Chris Hodges - The Word of Truth
Bless you today, thank you for joining us. It's so good to see people, it really is. God bless you, and thank you for joining us. And while they're getting things set up behind me so I can teach, the Bible today, let me look into the camera and say a big hello to all of our campuses. We are one church that meets all across the state of Alabama. Thank God for it. And a special shout out to our Mobile campus, who's actually streaming this entire service, every part, music and everything because so many of our team are deployed helping families right now through the effects of Hurricane Sally. Our team is on the ground right now bringing not only money and help and manpower, but also the good news about Jesus. Put your hands together and say hello to Mobile. God bless you guys, praying for you.
And by the way, even though you may not be physically there, your giving is there. Every time you give, you're part... we have a disaster response team. And we get on the ground almost while it's still happening. We have teams headed that way, and you finance all of that and your prayers, thank you for that. And then also I want to say hello to the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections. What a joy it is to bring not only this service, but all that we are as a church into those facilities. We can't wait till we're back in the facilities with you, but know that we love you, we think about you every day. And then there's still about 60% of you that are worshipping online, but there's about 40% of you have come back in person to worship. But we're just so glad we have technology so that we can bring church into your homes.
So, God bless you today. But today, I want you to give a great handclap for the newest campus of our church. Today is the inaugural launch of our Uptown campus. Whoo. Come on, put your hands together. God bless you guys. So, they're meeting at the beautiful theater at the BJCC. And for the time being, it's also a place where our Woodlawn and West campus can join together under the leadership. Pastor Mayo Sowell and Jamil Gilleylen. And guys, I love you, I'm so proud of you. And I've already seen the reports from the previous services, and hundreds and hundreds of people already gathering at that beautiful location. So, God bless you guys today. And those of you that are new, welcome to the family. We're so glad that you're along for the ride that we're on right now, which is nine-part series.
We normally don't have a series that long. We're doing a nine-part series right now, a book study through the book of James. And we're bringing you the book of James because of the way James starts. In fact, I was reading it earlier about four months ago and really felt like we needed to do a verse by verse study. It's a very practical book, but it starts off this way. "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the 12 tribes," and this is the word that got me, "12 tribes scattered among the nations". It was written to a scattered church, a church that was not able to meet, not only scattered physically, but also scattered spiritually. I think we have a scattered church right now. Even those of you that are back, some of you still aren't back. I mean, there's a scattering of your emotions, of your spirit man. And this book is incredibly practical. It deals with a lot of great topics, and we're just kind of going through nine of them in five chapters.
Last week, Pastor Mark started off where the book starts, verse 2, "Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith develops perseverance". And he starts off saying, "Hey, there's a difference between a trial that God will allow for your faith to be purified and strengthened". And then it pivots to temptations, which God is never the author of temptations. God, the Bible says God cannot tempt you, and we are not tempted by God. The devil does that to destroy your relationship with God. Listen to me, they look the same sometimes. You don't know whether it's a trial or a temptation, and you've got to know the difference and know the different response to it. And that was last week.
If you missed it, Pastor Mark did a great job in the beginning of that, but I want to pick up right there. And what I've decided to do is read the rest of the chapter to you in its entirety, and then come back and teach it to you. And it's deep, it's got some... if you like deep teaching, you're going to like today 'cause there's some pretty cool hidden thoughts in there that if you exegete the Scriptures, there's some really awesome things in it today. But let's just read the whole rest of it starting at verse 16 to the last verse, verse 27. And he changes from that whole discussion of trials and temptations and says this, "Hey, don't be deceived". Which means this is likely going to be an area where you do not see things correctly.
So, just go ahead and go there in your mind, this is an area that's not going to be really clear to you. In fact, it's pretty unclear. "My dear brothers and sisters, that every good and perfect gift is from above". So, if it's good, God did it. If it's bad, the devil did it. And a lot of people don't see it that way. They think God can be bad at times. God is never bad, the devil is always bad. God is always good, and everything good came from God. Can you say amen right there? Now, if you all will respond just a little bit once in a while, I'll preach better and faster, all right? So, all right, okay. "Coming down from the Father, every good gift comes from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows".
So, shadows change, lights change, but God doesn't. He chose to give us birth through, the five things you're going to, five times, same topic, I highlighted them for you, "Through the Word of truth". And that's our topic today, you'll see it, five times he says this. "That we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry". Four, "Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of the moral filth". Kind of beats around the bush, doesn't he?
