Hope in the Message of Easter

I want to start this morning by sharing with you a true story from several hundred years ago. One of the world’s greatest architects to ever live was a guy by the name of Christopher Wren. And Wren designed his probably most famous work was St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. It took 35 years to build. They started in 1675 and they ended in 1710. And one day, he was on the construction site, and, as you can imagine, they had hundreds of workers grinding away at this unbelievable task and of course, they didn’t have modern machinery that contractors use today. And it was back breaking work and Wren was going around looking at the work, and all of a sudden, he noticed this one man, this elderly gentleman who was mixing cement in a mortar box. And unlike everybody else, this guy had a smile on his face. He really seemed to be enjoying his work, and he had a vigor about what he was doing. And Wren was so captivated with this guy, he stopped and said, “What are you doing?” And the man replied, and he said, “Sir, I am building a great cathedral to the glory of God.”

Isn’t it interesting the lens that we all have in which we view this life? It made me think back to this fall in the elections. You know, I don’t know about you. I watch the news fairly regularly, but during the election season, I’m kind of a news junkie. It put kind of a stress on my marriage as you, as you can probably imagine, always watching what was going on in the elections and the polls. But you know what I found so amazing is that you would have these news shows and, on the one side you might have a panel of people, and on the one side you might have a couple of liberal Democrat supporters, and then on the other side you would have a couple of conservative Republican supporters and they would talk about a certain issue, and these are very intelligent people. And to me it’s always amazing how their views on the various issues can be so divergent. And what it made me realize is how people see the world so differently, which kind of leads me into where I want to go this morning.

This is an issue I think that is so important in our lives. And when I start here this morning, you may think, you know, I think I’ve heard this before from you and a while back, I started one of these talks by talking about, in fact, a person’s worldview. Now you’re not going to hear the same message. I’m going in a completely different direction, but I do want to start here talking about the fact that every single one of us sitting here today has a worldview, whether you realize it or not. In other words, every single one of us has certain basic assumptions about life and how life works. Another word that we use is the word perspective. And on two separate occasions, Jesus Himself makes a comment on this when He talks about the eye being the lamp of the body. And He says that word eye, that He uses literally means perception of reality. And Jesus makes it clear that your worldview, your perception of reality, can be rooted in what is true, and He says, if it is, your life will be full of light. He says, or it can be rooted in falsehood. And He says, if your worldview is rooted in falsehood, your life will be full of darkness. And then He issues this incredible warning. He says, watch out. This is Luke 11:35. Watch out and make sure that the light that you think you have is not, in fact, darkness.

You know, one of the things that’s really struck me about worldview is I’m watching my children grow up. I have a 16-year-old, I have a, my daughter’s almost is about to turn 15, and I have a 13-year-old son. And last night, I’m grilling something out on the grill, and my 16-year-old wants to talk about this issue of gay marriage, which is all over the media. And you know, it struck me that my children, your children, are developing a worldview. It’s being developed right now as we speak. And if you sit there silent, somebody else is going to help them develop their worldview. But you know what’s so interesting is the fact that they’re particularly developing a worldview on masculinity. My sons are. What does it really mean to be a man? My daughter’s developing a worldview on what does it really mean to be a woman. I was just reading how young women in our country believe that to be a real woman, so many of them who are teenagers believe that they have to be a beautiful skinny model. And for that reason, so many of them will literally starve themselves to death to achieve that. And some of you have experienced that with your daughters. Anorexia is a huge problem in the teenage world of young women today. And yet, this is what’s so interesting. In most of the other countries of the world, anorexia is not a problem. In fact, they don’t even know that word because of their worldview, their view of what is a real woman.

Now, please, you need to listen to this. This is the most crucial part of the message. This is what I’m building the message around. And whether you’re aware of it or not, your worldview has been formed over time and has been influenced by your upbringing, your education, your relationships, the media, and then your own life experience. But listen to this, I’m going to really spend some time laying this out, unpacking this so you can really grasp this. The foundation of your worldview is built on your view of God and your view of spiritual reality. Now you may say, well, I don’t believe in God, or God is really pretty irrelevant to me. I still contend, that view of spiritual reality is the foundation of your thinking.

