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SM140209/Heart to Heart

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 10, 2014 12:16 pm

SM140209/Heart to Heart

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 10, 2014 12:16 pm

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Let's grab our Bibles and turn to John chapter 2 John chapter 2 the title of my messages heart to heart artist story about a woman who would walkway a pet shop in a way to work, then of the front door that fits up open up Ferguson up there with one of those big old macabre parents and he could talk and she would walk by in the. Took a look at her and said hey you. She turned looking. Call me hey you really think you're the ugliest woman I've ever seen. She's very offended but she thought he can't really be talking to me just parodying, imitating in the next phase. He walked by. Again, he says, hey, you know, she turns and looks at him.

He says you are the ugliest woman I have everything he did say the anybody out so this is personal now third base. He walked by.

Again the practice. Hey you know what you're the ugliest woman I've ever think that sentence he walked in the pet store I demand to see the manager right now, so the manager comes up from his back room Jesus are you going to do something about this.

This is the third day he is insulted be seen on the ugliest woman he's ever seen. The man said mammal on. I apologize for me to cure this. He took the parent of the back room smacked around a little bit told appear to never say that again ever say that to that woman so the parrot was contrite enough.

Kind of way, and he put them back in his perch in and the woman was feeling very good about what you've done, smugly walking out the door and the parrot yelled out hey you two turns back what he said you know the true story, probably not in others things that we should know the things that we do know printed. Here's what I know. After living on this earth for 61 years you don't tug on Superman's cape you don't spit into the wind. You don't pull on the mask of the old Lone Ranger and you while some people are still using what's happening, what is it that's an old song by guiding Jim Croce called you don't mess around with Jim. You don't pull on the mask of the old Lone Ranger and you don't mess around with Jim. Something else you should know. For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have ever lasting life deal with that versus what is. Thank you very much John 316. Most people know it if you don't know what you want to know it. But you know why that statement was ever given. You know what it means in the context of the conversation. It was given in and the impact on the person who first heard it working to talk about that today were going to read about a conversation that changed human history between a wealthy, powerful, influential, very pious and religious man known as Nicodemus and Jesus the carpenter's son from Nazareth.

Not Nicodemus was famous. He was very little religious.

As I said he was powerful he was wealthy and yet there was something missing in his life so he comes to Jesus. One. Dark night in the cumbersome amazing interchange so we might wonder what effect of a conversation between a Jewish carpenter and some religions today.

Nicodemus have to do with me today in the 21st century will the answer is everything, because it's not merely a conversation between God and man activity is primarily conversation between two men. Rather, it is a conversation between God and man effectively were going to represent seller, nominate someone to represent humanity to God. We couldn't find a better rep than Nicodemus. He was the finest this world has to offer. The closest that a person can come to being a good individual. Again, very intelligent, educated culture, moral so he's a good guy to represent us to God.

But despite all of his accomplishments. There was a big old hole in his heart, despite the fact that he was a leader in this country and in his faith he was dissatisfied in the words that Jesus spoke to Nicodemus have unlocked the mystery of life for millions of people throughout the centuries, and maybe the unlock the mystery of life for you today but before John chapter 3 is John chapter 2 that you didn't know that not of course when the Scripture was originally given.

There were chapters and verses, Jesus did not say John 14 verse one.

My father say no that wasn't there.

That was added later. Sometimes those chapters and verses are helpful. Other times they sort of break the flow of thought. This is one of those instances because the backdrop of John to really sets the table if you will for John three that's a good time to start in verse 23 now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which it so that sounds good right here's Jesus ministering people see is miracle power and we read they believe in him little would follow verse 24 but Jesus did not commit himself to them because he knew all men and had no need that anyone should testify of man really knew what was in man. Another way to translate this more simply would be. They believed in him, but he did not believe in them, or they trusted in him, but he did not trust in them. But why because Jesus was omniscient. That's just a big theological word that simply means. Jesus knew everything about everyone you wish you had that ability.

