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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - Salvation: Reverse Engineered

Skip Heitzig - Salvation: Reverse Engineered

Skip Heitzig - Salvation: Reverse Engineered
Skip Heitzig - Salvation: Reverse Engineered
TOPICS: Heart and Soul, Book of Romans, Salvation

Would you turn in your Bibles please to the book of Romans chapter 10? We're having a great time in this book, book of Romans heart and soul. It's been several weeks and now we're in the 10th chapter. Now, when I first saw this sign that I'm showing you, I was shocked by its honesty. Very honest sign. I'm walking down a street in a town called Kusadasi, Turkey on the way to Ephesus. I see this sign, so I go, I have to go inside. So I went inside and I bought this watch. I'm wearing it right now. It's fake, but I just want to see if these things actually work. It's been eight years and this watch still keeps pretty good time.

I happened to be with a guy who had the real version of this watch that he had on his wrist. We walked in together, I said, oh, that looks identical. I bought it. He took his watch off. I'm holding both of them looking at it, comparing the weight, looking at all the markings. Looked identical, then I handed his back to him. Or did I? This bothered him ever since. Dave, do you think that's really your watch? because they look so identical.

So the process by which these things are made is called reverse engineering. And reverse engineering is the process of deconstructing a device or a system, could be a computer system. ,to analyze the design and function of it. Reverse engineering does not start with an idea about something you want or need. It begins with a finished product and then works backwards. It's a helpful process for companies to look at things they make, components that go into those items to figure out if they can make them better and quicker, et cetera.

But reverse engineering is also how companies steal ideas from other companies and copy them making their own version. Here's a classic example. World War II was started in 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland called the blitzkrieg. When that happened, the Russians knew that they needed reconnaissance and defensive mobility. So they stole a couple of German motorcycles, 1930s BMW R71 motorcycles. Reverse engineered it and made a motorcycle that looks virtually identical to it called the Ural motorcycle. Still in production today. Different iteration of it, but all started on reverse engineering.

Something a little more sobering is what happened in June when one of our drones was shot down by Iran over the Strait of Hormuz out by the Persian Gulf. It was an RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance vehicle. This thing cost the American government $220 million to make one of them. It was shot down. The fear is that Iran has been and is using it to reverse engineer it to make their own for not good reasons in the future. Well, all of that is a set up for what I'm going to share with you today. Right in the middle of this section of Romans chapters 9, 10, and 11, Paul takes the concept of salvation and reverse engineers it. He kind of expands all the different components of it. So in deconstructing it and breaking down the process, he shows how salvation works, how a person becomes a saved person whether they are Jew or Gentile.

Let's look at our text. We're not going to look at all of chapter 10, but a few of the verses. Verse one, "brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved." If you don't mind, skip down to verse nine. "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Go down to verse 13. "For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him and whom they have not believed? How shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written 'how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace who bring glad tidings of good things.' But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord who has believed our report?' So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

In that section that we just read, we have seven stages of salvation. It's salvation expanded deconstructed so we can see each part. The first four things, and it's in your worship folder. You can see them. ,but the first four items are things believers do as we transmit the message to other people. Caring, praying, going, and speaking. That's what we do with unbelievers. The last three components are what unbelievers do as they become believers. Those are the transmitters, and that is hearing, believing, and calling.

Now let me begin by saying something foundational. When it comes to salvation, salvation is a work of God. It's an act of God. If God didn't save you, you're not going to be saved. God's sovereignty we've already noted predestines, elects, and calls. We've seen that in Romans. The summary verse Romans chapter 8 verse 30 that reads, "moreover whom he predestined these he also called, whom he called, these he also justified and whom he justified. These he also glorified." It's a divine work. But at the same time, it is also a human work. Meaning people become instruments that the sovereign God uses to effect his work. That means then that evangelism is the intersection between divine predestination and human volition. It's a cooperation between people and God, between heaven and Earth.

