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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - Look, Jesus Is Coming

Skip Heitzig - Look, Jesus Is Coming

Skip Heitzig - Look, Jesus Is Coming
Skip Heitzig - Look, Jesus Is Coming
TOPICS: Rock Solid, Second Coming

Father, I am compelled to pray for my brothers and sisters who have gathered at this service, this, our fourth weekend service. Lord, I pray for grace in hearing once again what we're about to hear. Even as the last couple of weeks have been filled with some tough material directed toward and about the false teacher, here Peter will tell us about the scoffer in the last days that would come against a very core and dear belief that we hold. I pray, Father, that we would be able to frame and understand the text we're about to read. And then, above anything else, to have it really impact the way we think, speak, and act, in Jesus' name, amen.

Jesus Christ is coming back again. That is and has been the great hope, you can go ahead and clap for that. That's worth clapping about. I don't want to hold that back. I'm looking at all the people who aren't excited about that and just wondering. That has been a hope of the church for the last 2,000 years. We're expecting, anticipating, looking for, we can't wait for that event to happen. He came once to deal with sin. He's going to come back again and move out all the politicians out of the way, and he'll say, "Let me show you how it's really done." And he's going to fix all injustices that this world has held and committed for thousands of years. That hope has been expressed not only by applauses and amens, but it has been encapsulated in some of the great hymns of the church.

Christmastime is coming up and we always think of "Joy to the World" as being about the birth of Christ, when actually Isaac Watts wrote that about the second coming of Christ. "Joy to the world! the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King." It's his rule and his reign. And the third verse will spell it all out for us: "No more let sin and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found." All of that is "second coming" stuff. So we look forward to it and the Scripture has a lot to say about it. In fact, the theme of the return of Christ dominates the Scripture. Next to faith it is the most discussed topic in the Bible. One thousand eight hundred and forty-five times it is spoken about or alluded to. One verse out of every thirty verses speaks of the second coming.

A full one-fifth of the entire Bible deals with either the end of days and/or the second coming of Christ. For every one verse that speaks about his first coming, there are eight that speak about his second. For every one verse that speaks about his atonement, there are two verses that speak about his second coming. Twenty-one times Jesus personally referred to it, and fifty times we are told to be ready for it. One of the great promises that Jesus said was in the upper room, and he said to his disciples, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also." Some of you grew up in churches that recited the Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed. You're familiar with that. You used to say it a lot. I grew up with that creed.

And if you remember reciting that, you'll remember there's one place in the Nicene or the Apostles' Creed that says, "He will come again to judge the living and the dead, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Well, Peter was dealing with a group of people in his day who were denying all of that. Those were all those false prophets and teachers he writes about in chapter 2. They got it all wrong. They got the past wrong, they're getting the present wrong, they get the future wrong; and that is, because they got Jesus wrong. In chapter 2 verse 1 he says of them, "They deny Christ." When you get Jesus wrong, you're going to get all the answers wrong. You have to start with what is right; and he is the way, the truth, and the life.

So there were, and are today, scoffers when it comes to this whole idea that Jesus will come again and rule and reign and judge the earth and set up a kingdom. Somebody tried to imagine how the popular press would tell the story of the end of the world. This one source said the Wall Street Journal might have as the headlines: "Dow Jones Plummets As the World Ends." Whereas USA Today, being a little simpler in their headlines, would simply write, "WE'RE DEAD." People magazine would have this article: "Your Favorite Movie Stars: What They Will Wear Their Last Night." Rolling Stone magazine might have an article entitled, "Is There a Rock and Roll Heaven?" Ladies' Home Journal would include these headlines: "Lose 10 Pounds by Judgment Day with Our New 'Armageddon' Diet!"

Golf Digest would have the article, "Make Your Last Round the Best." PC Magazine would simply state, "It's ALT+CONTROL+DELETE for Mankind." And, finally, Christian Weekly would say, "We Told You So." As we look to the future, as we look forward to the return of Christ, what Peter will tell us in the first ten verses is we ought to look actually in three places: we ought to look back, we ought to look around, and we ought to look ahead. We ought to look back at the Scriptures, we ought to look around at the scoffers, and we ought to look ahead to the Savior. Let's read these verses together and then we'll pick them apart piece by piece.

