PHILIPPIANS: TO LIVE IS CHRIST
Philippians: Week 2
Hey everybody, I'm Craig Hazen. I'm from Biola University in southern California. We've got to wait and see, and the first person to go whoop is the parent whose kid got financial aid. So by all, if you don't know about, it's a, it's a 100 plus year old Christian institution that's been faithful to the word of God in southern California for goodness sakes. I mean that's a pretty big deal, to have it be faithful to the word of God for 100 years, but honestly in, in La, to have something last 100 years is a big deal. You know, we tear them down as fast as we build them. We don't have much of a sense of history. I don't. In fact, I think the only thing, 100 years old in Los Angeles, besides by all his of Phyllis Diller, you know what? It's good to be here. Eight. You saw the video about this conference coming up.
Yeah, there's gonna be a conference in this church honestly, that, that, uh, I think is, it's not hyperbole to say it might very well be a once in a lifetime opportunity. We're really bringing in some of the finest Christian thinkers, speakers, and writers on the planet. I mean, two of the speakers have been voted to be in the top 50. They're among the top 50 living, you know, greatest philosophers and it turns out these guys love Jesus and they're excellent communicators. At the same time. See, you're going to hear the best of the best, uh, talking about things they love to talk about and they're very stimulating and doing that. Now. It's going to take place in November, but it's not too late to sort of block out some time for that. It's going to be on a Thursday evening of Friday evening and then a Saturday morning.
Don't think you're going all day Thursday all day Friday. Not, not doing that, but Thursday evening, Friday evening, and then Saturday morning, November 15, 16 and 17. I mean, we're bringing in a lease strobel Lee strobel's like the warm up act for the rest of the guys. And Lee Strobel will be teaching on his new book. The case for miracles will bring in William Lane Craig, one of the top Christian thinkers on the planet to do arguments for God's existence. Gary Habermas, who's an expert in the resurrection of Jesus, one of the top three people in the world. He'll be speaking though on the on the understand proper understanding of the shroud of Turin. I can't wait to hear a JP moreland. What am I good colleagues at Biova teaching on evaluating near death experiences, and I'll give you a little hint. He actually thinks that there's good reason to think they are authentic, so he'll be explaining that we're going to have a cold case detective from Los Angeles who's famous.
He's been on NBC dateline more than a couple dozen times and he'll be speaking on the evidential case for the historical Jesus, and we have lectures on the proofs of archeology and everything you can possibly imagine taking place during those days. So take time now. You could sign up actually out in the lobby this morning. Just walk through those center doors. Keep riding a. you'll bump right into the reasonable faith table and the have a a group. They're ready to sign you up. So think about signing up today. It's coming up just around the corner. 30 top speakers. One of the things that happens at these conferences that I really love is his resources because we're going to be bringing in things you never get a chance to see, you know, uh, they usually sit in scholars libraries, but there's wonderful audio products and dvds and books that are really cutting edge materials in the lobby will be filled with these things.
So don't miss that. In fact, just to whet your appetite, I actually brought a few things from our archives at Viola University and I think you'll get a kick out of some of these. I brought three just to get you going. I couldn't help but bring my latest book. Uh, it's on prayer. Good. So you don't know me and you don't know. That's weird because my colleagues at Viola, you're, you, what? You are writing a book on prayer. I guess I'm not known for my deep spirituality, but I did. I wrote a book and it really focuses on John Chapter Fifteen, verse seven in John Chapter Fifteen, verse seven. Jesus says, if you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask for anything and it will be done for you. Well, I've read that. I remember reading it in about 10 years ago and going, I'm not sure I believe that in fact, I'm not sure I know anybody who believes that.
So it sent me on a bit of a, uh, an investigation as to what that really meant. And I got to tell you, my findings were really exciting. A little bit of a hint. Jesus really meant it. And so I've actually been practicing this idea for, you know, seven or 10 years and I just had to write a book about this exciting experience, just taking that particular verse seriously. So it's called fearless prayer. Why we don't ask and why we should, uh, uh, and here's another one I wrote called five sacred crossings. If you don't like those kinds of books, here's a novel for you. It's a fast paced mystery story with a bunch of true stuff about Christianity plunked down into the middle, unlike the Davinci code, which was a fast paced mystery story with a bunch of ridiculous things about Christianity plunked down in the middle.
