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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - The Cure for the Curse

Skip Heitzig - The Cure for the Curse

Skip Heitzig - The Cure for the Curse
Skip Heitzig - The Cure for the Curse
TOPICS: Bloodline, Curse, Redemption

Would you turn in your Bibles, please, this morning to Genesis, chapter 3. We're going to look today at a single verse of scripture. Genesis, chapter 3, verse 15. And leave it to me to squeeze 5 points out of a single verse. It shouldn't surprise you. But that's what we're going to look at Genesis, chapter 3, verse 15.

Let me start by saying, years ago, I was part of a movie set. I was part of a movie. It was a Billy Graham film called The Last Flight Out. I played a very, very, very minor role in it. I played the role of the missionary doctor in this film. And, thank you for that. I'll be available for autographs anytime for that. No, really. Nobody's really heard of this film, but anyway so I played this part. But one of the lead actors in this role had played in a movie called Blackhawk Down. And he was a pilot in this movie who gets converted. And he was a pilot who helped rescue this village from these drug lords who were coming in and this one girl in particular who was serving there on the mission field. And in the process of that, he comes to Christ.

Well, in real life, this actor was not a believer. And I could see him struggling with his lines and with some of the lines of the other actors, especially the line about the blood of Christ and the actor saying that Jesus shed his blood for our sins. And then, he had to respond with something. And he just stopped in the middle of one of the scenes and said, so what's the big deal about the blood of Christ? Well, I'm in this film. So I overhear this. And I thought, I have to insert myself at this point. So I did. And we had a very lively conversation. But basically, I said, look, without the blood, there is no message. There is no power. And we have no movie.

And you know, I've thought about that scene, that time, that event many times since. And I've discovered that all of history, especially redemptive history, centers around one pivotal event. And that is the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross. That is the main event, his death, burial, and Resurrection. Why is that? Because forgiveness is our greatest need. And our greatest need happens to be God's greatest accomplishment. That's what the cross is all about it. It provides an opportunity for God to forgive. And that is our greatest need. Our greatest need is not to know how to live our best life now or how to be the best you that you can be or how to turn your scars into stars or how to be a healthy person.

Your greatest need, my greatest need, our greatest need is to be forgiven. This is why Jesus on the cross, his first words recorded in scripture were, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." It is forgiveness. The Great Bible scholar William Evans once said, "You can cut the Bible anywhere and it will bleed." What he meant is that the Atonement is on every page, in every book, in both testaments, old and new. It's either predicted or anticipated or acknowledged or celebrated. It is what is called the Scarlet Thread of Redemption. It is so monumental an event that it was in the mind of God before he even created the world.

Revelation 13 calls Jesus Christ the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Before he created the world, he knew what would happen. He knew he needed a rescue plan to fix the bad that would fall on the world. And so he planned, before he credited the world, to send his son into it. And Jesus even referred to it that way. You remember, after he rose from the dead, he's walking along the road, because there's two disciples on the road to Emmaus from Jerusalem. They're all forlorn, bummed out that Jesus died. And they think it's over. And so Jesus walks up to them and says, oh, foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not the Christ to have suffered and entered into his glory.

And then, Luke writes this, "Beginning at Moses", that's Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the writings of Moses, "Beginning at Moses and all of the prophets, he expounded to them in all of the scriptures the things concerning himself." In other words, he followed the bloodline from the Old Testament all the way through to show them how Christ would suffer. So then, all pre-New Testament history looks forward to the cross. All post-New Testament history looks back to it. The prophets anticipated it. God's people have celebrated it. We still do.

But sadly, some churches are scared of it. They don't want to mention the blood. They don't want to sing songs about the blood. It's going to turn people off. Unbelievers aren't going to like that we have a bloody religion. Let's just talk to them about how to be the best them they can be. And they're afraid to talk about it.

Charles Spurgeon, one of my favorite quotes ever, said this. "There are some preachers who cannot or do not preach about the blood of Jesus Christ. And I have one thing to say to you concerning them. Never go to hear them. Never listen to them. For a ministry that has not the blood in it is lifeless. And a dead ministry is no good to anybody." So in the next few weeks, we're going to follow that bloody trail from the Old Testament all the way through to the New. Today, we are in the seminal verse, Genesis, chapter 3, verse 15.