A number of years ago I read, or I didn’t read, I listened to a sermon by Dr. Tim Keller. He’s a Presbyterian minister in New York City, the largest church in New York, and he was speaking on wisdom, and he was speaking from Proverbs 1:9 that says, your knowledge of God is your understanding. And then listen to what he said, he said, “How we relate to God is the foundation of our thinking. It completely determines the way we view the world.” He says, “Your faith view of spiritual reality of God is the foundation in which all your reasoning proceeds.” He goes on to say, “if you do not believe in God, for instance, it is a belief that you take by faith and it’s your faith view of reality. And whether you realize it or not, all your reasoning proceeds from this. You screen out all that does not fit with this view of life.”

I think he’s onto something. Now, Armand Nicholi, who many of you know, I quote quite often from his book, The Question of God. He’s one of the most brilliant authors that I’ve ever read, but he’s a psychiatrist. He teaches at Harvard Medical School. He used to teach a famous course at the undergraduate level. I don’t know whether he still teaches it, but it was a course where he compared the worldviews of C.S. Lewis with Sigmund Freud. C.S. Lewis, the Christian; Freud, the atheist. And he takes about six or seven issues and contrasts their worldview. It is absolutely fascinating. But listen to what he says about the importance of God and its influence on your worldview. And why is your worldview so important? You’re going to see in just a minute. This is what he says.

“Our view of God influences how we perceive ourselves, how we relate to others, how we adjust to adversity, and what we understand to be our purpose. Our spiritual worldview helps determine our values, our ethics, and our capacity for happiness. It helps us understand where we come from, our heritage, who we are, our identity, why we exist on this planet, our purpose, what drives us, our motivation, and where we are going—ultimately, our destiny.”

Do you grasp the significance of what he’s saying?

He goes on to say, “Our view of God ultimately determines how we face sexuality, life, death, love, and loss.”

Now, I want to give you a couple of examples just so we are on the same page here. In what I just read you, Nicholi says, your view of God, whatever it is, will impact the way you approach finding purpose and meaning in life.

Look Publications published a book several years ago on how individuals cope with their quest for meaning in life, and they interviewed this cross-section of people; they talked to an artist, a philosopher, a plumber, a drug addict. But listen to these words. This is from an ordinary taxi driver in New York City who did not believe in God. Listen; this is his view of finding purpose and meaning in life. He said, “We’re here to die, just live and die. I live driving a cab, I do some fishing. I take my girl out, I pay taxes, do a little reading, then get ready to drop dead. Life is a big fake. You’re rich or you’re poor. You’re here and then you’re gone. You’re like the wind. And after you’re gone, other people will come. It’s too late to make it better. Everyone’s fed up, can’t believe in nothing no more. People have no pride. People have no fear. People only care about one thing, and that’s money. We’re going to destroy ourselves. Nothing we can do about it. The only cure for the world’s illness is nuclear war. Wipe everything out and let’s start over. We’ve become like a cornered animal fighting for survival. Life is nothing.”

Now let me contrast that with another taxi driver in New York City. Some of you’ve heard me share this story. A number of years ago I was in Manhattan. I get in a cab and there’s this little old man, he’s probably in his sixties, short, thick glasses, accent. I get in, I tell him where I want to go, and I’m sitting in the back seat, he’s sitting here facing forward, and there on the front seat, the back rest of the front seat that’s staring me in the face is this bumper sticker, big yellow bumper sticker. You couldn’t miss it. And the bumper sticker said “Jews for Jesus”. Now, I don’t know if you’re familiar with that term, but that is a national organization, a very large national organization of Jewish people who have come to the realization that Christ is the Messiah that they’ve been waiting for. And this bumper sticker was so strategically placed, I knew that he wanted me to ask him about it. And so, I said, tell me about your bumper sticker. Well, it was like you flipped a switch in this guy’s life. He just turned on; he started telling me his story.

