that you thought you put in that closet? And how many times are you going to look there and realize it's not there?
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a game changer for anything you're looking for. It changes everything. If this is just one more club, then we need a great marketing program to get a bunch of people here and entice them. And maybe we'll do a like half off price to join or something. Really, we don't charge people to join. But I mean, you know, what are we going to - you know, we're just a business. We're just the lions club. We do a little bit better philanthropy than others. We give a little bit more to this. We do this niche of helping people in Jesus name, but you know, Jesus is dead, so it's not... but He's a good figure of follow because He was a really nice guy when He lived on the earth.
I mean, if that's all it's about, then we've really kind of missed the mark here. The resurrection of Jesus Christ isn't just something we think is important on Easter Sunday. It's something that so changed the spiritual world that people began to worship, not the Sabbath, but on Sunday. Like Jewish people, that it was ingrained in their brain, you worship on Saturday. And they switched to Sunday because on the first day of the week. In the early breaking dawn, some girls went to a tomb and found it empty. And it so changed the world that we even whoever does or does not believe in Jesus proclaims that Jesus at least made a mark in history because they write a date down that's tied to BC and AD.
If you're looking for real answers, you're going to find it in the empty tomb. You're going to find it in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, let me tell the story here - kind of unpack it. You've already read it. John read it for us in Matthew 28. If you have your Bible turn there, and I'm just going to walk through the story a little bit here. After the Sabbath, the week was dawning, the first day of the week, then Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, they came to the tomb. Was it a tradition of them to go to the tomb and mourn in the death and the loss of a friend, of someone they cared for deeply? Were they coming to prepare the body a little bit more? Who was going to roll the stone away? In one passage it says in another gospel story, that they were going to go, and in haste had prepared the body because it was about to be Passover, and they had to get his body off the cross and into that borrowed tomb.
And they thought, well, but we need to fix them right. But they were going to the tomb. And it says here, Matthew kind of inserts while he's telling the story of them coming. But by the way, there's a big earthquake that took place. And it took place because an angel descended from heaven and it was so powerful when he came that an earthquake occurred. And now, Matthew's explaining these things to us about 90 years of AD 90 - 40, 50 years later he's telling the story. And I'm going to tell you that this would not have lasted or the test of time if he had been telling a lie. What he's telling and when it was received by the Christians, it was a commonly understood story. If it wasn't, we wouldn't have it in our Bible today because there's a lot of stories that were made up about this whole event that were not real, that did not have truth in them, and we don't have them today.
And anybody that you watch those history stations, they really love on Easter to take, oh, the lost gospel of Judas, the lost gospel of James, the lost gospel of Thomas, and most of those that they have the label of a person's name were written hundreds of years later, or at least over the time, beyond the time in which the actual disciples name, the disciple existed, he was dead by then and somebody was faking it. And it's very easy to see as a historian, if you really wanted to look at it credibly; anybody can say that's not a lost gospel of Mark; that's, somebody's attempt to pervert the real gospel that we have. You know why it's lost? You know why the church voted it down? Because it was false, and they would've quickly voted out the resurrection story that Matthew told if it was false. They didn't. We have it today in antiquity. We have it today in current times.
The angel descends down, caused an earthquake, and it says here that he rule rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. And I was listening to David Jeremiah on the radio, and he made mentioned that in one of the versions of one of the gospel stories, the word is that he picked it up and moved it. The stone would normally be in a groove and it would roll across the opening of the grave of the tomb that Jesus would be in. And it was so big, it would be as big enough to be like a four foot by this wide, really kind of a doorway. And the stone would have to be so big; it would be about one to two tons in weight. And they would leverage it with several people to get it out of the way. They'd put the body in there; put it back so that they wouldn't be desecrated by wild animals. And in this case, the guards were guarding it because they didn't want the disciples to come and steal the body and pretend like Jesus had come back to life.
And it says the angels picked it up, moved it aside and He was sitting on it, waiting for the ladies to show up. There He was, bright, white, glowing, and incredible. You know how big of a story it was? Read in there. The soldiers, the grown men that were supposed to cover the grave, fell back in fear and were like dead men. They passed out. They fainted. Tell that to your commanding officer. How bad was it? I fainted. You don't get to go back out again. They bought them off, by the way, you can read that later, to tell a lie about what had happened there. It's interesting that guards who were there to guard a dead man; when that dead man came back to lie, they became as dead man. Kind of ironic. Little twist in the story that, you know, wow, that's interesting.
The angel I think knew that He was coming. In fact, they said, "You're looking for Jesus, aren't you? The one who is crucified! You know what? He's not here. He's alive. Come look and see where He lay, where He used to be." He was raised the Bible says. God, the father raised the son. Jesus himself had predicted three times. I talked about this already, last handful of Sundays ago that He predicted that he would rise. In fact, He says it's the same one. He said that He told you that He would do this. That's the one.