You wish you could look into a person's mind and soul. When you converse with them. I'm not so sure I would like to be able to know what people really think you know you give a message and someone comes up in and says pastor that was a wonderful message and what they're really thinking is you are the ugliest pastor I've ever seen the part of the owner, that parent you know you and see what's really on the human heart you know what their secret sin was, you would know more about them than you would probably ever want to know. I'm kind of glad I don't know that about people but God did. Jesus would look at people and he would know what they were all about, and periodically he would call people out in that regard, we care as this Fairweather Garvey. This group of fiscal policies. Fairweather believers calming him. He could see they didn't really believe in the him using in particular, they were dazzled by his miracles, but their faith was not genuine and because of that Jesus did not believe in them or reveal himself to them but yet in the next chapter. Chapter 3 he does reveal himself to Nicodemus that we take only the second I thought God wanted everyone to believe in him. He does like the Scripture even says God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. However, he wants us to believe in him on his term, not just think good thoughts about Jim or admire him, but really understand what it means to believe so now we shift gears to John chapter 3 will unify this conversation has three primary movement movement number one versus 2 to 3 were Jesus and Nicodemus. Initially, face-to-face movement, number two versus 48 Jesus and Nicodemus are mind to mind. And finally, movement, number three verses 9 to 21 Jesus and Nicodemus are hard to heart and subtitle of the message. So let's read John three verses 1 to 10. There was a man of the Pharisees.

They Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night, but underline that come back to it and he said Rabbi, we know you're a teacher come from God, for no one can do these things and you do unless God is with them. Jesus answered and said to them, most assuredly, a CDU, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus said how can a man be born when he sold Kenny under a second time into his mother's womb and be born Jesus answered and said, most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the spirit is spirit.

Do not marvel that I said to you. You must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes you hear the sound of it, you can't tell where it comes from or where it's going. So is everyone who is born of the spirit.

Nicodemus answered and said, how can these things be. Jesus answered, are you the teacher in Israel and you don't know these things.

There number in this new series that were calling God came near, it's a chronological look at the life, miracles, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Chronologically, meaning using all four Gospels and following the events in their proper sequence as they actually happen.

Spent quite a bit of time looking at the amazing events leading up to and including the birth of the Lord Jesus in Bethlehem. We saw how he was baptized by his cousin John in the Jordan River and the spirit came upon them, and the father said this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased that we saw how he was driven into the wilderness and tempted by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights. And then he performs this first miracle which was turning water into wine at Cana of Galilee. Immediately following this, Jesus goes into the temple, and overturned the tables. I find it interesting because this was a pretty radical thing to do at the start of his ministry by me most religious art portrays Jesus often holding a lamb around his neck or holding the staff sometimes he's doing this with his hand and got the step in this usually looking a little bit effeminate as art often portrays them. Here's a biblical image of Christ Jesus with a wet. I love this Indiana Jones. He's got a wet and what is he doing driving people out of the temple, who the people came to worship all known at that he's driving the people out there were keeping those people from worshiping her instead of praying for the people. These other folks were praying on the people overcharging them, making God salsa place of merchandising instead of a place of worship, so he drove them all out but you better believe that was a big deal caused the stir and certainly Nicodemus would've heard all about this because now we come to John three chronologically in this conversation on full so movement number one Nicodemus and Jesus are face-to-face is a very important thing the Bible tells us about Nicodemus. In verse one.

He was a Pharisee now. Usually we think of the Pharisees in a negative light, but there were some positive things about them as well. I mean these were men that took the law of God very seriously. Are they sought to apply the 10 Commandments to every area of their life. Every Pharisee took a solemn valve for three witnesses that he would devote every moment of his entire life to obeying the 10 Commandments. There were usually only around 6000 Pharisees in their position at a time. So Nicodemus was a Pharisee.

They were the theological conservatives of their day. They believed in the authority of Scripture. They believed in the miracles of God, there was another group you read about in the Gospels called the Sadducees. There were like the theological liberals of their day Sadducees did not believe in the supernatural Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife. They did not believe in a heaven or hell no hope beyond the grave.

Maybe that's what they got their name Sadducees because they were sad to see and interestingly there were occasions we read of the Pharisees and the Sadducees coming together, and the only reason they came together was because of their mutual hatred of Jesus Christ you know why Jesus was bad for business. The religious business. So here is Nicodemus, a Pharisee and not only was he a Pharisee, but he was a leader of the Pharisees. He was a part of what was known as the Sandy teacher, the Sanhedrin was a ruling body achieve authority in all of Israel. The role laws and conducted trials, they would be the equivalent of the Supreme Court of today but they were even more powerful. So here is a man with dedicated his life to the study of Scripture, here is a man who is a member of the most powerful ruling group in Israel at the time and not only that, but he was famous. Jesus even said you're the teacher in Israel and you don't know these things, Nicodemus is probably the best-known teacher in all of Israel.