I'm a. I'm an academic person and I write academic things most of the time and nobody reads them. So I decided to write a novel. I wrote it like 10 or 12 years ago and it's still going strong. People really like that. Let that be an encouragement to those of you who have creative juices here, you know, you, you want to really serve the Lord in your creative way. Maybe writing songs or stage plays or novels. Uh, we need you. We don't, we're not communicating well enough through those popular channels of communication and so be of good cheer. Your, your work can be of good use. But here's my favorite thing I brought along is from our archives at Viola. It's, it's a debate on a DVD. It's a debate between William Lane Craig, one of our professors, top thinkers in the world against Christopher Hitchens, who in his day was the top atheist on the planet. People were wanting to get these guys together for a long time and we finally did it by Ola. We got them together in our gymnasium and it was just jammed to the hilt and we, uh, uh, got high definition cameras rolling and we captured the entire thing.
How did it turn out? Well, you only have to read the atheist blogs the next day. The next day, the eighth years, blogs were saying, oh my goodness, what happened? Christopher hitchens was spanked like an errand school child. Therefore I carry a box of these round in the trunk of My car, you know, to hand out at the Little League game or the post office or the barber shop or whatever, you know, it really is helpful. And people always like, Ooh, Christopher Hitchens, I gotta watch this. Then I never hear from them again. But anyway, those are available this morning. Go check that out. By the way, what an amazing worship team you have going here. Wow.
I probably shouldn't point this out, but it's very clear that all of you love one of them the most. It's the drummer, right? Am I getting this right? The drummer. I mean you put the drummer behind bulletproof glass. The rest of the team is out open to sniper fire, but this guy you protect. So I'm not understanding that fully, but you know, good for him. He must be something super special. Well, I mentioned that we're having an apologetics conference. Uh, we don't like to call it an apologetics because apologetics is kind of an outmoded term. I mean, usually people think, well, what, what are you going to apologize for being a Christian? No, I'm so sorry. You know that the Christian. No, no, it's not like that. Apologetics is actually an archaic term unfortunately, but it had great meaning back in its day in Greek. It means offering a defense and in case in the case of Christianity is offering reasons for faith.
Really, you could find this verse at its most powerful form in first Peter Three 15 and first Peter Three 15. The Apostle Peter says this, always be prepared to give an answer and Apollo low beyond to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, but do this with gentleness and respect, so it's actually a great app installed command to be prepared to give an answer. And that's what we do in my graduate program at Biola University. We trained students, do people to gently and respectfully give answers to people's questions and I've, I could launch off into that big time but, but this conference, we'll certainly do a lot to that end. I think you will, you will ramp it up considerably if you attend the conference and pay close attention to what's going on. Well, this is really important today and I'll tell you why, uh, people are very confused about Christianity when they discover your, some sort of Christian, a fact. You've probably had this experience where maybe maybe you're at work and you've got a Bible on your desk. You were reading it during lunch. It's your business, but you forget to put it back in the drawer and some coworker walks by, sees the Bible on your desk and goes a Bible.
You can usually some sort of religious person. Well, oh no, no. I mean, good for you, good for you. You know, you probably need that kind of thing. I on the other hand, and more of a scientific type that really gets me, I got to tell you, because they're making it sound like Christianity is all about blind leaping. That's what you did. You simply went out to the edge of the religious abyss. You close your eyes and you left blindly into whatever religion you happen to choose. Christianity, Buddhism, it doesn't matter. They're all basically the same. That's what they're thinking. But again, to tell you that's not what I've experienced with Christianity. It's very different from there. Here's another example. This, uh, I, I lifted from an op Ed piece in the Los Angeles Times a, an engineering professor from the University of Southern California, uh, wrote an editorial in the La Times and he was complaining about faith based funding of initiatives in the city when he really had a bone to pick with the idea of faith. And so here's what Bark Costco engineering professor says, faith is, listen to this. Faith is unwarranted belief. Faith is belief without evidence or despite evidence to the contrary. When faith occurs, I mean, yeah, what phase occurs when a person believes that something is true, even though he suspects it's false.