Now, the Bible doesn't say how He was raised. It doesn't say that anybody witnessed his resurrection. All we have is the evidence. They rolled the stone away, not to let Jesus out, but to let us in to see that He was no longer there. And He says, you can see he for yourself, ladies. He's not here. Come and see. It's not where we put Jesus. Jesus isn't where you put Him on Friday. He's gone. And then says, go quickly and tell his disciples. They got to be the first ones to declare that Jesus was alive. I remember some of the early times, I can't remember the first time I ever did it, where I was able to actually share my story with somebody and help them find their story by trusting their lives in Jesus Christ. Wow. What a blessing to tell somebody the story, my story, but really tell His story and let them and invite them to have their story enveloped in His story, where they put their faith in Jesus Christ.
And at the end of my sermon this morning, I have three words. And if you write those three words down, you could with your story, talking about His story, use those three words to help someone else find Jesus this week, or whenever. Just have it handy, have it ready. And when people ask you, "Why do you have hope? This is kind not such a cool thing - situation going life. Why are you not so jarred by the horrible things that are going on in this world?" Oh, I'm sad. I'm very sad. It really breaks my heart. I get emotional when I see the images on TV right now, what's going on in another continent. I'm struggled to see the bad things that are going and I struggle to see the hopelessness. I struggle as I watch the news of what's going on in our city, as I watch people in their lives with hopelessness in their hearts and minds, because they don't feel like it's worth moving forward.
It breaks my heart. I can't stand to see the abuse that takes place to our children, when Allen County is one of the highest infant and toddler mortality rates in the State. I know that's a give and take, ebb and flow, and it is not something that anybody... we want it to disappear. Being a metropolis, being so many people by percentages, we're going to have more things happen, probably that are not good, but I want to have that percentage reduced to zero, by the way. It breaks my heart. I'm not here to say I'm not affected by it, but I know who I'm serving. And who's in my heart and where my real hope lies. And I know that the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the fact that He conquered death, the fact that He overcame evil, the fact that I am forgiven of my sins and I can offer that to anybody in this place, anybody around the world and they too can find forgiveness in Christ, and their lives too can be changed by the power of Jesus; that's the only hope I know for this world. That's the only hope I have.
And some days if I come up to a scene and I have to be a chaplain and I have to be there; I'm just the presence of Christ. They don't know that I'm the presence of Christ, because I don't have an opportunity to talk to them about that. But boy, as soon as the door is open, I'm ready, and it's exciting to share Jesus. These women we're the first one. And you imagine how excited they were. He's not here. He's risen. We went there. And the guy said I don't believe you, in another story, another gospel story. They ran in to find out for themselves, because what do women know?
No, I mean, I have to see it to believe it. I'm going to bring it... I say that for a reason. You are like, "Man, you're really hitting the numbers today." No, I got a reason for telling you that. You see the resurrection, I'm telling you this morning was told by all four Gospel writers and you say, but there are differences. One gospel writer said it this way, Matthew said it this way, Mark said it that way, Luke said it this way, John said it this way, and yet it doesn't look like they match in their story. Now, how many of you are teachers or you've worked with preschoolers, actually teachers with older kids? Anybody? You ever had to - how about your own kids? You have more than two or three kids in your lifetime. Okay. And what if something bad happened? You know, somebody carved their initials - well, that you would know who it was.
They used a permanent marker on a dry erase board or they did something that shouldn't have done or somebody stole something or something bad happened. And you pull them in one at a time to tell story, right? You tell little Johnny, little Julie and you go what happened here? And they both have the exact same story verbatim. What do you know? They're called a liar. They're telling a story, because they somehow got together and says let's get this right. We got to figure this out, because they're going to ask us what happened. Okay, you're going to say this and I'm going to say this, and they collude with one another. And police officers know this when they're investigating a crime that when two guys are saying the very same story, it ain't the same story that actually happened. Odds are, it's a story, but not the story.
So when you have all four gospel writers looking at, let's just say an accident occurs in the middle of the intersection and they're sitting on all four corners. They all have a different perspective. My perspective is this is the angle how I saw the cars hit. This is how I saw the cars hit. This is how I saw the cars hit. And all four are a collection of the story that actually happened because none of them had the same viewpoint of the accident. And all of the gospel writers come from their own personal viewpoint; not viewpoint like opinion, but their own facts that they know about out on their corner of the street as they looked at the story of Jesus. And so it's the additive principle. You add them together to find the real story. You don't subtract from one another, because one didn't say this and the other said and say that.
