There are different ways of knowing. We can know "that," and have an understanding of something; we can know "how," and experience something; and we can know "personally," and have a relationship with someone. In John 17:1-5 we will dissect a portion of Jesus' prayer to His Father, before being handed over to crucifixion. In this passage we learn that Jesus' suffering and death would reveal the glory, or character of His Father, and that through His death and resurrection, we can know God. Knowing God is intimate and personal, and by studying what it is to know God, we'll understand that eternal life comes from being in relationship with the only true God.
Calvary Albuquerque is regularly host to special guest speakers. This series includes messages from many great Bible teachers including; Pancho Juarez, Mike Finizio, Don McClure, Bill Welch and others. These messages can be purchased as CDs from our online store, or by calling 1-800-922-1888.
Jesus said His whole purpose in coming to earth was to proclaim truth.
His entire mission was to provide eternal life for those who would follow Him.
Eternal life is not something for the afterlife—it begins today.
Do you personally know God? If not, why not begin that relationship today?
Well, good morning! It's a treat to be with you. They tell us Skip is in Israel but as I look at that video it looks pretty fake to me. I think he might be in Hawaii for the weekend. Hey, it's good to be back. Skip said this church and his family has been friends of ours for a long time since the joy to kind of feel apart of the Calvary Albaquerque family, so thank you for having me back…
I'm guessing that you are like me in the sense that you like a good story that's why I love movies. Well, there is a well known actor today, one of the most successful actors of our day. You're probably familiar with him by the name of Shia Labeouf. You might remember him from the recent Indiana Jones movies, from all the transformer movies that have made billions of dollars worldwide. Well, there is another side of the life of Shia that most people might not know. He was interviewed in Pray magazine not too long ago when he started off and they quote and he said, "Sometimes I feel like I'm living a meaningless life and I get frightened." He says, "I know I'm one of the luckiest dudes in America," that's his word not mine even though I'm from California. He says, "But it could all go away in just a minute." And then he said, "I don't handle fame well."
Most actors on most days don't think they are worthy. I have no idea where this insecurity comes from but it's a God-sized hole. Then he says, "If I knew I had to feel it, I would and I'd be on my way." And then there's actor who has everything the world we live in says you're supposed to have a meaningful life. When he is feeling insecure, he will take his motorcycle, go park it on the side of the road, stand there and take off his helmet just hoping that people will recognize him and wave. Isn't that sad? It kind of reminds me that song by U2 one of the most famous songs, it says, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for." There is something in the human heart that is seeking something that cannot be fulfilled just in this world alone.
We are going to look at the words of somebody this morning who had the boldness to speak that he understood exactly what this life is all about, and exactly how to have eternal life and a meaningful life and he wrote those words 2000 years ago. Any guesses who that person might be? Okay. Like two of you got it. That's one more than the first service. I teach to a Christian high school. I tell my students, I go, "Look, if you don't know the answer on a test, just write Jesus and you'll get it right half the time."
So we're going to look at the words of Jesus. If you have your Bibles, open it to John Chapter 17. If you can't find it, it's right after Chapter 16. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, John. You're chuckling, that's good. That tells me read skips new book on how to read the Bible. All right, John Chapter 17, let's look at the little context before we read the passage. Jesus has been traveling with His disciple somewhere between two and three years. They've seen Him heal. They've listened to His teachings. They've walked with Him day and night. And then now, He's just had to Passover meal with them. He just washed their feet and now He's speaking His final words to them. These are pretty important words, aren't they? It's like He is summarizing what He has been teaching them for the past couple of years. John Chapter 17 Verse 1 says, "Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come." As if Jesus is saying, "My whole life has been building. The hour is finally here."
Have you ever felt like your whole life comes down to the moment that's before you? There are a lot of people who are going to feel that way this summer competing in the Olympics. Train their whole life and then that moment when the gun comes off and the race begins, their whole life is defined. Well, that's kind of what Jesus is saying. He is praying to God and He is saying, "Father, the hour has come." And as I said earlier it's His last full conversation with his disciples before He dies.
Now if you are about to die and you are with those you love, your family, your friends, what would you say? What words would you speak? I'm guessing you'd speak the words that are most important that you want them to remember you about. Well, these are those words for Jesus and it's actually a prayer.