Yet, despite the fact that he was famous and powerful, and educated in religious. There was something missing in his life that brings him to Jesus in our story picks up there. Look at verse two he came to Jesus by night, you know, I have to say this was Nick at night.

Okay, we got that out of the way though this particular fat then Nicodemus came to Jesus by night is mentioned more than once in Scripture. So it's worth noting.

Why did he come in.or maybe because he was the most famous teacher in all of Israel, and he with the wife the most famous teacher in all of Israel.

This highly educated men going to speak to this controversy all son of the carpenter known as Jesus who does have his detractors, so there may have been the fear of what other people would think about him. Then again, maybe you want to Jesus by night, because the schedule of our Lord was so full there was no time so it became and that he would have more time to converse with them. I don't know why he came at night, but at least he came, and the fact is that the end Nicodemus turned out to be one of the most courageous followers of Jesus Christ. Listen to this. Better to have a great ending, and a poor beginning then a great beginning and important Nicodemus had a great ending when he didn't start so well you know maybe look back in your life and as a man, I wish to become a Christian when I was younger and I wasted so many years of my life. He listened.

If you're a Christian now you got today. You've got tomorrow and you let the time he had of you as God gives it to you so it's sort of like a race. Just finish this race well here regardless of when or how you started it, even if you stumble and fall, and get up off the ground and finish this race of life well is a follower of Jesus far better that the person you started with so much promise and then crashed and burned and never got up again.

Yet Nicodemus was just making his way to the kingdom.

While Judas Iscariot was a full-fledged apostle in good standing, but in the end of our Lord's ministry, Judas betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver went out and hung himself and Nicodemus came up publicly and stood for Christ event greeted John 1939 that Joseph apartment then came to get the body of Christ. Jesus was buried in the tomb of the family of Joseph apartment there and we read in verse 39 of John 19 and Nicodemus would first came by night also came.

I love the fact that a point that Nicodemus came out publicly for Christ in the end, and he was a guy by the way they came by night, so there's a little reminder there about know you have great respect for Jesus, looking out at how the conversation begins verse to Rabbi, we know you're a teacher come from God, for no one can do the signs that you do unless God is with now it's a significant thing for a guy of the stature of Nicodemus to say this to Christ. He was treating Jesus as an equal. Rabbi Lana respect for. Of course they were not. He quotes because this is the man talking to God, but I don't know if Nicodemus understood Jesus was God, yet not Nicodemus was a careful student of Scripture. He would've read the prophecies of Daniel about Messiah and if he understood those prophecies he would recognize the Messiah was alive at that moment and he would probably recognize Jesus was the Messiah. But if he also studied Daniel's prophecies. He knew that the time would come when Messiah would be cut off and so Nicodemus knew time was short. He needed to act quickly, and he might've also come at this point because he was getting on in years. Verse four says that he said to Jesus, how can a man be born when he is old Kenny and her a second time into his mother's womb and be born, so he was probably an elderly man in this conversation took place. Nicodemus had the statistical cards stacked against him.

Listen. Most people make their commitment to follow Jesus Christ before the age of 21 so you may wonder why we always reach out to younger people.

That's why because most people come to Christ when they're still young. That's not to say they don't come in the older years, but most come when there under 21 take a quick poll but start with an easy question. How many of your Christian vision to your Christian I how many of you became a Christian before the age of 21.

Raise your hand. What's the majority of key how many of you came to Christ after the age of 30 razor hit not as many comedy after 40 comedy after 50 seat less hands each time so the longer you wait the harder it gets. It doesn't mean it becomes impossible. It just becomes more challenging because when you get older you become more set in your ways. Right when you're older you like routine you like to know what's coming.

You don't like surprises like you listen to the oldies station on the radio.

You don't understand this new music at all.

You go to the same restaurant is in the same place you order the same thing every time when you come to church to even sit in the same place I know for sure all in your places bright shining faces you know like change you know you your slower, a bit now.

Right you know you drive slower you notice, older people are really slow. I believe you see someone going like 40 on the freeway.

