Greg Laurie - The Jesus Revolution
Today, the title of my message is the Jesus Revolution 58 AD. The Jesus Movement. Now when we hear those words our minds race back to the late '60s, early '70s to the last great spiritual awakening in America. It's amazing really, because in the middle of the drug revolution, and the sexual revolution, God sent a Jesus revolution. And by the way, we didn't call it that. That's what Time magazine dubbed this move of God back in the day. We called it the Jesus Movement. We called ourselves Jesus people. Some people called us Jesus freaks. We didn't really care. Still don't care. But Time magazine came up with this title. And I thought it was a really good description because they recognized this was a revolution among people, especially young people.
What is a revolution? It's a word that means upheaval and change. But it's also a word that means to turn around or to rotate, to return to something. It was returning to the first Jesus revolution. When was that? Well that was also in the late '50s, early '60s. But it was around 58 AD. So a long time ago. That's when Jesus showed up and started the revolution. That's when Jesus began his ministry, died on the cross for our sin, rose again from the dead, and ascended to Heaven. So I want to focus on the first Jesus revolution. Back in that revolution, there were no bell-bottoms. But there was long hair, beards, and sandals you see. So there was some similarities. Mighty Rome was ruling the planet and they succeeded in killing the very Son of God.
That does not mean that we're placing the responsibility for the death of Jesus on the Romans, though they played a part in it. Nor are we playing the responsibility for the death of Jesus on the Jewish people or the religious leaders, though they played a part in it. If you want to get technical, if you're looking for someone to blame for the death of Jesus, look no further than right here. It's my fault. It's your fault. It's our fault. Because we all sinned against God. And God needed an acceptable sacrifice. And so he sent his own son. And by the way, the son willingly went to the cross to die for our sin. So I guess you could even say it's God's fault. Because the Bible says, it pleased the Father to bruise him. God took no delight in putting the punishment for our sins upon his son. But his righteous demands had to be met. And they were met in the death of Jesus. And Christ said, it is finished.
And finished were the righteous demands of God. But the man in charge was Roman governor Pontius Pilate doing the bidding of Rome. And they killed him by crucifying him. The Romans did not invent crucifixion. The Carthaginians did. But the Romans, shall we say, perfected it, took it to another level, made it more painful, more horrific, actually used it as a form of torture. And also used crucified men lining the streets leading into Roman cities to be a warning for anyone who would dare defy the power of Rome. Yeah, so that is how our Lord came to be put to death. It was Rome that persecuted the early church, especially under Caesar Nero. And ultimately, Rome was defeated, interestingly as we've looked at Daniel, not by another military power. Babylon was defeated by the Mita Persians. The Mita Persians were defeated by the Greeks. The Greeks were defeated by the Romans and the Romans were defeated by no one in particular. They just eventually collapsed beneath their own weight. And the church that they persecuted prevailed. And that's because the early church did not defeat Rome militarily, but they out-prayed them, and they out-lived them.
Now we come to a letter that the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome. Paul did not start this church but he was writing to them. Now let me ask you a question. Can you think of maybe the most important letter you've ever received? And by the way, I think we've lost the art of letter writing, have we not? You know, because I have letters that I've saved for years. Letters written to me by people that I appreciate or love. Or cards drawn by my children and grandchildren. I save everything, okay. 'Cause those are precious memories to me. And it's fun to dig out a card or a letter and read it. Nowadays, I can't even read my own writing. I usually have very legible writing. And now I write something, I go what did I even write there? 'Cause I type pretty much everything. And so letters are a precious commodity. Paul wrote a letter to Rome.
I remember probably one of the most important letters I ever received was when I was a little boy. And I was a budding cartoonist. That's what I wanted to do with my life, to have a cartoon strip. I had my own cartoon characters and I sort of lived in this little alternate world. And I started corresponding with Charles M. Schulz. Ever heard of him? The creator of Peanuts. Now he was at the peak of his popularity in the '60s when I was writing him. And he was so kind to write me back. And I would send him a letter and expect a response. And I would get. I choke up thinking about it, no um. And amazingly this famous cartoonist took the time to write me. I asked him stupid questions. I asked him to critique my art like he didn't have something else to do. And then even more, I asked him for free stuff. I said, can I have an original piece of art that you use in the strip? And he sent it to me. And I lost it. And the other day I was in some hotel and they had like an art gallery, and they had original art by Shulz, and they had one of those original cartoon strips. It was worth thousands of dollars. And I looked at it and in the immortal words of Homer Simpson, I said, doh. He was so kind though sending me signed things. Very generous man.
