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December 25, 2020 7:00 am
God is in the Bible that there are some things that every human being needs in order to make life fulfilling and worth living. Number one, we all need meaning and purpose to life. We all need meaning and purpose in life is re-untreated in the paper about all those people killed on Mount Everest last year and every more killed since I wondered when I read this article.
Why would a middle aged out of shape man pay $65,000 to go over there and try to climb that stupid mountain well.
Why do people pay money to drop out of helicopters and ski down, because the slopes and why people pay money to do the insane this thing of all insane things bungee jump that is the most insane thing I've ever seen in my life whether it was an interesting article in USA Today about why these kinds of on the edge activities have become so popular and in the article, a guy name Robert Scheer was the editor of power trips magazine said this, he said and I quote he said baby boomers have reached the age where we've accumulated all the things we possibly could and were still not fulfill were looking for meaning in life." And that's why we do these crazy things know Mr. Scheer has made a wonderfully astute observation about human life and that is that accumulating and possessing stuff does not make life worth living and give it meaning and purpose.
Macbeth discovered the same thing after lying and scheming and murdering his way along with his wife to the throne of Scotland. Then she died of unpermitted guilt and he found out that the throne did not bring him all the satisfaction that he dreamed it was going to bring you at the very end of his life. He says this it in a mixture of frustration and despair. He cries out. Life is a tale told by an idiot's full of sound and fury, but signifying meaning nothing life means nothing. He said friends let's face it, life is hard to matter how you slice it, but when you don't even know why you hear when it seems like you just groping in the darkness without any real understanding of where you're going or what your purpose is then Macbeth is right. Life is downright depressing. I went to the same struggle when I was in college I was at University North Carolina.
This was this the these questions drove me crazy. Who am I where my from what am I doing here. What's my purpose where my going ice to sit around my fraternity brothers and I would smoke dope and we get high, then I'd say let's talk about this is not about who we are where we are from and where were going and and these guys would say law. You are such a downer man we want to talk about this stuff you don't want to just graduate from college, get married, have kids, get the job raised her kids grow old and die like your body wanting to know all these crazy answers. Besides note. Nobody knows answers to those, question, and I began to wonder after a while of anybody really didn't have any answers to those questions and then I met Jesus Christ I wanted to see what he said. He said look, your John chapter 8 verse 12 verse 12 Jesus said this, he said I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life and when I met Jesus Christ and became connected with Jesus Christ and personal relationship. Jesus shined his spotlight on the all those dark areas of my life under all those dark questions in my life and suddenly he provided me with all the answers to those questions. He gave me a reason for being alive, and a reason for waking up in the morning and a reason for living every day that stretches beyond this world and out into eternity. No longer was life just the same old same old but suddenly there was a an eternal meaning to my life because I was connected with the eternal God of the universe, and I believe that in order to live a functional happy life. You need to have the same sense of an eternal reason for why you're here and I needed and I maintain you and I cannot find it anywhere in this world the only place we will find it is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Now is the second thing we all need. We all need power over our passions, you know, Shakespeare was an astute observer of human nature in play after play of his. Basically the plot is the same. It's all about the struggle of men and women against their own passions. We've already mentioned Macbeth whose passion whose obsession with power, and then there is a fellow whose obsession with his violent rage and then there was men of Shylock and the merchant of Venice, who had the passion of greed and then there was Romeo and Juliet, the Montague's in the Capulet who struggled with the passion of hatred and bitterness for one another and of course Hamlet who had the passion of revenge and friends.
What makes this great literature is that it it it shows us human nature as it really is and what it shows us in all of this literature is the inability of people to master the self-destructive passions that live inside of us in our own energy. I mean, that's why they call these things tragedies now today we see the very same struggle going on in our world except we don't see it just in literature.
We see it in real living flesh all around us. Hardly a one of us here doesn't know someone who is hopelessly addicted to something alcohol, cocaine, cigarettes, pornography, food, and there's probably not one of us here who doesn't know someone who's fighting a losing battle. It seems with depression. Someone in our family someone in our office someone in our neighborhood, our nation. It seems as fighting a losing battle against crime and corruption and unethical behavior at every level, and what about divorce, it seems to me that many times. Irreconcilable differences is just a euphemistic way of saying that the people in that marriage could not overcome their selfishness and their self-centeredness to a sufficient degree to make that marriage were friends. Every one of us know people who are prisoners of their passions and their passions are destroying their lives.