Second Peter chapter 3 verse 1, Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle [or letter] (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by that same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; and both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Peter begins by looking backward, back at the Scriptures written by the "holy prophets" he calls them. As opposed to the false prophets of chapter 2, the holy prophets foretold the coming rule and reign of Messiah. And you'll notice that Peter says, "I want to stir you up," "I want to stir up your mind" or "stimulate your thinking," or "wake you up," would be another term. It's interesting, I've always discovered this truth about myself, we tend to become lethargic. We hear so much truth, we have so much light in God's revelation, that we start becoming drowsy and sleeping in the light and we need to be woken up. I know nothing that will do that better than prophecy. The cure for spiritual lethargy is always Scriptural prophecy.

And Peter, in speaking about this great topic of the coming of the Lord, does it to stir them up. But he wants us to know that he and the other apostles didn't make this stuff up. They're taking their cues from what Jesus said, and before him, what the holy prophets have said. And they have predicted, and I want you to see what Peter predicts in verse 10, what he calls it: "But the day of the Lord will come", stop there. That term or that phrase "the day of Lord" is found as a megatheme, really, in the Scriptures. If you've read the Bible at all, for any amount of time, you have at least come across the idea of "the day of the Lord." Nineteen times the Old Testament talks about it. The prophet Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Joel, Amos, Zephaniah, and Zechariah all predict "the day of the Lord."

In the New Testament it's mentioned another four times. What does it mean? What is the day of the Lord? Okay, I'm going to give you the short answer and then the more detailed answer. Here's the short answer: It's something really, really bad that becomes really, really good. It starts out really bad, but it eventuates into something very, very good. Here's a more detailed answer: The day of the Lord is when God from heaven dramatically and miraculously intervenes in human history in a future date, which will bring the greatest distress the world has ever known, the greatest tribulation the world has ever known. It will be a time when God unleashes his final judgment upon to earth, but it will culminate in the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. That's the day of the Lord.

The day of the Lord starts out really, really bad, at the end it's really, really good. Now, I mention that in the Old Testament there are nineteen references to it. I'll spare you them all, but do you mind if I give you three of them to just set the tone of this? Isaiah chapter 13 verse 6 declares, "Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand! It shall come as a destruction from the Almighty." Jeremiah 46 verse 10, "For this is the day of the Lord of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge himself on his adversaries." And then there's Amos chapter 5 verse 18, "Woe unto those who desire the day of the Lord! To what end is it for you? For the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light." When you get to the New Testament, Jesus described a lot of the details of what will happen in the day of the Lord.

In Matthew, chapter 24, and Mark 13, and Luke 21, all of that discourse on the Mount of Olives to his disciples tells what's going to happen during that time. Furthermore, Paul the apostle speaks about the day of the Lord in First Thessalonians, chapter 5, and Second Thessalonians, chapters 1 and 2. And then the apostle John gives all the gory details of that horrible period in the book of Revelation, chapters 6 through 19. What I want you to see here is what Peter is doing in elevating the teachings of the apostles on an equal par with the writings of the prophets. For he says, "That you may be mindful," verse 2, "of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior."

So he's saying, "We didn't make this stuff up. We're telling you what Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior has already said, and he is simply saying what the prophets have always predicted. There's been this continuous revelation of the day of the Lord that is coming, and I want to stir up your pure minds." Do you stir your mind up in the mornings? I've made it a practice over the last many years since I've been a believer to wake up in the morning and one of the first activities, after brushing my teeth and those kind of things, just to open up the Bible and to read a section and to meditate on it and to pray about it, and work my way through the text of the whole Bible. I want to stir up my mind. Now, since the second coming is one verse in every thirty verses, make sure that you read at least thirty verses a day. How's that?

Get that thought reignited back in your brain, in your heart. So in verse 1 he says, "I want to stir up your pure minds," then notice in verse 2 he says, "Be mindful." So you get the idea that he's trying to engage our mind. Let me make a suggestion, that you engage or stir up your mind enough to actually memorize Scripture, not all of it, but some of it, key verses. Nothing will help you in your spiritual formation like memorizing verses of Scripture that can be called to mind later on when you need them. Most all of us know about Martin Luther the great Reformer and the great one who wrote about justification by faith. What most of us don't know is that he did much of his work from pure memory of the Scripture. That when he was early on in a monastery, an Augustinian monastery, he had a mentor, Johann Staupitz, who taught him to memorize whole books of the New Testament.