Chances are it's an elderly man he probably is a trifocal windshield is looking so that doesn't mean the real hope years ago we did a crusade in Santa Barbara. It was an outdoor amphitheater with the invitation was given a 90-year-old man walked forward at the urging of his grandchild. Now the back story to this is interesting. This man's wife died a few years before she was a Christian and she had prayed for him throughout her entire life, but he would not believe in Jesus. On her deathbed, his wife pleaded with him to come to Christ she wanted her husband to know the love and the peace that she had experienced, but he turned her down so here he is now age 9 and a harvest Crusade of the service, is coming to a close and giving the invitation for people to come to Christ and his granddaughter says grandpa you want to go forward. He says no I don't, Jesus, grandpa, I'll go with you. He says no it's cold down there. I don't want to go down there.

She says no grandpa. I think you're gonna like what you find when you get down there, he turned to her and says what do you think it is that I want to find when I get down there. She said I think you're going to find love and peace in life so this old man made his way forward, prayed the prayer and afterwards he said now I know what my wife was talking about all these years and now I know that I'll see her again. She God can work still don't write anybody off irregardless of the rates so Nicodemus comes with great respect, verse two, we know that you're a teacher come from God, that sort of humorous to me. We know we just Nicodemus and Jesus is no we sometimes people say that when they're not comfortable saying I know we know a lot of people have said this about to when you want to commit ourselves to a personally or sometimes when we have a question we might see a friend of mine had a question eventually be so we don't. We know that you're a teacher come from God. He says to Jesus and with one single sharp and penetrating phrase Jesus slices through all the layers of rules and legalistic attitudes have accumulated around the mind of Nicodemus like a sword. These words pierced the Pharisees, part verse three. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. There is Nicodemus you would expect him to our expect Jesus to fill. First of all let me say it's an honor to meet you Nicodemus I can them. I can even believe you would make time to meet with me and I just want to thank you know Jesus does know any of that.

It is cut to the chase, buddy. Let me get to the bottom line with you.

I know why you're here. I'm gone. I know everything you need to be born from above the convenience and it's interesting how he prefaces that statement, he says most assuredly right tell you the truth that can be translated.

This is a certain thing. In other words, reveal to you a fundamental reality of life.

Listen very carefully to what I'm saying you know, Nicodemus, and in effect to all of us listing out. You must be born again, that's essential not optional. Sadly, this term is lost its meaning people thrown around a lot. What is it even me. The term born-again is been pirated emptied of its meaning drag to the gutter. Given back to us. Minus its power today when someone says are born again we don't even know what that means necessarily a person can be in the New Age mysticism and safe there.

Born-again what is it mean to be born again. Well, it means that you have had your spiritual eyes open and you embrace Christ as your Savior and Lord. This is why you can't explain it to a nonbeliever. God has to touch and see this is what I recognize as an evangelist. I don't have any magic tricks. I don't know many clever things. A man once I say this, everyone believes seven people come to music great.

What is the one thing I can say to my nonbelieving friend to make them believe serious hotel and reveal this to you only if you evangelist notice, but if you say this double event have anything like that.

Here's what I understand I am to declare his simple message and I pray God will open the hearts and the minds of the listeners that say what I've seen it happen before my eyes. I watch people and I can often pick out a nonbeliever in a crowd. The just articulately stand a little differently. The way they listen. The way that they respond and I have watched the person and I don't stare at anybody. By the way he was a you are staring at me the whole time it's not true, but I am staring at the men in the blue shirt now has gone kingdom. Is that okay but I don't intentionally do that, but I've noticed people and I have seen the moment. I believe when we got when the light went on the desert. I can see it's like and then we extend the invitation though respond that some glorious the Bible says that of the nonbeliever. The man was the Christian the woman can understand these truths of God spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the spirit can understand what the spirit means that's first Corinthians 214 so buddy listen to me. Jesus is a you need to be born from above your religious beliefs are good and you would for you. Despite the fact that you're at the top of the heap of the religious world that is approaching any closer to heaven.

Let me make a statement. Some might find controversial. I think religion is More people out of heaven than all the other sins combine walking you say when I say religion I mean man's attempt to reach God. That's not what I have by the way, I do not consider myself a religious person on the Grigor a preacher you're very religious. I hope not. I should try not to be.

I don't like religion be taken a step further. I hate religion. I hate to tell you why because of blinds people to their need for God.

You know your talk to them about their faith will IIII raised presbyter when you want to know why you raised Catholic is baptizes a kid.

He also will I grandfather was a preacher and seat will run the these little religious think oh well. I keep my confession a church.

