09 Jun 2016

Xpress – Part 2A


Xpress - Part 2A

Recorded on 09 June 2016

Sermon Transcript

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Father, we do thank You for the privilege we have to wake up and know the great glory of You, our God and have the call in our lives to give You glory. Right now, Lord we want to say to You that it is our greatest intention, we are resolved to see after authentic glory this day and Lord we seek it not by performance, but we seek it by means of Your grace, what You done for us, not what we do for You and so we we do that search and as we do, we search according to truth and Lord we want to stay right on the line of truth that we might find that freedom that You intended us to enjoy. So Lord, we asked this day that glory, grace and truth may rule and dominate our thinking, our lives in full. We commit ourselves to You now, we pray that we might be able to make Your glory known, that we might be great ambassadors, use us as those that have been called of You and those of us that are here still trying to put together the Christian faith, understand salvation. God, show us Your great love on Calvary's cross. So we thank You, we pray all in the great Name of Christ our Savior, amen.

Alright, take your book 3, I've been meeting with John and John is finished book 2 now. I say John, you want to go to book 3, he says yeah, let's keep going. I remind them of the importance of reading a little bit of John every single day and between you and me, the reason that we want them to read John, a little every day is because of, one more time, don't forget that, God does the converting, using His tool the Bible, that's the, that's the power of the whole effort of what we are talking about, this whole principle of meeting this way, is based on what we think God's going to do through His Word.

Now in the light of that, we come to book 3. Now, I have been skipping the questions. We may come back and do the questions. I do have answers written in your manuals. There are some things that I would add if we have a few minutes. I may touch a few of those, those a little bit later, but I want to make sure we get through the main few pages of each book. This is what I call fodder, it's just some extra, some add-ons that can keep them interested, give them little bit more understanding, make him think, wow it's worth coming to meet with you, because, even if I don't have questions, I get some good insights that I would not have gotten otherwise.

So, we come to book 3, it's a very simple book. I have Willard said to John, John book 3 will be about as simple as book 2 was complicated, it's pretty straightforward. It's the story the most people have heard to some degree and that is that God gave His Son Jesus and through Him people find eternal life.  Well, why would we believe that Jesus is the Son of God? That's the big question. On what basis would we believe it?

Do you know it's interesting, these are some things I'll share with John. So, John isn't it interesting that in history, as we have history, even beyond the Bible. The question was not, particularly you see this in the Bible, the question was not did Jesus do miracles? That was not in debate. The debate was by whose power was He doing miracles? How did He do these miracles?

Of course, the miracle of all miracles is the resurrection, is the resurrection. Now in the United States, we're fairly big on the sport of basketball. Do you all have basketball here? Everybody knows basketball. Now imagine that I were to come to John as I'm speaking to John and say, John, I want you to know something about me that you would not know outside of me telling you and that is that I am the best basketball player, even right now in the history of mankind, there's no basketball player that can compare to me. We have men such as Lebron James, we have some incredible sports figures in the sport of basketball, we had Michael Jordan for many many years and I say to John, John do you know I could one on one beat either one of those guys, at their prime, right now? Well they look at me, John looks at me and he sees me as average height, at best, he sees that I do not look like a basketball player and I say, do you believe me? And he says, no I'm not going to believe you. I said, is there anyway you can believe me, anything I could do, anything I could do that would make you believe me outside of watching me beat them one on one. Is there anything that would make you believe that? John would say, no, nothing.

And I say, oh, yes there is. If I were to take a high-caliber pistol, I were to load it let you test fire, reload it and then I were to say to you, John, I am going to turn this pistol on myself and I'm going to pull the trigger and I'm going to fall down dead, you will call the coroner, whoever to come pronounce me dead. And sure enough they examined me, they say I'm dead, in the States at least, we have a death certificate, got death certificates here, Jeff, yeah. So the death certificate has to be signed,said, here's what I want you do, after I had died and they declared me dead and they signed the death certificate, at that moment I want you look at your phone. And I want you take your phone in hand and I like for you to follow for three minutes and on the very second of three minutes, I want you look down at me and what I'm going to do, is I'm going look up, open my eyes and I will say, hey John. Now, if I do that successfully, will you then believe me that I am the best basketball player in the world. John says, yep, it is the argument of the greater to the lesser, if I can do that, then this is not that big a deal.