It takes large doses of such faith to support the very existence of casinos, psychic hotlines, astrology, columns, mall, Santas, and most organized religions.
Is that what we're doing? For goodness sakes, you know, uh, not only is this not what I'm doing, this is not really what the Bible's talking about. Christianity is actually rather bizarre in the entire spectrum of world religions on the planet today or through human history. And I, something about this. I did my doctoral work in religious studies and I had a chance to study all of the great world religious traditions and in my view, Christianity stands apart from all of them in that it is testable and it invites people to walk into its doors with their eyes wide open, asking hard questions all the way, and I find that to be unique to Christianity. Why? Because Christianity turns out to be true and we have nothing to fear with this. That's why it's fun to have an apologetics conference to show how strongly the evidence and good reasoning supports traditional Christianity.
So this idea of a bart, Costco's at. It's really all about blind leap and you see what the problem there is. That's what he think faith is all about. You know what faith really is? According to the New Testament and the Old Testament, faith is trust. It's trust. I trust Jesus, but that doesn't mean I'm blindly leaping to him. I opened my eyes, I look at the evidence and I trust him even more because this thing really happen. He really did conquer death on my behalf. It related to Diana Cross to forgive my sense, this is, this is reality, and we can show it to be the case, we can demonstrate it to be true. It's not just some sort of feeling we have inside and this is really the nature of my messages for and I want to talk about how God demonstrates the truth of his identity and the truth of his word.
It's something he does all the time. If you just have that in mind as you're reading through the Bible, in your next go through, you'll see how God loves to demonstrate the truth of his identity and the truth of his word. So let me show you a couple of instances of this. This was the hardest point of preparing this message is choosing what to present because there's so many wonderful items to choose from in the Old Testament and the new testament. But I chose my favorite and how can you go wrong with focusing on the Prophet Elijah, right? How can you go wrong? Elijah was a kind of a crazy man. Really, uh, uh, the, when you read the Bible and the descriptions about him, I picked him as like some, some sort of guy who hangs out in the desert, hunched over and his hairs out here and there and he's got a scraggly beard and eats bugs and he wanders around and, and he's got a big sword on the tech says, you know, can you imagine this guy margin in the town from the desert, you know, the junior high kids are hiding behind bushes and throwing rocks at him and he hears snarling around.
I mean, now he's not a writing profit like Jeremiah Isaiah, but he's, uh, doing profit and he's quite impressive in this regard. Well, he didn't like the state of affairs in Israel at the time. I mean, it was really going south. They were chasing after everybody. But y'all way the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And this is annoying Elijah, a prophet of Yahweh. And so he decides to. And the setup for this story takes place in First Kings Chapter Sixteen, first kings chapter 16, starting with verse 29. Listen to this. In the 38th year of Ace, King of Judah, Ahab, son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Sumeria over Israel. Twenty two years, a rehab son of Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nay Bat, but he also married Jessebelle daughter of f ball, King of the Sedona eons, and began to serve Bayland and worship him.
He set up an older for bail in the temple of bail it. He built in Sumeria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel. Then did all the kings of Israel before him. How'd you, how'd you like to make it into the Bible? And this is what it says about you. Oh, for goodness sakes, you know, uh, did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than in all the kings of Israel before. Oh my goodness. You know, I wonder if they were actually saying that at his funeral. You know, high high. I wonder what they're going to say at my funeral. I know what I want them to say. Here's what I want them to say at my funeral. Look, I think he's moving.
So we have the setup a Ahab and Jessica are making a wreck of the true worship of Israel, and so Elijah intervenes. He starts up a little drought that catches their attention, and in chapter 18, starting with verse 17, the Diet, the story continues and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, is that you? You troubler of Israel, ty have not made trouble for Israel. Elijah replied, but you and your father's family have. You've abandoned the Lord's commands and have followed the bales. Now, some of the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel and bring the 450 prophets of Bale and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Tj Isabelle's table. So for some reason Ahab buys this plan and the tech says, so Abraham sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the profits on Mount Carmel.