He says, just last week, Jackie, Ms. Onassis was in my cab. And I told her, Jackie, you will never find peace in this life until you find Jesus. He’s going on and on. And then it dawns on me as we’re driving down Fifth Avenue, this guy’s trying to evangelize me. And I told him, I said, hey, we’re on the same team. So, we get to our destination. It was the most delightful conversation. I get to my destination. And he said this, God has blessed me. Taxi driver, God has blessed me. He has called me to drive a taxi in New York City. And every day I get to serve people, I get to drive them to their destinations. And he says, and every day I have opportunities to tell people about the good news of Jesus Christ. I’m a blessed man. Two taxi drivers, two different worldviews, two different worldviews on finding purpose and meaning in life.

If you’ll remember, Nicholi says, your view of God also impacts your view of human sexuality. Now, the Judeo-Christian view of sexuality, which has been the predominant view in our country since its founding, is this; that the healthiest, most meaningful, most satisfying, and most pleasurable sexual experience is found between a man and a woman in a covenant relationship called marriage. And by the way, I would say, I would say, sex is one of God’s great ideas. But notice he says it’s to be experienced in a covenant relationship called marriage. He says, this is the way I designed it when I started all this. And then he says this, a covenant is a promise. It’s a pledge of love, loyalty, and faithfulness. A covenant involves continuity. The sense of a common future to look forward to and a history to look back on together. A covenant means belonging, a commitment to a rich and growing relationship of love and care. In Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus quotes the Old Testament and says, A man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife. And the two shall become one flesh.

The word cleave is a Hebrew word. And listen to this; this is great. It means absolute unity, total union, deep profound solidarity. Not just a physical union, but an emotional union, an economic union, a social union, a complete union. To cleave to someone is to say, I belong exclusively to you permanently. Everything I have is yours. I am yours. This is what marriage is, guys. This is why God created sex; for cleaving. Sex is a cleaving mechanism, if you want to use that term. God made sex to be able to say to another human being, I belong completely and exclusively and permanently to you, all of me, everything. Guys, this is the Christian view of sexuality. And it’s beautiful. It is beautiful. But the modern view that has evolved, God is not a factor in that worldview because in the modern view, sex is nothing more than another form of recreation.

You know, the most famous sexologist to ever live was a guy by the name of Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey’s probably spent more time studying human sexuality than anyone who ever lived. And Kinsey, in fact, they had a movie on his life. Liam Niesen played the role. Kinsey, who was an atheist, and consequently believed God had nothing to do with sex, this was what his view was, that as a mammal, that as a mammal, you should be able to enjoy sex with any other mammal in the world. It can be a child, it can be an animal, it can be your mother, it can be your aunt, your grandmother. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s a mammal, there should be no restrictions. Now, you may say that sounds extreme and to us, it probably does.

But listen to this. I was listening, I was watching the news the other night, and they were talking about Jessica’s law. Are you familiar with that? Jessica’s law came out of Florida and the law is, and they’re trying to get it passed in all 50 states, that an adult who sexually molests a child under 12 will be sentenced to a 25-year mandatory prison sentence and then will be on probation for life as a sexual offender. But they’re getting pushback from certain states. And the biggest pushback is in the state of Hawaii. And they were talking to one of the senators, the state senators in Hawaii. In fact, it was the only senator that was pushing for Jessica’s law to be passed. I think it’s been passed in 42 states. And they asked him, the only senator, there was four, they asked him, can you tell us, can you give us one good reason why you think all the other senators that you work with, why are they against this? And you’re not going to believe what he said. He said very matter of factly, he wasn’t condescending, he wasn’t being angry or judgmental. He said this, there’s one reason, he says, every other senator in the Senate in Hawaii thinks it’s permissible for adults and children to have sexual relations. Two worldviews on human sexuality.