Here comes Jesus saying by the way I'm God and oh I can forgive sins. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you aren't going to believe Me are you? No, no, no, no, no. What if three days after You see Me put to death, I rise from the dead and I appear to people living at that time, would You believe Me then? If it's fully documented that I did rise, that people did see Me, there's no doubt about it. Do you know, it's interesting that there were authors outside of the Scripture, who verify the resurrection of Jesus? One is a man, Flavius Josephus, who is held very highly revered in the historical world. He lived, appeared right after the time of Jesus and he was a Jewish man, but he was not one as most Jews didn't, who believe in Jesus, he did not follow Jesus.

But as a historian he did have to write and this is what he said. Now, there are a few little pieces of this, there are question as far as the wording in his this little piece apart but for the main issue, this statement is fairly consistent to say, this is what he said in history. This is the same author of War and Antiquities and so forth. So this is a very, very, very respected author. He says, this one thing I say about this man, Jesus, if you can call him a man that He lived, He died by means of Roman crucifixion and then He was raised from the dead and appeared to many, some of which are alive to this day. When you are a historian say, there people that can verify this today, that's a strong statement.  We have reason to believe that Jesus did rise from the dead, we don't have great sufficient reason to say, no, He didn't, even as the record of history shows. Particularly we find the Bible being a reputable book that it is accurate in other details, why would we not believe it's accurate in that detail.


You look at the disciples, here were the disciples that were fleeing from Jesus at His time of crucifixion, who were Peter himself, afraid to admit that he was one of the disciples. But as soon as He rises from the dead, there is a flip in those guys lives till now, they're willing to go to most of which is believed through history to face a martyr's death. Why would they do that? Because they knew Jesus had been raised from the dead.

So that's about all I usually will say at that point. It is a time that I will very often pull out my little tool, called my testimony and I'll say let me share my story with you John, and because nothing verifies the work of Jesus more than the story of your own life, right? So that's maybe a good time to share that story. At that point I'll say John, I want to just review in this book, the third of three statements. There are three statements that have been made - one that we must believe that we are sinners deserving eternal punishment, that's going to be in book 2. Book 3 is going to be, now that I believe Jesus paid for my sins, died on the cross that He alone can pay my penalty. See John those two things are absolutely necessary for someone to become a Christian. However, those two alone do not make you a Christian. There is a third requirement and that is to put your trust in Him. Now, I know you don't understand that one John, therefore I would like to give you book number 4 and in book number 4 you're going to see that explained very, very clearly, how you would put your trust in Him. We'll discuss that okay. But I want us to go to book 4 next week.

However, before we do that, let's walk through some of these questions in John and then I'll pick some of those questions that are in the margin, we will talk about them as I will probably model for you a little bit later if time permits.

But that's simply how week number three goes, it's very, very simple. Now I'm ready to give him book number 4. When I hand him book number 4, I explain to him that, in this book, if you take your book number 4 in hand, if you look at the very end, page five of the first few pages, in book number 4, you are going to see a prayer that is in very bold print, so turn to page 5 with me.


At this point, I'm to show him this prayer and I'm going to explain this prayer to him. But at this point I'm going to hold off in telling you what I tell him about this prayer. I want to hold that just for a minute, but I say John this is I'll refer to this is as a ceremony and I'll say this is a ceremonial prayer, that many, many Christians have used through many years to kind of express their desire to come into relationship with God.

As you read this booklet and you may come to the place that you say that expresses the desire of your heart. I want to encourage you to use that little prayer. Now you may not be ready. Now I am evaluating this person and John, I may at this point say, John's a long way from ready to surrender to Christ and I'll say this is the type of prayer that someone would pray, when they are ready and desirous to become a Christian, you want to read this.

