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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - Until the Time of the End

Chris Hodges - Until the Time of the End

Chris Hodges - Until the Time of the End
TOPICS: The Book of Daniel

All right, so good to see everybody in church today. Welcome to week number 8 and the conclusion of our book of Daniel series. I'll tell you more about that in just a second; but as always, let me look straight in the camera and say hello to all of our campuses across Alabama and Georgia, who have had their own worship experience up to this moment, and now we're all joined together to hear the Word of God. A big shout out to the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections. And by the way, folks, today we're adding another one of those facilities, number 22, in Elba Correctional Facility. Come on, say a big hello, everybody.

Come on, say a big hello, everybody. That's awesome. We love you guys. And I know you guys are new to our church family, and I say this just about every week. You're not a project to us. You are our church family, and we're so glad that you are a part today. But I want to give a special shout out today to a campus who has been portable for 8.5 years, setting up and taking down in a school for 8.5 years, who is having their very first Sunday in their brand-new facility. Come on, say a big hello to Alabaster campus, everybody. That's awesome. And let me just say congratulations. I mean, we normally don't take that long to get our campuses in a facility, but it is paid for, debt free. God bless you guys. Thank you for your generosity so that can happen.

And we've got to give a big shout out to our campus pastor there, the whole campus team, to the Dream Team. I want to say a big shout out to the set up and take down team for 8.5 years, who is currently unemployed, everybody. All right, so hope you find something else to do on the Dream Team. We're so glad. Thank you to the Mayor of Alabaster, who's been incredibly supportive and to the whole school system there for allowing us to use those facilities. Would you, one more time, say a big thank you to them, everybody? Come on, yeah. And being a church that's in 24 locations all across the state, sometimes you never really get to see the other campuses. So, we thought, before we got into the Word of God, we'd just take a couple of minutes and let you see a little bit about the Alabaster campus. Take a look.

Lee Martinez: Alabaster is special for a lot of reasons. What I think is so special about it is the close-knit community that it is, that it thrives in. It's this family environment that's created within the community, but within the church it also exists.

Matt Williamson: I believe that these are the best people on the earth, and the Dream Team here is second to none. Everything that we've done, services, events, all the things that we've packed into the last nine years where God has moved, and we couldn't do without the Dream Team. Every morning at 5 o'clock, setting up that campus. Setup and takedown has been incredibly fun, I mean, because you set the tone for the day. We get this opportunity to pray, to worship, to laugh, to bring joy down the hallways as we're pushing carts, and to watch that happen year after year after year. I don't think they realize always the tone that they're setting for the entire day.

Robby Bentley: I remember walking in 3 years ago, just seeing how a high school could become a church. Meeting some of that Dream Team that shows up really early in the morning, out in the sweat and in the heat, they're out setting up church so that people have the opportunity to come in and just experience this relationship that we have with God. And some of our best leaders are on that setup and takedown team. The ones that come early, and they stay late just to help make church happen.

Lee Martinez: Portable was fun, but permanency, it means exactly that. It goes well beyond our time spent here, but I love the fact of what it resembles is it's no longer just we could be in and out. This is, hey, this is our home, and this is our community. These are our families, and we're here to serve. I love that the permanent facility allows us to do exactly that. It's to set up permanency and to set that example in the community and our families.

Kaitlin Williamson: This is just the beginning for what God is only going to continue to do, and so we're so thankful. We have this resource, and it's just only going to continue to just open up more doors of opportunity for God to move.

Lee Martinez: If you come to this place, this is a refuge. This is a place where you can encounter Christ and find freedom. Each and every Sunday, we get to serve and to be a part of what God's doing, but we do it because we know how much our life was changed; and if nothing else, we desire that for every single person that sits in this room. Regardless of what season of life or where they are on their faith journey, I think it's important that we see that individual for an individual and an individual that God wants. If we'll continue to value them, we'll continue to see them walk through the door and be changed for the cause of Christ.

Come on, give God all the praise, everybody. That's awesome. All right, we are in week number 8 of the book of Daniel, a series where we're taking a verse by verse look through all 12 chapters. And if you've been here before, you know that the first six chapters are history, so they have a bunch of stories in it, and we've taken the first seven installments of the series just to cover those six chapters worth of stories, and today we're going to finish the rest of the book, six chapters, chapters 7 through 12, all in one message, because the last six chapters are prophecy. They're dreams and visions of what Daniel had. He saw a ram and a goat and some horns. And, honestly, it can be a little bit difficult to understand, but I want to help you understand it.