Elijah went before the people and said this, how long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him, but if bail is God, follow him. I love that. I love that binary decision. He really lays it out and says, look people, you only got two choices here and let's let's step up and make it chally. And so he proposes this little contest. I'm sure you knew about it very well. They hike up onto Mount Carmel and they have a little contest where they're going to call on their respective deities to see who will fall, who will send fire down from heaven to consume the offerings and don't forget there's, there's, there's 850 profits on the other side and there's just Alijah over here. So these guys get to go first. It's early in the morning. The cool of the air is wonderful and, and they feel good to build a tremendous older.
It's just lovely as can be. And they pick a beautiful slab of meat and they put it on top and then they get a team of prophets out there and they're, they're loosening up and uh, and some the referee or whatever says, go. Maybe it's Alex drawback, you know, go and, and they start chanting, they start dancing, they start calling on bail to send down fire from heaven to consume the offering. And so they're dancing, they're champing today. Paul know who's a young mother, who you work with me on this. I have no idea how this. And what was he like was. So they're working. They got several people in there and they bring in some more people and it's gone and they're chatting, they're dancing. It's nothing happening on the meet folks. There's, there's some flies gathering that's about it. So they're working hard to picture.
I'm more of, I'm coming in and they've got the whole team going. There's nothing happening here. There's, there's no sparks gathering. There's no, you know, flares from the sun. There's nothing, uh, allies you. By the way, the text actually talks about Elijah over here. I don't know why, but I always picture him and one of those seem of those lawn chairs that actually has like an Ottoman attached to it. You can actually lift your feet up on it. And, and I was picturing him with his feet up in a launcher, drinking something out of a straw with an umbrella in it. And he's taunting the prophets of Bale, you know. Hey guys, shout louder. You're God's probably asleep. Know. Hey. Hey guys. A little louder. I bet she's on the toilet. I'm not kidding. That's what the text says. Know.
So they're looking over her who? Oh yeah. Well they don't get all day. They only get a few hours, you know, so they're working. They've really worked up a lather and nothing's happening there. Time is running out. So the text says that they got out spears and swords and begin cutting themselves. Maybe a little bloodletting will help get bales, attention. And you can imagine after a few minutes of that, they're staggering around. Is there bleeding out and collapsing? There's a pile of prophets here now, but they keep working it, but time's up. They had their shot, nothing happened, all eyes turn to the other side. Alijah gets out of his comfy antagonism chair and he has them built a beautiful, but in addition, he has people dig a trench around the altar and he has some big burly fellows because they have to haul this water up. Mount Carmel, some big burly fellows come in with buckets and pour water over the offering. It runs on it, soaks the wood, which is a problem if you want it to catch fire and fills this trench surrounding the altar.
I was, I was teaching this to a fourth grade class one time and I asked them, so why do you think, why do you think the Prophet Elijah had people pour water over the meat in this kid in the front room? Shoots up his hand and I call on him and he says to make gravy. Oh, that was a keeper. You know, so this is all set. And the text says, Elijah says a prayer. Here's this prayer. Verse 30 Six of Chapter Eighteen. At the time of sacrifice, the Prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed, Lord, the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and you have done all things at your command. A answer me, Lord answered me so these people will know that you Lord our God and that your attorney, their hearts back again. He says this prayer, and I always, I always picture him just kind of winking at God. At that point.
Down comes fire from heaven, takes up the offering laps up the water in the trench. Probably takes up a couple of prophets of bale for good measure. You know, it's, it's a definitive demonstration that bail is not gotten young way is and the touches that all of Israel was there watching this, you know, not every person in Israel, but representatives from all the tribes were there. You know, after seeing this, I mean, could you imagine after experiencing this, but what happened on their little stroll home? Do you think it went something like this? And I'm glad I came because that was, that was a fascinating little experiment, but religion is a tricky thing. Who can really know what's going on. Religion is all about what's inside of you. There the feelings that you have and so on, and that's kind of hard to work through.