So if you're not ready now, in the future you will know where to go to be able to express, you know adequate help in how to express yourself before the Lord. So keep this as a very valuable tool for the future. If I see them coming close and I see their hearts are warming to the things of God, I see them embracing at their center, that Jesus is who He claimed to be, then I'm going to say John, I want to give you a little challenge, we'll call a little homework assignment okay?


That is, I want to, I want you to pray all week long and I'll pray for you, that you would be able to make this your prayer, God has to give you that ability. So why don't you ask him to prepare your heart that you would be able to make this your expression to the Lord and it's just a goal and if we don't hit that goal, that's perfectly fine. That way when I meet with them the following week I can actually ask him, tell me about this goal, how did it come, did you so forth.


Now hold that though for a minute when I have a Q&A you can ask if this is unclear, but let's hold on that just a minute. Let's assume now I've come to meet with John and I might say to John, John well no, before I do that, I'm going to do this, I'm going to show you a I, I use what I call the cloud of doubt. I think you'll find it in your your book 3, cloud of doubt. This will be an effective little tool for you to use. When I get to book 3, at the end of book 3 and as I hand him book 4 and show him that little prayer, at that point, this is what I'm going to say. I'm going to say as you look at life, we're moving through life in this direction, a person, when a person becomes a Christian, has to cross a line and I put a line right there. I say that means that this person is a non-Christian. But when they cross over this line, they actually become a Christian. And John, I want you understand that there is what is called a cloud of doubt, that is very normal, around that passage point of becoming a Christian. It literally is a cloud of doubt, I'm not really sure. There are four stations ,that a person can be at, they can be one, two, three or four. Now John, this is someone who knows they're not a Christian, there's no doubt. They're not across this line, they know they're not across this line.

This person here at station number four, is across the line and there's no doubt, they know they've become a Christian. John this is where I am today. I was not always here but that's where I am today. I not sure where you are, but John, it's possible that a person can be in two or three, two means they're not yet a Christian but they're not sure if they are or if they're not, they're not really sure. But in reality, if we can see from God's perspective, they're not really a Christian.

This person is a real Christian, but they're so young in the faith and immature that they have not really come to the place to be so confident to be at number four, but they say I not really sure if I'm a Christian or not, but they actually are.


Do you know what's interesting you could be at point number, think you're point number two and actually could be at three and be a real Christian or you could be thinking, I think I am a Christian and you really not be a Christian. I will talk more about that in a few minutes. But the important thing is this is a cloud of doubt, you're not really sure.


John, here's what I'd like for you to do this week. I'd like you to evaluate where you are or where you were, when we started meeting. Were you 1,2, 3 or 4? I will give him all options, just where were we when we first started meeting and if it's changed where are you now.

That way when I come back in week number 4, it's very simple, it doesn't feel awkward to broach the subject matter of have you become a Christian. So what I say is this, I say when you come to where you were, where did you place this John, where did you place yourself? And John might say, well I was at number 1, very good and has that changed, are you still at number 1?  No I think I'm, I maybe at 2,  okay. They may say I was at 2. I think I'm at 3, they may say I was at 1, I, I believe I'm at 4, I really am convinced, I mean, I could put, it could be any answer at all.

That's going to help me understand where they think they are, are you with me? It doesn't mean that's where they are, but it gives me a great handle on that. Then I can say when it comes this little ceremonial prayer, have you prayed that before? Did you do that about this week? Tell me what's going on in your experience and that way we're really now talking about real conversion, it's a very excellent conversation to have.


Now as we get into book 4, I will then say to him there are a few things here, I think very important for you to, to understand about this fourth book. First of all, let me, first of all, I might review, take your book and open it up to, open it up to page, page number one. The third of three required statements. John, I mentioned this to you last week, if you did, then I'd say, see in the bold print there it says we must be able to tell God that we are sinners deserving eternal punishment. Then we must be able to tell God that we believe Jesus Christ paid our penalty by His death on the cross. But look down to the bold at the third statement. Now we must be able to tell God we are willing to surrender our lives to Christ by receiving Him as Lord and Savior.

