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Greg Laurie — Of Whom the World Was Not Worthy

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Let's grab our Bibles and turn to Hebrews 11 and you're not gonna be hearing me say that for much longer because we're almost done with this series called World Changers, so turn there. I love the sound of turning Bible pages. How many of you brought an actual Bible with you to church? Wow, that's a lot of you. Okay, and how many of you are looking on a tablet or a phone or something like that? That's okay. God bless all of you, but it's way cooler when the Bible pages are turning, but that's all right. We're just glad that you have the Bible in front of you.

Hebrews 11, the title of my message today is Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy. Hebrews Chapter 11 is the hero's hall of faith. It's a record of all the people that God used or not all, but many of them from the Old Testament. Ordinary people like you and I who did extraordinary things. They faced incredibly adverse circumstances like you and I do, but they rose above those circumstances and they changed their world. Could we change our world? Is that even possible still? You know, instead of the church of the first century, those that have turned the world upside down have come here as well and by the way, that was not meant as a compliment. It was meant as a criticism, but that's because the first century believers made an impact. In fact, it was G. Campbell Morgan, the great British preacher who said, "Organized religion that fails to make a disturbance is dead".

My concern is we're not making a disturbance anymore. In fact, it seems in some ways the world is changing the church more than the church is changing the world. We need to get back to the job God has called us to do because I believe we can change the world if we'll step up to the plate and start using our faith. You say, "Oh, Greg, come on, I'm no saint". Actually, I beg to differ. You are a saint. Remember, saint is just another word for Christian or believer, so you are a saint to the point and by the way, the folks that God used in the hero's hall of faith here in Hebrews 11 were not perfect people. In fact, they were far from it. They failed often. They're not in the hero's hall of faith because they were great people. They're in the hero's hall of faith because they had faith in a great God. They had two things in common with us. Number one, they were really flawed and number two, they had faith and they used it.

Well, we all meet the criteria of the first point. We're all really flawed. Are we in agreement on that? Yeah, and then secondly, they had faith and they used their faith and they did something with it, but think of who these guys and girls were when the Lord called them. Gideon was a frightened farmer when the angel told him he was gonna be a man of courage. Moses was a fugitive from justice when the Lord spoke to him, but yet the Lord called them and here's an interesting thing. As we look at them in the hero's hall of faith, not one mention is made of any of their sins. When Samson is mentioned, we don't read about his fall with Delilah. When David is mentioned, we don't read about his sin with Bathsheba and we don't read about the problems with Abraham who lied about his wife twice and his son repeated his behavior. We don't read that Sarah laughed at the promise of God or that Moses lost his temper and killed a man, et cetera.

We just read of their great exploits of faith, reminding us that God doesn't see us for what we are. He sees us also for what we can become, so these world changers did not always collect medals. Sometimes they collected scars and that's what God wants to do in our life. He wants to use us, if we'll take our faith and apply it. So, here are some things we've learned together in this series that I'll share with you in review before we dig into our text in this message. Point number one. Faith does things. Faith does things, so if you're taking notes, just write that down, faith does things. Faith is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. The less you use it, the weaker it becomes. If you fail to use it, it will atrophy. I met a guy who was a body builder and formerly a Mr. Something, I don't know, but you know, their Mr. Whatever contests, they won and this guy was incredibly buff. I mean, he was just perfectly sculpted body, except for his legs. I don't know what happened, but he had this massive upper torso and little almost chicken legs.

I'm like what happened here? Just I don't wanna do the leg machine. Okay, but you're not completely balanced, are you? That's how some of us can be. You know, we're strong in some areas. We're weak in others, but faith does things. When we look here in Hebrews 11, it's worth noting how many times it mentions what they did with their faith. It says Abel offered a sacrifice. Noah prepared an arc. Abraham obeyed and later offered up Isaac. Listen to this. A faith with no works is a faith that does not work. Let me say that again. A faith with no works is a faith that does not work, so faith does things. Point number two. Faith grows stronger through testing. Faith grows stronger through testing, so the next time you pray, "Lord, give me more faith," don't be surprised if a trial or a test comes your way. You say, "Wait, Lord, I didn't pray for a test. I prayed for more faith". Yes, precisely. That's how your faith grows.

