Greg Laurie - Wall Builders
Nehemiah chapter one, and the title of my message is, Wall Builders. You know, we were just a bunch of crazy kids, when this church started. We really had no idea what we were doing. But, we loved the Lord, and we wanted to see what God would do. We were in the middle of what was the last great American, spiritual awakening, called the Jesus Movement, is around 1972. One of the epicenters of this movement was down in Costa Mesa, at Calvary Chapel, with Pastor Chuck Smith. So, some folks, in Riverside, over at All Saints Episcopal Church, went down to Calvary, and said, could you send up someone up here to preach? And we wanting to have some Jesus Movement in the LN empire. And so, a group of pastors, at church there, went and I was just hanging around the office, sort of an intern, which means that you worked, but you don't get paid.
Okay, so I just hung around, and I would take whatever they didn't wanna do. So, after a while, nobody else wanted to drive to Riverside, and they said, Greg, why don't you do it? And I did it. And I kept at it. And it began to grow. And pretty soon, I could see this little bible study of young people was turning into a church! And I hardly felt qualified to be a pastor of a church. I became a Christian, when I was 17. I started preaching, when I was 19. And I started pastoring, effectively, at 20, or 21. And so, I'm thinking, there's no way I can be the pastor. I look for someone else to take this role, no one would. And so, I just accepted the fact this was what the Lord had for me, and we outgrew that church. We moved over to a baptist church, that is now a Sunday school building. And we outgrew that building, put in a balcony, and then, there was this big, giant, decomposed granite pit, where you guys, at Harvest Riverside, are sitting in right now, and we took the biggest step of faith ever. We built a building, and back then, it cost us one million dollars.
Now, one million dollars is a lotta money. But, back then, it was really a lot of money, like a lot! And we took this huge step of faith, way outside of our comfort zone, and I remember, people said, this isn't gonna work! It's not gonna succeed! And as we put those walls up, there was opposition. I think you know where I'm going with this, right? Cause, we're talking about building walls, in the Book of Nehemiah. And so, here's the takeaway truth from it. Don't listen to your critics, listen to God, and do what the Lord leads you to do. Here, in the Book of Nehemiah, we'll learn a little bit about that, in the message today. How to do what God has called us to do. Because, when you put up walls, you're gonna face opposition.
When Nehemiah went about the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he faced severe opposition. Now, let's sorta pick up where we last left off, and then we'll talk about chapter three. Here's the narrative. Israel continued to worship false gods, and idols. The Lord warned them, through the prophets, to stop, or they were going to captivity! God was very specific about what would happen to them, but still, they ignored it. So, one day, the Lord allowed the people of Israel to be divided, after the death of King Solomon. And then, a great group of them were taken as captives into Babylon, which interestingly was like idol central! Gods everywhere! The Lord said, do you want false gods, here you go, enjoy! Like putting a kid in a candy shop, and after a little bit of candy, you feel sick to your stomach.
So, there they were, in this land of idols, and they cried out to God, to be delivered. And after 70 years, the Lord answered their prayer, Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon, passed it on to his grandson, Belshazzar, who was conquered by the Medo-Persian forces, that came in Cyrus, the leader of the Medo-Persian empire, let the first wave of Jews return to Jerusalem, and led by the priest, Ezra, they rebuilt the temple. But, some time had elapsed, and the walls were still lying in rubble and ruin. Enter the man for the hour, Nehemiah. Listen, God will do His work, in His way, in His timing, but God chooses to work through people. So, the Lord was searching for the right person, for the job. There's always a right man, or a right woman, for the job. In our next series, in Esther, we'll see how God used her, to save a nation. But now, we're looking at how God used a man. And the Bible tells us, in second Chronicles 16, nine, "The eyes of the Lord search the whole Earth, in order to strengthen those, whose hearts are fully committed to Him".