Nicholi says that our view of God also impacts, listen to this, our capacity to experience happiness, our capacity to experience happiness. And in his book, The Question of God, he has a whole chapter, chapter five is Lewis’s view and Freud’s view on happiness. And he said this, Freud the atheist, he says, “Freud was probably the most miserable person I’ve ever studied. Freud himself admitted, happiness has eluded me, there is no joy in this life.” But listen to what he says about C.S. Lewis. Lewis, you know, was an atheist converted to Christianity and this is right out of the book. He says, “When we observe Freud’s life and the life of Lewis before and after his conversion, we can’t help but observe how one’s worldview has a profound impact on one’s capacity to experience happiness. Lewis stated clearly that his pessimism and gloom were closely related to his atheism. His conversion experience changed his pessimism, gloom and despair to joy, freedom from the burden of a driving ambition, and experienced for the first time, many satisfying relationships. Again, two different worldviews. And there’s one thing, I was hesitant to share this, but I gotta do it because it was so, it spoke to me so powerfully. This past week, I was, and it has to do with the capacity to find happiness, I was reading some words from Charles Darwin, and it so intrigued me, I looked at, and I did a little research into his life, Darwin grew up in a family that went to church. In fact, he even studied to go into the ministry. But he was so fascinated by science that he left that and pursued science, and over the course of time, you see him abandon his belief in God, and listen to what he said. This is incredible. Listen to what he says.

Up until the age of 30 or beyond, poetry of many kinds gave me great pleasure. And even as a schoolboy, I took intense delight in Shakespeare. Formerly, paintings and music gave me very great delight. But now, for many years, I cannot endure to read a line of poetry. I’ve tried to read Shakespeare and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I’ve almost lost any taste for art or music. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of a large collection of facts. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness and may possibly be injurious to the intellect and more probably to the moral character by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”

Wow. Now you’re probably wondering, up until this point, I thought this was going to be an Easter message.

Well, I’m going to spend the balance of our time on those, these final words from Nicholi. Our view of God ultimately determines how we face death. Think about that. Now this is where Good Friday and the Easter message are so important. But this is the big issue that nobody really wants to talk about, yet this is the one great reality in all of life, the one guarantee I can make to every man in this room, we all are going to die one day.

And Ernest Becker didn’t mince words when he said this in his Pulitzer prize-winning book, The Denial of Death. He said, “The idea of death, the fear of it haunts the human animal like nothing else in all of life.”

A couple of years ago, I read some words of Dr. David Nelson. He was a 19th century physician and he sat by the bedside of many of his patients as they lay dying. And he recorded everything that he noted, everything that he saw going on in a life of his patients as they died. He said this, and you know, I’m assuming that these people were probably quite lucid. These patients of his were quite lucid at the end because they didn’t have those powerful pain-relieving drugs that we have today. But this is what he said. He said, “I have looked in the faces of many who died without faith. They would try and keep a stiff upper lip. I could see the fear in their countenance. It was quite chilling. Unfortunately I saw many people die very cowardly deaths.” And then Nelson said, who, by the way, for many years, did not believe in God, said he witnessed many Godly Christians die and for so many, he said, “when I looked into their faces,” I quote, “I beheld more celestial triumph than I had ever witnessed anywhere else. In their voice was a sweetness, in their eye was a glory which I never would’ve believed if I had not been there to see it for myself.” And Nelson eventually became a very committed Christian because he said he saw the reality of Jesus in the lives of these dying people. Two worldviews.

Let me ask you this. Why do you think it is that people have such an intense fear of dying? Well, it’s pretty simple. There’s one reason, and it’s the same reason we fear anything. Uncertainty. Uncertainty. And when it comes to death, the uncertainty is what’s out there, what’s out there waiting me when I die?

You know, you would think that the skeptic wouldn’t have any fear at all if he’s so certain that his worldview is true because he’ll just die and go into an everlasting sleep. But you know what he struggles with, don’t you? He struggles with, what if I’m wrong? What if my worldview is wrong?

