WOW STATEMENTS OF JESUS
The Worst Sinner Question
December 7, 2008
The word repent has negative connotations that follow it; it gets a bad rap in our society. However, Jesus addresses the urgency and importance of repentance throughout the Gospels. In Luke 13:1 and following Jesus is calling His listeners, us, to be urgent today about the action that we take because real life, eternal life is long. In the final message of this series, Ben will unpack this radical passage of Scripture and explain why Jesus speaks with such urgency about repentance.
I’ve got two daughters now that are 10 and 13, and I’ll tell you the amazing thing about kids: They start off as these cute little squishy, chubby little things, and when they get older, all you do is feed them milk and peanut butter sandwiches, and they grow up! People don’t think about how miraculous that is. Just peanut butter, literally, three meals a day, for years and years!
I like sandwiches sometimes. When I was a little kid, my mom would make us peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Have you ever had those? Raise your hand! Yes, I see those hands! Sometimes for an extra dose, she’d put some mayonnaise on there! Yeah, it was delicious! What kind of sandwiches do you like now? I need some testifying. Just raise your hand and tell us what your favorite sandwich is here. I’m sorry I can’t call on you in the E Gym. Just kind of pretend and work with us! Right there on the front row! Roast beef sandwich. I like that! I Iike the French dip sandwich too—it’s kind of the same. Boca burgers! All right! Health food! How about right there? A butter sandwich? Wow! You are a health nut! I want to eat with you! Okay, go ahead! Tuna fish and pickle. Tuna fish is good. It has a good source of protein.
As I was preparing for this sermon, I thought about sandwiches. What we’re talking about today is what we started the year off with in 2008. It really started off at the end of 2007. Now as I look, we’ve gone full circle and have gone all the way through this journey, and it’s like God has us back in the same place. So perhaps through this sandwich, or bookends if you like that better; He is trying to deliver a message to us. I’ll tell you what the sandwich is in a little bit, but it’s good. It’s meaty.
We’re talking about the WOW statements of Jesus. Last week if you were here, we talked about the tenth leper and how we wanted to be like him and stay in a place before God where we’re in a constant state of gratitude and thankfulness, regardless of what’s going on in our bodies, our lives, or our circumstances. We want to maintain the attitude of gratitude and to really have sincere thanks unto God as a powerful, powerful way of living out the K.O.G., the Kingdom of God.
If you have a Bible, turn with me to the Book of Luke. If you don’t have a Bible, you can cheat and look on your neighbor’s paper. If not, the passage will appear on the screen behind me in just a few seconds.
Luke 13:1 and following, “There were some present at the time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you No! But unless you repent, you too will perish! Or those eighteen who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will perish.’ Then He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard. He went to look for fruit on it, but he did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now, I’ve been coming to look for fruit on the fig tree, and I haven’t found any! Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” “Sir”, the man replied. “Leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it, and if it bears fruit next year, fine. If not, then cut it down.”’”
When I read this passage, I was kind of like “Whooa! What is going on here?” You have this situation, this bloody massacre at the Temple. You have this natural disaster; this tower falling on these people and it seems like Jesus really doesn’t care! He’s like Brad Pitt after he and Jennifer broke up! He’s lost His sensitivity chip, His compassion! What is going on? Jesus seems rather harsh here. He doesn’t seem to be dealing with the situation at hand. Then to add mystery or an enigma to it; He adds on this parable about a fig tree that’s not producing figs, and it’s going to get cut down, and there’s a negotiation. Hey—give it one more year, and we won’t cut it down! It’s just kind of a random passage, and it makes Jesus look pretty harsh.
We have to talk about what’s going on here. What is happening is, you have these people coming up to Jesus to report the news to Him. We’re surrounded by news today! I mean it’s crazy! We used to have just Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, and Peter Jennings. We used to just have three major networks; now we have news twenty-four seven. People talk to us about politics and the economy. We have news about the weather; people pontificating about it, predicting it. You have sports! Oh my goodness! All the sports networks, sport news, sport interpretation. “Let’s talk about that trade they made in the lower Minor Leagues for the Astros!” Good night! Get a life! So we have all these people—and I love sports, but come on!