Oh, I was baptized I received communion and just like a Pharisee will go to little rituals that we think will return the favor of God, hide behind those things. Sometimes religion can actually keep us from Jesus Christ complicity religion makes people weird is it weird when the religious sometimes they can be judgmental unnecessarily. They can be mean they can be spacey. I don't know if they were weird to start with and then they got religious or whatever it is I'm not interested. I don't want religion affected by one a Christian, I would not be a religious person. I've never been enthralled with religious ritual and things of that nature.

I would not be a person that goes to any kind of a worship service.

I would have any. I would just be a joke, even. But because I met God in a personal way.

Christ came to live inside of me I can't deny the reality of that but I desperately do not want to become a religious person but I do want to be a follower of Jesus Christ. And there's a big difference between the two so forth.

So Jesus says to Nick at night, you must be born again. Some nights we will say we know, I'm a Christian under someone of those born-again her that newsflash, you cannot be a Christian without being born again. Jesus says you must be born again.

It's absolutely essential. So now we go from phase 1 face-to-face. Now it's mind to mind first for how can a man be born when he's old so Nicodemus is it okay I accept this some premise, but how once the process of this, how does a person start over. Can a person really change at this time in life really. We've all tried to change probably not been very successful, usually at the beginning of the year. We have our resolutions.

How many of you made New Year's resolutions is your right. You made a rug I will mock you while you're in it you don't make resolutions, see your that good okay will of the eight people that made New Year's resolution.

How many of you made a New Year's resolution broker resolution measure. Thank you very much for the wedding.

They communicate resolutions time in the same boat with you, but you know we try to change you can change the exterior but that does not affect the interior years ago we had car an old Ford Star liner know that looks like your car person you'll understand what I'm talking about. It's a supercool car and I wish I still had little car anyway. My mom decided she wanted to get a payment.

It was sort of a powder blue color. So there was this guy that used to paint cars back in those days. His name was Earl shot anybody remember him. And if you remember Earl side bigger resolutions not getting okay and he would come on TBC Earl shop obtain any car any color for 2995 no outs and no extra that's what he said he was only 2995 then he raises price to 99 but can you imagine getting your car painted for 30 bucks so we took our corridor Earl side and we went from a can of a powder blue to a deep metallic blue and I tell you what he did. It 2995. He painted that car and the windows and the tires and the chrome lots of overspray, a very blue car for 2995 there was still the same car still ran the same. You have to change the inside. And so now as her having this conversation. Perhaps a warm breeze blew through causing Jesus is everything in the wind blows were wills hear the sound of it to The word comes from words going so is everyone who is born of the Spirit getting Nicodemus feel the wind right now till the wind moves.

Can you see the wind Nicodemus no but you see the effects of the wind right you've ever flown new hip turbulence sure feel that pain she can allot or maybe you've seen a hurricane. You see the effect you don't see the wind. He says so is everyone that is born again. So now we come to the third phase of the conversation it starts with face-to-face, then it's mind to mind know it's hard the heart verse nine Nicodemus answered and says to him, how can these things be.

Now he's being honest and open.

He said okay break it down for me. Jesus once the process of this I'm an old man I'm set in my ways.

How can I be born again. Jesus is are you the teacher of Israel and you don't know these things come on man, everybody knows who you are. Every year the go to guy for spiritual information and you don't know that it's so not Jesus is going to explain it and he really gives the ABCs of the gospel. Verse 14 as Moses was lifted up or lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. No, we may be that not know what it means, but the Nicodemus of metal, Nicodemus, a student of Scripture knew that Jesus was referring to numbers 21 story of the Israelites in the wilderness and they were complaining to Moses, they wanted to bring us out to Egypt to die like this were sick of this stinking manna. This is horrible.

So the Lord said venomous snakes to piped up, so they were snake pit a bunch of snakes. No, being a guy who once wanted to be a her pathologist at someone who studies reptiles.

I was curious to know what can the snake.

Once this I mean the cobra was indigenous to this reason region. Rather, so it could have been cobras and that that's a powerful snake. It's a big snake it as venom that steel if you're not treated quickly, and it could have been a cobra, but chances are it was a different snake actually known as a song scale Viper.

This think is smaller. It's only about 3 feet at its longest and what's unique about the Viper. Is it is aggressive and it strikes with such force it actually leaves the ground so that I did bit by a lot of snakes. By the way that I snakes every time I've been bit by many gopher snakes because would catch him in the wild been bit by red racers can think bit by a Python been by a Paula and I was bitten by every snake I ever own one that I have snakes I don't know. This is so much fun to be bitten by a snake.