And I remember I would get that letter from him. It had a little drawing of Charlie Brown on the outside, his name Charles M. Schulz. And he lived at Coffee Lane, Sebastopol, California. I thought, ooh Coffee Lane. It just sounded so mysterious. And I have one of these letters at home addressed to Greg Laurie, 777 Avocado Street, Newport Beach, California. We lived in some apartments there. And I would get this letter, a letter from Charles M. Schulz. I'd open it up, I'd read it, I'd re-read it again. It was like a letter from Heaven.
Well you know what, the book of Romans actually is a letter from Heaven to all of us written by Paul Now Paul, of course, was not always the great apostle. He used to be the notorious Christian killer, Saul of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus was a very intelligent man. He became a scholar and advanced quickly. He was born in Tarsus, which was a very important city in the Roman world because it was famous for its university, which ranked among those in Athens and Alexandria as one of the most honored in the Roman world. And it also gave him Roman citizenship, which was not easy to come by. But he was taught in the ways of the Greeks. But he was also schooled under the great master teacher, Gamaliel, who was called the teacher's teacher, on the steps outside of the city of Jerusalem.
So he's schooled in the way of scripture. He knows the culture and teaching of the Greeks. He knows the laws and the ways of Rome. And he was a deeply religious man. He decided to become a Pharisee, which was a relatively small group of people, who were super-devoted to their faith. And even more, he decided to become a member of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin were sort of like the supreme court of their day. It might have been a little easier to become a member of the Sanhedrin back then than it is now to become a member of the supreme court. That's another subject for another time. But here is Saul of Tarsus now. He's a young man. He's climbed the corporate ladder, if you will, risen in the ranks, a scholar, an intelligent man, a religious man. But interestingly, a hateful man. Because he heard about this new group, this sect. They probably regarded it as a cult. These errant Jews who followed this Jesus of Nazareth. I thought he was killed and dealt with. Oh no, they say he's alive and their numbers are growing. Oh are they, thought Saul of Tarsus.
Well I'll take care of that. I'll hunt them down and kill them. And in fact, Saul of Tarsus presided over the death of the first martyr of the church, Stephen. And I believe on that day when Stephen was stoned for his faith that a seed was sown in the heart of Saul. Because we read in Acts 7:59, as they stoned him, Stephen prayed, Lord Jesus receive my spirit. He fell to his knees shouting, Lord don't charge them with this sin. And with that, he died. And so Saul, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit said I'm gonna hunt Christians down. I'm not happy to just confine them in Jerusalem. He got special extradition orders to find them wherever they were. And he was leaving town and he was on the Damascus road and he had an unexpected encounter with Jesus. Jesus personally encountered Saul of Tarsus and said these words. Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?
Interesting. Jesus did not say, why are you persecuting my people. He said, why are you persecuting me? Because when people oppose God's people or persecute Christians, they're actually at war with God himself. And then Saul thought, who is this that's speaking to me? He says, who are you Lord? And Saul's probably thinking, don't say Jesus, don't say Jesus, don't say Jesus. And then Jesus said, I am Jesus. Echo chamber. Whom you are persecuting. The hardened, wicked Saul said Lord, what do you want me to do? And he surrendered. His conversion was so unexpected, the people in the church didn't believe it when he was brought into their church. Hey look who came to the Lord. Ah, what are you lettin' him in here for? He'll arrest us. I mean, can you imagine? This is like the most unimaginable person coming to Christ, right? But no one is beyond the reach of God.