I want to kind of put the cookies on the bottom shelf so everybody can have one today and explain to you the prophecies and the visions of Daniel in those last six chapters. To do it, I want to go to the book of Matthew, though, and let you see something that Jesus himself said in chapter 24. If you want to study Jesus's teaching on the end time, and you can read it in that entire chapter, and it begins this way, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately and said, "Tell us, when is it going to happen"? That's what everybody always wants to know. "And what will be the sign or the signs of your coming and of the end of the age"? And Jesus would go on and say, "Look, I don't know the time. No one knows but the Father, not even the angels, not even me, but I can tell you the signs".

They are very, very clear, and you can go read those yourself, wars, rumors of war, nations, and pestilences, earthquakes, famines, to which most people would say, "Yeah, that's happened for thousands of years". But then he gets into some very specific signs that I would argue have never happened until our generation, and I will show you that in verse 12 where he said, "Because of the increase of wickedness," there's actually a description of a time where immorality would be at an all-time high and that the love of most, and that's a horrifying thought right there, that the love of most, so people who were in love with God aren't anymore, the love of most grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

I want you to notice right off the bat, and this is going to be recurring, that every time the end times is mentioned, it mentions this increase of wickedness, but it also mentions the very opposite of that. It's in the next verse. "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations or ethnos," ethnic groups, of which there are about 17,000 ethnolinguistic groups. More than 10,000 of them have already been reached by the gospel. There's about 7,000 remaining, "and when a testimony to all ethnic groups comes, then the end will come". And by the way, we're making great strides into those 7,000 at a very accelerated pace. In fact, the gospel is spreading so fast, more people have come to Christ in the last 23 years than the previous 2,000 years before that since Christ.

So, in other words, we're living in a very harvest generation. Yeah, put your hands together and thank God for that. Now, that's a bona fide fact. There are millions and millions and millions of people giving their life to Jesus, and it's happening in most countries of the world. There's only about 20 of the 200 or so nations that are either in stasis or in decline right now, but the gospel is expanding very, very, very rapidly, and we're the generation that's a part of it. The opposite, though, the bad news is wickedness is increasing at the same time. But then Jesus gets even more specific to a sign that is very unique that has not happened yet, and he says this, he says, "So, when you see standing in the holy place", the holy place is the temple in Jerusalem, "When you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation...'"

Notice that it's in quotations, because he's now quoting Daniel. So, the abomination that causes desolation, and, of course, we'll discover later that this abomination that causes desolation is a statue of the antichrist, that he puts himself in the temple of Jerusalem, which is the greatest mockery of God of all time, "spoken of through the prophet Daniel, let the reader understand". Two things else I want you to see in this text, first of all, that God, Jesus validates Daniel as a prophet. I also want you to see the fact that there's some prophecies that Daniel is given that hasn't happened, yet. When you see it, in other words, it hasn't happened, yet. And then finally it says, "Let the reader," not be a confused Christian. Let them not be a confused person. Let them be someone who actually understands.

The revelations and the end time is the most confusing part of Scripture to most, but we're going to unconfuse it today, in Jesus's name. And everybody said a good, I'm gonna give you a gift today and try to unconfuse some things. Daniel is actually the most quoted book of the Bible in the book of Revelation, which is the last book of your Bible that talks about the end times. And in his visions and dreams, he saw future kingdoms. He saw the Medo-Persian empire that would happen right after the Babylonians, and he saw the Greek empire. He describes in details someone that looks very much like Alexander the Great. He saw the Roman empire arising. He saw the time of Christ. He saw all of that. And he talks about in his writings, and I'm going to show you in just a second, he talks about them in terms of weeks. He's going to talk about these weeks, and I'm going to give you that little term before we get started.

The word in the Hebrew for "weeks" is shavua, and it means seasons of seven or seven years. It's a period of seven years, and so the translators in the New International Version, the version I read most of the time, went ahead and made that translation. So, if you're reading the King James, it may mention the word "weeks," but here's what it says in Daniel chapter 9: seventy shavuas, seventy sevens or seventy-seven year periods of time "are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, no more sin, and to put an end to it, to atone for wickedness and to bring in everlasting righteousness". This is talking about heaven at the end of time, "to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy".