Listen to this. Right now, God is looking for people to work through. God's looking for a man. God's looking for a woman. He's looking for someone, that He can say, I'll work through it, I'll be strong, on behalf of, would you be that person? Would you be willing to step forward, and say, yeah Lord you can use me. I don't bring a lot to the table, but I'll give you what I have. I mean, trust me when I tell you, I had very little to offer to the Lord, when He called me to serve Him. So, anything that has come out of this ministry, has certainly been from Him. Enter Nehemiah. Now, he has a killer job. He's the cup bearer of the king, which meant He was able to eat the best food, in all of the world. See, whenever the king ate, he took a bite first. Whatever the king drank, he took a sip first. A good job, unless someone put poison in it, then it's over, okay? Good while it lasted, at least. But, he was living, literally, in the lap of luxury. He had a wonderful position there, in close proximity to the king. He was more than just someone who tasted the king's food. He gave the king advice. He was a friend of the king. Some even believed he was the second most powerful man in the world, because he would have some say so over who had access to the king. He would influence the king. So, this is not a job you would want to jeopardize, but yet, the Lord calls him, and here's how it happened.
Some friends came and visited, from outta town, and just like you do, when you get together with friends, how are things, how's everyone back in the old hometown, and they're saying, man, it's bad, Nehemiah. The place is in ruin. The walls are crumbling. There's weeds growing over the walls. They're burned out, they're charred! It's an embarrassment, and Nehemiah's heart was deeply moved, and he decided to take action, and he began to weep. But listen, after his weeping, came working. After his despair, came determination. But, he cared! You're not gonna do anything, for anybody, if you don't care about them. So, you need to first pray for compassion. Lord, help me see this person as you see them. Far too often, we see nonbelievers as the enemy, and they're not the enemy. They do things that nonbelievers do. They are profane, and they're selfish, and they're self-absorbed, and they hurt us, or insult us, and we're like, hate those nonbelievers, forgetting you used to be one. They are not the enemy. They're under the control of the enemy. The Bible says, that the god of this world, that would be the devil, has blinded the eyes of those that do not believe, so you need to care about them, and remember, it wasn't that long ago, you used to be one of them.
Nehemiah cared, and he cared enough, to take action. Now, he coulda set a GoFundMe page, I suppose. But, he decided to go to the king, and request the money. So basically, as I said before, he went to the king, and said, I'm gonna build a wall, and you're paying for it! But, he prayed first. He prayed that the king would go along with this crazy plan, that would cost a lot of money, but he also had a plan. And one of the things I love about Nehemiah, is the practical and the spiritual go hand in hand. Here's guy who prayed about things, but always had a plan in his back pocket. 'Kay, if the king says yes, I already know where to get the lumber, I know where to go, to get this other thing, I have it all set up, but I'm gonna pray, and he went to the king, and requested it. And amazingly, the king granted his request, and even sent an armed escort.
So, Nehemiah leaves Babylon, he arrives in Jerusalem. It's probably worse than he imagined. The walls truly are in rubble. He checks it out. And then, he rallies the people, who've been there for some time now, people who've really not done their job, to be honest. And he says, guys, the Lord is calling us, to rebuild the walls. Let's do this together. They all agreed, bringing us to the point I left off with, in our last message. When you're doing God's work, you will face opposition. When you're doing God's work, you'll face opposition. Nehemiah two, verse 19. "When Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, the Arab, heard of our plan, they scoffed, contemptuously, saying, 'What are you doing?'" And so, whenever God's people say, let's rise and build, the devil and his forces will say, let's rise, and oppose. Whenever you're pursuing a divine opportunity, there will be Satanic opposition.
Paul says, in first Corinthian 16, nine, a huge door of opportunity, for good work, has opened up here, but there is also mushrooming opposition. Get it? Great opportunity, mushrooming opposition. In fact, now I know, when I'm doing something God wants me to do, I will face criticism, I will face opposition, I'll have people second guess it, I expect that. In fact, if I don't see that, I say, maybe this isn't a good idea. Because, that's almost a way of having it confirmed to me. Remember, years ago, we had this idea, to go to Dodgers Stadium, and do a crusade. People said, oh, you can't do Dodgers Stadium. I mean, you can do that down there, at Angels Stadium, but LA's a whole different planet. Someone even said to me, Dodgers Stadium is the graveyard of evangelists. Because, everyone that's gone there, and tried to an evangelistic event, has failed! It doesn't work in LA! Forget about LA!