Would it shock you if I said, hey I'm gonna invite our brother in Christ, Howard Stern, to come out and lead us in prayer? What, Howard Stern, that's not even possible. Hey Bill Maher's gonna teach a message next week from the book of Romans. Oh, Lady Gaga's gonna lead us in worship. It's gonna be awesome. No see the point is oh you think, oh that's silly. Those people, why do you laugh? You don't think God can't reach them? God can reach anyone. If he could reach Saul of Tarsus, he can reach anybody else, anywhere. And so, that brings us now to my first point if you're taking notes. 'Cause we're talking about a Jesus revolution. And I'm gonna share with you five ways to start a Jesus revolution in your own life looking at what we see in the first part of Romans. Number one, if you want to experience a personal Jesus revolution, you need to humble yourself. If you want to experience a personal Jesus revolution, or a revival, you need to humble yourself.
2 Chronicles 7:14 again. God says of my people which are called by my name will what? Humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways. Then I'll hear from Heaven forgive their sin and heal their land. Humble themselves. So Saul changes his name to Paul. What did Saul mean? Saul was a name that meant requested one, asked for. So if you're gonna throw a party, you invite Saul. Don't forget to invite Saul. Better call Saul, right? 'Cause he's the one. He's the popular one. He's the powerful one. He's the requested one. Saul says, yeah I'm not that guy anymore. So he becomes Paul. What does Paul mean? It means little or humble. Little or humble. You know today, it's of course a popular name. We name our sons after apostles. Peter, James, Paul, John. You know, in the day, Caesar was the name above all names. Now we name our sons after apostles and we name our dogs after Caesar. Or maybe our salad. I like Caesar salad by the way. Hold the anchovies, no kale. Okay so. He's a humble man. He's a humble man who's been brought low by God. And he wants to serve God.
So he wants to write this letter to Rome. But he's never been to Rome before. But he wants to go to Rome. And so his original plan was to make a journey to Spain and then to Rome. But he needed to take an offering to the poor believers living in Jerusalem. But when he arrived there, he was arrested and put in prison for two years. So he invoked his right as a Roman citizen and said, I appeal to Caesar. So they released him from prison, put him on a boat going to Rome and the boat was shipwrecked. Man, talk about having a bad period in your life. And the Bible actually says in Acts that they got on the little pieces of wood and rode them into shore, which I think is the first case of surfing anywhere historically. No, it didn't start in Hawaii. It started in the book of Acts. 'Cause surely, if you're riding a board into the shore, someone had to stand up, right? Just even for a moment. Just for a moment.
So he finally gets to Rome. But then he's put into prison in Rome for two years, bringing me to point number two. When you're having a personal Jesus revolution, you'll go where God wants you to go. Sometimes I feel God wants us to do something that we're not able to do. Don't fret about what you can do. Do what you can do. Don't fret about what you can't do. Do what you can do. David wanted to build a temple for the Lord. He thought, why should God dwell in a tent, a tabernacle? Let's build him a temple. Hey, I live in a palace. God should have a palace better than mine. So David started putting it together, drawing up the plans. And the Lord showed him through the prophet, sorry buddy, you're a man of war. You can't build this house. So David did everything he could. He drew up plans, gathered materials, lined up the work crew, and he had his son Solomon build the temple. The point is simply this. He did what God wanted him to do. Sometimes we want to do a certain thing and God says, no I want you to do another thing. And then while we're doing the other thing, the Lord opens the door for that thing we originally wanted to do. The main thing is you go where God tells you to go. You do what God tells you to do.
Going back to what Paul said when he was Saul. Lord, what do you want me to do? So he writes them a letter, a letter to Christians living in Rome. Rome at this moment in time was the cultural and governmental center of the planet. Her population was around one million. And by the way, many of the people who lived there were slaves. 'Cause the Romans would conquer territories, take people into slavery, and make them build all these structures, and do the work that they didn't want to do. The Roman world was very impressive. You had all the temples to the Roman gods. Jupiter, Saturn, Apollo, Nike. That's a God. It was just a giant shoe. No it wasn't. But that's where they got the name by the way. But anyway, all these temples. And then there was the Hippodrome. The Hippodrome is where they had the chariot races. Then there was the Colosseum. And that's where they entertained the citizens of Rome and they had their gladiator matches. And it's also where many Christians lost their lives as they were fed to wild animals and such.