This resurrection story is, if you looked at it from human perspectives - incredible. It's incredible. No one ever stayed raised from the dead. No one ever stayed raised from the dead. If Lazarus had died again, because remember he got raised by Jesus. They'd still be talking about it. If that little girl who was raised from the dead; that Jesus raised from the dead was still alive, there'd probably be a gospel in her name. Some kind of a name like, wow, who's this person? But all evidence suggests that Lazarus and that little girl eventually did enter the grave on this side of heaven. Their faith was in Christ, my hope and prayer is I'm assuming Lazarus did, but they died. The one that didn't was Jesus, and that's the one we're still talking about. That's the one we're singing about. That's the one that people gave their lives for. It's incredible.
Matthew is writing much later, like I told you already, and so if they had found his body in a Creek somewhere, tossed aside somewhere, buried in a different grave - Oh, they just got the wrong tomb. That's a theory out there. Don't you know they would've done everything they could to unearth the truth about this. Who was in charge, the Christians? No, there were very few Christians at that moment. Who was in charge were all the people that had everything to lose if they didn't find the body of Jesus, and nobody did. It's incredible. But you know what? It's also a very credible story. And here's the part that I referred to just a moment ago.
You see, truth be told, and thank God, women have a say legally. And they have as much right and they're just as equal in their opinions in their weight of what they say in our world today, than they ever were hundreds of thousands of years ago. And it's been in recent history that women have had equal rights. And so, I say that not to say, yay, I say that's not good. But the thing is, if this story had been fabricated by the men who wrote it down, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, they would have never made up the story that a woman found Jesus alive before men. They just wouldn't have. And say well, that's not right. I'm just saying that's how it is; that it's even more credible to believe that it's a true story because you can't make it up.
I mean, I've come home and said, "Honey, you won't believe what I witnessed today." And she'll do the same with her job. And we'll say, and you know, we won't share names but share stories and we try to decompress a little bit and we go - you can't make this up. It just, you can't make it up. You have an incredible story. You can't make up the fact that these women found the tomb empty, because in that day and time, it would've been knocked aside as poo-poo. No, there's no way. That gives women some kind of status that they don't even have in this world, and so, it's very credible. It's very credible that all four Gospels would write unique details that these women were the ones that found the tomb empty.
And it's very credible. When you think that the people who believed and saw that Jesus was alive, staked their very lives and died many of them for that truth. What would you die for? What lie would you die for? What lie would you die for? At one point you'd finally say, "Okay, that crossed. No, He's dead. I just lied." They didn't do that. They willingly suffered for the name of Jesus Christ because their lives had been so changed. What did it say in 1 Corinthians 15, "For I passed on to you as most important what I also received." Paul says this, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day, according to the scriptures and that He appeared to Cephas, that would be Peter, then to the 12, and then he appeared to over 500 brothers and sisters at one time. Most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. And then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. And last of all, as to one born at the wrong time, He also appeared to me.
And then Paul goes on later and he says, verse 17, "And if Christ has not been raised, you’re worthless. You are still in your sins. Those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be petty more than anyone." This resurrection story is not just a good story to tell on Easter and we get a nice little outfit or in my case, in the seventies, a leisure suit. This isn't one of those things where we just say, "Oh, He has risen." Oh, you got the story; you know how to do this, yeah. It's sort of like Christians. We know how to do this. God is good - All the time. Oh, you got it. You're in the club.
This isn't ritual. It's ritual with a purpose. I ritually come to church on Sundays because I believe Jesus came back to life. I ritually pray to God because I believe God is alive. I ritually thank God for my sins being forgiven because He really forgave me of my sins. He paid the price. And so, you might call it a ritual, you might call it a religious practice, but the meaning behind it is not ritual or religion. The meaning behind it is relationship - knowing Him personally. And so, He's not here, He's risen. I want to end on that note before we leave today. He's not here, He's risen. Look, what are you looking for? He's here. What are you looking for? Store clerk comes up, "What are you looking for?" "I don't know. I'm looking for this." "We don't have that here." You've ever been somewhere like that? Boy, try to find a fan belt on the first big day of snow, or try to find a snowblower belt on the first big day of snow. We don't have one of those; they were all out all over this city.
There's no dead body here, He's gone. What are you looking for? Why are you looking somewhere else for your answers? Stop looking in dead places for answers to live life. Stop looking in dead end places. Stop looking where you already know the answer does not exist. Stop looking where you know you should not be looking. Don't go into that rebound relationship. Don't go into that new debt program. Don't go into that buy one more new thing; I'll maybe be happier at this place than that place. Quit trying to buy your love into what's going on trying to find someone else. I'll tell you what; some of you, you're still living in a past that someone created for you in an evil way. They're chirping in your ear; "You're not good enough. You're not pretty enough. You'll never amount to anything."