So people each have their own ideas about such things. No, that's not what was happening at all. Bail is false. You always true. And these guys were running for cover. They were hiding in caves and in clefts of rocks because y'all, oh, he is truly God. He's the creator and he can, he can send fire down to consume the offer. He can send fire down to consume me. You know, I'm going to go hide for a while. That's the response. Uh, the Bible's very clear that it loves to demonstrate the identity of God and the truth of his word. There are so many examples that in the Old Testament, uh, I'd love to camp there for a while, but let me, let me roll right into the new testament just to show you their attitude towards this idea of demonstrating the truth of their teachings that was just leap into the apostles.
The apostles were huge fans of this huge fans of this. In fact, I remember as a young Christian reading the New Testament for the first time I was a senior in high school and I'm reading through the New Testament and I remember getting the idea that, wow, whoever, whoever's writing this as a little bit obsessed with the idea that this really happened. It was like people were doubting, so they had to go and shake people and here's some texts that, that, that elicit that response. Second Peter One 16 Second Peter one, 16 four. We did not follow cleverly devised stories. The Greek, there is mousseline myths. We didn't follow cleverly devised myths when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. First. John One, one. John takes it a few steps further that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at in our hands, have touched this.
We proclaim concerning the word of life itself. These guys wanted to make sure that that people weren't getting them, getting them wrong at all. They wanted to shake and say, look, this was not some weird dream I had. This was not a bad Burrito, that I'm working through this. This is a mystical dream or experience like that. This really happened. I was there. We saw him, we heard him, we touched him. This is what we're talking about and I got to tell you, that sets Christianity apart from the other great world religious traditions, those kinds of statements and the invitation to investigate it is unique to Christianity. In my view. There's another character in the new testament who was actually a big fan of this sort of idea of demonstrating the truth of his teaching. It happened to be Jesus of Nazareth. He was a big fan of demonstrating the truth of his identity and the truth of his word.
I think one of the most prominent examples is when he's minding his own business and he's wandering about in Galilee or in Judea and the and the teachers of the law will be following him and they'll and they'll pummel him with a question or two and they'll say something like, uh, Hey Jesus, show us a sign. Show us a sign. In other words, give us. It gives some sort of demonstration so we can know that you have authority from above and Jesus would respond, and this is my paraphrase. You respond, you know I'm not going to show a bunch of rascals like you assign except for one, tear down this temple and I will raise it up again in three days. And we know he was. John tells us he was talking about the temple of his body. It was a to the resurrection that was going to be the great sign for everybody in the land in that time.
And for all of us down through human history. I mean, I wish I had time right now to launch into a presentation on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. I'm sure there'll be one in in our November conference to come out and hear it then, but, but it's one of my favorite things to talk about because God was so generous with the evidence. I love to talk about that particular topic on secular university campuses because they're never expecting us to have anything. They're expecting me to get up and talk about my feelings about Jesus and how I think he rose in my heart in some way. Like the great hymn says, yeah, but clearly we're taking it further than that. I think it really happened and I think the evidence is clear and compelling that this really happened. Jesus truly was alive at point a dead at point b and alive again.
At Point C, I think vesta decided result of the historical record and I think the resurrection of Jesus is probably the best attested fact of the ancient world. God was very generous with the evidence of it. I got to say, that means a lot and everybody in this room is going to die. We all know that and we're facing that and some are closer to this than others, but to know not just a hope in some weird spiritual fashion, but to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus conquered death and promised that I would do, oh, that gives me all the confidence in the world to live for him. Even though death will come one day, hopefully later, but it could come sooner, but, but we're ready. We're, we serve a god. This is why the apostle is ran out and turn the world upside down because they saw him, them killed Jesus, but he was alive again.