So that was Rome, this powerful kingdom of the day. And the Romans built a road system to most of the world that they had conquered, the Roman roads. So they would send their armies on those roads to enforce peace, so-called. It was called Pax Romana. Pax Romana was a forced peace. You submit to Rome or you pay the price. And so it was on these very roads that the Romans built for conquest that God used for the apostles to walk in to conquer the world with the gospel. So God uses all kinds of things for his glory. So here now is Rome in all of its power. And God directs Paul to write them a letter. You know, it's been said that all roads lead to Rome. Well it could also be said, all roads lead to Romans. It's such a significant book. It's been defined as the gospel taught to believers.
Point number three, studying the book of Romans can bring a personal Jesus revolution in your life. That's why we're doing this together. Studying the book of Romans can bring a personal Jesus revolution, a revival in your life. Let me give you a few examples. Years ago, there was a young man named Augustine. He was raised in a Christian home by his godly mother. But he rebelled and he moved to Rome to live a carefree life. He was into drinking, and partying, and sex. In fact, he got a young girl pregnant. He had a son with her. He was living in rebellion against God. But he was empty and he was searching. And one day Augustine heard a child singing like a little song with the words, take and read. And Augustine thought that was a message to God from him. So he rushed over. He found a Bible. He opened it up and it fell to Romans 13:13 which says we should be true in everything we do and not participate in wild parties, and getting drunk, or in adultery, and immoral living, or fighting and jealousy. But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of your life. And don't think of ways to indulge your evil desires. And Augustine committed his life to Christ. And he went on to be one of the greatest leaders in the history of the church.
Now fast forward many years. There was a German monk named Martin Luther. He wanted to know God. He wanted to please God. But he could not reach God through all of the rituals of the Catholic church. And he read a verse from Romans chapter one, verse 17, that says the just shall live by faith. And like a lightning bolt from Heaven, Luther realized salvation came by faith in Christ and Christ alone. It changed his life and he went on to lead a modern revival in his day.
Then fast forward many more years. It was a missionary named John Wesley. He sailed across the sea to reach the American Indians. The problem was, Wesley wasn't a believer yet. And after returning to England he said quote, "I went to save the Indians, but who will save me"? End quote. So one night Wesley is walking along the streets there in England and he comes across a little church, and the pastor was reading the commentary written by Martin Luther on the book of Romans. And Wesley says quote, "My heart was strangely warm". End quote. And Wesley came to Christ and he went on to be a part of a great revival in England.
Fast forward many more years. There's a middle-aged pastor. His church isn't all that large. He's wondering what to teach from his pulpit next. He heard if he taught the book of Romans that people would really enjoy it. So he decided to teach verse by verse through the book of Romans. But what he discovered was the book transformed him. His name was Chuck Smith. Chuck said quote, "I really discovered grace. I'd been trying to serve God by works. I've been trying so hard to do everything right and obligate God to bless me. Then I began to realize that God's goodness and blessings were on the basis of what God had already done". God was preparing Chuck because he left that church, went down to Orange County, and became the pastor of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, and in short order, the Jesus Movement happened. So you see, God has used the book of Romans to bring revival historically.
Swiss commentator, F. Godet, wrote that in all probability, every great spiritual revival in the church will be connected as effect and cause with a deeper understanding of this book. So let's pray that God brings revival to you, and to me, and to us as we study the book of Romans together. 'Cause it's a significant, powerful book. Why study Romans? Answer, because Romans is the most basic comprehensive statement of what the gospel is in the Bible. Again, Romans is the most basic comprehensive statement of what the gospel is in the Bible. Because in Romans 3:23 we read, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That's why Christ came. And this is important 'cause people to this day still say, man is basically good. No, actually man is not basically good. If we learn nothing else from the book of Romans, you'll find out that man is not good. Man is bad. He is bah-bah-bah-bah-bah bad. He's bad to the bone, trust me. I hope you know that about yourself already and everybody else.
So yes, we're sinful. But Romans also offers a solution to that sin. Romans 6:23 says, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Romans 5:8, God demonstrated his own love for us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And then of course Romans 10:23. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. It's all there in Romans. In the book of Romans, we learn how to know the will of God. Do any of you want to know God's will for your life? You've been praying about that? It's in Romans chapter 12, verses one and two. Paul says, I urge you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, present your bodies, or your total personalities to God as a living sacrifice, wholly and acceptable, which is your reasonable service. Don't be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may know what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. God will reveal his will to you if you will present yourself to him.
