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Levi Lusko - Redwoods, Revenge and Thirty Pieces of Silver

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Baby Monsters Series
1. Candybars, Squirrels and Homicide
2. Corpses, Hair-Cuts and Cabernet
3. Kings, Dragons, and a One-Night Stand
4. Redwoods, Revenge and Thirty Pieces of Silver

We're in a series of messages, if you are just kind of jumping in now, that's called Baby Monsters. And we're talking about how to catch big problems when they're just little problems. How to not let them become enormous, big, old, full-grown problems by nipping them in the bud when they're little. Because anything that we catch at the pass or cut off at the pass can never come to pass. And here in the final message of this series, and they're all, of course, on YouTube. Please do grab them. If you haven't subscribed to the Fresh Life YouTube channel, do that. Hit that bell so you can subscribe when a new message shows up and give us a thumbs up if you think it's great, give us a thumbs down if you think I'm preaching terrible. And we've comments on the YouTube thing, too. So it's fun to see people chime in here and there. Someone the other day for a comment said something I hadn't even thought of in the message. I was like, that's amazing, I wish I'd had known that.

So next time I preach that message somewhere, I'm going to totally steal FireGuy777's comment and put that in the sermon. They were mentioning that, because I was talking about Samson in that particular talk, and I mentioned in the comment that Samson used as his weapon the jawbone of a donkey, but he wasn't supposed to touch anything dead. And I was like, that's brilliant. That's brilliant, FireGuy777. That wasn't his name, this is like YouTube, you know? Hey, so this week, anything interesting happen to you? No, I'm joking, I'm joking. I get like stalling, like I don't have anything to say. What I saved for the last installment of this series is really one of the worst things anyone's ever done. The case could be made, it's the worst thing that any human being has ever done. Dante in his book, The Inferno, he says for this specific deed, this dastardly deed, this individual should be in hell forever being chewed in the mouth of the devil without ever being digested.

That's how bad this particular deed was. And of course, I'm referring to the betrayal of Jesus Christ with a kiss by Judas Iscariot in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. And here's how Matthew's gospel puts it. He says, "And while He was still speaking", of course, he's in the Garden of Gethsemane at this point. He's just woken up his disciples and being like, y'all, don't be sleepin' up in here. The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak, but this is an hour of great temptation and an hour of darkness. "Behold," while He was speaking, "Judas, one of the 12, with a great multitude with swords and clubs came from the chief priest and elders of the people. Now his betrayer had given them a sign saying, 'whoever I kiss, he is the one, seize him.' Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, 'greetings, rabbi!' and kissed him. But Jesus said to him, "friend why have you come?'" Well that hurts. "Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him".

And then if we jump to Chapter 27, it says, "Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that he had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priest and elders saying, 'I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' And they said, 'what is that to us? You see to it.' Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself". And to get to the next part of the story we have to jump to the Book of Acts where it says, "And falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out". Aren't you glad you came to church this week? All right. So here's what we're going to do. We're going to talk about how he got here. But to do so, we have to understand his level of thinking. But first, would you pray with me? Jesus we're grateful for this message. Because you give it to us, you don't hold back the gory details of the rope breaking or the tree branch snapping and Judas tumbling down below to rocks below the cliff where he committed suicide. And as we see the grisly, gory end of someone who chose to live a life that was so full of secret sin, that you, Jesus, would call him the son of perdition. And you would say that by the end of his story, it would have been better had he not even been born. And yet, God, we see his sins as they first manifest, so small, so little, I pray it would cause us to be aware of how easily any one of us could allow our hearts to be just one degree off from where there should be. Not drastically off, not off to where anybody would even notice, but just a little bit off in the secret places.

And I thank you, Lord, that you desire truth in the inward parts. Not just so that we wouldn't do damage to others, but so we wouldn't do damage to ourselves by overtime veering from where we're meant to be and ending up in shipwreck as a result. And I pray that if anyone this week who's here doesn't know you, that through your spirit working through the good news of the story of Jesus that you would draw them to yourself that we would see salvation take place, bring forth here in this moment. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.