Here is what’s happening: You have the reporters if you would, people coming up to Jesus with some news. They said, “Hey Jesus! Did you hear about the guys that got slashed in the Synagogue? Pilate did it!” What had happened, Galileans were pretty tough people. They were pretty zealous as they wanted to rebel against Rome. Word had gotten out that Pilate had taken some of the cash, some of the money from the Synagogue to use it probably to support one of his armies. So the Galileans who had protested this were going to church in a worship service like this one, and it was during the time of giving sacrifices. So it would be like us going to the Lord’s Supper Table, or communion where you have the cup and the bread. While they were doing that, some of Pilate’s henchmen came out and took their Yamaka off and boom, boom, boom! They just blew these people away, and their blood spilled over and mixed with the Lord’s Supper Table. That was the first situation Jesus dealt with—a bloody massacre, a drive-by shooting at church!
The second situation, Jesus brings up. He said, “Hey, how about what happened a while back with that tower that fell over? A natural disaster! These eighteen workers were guilty.”
These reporters wanted Jesus to deal with the whole problem of evil and suffering; the issue of theodicy. If there is a good God and all-powerful God; how do you explain the evil and suffering in the world? They really are kind of pushing Jesus to answer the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Based on what Jesus says, what we can learn from this passage is this: There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with falling towers, because that is the issue at hand here.
The first wrong way to deal with falling towers is to say that suffering is the result of sin. This is kind of the religious view. This is the “Isn’t that special” kind of view; kind of the church-lady view. “Oh, it must have been Satan! You’re living a bad life! You’re going to get cursed!” That is a kind of religious mentality of legalism. You know, “If I do good things; good things will happen to me. If I do bad things; bad things will happen to me. If I see something going on in a friend’s life, or a family member’s life; it must be because they’ve done something wrong.
Now, let me say this: There are times where suffering is a direct result from sin. We’ve all experienced that. When someone has too much to drink, they get behind the wheel of a car and they kill someone…that’s the result of someone’s sin. When someone doesn’t read the warning label on the Camel Unfiltered Cigarettes and they get cancer; that’s the result of them not heeding the warning sign. So some suffering is the result of sin, but not always! Not at all…
There is a line in the song Butterfly Kisses, and when I first heard this song, I’d been married a couple of years but didn’t have any kids yet. I heard it on the radio, and I was like please!! Pass the cheese pizza! That is the cheesiest, smarmiest, campiest song I have ever heard! Then about two years later, my wife gave birth to this beautiful little baby girl, our first-born child. I was driving down the road, and she was in the back seat in her car seat. She had this cute little chubby pudge face, and I looked in the rearview mirror, and Bob Carlisle came on the radio with Butterfly Kisses. He hadn’t finished two lines, and I was boo-hooing like a baby!
I had to check myself to see that I wasn’t going soft or light in the loafer, so I called a friend of mine who played pro-football as an offensive lineman. I said, “Man, have you heard Butterfly Kisses?” “Oh yeah (between sobs), I’ve heard it!” So, I didn’t feel so bad.
Just to stave off any e-mails or letters; I like the song Butterfly Kisses. It’s a very emotional song that tugs at your heartstrings if you have a daughter. But there’s a line in there that kind of reflects this kind of religious view toward suffering and life. He says, “In all that I’ve done wrong, I know that I must have done something right, to deserve a hug every morning, and butterfly kisses at night.” Now, I know Bob was only trying rhyme, but that’s a wrong mentality. It’s the mentality that if I do good things, good things will happen to me; if I do bad things, then bad things will happen to me. Suffering is caused by sin.
Another wrong way to look at falling towers and suffering is that suffering is random. Some say suffering is just random; it’s just an accident. Richard Dawkins, who wrote the New York Times best-selling book God Delusion, is a Darwinian fundamentalist, naturalist, and atheist. Here is what he said in a book he wrote years ago called Out of Eden, talking about suffering here from an irreligious or non-religious point of view: “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt. Other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it; not any justice. The universe we observe is precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, and no other good. Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows, nor cares; DNA just is.”
So Dawkins, and Sam Harris, and other people coming from an atheistic or agnostic perspective would say, “Suffering simply is.” All the suffering, all the pain, all the evil, and all the towers falling on us we feel in our lives; they are simply the dance of DNA. That may read well in a textbook; it may sound great on a debate on CNN or FOX; but in the real world, explaining the problem of evil and suffering as the dance of DNA as a random chance simply doesn’t wash!