And then if you will not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You know how you're gonna have your mind renewed? By reading the word of God. It will clean your brain up. We all need a good brain washing. Not in the way you may understand that. But having your mind and your thoughts cleansed by the word of God. And so that's all here in Romans. And it's also in Romans that I understand that God can make everything work for his glory, right? Romans 8:28, we all know that one. For we know that all things work together for good to those that love God and are the called according to his purpose. What a book this is. All right, so let's dig in. Romans chapter one. I'm gonna read a few verses to you. Paul, a bondservant, you might underline the word bondservant, of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God, which he promised through his prophets in the holy scripture, concerning His Son Jesus Christ, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all the nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.
You might underline that, we'll come back to it. To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. You might underline that too. Grace be to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all. So Paul was southern, see. He thanks Jesus Christ for it ya'll, all ya'll. That your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, verse nine, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. We'll stop there. Point number four. If you want a personal Jesus revolution, learn how to be a servant. Look at verse one. Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ. This is significant. 'Cause he was the great one. He was the desired one. He was the educated one. Now he's just Paul, humble, small. And he calls himself a bondservant. Yes he's an apostle, but a bondservant.
Now with all the slaves in Rome, he was in a way speaking their language. See, a bondservant was someone who was a slave, who had been freed by his master, but then went on to voluntarily continue in service as a slave. Or a special category, a bondservant. Paul says, I'm a bondservant of Jesus. I love to do this. It is my choice to do this and I want to do this. You know, if only we could discover the joy of serving others. Conventional wisdom is everyone should serve me. Conventional wisdom is I'm entitled. You owe me. Take care of me. I don't want to work. I don't want to apply myself. I just want everything to come my way. And biblical teaching says no. Put the needs of others first. Serve others. And here's the little secret many of us miss. There is great joy in serving people. In fact there's more joy in serving than there is in being served. Even Jesus said he did not come to be served but to serve.
Did you know that studies have been done that show that serving others brings personal happiness? Americans that describe themselves as very happy volunteer at least five hours a month. One study showed that older individuals who volunteered at least 200 hours a year decreased their risk of hypertension by a whopping 40%. Studies have also shown that those that help others live longer. Learn to serve. That's why we're always encouraging you. Get involved here at the church. Serve in some way, shape, or form. You know, we have needs everywhere. We needs hundreds of people to help us do what we do every single Sunday. From teaching the kids in Sunday school, to assisting those who teach, to helping people find seats, or finding a place to park your car, or serving you when you make a commitment to Christ. The list just goes on, and on, and on. So many volunteers. But I know that they're blessed. And I want you to become one of them so you can be blessed as well. Verse one, he's called to be an apostle.
Listen, every Christian is called to do or be something for God's glory. Let me say that again. Every Christian is called to do or be something for God's glory. In verse six Paul says, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ. I think sometime we think people who are in what we might call professional ministry are sort of the elite. Oh, he's the pastor. Oh, he's an assisting pastor. Oh, they work at the church. Oh, they're a worship leader, or they're a missionary. They're really serving God. I'm just out here in the regular old workforce. I can't bring glory to God. Oh yes you can. Every Christian can and must bring glory to God. That's my number one priority, to know God and bring glory to his name. My number two priority is to be a good husband, and a good father, and a good grandfather. By the way, that's even before my ministry as a pastor. Because if I'm not a good husband, father, how good of a pastor could I actually be?
So we have to keep our priorities in order. But then we have our calling. And God gives his gifts to every believer. In Romans we read, we being many are one body in Christ, every one members, one of another, having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us. I already told you, I never wanted to be a preacher. Do you believe me when I say that? I wanted to be a cartoonist like Charles M. Schulz. And I wanted to live at Coffee Lane too. 'Cause it sounded cool. But you see that was not what God had in store for me. In fact, it's funny because I mentioned to someone some years ago, I was a cartoonist. And they said, well good because my car's broken. Can you fix it? Oh no, I'm not that kind of car-tune-ist. I draw silly drawings on paper. I can't tune a car. In fact, I'm the last guy you want looking under your hood 'cause it'll be a sad result for sure. No you don't need Greg, a preacher by the will of God. You need Jack, an auto mechanic by the will of God to help you with that particular problem.