How much harm can they do to me? You know, Jesus is promise that I will live to. So they ran out and turned the Mediterranean world upside down for the Lord Jesus Christ. And and honestly, the planet has never been the same and we have access to the same body of evidence. Jesus was big on demonstrating it. Let me use my favorite example of this. It's in Mark Chapter Two, the gospel of Mark Chapter Two, um, uh, you can turn there if you have a bible if you'd like, but, uh, I have this thing memorized, so I mean, if even if I forgot a Bible, I could actually present the, uh, the entire chapter to you through interpretive dance, but I didn't bring my leotard. So don't ask Mark Chapter two. Here's the theme of Mark Chapter Two. Jesus is coming to Capernaum. Jesus is coming to Capernaum. This is a big deal.
Coburn is a sleepy fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. There's an international crossroads of some sorts nearby. Uh, but except for a few exotic candles going by. There's nothing happening in Capernum. There's no sport stadiums or multiscreen movie theaters. You know, there's no video games, there's nothing going on. So if a guy like Jesus is coming to town, this is a ticket, you don't mess around, you get there early and you get a good seat. I mean, hey, the rumor on the street is Jesus can heal people. He can cast out, demons are on a good day. He'll even make lunch for you for goodness sakes. Alright, so this is a hot. This is hot stuff. So mark describes people gathering to hear Jesus in this home in Capernum and it's packed, overflowing. You can't get near the place. People are standing, I don't know, maybe 10 deep outside craning their necks hoping to hear what's going on inside the home.
Then the this little story in the gospel of marketing. It's a funny little twist it, it turns and focuses on four guys. I love these guys. There's really guys like this all over this room, but I love these guys. We can learn a lot from them and they're on their way to see Jesus and they go, wait a minute, rumor has it. Jesus can heal people. Let's go get our friend the paralytic. So they run down to where he is. Maybe it's at a major crossroad. He's probably begging for alms or something. They pick him up. They put him on the Mat and they tried him down to where Jesus is teaching. They get there and they go, oh, why? Because they can't get near the place, but here's what I love these guys. They're undaunted by this, right? They, they find a way to get this poor man up on the roof of the dwelling.
Right? And I, I don't know how it worked. Maybe they had to throwers in two catchers, maybe that some sort of rope and pulley system to get the guy up. Well, we'll have to wait for Mel Gibson to make a movie about it, to really see how this worked out. But so they get this guy up on the roof and the tech says that they start to dig through, for goodness sakes. They're pulling up tiles and they're starting to dig through. Could you imagine the scene inside the ceiling is rumbling already and there's dust falling right and alif.
And after a little bit of that, some light break suit, little little beam of light breaks through, starts hitting the dust in the air. It looks all spiritual and material and the hole gets bigger and there's more dust. Now it's getting a little chokey downstairs. Maybe Jesus even stopped speaking just to look around to see what's going on. Who gets a little bigger and a head pop suit guy looks around, pulls his head back out, and the whole gets even bigger. Now they're really choking downstairs. They need a little fresh air as if this is not crazy enough. Moments later this ceiling begins to give birth. As they start stuffing this poor man through the hole, they'd probably have him wrapped up in his mat with a rope and they're stuffing and through the whole pop. Well, he goes through. Now his arms are in good shape, so he grabs a rope spinning around, you know, and he, he lands on ground and dust flies up. That's probably right in front of Jesus. There he sits and there's dust everywhere. There's light pouring in. It's kind of blinding and choking and it takes a few moments before the dust settles, but as it settles, you see a room full of anxious people leaning forward, looking at Jesus going, roots the rabbi going to say about this. So I'm glad we got here early and then Jesus speaks, but other, there's four heads poking through the top now watching the proceedings below and Jesus steps forward and he says this son, your sins are forgiven.
Some of you have the same looks on your face. I think they do, but in the room, you know, they were kind of asking about this. Hey, uh, can he do that? Yeah. I don't know. I don't know. Should, should we go? Oh No. He might make lunch. I'll just kinda of in for awhile. See what happened. Now, why didn't the people in that room upon this proclamation of son, your sins are forgiven, leapt to their feet, go yea have happened. Hey, you know this sins are gone. This is really great news. Why did they not do that? Because if this man sins were being forgiven, if they really were, that is an invisible spiritual act right there. There's no physical marker that this really happened, right? There's no. There's no led light on your temple. This starts flashing when your sins are forgiven, right?