So that later on he could call them up from memory and write about the great doctrines of faith, justification by faith. So, look back at the Scriptures. Let your minds be stirred by what the prophets wrote and what Jesus said and what the apostles recorded. Second, look around at scoffers. Verse 3, "Knowing this first," or "preeminently," not chronologically, but as a matter of importance. "Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.'" It's interesting that when you look at the prophets who spoke about the worldwide reign of the Messiah, they predicted it.

They also predicted the scoffers or they record the modern-day mockers in their day in responding to what they wrote or spoke. So in Isaiah, chapter 5; Jeremiah, chapter 17; Ezekiel, chapter 12; Malachi, chapter 2, it also includes the response of the unbelieving world in terms of mocking or scoffing. Now, a scoffer is someone who treats lightly what should be taken seriously. You've had it happen to you. If you've ever tried to share your faith at all, you have encountered scoffers. You tell them about the veracity of Scripture, or Jesus Christ wanting to come into your life, or "the Bible says this . . . ," and you'll get everything from... to an intimidating line of questions like, "You're not a fundamentalist, are you? You don't believe in that book literally do you? You're not a closed-minded, nonthinking idiot, are you?"

All of that language is meant to intimidate you. That's mocking, scoffing language. That's the language of the scoffer. When I was a boy, I had a friend, and I even hesitate to use the word. But he had become a good friend, and he was the boy your mother warned you about. My mother did, and I didn't pay any attention to her. His name was Richard Wilhite. Richard was a liar. He was a thief. He was a drug user and seller and buyer, and many, many others things. He was also the bass player in my band as a kid. And we became friends, and we did lots of bad things together, and then I became a Christian. So, one of the first things I did was try to find where he was living. And I got a hold of him, and called him on the phone, told him the gospel. And he scoffed. He mocked. He hung up the phone.

I called him back. He listened a little more carefully. I thought he was interested. He hung up the phone again. I called him back a third time. He did not even pick up the phone. Next day in the newspaper I read that he was arrested for a half a million dollars' worth of heroin, a sale that he participated in. He was in jail now. Didn't know where he was. I had just heard that he'd gotten out of jail, some years later, and as soon as he was out, was shot in the head and killed by someone from those drug deals years before. And that haunted me. That really bothered me for obvious reasons. I knew him once as a friend, and I wonder why did he and why do others scoff and mock and take lightly what should be treated seriously? And I found my answer in this verse.

Verse 3 tells you why: "Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts." In other words, they want to continue living for their temporary pleasures, and anything that would speak of the judgment of God and hold them accountable for their immoral behavior, they want to write it out of the script. That's why. That's their motive. What is the basis of these scoffers? What is the basis of their belief? Verse 4 tells us what it is. Here's their philosophy: "And saying," notice it's in quotes, "'Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.'" What are they saying? They're saying that we live in a closed, naturalistic system, and events just move along steadily without any kind of cataclysmic event or punctuated event from heaven.

It is a belief system known as uniformitarianism. I don't care if you ever remember the word, but you ought to know what it means. It is the prevalent philosophy and has been the last hundred years in Western culture. Uniformitarianism, things are moving steadily and slowly without punctuated cataclysm; they always have been and they always will be. Now here's why this is a fallacious and wrong view of the world: because it has a person who measures all of history, which they haven't lived through. They've only lived through a tiny little slice of time. They're willing to make a judgment on all of history based on what they only have observed. "All things continue, Jesus isn't coming back, because he never really did come back." That's sort of like saying, "I'll never die, because I've never died."

Back years ago in the nineteenth century, there was a British lawyer and geologist who was very, very influential, and he was one of the first ones to articulate this uniformitarianism belief. His name was Eric Lyell. He wrote a book called The Principles of Geology. And he impacted a great number of researches, one very special one named Charles Darwin who read his book, was moved by his book, and even brought that book with him to the Galapagos Islands when he made his famous research that led to the theory of evolution. I remember my first day in integrated zoology when my professor spent an hour speaking about uniformitarianism and knocking special creation. He basically said that history maintains an uninterrupted flow of steady events over a long evolution; there are no cataclysms.