James One says when all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't treat them as intruders but as friends. Realize them come to test your faith and produce in you a quality of endurance. Yes, God will test our faith. Is your faith being tested? How many of you are going through a time of testing or trial right now? Raise your hand up. Okay, well, your faith is gonna grow as a result of that. Know that. Point number three, faith comes by hearing and obeying God's Word, so if you wanna get more faith, it comes by hearing and obeying God's Word. Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Now it's really hearing though. You have to pay attention. Seems like our whole country is collectively on their cell phones these days, you know? Have you noticed that when people stand in line, like I get coffee in the morning and I stand in line and there'll be people there. No one will talk to each other. Everyone just stands there and stares at their phone. Just stares at the phone, you know? Flipping, flipping, flipping on the phone and when you're talking with someone and they get a text, you're seeing and this is really important.

I wanna just, all of a sudden they go, I'll just stop. I'll go, "I'll wait till you're done". 'Cause I know you're not listening when you're reading that text 'cause some people move their lips when they read a text. Yeah. You're distracted, so I'll wait till you're done with that text from whoever it is and then we can return to our conversation. A lot of us are just distracted. I have to make a decision. I'm gonna tune into God's Word. I'm gonna give attention with intention to what the Lord is saying in his Word, so here we are. Let's listen carefully. Number four, faith can make the difference between something happening and not happening. This is a big one. Again, faith can make the difference between something happening and not happening. Remember the story of the woman who was praying for her daughter? Jesus healed her and said, "Woman, great is your faith. May it be done as you desire". Listen, when Jesus walked this earth, he healed a lot of people, right? But did he heal everyone?

Let me restate the question. Could he have healed everyone? He didn't even have to touch them. He didn't even have to see them. He could've just said, "Everyone is healed on the count of three. One, two, three, boom". Everyone ever healed. I don't know if that's the sound healing would make. Probably a better sound than that. Like bling, I don't know, but they're healed. Great, he could've done that, but he didn't. He responded to people calling out to him. Like blind Bartimaeus, who hearing Jesus was passing by, he said, "Son of David, have mercy on me". Someone said, "Shh. Don't bug Jesus". Oh yeah? Son of David, he screamed the second time. Jesus stopped, "How can I help you, sir"? "I wanna be healed". "You got it". You see, he responded to people calling out to him. Listen, the only place that Jesus was not able to do miracles was in the hometown of Nazareth because of their unbelief. I find that really interesting. He wanted to heal them, but he wouldn't heal them because of their unbelief. God is not limited by your circumstances. He's limited by your unbelief.

You say, "Oh, I've got these circumstances". No problem with God. It's your unbelief that's the problem, so we have to say, "Lord, I believe". But like that one guy who said, "But help my unbelief". You don't have to have super faith. You just have to have faith. Take as much as you have and put it out there and say, "Lord, I'm believing you for this". Faith can make the difference between something happening and not happening because without faith, according to Hebrews 11:6, it's impossible to please God. For he that comes to God must believe that he is and is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. Not every man and woman that was used by God is mentioned in the hero's hall of faith. There just wasn't enough room, but many of them are brought to our attention and they're here so different from one another. All shapes and sizes. Men and women. Young and old. Soldiers, farmers, shepherds. Hey, even a prostitute made it into the hero's hall of faith. That would be Rahab.

So, this is the work of God and we look at these stories and we say, "Wow, I don't know if that could ever happen for me in this day I'm living". 'Cause we find that the hall of faith is divided into different sections. We have the judges, that would be Gideon, Barak, and Samson. That was before Israel had a king. Then the kings, David primarily and the prophets, Samuel and Jephthah, so the point is that this is a record of the working of God over generations. Listen, the work of God is not limited to one particular time historically. Heard a story about a mom who was telling her little girl Bible stories. You know, the really exciting ones like David and Goliath and the Walls of Jericho falling and the parting of the Red Sea. The little girl said to her mom, "Mommy, God was a lot more exciting back then".