Heaven forbid it, it's your parents, it might be a teacher; it's somebody in your life, and you can't overcome being last picked at the playground at kickball because of how awkward you are when you went and played, you can't get over a shadow story that is not in charge of you, but you're letting it be in charge of you. You keep going to the graveyard for answers and he's not there. Stop it! Stop it! He's risen, and His power and His life, and by His authority you can get over. You can go over. You can be healed from. You can grow. You can become, and you have purpose and meaning in the name of Jesus Christ.
There's living proof in this room that that's true. Trust Jesus to take care of any problem that you're facing. Trust Jesus and everything that he says. He said, "I'm going to come back to life. Oh, by the way, guys, I'm coming back to life. Oh, by the way, I'm going to be raised from the dead." And he did. And if God, the father and God, the son could walk together in a situation and bring the holy spirit and all that; if all of that can happen and they can bring together a story that so shook the world that we talk about it today. And if Jesus is true to His word and He fulfilled everything that the father had for him to do, and scripture was fulfilled from the Old Testament and it was written about in the New Testament; if Jesus kept His word all of that way, He will keep His word with you. If He said you're forgiven, you are. Quit bringing up something you've already asked His forgiveness for.
I know there's a thing called regret. It's horrible. I know there's a thing called I have a past and I remember it. I know a thing called that - you know, we just don't like what happened. But we don't have to live in the chains of the way it was. As I mentioned our earlier, we have a windshield full of opportunity; don't look in the tiny mirror, mu mirror of what used to be. Look forward, not behind. Put on the full armor of God, the Bible says. You know that full armor; it's that frontal stuff, nothing on the back. It means that we keep moving forward, but we don't go with some kind of a death wish; we go in the name and the power of Jesus Christ. He promised to come back to life. He did. He promised security, peace, and hope. He gives it. He promised forgiveness. Will you trust Him this morning?
Stop trusting in your past story. Stop trusting your broken family. Stop trusting the things that you know are lies from the pit of hell, and trust in the risen savior, Jesus Christ. Three words and we're out of here. You know how you start believing in Jesus and trusting Him complete with your life; you start admitting that you've missed the mark. You admit to Him that you are a sinner for all of sin and fallen short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death. I deserve punishment forever. Apart from a holy God, I deserve to be separated from God forever. And you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ if you've not first, come to him for forgiveness of your sins.
He's not just some good story that He put across on your chain and now I'm a Christian. No, you need to admit to Him. Repent therefore, and be baptized. Let people know. I'm no longer going to live that way. I know that's wrong. I know what you call wrong is wrong, and I admit that. I fall short of being perfect like you, Father. I ask you to forgive me. And then I believe - I believe, Jesus, that you've died and rose again. If you believe in your heart, that God raised Him from the dead and you confessed with your mouth Jesus is Lord, you'll be saved. You got to believe this story is real. This isn't just something you talk about that's a fun little story. This actually happened. Real man really died, really came back to life, and I believe that. You believe. I believe, Jesus. You're the hope. Jesus said I'm the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me. I believe Jesus, you're the only way to heaven. There's no other door I can get in. It's through you.
And finally, I commit. I'm all yours, Jesus. With all my breath I give you my life. Paraphrasing what we sang a little bit ago. I commit as best I know how, I give you my life to do with as you please. Whatever you want from me, I'm yours. Even unto death, Jesus, I want to live for you. I'm tired of living a lie. I'm tired of living my shadow past that isn't good. I'm tired of living in answers that don't give true hope. I admit I'm a sinner. I believe Jesus you died on the cross and rose again, and then now commit my life to you as my savior and Lord.
Let's stand one last time this morning, if you would. It was mentioned earlier that we had these connection cards. They're on the back table. As you go out this door, maybe you need to grab one, put something on there. Lord, I've got something. You're talking to God and you say, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" And this card might help you. It says here, accepting Christ as savior. Maybe the first time you've never put your life in Jesus' hands. Today would be the day that you admit, believe and commit your life to Jesus Christ. Maybe it's a re-surrendering of your life. Maybe it's requesting baptism. Maybe your next step is I'll come back next week. Look, if you've never gone anywhere for a long time, your best next step might be just; I'm committed to coming back, but don't not do what God's told you to do.
And by the way, you're ready to make a decision right now. You might not be ready tomorrow, so I encourage you to do it now. And let someone know that you've done it now so that we can be praying for you and encouraging you and helping you to make good on what you know God has asked you to do this morning. And so, don't be silent. Speak up, let us know. I'll be down here in the front. Jerry will be in the back. Some others will be in the back, Becky as well, to help encourage you and to pray with you if you feel led to do so. And so, please, let's just respond as the Lord has called us to do. Father God help us all to be obedient to whatever you've told us to do. Nothing I want them to do, God, this isn't about me. It's about you, Jesus. So Lord, speak to every heart in this room, including mine, and help us to move forward the way you want us to spiritually in Jesus' name, amen.
B: Bible book