This is where Jesus is crowned King forever and ever. "Know and understand this: that from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem", Jerusalem was currently in ruins. He saw the nation of Israel going back to Jerusalem, no longer being exiled in Babylon, and actually rebuilding the temple, "until the Anointed One," that's Jesus, "becomes ruler". Now he's talking about the time of Christ, "comes, there will be seven 'sevens' and sixty-two 'sevens.'" Remember that, okay? I'll come back to it. I'll explain it to you. "It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off".

That's the cross, talking about he will be killed, and they thought he would be put to an end. Of course, we know better, because we know this day called Resurrection Day, right, everybody? And it will come to nothing. "And the people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city", and that happened again, Jerusalem would once more, 70 years or 70 AD would be ransacked again and the temple destroyed. "And the end will come like a flood. War will continue," I think we're living in that age right now, "until the end, and desolations have been decreed. And then he", and it mentions this he earlier, talking about this lower case king, not Jesus, but this lower case king, that's the antichrist, "will come and confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven' in the middle of the 'seven.' He will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing [of the temple] he will set up," and here's the phrase Jesus used, "the abomination that causes desolation," which is this statue of himself, the antichrist in the temple, "until the end that is decreed will be poured out on him".

You got it, everybody? All right, let's pray. We're going to the house. No, I'm just kidding. Gonna help you out a little bit, all right? So, I know that can be pretty confusing, so let me make that very, very simple. Daniel saw seventy sevens, so seventy sevens is 490 years of prophecy. Now watch this. In the first seven sevens, so that's 49 years, Daniel saw the Israelites return to Jerusalem. You can go read about it in the book of Nehemiah, that's where it's described, and they come back and actually rebuild the walls of the temple and the rebuilding of that temple, and history records this, that it took about 49 years to rebuild that temple. And then he spoke, remember, he spoke of this Anointed One. Watch this. The next 62 sevens later, that's just 434 years to the day Jesus was born, gave his life, cut off for the sins of the whole world.

So, 483 of the 490 years that he saw have already been fulfilled before Jesus, up to Jesus. So, he saw the return of the Jerusalems, the rebuilding of the temple, and then 434 years later Jesus was born and, of course, gave his life. So, 69 of the seventy sevens have already been fulfilled. It leaves one seven seven-year period that is yet to be fulfilled, and that's the one I want to talk about today, because this is where he talks about this abomination that causes desolation. He mentions this lower case king or the antichrist that would come, and I want to make sure you understand that, because I want to make a case to you today that this is the one yet to be fulfilled, that he wants all of us to understand. "Let the reader understand and be wise".

So, I've given you the last six chapters in just a few minutes. I'm going to give you the book of Revelation in the next few minutes. Come on, everybody, you're getting six chapters in an entire book in one message. Let's go, everybody. Let's go, all right, okay. So, to help you understand where this fits, this seven-year period, let me give you the whole book of Revelation very quickly, not intended to be a thorough teaching, just an outline so you understand the events of the book of Revelation. Of course, chapter 1 of Revelation, Jesus comes in his glorified self to John, who is one of his disciples and says, "Look, I'm going to give you some instructions, and I want you to write this down, and I want the church to have it forever so that they're not unwise; they're wise and understand what's going to happen in the end of time".

And then you have chapters 2 and 3, which is the first event of the book of Revelation, which is what I call the Church Age. This is the period I would argue we're currently living in. If you want to know in timeline where we sit, we sit in the middle of chapter 2 and 3, where Jesus, through seven angels, gave seven current messages for the church today. If you want to hear from your Savior, what he thinks about your life and how we should live our lives, go read, and re-read, and re-read, and re-read chapter 2 and 3, seven messages to the church today, beginning with there are some of you who've lost your first love. You used to be really in love with Jesus, and you've lost that passion. And he says you need to be careful lest that fire, that lamp be completely burned out. And there are six other powerful messages. Go read them yourself.