John you read that about faith because the two things I am going to be hitting during this meeting, is faith and repentance, faith and repentance. I want to say John, what about faith, what do you think about that? Well that was interesting, that was helpful, I understood, whatever they may say. Now, I'm going to say a few things about faith. So John let me explain faith, it's it's maybe best put this way.

It's like a the story, whether true or false, I do not know but the story is told of these great falls in upper New York, they are called Niagara Falls in the United States. And the story is that there was a man who was a tightrope walker who would go across the chasm there. As he would walk across, some of you may have heard this story as he walked across the crowds would come and gather and applaud and so forth. And as they were doing so and throwing money in the hat so to speak, and as they were doing that he said, now how many of you believe that I could replace my balancing beam and he points over to a wheelbarrow, that I could go use that wheelbarrow and all hands go up, everybody believed.

So he says alright, let's do it, so he takes wheelbarrow, he goes across, he comes back, everybody applauds. He says now, here is the big question, how many of you believe that I could put someone in the wheelbarrow, go across and come back. All hands go up, he points to the man that raise his hands and said, sir, you raised your hand, come get in the wheelbarrow, he goes, I ain't getting in that wheelbarrow, no way, I'm not going  to do that. But, but sir, I thought you said you believe and he says, oh, I believe as he points to his head, but I don't believe, as he points to his heart.

You see this is acceptance, that it can happen, this here is trust. I put my own trust in that happening, do you understand John, that's what faith is. Faith is putting your trust in Him alone.

Now how do you know, John if you really have put true trust in Him. You know how you can tell? Look at the next page John, as he turns the page, you start saying repentance on page 3, that's an integral part of true faith and it results it says, in a changed life, that's how you know repentance.

John let me explain repentance and I like to use this little story. Repentance is like walking on a road, I'm walking in life going this direction and I feel pretty good about my life, with God I feel pretty good. Now I haven't realized that the signage of this road says, living life to one's own glory but that's the way I'm living. But the reason I feel good about that is I'm in the right lane, not the wrong lane. I'm in the right lane because my lane are for people who are religious and moral and I happen to be a "Christian belief" person and I'm moral, so I believe in Christianity and I'm moral, so I really feel good about where I'm going in life.

What I don't realize is, is well there are people who are in this left lane that I don't feel so good about, who are immoral and they're irreligious and they're moving in the same direction because their signage says the same, same thing, living life to the glory of self. You see, John did you know that you can actually live a very moral, religious life for the wrong reasons? And that's taken us in the wrong direction, it leads to eternal destiny.


But what God does by His grace, remember John, grace is God giving us what we don't deserve, is that we're moving along this road, God does something very mysterious. We can't even explain it fully. He transports us, can't even explain it, by the way, Christian, we talk about our salvation being a mystery, it is a mystery, Christ in us, it's a mystery.

But it's real and what happens is, we find ourselves transported and we now are on a different road and we are moving in a different direction. Now, my back is to that direction and I face in this direction and the signage says, living life to the glory of God. Now, some of us on this road are moving pretty rapidly. Some of us, are moving very, very, very slowly, but we are all moving the same direction and we all from time to time, is we are moving, do this, (he walks backwards) uh-oh, uh-oh. We keep going and then we go a little further and uh-oh, uh-oh (he walks backwards).

But see, there are people particularly, in the Roman Catholic Church, which we have a lot of Roman Catholics where we live, do you have a lot of Roman Catholics here? I see, some yes, some no, well in any case, they have been taught that in a thing called penance, it's not repentance, it's penance. Penance is if, I take a step and another and I take enough steps, then I'm going to be accepted by God. We don't want to believe that, we have been accepted by God, John and that's why were moving in this direction, very important to know that. He has already done it. Do you know the word repentance, I might say to John, John do you know the word is made up of two things, the word repentance is in the original language meta, noia. Noia, is the verb form of the word, news, which which means mind. Meta, we use the word metamorphosis, change, it's change of mind.