So Zac Efron at Sundance Film Festival was just with a whole team of people debuting, there was the kind of the worldwide, to the Hollywood elite, anyhow, release of his new movie where he stars as Ted Bundy, the serial killer. Only when Ted Bundy committed the 30-plus rapes and murders for which he would be rightfully described as a serial murder, the words serial murder hadn't been invented yet. Throughout Utah, Colorado, Florida, and Washington, this man Ted Bundy would lure women to him with his good looks, with his charm, and with his deceit, and he skillfully, sneakily was able to manage to get a loan or get to some place where no one can hear them scream. And then the horrific details, of course, have covered the newspapers of this world for decades since the '70s. He was put to death in 1989 for these crimes, and by the end, he had confessed to at least 30 as he tried to remember. Can you just, let that sink in, tried to remember how many people he had killed. And it's estimated it's perhaps more than even 30. The choice to cast him as Zac Efron, Zac Efron as him should tell you something about how he came across when you would hang out with him. He was more High School Musical and Baywatch than he was Friday the 13th and Hannibal Lecter, you see?

When you think serial killer, in my mind, you think the crazed mania of a Charles Manson, someone deranged and red eyes, and yet he was Zac Efron. He had political aspirations. He was described as charming, charismatic, likeable. I mean, there was a magnetism about his personality. Being around him was to want to be around him. He was trustworthy. He was the kind of guy you're like, he was All-American. That's the kind of person you want your daughter or your sister to bring home to the dinner table at Thanksgiving. Put to death for what he could remember in his mind as 30 rapes and murders. In the days before he was put to death, he gave a number of interviews and a number of documentaries have had have sprung forth on Netflix and the like kind of chronicling, using in some cases the audio that came from these tapes, but I'll never forget as a child listening to a Focus on the Family Broadcast. I had the chance to go and be on Focus on the Family when my new book, what was it called? I Declare War came out, and, no, no, no, I'm going to do that soon. I already did it for one of the other ones. But I digress. It was Through the Eyes of a Lion, thank you, nope. It was Swipe Right. All right.

Now we're, a little scatterbrained. It was Swipe Right, I'm sure of it now. And being in that booth where for so many years I grew up as a kid listening to Dr. James Dobson's voice on the radio in my parents' cars, it was like a full circle, like weird moment. And I grew up in Colorado, too, so it was all like whooo. You're like, what was it like? I'm like, whooo. I was it was like, I'll never forget listening to Dr. James Dobson talk about the chance that he had to sit down with Bundy just before he was put to death. And it wasn't just in that interview and others and the Netflix one that's super popular, probably the top of the masthead in your Netflix page that's out right now, The Bundy Tapes. He admits that this murdering and raping of 30 women that he can remember, it began with pornography. And I remember as a child hearing that and that just really leaving a mark on me. He says, it began with pornography. It began innocently enough. And it grew darker and darker, and it grew bigger and bigger, and soon he wanted to control, soon he wanted to possess, soon he wanted to damage these women that were becoming an object of his rage and fury.

Are you saying everybody who looks at porn is going to end up being a serial killer? Of course not. The numerous studies have found a correlation between pornography and aggression. Between pornography and physical and verbal abuse. Between pornography, it's linked indisputably to infidelity. Between also pornography and also sexual acts of violence and sexual acts, well, sexual offense, including rape. There's definitely a connection there. What I'm saying, though, is that sin never wants to stay small. Sin never wants to stay small. When Ted Bundy was watching those videos, when anybody was watching pornographic videos or images, the sin tells you if you do this, you'll feel happy, but the sin desires to get bigger. The sin desires to grow and grow and grow and grow, isn't that what James, the brother of Jesus, said? Warning us about sin when he said this in James, Chapter 1? "A man's temptation is due to the pull of his own inward desires, which can be enormously attractive". At least to start. "His own desire takes hold of him, and that produces sin. And sin in the long run means death". All sin wants to move towards death. Sin is never content to stay in the corner.

