In the U.S., the lifestyle of Christians often mirrors that of unbelievers--divorce, self-indulgence, misaligned priorities. Using God's Word to teach lessons about divorce and eternal life, Jesus exhorts his followers to enter the kingdom of heaven--to live in wholehearted faith and obedience to the Him. Let's consider what Scripture says about godly living and the reward Jesus promises to His faithful followers.
From its opening genealogy through its careful record of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled, Matthew's gospel forms a bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In this in-depth study by Pastor Skip Heitzig we'll consider Jesus' ancestry, birth, public ministry, death, and resurrection, and we'll gain a clearer understanding of Jesus as both Messiah and King.
Visit expoundabq.org for more information on this series.
FREE - Download Entire Series (MP3) (Help)
Greek Terms: Δίδωμι; didómi- bestow a special gift upon
Publications referenced: The Targum of Palestine
Cross references: Deuteronomy 8:18; Deuteronomy 24:1-4; 1 Corinthians 7:32-33; 2 Corinthians 4:17
Keywords: divorce, adultery
I don't think it's coincidental that our first study in our series on Sunday, Keep Calm and Marry On, that we just had that. And then tonight, during this first week, we're sort of turning the coin and talking about divorce because somebody comes to Jesus in the course of this setting and talks to Him, asks Him a question about divorce. And it's actually a perfect time for us to flip the coin and look at what the Lord says about it.
And here's the reason why. The divorce rate has risen in the past century 700% in our country, 700%. It's at incredible proportions. There is estimated to be one divorce out of every 1.8 marriages. So it's over 50%. That's the average in our country. So it's timely that when we talk about marriage, we also flip the coin and talk about what Jesus said about divorce.
Now, divorce was never God's plan. His intention was marriage: one man one woman, one lifetime. But we discovered that divorce became even in the Law of Moses a divine concession for a human weakness. But Jesus is going to narrow down the concession so that those who were asking Him the question don't think that it's okay to divorce for just any reason at all.
One author likens divorce and marriage to building a swimming pool. Imagine you go to your backyard and you think, "I want to build a swimming pool" and so you dig a hole that is if you're really ambitious, otherwise you'll get somebody else to do it for you. They dig a hole. They plumb it, they put on all the electrical, all the lighting. They fill it up and they put in the liner and the concrete dries and you're all excited, you're about to fill it up with water and so you fill it up with water and as the water is rising in the level of the pool, a sour look comes over your face because the water isn't clear. It's green. It's gnarly looking. And you go, "This is not what I intended. This is not my original plan. I want it clear prefect water," but a germ has entered in and disrupted the water. So now, though you don't want to, it's not part of your original plan. You have to add chemicals to balance out the germs that have grown up in the water.
We discover that divorce is like that. It was never God's intention but it became a divine concession. He added it to the water for one reason and one reason alone will discover to the human weakness, a divine concession to the human weakness.
Jesus is moving in Chapter 19 from Galilee down towards Judea. He's going to be in the area of Judea and an area called Perea, for several months before He goes up to Jerusalem, His final trip to Jerusalem where He will be crucified. And so we read in Verse 1, "It came to pass when Jesus had finished these things, that He departed from Galilee, and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan." And great multitudes followed Him and He healed them there and the Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" Now these are Jewish leaders asking Jesus a question about divorce. Why? I say why because there was no nation like the nation of Israel that held marriage in such high esteem, such high view. They regarded marriage as a divine duty for mankind, a spiritual exercise. The Rabbis used to say the very altar itself in the temple, the very altar sheds tears when a man divorces the wife of his youth.
So, why would they ask Jesus this question? Well, it's because the only time the Old Testament speaks about the divorce procedure is in Deuteronomy Chapter 24. It's the only time it really speaks about what to do and they are referring to Deuteronomy 24.
Let me read you the verses in question. Deuteronomy 24: "When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand and sends her out of the house, when she has separated from his house and goes and becomes another man's wife. If the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house or if the latter husband dies who took him as her wife, who took her as his wife, then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance."