This is what troubled Epicurus, the famous atheist philosopher who lived years before Christ. He said, you know, if you could be sure that death was annihilation, that you’re wiped out and you’ll never be heard from again. He says, if we were sure of that, then there’d be no fear of it. He says, for as long as we exist, death is not there. When it does come, we no longer exist, but we cannot be totally sure there is annihilation. He says, for what most people fear like myself is that maybe death is annihilation, but maybe death is not.

In our Bible study this past week we were talking about, I read to the guys from an interview of Woody Allen. You know, Allen’s in his mid-seventies now. He is an atheist and, in this interview, he talks about just the darkness of life. He says, sometimes it’s lifted. When I go to a Nick’s game, I hear great music or go to a great movie. He says, but as soon as it’s over, the darkness returns. And why is there darkness? Because he says when he gets right down to it, he really doesn’t know what’s out there when he dies, and it terrifies him.

This is what Pascal called the great wager. Every person on the face of the earth, he says is making a high stakes life commitment to a particular faith view about God. He says, you are betting your eternal life and destiny that your view of spiritual reality is true. And he said, what baffled him, and it really made him angry, he says, is that so many of my friends don’t even care about this issue. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even look at the evidence.

I don’t know how many, you know, I was thinking about this this morning, I don’t know how many schools still read Shakespeare. I’m assuming they do, but in high school I remember we read Hamlet and I may have read it again in college, I took a class on Shakespeare’s works, but if you remember in Hamlet, right at the first, Hamlet has this famous soliloquy, you know, he’s thinking about taking his own life. You remember what he says? To be or not to be? He’s that is the question. He says, is it more noble to stay alive and continue to suffer or go ahead and die and sleep? But then he begins to wonder, will I just sleep? Is there something out there? He calls it the dread of something after death. And then this, he describes death as, look, these are interesting words, he says, death is that undiscovered country from who’s borne no traveler ever returns. And if you recall, he decides not to take his life. But those words, undiscovered country, a traveler that never returns, think about what he’s saying there. You see, Shakespeare lived in the 16th century. It was the age of discovery. This was a time when ships would set out to the west to explore these distant lands, and some never returned. And if they didn’t return, most people have no idea what happened.

And so, I would just ask you for just a second, imagine that you live, and there’s a point to this, imagine that you live in the 15th century, and suppose hypothetically that Columbus had set out on his voyage but never returned. And furthermore, suppose that all the explorers in the 16th century who set out to find these new distant lands never returned. You know, at some point with no returning after having set sail into the west, exploration of the sea would be very much like death itself. That dark great unknown. Now continue to use your imagination and take this a step further. Assume that you begin to hear that ships are returning from these distant lands and that there might in fact be a distant land. You’re just not real sure because you never talked to anybody that’s been there. And then your best and most trustworthy friend set sail on one of these ships and a year later he returns, and he tells you about this beautiful new land that lies beyond the horizon. And then he says, I’m taking my family there.

Now, though you have never seen that distant land, though you’ve never seen it, you now believe with great certainty it’s a reality. I want to say that again; though you have never seen it, you believe now with great certainty it’s a reality. Why? Because someone you trust has been there and seen it and told you about it.

You see guys, this is what faith is, it’s not blind. Augustine said, faith is trusting in a reliable source. That’s how we came up with the title of this new book. It’s trusting in a reliable source, and for us that reliable source is Jesus. Because Christ has been to that distant land, and that He died a very public death, was laid in a tomb there was quite prominent, and then He returned, He came back, and He has told us what’s out there. He’s told us what awaits us. Well, what has He said? Well, He said, I’m the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live even if he dies. Do we really believe that? He tells the disciples, do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Me, in My Father’s house or many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would’ve told you for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I’ll come again and receive you to myself. That where I’m going there you may be also. Why should we believe this?

What did Jesus say? Because if it wasn’t so, I would have told you. This is why the message of Easter is so important. Jesus’ resurrection means everything most significantly, it means that He and His words can be trusted, and it demonstrates not only His power over death but that it’s not to be feared. Because what does He say in that first verse of John 14 that I just read? Do not let your heart be troubled. Why? Believe in God believe also in Me.