And I have to tell you somethin'. When someone says somethin' to me like that, it's a little bit like the red cape in front of the bull. And they say, it can't be done, I think, well, well can't it, or can it? Maybe this is more of an issue, is it won't be done, but can it be done? With God, all things are possible. So, we pray, we planned, we did everything to make that event a success, and we filled Dodgers Stadium, and so many people came forward at the invitation, the Fire Marshall had to lock the doors! We've never had that happen before. The field was filled with people, coming to Christ. The same is true for AT&T Stadium, in Dallas, Texas. That was big. I have to admit to you, I was overwhelmed by that one. I didn't realize how much pressure I was under, before that event, until after the event ended, and the pressure was relieved, and I thought, man, I been living under this pressure for so long. I'll tell you this much, it improved my prayer life. 'Cause, it seats 100,000 people, one of the biggest stadiums in America.
And so, it's getting close, and a friend of mine called, he's a pastor. And I think he was trying to be encouraging, but have you ever had someone try to encourage you, and they actually discourage you? That's what he did. Called up, so Greg, how are things comin' for Harvest America, at AT&T? I said, oh, they're comin' pretty well. It's lookin' good. We're praying, you know. It looks like we'll have a good response. And he says, Greg, listen. No matter how many people show up, just remember, preach the gospel, no how many people show. He's already, the way he said it, it's one of those... You're gonna bomb so bad, buddy. Hey, but even if 100 are there, just preach God's will. Thank you so much. I hung up the phone, and said, I'm discouraged, to my wife! You know, and sometimes, we'll say that, in a way. But, you know, I was so excited before the event even started, when someone said, it's filled, and we're turning people away.
See, here's what it comes down to. If you want to do something for God, there's potential for failure, and there's also potential for success. There's no success without risk. There's no success without opposition. Because, Satan hates what we do. He hates gospel preaching. Now, if we sent a team down to Houston, and rebuild a church the world may politely applaud, and say, that's a good thing, to rebuild a church, or a house for somebody. If we reach out to homeless folks, and distribute clothing, or food, or help them get on their feet, the world will politely applaud, and say, that's a good thing, helping the homeless, and we do all those things! But, if we say, now, let's go do a gospel presentation, and say, Jesus Christ is the only way to God, we're not gonna get polite applause, we're gonna get opposition, because the devil hates the gospel, and that's why we're gonna keep preaching the gospel, and keep it at the forefront of everything that we do.
So, here now, is Nehemiah, gettin' his battle plan together. We see three vital principles in play here. If you're taking notes, here they are, investigation, cooperation, and determination. Investigation, first, he checked out the problem. Okay, here's how big the city is, here's what it's gonna take, here's how many people I'm gonna need to get the job done. Okay, I've investigated it. Now, cooperation. Let's put the team together. Let's get the right people in the right places, and tell 'em what their job is. Finally, determination. We're not gonna be deterred. Defeat is not an option. And that brings to me, my next point, we need to find our place in the work that God is doing. We need to find our place in the work that God is doing.
Now, before I read Nehemiah three, I want you to know, it has the potential to be boring, 'cause it's a lotta names. If you've read through the book of Nehemiah, how many of you have read the whole book of Nehemiah? Raise your hand, now very good, good! How many of you have not read the whole book of Nehemiah, yet? Okay. It's okay. Just read it, read it before next Sunday, read it! But, here's what's gonna happen. Nehemiah one, oh this is great! Nehemiah two, this is awesome! Nehemiah three, what? Lots of names, lots of names, and what they did. But remember, all scripture is given by inspiration of God, even lists, and even genealogies, right? They're all there for a reason, as we will see in a moment. Let's read a few verses, Nehemiah three. This is a little bit like the credits at the end of the film. You know, unless you were in the film, you don't care. But, they're rolling, and these matter to God, and they should matter to us.
Verse one, "Then Eliashib, the high priest, and the other priests started to rebuild at the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it, and set up its doors, building a wall, and as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and the Tower of Hananel, two people from the town of Jericho were next to them, and beyond them, was Zakkur, son of Imri. The Fish Gate was built by the sons of Hassenaah, and then they leave the beam, set up its doors, installed its bolts and bars. Meremoth, son of Uriah, and grandson of Hakkoz, repaired the next section of wall. Beside them, were Meshullam, son of Berekiah, and grandson of Meshezabel, and Zadok of Baana". Okay. Really? Really? Yeah, really. There's a lot here. The phrase, next to him, and after him, are mentioned 28 times in the chapter. What does that mean? They worked together. These are different kinds of people. These are not builders.