And so it is with Judas. Of course, Judas, his story ends with death. Judas' story ends with his own death. But it didn't start out big, it didn't start out huge, it didn't start out heinous. It started out little. It started out with some impropriety. That's where it began. If we're going to spot the genesis of Judas' move towards the dark side, it began with financial impropriety to be specific. Now to understand that, you have to understand a little bit about Judas. We see him today, 2,000 years later, as a synonym for treachery, right? I doubt very many of you consider Judas for your little boy. It's like, hmm. I'm wavering between Lucifer and Judas. I don't know which one I'm going to pick, right? I've met a few Delilahs in my day. It's an interesting call for sure, but it's a pretty name. But Judas to us is, pretty much just a name that means evil. But that wasn't how he came across to the apostles, it's so important you understand this. We sort of imagine Jesus walking around with the 12 disciples, and they're all wearing beige robes but Judas is wearing a black one. Like there's something off about him, you sort of like picture it where, you ever do this where you picture the Bible and you're like, you imagine like they're all listening to worship music but Judas has like smuggled in Marilyn Manson, you know? Like, ohh, that Judas, like there's something off about him.

No, no, that is exactly the opposite of how Judas came across. Judas was elected by the disciples to be treasurer. So who you pick to handle the money situation? Of course it's someone who in the words of one commentary I read who was known for his commercial instinct and his business acumen. He was known for his commercial instinct and he was straight-laced, y'all. But what am I trying to get you to see? Judas had a calculator, Judas had his shirt tucked in, Judas had hair combed, Judas was, here, give Judas the money. Let Judas, any donations that come to this thing, let Judas, Judas is so trustworthy, that's how Judas came across, y'all. He wasn't like, oh, Judas, watch him. No, no, that's Peter. Watch Peter. Peter will bite ya. Keep your fingers away from him. No, Judas, Judas, everyone was like, be more like Judas. WWJD, guys, What Would Judas Do? That was the original bracelet that they all... If you didn't grow up in church, I apologize. John 13:29 says, "The night Judas betrayed Jesus", this is when he went to go sell Jesus into slavery. "Some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, 'buy those things we need for the feast,' or he's probably giving something to the poor".

He's literally out bargaining for, when Jesus is getting arrested and how he's going to let them know with the kiss, or do you want me to hug him? Do you want me to bro-hug him? Do you want me to side-hug him? Like what do you want me to do? Yeah, a kiss would be great. OK, cool. And the disciples are like, hey, where'd Judas go? They thought, you know Judas, you know Judas. He's probably doing something for a poor person. He's just so sweet, that dude. I love that Judas. Everyone loved Judas. Bartholomew loved Judas, Thomas loved Judas, they all, though Thomas didn't know. He didn't know, he wasn't sure if he loved Judas. He didn't believe if he loved... But hey, listen. This concept, I really want you to get this. Judas' betrayal? No one saw it coming, not even him. Judas' betrayal, worst thing ever done in history. Should be chewed by the devil forever and never be swallowed, right? No one saw it coming, not even him. Started with impropriety. The leaven. The leavens the loaf. The little sin the, the yeah, gray area.

I don't know if it started with fudging a little bit on the expense reports. Just a little lie on the tax return. Was that expense business or personal? Ehh, it's these little things. He would take a little bit from the box, more for himself than he should have, than he needed to. It was, it's these small little, you see what I'm saying? He didn't start betraying Jesus. He didn't waltz in one day and say, how much will you give me if I betrayed the Messiah? It began with financial impropriety. We would call it a white lie, it was pretty harmless, it was a gray area, it was fraud, it was theft. Judas interpreted it to himself, I deserve this, I have it coming, I've done more, whatever he said to himself to rationalize, it was a little bit of sin. And there it led to jealousy. Jealousy. What do you mean jealousy? I mean one day they were at a feast and a woman came in and threw down the largest donation we read in the Bible of a gift that was given to Jesus' ministry. And we actually know exactly how much it was worth. It was worth an entire year's wages for the day laborer of its day.