I received a letter from a guy to our radio ministry. He said I wanted to thank you for your messages. I was working for FedEx. And one day, hearing your program, I prayed the prayer with you and accepted Christ into my life. I remember the feeling. It was awesome. I'll never forget you said tell someone and I did. I would tell anyone that would listen. I even told some people that wouldn't listen. And I remember the feeling and the realization that I was finally doing what I was meant to be doing. I love that. And then he says, I started volunteering more and more. I shared with everyone. Eventually I went back to school and became a pastor. Then last year, we left our comfort zone. I started a ministry through our church. We currently run the Up and Running Auto Repair Ministry, in Olympia, Washington, and we're reaching people in a unique way. And if I hadn't taken that first step by accepting Christ, I wouldn't be able to tell people.
So I love that. Here's a guy using this skillset to repair cars. 'Cause you know, when your car's broken, you don't need a sermon, you need your car working again, right? Or let's say you're having issues with your teeth. You need David, a dentist by the will of God. You don't want me in there with a drill, trust me. And I went to the dentist recently. They did quite a few things to me and I was slightly terrified because I hadn't been for a while, and I hate those drills. And they say it won't hurt but it always hurts. But it didn't hurt, thank God, hallelujah. And he's a believer. And he glorifies God with that skillset. A business can glorify God, a businessman rather, and a business. You know, that can be a calling from the Lord. There's a man named Steve Green, and his wife is Jackie, and they run Hobby Lobby. Ever heard of Hobby Lobby? So I actually interviewed them because they wrote a book about the Bible. And they're very successful at business. They make a lot of money. And they also donate millions and millions of dollars to ministries around the world. And they built the museum of the Bible in Washington DC that you can go and visit now.
And I think that's fantastic. You can go to our nation's capital and see all these monuments and other things. And now we have a museum of the Bible. And they've taken their abilities and used them for God's glory. So maybe you're not called to preach but you can make money. That's a gift. Use that for God's glory as well. Whatever you're called to do. Paul says, verse one, I separated unto the gospel. What does that mean? Gospel means good news. By the way it doesn't mean good advice. Jesus did not come to improve our life. He came to save our life. Again to reiterate, if we learn nothing else from the book of Romans, we learn we're sinful. This is good news. And then verse seven, called to be saints. Have you ever wondered what a saint looks like? Look no further, here I am. I'm a living, breathing saint. You might say, well I'm pretty disappointed. Well guess what, I'm looking at a bunch of living, breathing saints right now. All ya'll. We're all saints. 'Cause what is a saint? It's not a person who's performed a miracle or two, or a person that lives a perfect life. A saint is just another word for a believer.
So when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you become a bonafide, legitimate, biblical saint. You don't have to call me Saint Gregory. But you can if you want. I heard about a little boy that liked to admire the stained glass windows at his church depicting Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint John. One day he was in Sunday school and the teacher asked, who are the saints? The little boy said, they're people that the light shines through. Yeah he had that right. So when God's light shines through you, you're a saint. Okay, one last point and we'll close. If you want a personal Jesus revolution, you need to learn how to pray. If you want a personal Jesus revolution, a revival, you need to learn how to pray. Look at verse nine. God as my witness whom I serve with my spirit and the gospel of his Son that without ceasing, I make mention of you always in my prayers. The thing about prayer is it puts me in touch with God.
Here's the question. When things are going reasonably well, if there's no crisis, no problem on the horizon, do we pray as much as we ought to as Christians? I'll personalize that and answer it for you. Do I pray as much as I ought to as a Christian? Ready for the answer? No I don't. I could pray a lot more. And I think some of you would probably say the same thing. We could pray a lot more. And so when crisis hits, what's our first inclination? It is to say God, take this problem away. And sometimes he does, doesn't he? And then other times he doesn't take it away. But the reality is, that problem, that difficulty keeps me in touch with God. It keeps me dependent upon God. And it keeps me praying without ceasing. I mean Paul says, without ceasing, I make mention of you always in my prayers. And then we're told in scripture, pray without ceasing for this is the will of God and Jesus Christ concerning you. It's like, how is that even possible? Pray without ceasing? I have a life. I have to go to work. I have to drive in the freeway to get to work. I have to do a lot of things in life. I can't just pray all day. Why not? It doesn't mean you have to be on your knees with your eyes closed. You can do it that way. It's not just a prayer before a meal or a prayer with other believers. It's just living in prayer, living in communion with God.