"The moral filth and the evil that can be so prevalent in our lives and humbly accept," and there it is the second time, the word, "The word planted in you, which can actually save you. Do not merely listen to the word," third time, "and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word," fourth time it mentions it, "but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at their face in a mirror and, after looking at themselves, forgets what they look like, go away and forget what you look like. But whoever looks intently into the," fifth time, "perfect law that brings freedom and continues in it, not forgetting what they've heard, but doing it, they will be blessed".
Five times it mentions the power of the Bible, the Word of God, and how your blessing is connected to your attitude toward the Word of God. And it goes on, it says, "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless". Should we have an altar call right now? All right, so there it is, all right. Yeah, by the way, we're coming back to this topic of the tongue. It shows up again in chapter 3, and we'll have a whole installment on taming our tongues. Boy, that's going to be an important one. And then it ends this way, "Religion that our God and Father accepts as pure and faultless is this," colon, two things, "to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world".
Now, five times in this text in these last verses of chapter 1, James says, "Look, don't be deceived at the power of the Word of God in your life". Like the Bible is really important. What God says in printed form, in Scripture, if you really have the right attitude toward it, it has the power to anchor you in the middle of your life being scattered. And there's a lot of people right now, honestly, let me say it this way. If there was one thing that I think is the most critical thing in the middle of a crisis is that you stay true to the Word of God, and that you're reading it, believing it. Because all throughout the Bible, it talks about how it anchors you, how it secures you, how it's a foundation for your life.
And if there's any area that I personally believe that is under direct assault of culture and really of the devil, it's the Bible. And I'm concerned about it, to be honest with you. I'm concerned the people don't know it, they're not reading it, a lot of people don't even believe it, they think it has flaws. And that will destroy your life. And honestly, and the enemy knows it. In fact, the very first words that come out of Satan's mouth, if you go back to the very first place that Satan speaks, is it's found in the third chapter of the Bible of the book of Genesis. And he's there in the garden, there they are in the middle of God's blessing, and the first words out of Satan's mouth, and the reason why I say it that way is if it's the first thing he said, it's probably the... I believe it set the spirit and the tone of what the enemy's work would be in our lives forever.
This is his most important agenda item in that he said, "Did God really say"? He's always questioning the Word, always trying to remove the power of the Word, makes you not really believe the Word, or think it's accurate or helpful for your life. And it is the single most important discipline you need, especially in the middle of a pandemic and crisis of our lives. Are y'all hearing me today everybody? It's important, it's really important. If you want to clap, go ahead, everybody, if you believe it's true. Thank you. But we have a generation who think, they think they know a whole lot more than God. And so, they'll like pick and choose, like this part, but I don't like that part.
Obviously, God didn't have 2020 in mind when he wrote that because that just simply is not going to work in our generation. They really think they know best. They follow their feelings way too much. I'm going to tell you feelings cannot be trusted. But people like living their life hedonistically, they follow, "Well, if it feels good, do it 'cause God just wants me happy". No, he doesn't. He wants you holy, not happy, everybody. He wants to do a work on the inside of you. And the enemy's lied to you. And the Proverbs says there's going to be a generation, well, it's happened forever that it seems right to man, but actually you'll know that it's not right 'cause it always leads to death. Which by the way, I never feel pressured to prove to anybody that God's truth is truth 'cause life will do it for you if you don't believe it.
So, when people say, "Well, I just don't think I believe what you believe". I say, "Well, I'll leave the light on, you'll be back". Right, you know what I'm saying? 'Cause it doesn't work. The world's way doesn't work. And what James says is once you understand the difference between a trial and a temptation, he goes, "So, you need to have the right attitude toward the Word of God". And he basically asks this question, "What is going to be the basis for how I live my life? Is it going to be the world and my way? Or is going to be the Word and God's way? What's it going to be"?
And the psalmist David responded to that. By the way, if you ever want to read a great chapter of the Bible, it's the longest chapter in the Bible. Psalm 119 has 176 verses, and all of them are about God's Word. Isn't it interesting that the longest chapter in the Bible is about the Bible? 'Cause it's just that important. And in verse 81, David says, "My soul is weak from waiting for you to save my life, but my hope is based on your Word. I've anchored myself".
So yes, I have storms, but I've anchored myself. Now look, I'm a pastor, and I know what you're going through. I know it's difficult, I know it's confusing, I know it's unsettling. I know it's like there's so much uncertainty, like we all wondered, and none of us saw 2020 coming. And then I was laughing with Pastor Dino, we were laughing, like all of us were preaching messages in January of 2020 like, "This is going to be the year of vision. We're going to see a powerful year of God".