Tell that to the person who’s been raped, that her attacker was just responding to the dance of his DNA. Tell that to the person who was molested—“Oh, that was just the dance of DNA.” Tell that to the person that has been abused, or someone has left them—“That was just the dance of their DNA. Tough luck.” Doesn’t work! There is a right way, and a wrong way to deal with towers falling on us. Some would say the religious view—it’s always because of sin. “You must have done something wrong to deserve that; or you did something right.” Suffering is the dance of DNA.
Listen: The life of Jesus cuts through both of those options. It refutes both those wrong options. Think about it! Jesus lived a perfect life, and Jesus suffered with great purpose. So Jesus, the Son of God, showed us what God is like, but He also showed us what it is like to be really human. He lived a perfect life, and yet He experienced horrendous abuse, betrayal, and suffering. At the same time, Jesus suffered with a purpose. It was not random, because He is God who became flesh. He entered into our suffering and pain for us! So when we go to God in prayer; when we go to God when the towers fall on us, we’re not going to a God who doesn’t understand. We don’t go to a God who is “way up there at a distance,” the Old Man upstairs, the power, the force. No, we go to a God who is powerful and is up there, who is transcendent, but who has come down to earth and who has entered into our pain and suffering. He didn’t just tell us how to relieve pain and suffering as Buddha did, no! He entered in and took the pain for us! He took the argument a step further…
So the fact that Jesus died and his death and life was one of suffering with a purpose refutes those two religious and irreligious arguments. Towers, towers, towers… They fall on everyone, don’t they? Live long enough, and a tower is going to fall on you. When a tower falls on us, the first thing we want to do is cry out, “Why God? Why? Why did You let my dad leave us when I was just a little kid? God, why did you allow my friend, my close friend to die at such a young age? God, why do I have this disease in my body that I’ve got to fight and struggle against? God, why?” The Bible is full of those “why” questions. Job is the oldest Book in the Bible, and he asks that question, “God, why?” I encourage you to read the Psalms. If a big, huge tower is falling on you, it’s full of asking God “why?” We’re asking God why when we’re bleeding, and hurting, and crying out. We need to run to the church. We need to run to people in the community. We need to run to pastors and counselors—people who have been through that and can be with us, embrace us, and listen to us.
However, in the context of this passage, this is not what Jesus is dealing with. Jesus is not really dealing with the whole issue of the problem with evil and suffering. He’s not doing that. He talks about that in other places. He’s doing something else. He’s talking to us about the right way to deal with falling towers.
To understand what Jesus is talking about in this passage where He seems to have lost that compassion/sensitivity chip; we have to go back to Luke, chapter 12. Remember when you’re reading and studying the Bible and you see something, you’re like “Hmmmm, what does that mean?” The best thing to do is read the verses before it, the verses after it, and if you still can’t figure it out, read the chapter before it and the one after it. If you still can’t figure it out; read the entire book! Then you read the entire New Testament and entire Bible. It will take you awhile; but the bottom line is this: context is king!
Let’s go back to Luke 12. Jesus tells the story about this rich rancher. This guy was killing it! He was making money hand over fist. Everything was working for him in the stock market. He thought that was going to last forever! He had all this cash; he had all this money! He had so much cash flow and deals, he was simply going to live high on the hog and live off the interest! Things were great for this rich rancher! But Jesus said as this guy was thinking to himself, “You know, next year, I’m just gonna live off the fat and the interest.” Jesus said, “You idiot! Don’t you know tonight you’re going to have a heart attack, and you’re going to have to give an account for your entire life before God?”
So the context of this passage here in Luke 13 is one of urgency. Luke says that Jesus had His face set toward Jerusalem. He was going to the Cross, okay? He was telling the people there about the K.O.G., the Kingdom of God, and He was urgent about His message. He wanted them to see this urgency in the context of the uncertainties of life, because life is very uncertain. It is very unpredictable, and sometimes, it comes to us, and it appears all these things are happening in our lives in a random way. We never know how much time we have. So Jesus is calling His listeners as He’s calling us today, to be urgent about the action that we take.