Now, let me give the setting to you. Genesis, 1, 2, and 3 is about creation. God creates the world. A certain being, a special classification of being we typically call an angel, falls from God's presence to the earth, comes up with a strategy to bring a curse upon the earth, and the first man and woman, God's crowning creation, we call them Adam and Eve because of their Hebrew words that denote them, they, in effect, become the Children of the Serpent. They run away from God. They try to run and flee from him. God chases after them, clothes them in the garments of an animal. So there has to be blood sacrifice for that covering to take place, and kicks them out of the garden, lest they live forever cursed because of what they did.

Now, if you're just a casual reader and you're reading Genesis 1, you go, oh, this is pretty cool. And then, Genesis 2, it even gets better. And then, Genesis chapter 3, it's like, at the first, pretty awesome, until you get to this point and the fall happens. And you're in Genesis 3 reading this and you're going, well, now, what is God going to do? How is he going to fix this? Will he ever come up with a plan to restore this crowning creation that has fallen? The answer comes in Genesis 3, verse 15.

So I'm going to direct your attention to Genesis 3, but let's, for context's sake, go back to verse 8, down to the 15th verse. Verse 8 reads, "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. "Then, the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, where are you? So he said, I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself. And He said", God said, "'Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you that you should not eat?' then, the man said, 'the woman whom You gave me to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.'"

This is called passing the buck. And it started that far back. "And the Lord said to the woman, 'What is this that you have done?' The woman said, 'the serpent deceived me, and I ate.'" So she's also passing the buck. Both of the statements, however, were true. "So the Lord God said to the serpent, 'because you have done this, you are a curse more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field, on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.'" Now, here's the verse. Look at it with your own eyes. Genesis, 3:15. "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed, he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel."

Now, I've chosen to look at just that one verse and mosey our way through it, drilling deep into the words and phrases of this promise, because this promise contains no less than five realities, five certainties from this one promise. Here's the first. There will be conflict. This verse promises conflict. Notice the word enmity. That means conflict. I will put enmity or I will put conflict or I will put hostility. Another translation says a feud will break out. You could even say to be at war with. He is promising a war, a conflict.

Now, let's push the pause button. It's creation. So far, everything is good. God says it's good. Seven times in the first couple chapters, God does something, goes, that's good, that's good, that's good, that's good, that's good. It's all good. There's only one thing that wasn't good and God fixed that. And that was it's not good that man should be alone. So God fixed it by creating a woman to bring her to the man. So now, that's good. It's all good.

Now, it's a romance novel. You got Adam and Eve and they're in love. And it's a match made in heaven. And you wonder, they're going to live happily ever after, right? Hardly. Now, it all changes, because, now, we meet a creature that is not even mentioned until now. He is called here the serpent. Really, a poor translation. Nachash is the Hebrew word. It can be translated, the shining one, some special creation of God called the serpent.

Now, we know who this is, because we've read the rest of the book. Who is the serpent? It is Satan. And remember in school they would say that the answers are in the back of the book? Well, the answers are in the back of the book. The last chapter of the Bible, Revelation, reveals the identity of the serpent. Let me read it to you. This is Revelation 12, verse 9. "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world, he was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out with him." Do you remember the Lord Jesus Christ made this statement? "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning." That's where the conflict began.

Now, there are two chapters we don't have time to really look at this morning. Ezekiel chapter 28, in the Old Testament, and Isaiah, chapter 14 give details as to who Satan was originally. Ezekiel calls him the anointed cherub that covers, so presumably a guardian of some sort, maybe over God's throne. Isaiah tells us that he goes by the name Lucifer. You've heard that term before. Lucifer is a name that means the morning star. So he was a star who wanted to be a director. He wanted to direct the show. And he said, I will, five times in that passage in the Old Testament. I will exalt myself above the throne, the stars, of God.