How many of you know they all missed it? Isn't it right, everyone? No, the truth is it will go down in history as one of those difficult years any of us have faced. And I can't change that and neither can you, but you can change your attitude toward what you're going to be like in the middle of a storm. And that you can, and I'm serious. And I cannot give you any more, there's no single greater discipline to surviving in the middle of crisis than the Word of God. Jesus said it this way, "Everyone who hears these words of mine, puts them into practice," so you're not just a listener, you're a doer, "is like a wise man who builds their house on a rock". Look, rain is coming, wind is coming, floods are going to rise, streams are going to rise. And it's going to beat against your emotions, against your marriage, against every part of your life, but you're not going to fall if you have your foundation built on the rock, and the rock is his words.
Now, listen to me, I'm a Bible person. I love the Bible. When I say I love the Bible, it's my favorite part of my relationship with God. I love reading my Bible more than I love prayer. Now, prayer's important and I pray, and honestly I pray, but I'd rather God talk to me than me talk to God. I just, I like the Bible. I enjoy reading it, my favorite day of the week is my study day. I study every day, but I study for you all day on Friday. I'll just like block off the entire day. Sometimes, it's a 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. kind of a day, where I get ready for weekends. And I don't begrudge it, I love every moment of it. I've enjoyed more getting ready for this weekend than I have in a long time 'cause I decided to go as deep diving as I could into the text, and I'm going to show you that in just a second.
But I love my Bible. And my goal today is I want you to love your Bible. I want you to love reading it, I want you to love believing it, I want you to have the right attitude about the Bible. I want you to see it as life-giving, I want you to see it as pure. 'Cause it's not a book, it's God. Like the Bible is God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," John 1:1 says. Like, this is God. And I don't know, I just have this relationship. I didn't bring you my actual Bible that I read, this is the one I keep here at this location. And the reason why I don't have the one that I read every day here is that it doesn't leave the house.
About 16 years ago, I was actually getting ready to head on a trip to go speak at a conference in California, and I had this witness inside, don't bring your Bible. Like don't bring it. And I was always, I've always had this thought of, "Well, if I ever lost that particular Bible," so not just any Bible, my Bible. 'Cause my Bible I've been reading, it's the same one I've had since 1982, been reading it since my freshman year of college. I've had it rebound four times. The most recent was this past Christmas. I actually had a friend of mine who surprised me with a gift, he said, "Hey, send me your Bible". Like, "Bro, no way, I ain't sending you my Bible. My Bible doesn't leave the house". He said, "Trust me, send me your Bible. I have a gift for you".
And I decided to trust him and send him my Bible, and he had it beautifully rebound 'cause it had some pages falling out 'cause it's just been used for quite a while, right? And by the way, let me go give him a shoutout. Thank you, Pastor David and Nicole Crank for rebinding my Bible for Christmas, God bless you sir. All right, and ma'am. And so anyway, and but I love it. But every day, I wake up and I get some coffee, and it's sitting right there waiting on me. And before I pray, before I think, before I thank God, before I get on my phone or read any texts or the news or anything, I like to read my Bible. And I'll read the one year Bible so I know where I'm going, and I just pick it up, and I just, when I say I love it, I absolutely love it. Every moment of it, I love it.
And you're going to think this is weird, but at the end of reading it, I just kind of hold it close to my chest. And this is going to be weird for some of you, but I actually bring it to my mouth and I just kiss, I kiss my Bible every day. 'Cause you know, the psalmist David says, "Your words are sweeter than the honeycomb". It's sweet to my lips. And that's the way I feel about my Bible. And I was on this trip, and I'd just landed at the airport, and got picked up and they took us to go eat some Mexican food 'cause we were out on the west coast in Southern California, I thought, "Oh, this will be great". And our car wasn't 50 yards away, we couldn't see it, but it was only about 50 yards away. And we came back to our car, windows had been shattered, our luggage was gone, my backpack was gone, my computer was gone.
Hey everybody, but my Bible wasn't gone because I didn't bring it, right? And I had a Bible that... stuff to survive and to preach that week and all that, but I was just so grateful I didn't bring my Bible on that trip. And I'm only saying it to you, that's why it's not here today. I just, I don't let it leave the house. I love it that... when I say I love it, I love it. I love my Bible. Did I tell y'all that I love my Bible? I don't know if I mentioned that or not. All right, so. And I'm trying to be contagious on you right now. Like my goal is very simple. In the next ten minutes is just to like make you love the Word of God like never before. And what James does in these Scriptures is he gives us three attitudes.