That's the scripture in question. The question about the scripture in question is, "What does it mean when it says, if he, the husband finds some uncleanness in his wife?" What does "uncleanness" refer to? That was the debate. There were two schools of thought, the conservative and the liberal. The conservative school of thought, headed by a rabbi called Rabbi Shammai, believed that uncleanness must refer to moral uncleanness, unchastity, adultery, sexual impurity. He made a very narrow view of what uncleanness was.
But there was another school of thought, a liberal school of thought by another rabbi called Rabbi Hillel, who broadened out the meaning of uncleanness to be, "Well, just about anything you'd want." According to Rabbi Hillel, uncleanness could be, if a wife put too much seasoning in her husband's food, that was grounds for divorce. If a woman was out brawling in the streets or she went out of doors with her head uncovered or if she spoke bad about her husbands' parents, if she was a brawling woman, all of that was grounds for divorce.
So you have Shammai very narrow, only sexual immorality is the grounds for divorce. You have Rabbi Hillel saying, "Oh no. It can be just about anything you wanted to be." In fact, another rabbi in that school, Rabbi Akiva later on said, "If a husband finds a woman more attractive than his wife, that's grounds to divorce his wife."
Now, I have a question for you. Which view point do you think most people adhere to, the narrow or the wide view? The wide view, exactly, Hillel's view. All the dudes love that view, even the Pharisees. They love that legal rendering that uncleanness must mean anything at all. So they come to Jesus because they know that it's a lose-lose situation. Whichever side he chooses, he's going to alienate some people.
So, to the Pharisees, it was all a matter about legalities, just write her a certificate of divorce. So here's what Jesus does. Jesus takes them back before the Law of Moses was even given. Before Deuteronomy was even written, he goes all the way back to the beginning when God created man and woman in the garden to show God's original plan never included in His heart, in His mind divorce. And so Jesus takes them back before the law and He answered them Verse 4. And He said to them, "Have you not read" -- I love that about Jesus. "Hey, you religious leaders, do you know so much about the law? Do you ever read it? You who have bible studies, do you ever read your bible? Do you ever check out what it actually says? Have you never read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female and said, "For this reason, a man shall live as father and mother, be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh."
So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together let not men separate. Jesus takes them back before the law to give them God's view of marriage. They ask Him a question about divorce, Jesus answered it by saying, "Here's God's view of marriage, here's why. You'll never know what God thinks about divorce until you understand what God says about marriage. And what God says about marriage is two become one and they're one flesh." And I will elaborate more on it this coming week but here's the big point. If these Pharisees asking the question, "Who believed in the wide view of divorce for just about any reason at all?" If they understood what it meant to be one flesh, then they would understand that to divorce your wife for just any reason is like amputating your leg because you have a splinter in it.
So he takes them back and says, "Here's God's original intention, the two shall become one flesh." Therefore what God has joined together let not men separate. They said to Him, "Why then did Moses -- listen, command to give a certificate of divorce and put her away. Did you hear that? They have now turned a concession into a command. Moses never gave them a command. But they are now interpreting it that, "Look I found some uncleanness in my wife. I am commanded by Moses Law to dump her. I have to do it. The Bible tells me, I have to do it." And that's because one of their well-known writings called The Targum of Palestine, written in the first century made Deuteronomy 24 to be a commandment of God to divorce.
So, you can hear them misinterpreting the law. Why did Moses command? Listen to what Jesus answers. He said to them, "Moses because of the hardness of your hearts permitted you to divorce your wives but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you that whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and marries commits adultery. And whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."
So Jesus takes them back to the beginning, and then shares the heart of God, the two become one flesh what God has joined together, let not men separate. And then He says something really interesting that should give all of us pause, and I won't remark too much on it because I want to keep going and take the Lord's Supper and get into some different territory.
Do you realize that divorce always involves adultery? Always, there's never an exception. According to Jesus, there is only one reason a man can divorce his wife or a wife can divorce her husband and that is on the grounds of adultery. And if not, if it's for any other reason, just I like what Hillel said in, "We're mutually incompatible so we're divorcing," that for them now to remarry involves adultery. They're committing adultery.