Have you ever thought of it from a purely human vantage point about evangelism and salvation? God has confined himself to using people to reach other people. That sounds like a very iffy proposition. I mean it sounds like we're saying we're all God's got. And apart from the sovereignty of God, that's the truth. If we don't tell the next generation, the next generation will not hear. But God is sovereign. God does the electing, the predestining the calling, the saving, but he uses people to do it. Now, some people are gifted at evangelism. They're very effective at it, but everyone's called to it. Everyone is called at some point to share their faith with others. And some people may not have a gift of a public preaching and speaking, but they could be very creative in evangelism. Let me give you an example.

Years ago I knew this gal when I lived in Orange County, California. She had one great skill set. She was an expert billiards player. She was a pool shark. She was at a professional level. Could beat just about anybody. She was saved out of that scene. She became a Christian, very on fire. She didn't know how to use her skill to reach people for Christ. So she was very creative in what she did. She was a cute gal. She would go to the bars in Orange County, hang out, and inevitably a guy would notice her and say, hey, can I buy you a drink? Standard stupid line. Hey baby, can I buy you a drink? And she said, tell you what, let's play a game of billiards. Let's play a game of pool. If you win, you can buy me a drink. If I win, you have to listen to what I have to say. And they always fell for it. They go sure, I'll do that, and she'd always win. And she used that to sit him down and share the gospel with him.

Now let's examine these stages that lead to salvation. Caring, praying, going, speaking, hearing, believing, and calling. First of all, caring. Verse 1 Romans 10, "brethren..." here it is. "My heart's desire..." notice that. "My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved." Paul is carrying something deep and burdensome in his heart. Do you remember he mentioned that in chapter 9?

If you don't mind, go back one chapter to chapter 9 verse 1. "I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying my conscience, also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit. That I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were a curse from Christ for my brethren and my countrymen according to the flesh." Do you know that it's possible to have great joy in your heart and sorrow in your heart at the same time? If you have an unbelieving family member, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You have the joy of the Lord to get you through the day, but you carry that burden of that one or two or many people that you have and love in your life that don't know the Savior that you have.

So Paul goes in chapter 8 from the pinnacle of joy to chapter 9 the pit of sorrow. Chapter 8 it's nothing can separate us from the love of God. We're more than conquerors too. I have great sorrow in my heart. So that's where evangelism always begins. Begins with caring. I have, or my heart's desire is that Israel might be saved. That's where it begins. Evangelism always starts with you're caring for the lost, because the truth is if you don't care, you won't share. It's only when you do care that you feel the need to share your faith with others.

It happened with Jesus. Matthew chapter 9 it says, Jesus saw the multitudes. He saw the crowds, and it doesn't say he saw the multitudes. If it said Skip saw the multitude, I might say he was annoyed by the crowds and the traffic. But it says when Jesus saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd.

Very interesting word in the Greek for compassion. It's the Greek word splagchnizomai, and it literally means the gut, the intestines. It's because the Hebrews believe that the deepest, most intense emotions were felt in the pit of one's stomach. So Jesus saw the crowd notice the multitude, and he cared deeply about what he saw. He also agonized over Israel like Paul does here as he approached the city of Jerusalem coming down the Mount of Olives. He didn't stop and go cool view. I oughta get my camera and get a picture of this. Says Jesus wept when he saw the city, and he said, oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How often I would have gathered you together as a mother hen gathers her chicks, but you were not willing. That's caring. That's compassion.

You can know a lot. You can memorize the four Spiritual Laws, memorize verses of scripture, have your strategy and arguments carefully crafted in your mind, but you've heard it said before, people don't care how much you know till they know how much you care. So if you're going to reach that office worker or that family member or that client, you need to see them as more than a client or an account, but a soul, an eternal soul.

So that's the first stage, caring. The second stage is praying. That's also verse one, "brethren my heart's desire and..." what's the word? ",prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved." Now it goes from the heart to the knees. He cares. He prays. I want you to go back again if you don't mind to chapter 9. I know I had to do that in a moment, but it's just a page, so it's not hard work. Romans 9 verse one, "I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying. My conscience also bury me witness in the Holy Spirit. I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart." I want you to see really what the heart of his prayer is. "For I could wish that I myself were a cursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh."