The way we know that we've have true faith in Jesus, see faith is turning this way, how do we know, because we have repented, turning away from that way. I have people often tell me oh, I came to faith when I was 12, but I didn't repent until I was 24. I say, I don't think that's true. I think in order to have faith, you gotta repent, you can't be looking both ways, you and good news, John, once you get on this road and literally you are on this road, guess what, you can never do this (he turns around), you can do this (walks backwards a few steps) but you can never do this (turn around), you can never lose your salvation, that's the great news, John.

Now, how do we know if we really had faith and repentance and look what it says next - result of a changed life. Once there's fruit in your life, that's how you know that you truly are a Christian.

Now, having shared those two things with John, I want to go back to that little prayer. And I would say John, if I think he's prayed that prayer or if I will prepare him for later, I say, let's go back to that bold prayer. At this time I'll say to John, did you pray that prayer? He says, he did, great. If he says he didn't, that's okay too, but I say, I want to tell you something that most Christians don't realize about this prayer.

This is one of the most misleading suggestions, please pray this prayer. It's one most misleading aspects of the Christian life, I do believe. And the reason is because many have been trained, as I was, to think this way and to explain it this way.

John, did you pray this prayer? Hopefully; he's going to say, yes I did. If he said yes, I did, then I was trained to say, then where is, oh, were you sincere? That's the next question, were you sincere and you want to hear, yes I was. Then you asked, then where is Jesus right now? And you want to hear them say what, in my heart. Then you should say it back, now you need to know John, that He will never leave you nor forsake you, you are His forever.


Now Jesus came along, in Matthew 7 and He said this, "Many who come to me on that day and say Lord, Lord will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, did we not cast out demons in your name, did we not perform many miracles in your name" And his response, he says, "I will say to them on that day, I never knew you, you who practice lawlessness."

Well, that's interesting. They prophesied in His Name, they cast out demons, they performed many miracles, that seems a little bit beyond, praying this prayer, doesn't it. Hmm, so here's what I will maybe throw you for just a minute, but if you hang on with me, I think you'll see what I'm saying. Hear this, theologically correct, you can make this statement. A person can sincerely invite Jesus to come into their heart and Him never come into your heart. A lot of people (cannot make out the next few words)  I thought if you sincerely invite Jesus heart, He comes into your heart. Well that's an interesting word, sincerely that we use, okay, was I sincere. Well the reality is this, it is very, very possible that someone might really be absolutely convinced of their sincerity and in their mind, they are really sincere, they mean what they say and they prayed that prayer, but they don't become a Christian.

Here, let me explain. Imagine Carol and me, this is not our story but we did date for number of years before we got married. But, let's assume that we had dated for a number of years and so now we're out of school and we have the financial ability to be married, we have our parents approval in marriage and but we are not even talking marriage. So Carol says to me Randy, we have been dating for a long time, do you ever see us getting married? And I say, oh, I certainly hope so, I would want to marry no other, none other than you. I would say yes, I truly think so and she says well, you know, I'm curious as to why not soon instead of no talk about it whatsoever. And I said, well, I'm just not interested in getting married anytime soon. I think it be a number of years down the road. She says, why is that? And I said, well, it's not because I don't truly love and enjoy you, don't get me wrong, but we do have an open policy that we can if we want to, we can date other people. And I like, every once a while I like going out, to spend a little time with, with Sue, and I like to spend a little time with Peggy and I pick out a couple of names, you know and said you know there's nothing, you know, romantic there, but I just enjoy that. So I just don't really desire to get married, you have that same privilege of freedom if you want. She says okay.