So you're taking the work minimum wage for an entire year and give every bit of it at the feet of Jesus, bam. And Judas was offended. Judas was incensed because she broke this costly perfume at Jesus being gave it instead of giving the money to the ministry so he could pilfer off of it. So he was jealous. He wanted something that wasn't his. I think two things, I think he wanted the attention that was hers in that moment. As the attention was on her, and he liked, going to be the good guy and all that, but then secondly, he was jealous because with this money not going directly into the box, he wouldn't be able to get his grubby little hands on it. So it led to jealousy, this jealousy grew, you see, the whole thing is just growing over time. Why? Because that's always what happens. Herbert Lockyer said, "The journey into sin gains momentum". It gains momentum. It gets faster and faster when you're not paying attention. It just gets bigger and bigger.

So this jealousy now is there, and you're like, we don't know that. Yes we do. The gift is at his feet, John 12 says, "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for 300 denari and be given to the poor"? Hmm. Oh. And now he thought he's really putting her into her place here. Oh, his extravagant ways, just giving it to Jesus. It's just, oh, right? This should be just going to the poor, all right? I cannot tell you how many people love to turn to chime in on a church building a building or a church doing some program or a church putting lights in, whatever it is and to go, that should go to the poor, that should go to the poor. And here's the thing: those who complain the most are usually doing the least. It's Super Bowl weekend, just let me put it this way: the loudest boos come from the cheapest seats, right? So it's not someone doing something for the poor who's complaining about what's not being done for the poor, it's someone who's only thinking of themself and has jealousy at the center of their heart that clamors for things to be done for the poor. Judas wasn't doing anything for the poor. Judas was doing things for Judas, but it looked really good to be superior and say something, who's going to argue with his argument? His line of logic was solid, wasn't it? Not according to Jesus, who said, quiet, you. Literally.

Read John 12 some time, best story ever. This woman's doing this, Judas is like, hey, that's great that this worship's going to you, Jesus, but you know, what's not great? Poor people. And Jesus literally goes, quiet. Quiet. Poor you have with you always. Insinuation, if you want to do something for poor people, by all means, take your year's wages and go do something for poor people. She's chosen to do something beautiful for me, and I'm going to use it forever. Forever, he said, what has she has done will be included in the gospel story. And by the way, when I just told you about it, it fulfilled Jesus' prophecy. So we are still living in the era of this woman's gift. Now that stung for Judas. And that led to the next phase of his journey where he went from impropriety to jealousy, he is now at indignation. Indignation. Feeling like, I was right. Poor people are right. He's like convinced himself in his own head that the poor people were what he was caring about. How dare he make me feel bad in front of my friends! How dare he put me in my place in that way! And you're like, you don't him. No, no, no. Levi, you're arguing from silence. You don't know that's what he was feeling because John doesn't say that. Good point. But John's not the only gospel.

And if you look at a harmony of the gospels, which is where you take all the pieces given to us by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and you line them up exactly, just after Jesus criticizes Judas for commenting on this woman's gift in John 12, immediately Mark's gospel picks up the narrative with this word. The word is "then". Then when? When Jesus has told Judas to be quiet. Then Judas immediately is inferred, "went to the chief priests to betray him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and they promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him". You see what happened? Judas argued in this way in order to get access to some of that money, and Jesus cut that off and kind of exposed him. And so he said to himself, I'll get my money one way or another. I kind of wonder if perhaps 30 pieces of silver might have been what he could have snuck out of the year's worth of wages going into the box. And so when they said, name your price, maybe he said to them, 30 pieces of silver.

Now interestingly enough, in the Book of Exodus, that is exactly how much money you would have spent in the Old Testament to purchase a slave. So that the price that he was willing to be sold for it, to give his integrity for it, to sell his master out for was 30 pieces of silver. And so finally now he's at a place where he has lost all sensitivity. He is beyond feeling. He is completely numb now as he is willing to waltz into the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is praying, where he can even still see little dried blood on his skin from the turmoil and agony, that He was under. And Judas betrays him with a kiss. He kisses his master and greets Him and calls Him rabbi. Now if you take notes, the word rabbi is almost never used by any disciple of Jesus. Read all throughout. What you find is them most often referring to him as Lord. Lord. Lord. But Judas calls him rabbi, which shows a distance. He's a good teacher. Rabbi. It's not Lord, because Lord is something you say from a kneeling position. He was saying rabbi, good teacher as he greeted him with a kiss.