Well, listen, God's still exciting. It's just that we don't usually use the faith that we should because Jesus said he's the same yesterday, today, and forever. He wants to work in your life, if you'll take some faith and apply it. All right, so let's read about these world changers. Hebrews 11 verse 33. By faith, these people overthrew kingdoms. They ruled with justice. They received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions. They quenched the flames of fire and they escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakest was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back from death. So, if you're taking notes, here's point number one. World changers are indestructible until God is done with them. World changers, or let me insert a different word, Christians, believers, saints, us, you, me, we are indestructible until God is done with us.

Verse 33, they shut the mouths of lions. Now we're not told in particular who this is referring to, so when we think back in the Old Testament, what story do we know of a person who was in a den of lions? Do you have the answer? Yes, Esther, that's the correct answer. Esther in the lion's den. It was, no, it's Daniel. Daniel in the lion's den and how did this come about? Well, Daniel was a godly man. He lived in Israel. Babylon overcame the nation of Israel, took him into captivity. He along with his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were taken into the palace of the king and were advisors to the king. Daniel was so wise, the king came to really rely on him, which incurred the anger of other counselors to the king who became jealous and they wanted Daniel out, but they couldn't find any skeletons in his closet. There was not even a hint of scandal in his life, so they determined it had to be about him and his faith.

In fact, we read in Daniel 6:4, his enemies couldn't find anything to criticize or condemn him for because Daniel was faithful and always responsible and completely trustworthy, but they knew one thing about Daniel. They knew he prayed openly three times a day, so they got the king to unwittingly sign a decree that no one could pray to any God except him and it was made into law and Daniel knew about it. What would you do if a law was passed in our nation tomorrow that said you could no longer pray publicly? Would you still say grace over your meal in the restaurant? Would you still pray in your home? Well, Daniel did. In fact, he opened up his window. Say, you wanna see if I'm praying? Check it out. I'm gonna pray like I always do and even the king could not overrule this law and so Daniel was sent into a den of lions, but what's interesting is that night the Bible says the king was up. He couldn't sleep and Daniel slept like a baby. Probably propped his head up on one of those lions. Come over here, Simba. Your belly looks like a good pillow and I'm gonna prop my head, my feet up here on Leo over here and I'm just gonna have a nice nap. A cat nap with really big cats. Meanwhile, the king is stressed out and freaking out. He's concerned, he really liked Daniel, so he shows up the next morning. Hey, are you okay, Daniel? Did your God deliver you?

I love what Daniel said. He said, "King, my God sent his angel to shut the lion's mouth". You know, angels are very involved in the life of the believer. The Bible says that they're ministering spirits sent to minister to those who are the heirs of salvation, but angels are super undercover. They're like God's secret agents. You don't even know what they're doing or when they're doing it. They're just doing the work God has called them to do. Sometimes we wonder do we have guardian angels? I don't know, but Jesus did say speaking of children that, he said that, he says, "Don't look down on the little ones, for I tell you, in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my Father". Their angels, that's interesting. So, it makes me wonder maybe kids have guardian angels. I don't know, but I know we all have angels around us and God sent his angels to deliver Daniel and God's gonna send his angels to deliver you and you're indestructible until God is done with you, so stop freaking out about the duration of your life or what if this happens or what if that happens and just say, "I'm gonna do what I can with the time God gives me and he's gonna take care of me until he calls me home".