And I love how my grandkids always bust me when we forget to pray. It's like their little mission in life. Now even Christopher, who's only five, did it the other night. We're getting ready to eat. He says, Poppa, with his like hand on his shoulder, little guy, Poppa. Yes? You forgot to pray. That's very true. All right Christopher, why don't you lead us in prayer. I don't want to. He just wants to bust us. He doesn't want to do the prayer part, right. Yeah we don't always pray as much as we ought to. But it's the idea of calling on the Lord. Listen, when you're in your vehicle cruising down the freeway and you're cursing the traffic, right. And why do I have to be in the freeway for two hours a day, and for some even longer. This is miserable. Did it ever occur to you, your car could become a sanctuary? A place to hear the word of God. A place to worship the Lord. A place to pray. Just keep your eyes open. But you know, it can be.
The Bible talks about Elijah who went in to the king of the court of the most powerful man in the world, King Ahab. And Elijah said, as the Lord God lives, before whom I stand there will not be rain but according to my word. Basically, Elijah recognized wherever he was, he was in God's presence. You're not closer to God when you're a building like this. You can be close to God wherever you go. Why, because the dwelling place of God is with us. You're the temple. He's in you. So you too can pray without ceasing. Let me close with this. Paul uses that word gospel. What does the word gospel mean? Again, it means good news. Here's the good news. God loves you. Here's the bad news. You're separated from God by your sin. Here's the good news. God sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sin. And then he rose again from the dead three days later. And if I will respond to Jesus Christ, I can be forgiven of all of my sin.
Listen, you can have a personal Jesus revolution today. 'Cause you need Jesus. I'm not talking about Christianity. I'm talking about Christ. I'm not talking about religion. I'm talking about relationship. And there's a big difference. Is Jesus living in you? You say, well I don't know. How would I know? Do you think if someone just moved into your house in the middle of the night, you'd be aware of their presence? Bunch of unwashed dishes. Who messed up the sofa? Who's here? You'd know. 'Cause they're cooking fish all night, right, whatever. This is probably an analogy that breaks down quickly. But I think you know where I'm going.
If Jesus Christ is living inside of you, he's not cooking fish and making a mess. That's where it breaks down. But if Jesus is living in you, you'll know he's there. And if you don't know that he's there, maybe he isn't living in you. Would you like him to? Would you like him to forgive you of your sin and become your Savior and your Lord? That can happen right now because Jesus who died and rose again stands at the door of your life and he knocks and says, if you'll hear his voice and open the door, he will come in. We're gonna close now in prayer. And I'm going to extend an invitation to anyone here or watching wherever you may be. If you need Jesus in your life, respond to this invitation right now. Let's all bow our heads.
Father, I pray now for every person here, every person listening and watching, wherever they are, help them to see their need for you. Help them to come to you. Help them to believe in you, we pray.
Now while our heads our bowed, and our eyes are closed and we're praying. How many of you would say today, Greg I need Jesus Christ in my life? I want my sin forgiven. I want to know that when I die I would go to Heaven. I want this big whole in my heart filled. I want my guilt taken away. I'm ready to say yes to Jesus, pray for me. If that's your desire, if you want Christ to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you want to go to Heaven when you die, wherever you are, would you raise your hand up and let me pray for you? Just raise your hand up high where I can see it. God bless you and God bless you. God bless you. Just raise your hand up where I can see it saying I need Jesus. I want to believe. God bless you. Anybody else, raise your hand up. I'll pray for you. God bless you. Some of you of course are watching the screen. I can't see you but would you take this little step of faith where you are and say yeah I need Jesus. 'Cause the Lord sees you. Just raise your hand up. Now I'm gonna ask every one of you that raised your hand if you would please, I want you to pray this prayer after me. In fact, you can even pray it out loud. Pray this prayer out loud after me. Just pray:
Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner, but I know you're the Savior who died on the cross for me. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.