That is Lucifer. He asserts his will against God's will. Now, up to this point, there's only been one will in the universe. That's why everything's so good. Now, there's this being who decides, no, I'm going to do my own thing against the will of the creator, beginning the conflict, but the conflict spreads. And it spreads through other angelic beings. They follow in the rebellion. Revelation 12 tells us Satan drew one third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the Earth.

So like Satan, a star, these other stars, these other angelic beings, fell to the earth. They became a highly organized network of powerful spiritual beings. And they seemed to have such a vast organization that they have rankings. And Paul the Apostle seems to refer to these ranks when he writes in Ephesians, chapter 6 these familiar words. "We struggle not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, authorities, powers, spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms."

So the conflict spreads from a single being to multiple beings, a third of heaven. But then, it spreads, now, to the earth. He falls to the earth. That becomes his domain. And the conflict spreads into the human realm. That's what Genesis 3 is all about. Genesis 3 is the darkest day in all of human history. It's the day that Paul refers to in Romans, chapter 5, when he says "Through one man, sin entered the world and death through sin. Thus, death spread to all mankind." He was talking about this very day of Genesis, chapter 3. So one act of disobedience and the sin virus was introduced into the bloodstream, the bloodline of humanity.

So there will be conflict. That's the first certainty in this promise. Here's the second. There will be a continuing conflict. Notice, more deeply, it says, "I will put enmity", conflict, hostility, "between you", speaking to the serpent, "and the woman", the woman at this point is Eve, "and between your seed and her sees." So your offspring will have conflict with the offspring of a woman.

What does that mean? Well, it means far more than people are going to hate snakes. And snakes are going to want to bite people. There is a spiritual component here in this prophecy. It means there is going to be an ongoing conflict between humanity, whom God loves and pursues and redeems, and Satan's crowd, influenced by those demons that fell, but encompassing the world of humans that the Bible sums up by a single world, world, the world.

The world doesn't agree with you. The world does not sympathize with you. The world, by and large, does not believe in your Jesus or the cross. And sometimes you feel so outnumbered by them at work or at school or in your family. You're thinking, man, nobody else believes like I believe. And that shouldn't surprise you, actually. And let me tell you why.

I John, chapter 5, verse 19, John writes, "We know that we are the children of God and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one." How's that for setting you apart? Yep. You believe. They don't. But the entire world is under the sway of the prince of all demons, Satan himself. So you're right. You're outnumbered. You're in the minority. They're in the majority. But you happen to be right and they happen to be wrong. So there will be a continuing conflict.

Now, I need to get your attention, so to speak, and just say that the next few minutes, I need you to focus in, because I'm going to get a little detailed here. But let me say that if you do not understand this ongoing conflict that the scripture presents, the Bible will just not make sense to you. There'll be portions of the scripture that you'll think, why is that there? What's going on with that? That's a random set of stories that don't coalesce. So let me frame it for you, briefly.

We live in a parallel universe. What I mean by that is there's a physical reality, but there's a spiritual reality. In our world, we call it the real world. We even say to people, hey, get real, man. You live in the real world. This is the real world. That's one world. The other world, I call it the really real world. It's where a lot of the action is going on. It's unseen by us, just like you don't see sound waves or TV waves that are in this room, but you don't see them, they're invisible, but they are here. There's the really real world, a parallel universe of spirit beings, both angelic and demonic forces.

34 books in the Bible, 34 out of 66 books, mention these beings, these angels. To be exact, 103 times in the Old Testament, 165 times in the New Testament angels are mentioned. The word angel is a word that means messenger. It's a special class of being. They are noncorporeal beings, meaning they do not have a body. Because they don't have a body, they're invisible. They are not subject to human decay. They are not limited by the same limitations and hindrances we as humans experience. And ever since the fall, there has been this ongoing conflict in heavenly places, spiritual conflict, an invisible war, one author calls it, that has been going on from the fall of humanity all the way through.