Number two. Go ahead and clap for that if you want to. Number two, world changers are never alone or I could just say Christians are never alone as well. Verse 34, they quench the power of fire. Of course our mind immediately raises to the friends of Daniel also in the Book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The king, Nebuchadnezzar, erected a giant statue of himself covered in gold and said, "Everyone worship this statue or you'll be thrown into a furnace of fire". They'd strike up the idol theme song and everyone would bow down, prostate before this, prostrate, not prostate. I did say prostate, prostrate. Let's just move on. That's all you remember, I know it. He said prostate, man. It's funny. Okay. Everyone bowed and they're like three sore thumbs stood out, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who wouldn't bow and I love this narrative in Daniel Three. It says they're brought before the king, who gives them another chance. "Okay, boys, I like you. I'd like you to stay in my court and still be around, but listen, you'd better bow this time". They said to him, "Look, king. If we're thrown into the blazing furnace, the God who we serve is able to save us and rescue us from your power, but even if he doesn't, we wanna make it clear to you, your Majesty, we will never bow before, nor will we serve your gods that you have set up".

The king was so royally ticked off, he gave the command to heat the furnace up seven times hotter. In fact, it was so hot, the guys that took Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to the brink of it died from the flames. That's pretty hot. Then they were thrown. The king's thinking that's the end of them. Then he looked and he couldn't believe his eyes as he saw three shadowy figures and then a fourth walking about like it was a Sunday stroll in the park and the king says, "Wait, I threw three into the furnace and there's a fourth one who looks like the Son of God". Now in fairness, that could also be translated as son of the gods. Nebuchadnezzar probably thought it was some mystical deity. He didn't know who it was. I believe it was Jesus Christ walking around with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the furnace of fire.

Maybe you're in a fiery trial right now. Maybe you're in the hot waters of temptation. You know, it's been said Christians are a lot like tea bags. You don't know what they're made of until you put them in hot water. Are you in hot water right now? You shouldn't usually clap for that, but it's okay I guess. I'll take anything you wanna give. But the Lord was with them and the Lord's with you. God walks with us through our trials. Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you, even to the end of the age". A very familiar and oft quoted passage and a wonderful one is Isaiah 43:2 where God says, "When you pass through the waters, I'll be with you. When you pass through the rivers, they'll not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you'll not be burned and the flames will not set you ablaze". So, when they survived the fiery furnace, the king changed his tune. How did they do it? The key to their courage and calmness in the fire was their companion and who was that companion? It was the Lord who is with you as well.

Number three, world changers apply their faith and they pray. World changers apply their faith and they pray. Verse 35, women received their loved ones back from the dead. This is probably a reference to Elijah and or Elisha, both who raised the dead. God led the prophet Elijah to storm into the Court of Ahab, the king of Israel, ruling with his wicked wife, Jezebel, and give the decree there will not be rain on the land but according to my word and then the Lord directed Elijah to go to a widow who was very poor. He said, "I want you to go and stay with her". So he shows up. "Ma'am, would you give me a place to stay? I can take the apartment over the garage and I would really appreciate it if you could give me some food". She's like, "I don't really have that much food. I have just enough for me and my son". "Just go ahead and we'll see what God does". Every day when she'd prepare food, there was always enough for her and her son and the prophet and so this is a wonderful illustration of how when we give to the Lord, God gives back to us as well, but one day her son got sick and then he got worse and then he finally died. Her life as she knew it effectively ended.

Now she has not only lost her husband. She was a widow, but she also has lost her son and she accused Elijah. "Why did you even come to my house? Things were better when you weren't here". He didn't rebuke her. He just took the limp body of her dead son and prayed for him and raised him up again. Here's you boy back. Listen, even death doesn't stop a world changer. You look at a guy like Elijah and say, "It's kind of hard to relate to a guy like that". I mean, he calls fire down from heaven. He stops the rain. He raises boys from the dead. Yes, but yet we're told in James Elijah was a man just like us. Yet when he prayed earnestly, no rain would fall. None fell for three and a half years. He was just like you. Let me illustrate. After Elijah faced off with the prophets of Baal up on Mount Carmel and prayed and fire came from heaven, Queen Jezebel said, "I'm gonna kill you for that". He ran away and he was terrified and he was so depressed he said, "I just wanna die". An angel of the Lord shows up and says, "You need to eat a sandwich now".

