Acts 3, 15. He says, You killed the author of life, but God raised him in life.
And we are witnesses of this fact. The disciples were hiding. They were afraid. They were freaked out.
They were scared. And they went from that to walking away from their occupations to giving their lives to the cause of Jesus Christ. Now, friend, sometimes people will die for something that's wrong, but people will not die for something that they know to be false. Now, let's take a look at some of the things that God has done for us in this direction. But do we truly understand that it was an actual event?
If we see it that way, it has the potential to change our lives. Find out more today as David McGee continues in Romans 11 with his teaching, God is Merciful. Here's David.
You know what? I have studied this Bible. I read and speak Hebrew and a little bit of Greek, and I don't understand God. And look, if my puny, my puny, finite mind could understand God, God wouldn't be God. God's infinite.
I can't get all that in between my ears. Sometimes when I'm sitting with somebody or another pastor and somebody goes, well, I don't understand why God, and it's like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Go ahead and finish your statement, but let me go ahead and tell you, I don't know that I'll be able to answer you. I mean, friend, what do you say as somebody who's watching a loved one pass away? And sometimes, you know, words are cheap.
They just want you to hold them and know you're there and that you care about them. Understanding God, it's never going to happen, friend. And that's where the faith part of what we're talking about comes in.
We do understand more about God as we learn about him from his word, as we fellowship with other people, we can learn a lot about God. You know, when I was a little kid, I really didn't know why my dad did some of the things he did. I didn't make the connection between dad going to work and all the food that showed up on the table. So I really didn't understand why dad was so serious about this work thing and did it pretty regular.
I didn't understand that. But as time went on and as I grew up and especially as I became a dad, guess what? I understood more and more about why my dad did what he did. Well, that's the same with God. As you learn more about God, you learn more about why God did what he did at the cross and the crucifixion.
Verse 34, for who has known the mind of the Lord or who has become his counselor? The Bible opens up saying God created the heavens and the earth. Some of you may believe that to the totality and I'm one of those people. You may believe he did it through evolution over billions and billions and billions of years or whatever.
And yeah, I'm not going to argue with you about that. But the reality is he didn't consult me before he started this earth thing, before he created the heavens and the earth. He didn't call me. He didn't email me. He didn't talk to me about the plans or consult with me. You can tell I'm still a little tweaked about it.
But I'm in counseling and it's helping. No, he didn't because he, friend, is, he's God. He's God. So again, I can't figure everything out, but I can sure enjoy a sunny day. I don't know how he made the sun, but man, I can sure hang out in it.
I don't have to understand it completely to enjoy the benefits of it. That's the same with God. Verse 35, or who has first given to him and it shall be repaid to him? Wow. So God's a giver. God is a giver. I learned a lesson a long time ago.
He said, travel around and do music and teaching and stuff. And I remember the first recording project I ever, ever had. And I shared it at this church and I was, you know, had this little table, you know, and got finished and sat back there with, tell you how long ago it was cassettes. Okay. So this is, this has been a while ago.
Okay. But had this cassette, you know, and this guy walked up and was kind of looking at it and I said, man, you want a cassette? And he goes, I can't afford it. I said, man, just take the cassette.
God bless you. Now keeping that cassette was not free. If that was the first one, that one cost me about 30 grand to be honest, but I wanted him to have it.
His first project, first place. And then what happened, a guy came up after that, threw a $20 bill on the table, took one cassette. And I said, let me get your change.
He said, don't worry about it. And that still small voice of God, I heard God said, you will never out give me. And I learned a lesson that day in ministry. Now the reality is, and I know people talk about greedy pastors and man, you can flick on the television and you can see them, you can find them. But I think sometimes, and I'm just going to shoot honest with you.
I'm going to be as honest as I can. I think sometimes we talk about greedy, selfish pastors. So we feel a little bit better about being greedy and selfish because we don't want to share what God has given us. II Corinthians 9 says, but this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one of you give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. Point this out before that word for cheerful in the Greek is hilarion.
It's where we get our word for hilarious. And I can vouch that you get to a point in your Christian life where you enjoy giving to the Lord. The life lesson here is you can never outgive God.
We need to realize that. And gang, this is not God's way of raising money. This is God's way of raising children.
He doesn't want you to give your money away at all. Got your attention now, don't I? He wants you to give away your selfishness and your materialism.