So according to Jesus, divorce always on some level involves adultery. Now it then makes some of us go, "Whoa!" Double "Whoa!" And that's what happened with the disciples. Listen to the Disciples, Verse 10, his Disciples said to him, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry." You can understand their sentiment, can't you? Say, Jesus that's a stringent view of marriage and divorce that you're telling us is from the beginning as from your Father and if that is the case, if there are no other concessions besides such a narrow margin, then it's better to stay single.
Now, again, let Jesus surprise you for a minute. Jesus then go, "Oh no, no, no, that's not what I meant." He follows their line of thinking. He said, "Well you know, it's better to stay single." And Jesus said, "Okay, let's begin right there." But he said to them, "All cannot accept the same but only to those to whom it has been given, for there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mothers' womb and there are eunuchs who were made unique by men and there area eunuchs who have been made or have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. And he, who is able to accept it, let him accept it.
What is our Lord saying? Well, the disciple said, "It's better to stay single the rest of your life and not get married." And Jesus said, "Well that's great, but you can't do it unless you are especially equipped by God to do it. You need a gift to be able to handle that kind of voluntary celibacy." He's not denying what they're saying, He's saying, "I agree with you." But not everybody can accept this, not everybody is called to this. The majority as we mentioned on Sunday and Saturday night, the majority of the human race pro-creates, gets married, that's the norm. And to stay single requires a gift and that's the point here. Jesus said, "All cannot accept this saying but only to those to whom it has been given. The word given didn't mean in the Greek means, "To bestow a special gift upon."
It takes a gift to be able to stay single. You say, "I'm married and it took me a gift to get this far." Well that's true. But according to Jesus, there were three reasons why people in that day stayed single. First reason was a congenital reason, they were born that way. They were born without reproductive organs. They didn't have the ability from their mother's womb because of a congenital deformity or an anomaly. That still happens today. So, a congenital reason.
A second reason was a cultural reason. In those dates, Kings, Kingdoms had harems and the guards of the harems were castrated, emasculated so that they wouldn't have to face temptations, there wouldn't be a problem, there wouldn't be a question as they would guard the ladies of the harem.
A third reason wasn't congenital, wasn't cultural. The third reason was a spiritual reason. If any person, like the disciples are suggesting, if any person decided voluntarily, "I'm going to stay single, I want to be celibate so that I might devote myself to the Lord's work to do things that I couldn't do as a married person." And you go, "What are you talking about?"
Well, First Corinthians Chapter Seven. Paul the Apostle says, "He that is unmarried, cares for the things of the Lord how he might please the Lord. He that is married cares for the things of these world how he might please his wife." What Paul is saying is that as a single person, your interests don't have to be divided. You can focus totally on what does the Lord want out of my life 24/7. I don't have to think about anybody else just the Lord's will for my life, period. But that takes a gift. And Jesus spells out those who would have that gift. And He says, "He who is able to accept it, let him accept it."
Then Verse 13, "Then the little children were brought to him that he might put his hands on them and pray but the disciples rebuked them but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not forbid them for as such is the kingdom of Heaven." And He laid his hands on them and departed from there.
I love this picture, I love this little story. It's told in the Gospels and it' one of the most precious stories in the Gospels for generations, for centuries people have loved this "Let the little children," thing. Why did the parents bring their kids to Jesus? Because any parent who loves his child, his son or daughter, if they really loved them wants their kids to get as close to the Lord as is possible, will do anything to get a spiritual influence into the life of the child, that's why. And this was an ancient practice from way back when it was common to bring your children to an esteemed Rabbi who would pray for them and bless them and pray for the future and the safety of those children.
It goes all the way back to the time of the patriarchs. You may remember when Joseph brings his two kids, Manasseh, the first born, Ephraim the second born. And Joseph brings those kids to Jacob to have Jacob put his hands on them and bless them.