You can't go to the doctor and say, doc, I need a check and a state of my sin and my soul, and he goes to some medical closet and pulls out a javelin, you know, medical javelin, sterile, and he plunges it into your thorax. No, you're good. There's nothing like that. All they have really is the word of Jesus son. Your sins are forgiven. So they're looking, kind of puzzled at this out in the audience. And, and Jesus sees this and he says, uh, uh, he, he, he wants them to know that this is really taking place. And, and he's a little bit puzzled why, why they're not leaving their feet as well. One more example, let's say the door in the back of the room opens up and in walks a very tall man and he, he's got a long white robe on and a staff he's got sandals on and a hat of some sort. He, he looks like Gandalf, you know, Gandalf the white from the Lord of the rings movies and, and he comes through here. He walks down the aisle, he comes right up the stairs, and he pushes me aside because he has a very important message for you. Maybe have some disciples following it, pushes me aside, steps up and says, because that's what religious guys say, or maybe maybe be hold or maybe really hits it out of the park, you know, Lo and behold, and he stands up here with the Stephanie, my children, your sins
now, why aren't you inclined to leave your finger? Yay. Happy Day. Gandalf has forgiven our sins because I mean, although you're glad you're here and there's a lot of theatrical and it's great fun. You have no idea of just funny character can actually do this. By the way, that scenario I just painted. It's completely plausible in Los Angeles. Yeah. Oh yeah. We had a thing like that the other week, you know, goodness, but they don't know. I mean, there can be all kinds of theatrical and all and, and, and you have to just trust this strange fellows word on the subject. That's where Jesus was at that point, son, your sins are forgiven, but Jesus saw it on their faces that they weren't totally buying into this, so he wanted to make sure they knew, and here's, here's the crescendo of this per Api, this, this Gospel Story. Jesus says this so that you will know so that you will know because you'll know that the son of man has the authority on Earth to forgive sins. Pick up your mat and go home
maybe for the first time in his life, this guy is giving to his speed. He grabs his mat on the way up. It starts to walk out of a room and people are backing up making way for this guy and the text in Mark Hughes is the strongest words in the Greek language. They were astonished. Everybody in that room at that moment had an excellent reason to believe that Jesus could forgive sins and invisible spiritual act because he healed this guy, he and a linked to them. He wants us to know even when there's an invisible spiritual reality going on, he wants us to know it's real and I think that's the whole, the whole ethos of the resurrection. He came back from the dead publicly so that we could know this to be true and he was very generous with his evidence in providing so that we even a couple thousand years removed, can still rejoice that this really happened.
I gotTa Tell Ya, the idea that he really does forgive. Sins is a good message. There are people right now struggling in bondage and having a very difficult time connecting with God because of sin. Guess what? He is here right now to forgive you. Some of you are facing some difficult things. Oh, sickness and maybe even death is near the door. Jesus has conquered death. He's back from the data and these promised, those who have committed themselves to him will follow him in life everlasting. You can take that to the bank and like I wrote it out. He's, he's, he's there to answer prayer. He's a God who hears this and he can't wait to hear what we're going to ask for next, and he loves to answer them in dramatic ways. He loves us so much. He just can't wait to fulfill our greatest desires as we serve him and his kingdom.
Let's pray. Our heavenly father, our great king wouldn't join, is to serve you. What a join us to know that you didn't leave a stranded in our time without a witness which you left a tremendous trail of evidence through history testifying to what you did on our behalf and we couldn't be more grateful. I pray that you would fill me and my brothers and sisters here with your Holy Spirit help these truths to sink in deeply so that we can live big for Jesus so that we can have great confidence in sharing our faith and living it so that people will notice now there's something wonderful about Jesus and our commitment to him. I pray for this church that this would be a beacon to the nations, that there would be a great revival. Maybe the greatest one in human history in this church should play a tremendous role in that. Blessed these wonderful people as they follow you. In Jesus name. Amen. Thank you so much.
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“For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21