But this is not happening. All the people know it's happening us to everyone about struggle every day. Don't wait. We fight the battle every day to live right to act right to work right to talk right to think right to drive right indeed. Right at any were really honest with ourselves if were really authentic. Let's admit that when it comes to this fight of mastering these passions that live inside of us. Most of us have to admit we lose more and we win, I was watching the special on TV a while back about dieting and about losing weight and they were doing.
Some people on the street interviews and this one lady came on. She was hysterical at me. I hated the lab she was seriously overweight, and here's what she said.
She said I have lots of willpower when it comes to food, it's just that currently I'm not using any of us thought that was hysterical because I can identify with this woman. Can't you and I was at the gym this week, and a guy was talking to me about his dad who passed away and he said to me, my dad died because his lungs failed from incessant smoking. He died at 10 PM. One evening, and he said long which you would not believe is that that very day he had smoked four packs of cigarettes before he died at 10 o'clock at night. I said that's crazy. So I know but the man couldn't beat it. So here's the question where you and I go to get the power we need to overcome the self-destructive passions that live inside of us that if we don't overcome them to destroy our lives what may I show you something else. Jesus said look with me same chapter. Chapter 8 looked down at verse 34 chapter 8 verse 34. Look what Jesus said Jesus said in verse 34 truly, truly, I say to you, whoever commits sin becomes a slave of sin, we arty know that we just got through establishing that we understand the bad news give us some good news arrived. Verse 36 Jesus said if the sun if I Jesus Christ makes you free. However, you shall be three. Indeed, the supernatural, liberating power of Jesus Christ over our self-destructive passions focus is phenomenal. Jesus promised that he would give this power to every single follower of his and he does is Milan. How can you say that you stand up there with that kind of authority and make a statement like that will tell you how because you're looking when you see me at a living, breathing walking example of the liberating power of Jesus Christ in action. When I was a college student universe North Carolina.
My friends and I we smoke dope five times a day six times a day eight times a day 10 times a day. We dropped LSD 4 times a week is a will win. Did you go to class. When we didn't friends. I had a major drinking problem. When I was in college I had a major gambling addiction. When I was in college we would gambling 12 1 o'clock every night 3 o'clock in the morning 4 o'clock in the morning and we go to bed sleep till noon or 1 o'clock. We got gamble some more.
We smuggled open from Amsterdam because she's mostly cut it up sold in Chapel Hill.
That's how I put myself to my last two years of college was selling dope in Chapel Hill and towards the end of that time there was actually a federal warrant for my arrest for drug smuggling and selling charges in Chapel Hill. The police were actively looking to arrest me back to someone I knew that knew me many years ago said to me once lawn I've never seen anybody he said to me with a greater tendency to self-destruct. Then you and his right friends when Jesus Christ at the age of 21, became a part of my life.
All of that changed you say, what are you seamlessly perfect now. Well, there are days I think My wife straightens me out on no, I'm not seamlessly perfect and then and I want to take some else. I still have every single one of those self-destructive passions living inside of me still today, but there's a huge difference in the differences that Jesus Christ made me free so that I am not a prisoner of those passions anymore. I don't have to obey those passions. They don't have to run my life and for the last 27 years I have been able to live in victory over those passions and live a functional life that was worth living for one simple reason. And that is the Jesus Christ said if the Son of Man makes you free, you will be free, and he made me free and friends. If you want that kind of power in your life. Let me tell you something you are not going to get up from therapy. You are not going to get it from drugs. You are not going to get it from going to a seminar. Nothing wrong with any of those things. But that's not what you're going to get power to live above your passions is only one place that comes from it comes from Jesus Christ himself. You need that power in your life. I needed that power in my life where you really get it if you don't get it from Jesus Christ. Third, the third thing we need everybody needs is not only meaning in life and power over our passions, but we all need peace of mind, peace of mind. You know there was a very touching article in the Washington Post this past week.
I don't know if you saw it was on the front page of the sports section about a young man named Damon Myers. Damon Myers is a junior at the United States Naval Academy is also member the football team at Navy and Omega. Damon had to have the holding of the rest of this year all laid out.