The second event that takes place is in chapter 4, verse 1. Twenty-seven times, before Revelation 4:1, the word "church" is mentioned. Revelation 4:1 says, "Now I want you to come up here". He says that to John. I personally believe that this is the rapture of the church; because according to 1 Thessalonians, he never intended the church to suffer wrath. He never intended any of us to go through this great tribulation period. Now, there are some Christians who believe that we are going to go through the tribulation. They can help themselves. I'm going up in the first elevator.

All right, so anyway, so there you go, okay. And either way, the end, the rest of it still fits, okay? But the rapture of the church mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4 is where we are snatched or caught up, harpazo in the Greek, it literally means we're snatched away, caught up and taken away, because he never appointed us to suffer wrath. And Jesus won't come back to the earth. This is not the second coming of Christ. This is him just getting his church out of there. He comes in the clouds, and we actually meet him in the clouds, and every person you already have invested on the other side, you get to be reunited in that very moment, and I can't hardly wait for that moment. Amen, everybody? Yeah.

Now with the church gone, and we're all full of the Holy Spirit, and so the Holy Spirit is gone, the rise of the antichrist can actually happen now. Revelation chapter 6, this is where this character, this figure comes actually to deceive and really at the end set up a statue of himself, to be worshiped himself. This is what Satan has always wanted. It begins with the signing of a peace treaty. Daniel called it this covenant, and this covenant would be, "Hey, Jewish people, we're going to let you back on your Temple Mount".

Now, if you know anything about Israel today, the Muslims control the Temple Mount. The Israelites, the Jewish people are only allowed to worship and pray on the Western Wall, right? He says, "Look, I'm going to broker a deal that allows you to go back and rebuild your temple on this Temple Mount, so that you can worship like you've always wanted to worship". And they're going to see that as a great benefit. They're all excited about it, which will begin, actually, the signing of that begins this seven period that's described in the book of Revelation. I would argue it's the missing seven from Daniel's prophecy, the great tribulation, Revelation chapters 6 through 19.

You can see how many chapters are devoted to such horrors that take place over a seven-year period, of which, by the way, is very hard to understand, but you've gotta imagine John, the disciple, is seeing things that happened, at least at this stage of history or later. Like, you would've seen nuclear missiles and helicopters. And if you were alive 2,000 years ago, how would you describe a helicopter? You might say this great eagle came up. Like, how would you describe it, right? So, it has all this metaphoric pictorial, but I would argue he could only describe it that way, anyway, because he had never seen any of this stuff before. But in the middle of that, the antichrist is actually going to raise his statue, the abomination that causes desolation that both Daniel and Jesus saw, and that's when the whole thing turns. They realize he deceived them.

And then finally you get the fifth event of the book of Revelation, come on, everybody, which is the second coming of Christ in the very place that he was ascended off that Mount of Olives. His feet will touch down once again, and it's all over then, everybody. Jesus has come, wearing a white robe, and on his robe and on his thigh it says he is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Take 5 seconds and give him some praise, everybody, yeah. And the antichrist and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire, and then you want to know what happens next? If this doesn't make you fall in love with Jesus, I don't know what does. The next thing that takes place is not all of us singing in a choir for 50,000 years "Hallelujah". No, no, no, no, no, number six, we have a party, everybody. The next event is called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It's the wedding reception of the church with his bride.

Once again, King Jesus, and, y'all we're going to eat, and we're gonna dance. Come on, Baptists, we gonna dance, and we're gonna sing, and we're gonna celebrate. And if you're a foody, it's gonna be the best food every. You're gonna celebrate this wedding reception of the church back to the groom, Jesus, Revelation chapter 19. Go read about it. And that begins what's called a thousand year reign, which is called the millennium, and it's a reign where Jesus reigns, and we get to rule with him. You can read about it in Revelation chapter 20, verse 6. And I don't understand this next part, but at the end of that 1,000 years, God's going to re-release Satan to deceive one more time, and the Bible says for a short time.

Most scholars believe it's for those who are born during the millennium, to be able to have their choice, whether they're going to follow God or not, which leads up to the eighth event, which is the last rebellion. This is what it ends, ends forever. He is eternally thrown into that lake of fire. You have that rebellion, and then really one of the most important events for me to prepare you for is this day where everybody who's already in hell, and everybody who's with the Lord then are all convened into one giant courtroom, everybody from Adam to when it all ends, and we all have our day in court. And one of my joys is to make sure you understand what's going to happen on that day, because I want to prepare you.