I'm loosely paraphrasing, but not that much. An angel of the Lord shows up and says, "You know what, buddy? You need to just eat, okay? Just eat, have a nice meal. Have a nice little nap and get up and go back and serve the Lord again". I love that 'cause sometimes it's so practical. Angels protect us. Sometimes they guide us and sometimes they hook us up with lunch, whatever you need. You know, they're there for you. But my wife tells me that when I'm hungry, I get cranky. You're hungry. How do you know I'm hungry? Because of the way you just said that. What? So she throws a sandwich at me. And I catch it with my mouth. Swallow it in one gulp just like a dog, it's awesome. No, I made that up, but he was a guy just like us, but God used him and all of them were people just like us. Again, David was a teenage shepherd boy when he took on Goliath. Again, Gideon, a frightened farmer when called by the Lord. Samson apart from God's power was weak like any other man. The Bible doesn't say he was some muscular dude. It just says the spirit of God would come upon him and he would do these amazing things. That's the God that did it and listen to this.

A very important verse, verse 34. These believers were strong in battle. Notice that strong in battle. Underline the word in. In, it doesn't say they were strong before battle. They were strong in battle. I bring this up to simply point out this. God will give you what you need when you need it. See, sometimes you look at someone who's suffering and you visit them in the hospital. Maybe they have cancer. Maybe they're at death's door and they have faith and they encourage you and share things the Lord has shown them from the Word of God and you walk out and say, "Man, that person has so much faith. I would never have faith like that. I could never trust God like they're trusting God". Or someone loses a child and you see how they face each day. I could never do that.

Well, wait a second. God gave them what they needed when they needed it and God hasn't given you that same measure of grace if you will because you don't necessarily need it, but God will always give you what you need when you need it. Not necessarily before, but never after. Now we shift gears in our study in world changers to a second group. They're a little different from the first. They too had faith. They too trusted God, but they didn't get through their fires and their Red Seas did not part from them. They did not have their dead restored. In fact, this group of world changers suffered greatly and honestly, many of them died, so we read this and we say, "Well, they were losers". No, they weren't. They were winners too. You see, the first group of world changers glorified God through escaping like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the second group of world changers glorified God by enduring. Listen, I don't determine what things are gonna come my way in life I don't determine what challenges, what hardships, what difficulties will come my way. All I determine is how I will react to those things when they come.

Let's look at this second group now. Hebrews 11 Verse 35. Others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They place their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prison. Some died by stoning. Some were sawn in half and others were killed with a sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats and they were destitute and oppressed and mistreated of whom the world was not worthy. That's why I gave that title to this message. Of whom the world was not worthy. In other words, they were too good for this world. Wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground, these people earned a good reputation because of their faith. Yet none of them received all that God had promised, for God had something better in mind for us so that they would not reach perfection without us.

Point number four, you may not like this one. World changers are often not appreciated and instead are often persecuted. Let me say that again. World changers or Christians are not often appreciated and instead are often persecuted. According to Jewish tradition, the prophet Isaiah was sawed in half with a wooden saw. There's a reference to someone being sawed in half. Persecution is alive and well, folks, all around the world. Our Christian brothers and sisters suffer. They suffer in nations like North Korea and China and Russia and of course Islamic countries that treat them horribly, even execute them if they profess faith in Christ. ISIS is known for atrocities that are on the level of what Old and New Testament believers faced. It's a horrible thing. Persecution is happening and the Bible says all that live godly in Jesus Christ will suffer persecution. That's a promise we rarely claim, right? When's the last time you asked for that promise to be fulfilled? We'll claim promises of protection or promises of provision.