It isn't.

I hated him now but you know I government did my venomous snake.

So here probably this particular snake. The soft scale Viper.

Probably a bunch of merge and they're just pioneers like everyone spread they're all going to die. They only have a short time to live to God, says the Moses I Moses wanted to get a pole. I want you to get a serpent make it out of brass wrap around the pole hold of the pie where everyone can see it will receive the serpent on the pole will lead so you do your part and I'll do my part so Moses took the phone with the serpent on it. He held it up and everyone looked at the pole was healed and they didn't die of the snakebites, but if they did not look at the pole they would not so Jesus is using this as an illustration of the cross how Jesus was lifted up on the cross and even as we go back to Calvary. There were those of looked up at him and believe there was this interior then looked at him and said, truly this was the son of God, there was his mother looked up there. There was John looking up. There was Mary looking up and there were others and or others, and looked away that there were some Roman soldiers gambling for the one earthly possession. He had while he was dying for their sin and the sin of the world.

Others even mocked and walked away you with a choice on that day when Jesus died, look and live you can look and leave.

In fact, we read in Isaiah 4521. There is no God. Apart from me looked at me and be safe all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no other.

So Jesus uses that picture now he comes to the most well-known verse and all of the Bible. John 316 for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, have ever lasting life that's been called the Hope diamond of Scriptures. The last interview I did with Pastor Chuck Smith. I asked him I said Chuck if you would one last sermon to get before you went to heaven. What would your text be what you think he chose John 316.

I asked him why he said because the Gospels and it Max and Tito says in John 316 quote. It's a 26 word parade of whole beginning with God, ending with life and urging us to do the same. Brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in a moment, yet solid enough to weather 2000 years of storms and questions if you know nothing of the Bible, start here" that's good is not that old maxi is a way with words, what is it safe for God so love know some people have a concept of God as a cosmic killjoy out to ruin our lives not to give be further from the truth.

God longs for a relationship with us and who does God love for God so loved the world, it doesn't safe for God so love really nice people for God so loved Christian notice for God so loved the world that includes everyone. That means God loves thieves and and adulterers and that means that God loves homosexuals, and that means that God loves adulterers and Emmys a God loves murderers and that means that that love is for every person on the face of the earth. I mean nothing from the cross, was crucified next to Jesus. He was most likely a murder. We call him if he put the word in the original language which speak of someone who committed a more serious crime, probably an act of insurrection against Rome. Robbie murdered a Roman soldier or something like that. We might even call him a terrorist today, and yet Jesus extended forgiveness for God so loved the world, and by the way, some would say Christ died only for the elect. This would be the Calvinistic point of view, Christ died for the elect, and only the elect will believe. They believe that God is predestined some people to go to heaven and God is predestined other people to go to hell.

You have nothing to say about it in the councils of eternity. God figured it all out, you're going to heaven heaven and hell tell heaven and hell, heaven heaven and hell. Hell, just like that and then you figure it out later in life will I don't happen to believe that I don't believe Christ died for the elect. I believe he died for the whole world that for every man, every woman, every sinner, it's ideal, moody the evangelist once said, Lord, save the elect and then elect some more. I don't believe anyone is predestined to hell. I don't believe the God of the councils of eternity said I choose that you go to hell.

However, I to believe God predestined people to have. It is a know you're confusing me.

I have to believe in it because the Bible teaches.

The Bible teaches that Jesus said you did not choose me I chose you, and then the Bible says that they been predestined by God. Well then how does it work with free will, your saltworks, the Bible teaches predestination and free will, side-by-side. In some occasions so it's not that I have to reconcile this. I recognize my job as a preacher is to proclaim the gospel an appeal to the free will of people. It's God's job to decide who those people are, but this offer is to everyone for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son.

He gave you know the world reaches up to God through religion, through ritual. God reaches down to humanity through Christ when it says his only begotten son.

This could better be translated is one and only son, or the only one of its kind or class unique and can't okay will who can be forgiven. Whosoever believes who does that mean that means everyone whosoever believes no matter what they've done or what sins they committed, whosoever believes should not perish, notes an interesting thing. There's other. Whosoever's in the Bible.