It's my job to make sure you're ready for this great final exam, that's going to take place, and it's a one-question test, and it isn't going to be if you went to Highlands, and it's not going to be if you owned a Bible. It's not even going to be if you believed in God, because the devil believes in God. It's not about your belief system. It's whether you gave your life to the One who gave his life for you. Hell's not a place that God sends people that he's mad at. Hell is a place that people, if they want to, can pay for their own sins, but he sent a substitute for your sin payment, his Son Jesus; and in order to receive that payment, you cannot be religious. You have to be in a relationship. Jesus himself said, "Many on that day will say, 'Lord, Lord,' and not enter the kingdom of heaven". Uh-oh. He says, "Because I never knew you".

He was always looking for relationship, not perfection. He pays for your sins. Your sins are paid for. There's no way you can earn it, not baptism, not asking forgiveness, not understanding the Bible, not going to church. It's when you surrender your life to Jesus, repent of your sins, and make him the Lord of your life, and then spend your life in relationship with him. Amen, everybody? Got it? So, I just gave you the question and the answer, so you're ready now, okay? And finally, it leads up to this last event, which is eternity, to infinity and beyond, everybody, right? Revelation 21 and 22, that describes this new heaven and new earth, I love talking about this, where the earth is going to go through some type of purification process by fire, and every bit of its impurities and everything that's wrong with planet Earth is made perfect again.

In other words, it's returned back to its pre-fall condition like the garden of Eden, where everything is perfect. No more sickness, no more cancer, no more problems, no more, hey, always making a birdy when you play golf. Come on, everybody, right? The hot light at Krispy Kreme is always on. You know what I'm saying? I'm talking perfect, no calories in those donuts. Can I get a better amen? No, it's a perfected Earth and the notion that, oh, you spend eternity, you know, on a cloud, a little fat angel with a harp, y'all, that's hell, that's hell. That's not what, the Bible doesn't describe that. You actually get returned back to planet Earth, perfected, waterfalls, beaches, mountains. You get it all back perfected, once again.

And right now, we are all choosing our eternal destiny. It's happening right now, and I would like to tell you that this last seven years is the next event to take place in the prophetic calendar. And in my humble opinion, I don't say this to scare you; I say this to prepare you, that it, in my opinion could happen at any moment, that the signs, in my opinion, as I look through them, and I could make this case to you. They are being fulfilled. We are aggressively pursuing, the only one I have that's left, and that is that every person on planet Earth has the chance to hear the name of Jesus. And we're making great strides in that. Right now, as a church, we are working with three Bible translations, organizations that have come together under one umbrella for the first time in history to finally finish getting the Bible to every language group that still doesn't have a Bible. And you ready for this?

It's gonna happen as early as 2033, where finally for the first time in human history every single language group has God's Word. It's happening in our lifetime, everybody. I'm telling you. So, let me read you the last chapter of the book of Daniel and bring this series to a close. Daniel chapter 12, "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress," I would argue he's seeing the tribulation of seven years, "such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people, everyone whose name is found written in the Lamb's Book of Life". He actually saw what Revelation describes, at the moment you get saved, your name gets recorded in a book, so that your life is never measured by the books, where all the stuff you've done, like, everything you've ever done, by the way, is in a book.

Aren't you glad you came to church today, everybody, right? It's all there. But you won't get judged by the books. Go read it. You'll get judged by the Book, singular, if you give your life to Jesus. If you don't give your life to Jesus, your life will be measured out of the books. You don't want that. No one wants that. And he saw it. And everyone whose name is found in the Book's gonna be delivered. Multitudes sleep in the dust of the earth will awake. That means everybody who's gone before us will arise, some to everlasting life and others to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise, in other words, those who understand this, and I'm doing everything I can to help you understand this, will shine, because they've been informed of what the end times actually looks like.