Next night I happen to be with Carol and I say Carol, I got a question for you. Okay what's that? Will you marry me? She says, you want to get married? I would, last night, I said I know, you got me thinking last night and I'm crazy for not marrying you. Why wouldn't I marry you, I'm ready to marry you now and just kind of an afterthought, she says oh yeah, no more Sue and no more Peggy and I say oh, no, no, no, no, I will keep dating them after we get married. I'm going to keep seeing them and dating just like I have been, but I want to marry you.

She says, what in the world are you thinking? You're not sincere. I said, oh I'm very sincere, I am sincere as I can be, that I want a marriage to you, I want that marriage. She says, why do you want that marriage, if you going to still date? And I said, oh, well because you don't know this, but their cooking is terrible...uggh and the way they clean their apartment is nasty and you cook so well and you clean so well, why wouldn't I want to marry you. Now, what she would do, is not only say no, but she would slap me across the face and she says, there's no way I'm marrying you, big boy.


Well think about our God, who says you shall have no other gods before Me. Oh, I sincerely want You Jesus and I want more than anything to go to heaven and I want salvation and I'm sincere, I want it so badly, but I'm going to keep dating my other gods, it's not even my intention to stop. And so what many of us do is we walk down the aisle for conversion, for the marriage with Jesus and we don't even notice that Jesus is not there, when we take our vows. So we pray our little prayer, while Jesus is not there to be met, to be married.

I like to think of it this way, let me take a, well, let's just say that I'm, I'm talking to John and I'll say, I say John, when you met your wife, how to do this, let me think,  I'm going to use Paul, okay, I'm going to use Paul instead, okay. So Paul, I'll just do it with you right here, when you met your now wife, obviously as attractive as she is, I know you were attracted to her, but at that very moment when you said, hello and you met one another, would you say, you truly loved her at that moment? (Paul: Yep) (loud laughter) You are the first person in history that I've ever done this, to say that. Were you infatuated or were you truly in love? (Paul: infatuated) Okay, thank you.

Play along with me okay, I would like for your flock to understand something here. Oh boy, so, okay, so you say no, you did not love her then. Now, I am going to give you permission to lie if necessary, right now. Do you love her now? (Paul: Yup) Okay, he says yes but he may be lying, we don't know, okay (loud laughter). Okay, so yes, he loves her now. He didn't love her when he said hello, but he loves her now.

Now can you tell me, Paul, the hour of the day and the time of that hour when the very minute you moved from not loving her to loving her. No way, there is nobody,  nobody can do that, no, I don't know. But I can know, I can be assured of this, were you convinced you loved her when you went to the marriage ceremony? Yes, but remember this, the marriage ceremony did not create the love.  It was because of being in love that they say let's go to the ceremony.


Now that's why I say, John I want you look this prayer as a ceremony, ceremonies don't make us married, in the truest sense, doesn't make us in love and in God's economy it's, it really is a love relationship, not just going to a technical marriage ceremony and so that's what I want you to focus on as a love relationship, how do you know we are in love. Well, because when you really love someone, you do what's best and so you marry them and you look at other girls and you go uh,uh, uh, uh, that's not my intention now, I want to focus on you, that is true love.


And so, in light of that, here's what I think going to happen. I think you and I as Christians are going to die, stand before the Lord and we may have this kind discussion. Lord, thank You, so much that on August 14, 2000 and whatever, at that moment that I came to know You, Lord, thank You, thank You, thank You and the Lord may look and say, oh you know what, it wasn't August the 14th, it was actually the previous June the ninth. June the ninth, I don't recall what happened June the ninth. Ooh, your heart burst open in love ,you won't even have realized, but you, you move from darkness to light. That's when I penetrated your heart and you're in love and you have the ceremony, oh, a number of weeks later and it was a precious ceremony to Me, I love that ceremony, but you fell in love, you became mine then.

Or the Lord may say, you know what it was not, August 14, it was the following October, the first. October the first, I don't recall, no, you know what happened, you, you prayed your little prayer, your ceremony was a little premature. You actually went to the ceremony without really loving Me. But you know in the follow-up process, I put people around you to push you into the Word of God and you begin to see more of who I am and guess what happened, your heart exploded in love relationship on October the first. You weren't even aware, that, that was the moment you crossed the line and it doesn't matter. The point is that you're mine, that's what matters. So we don't need to put so much stock in when we prayed a prayer.