In fact, you know, we’re told in the book of Hebrews that one of the very reasons that Christ came into the world was to deliver us from the fear of death which we otherwise would be subject to as slaves all of our lives. Guys, Ernest Becker was absolutely right. Human beings on their own are haunted by the fear of death. Christ came, died on a cross, rose from the dead to deliver us from that fear. And you know what He replaces that fear with? Hope. He gives us hope. We are hope based creatures. We cannot live without hope in the future. And hope is not the word that we use in our vocabulary. In the Bible word, the word hope is the Greek word elpis. This is a fabulous definition. Hope is a life-shaping certainty of something that has not yet happened but that we know one day will. I love that phrase, a life-shaping certainty. Do you have that kind of hope in your life? Do you have that life-shaping certainty in your life?

I love what Paul says, the apostle Paul says in second Corinthians one, very instructive. He says that he and his men who traveled with him in Asia, they forged treacherous circumstances. He said, we thought we were going to die. He said, but God delivered us. And then he says, God was teaching me not to trust in myself, but listen to this, but to trust in God Who raises the dead. Notice he doesn’t just say to trust in God, he said, I’ve learned to trust in the God Who raises the dead. And then he says on Him, we have set our hope.

So, guys, what or who is your hope in? Do you have a life-shaping certainty that is the foundation of your life? And if not, then what is your life all about? You know, what is the anchor of your soul? This is a crucial issue. And if this is something you need to talk about, we have this Investigative Study for you to consider.

Now, I’m almost out of time. I want to, I want to wrap this up with about another five or 10 minutes. I want to go back to where we started.

Remember this, every single one of us has a worldview and the foundation of that worldview is built upon our view and our relationship to God and spiritual reality. And furthermore, Jesus is telling us that it is critical that our worldview be rooted in the truth and not in falsehood. Guys, I am convinced that the most important truth that is so crucial for each of us to grasp is to have a true and accurate knowledge of God Himself. Not just believe in Him but have a true and accurate knowledge of who He is. But you know, here in the south, you know we’re a religious group of people. I bet everybody in this room will be in a church on Sunday. Our churches will be flooded with people. But what I’ve found from the work that I do is that so many men have a flawed view of Who God is and how we should respond to Him.

And so, I want to leave you and close by sharing with you three truths, it will take me just a second, about the God of the Bible that is essential if you’re going to have a worldview that’s rooted in the truth. Crucial to grasp this. The first is this, the relationship that God desires to have with us is pictured in the Father-Son relationship. He is our Heavenly Father. We are His children. You know, my understanding of God was completely transformed when I had my own children and I realized how much I love them and the fact that God says I love you more than you even love your children because your love for your children is flawed and My love for you is perfect. That absolutely transformed me to know that that’s how God loves me. You know, is there anything more trustworthy than watching a loving father who loves his children and caring for them? But this needs to be understood and this is what’s not often understood. The Bible is very clear. You have to be adopted into His family. That idea of adoption, that’s what happens. We are adopted into His family. You are not automatically a child of God. We all come into this world as orphans and He offers to us adoption. We have to receive it. In the book of John chapter one, verse 12, it says, as many who received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.

In the book of Romans 8:15, in Galatians 4:6, he speaks of this adoption that has to take place. And he says, once we receive this, we can call God Abba Father. And that word, Abba, means daddy. You see the closeness that God wants to have with us, like a father and his children. And furthermore, this is why death, to the Christian, according to the apostle Paul, is pictured as this. It’s nothing more than going home to be with your Heavenly Father. You see, this relationship transforms the way we view death. It’s not a distant land we’re going to, it’s our home.

Now secondly, and this is what’s so incredible, this God Who wants to adopt us is also a king. He’s a king. He’s not just a king, he’s the King of Kings and he’s a benevolent king. I mean, what a great privilege. Here’s this person that wants to adopt us into his family and he is a king. But this is crucial to remember. You cannot approach a king on your own terms. You lay down and you surrender your sword at his feet, and you serve him with your life. You know, a king in medieval times wanted to know one thing because there wasn’t a lot of allegiance and loyalty in these little kingdoms. He wanted to know one thing. Are you with me? I’m not looking for neutrality. Are you with me? And this is why Jesus says in Matthew and in Mark and in Luke, either you are with Me, or you are against Me. There is no middle ground.