Can you imagine someone who has come to know Jesus Christ and all that that salvation entails willing to be lost forever if it means somebody that I love coming to know Christ? Now first of all, let me just say when Paul was writing this, he's not writing theologically. He's writing emotionally. He knows nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. He just said that. But he said, if it were possible that me being cut off would bring them in, that's how much sorrow I have. That's how much I love them.

Now this reminds us of somebody else who prayed very similarly named Moses. Remember Moses in the Old Testament comes down with the Ten Commandments of the law? Children of Israel are gathered around that golden calf that they made. We touched on that last week. They're partying it up. It grieves Moses heart. He begins to pray because God says, I'm going to wipe them out. I'm going to destroy them and start all over with you. Moses went right to prayer and he said, Lord, if you will but forgive their sin. But if not, I pray blot me out of your book which you have written. Same prayer. Same idea. Paul is taking his cues off of Moses.

How many times do we look around at our country, our city, our state, go man, we're in bad shape? Man, America needs a revival. When was the last time you prayed for a revival? When was a time you asked God on behalf of your city, your state, your country? Because the Bible says you have not because you ask not. And yes, God is sovereign, and yes, God's sovereignly elects and chooses and predestines and saves, but he does respond mystically, mysteriously to our prayers. And James used a very common but very powerful man from the Old Testament to prove that point named Elijah. He said Elijah was a man just like you and I, but he prayed. And God responded by shutting up the heavens so it didn't rain for three and 1/2 years. Then he prayed again and it rained on the land, and James concluded by saying the fervent effective prayer of a righteous man avails much.

After caring, we should then be moved to praying. I've always loved the story about the church that bought a brand new organ for its worship services. It was a traditional church. We would buy an electric guitar. They would buy an organ. Electric guitars are a lot cheaper than organs. Trust me. They saved up, bought this organ. First Sunday morning they were ready to go, musicians behind the organ, pushes the keys, nothing. Dead silence. Nothing happens. A custodian sees the problem from afar. The organ was not plugged into the wall socket. So he needs to get a message to the musician that after the invocation is given, he'll plug it in. And so somebody whispered in his ear, after the prayer the power will be on. Think of that statement. After the prayer, the power will be on. After your prayer, the power will be on.

Jesus said to his disciples when he was moved with compassion for them he said, the harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few, therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest field. So here's the deal. You can always do more than pray after you've prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you've prayed. So when people will say after a catastrophe our thoughts and prayers are with you is very appropriate because it begins by caring, then praying, and then there's more steps. But before we get to those steps, let me give you some homework if I can. If you don't mind, I'm going to ask you to do something this week, an exercise. Maybe you've done it before. Maybe you've not.

And that is sometime during the week, sit somewhere where there's a crowd and just people watch. Just watch people. Go to a mall or a soccer game or a theater or the airport, wherever there's a lot of people, just sit down, just watch. And then as you watch, let this thought sink in. Every person you see either has a relationship with Jesus Christ and will live forever with Him, or does not have a relationship with Christ and will live forever apart from Him. Let that just sink in. And as it sinks in, it's going to motivate you to take another step, and that is pray for them.

When I first came here, I went up to the foothills and I looked over the city lights. Sometimes I grab a buddy and I didn't know much about the city, but just began to pray for God to do a work in this city. So caring then gets moved into praying, but let me give you a warning. When you pray for the lost, you may be surprised by the answer. When you pray for the lost, you might be surprised by the answer. Here's what I mean. In Matthew 9 Jesus tells his disciples he sees the crowd, pray. It says pray. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest field. That's Matthew 9. In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus answers their prayer by sending them. Says pray to the Lord of the harvest. And I can just picture Peter, James, now Lord, we pray. You'll send people out into the harvest field.

Matthew chapter 10 verse 5, "these 12 Jesus set out..." boys, I'm answering your prayer. Bye bye. Because here's what happens. When you pray, your praying will turn into prompting. You'll get concerned deeper than just praying and you're going to want to do something about it. So those who prayed for workers became the workers. So caring, praying, third stage going. Verse 14. "How shall they call on him and whom they have not believed? How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?" Let's start there and we'll work our way backward. "Unless they are sent."