And something happens when you do this. Hi, this is Pastor David, and I want to share something that's on my heart and the solution for a growing problem in all of our communities across the country, down the street, and probably in your own backyard. I'm talking about the issue of homelessness and what sometimes goes with it, substance abuse. And perhaps you've seen people at street corners and intersections, and you're not sure the best way to help. Well, we're now providing food and shelter in our communities to those struggling with these issues, and we need your help. Not only are we providing food and shelter, we're sharing Jesus with them, teaching them the Bible and discipleship, helping them with job skills. The needs are overwhelming. But if we all do something, if you do something, we can help so many.
The Bible said we're to be doers of the word, not just hearers. And Jesus said, what you've done to the least of these, you've done for me. Please help us reach these people in our nation and our communities who are dying every day without our help. Please commit to give monthly or a one-time gift to The Bridge House by going to our website at crossthebridge.com, that's crossthebridge.com, or calling 877-458-5508.
That's 877-458-5508. And together, we can change the world. Now let's return to David McGee's verse-by-verse teaching in the Book of Romans. Let's look at verse 36. For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.
Amen. Man, of Him and through Him and to Him are all things. God is God, friend. And because of what He's done and because of who He is, He deserves our praise and worship. I understand, and I know some of you are going through stuff and come in here and you don't feel like worshiping. I can understand it. And believe it or not, you know what, there's days when I don't necessarily feel like worshiping.
Now today was not one of them. I felt like worshiping today. Sometimes I get up here, I shut my eyes, and I'm worshiping, and I open them, and I'm like, there's people. But I don't always feel like that. Some days I don't feel like worshiping, but I worship God anyway.
Why? Because God is worthy to be worshiped. We don't worship Him because we feel like it. God is God. God is God.
And you know what? We need to understand, too, Jesus is God. Jesus is God.
Understand, friend, if you go outside of this Bible and look at non-Christian historians, like Josephus, the Talmud, which is a Jewish writing of people who reject Jesus as the Messiah, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and other people, just from that historical information you can get, Jesus was a Jewish teacher, that people thought He did miracles and healings, that many thought He was the Messiah, that He was rejected by Jewish leaders, that He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and even after a shameful death, thousands of people followed Him, believing Him to be resurrected from the dead, and now millions of people worship Him and follow Him as God. That's outside of what this book says. This is noted by non-Christian historians.
Let me deal with this gap thing, too. People say, well, you know, the Bible is written in and why aren't these other books included? Many of these other books are written in 200, 300, 400 A.D. Not by the people. The Gospel of Thomas wasn't written by Thomas. Well, that's kind of a problem, isn't it?
Yeah, well, it is. Let me give you a reference sake. Alexander the Great has two biographies written by Plutarch and Arrian, and they're considered beneficial, and they were written 400 years after his death, and they're considered reliable. Tacitus, who I just referred to and who refers to Jesus, was a Roman historian who wrote in about 116 A.D., and the earliest copy of what he has written goes back to about 1000 A.D. We only have one copy of the manuscript, and that's over an 800-year gap, but it's considered reliable with this 800-year gap.
Josephus that I referred to a lot. Josephus wrote in the first century, and the earliest manuscript we have from there is about the 10th century. We have nine pieces of manuscript from them, goes back to about 1000 years. Again, about a 900 or 1000-year gap, and yet everybody considers it considered reliable. Outside of the Bible, the book that we have the most manuscript evidence for is Homer's Iliad, and we have less than 650 pieces of ancient manuscript. He wrote it in 800 B.C. The earliest copy we have goes back to 300 A.D.
So guess what? Another 1000-year gap, but everybody considers it considered reliable. Let's compare it to the Bible. How many pieces of ancient manuscript are there? What is the gap with the Bible?
How, when, where? The Bible has over 5000 ancient manuscripts that have been verified, cataloged, and registered, the earliest going back to about 120 A.D., a few years after these books were written. You should consider it reliable. We can look to this book and learn things.
Learn things like what? Well, what we're talking about today. We're talking about Jesus. We're talking about the crucifixion. There's more literary proof that Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, was resurrected than Julius Caesar ever lived. And yet have you ever heard anybody say, well, I'm not sure this Julius Caesar guy ever lived. Says he was crucified.
Have you thought about that? Horrible way to die. Horrible way to die. You have this thing in your arm. It's called a funny bone. You've probably hit it before.
It's not funny. You know, that's not actually a bone. It's called your ulna nerve. It's a large nerve. You have other large nerves.