There are three attitudes that he says, "Don't be deceived, this is critically important for you to have the right attitude about the Word of God". And the first attitude is to be grateful for the truth that saves you. Like the words in that book are what saved you. Now, Jesus saves you, but that story is found in the Word of God. And he says this, he says, "Do not be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above". And I love that because he's saying, "Listen to me, if you were to come to God, he's not asking you to restrict your life, and be religious, and you're going to be bored, and Christianity's no fun, and you know, you'll go to heaven, but you're going to hate the journey along the way". No, no, no, no. He says, "Everything about God is good".
And by the way, I didn't understand that growing up in church. I always thought, "If I serve God, I'll probably go to heaven, but brother, it's going to be a bummer along the way," right? And one of the major messages that we have tried to communicate for 20 years is that serving God is not a duty, it is a delight. I mean, like knowing him is the best part of your life, not the worst. And that's what he's saying here. He says, "If it's good, it came from God coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows". He chose to give us a born again experience, how? "Through the word of truth," like the Bible. Like the Bible is the thing that led you to Jesus, "That we might be a kind of firstfruits". I'm going to teach you that in just a second. "The firstfruits of all he created".
Now, the Bible tells us in Romans, it says that, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". And some of you today are going to hear the Word of God, I'm just going to tell you what's going to happen, you're going to get convicted. You're going to think, "I think I need that". And you need to have the attitude is I'm going to gratefully receive the fact that Jesus saved my life, and I'm going to respond to him today. And then he uses this phrase, and this is the part where I have to teach it to you 'cause it won't make sense to you, especially in our generation, that we might become a type of firstfruits.
Now, what's a firstfruit? Well, we don't understand that because we don't... most of you do not make your own commodities and sell them. Like you don't grow stuff, you don't have chickens or farm. You know, that's not how you live, but in their day, all of them grew their own commodity that they would end up selling. And they all, as an act of worship before God, would give the first of whatever they made to God. That's where the principle of the tithe comes from, that it has nothing to do with amounts or really even about money that the church has made it today. It's all about that, that anything that I produce, I'm going to give the first of it to God. That's why we're in church on the first day of the week. We're saying, "Before I have a week, you get the first day of the week".
So, we worship God with our week. And we're giving God a firstfruit by your attendance here today. But you don't do it because you have to, you do it because you want to. They didn't, the corn growing dude didn't have all his ears of corn, thinking, "Oh man, I was going to sell all that, now I have to give God that first one. And I really wanted all ten of them, but I'll give..." No, no, no, he was going, "God, you gave me the ability to grow corn, and I'm going to give you the first one. I'm going to give you my first and my best because you gave me your first and your best". And it was an act of worship. And it's an attitude change. And that's what James is saying, he goes, "Realize that God saved you". And you don't go like, "Okay, I guess I won't sin anymore. I really want to, but I won't anymore 'cause I don't want to go to hell or anything".
No, no, I gladly give you every part of my life. You can have my time, my money. You can have who I am, you get my week. If you ask for it, you could, when I got saved, y'all, I got so gloriously saved when I was 15 'cause I'd been in 15 years of church that I did not enjoy and thought they were always asking me to do something and demanding things of me, and it felt just restrictive. And when I realized that Jesus saved me from my sins, "What do you want"? He could've asked for everything and I would've gladly given it. Reminds me of that hymn writer, I love the old hymns, "When I survey the wondrous cross on which the prince of glory died". He finishes the hymn, saying, "Love's so amazing, so divine".
Look at this, "It demands my soul, my life, my all". It's an attitude. That when you look at the Bible and say, "Oh, these are the truths that saved me, and what a joy it is to know God. God, what do you want? I'll give you everything that I have". Come on, somebody, it's an attitude. And then he pivots, he goes, "Okay, now once you've gotten saved and you..." Probably most of you in this room are grateful. How many of y'all in this room are grateful that you're saved, that you don't have to pay for your sins? Yeah, I thought so, okay. I was just checking. I thought so, but I just wanted to check, all right. But then he says, "Okay, but don't stop there". 'Cause now he says, "Humbly accept the truth".