And no doubt, Judas in his own mind thought, Jesus could get out of this. And many commentaries will go into how Judas wanted him to be a political king, and not a suffering savior, not a bleeding king. No one wants a bleeding king, but Jesus didn't come to be the savior we wanted, He came to be the savior we needed. Many just wanted Him to make their lives better and to become the King on Earth and drive out the Romans and all the rest. And perhaps Judas thought he could force Jesus' hand, and He would have to if He got arrested do something crazy, and perhaps that's what drove the remorse after the fact. Because when he realized they were going to put Jesus to death, he didn't want Jesus to die, he just wanted Him to learn a lesson, right? And to listen to him a little bit maybe more often, and to actually step up the campaign to do what Judas wanted him to do.

So Judas was not in a place of looking at Jesus as Lord. Judas viewed himself as Lord and wanted Jesus to do his bidding. He wanted him to do what Jesus wanted to do. So he's completely lost moral objectivity. His compass is Jack Sparrow's status, y'all. It's just spinning around. It's not going anywhere near north, OK? And so he's lost sensitivity, and that happens to each of us, me and you. It happens to us when we make small concessions over time. We lose sensitivity. God wants our hearts to be tender. He wants our hearts to feel the slightest tap of His finger upon us and this, no, no, no, no, no, no, that's not for you. That's not for you. He's not for you. She's not for you. This is not for you. Or that is for you, just not right now. Just hold back, just give me time. Just watch and see. No striving, we're going to be still and see that God is Lord. That He wouldn't need a lot of the reins. That we can almost, hear the clicking from his, you like my horse metaphor? Like that we would just be so in tune with God, that we just sense the steering, just the slightest move that we would be receptive to His spirit.

But the more you ignore God's voice, the harder it becomes to hear God's voice. And actually, you can get to a place where your heart can even feel Him moving in it anymore. How does that happen? Well 1 Timothy, Paul puts it this way. He said, "You get to a place where your sense of right and wrong is burned as if with a hot iron". Where conscience, through repeated misuse and repeated neglect, actually gets seared and cauterized to where you can't feel God calling you to do what you need to do anymore. That's where Judas is at. He's at a place where he's lost his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Ralph Waldo Emerson put it this way. He said, "Sow a thought, reap a habit, sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny". And the more you ignore God's leading, the more your heart gets hardened to where it becomes difficult to hear God at all, it's like in the Book of Exodus where Pharaoh hardened his heart, Pharaoh hardened his heart, Pharaoh hardened his heart, Pharaoh hardened his heart. The last is the most chilling. The Bible says at the very end of Pharaoh's story, so God heart hardened his heart. Which is to say, God finally said, OK, you can have what you want. And that should be the last thing any of us want that, we would reach the end of God giving us those opportunities.

That's our last point, jot that down: opportunity. And what I love about the grace of God is that just like in Pharaoh's story, and I'm talking, of course, about the "let my people go" and the plagues, and they repeatedly came as opportunities. Maybe you'll read that story and go, how could God do what he did by the end of the story? But look how many opportunities, He gave them all throughout. And Pharaoh hardened his heart. Similarly in Judas' story, I mean, you look at this and you see at every turn, was there not grace offered? At every turn, did God not give him the chance to turn around? I mean, God knew this was coming, and yet again and again and again and again and again God is giving Judas space, giving Judas opportunity, all the way to the foot washing where he washed Judas' his feet too. Can you imagine how uncomfortable Judas felt? When he got back from that illicit meeting where he had agreed to betray Jesus, he tried to act like, how does a person who didn't just betray their Lord, how does that person act? He was sweating, he was nervous. Where you been, Judas? Nowhere. It's like, OK, it's all right. A little keyed up there, pal, right? And maybe switch to decaf and Jesus gets down on his knees and washes Judas' feet.