He was going home for Thanksgiving in New Jersey to be with his family. He was then gonna come back and play in the Army-Navy game and he was working out at the gym there with the football team just before Thanksgiving. Any notice when he lifted his army and he noticed there was a labor swelling under one of his arms so he went to see the corpsman consenting to Benaiah with a Bethesda Naval Hospital and before he even knew what happen he had been diagnosed with stage IV lymphoma, which had already spread into his bone marrow and horror had already spread into his spinal fluid right now as we speak. Damon Myers is right across the Potomac River over Bethesda Naval being given massive doses of chemotherapy, hoping to stop this, and instead of spending Thanksgiving together as a family in New Jersey that family spent Thanksgiving in the waiting room over Bethesda Naval Hospital can life change quick or what discontent this is a life full lots of uncertainty. I mean, you think you think you your money is safe, and then the Asian stock market hiccups you think your career is secure and then you get downsized you think your health is good and then you get along. Do you think that your roots are deep and then your company transfers you think your family is stable and suddenly parents get a divorce. I mean all this uncertainty in our world robs people of all peace of mind. Look at people on the Metro look at people on the bus. Look at people on the streets of Washington or wherever you were lucky people in your neighborhood look right into their eyes. Do you see a lot of peace of mind around.
I don't where you going to get peace of mind in a world like this is not one thing the world does that I know of to produce now show you something. Jesus said in John chapter 14 couple pages back it's paid 764 to using our copy of the Bible John chapter 14, would you look at verse 27 with me. But what Jesus said in verse 27 Jesus said, peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give you the kind of peace that the world gives Jesus of the canopies I dispense is not like the world gives out I give you my peace. So he goes on to say, do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid Jesus says here that the kind of peace he gives his account a piece you can find in this world.
His peace and and you can look for the rest of your life in this world, you'll never find peace like this because this is supernatural peace. This is peace that can take on the worst tragedy. The worst reversal the worst train wreck in your life and can still give you peace through it all. This is peace. The Bible says that passes all understanding that surpasses all comprehension is supernatural peace and there is not one single situation in this world at this piece, Jesus is peace that he gives supernaturally to his followers, is enough to know my wife and I render the last five years have been living a train wreck in our family. We have a little girl is five years old and has a very serious uncontrolled seizure disorder. She is she's terribly retarded. We been through years of of test and hospital stays in and rescue squad visits to our home and and who knows what else I could tell you about.
I mean, you talk about a train wreck folks.
We have lived a five year train wreck in our family and yet I have to tell you something.
Even in the worst of the time even in the worst of the evenings in the middle of the night standing in the emergency room wherever I'm here to tell you that the peace of God was up to the peace of God was there. I can't define it for you to conjugated forgot to put in the test tube for you. I can't weigh it on the scale for you, but I can tell you that there is not a train wreck you will ever face that the peace of God will be up to where you will stand there and say look at this mass, I ought to be so depressed. I'm ready to jump off a building, but somehow I've got peace and an on-call and it's gotta be God. This is the peace God offers to give that you will never find in our world.
It's only available to people who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ but to them it's available in abundance. Fourth and finally, not only do we need meaning and purpose in life. Not only do we need power over our passions. Not only do we need peace of mind, but finally we need an assurance of immortality. We need to know what's gonna happen to us on the other side of the great, the saddest funeral I ever attended and I do some funeral with the funeral of my grandmother I cheer Jesus Christ a number of times of my grandmother. She of course was Jewish like I am with my grandfather as well and to the best of my knowledge neither one of them had ever responded when my grandmother died we were there at the funeral service.
We were sitting, you know, at the graveside. My grandfather was sit in the you know the little green chairs they have out there in the middle of the service he jumps up is a 75-year-old man. He leaps up any runs and leaves on top of this casket, he straddles it laying on his stomach, grabbing the side and he began to weep and to wail and make noises like I've never heard any human being make him our life. I stood there totally paralyzed. I'm not enough. I was supposed to do anything and if I was I had no idea what to do later on I thought about that made such an impression on me and I thought what was that what I just see it occurred to me folks what I just saw is the absolute bankruptcy the absolute despair that comes to people who have no idea what what the other side of the grave holds my grandfather did not know where my grandmother was heated know if you ever see her again. He didn't know what it happened to her and he didn't know what was going to happen to him and he was in total despair.