You see Jesus. When we ask, "What's the Lord's Prayer?" People often say, "The prayer about hallowed be thy name, give us this day our daily bread." Well, this is actually a prayer Jesus gives, really his final prayer. So in a sense, this is the real Lord's Prayer. "John 17" he continues. He says, "Glorify your son so the son may glorify you. For you gave him authority over all flesh so he may give eternal life to all you have given him." Now have you ever gotten up and walked down into the kitchen and got there and stop and thought, "Why am I here?" If you're going out to the garage to get something you get there and you look around you think, "I have no idea what I'm looking for."
Well, Jesus was human so imagine sometimes you went to the shed and was like, "Ah, what tool am I looking for," and went back and had to get reminded. That might have happened. But when it came to the mission why he was here, Jesus did not forget that. He knew exactly why he was here. He was born for this and his whole life is been building and culminating to this moment. What is it? He says, "Glorify me so I may glorify you," speaking with the father. Now the question is when they read about that, what does he mean to glorify?
When we hear glorify, we tend to think -- if you glorify something, you make it great and you hold it up and you say how worthy it is. Well that's not what I think Jesus means in this passage. What glorify actually means is to reveal something his true design and his true nature. So if you glorify something, you show its real character so people can grasp what it actually is. So if you think about a peach tree, what would glorify peach tree? A peach wood, a beautiful peach shows the true nature and the true design of what that peach tree is meant to do.
Well at this moment, Jesus is speaking to God. He is saying, "Glorify me so I may glorify you." In other words through His death and through His suffering, Jesus would reveal to the world His character and the character of God the Father. So Jesus is praying for strength so He might show the world the character of the suffering God. But then He continues, in verse three it says, "This is eternal life." It's almost like Jesus talking and He sums up and He stops and He says, "This is eternal life, that they may know you." This is eternal that they may know you. Now I'm a philosopher. I studied philosophy in graduate school, so when I hear this, I think that they may know you. What does it mean by the word "know?" So the philosopher I want to understand -- philosophers break words down.
By the way, do you know what a philosophy major and a large pizza have in common? Neither can feed a family of five. I wish I knew that before I studied philosophy. Now when Jesus says, "This is eternal life that they may know you." There are actually three senses in which we use the word "know." One sense of the word "know" is knowing that, which is understanding something. So I know that two plus two equals four. I know that George Washington is the first president of the United States. I know that if I hold this book up and drop it because of Law of Gravity, it will fall down towards the larger object of the earth. These are truths that I understand in my mind.
Now the question is when Jesus said, "This is eternal life that they may know you," is Jesus saying eternal life is about having correct beliefs about God? Is that what Jesus means? You know what's ironic about this? Is there is a group of persons so to speak or beings in the New Testament that have perfect theology but could not be further away from God.
In James 2:19 it says this, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder." Friends, demons have good theology but their hearts are far from God. When Jesus said, "Eternal life is knowing God," he doesn't mean just having all your theological docs in a row. Now look, I teach theology. It's creditably important for us to understand theology. What does it mean that God is a trinity? What does it mean salvation by grace? What about the end times? But sometimes we confuse having correct theology and knowing truths with knowing God and they are very different things.
What else could we mean by the word "know?" One sense is knowing truth but another one is, have you ever thought about we use the term we'll say, "Do you how to ride a bike?"
There is a sense where we use the word "know" which is know how. You don't learn how to ride a bike by studying physics and weight and learning how mass and speed and all of that. That doesn't help. You have to get out there and just do it. You have to experience it. There's kind of a knowledge that comes from experience. In fact I'm guessing all of you ask the same question. I ask my mom when I was younger, "Mom, how will I know when I'm in love?" I'm guessing your moms gave you the exact same answer she gave me, which is what? "You'll just know," and we all give the same response, "That doesn't help." But all of a sudden when you find someone you have a soul connection with and you care about deeply, you go, "Oh now, I get it."
You see, is this what Jesus meant by knowing God? Is it kind of an experience that we have in this intuitive awareness of the divine? By the way, this is actually what it means to know God that's taught at the largest church in America, the church of Oprah. And she does teach this theology, she teaches new age theology that God is a spirit that you tap into and you connect with an energy force like the movie Star Wars or the movie Avatar.