To which Peter would say, "Ennhhh! You got that wrong. You got that wrong on two counts: number one, creation; and number two, the great flood." Those are the two examples that Peter uses here: the creation of the earth, that's a pretty cataclysmic event where God interrupted the flow of things; and then the great flood in which he destroyed the world. By the way, I don't have a lot of time to get into this, but there is a growing number of geologists today who have abandoned uniformitarianism and believe now in historical catastrophism. They say the data available shows that there is great evidence of catastrophe. We live in a volatile universe. Now, I do believe that there is general uniformity in the world. There are predictable patterns that exist around us. And that's simply evidence of God's providential care.

But also the biblical worldview is that we live in an open system. And God, because he's God, can, has, and will do what he wants when he wants to do it. And just because you, in your little observable lifetime, have seen a steady flow of events, doesn't mean it's always been that way nor will it continue that way. That's his argument. And he, in verse 5, interestingly, writes about the creation account in a single verse. It's enough to look at least. "For they", notice, "willfully forget", remember, they want to push this stuff aside for their own immoral behavior. "For they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old." How did all this get here? God spoke it. God said it. God said, "Let there be this, and there was that."

"They willfully forget that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth", now this is interesting, "standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water." In other words, what Peter is saying is that God shaped the earth between two areas of watery mass. It's the creation account from Genesis where on day two he separated the waters above from the waters beneath. He took the waters above and developed a water canopy, a vapor canopy around the earth. The waters below on the earth were in the seas and the rivers and underground reservoirs and lakes, etcetera. Today, post flood, the earth is still four-fifths water. And his point is that water was a huge point of the original creation.

And it became part of the original destruction in verse 6. "By which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water." By the way, the word "flooded" here, listen to what it is in Greek: katakluzó. What does that sound like? Cataclysm. That's exactly what it is. It was a punctuated event where God interrupted the flow of history with a great cataclysm, a deluge, an upheaval, a catastrophe. I've always believed that the flood helps explain a variety of things that otherwise would be inexplicable in the natural universe. For example, the presence of inland seas, the great inland seas that exist in China, in India, and in this country. We have in this country the Great Basin it's called, which encompasses almost the entire state of Nevada, part of Southern California, southern Oregon, parts of, great parts of Utah, etcetera, that Great Basin, Lake Bonneville.

Evidence says that it was once this huge, massive, inland sea and shoreline evidence is still in existence. The only thing that is left is that little thing called the Great Salt Lake. That's the remnants of it. Also, the flood explains the evidence of forests that have been compressed by water, layers of water-laid deposits that have formed coal in every place on earth, even in the North Pole and in the South Pole. Then there's the fossil record. This is important. If I were to tell you, "Hey, go throw a leaf in your backyard," and then say, "How long would it take for you to get a fossil?" You'd say, "Well, that's, are you crazy?" You don't get a fossil by throwing a leaf in your backyard. You get a fossil if the earth opened up and the leaf got sucked in and then slammed against it.

If a cataclysm happened, then over time you would have fossilization, but not just by uninterrupted nothingness. But there's the fossil record: sea life that has been found atop and between layers of coal, fossils of whales in Michigan, fossilized sharks found in Ohio, fossilized fish found in Wyoming, get this, at 7,000 feet above sea level. How'd they swim up there? Then there are fossils that are out of order. You have trees that are found extending through several different strata layers supposedly laid down over million and millions and millions of years. So, how do you have a tree growing through all of them? Then there's the great slab of sediment near Agate Springs, Nebraska, bones of some 9,000 different animals that have been tossed and crushed violently and buried by water and dirt.

Peter said, "It happened, but there are people who are willingly", the old King James says "ignorant", "willingly ignorant." Will Rogers used to say, "Everyone's ignorant, just on different subjects." It's interesting how Jesus said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will also be at the coming of the Son of Man." Do you think they mocked Noah building a boat? You know where he built the boat, right? In inland Iraq. So there's a guy building a big, big, big boat in Iraq and they're going, "Why?" It would be sort of like somebody putting a yacht factory in Rio Rancho. You'd say, "I don't get it. What are you going to do with those yachts? You're not going use them here." So we look back at the Scriptures, we look around at the scoffers, but ultimately we look ahead to the Savior.

And in verse 8 he does that. He directs our attention by saying, "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." It's simply to say what seems to us like a long time is really a short time to God. The reason he does this is because he knows that people, like us even, would be saying, "Why is it taking so long for Jesus to return? Why the delay?" Now, they were asking that 2,000 years ago, we're asking it on steroids today. Two thousand years have passed since then and he's still not back, and we're still hoping and we're still waiting. And it almost sound like, "Yeah, maybe these uniformitarianists are right. Why is it taking so long?" First of all, God counts things differently. It seems like a long time. It's just been two days to God.