Well, when's the last time you said, "Lord, you promised if I live a godly life, I'll be persecuted, so bring it on". No, you don't pray that, nor do I, why? Who wants to be persecuted? Persecution can show itself in many ways. It can be physical. It can be the taking of a life, the threatening of a life. It can come in other ways. It can be verbal. It can be people mocking you or marginalizing you or insulting you because of your faith in Jesus Christ, but it is gonna come, but here's what Jesus says you should do when you're persecuted. He said, "Blessed are they," or happy would be a better translation, "happy are they which are persecuted for righteousness's sake, for they're just like the prophets that went before them". Happy are they that are persecuted for righteousness's sake. Please let's make sure we get persecuted for the right reasons. Far too often we're persecuted for the wrong reasons.

Jesus did not say, "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all men are of evil because you're just obnoxious and mean". 'Cause if you're that, you're getting persecuted for being obnoxious and mean. Let it be because you're a godly man, a godly woman, but persecution will come and it came to these believers. Now we can ask this question. We look at the first part of Hebrews 11 and look how God delivered people. There was suffering involved, but ultimately they were delivered. Joseph, yeah, faced some difficulties, but he got out of that prison and was put into a position of great authority. David was preserved by the Lord and yet, now we're reading about people being sawn in half and beheaded and tortured and we say, "Wait a second, this doesn't seem fair. It's not fair". We're like little children. It's not fair. I have five grandkids and I've found one thing. If I buy them a gift, it has to be even steven, right?

Now the girls, you know, it's simple. If I get them a necklace, I get them all the same necklace. I don't even vary a little 'cause if I get one necklace that's different, somehow in their minds that's the better necklace. It might even be less expensive, that's the better one, so they're all the same, all the same color, the same. But then I have a grandson and can't get him that, so I have to get him something kind of equal too and you know, the kids now, they know what the price tags mean. They look, they know value, you know? If I get something for one that they perceive as favoritism, "Papa," they say, "that's not fair". We say the same thing to God. Lord, that's not fair that that person gets that and I don't. You know, Lord, why? Why don't I have that, why am I single when all my friends are married? Why can't my wife and I conceive children when others have so many? Why did my child go prodigal when another's child did not? Why do I have this horrible illness when all of my friends are so healthy? Why did my child die?

The list goes on and by the way, I'm speaking now from experience. I understand these questions. You know, we don't know why things happen to us and sometimes it's said, "Oh, you should never ask God why. That's a lack of faith". No, it isn't. Ask away. Ask God why, don't expect an answer, but ask if you like. Even Jesus cried out from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? I look at my life and God blessed us with two boys and one is in heaven and one is here on earth serving the Lord and we're very proud of Johnathan who's not only walking strong with Christ, but he's a pastor at our church now and so we're thrilled by that, but yet we wish our other son was with us right now and I think sometimes people want me to say, "You know, it's great, we love the way it turned out". No, I'm not happy with it actually and if I could change it, I'd change it in a heartbeat, but you know what? I don't get to make that decision.

So, are you saying you're disappointed with God? Absolutely not. My faith in the Lord remains and it grows stronger each and every year. I trust him and I look to him. Doesn't mean I like it, but I know he's in control and I know his plans for me are better than my plans for myself and I know one day all of my questions will be answered 'cause I'll say, "We've suffered, we've lost a child". But then I'll meet parents who've lost children and by the way, I meet many of them all the time. I mean, if I do any post on my Facebook page, I'll get so many responses, it's mind-blowing and I have people come up to me and they'll say, "We lost a child, we wanna talk to you". And I don't feel like I have the answers for these folks, but I think at least to some degree I understand a little bit of what they're going through and I'll listen to them, but you know what? I'm not in the explaining business anymore.