Like the brightness of heavens and those who, I don't want you to miss this, those who lead many to righteousness. Daniel saw a generation who would be very aggressive in getting the gospel to everybody on planet Earth. And if you're new to our church, you need to know that you're in a church that has no desire to be any bigger than we are. People who say that about us do not know us. We are passionate about getting as many people in heaven as we possibly can. We don't add campuses for us. We add campuses for heaven. Come on, give God praise if you believe that. That's the truth. In fact, you have no idea how hard we work. We added five million dollars this year to our missions budget, just because we believe the time is short, and the need is now, and the opportunity is great.

So, let's do it, so that the church will give over 20 million dollars this year. You'll give 20 million outside of our church to reach lost people, to missionaries, and church planting, and to make a difference around the world, and translate Bibles. Why? "Because there's a generation who's going to lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret. Don't tell anybody. Seal it up until the time of the end and until you see two signs happen". Notice them with me. "When many will rush here and there". He saw a generation who would have supernatural ability, what seemed like to him as a supernatural ability to travel, and knowledge increasing. He said, "When you see those two things happen, it's getting close".

I would argue we're in the first generation where both of those are happening. I mean, it was just 100, a little more than 100 years ago that you could only travel by foot or by horseback or something like that, right? And that's why if you ever traveled across Texas, you know it takes about 14 days to do that. If you ever traveled across Texas, about every 20 miles there's a little town. That's because that's about as far as you could go, and then stop and spend the night before they continued their travels. But today I could get off this stage, go get on a planet, and be in Australia in less than 20 hours. It's changed. It's changed in our generation. And not only that, knowledge increasing, I mean at 1950 we were increasing, they say knowledge was increasing every 25 years, which is very fast.

And today, you go look it up yourself, today they say knowledge is increasing every day, and now we have this scary thing that they talk about on the news all the time, artificial intelligence. I would argue we are in the two signs that Daniel saw that this prophecy could be released. And then he said this: "I heard what you said, but I didn't understand what you meant". I think that's the greatest husband verse in the world right there, everybody. I'm hearing you, baby. I just don't understand. Okay, and so I asked, "How will this all finally end, my Lord"? Watch this. "But he said, 'Go now, Daniel, for what I've said is kept secret and sealed until the time of the end.'" I've entitled this message, "Until the Time of the End".

What do we do until the time of the end? I'm getting ready to tell you. Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined by trials. In other words, it's going to get tough, but there's going to be a generation who goes through it righteous and pure, and the wicked on the other hand, will continue, as well. Remember, there's always those two things. "But the wicked will continue in their wickedness, and none of them will understand. Only those who are wise will know what it means". And there are so many subpoints I could give to you to tell you, what do we do until the time of the end? Let me just keep it simple and give you two, and that is, number one, I think we ought to live our lives doing everything we can to influence as many people as we can, as long as we can, while we can.

And I have a sense of urgency like never before. You need to know that, especially if you're a member of this church or considering being a part of this church, that we will not, look at me, we will not let up in our aggression to reach as many people right here in our own area first, in our nation, and around the world. And some people don't like that, 'cause like now we don't want that. It's big enough. We want it for us, but that is so shortsighted into how God sees this. We are living in a great opportunity where great revival is happening. We have a great responsibility and a great mandate to do it. And that's why our next season as a church is going to be a harvest season. The next season is a season where I'm going to bring messages that will feed you, always going to try to feed you, but they're going to be messages that lost people can understand and touches the felt need that they have.

And I'm telling you now is the time to get your lost friends, those who are far from God sitting with you in church. And we don't ask you to do this all year. In fact, the way I say it is there's 52 Sundays. You can have 50 of them. Two out of the 52, you need to have somebody far from God sitting next to you in church. And it's going to make you nervous. You're going to think, "Lord, I hope PC's on today". Like, you're going to think all that, and you're going to wish the songs are right, and that's good for you. But you need to be a part of this process with us, as we reach people far from God. We're gonna have our at the movie series in November and at Christmas.

I mean, more people find Christ and find our church through Christmas than any other thing we do, and it's all intentional to do something for you, but it's always bigger than that, and that's why even though we have, you know, thank God, we opened up a new campus, but, honestly, we have nine more that we're still setting up and taking down, but we redirected money from our budget to missions, at the, pace of five million dollars more, 'cause we have so many incredible opportunities to make a difference. I mean, you can go to heaven in a setup and takedown high school, but you can't go to heaven without Jesus. And I look at the camera, to all the portable campuses, saying, "We're coming your way".