Reminds me of the story of the little boy who was praying, and he closed his eyes, he said, "Lord, somewhere in your Bible it says that a thousand years is like a day to you. And it also says in your Bible that you own is cattle on a thousand hills, which means, like, a million billion dollars is like one dollar to you." And then he prayed, "Lord, could I just have one dime?" And the Lord spoke to him, and said, "Sure, just a minute." Why the delay? The answer is found in verse 9. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." That's the reason. He wants to see as many people saved as possible.

I'll just tell you, I'm glad he waited 2,000 years, because otherwise I wouldn't have been around to enjoy his salvation. So I'm glad that God is merciful. But you ought to know this, God is punctual. He hasn't come yet, but he will come. Look at verse 10. "But the day of the Lord will come." It will come. Scoffers may scoff, doubters may doubt, unbelievers will ignore, but Jesus Christ is coming again. He's coming again. I want you to just to end on one word that really has something to do with all of us here, and that's back in verse 9. That's the word "longsuffering." Look at it again: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise", he'll be right on time, his time, "as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us", toward you, toward me, "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

I want to tell you about the word "longsuffering" as we close. It's one of the great words of the Scripture, longsuffering. Here's the word in the original language: makrothumeó. It's a compound word. It's from sticking two words together: makro, which means big, large, macro, not micro, makro; and the word thumeó, which means to burn or literally, great anger. So literally the word "longsuffering" means large, great anger. And what it means in reference to God is that God has an amazing capacity to store up well-deserved anger, and to store it up, and to store it up, and to store it up until he finally spills it out in judgment. He has an amazing capacity to wait and to wait, and to hear scoffers scoff every generation, to let bad things happen every year. One day he will act, but until then he's longsuffering.

And the fact that you and I can even have the opportunity to discuss it, shows the kind of patience God has for us. There was a young college student who had a conversation with his uncle Joe. And Uncle Joe said, "So what are you going to do when you get out of college?" He said, "Then, I'm going to get a good job." Uncle Joe says, "Good thinking. Then what?" "Well, then I'm gonna launch my career and I'm going to get married." "Ah, that's good planning," he said. "Get married, yup. Have a family; that's right. Then what?" said Uncle Joe. Then the student said, "I'm going to amass my fortune, raise my family, and eventually I'm going retire and buy a home out in the country. Live it up." "Ah, sounds very inviting," said Uncle Joe, "Then what are you going to do?"

"Huh? Well, I don't know, Uncle Joe, by that time I'm going to be pretty old and I suppose I'm gonna die." "And surely you will," said his Uncle Joe, "and then what?" You see, this young college student had only thought about the next few years. Hadn't really thought about the end of the line, and especially the end of the line, meeting the Lord himself and what he will say. And why is this important? Because until we start believing the reality of the other side, that's when we'll start behaving differently on this side. The reason we don't behave differently on this side is because we don't believe the reality of that side, when we do, then we will. "The day of the Lord will come." Now I'm not looking for the day of the Lord, I'm looking for the Lord of the day.

I, as a believer, am looking for the return of the Lord to take us away, to take us into glory by death or by rapture. It's my "blessed hope," the Bible says. And there is a word I'd like to resurrect. We used to say it in the early Jesus Movement days. It's a Bible word. It's the word maranatha. It's the word that early Christians would say to each other sort of as a code word. They would say, "Hallelujah, maranatha." "Maranatha" means the Lord is coming soon. So shall we try that to one another? Maranatha. You ought to be saying that to one another. The Lord is coming. Let's pray. Father, we thank you that you are coming for us in glory. There is a day Lord that is coming, a day of vengeance, a day of wrath, a day of judgment.

There have always been hardship and heartache and tribulation upon the earth, but nothing like what is coming down that pike. We rest in the fact that you have already spoken through holy prophets, the records of apostles, the Lord Jesus himself, repetitively and clearly announcing what that period of history is going to be like. You've told us about it. You told us to get ready for it. You told us to trust in you. And, Father, we do that. We say at the end of this message, like we depended on us to understand it at the beginning, we pray that you would help us live in dependence on you, to lean hard on the strong arms of Jesus. I pray for anyone here who hasn't made a commitment to Christ, Lord. They're treating lightly what should be taken seriously. That put them in a realm of being a scoffer.