Then we look further, and we see the sandwich finally, the other piece of bread that we started off with in 2007. What’s the message? The message is one word, throwing out the “R” word—repent. That’s what He says. If you can dial back about twelve months ago, we looked at the first command that Jesus gave when he resigned from the carpentry company He was working with at about the age of 30; when He walked off the work site there. The book of Mark tells us He went around and said, “The time has come! The K.O.G. is at hand! The Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent and believe the Good News!”
We have to realize also, who is Jesus talking to? He is talking not to the down-and-out. He’s not talking or consoling the people who lost loved ones in the slaughter in the Synagogue by Pilate’s henchmen. I don’t think He’s comforting the family members of the people who the tower fell on, the tower of Siloam. No, no! He’s talking to the people who have not experienced the tower falling on them yet. These people are good people. They are religious people. They are Bible-believing people. They are Bible memorizing people. They are people of prayer, and He is calling them to repent. Repent!
Now, repent gets a bad rap in our society, doesn’t it? When you think of repent, what do you think about? You think of some downtown city in New York or Houston, and somebody, some really mean guy, usually some big ole white dude with a big, red face and a big ole black, King-James Bible. He’s pounding that and says, “Repent ye sinners! Turn or burn! You’re gonna fry like a sausage in hell!” The guy is just letting people have it as they’re trying to get to work, and go their way, and not spill their Starbucks on their suit. So many times when we hear the word repent, we think of it in purely negative terms.
The Amplified Bible says this. It should be on the screen here. “Repent means to change your mind for the better, and heartily amend your ways with an abhorrence of your past sins…” So repentance is like you’re going this way. You repent and do a 180, and you go this way. When you repent, you turn away from something, and in some cases someone in your life who you know is wrong for you. They may be destructive and the relationship is unhealthy for you. You turn away from that and go in a different direction. That’s what it means to repent. It means to turn away.
Jesus is telling His listeners—“Turn away now.” They wanted to deal with Jesus—“Hey, let’s talk about the problem with evil and suffering, and why bad things happen to good people…” Jesus said, “I’m not going to deal with that now. I’ve got a guy coming along named Paul who hates us now, but he’s going to like us. He’s going to deal with that better!” Jesus said, “I want to deal with your heart, because I’m more concerned about the bitterness and hatred in your heart than I am about the people killed by Pilate. I’m more concerned that you need to turn right now away from what’s going on in your life that‘s wrong. I want to deal with you now!”
Jesus is great at Judo! He used someone else’s energy against them. He uses this rapport and uses it against them. He reframes the question. He does an intellectual boomerang and just totally catches His listeners off guard and hits them in the heart, instead of the head. He says, “Unless you repent; unless you turn away, you’re going to experience some devastating consequences, now and forever.”
They have a saying “Life is short.” You know what? Life is long! Life is short, right? That’s existentialism! “Life is short! You’re gonna die! You’d better really make that choice! Authenticate yourself!” No, life is long! Life is forever! We’re going to live some place forever, and ever, and ever, and ever! Yeah, this life is short; but real life, eternal life is a long time. Jesus says to turn away and repent. He says to do it today.
As I’ve been teaching today, there have been some things that might have popped up in your mind or your heart that you know you need to turn away from. You know you need to repent from them. You need to repent today; not tomorrow. Not, “Oh, that’s a good idea! I’m gonna do that on Tuesday at 4:00!” Or young people—not “After I sew my wild oats. Then I’ll get right with God!” Or this is better—“When things slow down, then I’m gonna…” I’ve kind of noticed, things have not slowed down for me yet. I’ve been waiting for things to slow down. All we have is now. All we have is this moment, and God gives us this moment and this window of opportunity to turn away and repent, and to come to Him. That’s what He wants us to do. That’s a part of being in the K.O.G., the Kingdom of God. Gratitude, living in the spirit of Thanksgiving, that’s not just a November thing—the turkey, dressing and football! No! That is a life-long deal. If I’m going to be in the Kingdom of God, I’ve got to learn how to have gratitude in the midst of my life. I’ve got to learn how to repent, how to turn away, how to turn away when God tells me, “Hey, this is wrong in your life.” It may be an action; it may be a relationship; it may be an attitude. He says, “You’ve got to turn away from that now! All you have is now!”