You know that whole thing about whoever dips with me, right? That whole thing? He handed Judas a piece of pita dipped in the sop and maybe some hummus, I don't know. Maybe they're on a Daniel diet. A lot hummus, not a lot of pita, but a lot of hummus going around. With carrot sticks. Oh, Jesus, I'm so tired of carrot sticks. So he hands him the dipped chip. And I always wondered about that, but then I uncovered this week in studying that it was a sign of honor for the host of a meal to dip and to hand to someone. It was like a move to say like, I honor you, I honor you highly whoever I give this to. It was a mark of honor, and yet it was also attached to Judas' prophesied betrayal. And so what it was one last chance of Him saying, I'm not mad at you, I'm giving you space to do the right thing. And then even when Judas did show up in the Garden of Gethsemane, how did Jesus address him? How do you say it out loud? Friend. What are you doing here, friend? Does our God not keep the door open all the way to the end? Did you not say, Judas, this is space, this is opportunity, this is space, this is opportunity?

And yet Judas declined even the final opportunity he was given. And so his story, it ended in a way that he only had himself to blame. And I'm talking even of course about the despair at the very end. The despair, I think Jesus was so kind to him knowing this was going to happen, because He knows the beginning from the end, because I think He wanted Judas to know full well, He looked him right in the eyes, He washed his feet, He called him friend, to know that even after the betrayal He still would have forgiven him. Even after the betrayal He would have gladly welcomed him back. I mean, is not Peter proof? Is not Peter who denied Him three times, cussed a little girl out to say, I don't know Jesus, and yet He restored him, would he not have been gracious to Judas too? And yet the contrast of the hopelessness, a contrast to the despair that he refused to receive the grace that God, stubbornly continued to lavishly bestow upon him opportunity after opportunity, and does this not present for all of us just the most sobering lesson of all? That he chose to go this way and had no one at the end of the day to blame but himself?

I wanted to put the series into a doggy bag. Coming to the end of this, I figured especially with Judas' story in front of us, there would be maybe just two quick points of application that would stay with us and linger with us, and the first is this. Judas' story tells us that it's easier to squash a seed than it is to remove a tree. It's easier to squash a seed than remove a tree. You see, once it all got going, once it all got big, all the momentum of sin was so enormous. He had already made the deal, he had already brokered it, he'd already stolen the money. But what about just when it was little? That would have been when it was so much easier to deal with. And the seeds that are even now in our hearts, the seeds that are even now in our lives are a lot, I'm not saying they're easy to get at them. I said easier. It's not easy to squash a seed because we want it, it feels good, it's seductive, it's attractive. We wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't something beneficial about it. It's just what it's going to lead to that's going to make it more problematic as time goes on.

I thought as illustration of the largest tree in the world. The largest tree in the world is, of course, a Redwood. Yeah, a redwood tree. And you think about these trees, they get over 370 feet tall. I mean, it's ridiculous how big these trees are. And the girth on these, cause it looks kind of skinny there, but look at the girth on this thing, right? It's just enormous. Up to 20 feet in diameter. And if in your head you're thinking, I don't know how big that really is. Well look in comparison to Big Ben and to the Statue of Liberty. It's quite a bit taller. So these things are the largest trees on Earth. I was on Amazon the other day, and into my account, into my little screen popped up, Grow a Redwood. Grow a Redwood tree kit. And so I bought it. I want to grow redwood tree. I had read somewhere that only one in a billion Redwood seeds actually turned into trees, and this kit says 100% guaranteed to germinate. That's a great percentage. Just add water and sunshine, it says.

So I'll do it in July. One tear. Don't cry for me, Argentina. And when it came in the mail, I thought, man, that's a big old seed. It's a big one, and it made sense as I thought about a 370-foot-tall tree, it's gotta be a big seed. And I was horrified to open it up. You want to see this? There's five of them in this baggie. This little weed baggie's got five redwood. I was embarrassed. It's like the bag of chips full of air that you open, there's like two. You're like, oh. It's all air. And I thought, there has to be some mistake, so I did some Googling. Turns out these are actually the size. Many scientists and botanists describe it wee seeds. Their seeds are wee seeds. Wee little seeds. Their pine cones aren't much bigger. Their pine cones are only an inch tall, inch-and-a-half tall. And the seeds are indeed this small. Think about it: a 350-foot-tall tree right here. They say a redwood tree is one of the most difficult trees to take out once it's full grown.