See, we think these are construction people. By the way, I'm very impressed with anyone who's good at construction. Anyone who's good at building things, you know? When I go into a hardware store, I get all excited. Look at all this cool stuff! I wanna build something, but I have no skills whatsoever! It's like there's a missing gene in me, or something, I can't do it. I make things worse, and when I meet someone who can repair a car, or I'm gonna put wiring in here, or throw this wall up, or put up the drywall. And all of it's so impressive to me. These are not construction people! So, the point, Nehemiah was a cup bearer! He wasn't an architect, or a builder. And so, some of these people were priests, and some of these people were goldsmiths. Nehemiah three, eight. Some were perfumers, Nehemiah three, eight. Merchants, three, 32. They were rulers, workers, groups from different towns, and different classes. You have men and women, young and old, everyone needed to participate, for this job to be done.
The same is true of the church. Listen, the church is a family. The church is also an army, and the church is compared to a body. Everyone has a part to play. Ephesians four, 16 says, "He makes the whole body fit together perfectly, as each part does its own special work, it helps the other pars grow, and the whole body is healthy, and growing, and full of love". See, everybody has a role to play. Every one of you has a role to play. Okay, I need a few of you to help me. Who wants to come and stand on the stage? Pastor Paul, could you come up right now? And sir, I don't know your name. What is your name? Could you come up, Michael? I need you now. And come on up the stage, come on up the stairs over here. Okay, I need this lady here, on the aisle. Ma'am, there in the blue, would you come up please as well?
Alright, and I need, who else do I need? I need someone, ma'am, would you second in right there, I stood next to you when we did worship, in the tan sweater, you come on up as well. I want this really cool kid, with blonde hair, that cool kid, come on up here buddy. Okay, everybody here, come on up, come on up. Alright, let's stand over here. Come over here. Alright, let's just, first of all ma'am, just stand here for a second. I want Paul and this gentleman to stand together. What are you laughing at? Okay now, Paul, step aside. I want this young man, and this guy to stand together. Look at this, I love this, okay. It's like David and Goliath, right here. Okay, so I mean that in a positive way, with all due respect, yes.
Okay, what is your name?
- I like that. What's your name?
- Come on over, ma'am. What is your name? Judy? Come on over here. I stood next to you, during worship. How are you?
- Okay, Marcelle. Okay, you come on up here, and Paul, stand in the middle. Now, these are all very different people. They are different ages, men and women, large and small, and they all have a role to play, in the church. Every one of them has a part of the wall that they build. These people are just like you. We all have a part to play. Say, oh, my part doesn't matter. No, it matters, 'cause see, if one part of the wall breaks down, see, maybe if Michael kind of was a little bit of a slacker, that we thought he would be, and he doesn't keep his part of the wall built up, that's an opening that could broken into. But, Landon, right, was it? Okay, but Landon, man, his part is fortified. No one's gettin' through Landon's part. Pastor Paul, he's like sleeping, okay, that's a problem. And so, we have to wake Paul up, and say, we need your part of the wall built up, because if any part of the wall is broken down, it's not gonna work. So, we're all in this together. Let's thank these folks for coming up. Thank you, God bless you. Every one of us has a part to play.
BC Forbes, the founder of Forbes Magazine once said, here's how you spell success. You probably think he spells success, S-U-C-E-S-S. That's now how you spell success. Here's how you spell success. You spell it T-E-A-M-W-O-R-K. That's how success is spilled. Spelled, not spilled, spelled. So, if we're gonna get something done, get something, I've forgotten how to speak. Right before your eyes. No, if we wanna get something done, we do it together. One person put it this way, quote, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Thinking together is unity. Working together is success," end quote. You'll see this phrase, used over and over, next to him, after him, everyone had a role to play. In short, they were communicating. You know, it's a funny thing, with all this technology we have today, we're more connected than we've ever been in human history, and at the same time, we're more disconnected than any other time as well.