Okay, Shoals, Oxford, and Opelika, you're next. It's coming. We're also going to do everything we can to reach as many people as we can, as long as we can. And God's people said a good, just want you to know that, you to know that. And the second thing that I would say, just to ultra-simplify this: you'd better decide. Like, this is not the time to be a maybe Christian, a slightly engaged Christian. It's just not the time. This is the time where I'm telling you you're going to be probably forced at some point to decide. Are you following God or are you following culture? And I know that scares you. It scares me in some ways. But as for me and my household, I have decided to follow Jesus. I don't know what it's going to look like, but I'll tell you this: when I get there, I will have already decided. And it's always better to decide before the time than at the time. Better decide. I want you to decide.

Which leads me to a final question that I thought would be a great way to end this series. And that is, are you ready? Like, are you really, are you ready? Because if it could happen at any time, it would be, kind of be important to be ready. Jesus said it this way, like, you need to be awake. Keep watch, be sober, because you don't know, when you think it's not going to happen, it's probably when it's gonna happen. Jesus said that. Go read it. He said there's going to be partying, eating, drinking, chilling, and unaware. In fact, he said it this way in the book of Luke. "Be dressed and ready for service. Keep your lamp, your fire, spiritual fire burning like servants waiting for their master to return from the banquet, so that when he comes," look at me, and he's coming. Church, he's coming. You can be ready as he knocks and immediately open the door for him.

So, Jesus made it pretty clear again, "I don't even know when I'm coming back. No one knows but the Father". But what if you did? Just play along for a minute. What if we knew for a fact that he's coming back today at 3 p.m. Central. What would you do in the next three hours? I'm going to tell you, I'm going to tell you about 2:30 everybody in this room would be a saint. I'm gonna tell you that right now, right? You probably make a few phone calls. I'd be begging a few people that I know are kind of on the line. I was talking to a guy this week about Christ, and he's not a Christian, and he's this close. He's so close. And he actually just found out he has a terminal disease, and it's got him this close. I'd pick up the phone this afternoon and close, like, we've gotta do this now. You would too. Had somebody on our team here had their house broken into, and I know what that feels like.

Tammy and I were broken into. We were one year married, and our little apartment got broken into. They were in our house while we were asleep. We woke up the next day, and almost everything we had was gone. And I remember how vulnerable that feels, and so I was, you know, empathizing with my friend. Like, "Man, I know how that feels, bro". He goes, "Well, I'll tell you what," he said, "I've got a security guy coming today, and I've got, putting more lights, I'm getting cameras, and we're changing the locks". And that's what all of us would do. But it would've been a whole lot better had that been done before the guy ever got there. And I guess that's what I would want to say to you on the close of this series. It would be a whole lot better if you were ready long before that thief came. Let's bow for prayer:

So, Lord, we thank you for the Bible that let's us be wise people and not foolish. We recognize you wanted the reader to understand. And, Lord, I think we get it today. And, Lord, now I'm asking that every person in this room would make their decision to be a follower of Jesus.

Look, if you're here today and you're not ready, I'm telling you today is the day. Don't put it off. Jesus is asking you to surrender your life to him; and by the way, he never asks of you something he didn't first do for you. And when you do, your life won't be minimized. It will be maximized, 'cause he came that you might have life here on earth and then life to the full, eternal life. He's for you. He loves you.

And today, if you've never become a Christian, today is your day. If you are a Christian, and your relationship with God is not in the ready state, you're not ready, "I'm not ready, PC, I'm not ready," then I would invite you to pray this prayer with us, as well. In a minute, I am going to ask you to acknowledge to God, "I'm praying this prayer". And I'm going to ask you to lift your hand and lift it high, 'cause this is not a time to live our lives not being bold. It's just not the time.

Now, we're not going to have you stand up. I'm not going to call you to the front. But if you're ready, say, "Look, I want to be included. I'm not even letting you know, PC, I'm letting God know I'm making this decision today". If that's you, I invite our campus pastors to the stage to come pray. If that's you, and you know it, without hesitation, lift your hand right now and say, "Count me in that prayer". Lift it up, lift it high. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Literally, all over this room, lift it up and leave it up. Lift it up and leave it up. There you go. Pastor Blake, come on.
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