That's why there are redwoods on our planet that have been there since Jesus Christ walked this earth 2,000 years ago. Because fire can't take them out. Average redwood, full-grown, they estimate has 34,000 pounds of water in its trunk. 40% of which it pulls from the fog. Thank you, California, right? It pulls it from the fog. Not from the ground. Its roots don't go deep enough down to get that much water. It pulls most of it from fog and creates its own rain. I could preach about that. Fire can't take it out, too much water. And it has no resin, no pitch that's flammable like most trees. In this 12-inch thick bark full of water, fires come through, it's like, ha. Just try. Please get rid of some of the shrubs that are making me itchy, but you're not going to take me down. Impervious to insects. Wind and storms that come through, can't take them out. But you said they have really shallow root systems, yeah. 370-foot-tall tree? Only six to 12 feet deep is the roots. Only six to 12 feet? Yeah, but they go 100 feet sideways, and as they go sideways, they interconnect with all the other redwood trees.

So if you want to take one out, you've got to take the whole grove out. Y'all, get in a small group is all I'm saying. y'all better get in a small group. Big trees, little seeds. What little seeds are in your heart today that aren't a problem now, but they will be tomorrow? Robert Murry M'Cheyne, one of my favorite dead preachers, put it this way. Left a mark on me my whole ministry. "We ought to maintain a conscience always washed in Christ's blood. We ought to confess sin the moment we see it to be sin". Look at this. There's more, I think. Is that all we got? It's a really good, long quote. That's just a little portion of it. I have the whole thing here. I'm not relying on screen support, I have Bible support. "We must never think a sin is too small to need immediate application of the blood of Jesus". We should never, oh, there it is. I was there the whole time. We must never think a sin is too small. I'm going to come back next week ready to preach. I'm going to have had some food, I'm going to be ready to go. We must never think a sin is too small to take out with the blood of Jesus Christ.

And then secondly, second takeaway, this is the last one and we're done. Being associated with Jesus is no guarantee that you are a follower of Jesus. Here Judas was for three years exposed to every sermon, every miracle, every moment, every day of Jesus' life he was there with a front row seat, and yet he completely missed out on the meaning of actually being a follower of Jesus. You guys, Judas should scare those of us to death who are just religious but don't have a relationship with God. Who are holy in many ways and don't have a relationship with God. Who do great things for humanity but don't have a relationship with God. Someone once said that you can miss Heaven by 18 inches, the distance from your head to your heart. Do you know a lot about God or do you know God? If not, today's the day and now's the time, there's not a moment to lose. This is an opportunity for you to give your heart to Jesus. And you're not guaranteed anywhere that you'll have another opportunity like it. So do not harden your heart.

Would you bow your heads with me, all of us praying? Thank you, God, for your grace extended to Judas. To sinners just like us. Not one of us are going to get to Heaven because we earned it, not one of us are going to go to Heaven because we deserved it. Only if we've received that grace and turned from our sins and turned to not just his rabbi, not just as a good teacher, but as Lord. And with heads bowed and eyes closed, if you're here and you've never made that decision, you're associated with Jesus. You've said before you're a Christian. Your parents are, your wife is, maybe your son or daughter is, but you've never asked Jesus to come into your heart. Today's the chance for you to do just that. While we're praying, I'm going to say a simple prayer out loud. I'm going to say it out loud because the Bible says to confess with your lips. So I'm going to say it out loud, and if you want to join me in this for making it your stand, your decision to give your life to Jesus, I want you to pray, too. Make these your words. Mean them in your heart as you say them to God out loud after me.

Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner. I can't fix myself. But I believe you can. I invite you to come into my heart, to be my Lord, to be my Savior. Help me to follow you fearlessly, publicly for all my days. In Jesus' name I pray.

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