I read, the other day, that millennials would rather text someone, than talk to them. I'd rather text you. I don't wanna look at you in the face, just text you. Emoji, emoji, emoji, right? And so, sometimes, we don't talk to each other at all. In fact, this has created a lot of stress in our culture. I read, that this generation alive today, is the most stressed out generation in American history. College students have the anxiety level of psychiatric patients in World War II, okay? So, we need to put the phones down, and talk together, and pray together, and work together, because we're all part of the body of Christ. We're all part of the family of God. We're all part of the church. And listen to this. God has given, to every Christian, gifts from the spirit. How many of you know what your spiritual gift, or gifts are? Raise your hand, if you know what they are. 'Kay, how many of you don't know what your spiritual gifts are? How many of you have no clue what I'm even talking about right now? Okay, that's alright.
Now, here's some gifts that God has given. These are gifts, sent from Heaven, to us. Spiritual gifts. These aren't unnecessarily talents. We have natural abilities and talents, that we're born with. These are gifts, that are supernaturally given to us, from God. And a list is found over in Romans 12, I'm reading now, from the New Living translation, verse six. "In God's grace, God has given us different gifts, to do certain things well". So, if God has given you the ability to prophesy, to prophesy, means that God gives me a supernatural word from Heaven, for someone else. If He's giving you that ability, speak out with as much faith as the Lord has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you're a teacher, teach them well. If your gift is encouraging others, well, be encouraging. If it's giving, then give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, then take that responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness, do it gladly.
I love the fact, that there is a spiritual gift of encouraging others. I know people with this gift. Some, I think, may believe there is a spiritual gift of discouraging others. That gift does not exist. Well, I believe the Lord has given me the spiritual gift of criticism. No, that's not a gift. It's not a gift at all. So, we want to be encouraging, we wanna find those gifts, that God has given. So, what this means, is when we come together, we do things as a family. For instance, when we worship. Worship is something we should do, corporately. Everyone should worship. And when I say worship, I mean, engage. I mean, don't there, with your hands in your pockets, staring at your shoes. Don't be looking at your Instagram account, or talking with a neighbor. Be worshiping the Lord, singing out to the Lord. You say, well Greg, I don't have a good voice. Well, that doesn't stop a lotta people, I know that. And besides, the Bible says, make a joyful noise unto the Lord. So, if it's just a noise, that's good, it's okay! The Bible says, because your loving kindness is better than life, I'll lift up my hands unto Your name.
When's the last time you lifted your hands up, to the Lord? Well, I don't feel like it. Who cares if you feel like it. It's an act of surrender. You know, a lotta times, when we just do what we should do, the emotions will catch up. But, if you wait for everything to be prompted by how you feel, or your emotion, then you won't do a lotta things. Job worshiped the Lord, after he heard the worse news imaginable, the death of his children. But see, that is what is called a sacrifice, a praise. When we worship, we should all sing. Listen, when we give, we should all give! When an offering is received, we should all participate. Now, some might do it electronically. Actually, that's how my wife and I do it. It's a great way, very efficient. But, to bring something, because second Corinthians nine, seven says, "Each one of you must give, as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly, or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver".
So, some would say, well, you know, I can't give cheerfully, so I won't give at all! You kinda missed the point. This verse is not talking about if you should give. It's talking about how much you should give. And if you're not cheerful about your giving, ask God to change your heart! Because, it's a blessing to give, to the work of the Lord. Everyone should give something. Some can give more, some can give less, but everyone should participate. I remember, when I was in military school as a kid, which I hated, by the way. We wore uniforms to school, I lived on base, that's what we called it, in a barracks, with other kids, and we had mandatory chapel, every Sunday. And I remember, that they would give us money, to give in the offering, and they gave me ten cents, that's what they gave us every Sunday.
Well, we had a little place to buy candy there, called The Canteen, and I remember, and I figured out this thing, where I could buy five pieces of grape liquorice, and five Pixie Stix. You remember what Pixie Stix are? Do they still make Pixie Stix? Are they still out there? 'Kay, wow, a lot of you seem to know a lot about them. Now, I'm gonna have people bring Pixie Stix to me. You know, thank you, no thanks. But, 'cause I've mentioned, oh, I like Krispy Kreme doughnuts. So, someone gave me a gift certificate the other day. Thank you, whoever you are, like 50 dollars, at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. It's like, thank you, but if I use that, I will be so obese, I... So, I used it for my granddaughter's birthday party. I hope that was okay, and hooked up all the kids with sugary doughnuts, from Krispy Kreme. But, anyway. So, I figured out I could stretch my budget, if I bit off the top of the grape liquorice, and poured in grape Pixie Stix. And I even thought, as a little kid, one day, I'm gonna market this. This is gonna be my career.