Now sent implies somebody is willing to go. Somebody is willing to be sent. You have senators and you have goers. Now, this sending isn't talking about a formal kind of ascending where you have a church board sending you or a mission organization. That's fine if that happens. But here's the implication. God does the sending. God does the sending. I love that story in Acts 13. The churches gather together. They're worshipping. They're praying and it says the Holy Spirit said, "separate unto me Paul and Barnabas for the work to which I have called them." So it says they pray, they fasted, they laid hands on them, and they, the disciples, the church sent them out.

Next verse. "So being sent out by the Holy Spirit they went." It is God who sends all of us out. In fact, did you know the word apostle is simply a word that means a sent out individual? What that means is you're on a mission from God. You have some mission. You have some ministry to fulfill.

Jesus said to his men, his troops you might say, go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Again, after his resurrection, he said, you will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the earth. In another place Jesus said, "as my father has sent me, so I send you."

Now this is always a healthy stage in Christian development. When a Christian who may up to that point has just sort of grown in their faith and taken in and enjoyed the worship and loved the family atmosphere of a connect group and loves all that they are getting starts caring for the lost and says I want to share with others.

It's been wisely and well said that churches that do not evangelize will eventually fossilize. And so do individuals because the church is just made up of a whole lot of individuals. I think we will dry up and shrivel up and fossilize if we don't evangelize. So with the disciples, with Paul, what began in his heart was taken to his knees in prayer, and then eventually he's now on his feet and he's going, and he did his missionary journey. So here's the process. "What begins in your heart by caring and is nurtured in your heart by praying gets birthed in your life by going."

So caring, praying, going, the forth stage is speaking. That's also in verse 14 and 15 where it says, "and how shall they hear without..." a what? Without a preacher. Now you're looking at me going, well, you're the preacher. This is your job. But the word preacher here doesn't mean people like me. It's not referring to a pastor behind a pulpit or an evangelist in a stadium. It simply means one who proclaims something. It means a speaker.

The word for preach or preacher K Rousseau referred to a herald who had a high place in the Greco-Roman world. He was an officer of the court, usually carried a scepter, and he made proclamations with a strong voice. So think of the guys in the English courts who would say hear ye, hear ye, and stand in the public square and give an announcement. That's a herald. That's a preacher. You go and you speak. You speak words. You speak gospel words. You speak truth to people.

I've heard this saying for years. I've never really liked the saying. It was by St. Francis of Assisi. A lot of people love it because they just think it's cool and novel, and it goes like this. "Preach the gospel at all times. And if necessary, use words." Anytime somebody says that, it reveals somebody who has embraced a version of Christianity where words don't matter.

Now, you need more than words, but you've got to begin with words because words convey truth concepts and nobody is going to understand truth concepts without the right words. Jesus didn't say just go into all the world. Go buy a ticket and have fun. He said go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He said to those that he sent around the Sea of Galilee, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach.

So at some point we're going to have to pull out our story and tell people how we came to Christ because our story is part of the story, his story, the good news. Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians chapter 1, "it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe."

I have a book on my shelf I bought it years ago by Charles Spurgeon called The Soul-Winner. And I'll be honest with you, I bought the book because of the cover. The cover just looked cool to me. It was a very strong vivid drawing of a sower, a farmer casting a sack of seed throwing it to the ground that it might grow. It's called Soul-Winner with that graphic on the front. In chapter 1 Spurgeon said, "we are to seek our neighbor's conversion because we love him and we are to speak to him in loving terms, God's loving gospel because our heart desires his eternal good."

Some point you got to speak. You got to tell people it's always necessary to use words. Let me ask you this. What if you lived in a small town, a little town, a little village, and you knew that in a few days your town was going to be destroyed by some catastrophe? You had good information that it's a flood, fire, earthquake, something's going to destroy everything.