Now, why would he use the word "humbly"? It's because a lot of us have pride when it comes to what we think is true. So, you read the Bible and you think, "Oh my goodness, well, God obviously didn't know 2020 was coming because this doesn't even fit in our culture today and..." No, no, no, no. James says it this way, he says, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this". And now he gets all up in our business. "You need to be quick to listen," none of us do that, "slow to speak," none of us do that, "and slow to become angry," none of us do that, "because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires". So, now the Bible's in my face. "Therefore, get rid of all the moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent".
And look what it says, and don't get an attitude about it, don't get all prideful about it. I'm going to tell you, the world and even some people in the church have pride about what they think is true. Listen to me, let every man be a liar, let God be true. God is the one that's right. Are y'all hearing me today? Here's the point I'm trying to make is that there's going to be time to time, you're going to read the Bible and you're gonna go, "Uh-oh. I don't know if I want to do that. I don't know if I agree with that. I don't know what I really think about that". And then you have a decision to make, and James says, "You better humbly accept it". 'Cause I think... in fact, I was having this debate with someone who's just really, they like parts of the Bible, but not all of it, they were kinda cherrypicking the things they want to believe and not believe.
And I said, "You don't get to do that. God gets to... that's what a God..." I said, "That's what a God is. They get to tell you what's right and wrong". Like that's what a God is. That's what a God does. If you don't have, well, then why do you need a God? You're like, "Well, I don't know. I don't know if I believe all that". And I quoted them this quote from Pastor Timothy Keller, who's a great theologian, pastors Redeemer Church in New York City. He says, "If your god never disagrees with you, you might be just worshipping an idealized version of yourself". And it's true, which means you're going to have a moment where you think, "Wow, I don't know if I want to live like this or believe this".
And James says, "You better make a humble decision". And he uses the word "You better accept it". And the word "accept" is the word "dechomai" in the Greek. I told you I went deep on this one. It's the word "dechomai," and the word "dechomai" means to welcome like a stranger. It literally is the same picture of someone that you don't really know well coming over to your house. And you don't know whether to let them in or not, but you decide to welcome them. So you say, "Oh, come on in, would you like something to drink"? Now, you don't even know the person. You don't even know what the conversation's getting ready to be like. But the Bible says, "No, no, no, you open the door and you welcome them".
That when you approach God's Word, there are going to be times where it's going to put you, it's going to slap you right in the face with some truths. And you need to like open the door, "Okay, okay, well, come right on in. Come right on into my house, into my life". It's used again in 1 Thessalonians. Watch this, that word "dechomai," it says, "We also thank God continually because when you received the Word of God," which I'm trying to get you to do, "what you have heard from us, you dechomai, you welcomed it like a stranger". Watch this, "Not as the word of men, but actually as it is the Word of God, which is at work". Which by the way, if you don't welcome it like a stranger, it can't work. It doesn't work unless you have the right attitude about it, "In you who believe".
Let me say it this way, this is the thought I had this week. I thought it was brilliant, I hope you think so too. All right, but it's that the mark of a God-changed heart is that I actually like God telling me what to do. Like okay. Well thank you, there's eight of you who believe that was one of the best statements that ever... no, no, no, that's really true. It's an attitude. I receive it as the Word of God that saves me. I humbly accept it even when it confronts me. And watch this last one, and then I intently, 'cause James uses that word. By the way, my newest favorite word I've been using this week, intently. I mean, he intently embraced the truth that now guides me. He says intently. He says you look at it intently. Watch it in the text.
"Do not merely listen to the word," so don't just come to church. "But do it, and deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at their face in a mirror". And by the way, the Bible compares the Bible as a mirror. So, like you think you look fine until you looked in that mirror, right? You thought all them hairs were in place, like you're like, "What's up, what's up"? Oh no. Right, you know, you just, I didn't know I had this going on the whole day, right? Or you get there and there's a hanger or something, it's like, "Oh my God, nobody told me that was there the whole day"? Yeah, you didn't know until you looked.
And if you're not careful, you'll read the Bible and it will show you you got a hanger. Like you got a big old hair that hasn't been plucked for ten days that needs to come on out of there. You ever done that? I mean, I got, sometimes I wonder if Tammy really loves me. I'll go to the mirror and go, "Well, oh my God. How long were you going to let that stay there before you let me know that there was one about four inches long," right? But then you also have a decision that when you think you look good and you realize you don't look good, whether you're going to pluck it or not. And some of us like, "Yeah, he's right. I think I'll go ahead and live my own life". And ain't no plucking going on. Y'all need to pluck them hairs, can I tell you? It's an attitude.