Then Jesus throws in the fig tree story. What’s that all about? The fig tree wasn’t producing fruit. That represents you and me! God is the owner of this vineyard, and He’s looking down. He says, “All right, I’ve been waiting on this guy/gal for a long time! I don’t see any fruit! Bam! I’m going to cut it down.” The gardener comes and negotiates with him, “Don’t cut it down.”
By the way—Matthew and Mark, “Just cut it down!” There’s not a year. Luke is kind of wanting to show the grace of God, working through the Apostles, working through the preaching of Peter and Paul in the Book of Acts, and before the fall of the Temple in 70 A.D., so he adds on this deal where, “Hey—one more year! Give us one more year! We’re going to fertilize and put some manure here and put on our John Deere hat and our tractor, and we’re going to make this thing grow. If it doesn’t grow after that, okay, chop it down!”
But what is this? The fig tree story is a story of God extending grace! He’s saying, “Listen: God’s giving you another opportunity before He chops down the tree.” Here’s what is just wild.
This is one thing I guess I wouldn’t believe unless I’d seen it—I’m sorry. But you can’t repent and turn to God when you want to. You can’t! There are windows of opportunity that God gives you in your life to turn, and turn away; and sometimes that window is shut, and you can’t do it! I’ve been with people on their death bed. I’ve seen it happen! They really, really wanted to turn to God. They really, really wanted to turn away. I mean they’re about to die! Can’t do it. The window’s not open. It says repent today while you still have time. I’m giving you another window; I’m giving you another opportunity just like this fig tree to grow, to produce.
I like what Peter says in II Peter 3:9. He says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” God is patient.
Listen: Don’t mistake space, or room to repent as permission to sin. Maybe you’re doing your own thing, man, and you’ve got this little deal going on the side, and you’ve yet to experience the full ramifications and full consequences of this little pocket in your life; this attitude, this lifestyle. You think because the consequences aren’t kicking in yet, you can continue to do whatever it is you’re doing! No, no, no! Don’t mistake room to repent for permission to sin! Don’t do it!
Here’s the deal too: It’s a lot easier to hear a message like this; it’s easy for me to do that and say, “You know what, that was a good message for my neighbor! I wish my neighbor had been here to hear that!” Or, “There’s a jerk at work that I have to put up with! Oh, does he need to be here to hear this. He needs to repent. There’s this girl at school who is in the popular crowd. She’s so stuck up! Good night! She needs a 15 foot pole to pick her nose, and she needs to be here to repent!” No. Maybe they do! But do you know who needs to repent? You. Repentance is the door and the path to the K.O.G. Repentance is how we get into a relationship with God. Repentance is how we grow in a relationship with God. It’s the door and the path.
Martin Luther, when he nailed those 95 theses of protest on the Wittenberg Door in the 16th century said this about repentance in the 95 theses: “Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” It’s a part of being in the K.O.G. It’s part of following Christ, a continually turning away, turning away when God points something out and convicts you; when He shouts at you! When He whispers to you to turn away now.
The good news about repentance is that we’re not just turning away—“OOOhhh, I got to leave this! Oh, it’s so negative! I got to…” No, no, no! What did Jesus say in Mark? Turn away and what? Believe the Good News. So we turn away from whatever this is—you fill in the blank, and we embrace the Good News! The Gospel means the proclamation of Good News! What is the Good News?
There is a lot of good news. First of all, the ultimate big tower will not fall upon you, because it has already fallen upon Jesus. Isn’t that great? The ultimate big tower—BAM! The hammer of God’s judgment upon your life, and upon my life as a sinner will not fall upon you because it has already fallen upon Jesus. Jesus took the big tower for us.
Think about it this way: How many times in your life have you lied and not paid the full consequences for it? How many times have you lusted and not paid the full consequences for it? How many times have you coveted, wanting something that wasn’t yours and not paid the full consequences for it? How many times have you been angry and not paid the full consequences for it? How many times have you been disobedient and not paid the full consequences for it? That’s because Jesus has taken the big tower for you! Like the old hymn says, “Jesus Paid it All.” The great news about embracing the Good News is that not only does He forgive us and wipe out our sin, but He gives to us Christ’s very righteousness.