Now, one of the rules of warfare is to know who your enemy is and how your enemy operates. So first of all, you got to know who your enemy is. And if you don't believe in a devil, then he's already won. Oh, no. He's not real. There's no real thing as the devil. So he's already won. He's got your life hook, line, and sinker, because he's so powerful, he's got you to believe he's not even there. But then, once you know your enemy, you do have to know how he works. Paul in the New Testament said, "We're not ignorant of his devices." Sadly, many of us are. So the promise here is that some offspring of this woman will cause a bruising, or the Hebrew word could be translated, a crushing, of Satan's head.

Now, that's a pretty ominous promise. Let's say, before service, I ran up to you in the foyer and I said, hey, let me just give you fair warning. After church, I'm going to find you and crush your head. Fair warning. Just letting you know. Now, I would never say that to you. But let's say I said it to you and you really believed I was going to do that. Well, you're going to do one of two things. Either you're going to avoid me and take evasive measures to get away from me, because I'm a nut case. Or you're going to strike first, lest I have the opportunity to put you down.

So there is an announcement, a revelation, that I give you. And you're going to respond to that revelation by countermeasures to take out the possibility of you being crushed. So that frames for us what we call the Invisible War. Let me give you some examples of this in the Bible. The first we come across is in the book of Genesis, when Satan motivates Cain to kill Abel, the righteous son of those two. It's an attempt to kill the seed, potentially, that would crush his head. So what does God do? He raises up another child by the name of Seth.

Here's another example. World gets very populated, but gets so evil, Satan so corrupts humanity, that God's only option is to completely destroy all life on planet Earth through a flood. Eight survive. The seed continues. Here's another example. Satan motivates Esau to try to kill Jacob, his brother. Why Jacob? You'll find out in a few moments that God made a very special promise to Jacob about his seed being carried forward.

Here's another example. Pharaoh decides, these Hebrews are populating all around us. We just can't have this growth of these Jewish people around us. So when the Hebrews had their babies, if it's a girl, let it live. If it's a boy, kill it. Drown it in the river, the Nile River. Why? Why so drastic a measure? It's Satan's inspiring Pharaoh to destroy the seed. He is an agent of Satan. Keep following the story. Another attempt, when King Saul wants to kill David, not for one time or two times, but almost a decade, he chases him to kill him, throws spears at him, hunts him down, wants to... why David? Why not anybody else? Because God makes a promise to David that his lineage will produce the seed that will destroy Satan's dominion.

We get some other wild stories that we wonder about in the Bible, like the Court of Ahasuerus, the King of Persia. All the Jews, most of the Jews in the world were living in Persia, Iran, at that time. And this court official by the name of Haemon comes up with this law and passes a law that every Jew in Persia be killed, on the same day, mass genocide. His plot gets found out. He is hung on his own gallows.

Story continues. Jesus is born. A few Jews tell Herod the Great about this King of the Jews that may have been born in Bethlehem. He goes nuts. Says, every male child two years and under, destroy, in Bethlehem. What's that all about? That's an attempt to get at the seed of the woman. Later on, Jesus goes to a synagogue in Nazareth, reads from the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 61, closes the book, and announces, today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. And what did they do? Do they all applaud and go, yay, Messiah is here. Let's rally around him. No. They took him to a brow of a hill to push him over and destroy his life.

Well, he got out of that. We know that. But then, Satan appears to Jesus, personally, and suggests that Jesus might want to jump off the pinnacle of the temple, because, and he misquotes the scripture, God will give His angels charge over you to bury you up, lest you dash your foot against the stone. All of these are attempts to destroy a people, a nation, a lineage, and a person in particular. Now, what this will do for you is help you understand the spirit reality behind a certain kind of sin we know as anti-Semitism. All prejudice is wrong. All prejudice is evil, but there is a certain demonic evil behind anti-Semitism. And here's the premise. If God's plan of redemption required the existence of a nation and the continuation of that nation, if you can destroy that nation, you will defeat God.

So as the revelation goes out, the counteroffensive measures by the serpent continue through the scripture. And they're all focused on one individual. He is introduced, also, in verse 15. Let's notice it. "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed", now, watch this, "he." He. Now, that's singular, right? He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. So now, we understand not only will there be conflict, a continuing conflict, but there will be a coming one here called he.