Well, anyway, I had my ten cents given to me, for the offering. And I thought, I could use this for Pixie Stix, and grape liquorice, and I kept it. And I bought all that candy. And I remember, I kinda got sick to my stomach, and I felt guilty. Because, even as a little kid, knowing nothing about Jesus, knowing nothing about the Bible, I understood that ten cents was God's money, that was given to me, and I took God's money. Listen, your income, that's given to you by God. What we do, is we give straight ten percent to the Lord, then we pray about what offerings to give on top of that. I'm not saying this to boast, I'm just obeying God. That's all. And I'll tell you what, He's blessed us, and a bless you, if you do the same. We should all worship, and we should all give. Everyone has a role to play. But...
Alright. Listen to this, not everyone worked on the walls of Jerusalem with Nehemiah. Look at Nehemiah three, five. "Not to them, or the... Tekoites, who made repairs, but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of the Lord". So, the Tekoites did the job, but their nobles, those in authority over them, didn't do it. James Merritt, who's preached here before, said, "There are two kinds of people, in the world, and in the church. There are workers and there are shirkers". I like that. Some people wanna share in the victory, but not in the battle. Now, 3,000 years later, we know who did the work, and who did not. But, there'll always be slackers.
There's two kinds of people that come to church. There are participaters and spectators. I wonder which one you are today. Let me identify them. Participaters come and engage in worship. They listen carefully to the message. They give in the offering. They serve faithfully. They find and use their spiritual gifts. Spectators, they come expecting everyone to wait on them. Sometimes, they come late. Sometimes, they leave early. You say, well how do I know which one I am? If you have been irritated by what I've said for the last eight minutes, you're a spectator. If what I've just said bothered you, got under your skin a little bit, you're a spectator. If you've been challenged by it, and get at a hearty amen to it, you're a participater. You decide if you're a servant, or a slacker. Or, as James Merritt said, a worker, or a shirker. So, we have to find our place, and get in there, and do the job God has called us to do, because we are one of those two.
Here's another way to put it. Are you a wall builder, or a wall breaker? Are you a faith maker, or are you a faith breaker? See, either you're building the wall up, or you're neglecting your part of the wall. Either you're serving the Lord, or walking with the Lord, or are you aren't, and it comes down to us, as individuals, as a part of the church. Now, in contrast of those guys who are slackers, here's a guy who really did his job well. Look at Nehemiah three, 20. "Next to him, Baruch, the son of Zabbai, zealously repaired another section, from the angle, to the entrance of the house of Eliashib, the high priest". Zealously! He didn't just do his work, he did it zealously! That could be translated to burn, or to glow. He did it with passion. So, which one are you? Are you like Baruch? Are you like one of the nobles? Do you serve, or do you expect to be served? Are you a servant, or are you a slacker?
Alright, let's pull the camera back now. From the story of walls being rebuilt, and look at a bigger picture. Because, they're talking about Nehemiah, who lived in the lap of luxury, who had it made in the shade, dream job, who walked away from all of that influence, and luxury, and comfort, to go and work hard, and suffer, with his people, to get the job done. But, before he did that, he saw the situation in Jerusalem, and we wept over it. Who does that remind us of? Jesus. Who was in the glory of Heaven, at the father's right hand. Left Heaven, and came to this Earth, and was born as a helpless little baby in a manger, in Bethlehem. And there, he walked in our shoes, and He lived our life, and He breathed our air, and knew what it was like, to face the challenges of humanity. But then, He went to the cross, and died for our sins, and rose again from the dead. And what did Jesus do, before He died outside of the walls of Jerusalem? He wept for Jerusalem, just like Nehemiah. He wept, and He said, oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that killed the prophets, how often I would've gathered you together, as a hen gathers her chicks.