Some others, Lord, have been trusting in their own religion or their own good personality or disposition or works or religious upbringing. Still others, Lord, remember a time when they believed all this stuff, but they've let other things get in the way and crowd their love for you and your love for them, so this isn't a daily experience. I pray, Lord, that you'd change that. I pray, Lord, just as you have invaded history in the past and will dramatically, miraculously do it in the future, that today you would invade our space by nudging different hearts and convincing them of their need to let Jesus sit on the throne of their heart. Some of you need to come to Jesus for the first time. Some of you need to come back to Jesus, because you've run away from him.

As we're closing this service, I want to give you an opportunity to change all of that. If you recognize where you're at, that you're not in a good spot spiritually, you don't know that you would go to heaven if you were to die, you're not certain that you belong to Christ, you haven't made him the Lord of your life, or you need to come back to him, I'd love to pray for you. I need to know who I'm praying for. I would like you, as our heads are bowed, to raise your hand in the air. And in raising your hand, you're saying, "Hey, Skip, pray for me today. I need to come back or give my life to Jesus." Just keep it up for a moment. God bless you and you, right up here in my front, to my left, and over here to my left, and toward the back on the side. I see you, a few of your hands. God bless you guys.

And right up here in the front, yes, ma'am. Right in the aisle, and toward the back in the middle, and a couple of you way in the back there on the floor, right up here on my right. Anyone else? Raise your hand up. Right over here to my right, on the side. Anyone else? In the back, one, two, three. Right up here in the front, I see you guys. Anyone else? Family room? Right on, God bless you. If you're in the overflow rooms, there's somebody there who will see you. Just raise your hand up, a pastor is there acknowledge your decision, your presence. Yes, sir, right here.

Father, I pray for all of these men and women, all of these people that you created, that you love, that you have a plan for. I pray for every one who has that hand raised. I pray, Lord, that as Jesus Christ comes into their lives, there would be a radical and distinct change, and that they would notice it from this day forward what the presence of God in their human life can mean. I pray, Lord, that you would unveil, reveal more truth to them as you have revealed this to them, in Jesus' name, amen.

Let's stand to our feet. In a moment we are going to rejoice together as those of you who raised your hands are going to do something else besides just a raised hand. I'm going to ask you to do something that might sound scary, but it's not. It's just a family thing. Jesus called people publicly. He called them publicly, and we think it's important for people to make a public confession of their faith to Jesus Christ, especially in a crowd that will applaud that decision. So, if you raised your hands, and I saw lots of hand go up, I'm going to ask you to get up from where you're standing, find the nearest aisle, stand right up here at the front where I'm going to lead you in a prayer.

As we sing right now, you begin to come. I saw people right up here in the front, right up here on the sides, just come right up here. We'll wait for you, but please come. We're going to wait just another moment and then we're going to close. We had people in the family room. We're going to give you time to walk through the doors that are in the front-right of the family room and stand up here. If you're seated way or standing way toward the back, even if you're in the middle of a row, the word "excuse me" would be all that is needed to part the Red Sea in your row and make room for you. Maybe you didn't even raise your hand, but you're at a point in your life where you know what you have is not enough. You come. Anyone else? God bless you. Yes, so precious. I love it. Real quickly, any other takers?

God says, "I'll give you life. I'll give you everlasting life. I'll forgive everything you've ever done. I'll give you a do-over from this day on." Any other takers? You come. Well, those of you who have come, and there are lots of you, congratulations for making the most important walk in your life. And this is just the beginning. This is just the beginning. I know people who are in the ministry around the world, and pastoring churches, and have done mission work, who have stood here right where you are and have made this same commitment years ago. So, I can't wait to see what God is going to do in your lives. But allow me now to pray a prayer with you. I'm going to say that prayer out loud. I'm going to ask you to say it out loud after me, okay? Say these words out loud, say them from your heart, and say them to the Lord. Okay, let's pray. Say:

Lord, I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe in Jesus Christ, that he died on a cross for me, and that he rose from the grave, and that he is alive right now, and that he is coming again. I turn from my past. I leave my sin behind me. I turn to Jesus as Savior. I want to live for him as Lord. Help me, in Jesus' name, amen.

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