See, up to this point, we don't know what God's talking about, because seed can either be plural or singular. There's going to be conflict between your seed and her seed. That's a broad term. But now, we understand it means one person. He shall bruise. There is a he involved. This is why Genesis 3:15 is considered by New Testament scholars to be the first messianic prophecy ever given. The term is, you can write this down if you want to impress your friends with it, this is the protoevangelium. That's the word protoevangelium means the first gospel. So it's the first hint or prediction that a deliverer will come who will take away the authority, the rule of Satan, strike a fatal blow to his head.

But who is he? We're not told in this passage. All we know is the seed, he, will come from the woman, Eve. Well, that could be everybody, right? But we keep reading. We keep reading. And pretty soon, we discover that there's a flood. There's eight people, Noah, Mrs. Noah, his three boys, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, their wives. That's eight people. And only one of those sons will carry the seed forward, the lineage forward, the plan of God. And that is Shem, Semitic race, the Shemites will carry forward. So now, we kind of got that. And then, we discovered that through the line of Shem, God makes a special promise to one of his descendants by the name of Abraham.

In Genesis 12, in Genesis chapter 22, God says, "Through you and your seed, all the nations of the earth will be blessed." So now, we identify Abraham as part of that. Then, God makes a promise, not only to Abraham, but to Abraham's second son, not his first son Ishmael, but his second son Isaac, Genesis 26, "Through you and your seed, all the world will be blessed." Then, we keep reading and discover that God makes a promise to Isaac's second son, not Esau, but Jacob, Genesis 28, that the seed will continue in the promise through his lineage.

We keep reading the story. And soon, we discover that a specific son of Jacob, fourth son by the name of Judah, the tribe of Judah, will emerge to bring forth the hero, the he, the rescuer. But we keep reading the story. And we find out that one of those from the tribe of Judah, the family of David, God promises to him an everlasting kingdom. And we keep following that all the way til we get to Jesus in the New Testament.

So the bloodline of the Messiah, the scarlet thread of redemption, gets woven through Adam and through Seth and through Shem and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David, all the way to Jesus. This is why, when you open your New Testament to page one, Matthew, chapter 1, it begins this way. "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." They're following that lineage that God promised and preserved throughout the scriptures. So Jesus is the he. He's the hero of redemptive history. And all of Satan's attacks have been to destroy him before he destroys the serpent.

Now, we're reading Genesis 3:15. Did you know there's a parallel verse in the Book of Revelation to this verse? And it is Revelation, chapter 12, verse 4. Let me read it to you. You might want to jot that down for later though. It says, "And the dragon", who's already identified as Satan in that chapter, "And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth to devour her child as soon as it was born." That frames the conflict, the ongoing conflict and the one who will be the coming one predicted in Genesis 3.

So we've covered some realities here. There will be a conflict. There will be a continuing conflict. There will be a coming one. Let me give you a fourth. This verse promises there will be a confrontation. There's going to be a culmination. There's going to be a one on one, grand finale, a showdown, so to speak. Notice verse 15 once again. "I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head", and notice this last part, "you shall bruise his heel." One is fatal, that's the bruising of the head. I'll get to that in a minute. One is a temporary, minor blow, a heel wound. You will bruise his heel.

So God tells Satan, listen, there's coming a confrontation with this seed. You will only manage to wound him temporarily, but he will crush you ultimately. Now, I believe the bruising of the heel is a hint of the crucifixion, because I don't know if you ever had a bruised heel, but it ain't pretty. It's very painful. You have a heel bone that's called a calcaneus. And a calcaneal fracture or bruising is quite painful. Bruising any bone is painful. So it's a prediction of a very painful event, that, for Jesus, was the crucifixion. Now, the crucifixion, and we don't have time to really get into the details of that, we have before. But experts will say that it is one of the most agonizing, excruciating forms of punishment and pain a human being can suffer.