Wouldn't you feel compelled to tell people about how to escape that which is coming? Do you think it would be sufficient to just live your witness in front of them and hug people and hope that maybe by you just living it out but not saying anything that they're going to somehow automatically know what that's all about? You would do them a disservice. Some people might say, well, God hasn't called me to preach. Where in the Bible does it say that?

Now the gospel isn't just words, but it sure includes words. Verse 17, "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." So we have some pretty distinct stages in salvation process. Caring, praying, going, speaking. Now, those four are what we do with an unbeliever. The next three are the responses of unbelievers hopefully.

So the fifth stage is hearing. Verse 14 again, "how shall they call on Him whom they have not believed? How shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" So the preacher comes, shares the truth message. It requires a hearing. It requires somebody listening, contemplating, processing the words that give the truth concepts, and then doing something with it. And have you noticed people hear the same message, they hear it differently?

In Matthew 13, Jesus gives a parable of the sower and the seed, and he depicts evangelism like a farmer scattering seed and different hearts interacting with truth different ways. We'll throw it up so you can see it. Matthew 13 and verse 19, "when anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside," or the path. "But he who received the seed on stony places.

This is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. When tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word, understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces some a hundredfold, some 60, and some 30."

It's all about hearing. Before faith can ever be activated, there must be a hearing of the truth. This is why using words is necessary. People have to understand the truth concept. That's the point of verse 14. How shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?

Peter came back to the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. Speaking of the Gentiles, he said the Gentiles heard the word of the gospel and believed. They couldn't believe until they heard the word of the gospel. So then the hearing ear becomes the conveyor of truth to the believing heart. They hear before they can ever interact with it.

What does this all mean to us? It simply means that all of us should know at any given time the basic facts of the gospel, have them ready with not only our personal testimony, how we came to Christ, but what are the facts of the gospel? Because you don't want to give wrong directions on how to get to heaven. If you're going to tell a person how to get from Earth to heaven, you want to make sure that you're giving them accurate directions. Not, well, turn right up there, then turn left. No, wait a minute. No. Turn left, then turn right. You want to make sure you clearly understand how to get from point A to point B so they will hear.

Now hopefully they will take the next step after hearing Jesus plainly said not all will in Matthew 13, but after caring, praying, going, and speaking, and then hearing comes hopefully believing. Verse 14 again. "How will they call on Him and whom they have not believed, and how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?"

This is where the rubber meets the road. This is the contact point of salvation. Salvation comes at the point of saving faith. Now, I chose that very carefully. Not just faith, saving faith. Saving faith is just raw faith, trust. It is apart from good works. It is apart from family heritage. It's apart from your religion you grew up with. It's just raw faith in Him.

Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 and 9, "for by grace you have been saved through faith. And that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast." That's John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." Saving faith is that raw trust in Him that leads somewhere.

Let me show you how it's qualified here. Look back at verse 9, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe..." what does it say after that? ",in your heart. If you believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved for with the heart one believes under righteousness and with the mouth confession is made to salvation."

What does that mean? Believing in the heart is a Hebrew concept. The Hebrew is considered the heart to be the core of personality, the core of your personhood. To believe in the heart is to really believe. To believe in the heart is to be all in. To believe in the heart is not to believe just superficially or simply to acknowledge that a God exists.

I meet people all the time, well, I believe in God. James would be quick to remind them, whoop-dee-doo. I know that's not what James says exactly, but he said you do well, but even the demons believe and tremble. Listen, the devil and all of his demons, they know the facts of the gospel. They know Jesus is the Son of God. They know all that, but there is no salvation. Believing in the heart is different. It's really at your core authentically trusting.

Interesting true story. Years ago there was a guy named John Patton. He was from Scotland, Scotland. He was Scottish, and he had a burden on his heart. He cared enough to pray about going and eventually going to a group of islands in the South Pacific called the New Hebrides. The people who lived there at the time are all cannibals. But he loved them. He cared for them. He prayed about going. He went and he lived among them as life is in danger 24 hours a day at first. And he was determined to translate the Gospel of John into that indigenous language.