Now look, we better have true beliefs about God and we do experience God in a personal way, but I don't think this plumbs the depths of what Jesus meant by knowing God. There is another sense in which we use the term "know." It's not knowing fact. It's not knowing how to do something. It's knowing someone personally. It's a knowledge that comes from being in relationship with someone. When I say, "I know my wife," I don't mean I can tell you truths about her. I mean, there is a depth of a relationship there with a human being, a person. You know what some of the older translations in the Bible, they would say things like Abraham knew his wife Sarah. Now they were talking about sex. But why did they say he knew her? Because although the culture we live in says that sex is just about the physical. In reality, it was designed to involve the emotions, the spirit, the body, the soul. It's the closest you can get to somebody and there is a sense of intimacy. It's knowing somebody.
Now obviously, Jesus isn't talking about sex but what's He talking about? He is talking about knowing somebody intimately and personally in a relationship. When He talks about knowing God, yes we better have truth, yes we experience God but God is a being that we can know in a personal way. You see the shocking claim of Christianity is that the eternal creator of the universe who spoke us into existence has taken on human flesh, so we can know Him in a personal way. If you don't get goose umps when you kind of think about that then you might miss it, that the God of universe took on flesh so we can know and relate to Him.
How shocking this is, something happened to me a of couple weeks ago that became clear. I do teach high school and I got tired of my high school students graduating and many of them walking about from their faith. They go to the university. Do you know there are two to three times as many atheists and agnostics in the university than in the public as a whole? And then they even pick on students go after the Bible, historical Jesus after creation and I got together the buddy, I said, "We've got to do something about this before our students get to the university." I said, "Let's find a way to have them experience that challenge ahead of time, so let's bring in the most godliest, secular people we can to speak to our students and show our students that they can stand up for the truth."
Over the past few years, I've been taking my students on trips to Berkley. It's awesome because we bring an atheist and the students learn to like, "We can really defend our faith." I say, "We can because it's true." Well this year, we did something different. This year we decided to go to a city in America that has over one million of the largest unreached people group in the world. It's Muslims. We went to reach out to Muslims, why? Because God loves Muslims and He cares deeply for the Muslim people. We visited mosques. We went and gotten conversations with the Muslims. We brought in Muslims to speak to our group and met with Christian missionaries. And my son who is eight went up to this restaurant that had Arabic writing everywhere. He walked up and I said, "Hey, my name is Sean. I'm a teacher. This is my son Scotty." We're looking for some Muslims who'd be willing to have some conversations and answers some questions.
Well as we are standing there, there were three of them sitting out front in the restaurant and one guy goes, "Oh, perfect!" He goes, "Don't talk to him. He is a bad Muslim. Talk to Ahmad. He is a good Muslim." I was like, "All right, I will talk to Ahmad."
So we sat down in conversation. It became so clear to me the different ways in which Muslims and Christians see God. Because if you talk to Muslim, often they'll say, "Oh, we worship the same God." And I always respond by saying, "Really? You believe Jesus is God?" And of course they'll say, "No, I don't believe Jesus is God." "Why?" "Because the Muslim God is distant, he is transcendent, he is outside of us." In fact, if you believe that God has taken on human flesh and has a son, you have committed the worst sin on Islam. The worst sin, it's called "shirk" and you've destined your soul to hell. Yet Christianity says, "This God who is outside of us has taken on human flesh and entered into our world so we can know this God personally." This idea shocks Muslims. They can't believe that God, He slept and He got tired and He had hands and He walked and He related to people. Yes we follow a personal God.
The other thing that's amazing how can we enter in a relationship with God because God in his very character is relationship. You say, "What do you mean?" We worship one God who eternally exists as three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It's almost as if in his very nature there is one God who is community and invites us into a relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We remain the image of this relational God which means we're made to know God personally. He says, "I read the Bible. It's amazing how it says over and over again. It was good. It was good. It was good. God speaks the world into existence, it was good. God separates the waters, it was good. He creates the land, it was good. He creates the animals, it was good. He creates woman, it was really good. But then He says something was not good. What's the first thing the Bible says was not good? That man was alone. That's the first thing that's not good, why? Because we are made in the image of God, we are made for relationships, and when we don't have that relationship with God and with other people, something is broken.