In fact, the very word I just used, excruciating, is an English word that literally means, from the cross. It's a word that we have developed to sum up something deeply agonizing. And so we are referring to the cross of Christ. It is excruciating. That would be the bruised heel for Jesus. But it would only be a heel bone. Why? Because it was temporary. You say, well, that sounds pretty fatal to me. He died. Yeah, but wait a couple days. Wait three days. There's a Resurrection. So we discover the death and Resurrection of Jesus would be the win in this battle.

So the bloodline leads to a bloody cross, which is actually the lifeline. So the bloodline points to the lifeline, which is Jesus. It takes us to our fifth and final certainty in this promise of Genesis 3:15. There will be conquest. Go back to verse 15 one final time to look at one phrase. And that is the phrase, "he shall bruise your head." the head is the control center of your body. If you don't have a head, you don't have a you. You strike a person's head, you knock them out. You take away their dominion, their power, their authority.

So when all of Satan's counteroffensive measures failed, when he failed to pollute the earth thinking God is going to judge them all, destroy the Earth in a flood, God preserves 8, the story continues. When all of Satan's attempts to destroy that fail, when he fails to destroy the royal line of King David, when he fails to kill Jesus at Bethlehem because of Herod, when he fails to get Jesus thrown off the pinnacle of the temple, or fails to get him thrown off the brow of the hill at Nazareth, he comes up with the ultimate nuclear weapon, the cross.

He incites, he influences the Jewish leaders, the mob, and the Roman government to put Jesus on a cross. And don't you know, when Jesus was put on that cross and said, it is finished, it's over, and breathed his last, that all of hell started a party and said, we finally did it. Hot diggity dog, the he is gone. I saved my head another day. No crushing today. I'm good to go. That's why the Bible says, had the rulers of this world known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. They didn't know.

See, they're partying in hell thinking, it's all over. But it was only a three-day party. On the third day, that corpse started moving. And he sat back up. And then, there was a whole lot of shaking going on when that stone was rolled away and he walked out of that tomb, victorious, only to live forever and ever. So I can only say that Satan may have been rejoicing, but he was to understate it, highly disappointed. Let me read another scripture that will, now, make more sense. Jesus said in John 12 these words. "Now, is the judgment of this world. And now, the prince of this world will be cast out. And if I be lifted up from the earth", that's the crucifixion, "I will draw all men to myself."

So what does that mean for us studying Genesis 3:15, only this. The darkest day in human history gave way to the brightest hope of human history, because the he is coming. The conflict will be won by a hero who will crush Satan's authority over people who give their lives to Christ, the coming one. Paul had this in mind, had the Genesis 3 in mind, and this concept in mind when he wrote his letter to the Roman church. He wrote these words, Romans 16, verse 19. He said, in closing his book, and the God of Peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.

You see, Paul knew about the cross. He knew that Jesus had already, in effect, crushed the dominion, the authority, the power of Satan at the cross. But he also knew the Romans were on the battlefield, still, in this world, being pressured and tortured and persecuted by those around him. So he says, the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.

Satan's dominion is taken away from your life if you're in Christ. He has no control over you. I love how Jesus put it this way. "Satan has come to kill, to steal, and to destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it to the max." That's a Skip Heitzig free translation of have it more abundantly. You're going to live to the max. You're going to have an abundant life. And I have come to do that. What he did, I have come to undo. He ruined it. I came to fix it. Abundant life.

So the bloodline begins from the protoevangelium, the first promise, the first gospel, all the way to the cross and beyond. William Evans, a guy I quoted at the beginning said, "The Bible is red with redemption truth." This is the truth that we will study in the next few weeks, leading up to Easter. And I hope, at the very least, it will awaken your heart to the great love that God has for you.