In Revelation 2015 read, whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. So if you're included in the whosoever of John 316. You will not be included in the whosoever of Revelation 2015, which whosoever are you, whosoever believes in what is that mean he needs to put your full trust in Christ and I'm putting my full trust that this platform is going to hold up all 140 pounds of my frame.

That's my right leg. But Tom or I fight my way to gets his podium, I trust it will hold me up. That's what it means to believe you, trusting you cling to you rely on Christ and Christ alone. Not Christ.

Plus word for Christ was ritual or Christ plus anything believes in him will not perish but have ever lasting life notice. It does not say will hope to have, but it becomes the immediate possession of the child of God when you are born from above.

When you believe in Jesus you have eternal life given to you as a gift from God.

Her son 513 these things I've written you believe that believe in the name of the son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life by believing you may have life in his name. So that's God's promise to you for everyone young people, middle-age people, all people all people who think their middle-aged middle-age people who think their young. It's for everybody. Speaking of moral men. Your mother, my mom was buried for seven times in had a bunch of boyfriends in the middle of all that and she married one guy that I respect.

His name is Oscar Lori was not my biological father, but he was different than the other guys.

My mom picked you know she always picked these kind of what you call them the kind of guys that hang around in bars. One was similar to another and this one guy Oscar was different from all the rest he was not a guy who hung out in bars. In fact he was a member of the bar. He was an attorney.

He was moral. He was educated he didn't smoke.

He didn't drink. I don't know when my mom sauna, but she married Oscar Lori and so I was living in California and we moved to New Jersey where he practiced law in a little city called Summit, New Jersey and I remember how he took such an interest in me. First of all, he adopted me and gave me his name. That was a lot right there.

Secondly, he treated me as a father should treat a son. He spent time with me. He he helped me. He gave me alone, for they had to work for our members is $0.50 a week I to do all of my chores. One time I got caught stealing popcorn in a story about the way the popcorn bag was like this for your this big and you still popcorn… Big it's not going to end well you're walking out I got caught so my father discipline me and then he took me down to the jail and introduced me to the prisoners trying to warn me away from a life of crime.

So I called him daddy was the only father" never called dad a love he was my father. One day I got out of school. There New Jersey and my mom at the Catholic loaded up with all of her suitcases and I said was going on she says were leaving New Jersey as it were we going she said were going to Hawaii. I was excited I've never been the Y before I said words that she said he's not coming and I never saw him again and my child. So after I became a Christian he became an adult and I and I started pastoring this church.

I decided I wanted to look him up if he was still alive.

I didn't know. So there was a girl in our church was a member of the Bar Association, said look up Oscar Lori cities practicing Lonnie work. Sure enough, she finds him immediately practicing law still now in Red Bank, New Jersey so I was going to go speak in New York City in Central Park and I thought maybe a look him up and try to share my faith with them so I got his phone number called his office. The secretary answered law offices of Oscar Lori suggests is Mr. Lori and she said no is not here he's at lunch. Can I take a message and said you tell them that Greg Lori called. She said how do you spell your last name so the same way he sold his last name Ella, you are i.e. I'm a son, I get a call like 10 minutes later Greg so good to hear from you.

Have you been hiding good. Hey listen Oscar. I call them until I could call them down anymore. I'm an MPN New York speaking I told a little bit about being a pastor I said I would love to have lunch with you is is all know Greg come to our house for the weekend. I said oh I couldn't do that. That would inconvenience you because he is remarried as a family know know come to our house the weekend. I know you know, okay, so I get to New York Kathy with me and Christopher was a little boy at that time it did my speaking engagement, I got on the train went from New York City arrived in Red Bank and there's like a scene out of a movie you know he comes running up and eat you look so similar to the way remember I hadn't seen for years is older now, of course, but the so we go back to his house and were talking and I find out that he had just had a heart attack and blacked out at the wheel of his car and run into a pole yet serious heart problems.

At this point so were catching up on old times. I'm telling a little of my story so that night his wife Barbara made us a fantastic Italian meal security.

You know the sausage. The meatballs all the fixings and cheese committed Catholic woman and she says Greg tell me all about how you became a Christian. So I start sharing my story and she's listening. She's really responsive and look at the other in the my table.

My dad is visiting there is a sense that this is like this. He doesn't react. He doesn't smile. I suddenly felt like I was in a court of law. You know like I give you my testimony and he said John and it's not going over well because he didn't react anything I said. He does listen slips. Then dinner was done. He said that Greg I. Get up every morning walk. Would you walk with me in the morning.