You go, come on y'all, this is... anyway, all right. Because you got, 'cause a lot of you go away and you forget what you look like. You forgot that conviction and what God was speaking to you. "But whoever looks intently," the same word is used of how Peter looked into the empty tomb. He looked intently. Like he didn't walk by and go, "Mm, nobody there". No, he didn't do that. He just went. And that's supposed to be your attitude toward the Bible. Like you wake up in the morning and you look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, not forgetting what you've heard, but doing it. And those are the people that are blessed.
In fact, let me get real practical. Let me tell you what intently looking looks like. You notetakers, jot this down. And you non-note takers, jot this down, all right? This is very important. Get a paper Bible. Like I need you to have a book, a Bible that you love. And that's waiting for you at that spot in the morning. Would you get a... thank God for technology, but get a paper Bible. I'm almost done. And then set aside time to read, study, and meditate. So, don't just read it, study it. You know what I mean by study? Like mark something. First thing I do when I got my Bible, second thing I do, I grab my Bible and I grab a marker. I don't even know what I want to mark, but I know it's coming. I grab the marker in anticipation, that I know he's going to show me something that I've got to, "Whoo hoo. Ooh, that's so good". "And I want you to do the same".
That's what intently, and then meditate on it. That's the same word of a cow chewing the cud. Swallow. Bleh, I'll think I'll think about that again. And you do it by getting a Bible reading plan. Like I want you to wake up tomorrow morning and go read the one year Bible. Get like, do a plan. And then finally don't just read it, let it read you. In other words, say, "God, what are you trying to say to me? What is the mirror telling me today? What needs to be plucked, changed, fixed, improved? Do a work inside of me in Jesus's name".
I want you to love your Bibles. And here's what it'll produce, and I'll close with this. This is so cool and I've never seen it before until this week. That's the beauty of the Bible, I probably read this passage 1,000 times. And I never saw what I'm getting ready to share with you. 'Cause here's the last verse. It doesn't even seem like it fits to the Word of God text, and it totally fits. He says, "'Cause here's what it'll produce, religion that our God and Father accepts". He says, "Here it is, two things, to look after orphans and widows in their distress". You become a person of justice. You care about those who are oppressed. "And keep one's self from being polluted by the world".
You care about righteousness. You know, we live in a generation and in a society who's been telling you you've got to pick one of the two. And there's a whole bent of liberal theology in churches and even people who are all justice. And you got to advocate for the poor and for those that are... you got to advocate. You got to advocate for justice. And they don't care how people live. I don't care what decisions you make sexually and all that, but you got to, then there's a whole group of conservatives that don't advocate for the poor and those that have been oppressed. But they'll tell you in a second where you're in sin and wrong. And God says the world will make you separate, but God puts them together, that justice and righteousness are the foundations. We're not left, we're not right, we're kingdom. Yeah, we do both, and God wants to do both inside of you and me.
Father, I pray for the church. God, I pray that they leave here in love with the Word of God, they're in love with their Bibles. And I pray, God, that we become a church whose lives are built on the foundation of the rock of the Word of God. And let no enemy steal the Word, but God, let us live according to it, submit ourselves to it, and have the right attitude about it in Jesus's name.
Heads bowed, eyes closed. Campus pastors, join me on the stage right now. If you're here today and you got under conviction, like you're thinking, "I need God". And maybe you're not a Christian or maybe you are one, but you've fallen away from God. You feel separated from God. You are only one heartfelt, sincere prayer away from that changing. And I'm not going to have you stand up or come down to the front, but I do want to pray for you right there. And I want you to be bold and say, "I need God. I'm ready to make Jesus my Lord. I'm ready to gratefully receive the Word of truth today that can save me".
At all of our locations, if that's you, can I pray for you right there where you're seated? Come on, lift your hands high as you can, say, "Count me in that prayer". Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. Anybody else? Just lift it high, lift it high. Yes, yes, anybody else? Just I'm ready. Way at the top, God bless you, ma'am. Anybody else? Right over here. Sir, God bless you. Yes, young man, God bless you. Anybody else, right here in the front? God bless you. Anybody else? Just ready, I'm ready to receive the Word. Thank you, you guys. This whole row of girls that are together, God bless you. Put your hands down and pray this prayer right there where you are in your heart. Say:
Jesus, I need you, and I submit my life to you. (Make it very personal and say:) Jesus, be my Lord. I give you everything. (Now, make the declaration:) I believe you are the Son of God. I believe you died, were buried, and you rose again. And today, I put my faith in you. Thank you for saving me. You saved me, and I gratefully receive it. In Jesus's name, amen.