It was eerie folks God has some so much better than that for you. Yes he does he want you to know certain that you have eternal life skill or the word agnostic came from word agnostic was coined, meaning that I'm not sure there's a God. I'm not sure about the Bible. Not sure about anything Christian was coined by fellow named Thomas Huxley, Thomas Huxley was a British philosopher who fell in with Darwin and all the Darwinian theories and began to doubt whether the Bible is true whether God really existed began to believe that on the other side of the grave. There was nothing but a blow you out, you gone like a candle and as he looks forward to his death he wrote these words he said and I quote he said when I think that within 15 years I will be as if I had never been the thought terrorizes me it terrifies me. He said I would rather exist even if it be in hell." I feel awful for this carport. Huxley I mean it in the answer to his terror was right in the Bible that he worked so hard to discredit any work so hard to undermine. Listen to what Jesus says in the Bible John chapter 11 verse 25. Maybe you'd like to turn there with John chapter 11 verse 25. Could Jesus Christ solve this man's terror of death. Sure he could look what he says. Verse 25 Jesus said I am the resurrection and the life of the person who believes in me shall go on living, even when that person dies here on earth friends. This is the promise that Jesus gives that when you leave this life. You don't have to be blown out like a candle you can know for certain that you're going to live forever with Jesus Christ. That's why he said John 336, the personal believes in me has eternal life. I want you to know that John chapter 10 Jesus that I know my she and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
He wants us to sheep you know that he wants us to face eternity with a confidence and an assurance not with the counterterror that my grandfather face did not with the counterterror the Thomas Huxley pasted. He wants us to face eternity with the kind of attitude that a fellow Christian brother named Dwight L.
Moody faced a like to read you how he faced eternity, and I quote he said someday you will read in the papers that Dwight L. Moody of East Northfield, Massachusetts, is dead dog you believe a word of it. He said at that moment I shall be more alive than I have ever been. I shall gone up higher. That is all out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal, a body, the death cannot touch a body that sin cannot taint I was born of the flesh in 1837. Moody said I was born of God's Spirit in 1855 that which is born of the flesh may die, but that which is born of God's spirit shall never die." Reference. That's how you want to face the grave with that kind of confidence in you can have that kind of confidence because Jesus Christ came to give you that kind of confidence in you get it in personal relationship with him or all of those promises he made about eternity become yours. You need that kind of confidence as you face the grave I needed where you going to get it.
The only place to get it is with Jesus Christ. So let's summarize what we learn number one we all need meaning and purpose to life. Number two. We all need power over the self-destructive passions that live inside of us. Number three. We all need peace of mind that can handle the worst train wreck and number four. We all need the assurance of immortality and I'm happy to announce to you that the reason why Jesus Christ came to earth was to give you and me and every human being alive. These four things and he will give it to us if we just give them a chance in our life at 21 years old when the man who led me to Christ challenge me to prove God to to open my life up and give God a chance to prove himself to me.
Let me tell you how I felt. Number one I was scared I was scared because I'm Jewish Jewish people don't do this, you understand what I'm saying I mean this was a huge risk. Second of all the me tell you how I felt I was skeptical cynical.
I thought Christianity give me a break man all these Christians in the world of Christianity was real world would be a different place. Contemporary, but there was one other feeling I had at that moment and that is that I was desperate. I was desperate. I looked everywhere. The world said to look and then some.
And I could not find these four things anywhere.
In fact, I was desperate enough that I said well in spite of my skepticism in spite of my fear, to give it a try anyway, folks, I was the best decision I've ever made in my life. 27 years ago and maybe you're here today in your little scared about this. What a decision the Christ might mean for you. You don't them understand maybe what he means you and maybe you're pretty skeptical you so the real question is, though, are you desperate enough that you're willing to give Jesus Christ a chance to prove himself real to you. That's a question let's bow our heads showing father, I want to thank you for many of us here have already made that decision will already enjoy these four things in our life as Christmas approaches remind us that you didn't come into the world so that we could go to the mall and buy present that you can come into the world so we could have Christmas trees and put presents under them, but that you came into the world because you loved her so much and you cared about us so much that you wanted us to have these four things that you knew we could look at the rest of our lives and we would never find in this world so Mayor's Christmas season.
As Christians be dominated by rejoicing. Lord in your love for us in your practical concern for us. We love you Lord for doing this for us were frankly not quite sure why you did is we know who we are, but we sure love you for doing it may be that sense of loving you be that sense of enjoying your love be the foundation of our Christmas season this year. We pray these things in Jesus day a man