He came up to one huge impediment, one huge problem. There was no word in that receptor language for the word trust, believe, faith. There was no word they had that encapsulated that. So he was trying to figure out what words can I use to translate faith, trust, belief?

One day he's in his tent. He's sitting in his chair. One of the indigenous guys comes into the tent, and John Patton, sitting back in the chair, leans back, lifts both his feet in the air. I obviously can't do that because I'm not sitting. Here. Does this, and asks the man from the area, what am I doing right now? And the man spoke a word that means to place your whole weight upon. And he heard that word, and that's how he translated faith, belief, trust in the New Testament.

So if you were to have read John 3:16 in that language of the New Hebrides islands years ago, it would read something like, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever places their whole weight upon him will not perish but have everlasting life. That is believing in the heart. That is saving faith.

So after caring, praying, going, speaking, they hear. Hopefully they make that contact by faith. And that leads to step number seven in this reverse engineering view, and that is calling, calling on the name of the Lord. Verse 13, "for whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him whom they have not believed?"

Now when it's true faith, this always happens. There's always a moment at which a person that has true faith calls upon the Lord, invites Christ to come in, ask God to forgive them of their sins. The Old Testament term for that was calling on the name of the Lord. It's a quote, by the way. Verse 13 is a quote from the Old Testament. "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." In the Old Testament, that phrase was always associated with the right worship of the true God. That is the Old Testament way of saying what Paul says in verse 9 and 10. It's the same truth, "if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart." So it's simply asking personally Christ to save you.

Revelation 3, Jesus says to the church in Revelation, "behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him, have fellowship with him." Opening the door is calling on the name of the Lord is saying God save me. I personally want to receive Jesus as my Savior. That's calling on His name.

You see, it's one thing to acknowledge the greatness of a parachute. It's quite another thing to jump out of the airplane with a parachute strapped to your back. You could be in a plane and go, well, that's a cool looking parachute. I love the colors. I love the way that strung together. Nicely packed really well. I dig that parachute. OK, strap it on and jump. When you do, that's calling on the name of the Lord. You're applying it now to your life. You're making it real and personal for you.

True story. Years ago when some of the first tightrope walkers were doing their thing, stretching out cables between buildings, one guy nicknamed The Great Blondin stretched his cable out over the Niagara Falls. Crowds of people on either side clapping for him as he'd walk one way, walk back the other way. Then he carries something over one way, go back. People applauded, oohed and awed. Then he took a wheelbarrow, loaded it with bricks, walked across, walked back. People again applauded him.

Then he asked the crowd this question. How many of you believe I could do that again with a human being inside the wheelbarrow? And they all said yay and they clapped, and then he goes who will volunteer to sit in the wheelbarrow? It's one thing to say I believe you can do it. But in hearing the message of the gospel, when you believe it at some point, you're going to want to get in that wheelbarrow and place your whole weight upon Him and call upon the name of the Lord.

Well, brothers and sisters, we have a very unique opportunity because we have the only message that gets a person from Earth to heaven. It's a very simple message. The work has been done, but the message is to believe in Jesus Christ, to call upon the name of Him, to trust Him completely.

And let me illustrate how important that is. This is my closing illustration. I read a little news article the other day about a man named Don Richie, 84 years old, Australian man. He lives across the street in Australia outside of Sydney Harbor, right across the street from a notorious suicide spot.

In the last 50 years Don Ritchie has stopped 160 people from jumping to their deaths down a sheer cliff where the cliff meets the ocean. He lives right across the street. He'd see people go up there all the time to the edge of the cliff, and the wind's blowing and the waves fomenting, and they're deciding what is the right time to jump? And suddenly they hear a voice behind them. Excuse me? Would you come over to my house for a cup of tea? And it shocked so many of them. 160 people came to his house, had tea. He talked them off the ledge. He talked them through their issues and over 50 years saved 160 people.

Yeah. By the way, the name of the place has got an interesting name. It's called The Gap. You and I are called a stand in the gap for people to talk people off the ledge, jumping into the eternal abyss, apart from holding on to Christ. What a privilege we have. It's exactly what we're called to do.