Let me close this point by using an illustration of my youngest son. My youngest son is named David, we have two boys and two girls, oldest and youngest were boys and David is a big old scrappy boy about six two, your really, kind of a guy's guy, type of guy and he and I have always been very, very, very close and we have a good love relationship and he always wanted to go out and have breakfast with me, one morning a week and we would spend about 10 minutes just talking about biblical truth, we go through a little book of the Bible, little bit, few verses or something, have a few minutes of prayer, he always wanted to do it.

But now as he was getting into his middle of his high school years, Carol and I noted that there seem to be a real coolness of faith, that there wasn't any life, there wasn't any joy, there wasn't any stamina and it made us really question whether he was really a Christian. Whether he was kinda just going through what he had been trained to do and be. And now he's becoming his own man and he is kinda letting that drift away. Now he was still very open to that, he was a very sweet son, couldn't ask for a better child and all that kind of thing, good moral kid for all practical purposes and so we were sitting there, praying, or talking together about to pray.

He says dad, you need to really be praying for me. I said, but I pray for you all the time, every day. He said no, dad, I mean you need to really be praying for me. I said, what do you mean really praying for you. He said, dad I'm doing pretty bad stuff. So like what ? Well, dad, I'm getting drunk a lot. What? You're drinking, you're getting drunk ? Yes, in fact dad, I've had alcohol poisoning, a number of times for my friends thought, if they don't get to the hospital, which I wouldn't allow, that they thought I would die during the night. I really been abusing alcohol.

Really? Then he said, besides that dad, I've been doing everything bad with girls you can do, I mean, I'm just, you know I kinda let my morals go, in terms other girls, you know, been with women and, and you know, I said really? Really? And he said dad.., I said, No, no that's enough I don't hear anymore, that I got a picture.

So let me ask you a question buddy. What's going on? He said, I'll tell you what's going on dad, he said, I don't want God. I said, you don't want God? He said, now don't get me wrong, hear what I'm saying. No, I do not want God, but the reason I want you to pray, to pray for me is I want to want God because I know God is real and I know where I'm going, where it's gonna take me, I know the consequences and I don't want that. But frankly, right now, I'm loving life and parties and all the things that I enjoy and I just don't want God, but I want to want Him. That's my desire, I want to want Him.


I said, let me ask you a question David, are you a Christian? Oh, let me tell you, that was an offensive question to him, his body rise up and he said, what, am I a Christian? Dad, you know I'm a Christian. I said, oh, I do know you are Christian? How do I know you are a Christian? Better question, how do you know you are a Christian? You know what his answer was, broke my heart. He said dad it's because I remember when I was (and he named an age and who he was with and where he was) and I prayed to receive Jesus and I know I was sincere. I didn't say a word in response, but I did make a noise.

I looked straight at him and I went..did this and went..Aaaaaay. What's that? I said ooh, it's the buzzer. It means you got the wrong answer. He said, what do you mean? I said do you know there's nowhere the Bible, David that goes back to the past to determine whether you are a Christian? It is always in the present that we know we are Christian. It always has to do with fruit, in one's life and I'm just saying, I don't see fruit in your life. You know, I just don't see fruit and consequently you're not talking about the present, you're talking about the past, which has no merit in the Bible, and therefore, I don't, I don't really think you are a Christian. And he said, well dad, I am.  That's your business between you and God, I can't read your heart but I'm to saying from what I see, I wouldn't, I wouldn't know why I would think you are Christian.  Well, I am.  Okay.

Well he goes about three years or so, he's in college and it's Christmas time. He comes in to me one night, he says, hey dad, you were right and I said, I was right, what about? You know when you told me that I wasn't a Christian and I disagreed, yah, he said you are right, I wasn't a Christian. I said, how you know that, he said, because I have become a Christian. I have just now truly become a Christian and I now know the difference of when you truly are a Christian.