So I came across an article in Time a few years ago and the cover said, "The Science of Happiness." As I read through article after article, they talked about things that people say bring happiness but they said in reality don't. So the first thing it said in this article is it said wealth. It said everything in our culture tells us that wealth brings happiness it said but it doesn't. It said in fact, once our basic needs are met increased money does little to increase our sense of happiness with life. They said second intelligence or education. This pains me because I am a teacher and I want my students to get a good education but if you think getting a good education is going to give your life meaning, you're mistaken.
Ernest Hemingway one of the great writers of all time who took his own life because he was miserable, he said, "Happiness and intelligent people is the rarest thing I know." And then he said, "Youth, it's our culture says stays young as you can because younger people are happier, it said but in reality older people are actually happier than younger people." They might be thinking, "What did they mean by older people?" I've made the mistake of defining that before. I won't do that again. But the principle they said younger people are less happy than older people are. But then the fourth, when they said marriage. They said, "Marriage in itself doesn't make people happier." They said, "But here's the problem, as a whole, married people are happier than non-married people." But the question is, does marriage make people happier or do happier people get married? You see it's the chicken and the egg question. They said all these things don't bring happiness and then they listed two things that bring happiness. By the way they gave a caveat though. They said, "I hope you realize" this is what they wrote, "that your circumstances have little to do with what brings happiness."
They gave an example of the study they have of two groups of people. One group was people who had recently become paralytics. The other group was people who had recently won the lottery. Those won the lottery describe satisfaction with life immediately going up. Those who became paralytics went through a stage of difficulty and depression. But then they studied them six months later and the question is, what did they find? Do they stay the same? Do they reverse? Do they go back? You know what they found? They said, "As a whole, people from both groups returned to the same level of happiness they had before their circumstances changed."
That means our circumstances have little to do unless we allow them to shape our degree of happiness. So what brings happiness according to Time? Look, when I read this I chuckled. I honestly laughed out loud. I thought, "You've got to be kidding me." Why? When I show it to you, I think you might pick up on why I chuckled at this. What brings happiness according to Time magazine? Number one, they said a relationship with God or religious faith a transcendent purpose. Number two, relationship with people, friends. You know why I chuckle? Because a verse came to my mind in Mark 12 where Jesus was asked, what's the greatest commandment in the law? And 2000 years ago, before science even asked the question, he said, "Love God and love other people." I love it when science catches up with what Jesus has always taught.
Now look, I'm not against science. I think science is fantastic and unbelievable and I thank God for it. But it's not the end-all and be-all of human knowledge in human existence. Science is only possible because Jesus holds the world in the palm on his hand and allows us to study the world. St. Augustine, one of the great thinkers in the Christian, not even just Christian faith of all time, he was not a believer, he rustled. He ultimately came to conclusion Christianity was true, but he didn't want to change his life. He didn't want to give up his promiscuous sexual life to follow Jesus. He finally gave in and he wrote something in his book The Confessions that I think he's right on. He said, "For you have made us for yourself" in a prayer to God "and our heart is restless until it rests in you." That's why Jesus said, "This is eternal life that they may know you."
But then in the second part of verse three, it says that they may know you the only true God, the only true God. When I read this, I pause and I thought wait a minute, does that mean there is other false Gods that exists? Is Jesus the only true God but these false-like Thor type Gods of something actually exists? And I went to my pastor talking about and he pointed me to a verse that made perfect sense. 1 Corinthian 8:4 says, "About eating food offer to idols then we know that an idol is nothing in the world and that there is no God but one." These other Gods don't exist but what happens? We invent them and we come up with Gods or idols to worship and to follow in place of the one your God.
I'm an apologist which means I like to offer defense for how we know the Bible is true, God exists, Jesus is God, et cetera. One thing that's always amazed me. When I open up the Bible to Genesis 1, it doesn't give an argument for the existence of God. It just says, "In the beginning, God." Which means the Bible assumes that God exist, it doesn't give an evidence for it. Why not? Because we've been made in the image of God and we know if we're functioning properly that God actually exists. We know this. So if we don't worship God because we've been made to worship Him we're going to worship something else. We're going to find something to fill up the place that God is meant to fulfill in our lives. That's why Jesus said that they may know you the only true God.