That one is the most unprotected. You have one about the same size, the median nerve in your wrist goes to your hand. That was the nerve that was pierced with the nails. Why don't you imagine something, friend? Imagine somebody taking a pair of pliers and squeezing on your funny bone, on your ulna nerve.
That's what it would have been like. As a matter of fact, it was so painful they came up with a new word excruciating. Out of the cross is what that means in the Latin. Because it was so painful. Because as you nailed a person to the cross, their bones would become out of their sockets. Because you don't die of loss of blood or pain. You die literally suffocating. And what you have to do is you have to lift yourself up to catch your breath.
Pushing on your legs and your feet that have a nail in them. And then you sink back down. And then you work up enough strength to push yourself up again to take another breath. And after a period of time, you no longer have the energy to push yourself up.
And you die from a lack of oxygen. He was beaten. He was pierced. His beard was plucked out. And yet some people say, well, I'm not sure I believe in the resurrection. I got a question for you. How could somebody that was that beat up and bruised and bloodied, how could he convince people days later that he was the prince of life and had power over life and death? Can you imagine what he would have looked like outside the supernatural after all that he went through?
How could he get people to follow him? That's an interesting question. I've never heard anybody really answer that one. And understand, we believe in a literal resurrection here.
Why? Because Christianity without a resurrection is not like, you know, missing the final chapter. Christianity without a literal resurrection is not Christianity. It's not. Because if Jesus wasn't resurrected from the dead, what are we doing?
We could have slept in this morning. So how did he get people to follow him? What changed?
What happened? How could a movement based upon its leader being resurrected gain traction, strength, and popularity in the town that he was crucified and died in? Wouldn't have happened for him. In Acts chapter 2, months, just weeks even after the death of Jesus, Acts 2 32 says this prophecy was speaking of Jesus whom God raised from the dead and we are all witnesses of this. He said this in Jerusalem where Jesus died and was resurrected. He said, you know what, he did this and we've seen it. Now, friend, if people were sitting there and nobody had seen it, they'd say, oh, excuse me, none of us saw that. He was speaking to a crowd that was hostile to believing Jesus was the Messiah.
Don't you think somebody would have spoken up? What do you mean he was alive? No, we know the tomb and we can point to his body. Of course, everybody to kind of get out of the big life-death Jesus question said, well, they stole his body. That's another interesting one. I've heard all the theories, man, and I've entertained them.
None of them make sense. People say, well, Jesus, he just kind of passed out on the cross, passed out. He had blood and water run out of him.
Any doctor worth his salt would tell you that means he's dead. Well, they stole his body out of the tomb. You know, it's kind of interesting when they said that, you know, hey, Jesus has been resurrected and they said, well, you know, and he came out of the tomb.
They said, well, you know, somebody stole his body. There were soldiers and notice their reply. The soldiers were asleep. They didn't say the soldiers weren't there. So, you know, in a weird twisted way, they proved there were soldiers that were guarding that tomb because they didn't say, well, the soldiers weren't there. Nobody knew anything. No, they said the soldiers were, they were asleep. Now, friend, think about this. These are Roman soldiers. Rome was the military power. These guys were so well trained.
It was incredible. So they just independently all fell asleep while an angel rocked the world and rolled the stone away. They didn't have ambient or earplugs back then, gang. Okay? That just, that doesn't make sense. That does not make sense. Acts 3.15, it says, you killed the author of life, but God raised him in life and we are witnesses of this fact. You have to deal with this.
You have to figure out. The disciples were hiding. They were afraid. They were freaked out. They were scared and they went from that to walking away from their occupations to giving their lives to the cause of Jesus Christ. Now, friend, sometimes people will die for something that's wrong, but people will not die for something that they know to be false.
They won't do it. It may be false, but they think it to be true. If the disciples thought this was false, 10 of the 12 died martyr's deaths, willingly given their life for what?
For a falsehood? That doesn't make sense. Not only that, but let's understand, too, that Acts 2.41 says, then those who gladly received his word were baptized and that day about 3,000 souls were added to them. Acts 4 says, however, many of them who heard the word, believed in the number of men, came to be about 5,000, clarified. New Living Translation tells us, but many of the people who heard the message believed it so that the number of believers totaled about 5,000 men, not counting women and children.
This means that probably between 13 and 15,000 people in a town that was probably somewhere between 60 and 80,000 total, in the first few weeks after the resurrection, 13 to 15,000 people began following Jesus. Friends, something happened. Something happened.