That's interesting. Normally, in scripture, God is presented as in a male form, a father in Heaven. But, in this particular instance, He uses a maternal term. I would gather you together, as a hen, a mother hen, gathers her chicks. Now, you all know how much a mother loves her children. And if you try to come between a mom and her children, that may be your last day on this earth, right? Because, of that protective nature of a mom, that maternal instinct, and God is saying, that's how I feel towards you. I'm like a hen, wanting to gather her chicks, but you wouldn't listen to me. But, He went through with it. He died for our sins on the cross, despite the jeering crowd, despite the mockery and the opposition. He died there, because he knew there was no other way we could be made right with God. And the same Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead, is with us here right now. And He wants to come into your life.
You're saying, well I don't know, Greg, this, my first time at church, and I don't even know what you're talking about, all this stuff about being in the body of Christ, and gifts, and giving, and worship. Yeah, you know what, this is called a family. You walked in on a family discussion. You ever do that, when you're a kid? Go over to your friend's house? Whole family is around the table. We're having a family discussion. I'm outta here. No, but listen to this, this is a flawed family, often a dysfunctional family, but this is God's forever family, and it's the best family going, and God wants you in the family. You say, but Greg, there's weird people in the church! I know that. Did it ever occur to you, that you're one of the weird people in the church? I know I am. But, we like to put the fun in dysfunctional, okay?
So, here's what it comes down to. The only way you can become part of the family of God, is by becoming a son, or a daughter of God. How does that happen? The Bible says, for as many as received Him, He gave them the power, to become sons, or daughters, of God. To become children of God. How do you come into the family? Jesus said, you must be born again, just as you were born physically, you must then be born spiritually, by asking Christ to come into your life, and then you're in the family. A full fledged family member, in good standing, because of Jesus. But, you must ask Him to forgive you, and ask Him to come into your life, and that can happen for you right now. If you've joined us today, you're watching, you're listening to this, and you don't know Jesus Christ in a personal way, you don't have the assurance that you'll go to Heaven when you die, but you want this relationship with God, you want that second chance in life, you wanna become part of God's family, I'm gonna pray right now, and I'm gonna extend an invitation, for any of you, that wanna put your faith in Christ. Let's all bow our heads, and everybody praying, please.
Father, I pray now, for all of those that are here, those that are 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, that Your Holy Spirit will convict, and convince them of their need for Jesus now.
Now that our heads our bowed, and our eyes are closed, and we're praying, how many of you would say, today, Greg, pray for me. I want Jesus Christ to come into my life. I want Him to forgive me of my sin. I wanna know, that when I die, I will go to Heaven. Pray for me now, I want Jesus to come into my life. I wanna join God's family. If that's your desire, if you want Jesus to come into your life, you want Him to forgive you of your sin, you wanna go to Heaven when you die, raise your hand up, wherever you are, and I'll pray for you. Raise your hand up high, where I can see it. God bless you. Lift it up high, God bless you. God bless you. Anybody else? God bless you, and you. All over the room, hands are going up. I hope yours is one of them. You want God's forgiveness. Maybe, you've fallen away from the Lord, and you need to come back to Him again. Let me pray for you, raise your hand up, wherever you are, God bless. God bless.
You guys watching this screen, I know I can't see you there. It really doesn't matter. Would you raise your hand as well, wherever you are? Saying yes, I need Jesus. I want Him in my life. Anybody else? Now, I'm gonna ask every one of you, that has raised your hand, if you would please, I want you to stand to your feet, and we're gonna pray together. Just stand up, you heard me right. You want Jesus to come into your life. You want your sin forgiven. You wanna join God's family. I want you to stand up, and I'm gonna lead you in a prayer. Stand up. God bless you, that are standing. By the way, others are standing, so you won't be alone. Just stand up, anybody else. Wherever you are, wherever you're seeing this, stand up, and we're gonna pray together. God bless you. Anybody else? I'll wait one more moment. Stand up, God bless you. God bless you. I'll wait just one more moment. Anybody else? You want to commit your life to Jesus, or recommit your life to Jesus. You wanna join God's family. Stand up, and we'll pray together. God bless all of you. Now, you that are standing, I want you to pray this prayer, out loud, after me. Again, as I pray, pray this out loud, after me. Pray this now.
Lord Jesus. I know I'm a sinner. But, I know that You're the savior. Who died on the cross, for me. And rose again, from the dead. Jesus, come into my life. I choose to follow you. From this moment forward. As my savior. As my Lord. As my God. As my friend. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.