I was in the explaining business in my 20s when I was starting out in ministry. I was an awesome 20-year-old pastor. I had long hair. I was skinny. I could eat whatever I wanted and I had the answer to every question you had. I had a verse and I'd give it to you and tell you why you should trust God. Now in my 40s, without hair and more years than that, I'm not in the explaining business anymore. Now I feel like I'm more in the trusting and praying business where I'm trusting that God will answer those questions one day and I'm praying for strength and that's what I share with other people. No, we don't control our circumstances. We control our reaction to our circumstances. You see, going back to people that God touched, like the son of the widow that Elijah raised up from the dead or the daughter of the woman who came to Jesus or Lazarus or anybody else. They were raised from the dead or they were sick and they were healed. That's great, but guess what? They still died. Poor Lazarus had to die twice.

That's kind of a lousy deal if you ask me. Oh great, I get to die twice? Yeah, because everybody dies. You see, that happens and so it doesn't mean that God's not in control. It means that there is a beginning, middle, and end to this thing that we call life. Coming back to an earlier point, we're indestructible until God is done with us, but when God is done with us, we're out of here. So, it really is not helpful to stress out about when that day is. It may be a long ways away. It may be closer, but listen, if you've put your faith in Jesus Christ, you don't have to be afraid of even death because Christ conquered death at the cross when he rose again from the dead. Yeah, the angels are there protecting us, but the angels will also usher us to heaven when our day is done. We read about Lazarus who died and the Bible says the angels ushered him into God's presence. I love that.

So, the Lord will finish this work he's begun. Look at verse 35, then we'll close. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. There's a better life coming, folks, if you've put your faith in Jesus. We call it the afterlife and if you know Christ in a personal way, you know that you will go into his presence and you will live on and on and on forever and God will restore what you lost on this earth, so whatever you have lost, he'll make it up to you. He'll more than make it up to you, but until that day, walk with him. But let me close in asking this. Are there some of you here that don't have this relationship with God? Are there some of you listening right now to me that can't say with certainty that you'll go to heaven when you die? Wouldn't you like to change that? Wouldn't you like to know with certainty that your sin is forgiven? Wouldn't you like to have a second chance on life? Wouldn't you like to be sure that when life ends you'll go right into God's presence?

You can have it by believing in Jesus Christ, who I said died on that cross for you and then rose again from the dead and now stands at the door of your life and he knocks and he says, "If you'll hear his voice, then open the door". He'll come in. You say, "Well, how do I open the door? Is there a little door in my heart, really little door"? Like that? No. It's a metaphor, but the idea is that Christ will come and live inside of you. That's what really being a Christian is. You have Christ in you. You'll never be alone in life again and he'll come into your life right now if you'll ask him. We're gonna close in prayer and I'm going to extend an invitation for you to believe in Jesus and have your sin forgiven and know with certainty you'll go to heaven when you die. Let's all pray:

Father. Thank you for loving us so much you sent Jesus to live that perfect life and to die that perfect death on the cross and to rise again from the dead. I pray for any here that do not yet know you, any that are watching that don't know you. Help them to come to you now and believe we would pray.

Now when our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying together, how many of you would say today, "Greg, I want Jesus Christ in my life. I want him to forgive me of my sin. I wanna know that I'll go to heaven when I die. Pray for me, I want Jesus right now". If that's your desire wherever you're sitting, would you raise your hand up and let me pray for you? Saying, "I want Jesus, I want my sin forgiven. I wanna go to heaven when I die". Raise your hand up high. Let me pray for you right now, God bless you. God bless you, anybody else? Raise your hand up, I can see you. God bless you, God bless you. Anybody else, raise your hand up now. "I need a second chance on life," you're saying. "I need to know God in a personal way. I need Jesus in my life". God bless you.

Some of you are watching this screen. Of course I can't see you, but the Lord does and I'd ask you even to take that little step of faith and just raise your hand up and say, "Yes, I want Jesus right now". He'll respond to that prayer. Now all of you that have raised your hand, I want you to pray a simple prayer after me and this is where you're asking Christ to come into your life. Again, as I pray, pray this after me. In fact, you can even pray it out loud if you like. Pray this after me now, these words.

Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Come into my life, Jesus. I choose to follow you from this moment forward as Savior and Lord, as God and friend and I ask this now in Jesus' name. Amen.

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