I said sure is a Cal knocking your door so the next morning, the knot comes on my door at 6 o'clock East Coast time 3 o'clock California time I come stumbling out of the room so sleepy and thinking why did I ever agree to this, and in so were walking along and the heirs really cool and says Greg I listen very carefully to what you said last night said right and at this point I was calling them down again.

By the way, and he said yes. Greg I would like to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Right now, another reason I'm telling you the story is yours my daddy 75 years old.

He's like Nicodemus. He's moral. He's educated. He's a good man in the broad sense of that word. I want to accept Jesus Christ right now is set. I said will that we just pray a prayer could lead you in a prayer and I went over it again to make sure he understood. I understand. I want to do the rhino is very determined civil. Let's pray he drops to his knees. I was in to get on my knees and apart, but he was down there so I got on my knees with them and we pray then let them in this prayer after were done Frank he says hi no crisis come in my life. Greg pray for my heart know pray God heals my heart and some of the deadly. We don't know. Pray for my heart. Okay Lord you is like four minutes old and the Lord is bases-loaded so we pray for his heart. We could have any set prices coming to my life. It finally got is healed, my heart will know we don't know why believe it.

Okay great. Just I want to go to my Dr.'s office is right over there. You want to tell your doctor.

Yes. So we walk into his doctor's office is a nice Jewish man walking in. My dad says.this is my son, Greg, Lori, he's a preacher from California and I just prayed and accepted Christ in the my life and God sealed my heart.

I'm going oy vey. So they did tests on them. And sure enough, his heart had been healed so God gave him 15 more years, and he served the Lord.

He was actively involved in this church member. I told him to start reading the Bible and and I came back home and I went back in a month in order to read the whole Bible.

He was quoting scriptures to me with understanding. I couldn't believe it is dramatic, dramatic, and you serve the Lord in the Lord called him home to heaven, I preached at his funeral service 75 years old. One of the chances know is beyond the reach of God. You're not beyond the reach of God.

So I think the appropriate way to close our service is to just make sure everyone listening to me right now is born from above you been born again because if you're not born again you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.

So my closing question to you is are you is able, Greg. I'm a moral person. Yeah, that's good. I'm religious none of these things matter. If this story tells us nothing else that tells us none of those things will catch you in the habit, you have to admit you're a sinner and turn from that sin and realize that's why Jesus died on the cross for you because there was no other way to get you right with God.

If you want to be born again if you want to go to heaven when you die if you're ready to say yes to Jesus I'm in a give you an opportunity to do that right now. Let's all bow our heads everybody praying please father I pray now that you work in the hearts of those that are listening, Holy Spirit, I pray that you will open their spiritual eyes and show them their need for Jesus. Elinor has about and her eyes are closed and were praying. How many of you today would say I want to be born again. I want Christ to forgive me of my sin.

I want to know that when I die I will go to heaven. Pray for me that your desire. If you want Jesus to come in your life just like you came in the my dad's life so many years ago, just like he came in the life of Nicodemus. If you want to know with certainty go to heaven when you die, would you lift your hand up wherever you are and I'll pray for you to head up or I can see it in a prayer for you today, she looked her in the pipe. Please publish. Bless you, you that are watching the screen. Lift your hand up I can see you. It doesn't matter. God sees you. This is between you and God you want to just forgive this you want to be sure you go to heaven when you die, lift your hand up right now. Let me pray for you publish anybody else raise your hand. God bless kid I'm asking everyone of you is raise your hand. I want you to stand your feet stand your feet, lead you in a prayer where you will be asking Christ to come into your life, stand up, stand up, stand up now listen, you're not the only one standing, you need to make this commitment. You stand even if you did not raise or can you stand you watching on the video screen stand up and get a pray anybody else.

One final moment stand. If you want to go to heaven if you want Christ to come in your life.

One final moment.

Bless you stand up anybody else stand now, bless all of you standing know you that are standing on the lead you in a simple prayer. I'll ask you to pray this prayer out loud after me.

This is where you're asking Christ to come in your life again as I pray pray this out loud right where you stand.

Okay, pray this after me now Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner but you died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead Jesus I want to be born again today I want to go to heaven when I die I want to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for calling me and accepting me in Jesus name I pray, amen.

God bless you. Try to do this to

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