I’m going to pick on Baptists for a moment. Baptists are big on, “Hey, come on! You gotta walk down the aisle! He’ll take away your sins! You can be forgiven! You gotta repent! You can be forgiven!” That’s great to be forgiven! We live in a very unforgiving world and unforgiving culture. It’s great to be forgiven; but there’s so much more, because what does God say? Not only does He forgive us, but He gives us Christ’s very righteousness. So it’s an exchange! We give God our sin and our guilt; He gives us Christ’s righteousness, His perfect law-keeping! We have an F on our report card.
I remember playing basketball in the 9th grade in South Carolina, and a friend of mine got an F, and the coach was checking grades, and he put a plus, an F+. Isn’t that great? The coach looked—“F+? Ronald, what’s that?” We have an F+ on our report card. We trust in Christ. He has an A+ in His moral track record, and that’s credited into our account.
The Gospel is this: It’s not that you give to God a record of righteousness to be saved, or made right. You have to receive from God a record of righteousness in order to be saved. That’s good news! Not only are we forgiven and are given righteousness; God accepts us as if we’re Jesus and had lived His perfect life. He also puts the big power inside of our lives.
The big tower fell on Jesus; and the big power, God’s Spirit lives inside of your life and inside of my life. I can’t explain that! It’s supernatural until you’ve experienced God’s power working in you, living inside of you! It’s unbelievable!
Paul says in Romans 8 the same power that raised Jesus from the dead; that same power dwells inside of you, and dwells inside of me if we’re a Christ follower. Jesus said this, “Apart from Me, you can do some things…” No, He didn’t say that! He said, “Apart from Me, you can do a little bit…” No! He said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing! Nothing!” But through Christ, I can do all things, everything through Him; through His Spirit, through His power. Listen: If I’m not conscious, without driving in the big power of God’s Spirit; I can’t negotiate Houston traffic in a healthy way. I can’t do it. I’m not spiritual enough to put the Jesus fish on my car yet. I’m not there yet! To love the way I need to love; to work the way I need to work; to manage life, I’ve got to have the big power of God’s Spirit dwelling inside of me! That’s what happens. His power comes to live inside of us, to help us live out this radical lifestyle of grace and truth in the K.O.G. The big tower fell upon Him, so it doesn’t ultimately fall upon us. The big power of God’s Spirit comes inside of us to live in us and give us life, hope and energy. God just doesn’t leave us to our own devices. It wouldn’t work!
I like Peter in the Bible. He’s great! You’ve got to like him! He’s so bold, stepping out there. Jesus says, “I’m gonna die!” “I’m gonna die with You, Lord! All these other people that are cowards… But not me!” “Oh no, no, no, Peter!” Jesus says, “Wake up, buddy! You’re going to deny me three times before the cock crows!” Peter denies Him. Peter fails, but Peter gets back up. He fails, but he gets back up. Even after Pentecost, he preached this great sermon and thousands came to Christ, but he still has all this racial prejudice working inside of him. What’s up with that, Peter? But he keeps on following Him, and he keeps on trusting. He keeps on getting filled with the Spirit.
Peter wrote these words about repentance that are really good. This is the love here, right? Where’s the love in the message? Where’s the love in repentance, turning away and embracing? Where’s the love? It’s right here! Check it out. Here it is—Acts 3:19—“Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” I like hat. So that times of refreshing, times of refreshing that come from the Lord. That’s Good News! That’s a good sandwich.
Dear God, I thank You that You are a good God. God, I thank You that You give us windows of opportunity to turn away, and to turn towards You. God, I thank You that there are sinners here in this gym today, because I’m here, and we’re all here. We were all beggars in search of bread, and all of us need to turn to You today.
God, some people here today have never really turned to You. In other words, they’re not in the door yet. They may think they’re in the door, but they’ve not opened the door of the grace, truth and reality of Who You are, and they need to stand and walk down front today, Father. There are some men here who need to stand up and walk down front. There are some students and some singles that need to stand and walk down front and say, “I’m not playing games any more. I’m turning away from the junk in my life, and I’m embracing this Good News. I don’t understand it all. I still have doubts. I still have fears, but I know that I’ve got to follow God. I’ve got to have Him in my life, and I’ve got to be on this path.” Father, may they stand and come down front today, those who need to make that commitment.