Let's pray together as we close this service. Father, we have looked at all the various components that Paul gives here of this journey that we call salvation. From those who transmit it and caring enough to pray for people, to then go to them and speak to them truth, to them hearing that truth and some believing and then calling upon your name. All seven of these steps outlined in this one chapter.

Lord, we have an incredible privilege. But Lord, once again, I'm just guessing that there are some right here right now who need to be talked off that eternal ledge. They're at a place where they realize they're not following you, they're not walking with you, but they're willing to turn today. They're willing to make a simple decision to say yes to the Savior who loves them. And hearing that there is a God in heaven who loves them who sent Jesus to pay the penalty of sin, that anybody who believes in Jesus would be taken from Earth to heaven.

In hearing that simple message of the crucified resurrected Savior, some would say I'm going to believe that. I'm going to make that my own. I'm going to lay my weight upon Him. And that could be you today, maybe for the very first time. Maybe up to now you've trusted in your religion, your churchgoing, your background, your heritage. Others of you maybe wandered away from Him and you need to come back home to Him. You're not living a life that pleases Him and He's calling you back.

If that represents anybody here as our heads are bowed and eyes are closed, mine are open. ,I want you to raise your hand. We do this quite often. Raise your hand in the air if you're willing to say yes to surrender your life to Christ, to ask Him to come in to forgive you of your sins. You're willing to place your whole future, your whole weight upon Him. You raise your hand up in the air just so I can acknowledge it. God bless you.

Right here in the middle, and again in the middle I see that hand over here, in the back of couple of your hands to my left, in the balcony I see a couple of you guys, guys, gals. Anybody else? Couple of you right here in the middle to my right, to my right over here on the side. If you're in the outdoor amphitheater, raise your hand. If you're in the family room, I can see through that glass, I see a couple of hands right here. Awesome. Few of you. God bless you, guys.

Father, we're drawn to this. We're moved by this. We know that this is a very holy moment, moment of great life change and consideration where you're going to take and make all things new. And we pray, Lord, that they will feel differently each person going out than they did coming in. They feel alleviated. They feel lighter, hopeful, joyful, as they fully place their trust in you. In Jesus' name, amen.

Now let's all stand to our feet. For everyone who raised your hand, I'm going to ask you now as we sing this final song to get up from where you're standing. If you're in the family room, come through the doors. If you're on the aisle, just quickly get out on that island, come. If you're in the middle of an aisle, just say excuse me to somebody next to you. If you're in the balcony, come down the steps. We're going to wait for you. But we're going to ask you to call upon the name of the Lord here in just a moment. I'm going to lead you in a prayer publicly to receive Christ. As we sing, you come. "When nothing satisfies like Jesus, like Jesus, Jesus. There's nothing in this life like Jesus, like Jesus, Jesus. When nothing satisfies like Jesus, like Jesus, Jesus. There's nothing in this life like Jesus, like Jesus."

Father, I pray for anybody else, Lord, that just needs your spirit to release them. They know they should be here. They've seen this before. They've just held back and not responded. Would you just release those souls to come to know Jesus? By faith right now in this place we ask. In His name, amen.

Going to give it just another moment. Give you time to get up here. Whether you raise your hand or not, you just come. "There's nothing in this life like Jesus." Yeah. Come on up. "Like Jesus..." God bless you guys. "Jesus. There's nothing satisfies like Jesus, like Jesus."

Now I'm hoping you don't feel embarrassed right now, but you feel encouraged right now because that's what all this is about. They're clapping because they know that war that goes on inside you come to this decision. But you're here. You've made it. You've said yes to Him, and I'm going to lead you in a word of prayer. I'm going to ask you to pray out loud after me what I pray, OK? If you can, just pretend that nobody else is here. It's just you and God, and you're going to ask him to come inside, OK? Let's pray. Say:

Lord, I give you my life. I admit that I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe He died on a cross. I believe He shed His blood for me, and I believe He rose again. I turn from my past. I repent of my sin. I turn to Jesus as my Savior. Help me lift for Him as my Lord. It's in his name I pray, amen. Amen.

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