So, God wants to be our Father, he wants to be our king. And finally, and this is why we’re here on Good Friday, he wants to be our Savior. You know, you see three different words used throughout the New Testament. The word save, the word savior, and the word salvation. But you know, there’s a word in the book of Colossians that, this is just me, that really captures this for me. And it’s the word rescue, rescue. In Colossians 1:13, it says, he rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.

When you think, guys, that you need to be rescued, it implies that you’re in some kind of trouble. And guess what? We are in trouble. We are in trouble. In the next chapter, in that same book of Colossians, he speaks of this great debt we have, the apostle Paul does. And he refers to it as this certificate of debt that each of us has. Now, back in Biblical times, if you borrowed money, it was kind of like a loan document. You were issued a certificate of debt and if you didn’t pay it, you went to debtor’s court, and they would throw you in prison. But once you did, in fact, pay that certificate of debt, they’d put a stamp on it and the stamp said, telio, paid in full. And this is so crucial as we come here together on Good Friday, we are in debt to God. Think about it, in our culture, in the olden days when someone broke the law and went to jail, we would say he is paying his debt to society. We have this certificate of debt, guys, every one of us. And on that certificate of debt, imagine this, is listed all of our sin, all of us and the breaking of the laws of God. Not only outwardly, but in our hearts and our thoughts and in our intent. We have this certificate of debt, and we have to pay because we have a debt. And this is, listen to this, this is what we’re told in Colossians 2:14, that he has canceled out our certificate of debt, having nailed it to the cross. And you know on Good Friday, on that Friday when He was crucified, just before He died, He cried out, it is finished. Father into thy hands, I commit My spirit. And He died. And the word that He used when it says finished is that word telio.

That same word that’s stamped on that certificate of debt paid in full. You see, our sins have been paid in full. And as the Bible is very clear about this, therefore we have two options. We can pay this debt ourselves in what the Bible calls hell, that domain of darkness. Or we can let Christ pay for it by nailing it to the cross.

So, picture this, guys, as we part, picture this, a loving father who is also a king, but he’s a king on a cross. He’s a king on a cross paying our debt. And if you go back to that first Good Friday, so many of the people who were there turned away from the king, they turned away from Him because they thought a king wouldn’t let this happen to Him. A messiah would never get Himself crucified. And so, they turned away guys from the work that I do, I can tell you this, almost every single man that I know likes the thought of having their sins forgiven. They want a savior. And I think almost every man I know likes the thought of him as a loving father who will lead and guide and direct and give us wisdom as we walk through this life.

But this is the rub. I find many men turn away because they do not want Jesus as their king. They don’t want Him as the Lord of their lives. And so, they turn away and they say no. And this is why Jesus continues to ask as king, are you with Me? Are you with Me? Because if you’re not with Me, you’re against Me. There is no middle ground.

And so, guys, as we part, what about you? Where do you stand? I hope you’ll consider going through our Investigative Study. And I rarely do this, but I’m going to close with a prayer and then we’ll be through. We’ll be dismissed when I say amen. But in a group this size, there may be some of you who really want to do business with God and realize, yeah, I have not, He has not been my king. And that’s what I desire. And if this is the desire of your heart, I hope you’ll pray with me and put something on your card, we’ll get with you, get you in a Bible study, help you grow spiritually. But if this is the prayer of your heart, I hope you’ll pray along with me. Let us pray.

Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinful man, that I have a great debt that needs to be paid, and so I receive You as my Savior. Now, Lord, I also desire for You to be my Heavenly Father that I can walk with You through life and then go home on the day that I’m called. Then, most significantly, Father, I pray that You would be my king. I surrender. I surrender to You as my king, as my Lord, as my God. I pray that You’ll make me the man that You want me to be. It’s in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


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