Have you ever send a message to someone you didn't mean to send it to? Have you ever hit send on the email or the text and then the moment later try to reach in a cyberspace and pull it back. I was on a plane going home not too long ago and I saw one of my good friends and as we're leaving, I didn't even know he's on the same flight. So I thought I text him to make sure he didn't leave so I could see him briefly. So I texted to him and I said, "Hey punk, turn around I'm right behind you." And I send it to my mom, who is home alone at night reading. Now fortunately, my mom has got a good sense and humor. She texted me back and this is what I've realized. She said, "Hey son, I think you've got the wrong punk."
I tell you that because a couple of years ago, I was in a public debate with high school teachers on PHD about God and morality of the local junior college.
And a girl emailed me and asked me if she could interview me for the local paper. I said, "Sure." But then few days later, I've got an email for the same girl just pouring out her heart sharing this deep stuff, I'm thinking, "Why did she send me this?" And then I realized she didn't mean to. So she came over to interview me and when it was done I said, "You know what, you copied me on this email. I know it's none of my business but you are bearing some deep stuff. I work with students everyday, can I help you through this? Can we talk about it a little bit?" Nonetheless, she grew up in a Christian church, grew up in a Christian family. She said, "But I've walked away from God. I can't believe Him anymore. Yet I still go to church. I haven't told my parents." I said, "Why not?" She said, "You know what? I grew up in a home -- I know my parents love God. I know they love me but work was God in our family growing up." My dad missed my place. He missed sports. He drops off at church. He go work and then pick us up and go work some more. She was, "I just find it impossible to believe in a loving caring personal God when my father is this way."
Now this man I believe love God and meant well but he had another god that he was following. You see why Jesus says this, the only true God that we bow down to and we worship and we follow is God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit and we can know him in a personal way. Now you might be thinking there, you might be thinking, wait the only true God? You're saying that Jesus is the only way to get to God? That is so intolerant. How can you stand up and speak and say that people of other faiths are wrong and separate from God? What right do you have to say that? Are you really saying Jesus is the only to get to God? Well, just like George Washington is the only one who qualifies as the first president of the United States. It doesn't matter whether we like it, whether we believe it. That happens to be true. Just as my car runs on gasoline, it doesn't run on chocolate or maple syrup. My alarm clock only runs on C batteries not D or not solar power. Human beings are meant to only run on God. And you probably say, "But that's politically incorrect." Look, I am more interested in being correct than being politically correct.
I was in Starbucks not too long ago and I was sitting there reading a book minding my own business but this girl read a book that just invited me to ask her a question. It was a book called, "God is Not Great" by the late Christopher Hitchens. Maybe some of you have read it. Hitchens was one of the most outspoken articulate atheists of a long time. And this girl was reading the book and I just can't keep my mouth shut sometimes and I said, "Hey, that book is like an interesting book." I said, "What is it about?" Have you ever asked someone a question like that and then 15 minutes later regret it that you ask it, wondering if the people even breathe for that period of time. Her eyes light and she was, "Oh, my goodness this book is incredible." It shows how religion points us everything and Christianity has been the pain of the existence of human world. It's taught slavery. It's taught misogyny. Science disapproves God. Evolution is true. I'm going, "Whoa!" I said, "What does it say about Jesus?" She goes, "Oh, this is some of the most important parts." She said, "After reading this, I realized that Jesus is not the son of God. Jesus was not born of virgin." He said, "In fact, I want you to think of the nicest person you know." My grandma comes to mind. She said, "That's what Jesus was like. He was just a really nice guy."
I sat there for a moment and I thought about like I could think of one thing to say. I said, "If Jesus who is just a nice guy then why did they crucify him?" Because even the Romans wouldn't crucify Mr. Rogers. You see they didn't crucify Jesus for anything he did but for who he claim to be. In the Roman Empire, they didn't care that the early Christians worship Jesus God but they care that the early Christians said, "Jesus is God and the other Gods are false." They wouldn't have cared if Jesus claimed to be one God but He said, "I am the way, the truth and life. Nobody gets to the Father but by me." Those are bold words. They were politically incorrect when they spoke it and they are politically incorrect today.