So you want to make sure that your friends that you are meeting with, are not misled by your enthusiasm, for their salvation and that we begin to give them assurance that only God can give them. We can't assure them of their salvation, God assures them of their salvation. Does that make sense to you? Okay, very good.

Let's a, let me hit one other quick thing here and then I think were going to take our break, okay, give me just a second. I want to say a word about follow up. We want to follow up the people, who that we have, have met with and one of the things that I find very important to do, is to initially talk to them a little bit about if they think they become a Christian, they say I,I think I'm at number 4, I'm, I'm doing well, so forth. I simply want to say, there are a few things that you really need to know. You need to know some of God's promises and I'll read through a few of the promises, I think these are in your notebook, in your books, but I will say something like the Spirit of God will have come in your life, when truly a Christian, you've become a child of God when you become a Christian, you can never be separated from God once you are a true Christian, God will never leave you once you are true Christian, Christ has forgiven all your sins once you're a Christian, you have certainty of eternal life. I just want introduce to them a few those thoughts and they are just things that we all know, but I would just have a few things, I want to say, these are the things that are true once someone really truly becomes a Christian. But I'll say to him, John, let me ask you, you just told me that you were here (pointing to 1) and now you come to here (2) or here (3), and here here, where, wherever you are, if they made progress, I'll say, John, you've made progress in your own words, your own estimation.

Now, why do you think over these few weeks, that, that much changed in you in your spiritual pilgrimage? And you know what they are going to say, and it will have something do with coming and meeting with you, reading these booklets, going through the stuff. I said, isn't that interesting. It's actually by being with someone, getting in the Bible, that you made progress. John, I would assume now that you come from 1 to 2 or where 2, 3 whatever, I would assume now that you would like to move to the next level and even if you're at number 4, this thing stretches on forever. I'm really talking to them about follow-up now, what we call follow up and I say, you know, I think the reason that you have seen life changes is because you been exposed on a regular basis to God's people, me and to God's Word and I would suggest that would be what you will need to move on further.

John, I would be happy to help you do that, if you're interested. Now, we have four other little booklets that I've written that, that are I think very important, they are just mirror images to the four books you have seen, you can get these on but the the first one, they are called Next Steps and you look under Next Steps from Amazon and says, next steps in your spiritual journey; Number one - How can I experience Christian community? Number two - How can I know I'm a Christian? Number three - How can I grow as a Christian? And number four - How can I be empowered as a Christian? I think those are four critical truths that people need to learn in their early faith. So I like to walk through this about 6 pages, 5 or 6 pages that answer the question, then I have two chapters of the book of Romans, in each booklet. Chapters 1 through 8 when you finish these. I am of the convince, of the conviction that the first eight books of Romans, the chapters of Romans, are the most primary important teachings for the Christian you can ever get. So important and I'll say John, there are two chapters of, of Romans and there'll be little same thing, little questions, in the margin that you can look to find the answers and I want to encourage you, if you're interested to do this, to take these booklets and let's keep going for a few weeks. Let's just make sure this is really solid and good and you learn some of these new things, but I want you to know, I think the book of Romans, one through eight is the third hardest portion of the New Testament. I put Revelation, Hebrews ahead of these as far as challenging in terms of a young Christian reading.

However as difficult as it may be, it will be better for you to read that, but you will understand, Romans one through eight will be far better than anything else I can give you to read right now. And so I want us to concentrate over the next few weeks in Romans one through eight, would you be interested in doing that? If he says, yes, I go good. Let's do it and I'm going to carry him on a while, so that I can make sure that he's really been grounded and that he is doing okay and it's during that time I can make sure he gets involved in church, I might get him in a small group. I might, whatever I choose to do, I want to help him afterwards because I realize this, he may not yet be a real Christian and he may become a Christian in the next two or three weeks and he won't even know the difference. Make sense? So I want you to be aware of the, the next step booklets.

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