You can't just go, well, they all pretended, and they, no, no, no, no, no, no. 13 to 15,000 people? What happened? What happened?
What happened? 13 to 15,000 people? What would garner that kind of attention?
What would register that kind of thing? A resurrection would, wouldn't it? If I sat up here and said, hey, you know what? I'm gonna die today, but come back next Sunday.
I'll be here. I'd have your attention, wouldn't I? You'd show up next Sunday just to see if I was here after I died. Well, maybe he was crucified. Maybe he was resurrected, but he was just a man.
It's a common thing. Well, I believe he was a good teacher. He wasn't God.
He wasn't the Messiah, but he was a good man. I love what C.S. Lewis says. I'll read it to you. I'll read the quote. It's from mere Christianity. I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him. I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God.
That's one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on a level with a man who says he's a poached egg or else he would be the devil of hell.
You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool. You can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but he would not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. See, great moral teachers don't go around saying I'm here to save the world and die for the sins of the world. They don't say that. Either he was crazy and he thought he was, but he wasn't or he was lying. Either way, that's not a great moral teacher.
The oldest Christian sermon, the oldest account of a Christian martyr, the oldest pagan report and the oldest liturgical prayer all referred to as Jesus as Lord and God. What do you do with that? Well, okay. Academically, I'll give you that.
Maybe he was God and maybe he was resurrected. That's not what I'm looking for because if you think I'm trying to win a debate here, I'm not. See, because you need to understand what weighs in the balance. It's not winning or losing a discussion or argument.
Well, what weighs in the balance? Well, friend, to put it real succinct and real brief, what's at stake in this discussion is you. Your eternal destiny rests on this decision. Jesus said in John 8, 24, he said, that is why I said that you will die in your sins for unless you believe that I am who I say I am, you will die in your sins. That's one of those things that Jesus said.
You go, wow, what do you do with that? You either receive him as Jesus as savior or you reject him and according to him, you die in your sins. If you call him a great moral teacher, guess what? Looks like you die in your sins. I mentioned John 1, 12 before. It says, but as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in his name.
That's it. Believe, receive, and become. You've done things wrong. Jesus knows about it.
What do you do with that? And why did he do these things? And think about what he did. God doesn't accept our sin.
He doesn't say, what's okay? I know you've messed up, but you just come on. No, instead of ignoring our sin, he takes on the punishment for our sin and incredibly, he sentences himself. He pays the price for what we did. God paid a debt he did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. We couldn't pay for our sins. And because of that, we can do what we dare not dream. We can stand forgiven before a holy and righteous God. The past can be pardoned. The future assured. Heaven awaits. And God, God's not only in sight, God's in reach, friend, of you right now. Did he die for your sins?
You have to make that decision. You know, as you look at the life of Jesus, there's one person that kind of remains a mystery. That person's Judas. Judas hung out with Jesus for three years. He saw Jesus. That person's Judas. Judas hung out with Jesus for three years. He saw the miracles. He heard the words of Jesus. And yet somehow, Judas, his heart was able to stay unchanged.
How do you do that? I don't know. But I can tell you this. I wish on no person here the heart of Judas. That you could hear a message like you've heard today about the love of God and the grace of God and say, oh, no thanks.
Oh, that may be good for some, but not for me. Oh, yeah, I believe this, that, and the other, but not going to receive it, not going to make a move towards it. Friend, there was a thousand steps between you and God.
God has taken 999 of them and asked you to take one. What I'm offering you here now is life and life eternal. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer simply telling God you're sorry and asking Him to help you to live for Him. Now, God wants you to pray this prayer so much that He died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask Him to forgive you. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me that I could be forgiven and I believe you were raised from the dead that I could have a new life and I've done wrong things. I have sinned and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. Jesus said He would not turn anybody away who comes to Him and He came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend.
You just made the greatest decision in your life. If this was your first time praying that prayer with Pastor David, we would love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Jesus. Also, if you have been blessed by the ministry of Cross the Bridge and David McGee, would you consider supporting us with a financial gift?
Entitled, A Father's Blessing. The number to call is 877-458-5508. That's 877-458-5508. Or go online to crossthebridge.com. While you're there, make sure to sign up for David's email devotional and begin receiving daily inspiration in your inbox. That website again is crossthebridge.com. Thanks for listening today. We pray you will join us next time as we cross the bridge.
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