So how can I say that Jesus is the only way? I got a phone call from a friend five years ago that totally took me by surprise. I picked up the phone and he said, "Hey Sean, I've got a question for you." He said, "You teach your students how to defend Christianity, right?" I said, "Yeah" He goes, "Where do you start?" I said, "Why are you calling me and asking me this?" Now why did I say that? Because I've been talking to him for probably a decade about God, just at different times about science, about Jesus when we could appropriately and he just was never interested and all of a sudden, he is asking me. Well, his brother at 15 got a brain tumor and he said, "It shook me up to my own mortality." Why does God allow suffering? I don't know why He allows all suffering but I know something He said is true. God whispers in our pleasure but He shouts in our pain. Sometimes God uses or allows pain to get us to focus on what really matters.
So we met in a coffee shop and we sat down. This guy got perfect math scores in his SATs. We sat down and he said, "I'm scientific-minded, can you give me any evidence that God exist," first thing he said. I said, "I'll do my best." We walk through some scientific evidence and he said, "What about the Bible? How do you know the Bible is true?" We talk archaeology the manuscripts. He said, "Why is there evil?" I said, "Well, here is our Christianity thinks about this." Then he look at me and said, "Do you really believe Jesus is the only way? How can you say Jesus is the only way to God?" I look down to him and I said, "Look, I'm not the one who is saying it. Jesus said it. I take it up with him."
I'm not. I'm just repeating the words that Jesus spoke. Look, anybody can claim to have truth. Anyone can claim to be God. Anyone can tell us how to get to God. But Jesus claimed those things and he did something that nobody else has done to give credentials to his claim for one Jesus did miracles. Jesus had the power to heal the blind and restore sight. He had power over nature. He walked on water. He fed 5,000. He rose the dead. Jesus fulfilled prophecy written hundred of years earlier and ultimately Jesus said, "I'm going to die and death is not going to conquer me. I'm coming back." And he did and he also lived a sinless life.
Look, I'd be honest with you. I don't like the idea that Jesus is the only way. I don't necessarily like that. I have loved ones who don't know Jesus and it breaks my heart to think about what Jesus said in regards to where they are going. But what right do I have to change the words of Jesus who powerfully did miracles and back it up. There are a hundred verses in the Bible in the New Testament where Jesus claims to be the only way.
I want to show you a quick video clip. This is a friend of mine by the name of Greg Koukl. He has a ministry called Stand the Reason. I interviewed him for a video series that it called God Quest to Explore the Big Questions of Life. And he allowed me to ask him this question, how can Jesus be the only way?
Greg Koukl: Look, I realize that this whole issue about Jesus being the only way is really offensive to people and they figure why is it got to be that way? Why can't everybody get in, in their own way? So here's an illustration that makes sense of it for you.
Now when your car goes bad, something's wrong with it, okay. What do you do to fix it? Well, you can't fix it. Do you know what the problem is? Once you find the problem, then you apply the specific solution for the problem to get your car rolling. Look, if your transmission drops out, it doesn't do any good to say, "I wish it wasn't a transmission. That costs a lot of money. I don't like that. Why can't it just be an alternator? Or why can't it just be a battery cable?" Because it isn't, it's something else. So in order to fix the car, you have to go to the problem and fix the problem, any old solution will do. You've got to find the solution that's meant to the problem by the same token. Man has a problem. What is that problem? How do you fix it? Well, you can't fix it until you know what it is and most people have an awareness of what that happens to be. They know that something is wrong not just with humanity but with themselves. Something is broken inside. They have a bad self image. They know that something is a miss and they also feel a certain way about it. They feel guilty about it.
My thinking is the best explanation for the feeling of guilt is that we actually are guilty. We know that we have offended the one to whom we are responsible morally that ultimately is gone. You want to fix that problem, that's not a new battery or a cable fix or an alternator, that's a total rehaul. That's what required. Only Jesus can give that. He fixes the problem of sin by providing forgiveness so we can be joined back with our creator. In being joined with our creator, we get to repair the internal difficulties that we have, the brokenness that's inside, and this happens overtime in relationship with God. Jesus is the only way because He is the only one who fixed the problem. No other fix will do. All of it is shooting at the wrong issue. All of religious efforts address the wrong thing.