We hear of God's love all the time. Every time you come to church, you hear it. I fear that we hear it so often it doesn't make an impact any more in our hearts. We hear Jesus died on the cross. Yeah. I've heard that. Next. Listen. We need to let that simple, profound truth of God's elaborate rescue mission to be the lover of our souls sink in and transform us. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life. That's the undoing of the serpent. Let's pray together:

Father, we marvel when we consider the outcome of this great outpouring of love. The outcome is that we are blood-bought sons and daughters of the living God through His son Jesus Christ. We don't shy away from the blood. We don't hide ourselves from it, mentioning it. We exalt in it. We glory in it. As Paul said, I've determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It's that act, it's that redemptive, pivotal act that enables us to be forgiven, because all of our sin, all of our failures was placed upon him, the sinless one. He bore them for us. He took the punishment in our place. And we're forgiven and our souls are set free from the dominion of Satan, not children of this world, under the sway of the evil one, but children of the living God. And Lord, You said in your word, as many as received Jesus, to them, He gave the power, the right, the authority to become children of God to those who believe in His name. I pray for anyone who might be with us today who hasn't yet believed in His name, hasn't entrusted Him personally.

With your heads bowed and your eyes closed, I want to ask you that simple question. Are you sure? Are you positive? Do you know for certain that if you were to die, or when you are to die, you will stand before God and be entered into His glory, into His kingdom, into His house? Do you have any doubts about that at all? You can't hide behind your religion. I went to church all my life, was very religious. You might be a religious person, a good person, a moral person, a wonderful citizen, a great father or mother or son or daughter. But you may be unsaved, because you had never personalized it. You've never asked Jesus personally to come into your life, into your heart.

You've never surrendered your life to Him, to live for Him. He can change you. He can transform you. And some of you have just lived your life and you're just sort of tired of the whole thing. And as my friend Franklin Graham says, "You're sick and tired of being sick and tired." And you want transformation. You can have it. He can give it to you. You can't produce it. I can't give it to you. But He can. But you must be willing to receive His solution for your penalty, your judgment.

If you're willing to do that, as we're gathered together right now, if you want that forgiveness, you want to come to Him or come back to Him maybe after years of wandering or months of wandering, I want you to raise your hand up in the air right now, just so I can see your hand. I'll acknowledge your hand. Keep it up for just a moment. God bless you and you and you and you right in the middle, toward the back. Anybody else? Just raise that hand. You're saying, Skip, pray for me. God bless you. Who else? Anyone else, raise that hand, in the very back, I see your hand. Over here to my right.

Thank you, Father, for each and every person. Behind every hand is that heart, is a life, reality, ups and downs. You love them individually. You don't just see them as a number. You see them as one for whom you died and love and want to bring home and want their lives to count and have meaning and purpose. Strengthen them. We pray to follow Christ, to come out of the shadows and walk in the light. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Let's all stand, please. As we sing this final song, as you raise your hand, I'm going to ask you to put feet on your hand. And as we sing this last song, if you don't mind, please, find the nearest aisle, come forward, stand here, in a moment, I'm going to lead you in a prayer to make Jesus your Lord and Savior. You raise your hand, you come on up. Bless you. Love it. How's it going? Come on over this way. I'm going to wait just another moment.

There's a great song, a great hymn of the church that says there is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stain. That's forgiveness. Stain is washed away. Past is gone. A whole new life is given. Transformation begins. Purpose begins. Meaning begins.

So I just challenge anyone else, maybe you've never made a public decision for Christ. You know, Jesus called people publicly, not that you have to, but I think it's a good thing to say, I'm stepping out of the shadows. I'm getting into the light. And I'm going to live my life for Jesus Christ from now on. It's nothing to be ashamed of. The gospel is never something to be ashamed of. In fact, maybe it's time for these closeted Christians to come out of the closet. And live for Christ publicly and really.

Well, those of you who have come forward, I'm going to lead you quickly in a prayer. I'm going to ask you to say this prayer, out loud, after me. Say these words from your heart, mean them. You're talking to God. That's all prayer is, is just talking to God. You don't have to say any fancy words. You just talk to Him. But say these words, mean them. Let's pray. Say:

Lord, I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner. Please, forgive me. I believe in Jesus, that he came to this earth, that he died on a cross, that he shed his blood for me, that he rose again from the dead. I repent of my sin. I turn from my past. I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I want to follow him as my Lord. In his name, I pray. Amen.

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