The issue is separation from God. It's based on our rebellion. God offers forgiveness and in accepting that we are reconnected with the only source of life that we have, that's up to us. Now it's our turn. Do we want to be fixed or not?
Sean McDowell: Amen. Jesus is the only way because Jesus is the only one who bore the death of sin so we could be forgiven and be in relationship with a Holy God. Do you know God? I don't mean you have facts about God. I don't mean you experience spiritual things. I mean do you have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe? You say, "Well, yeah I think I do" then you probably don't. You say, "Well, when I was a kid I did" then maybe you never did. You say, "Well I like to" then this morning is the chance for you because the creator of the universe has made you in his image and loves you. He knows the number of hairs on your head and yearns to be in relationship with you.
In the 1990s, there's a pastor named James Kennedy who led this movement called the Evangelism and Explosion. And people would knock on doors and they just ask a simple question. They'd say, "If you died and stood before God today," and He said, "Why should I allow you into my kingdom?" What would you say? Most people say, "Well, I'm good. I did a lot of things for God. I went to church." And they would say, "If you look at what Jesus taught in the scriptures, none of those qualify." He says, "You know what allows you in God's kingdom?" Think about it this way. If someone knocks in your door and says, "Hey good morning can I come in to your house?" What are you going to say? "No." If they say, "Well, I'll clean your bedroom." I'll say, "No." "I'll baby sit your kids," "Definitely not." Why am I going to let somebody in? If you know them and you have a relationship with them, it's the same with God. We don't earn our way to salvation. It's by knowing God personally. That's why some of the last words Jesus spoke, He said, "This is eternal life that they may know you."
In a minute after the worship song, if you don't know Jesus or you want to know more about it, please come forward. There will be pastors up here who are caring, who are thoughtful, can answer your questions, pray with you, help you enter into that relationship with the God of universe. Some of you are sitting here and maybe you've been dragged to church this morning. Maybe you've even come and like, "Yeah I've heard this but I have some questions, I don't know if I believe it."
My wife and I have a gift for you. It's a little book my dad wrote years ago called "More Than a Carpenter." In two years, I helped them update it. So my dad grew up with an alcoholic father, an abusive home. He was sexually abused for years, hated God, set out to disprove Christianity and write a book against it. Well, that can be dangerous thing to do if you have an open mind and an open heart. Dad end up becoming a believer and just last year, he celebrated his 50th anniversary of ministry telling the world the truth.
50 years is pretty long. I told my dad and I said, "Dad, you're old." I said, "In fact, dad when God said, "Let there be light," you flipped on the switch." But he wrote this book to just sit down and answer the questions, who is Jesus? How do we know the Bible is true and he really rose from the grave? Now if you are sitting there and you're like, "Oh, I know someone who is skeptic." Okay, please pay for it because my wife and I will go broke. But if you are actually here and you're like, "I do have questions and I don't know if I believe or not," we would love to give this gift and this book as a gift to you. If you will just take its heart and have it be a part of your journey. Just let us know at the book table and I will sign it for you and be honored to pass it on to you
I just wrote a book called God Just a Human Invention to help in particular my students. We're getting hammered by professors and our secular culture that says, "God can exist with hell, with evil. God is a genocidal bully. The Bible has contradictions." Trying to say there are good answers to this for Christians who take the time to think and use their mind.
I wrote some for students because my passion is young people called The Apologetic Study Bible for Students. And it is filled with all these cool answers but we've got the top 120 questions that young people have been asked about God, about science about faith, et cetera, including my favorite question. If God made everything then why is it wrong to smoke pipe? That's a good question. I've been asked that many, many times.
Father, I thank you for this church. It's just obvious that your hand is on this church and you're doing amazing things. I'm humbled to hear about how many people have become believers recently and we baptized in. God, just keep the enemy away from stopping or discouraging in any way at all the good work that is happening here. God, I pray if there are any skeptics here today who don't believe that they just have the courage to come up and just get a book and read it with an open heart and ask you to show yourself to them, and may the Christian just be encouraged in their faith and to seek that relationship with you. God, we love you so much and thank you for taking on human flesh and entering our world, so we can know you in a personal way. We pray this in your name. Amen.