And so there, they bring these to Jesus but the disciples rebuked them. The parents saw this is an invitation the disciples being the disciples, so this is an interruption. Jesus rebuked the disciples and said, "No, let them come to me. I want them to come," for if such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Now let me tell you what this does not mean. This does not mean that the Lord doesn't want you to check your kids in to Sunday school. I know some of you are looking to me like, "Huh?" Did you know how many times I've had parents come up to me saying, "Why don't you let children in the main sanctuary?" because the Bible says "Jesus said, let the little children come to me." I said "Well, with all due respect, I'm not Jesus". So I'm not keeping them from Jesus, I'm just keeping them from hearing a boring old adult speak to them, not at their level. Number two, I want them to come to Jesus and the best way we know for them to come to Jesus is to have Jesus portrayed for them at their age appropriate level with fun, with their music, with their friends at that level over in the Sunday school department.
Most of our real estate on this facility is child-friendly is given over to the ministry of children. So it doesn't mean that, so please don't quote that anymore like, "I can't believe they don't let my kids in adult church because Jesus said, 'That's exactly why we have a children's ministry'". Number two, this doesn't mean that you should bring your children to get baptized, there's not a drop of water in this passage we just read. He's not speaking about infant baptism, what he is speaking about is encouraging the spiritual appetites that children have toward the Lord.
If kids want to make an overture, a commitment, they want to make an alter call or they themselves say, "I really want to identify with the Lord in baptism," take that. Nurture that. Work with that and let them come. Encourage those longings that your children are developing. Then second I would see this as a comfort to any parent who has lost a child before the age of accountability and know that they are with the Lord in his presence for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. And I'll tell you one thing that I found out about Jesus, he never tells kids to be like adults, he tells adults to be like little children. Unless you come and or like a little child, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven because a child has that innocent faith and surrender. They don't like fold their arms and say, "I don't know if I'm going to hold on to that or believe that".
Kids aren't like that and unless you become like a little child with that kind of dependence and that kind of surrender and abandonment, you won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So he invites them and he rebukes his disciples. Verse 16 now, behold one came and said to him "Good teacher, what good thing shall I do that I might have eternal life?" And so he said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments". He said to him "Which ones?" Jesus said, "You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, honor your father and your mother and you shall love your neighbor as yourself". The young man said to him, "All these things I have kept from my youth, what do I still lack?" Jesus said, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come and follow me."
But when the young man heard that saying he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions. This is a story that is typically called -- do you know what it's called? The story of the Rich Young Ruler because we're told in the story that he was young and he was rich and Luke calls him a "Ruler of the People", so we call him the Rich Young Ruler. Actually he's one of the poorest people you read about in the bible: physically rich, spiritually poor. He walks away from Jesus; he walks away from an invitation to have everlasting life. I call that being really poor.
He comes and he asks Jesus a question, why does he come and ask Jesus a question? He has everything. If he's rich, successful, young, I'm guessing aggressive, he's what the world would call a high-achiever, he doesn't really need anything, he doesn't have to worry about, is going to make his payment on the house or is he going to have two camels in the garage? He's set for life, however, even the wealthiest, coolest, smartest individual apart from Christ senses a lack and this man I believe sensed the lack, there's something missing. What is the purpose of life? What is there that I have not personally experienced yet that's out there? Maybe he heard Jesus speak about eternal life in some of his messages. Maybe he saw the changed lives of people that had been around Christ and he hungered for that. And so he asked a question, but in asking this question, he revealed his ignorance. "Good teacher, what good thing must I do to inherit or get or have eternal life?"
Let me explain two things he was ignorant of. Number one, in calling Jesus a good teacher, he put Jesus on the same level of all the other good teachers, great teachers. Although there are a lot of great teachers, Jesus, you're one of them. Number two, his world view, his belief system was that you can get to heaven by doing something, by working hard, by earning it. So Jesus answers it, "I always loved the way Jesus fires back." He says, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but one and that is God". Now Jesus is saying one of two things, he's either saying "I'm no good" or he's saying "I am God". "Why are you calling me good? What is it you have recognized in me?", in asking the man that question "Why do you call me good?" he's giving that man an opportunity to confess that he is God as if it could have been answered this way, "I'm calling you good because I know there's only one that is really, totally, truly good and that is God, that's why I'm calling you good teacher, because you're different, you're unique, you must be God in human flesh".
Jesus isn't denying that he's God; he's affirming that he's God, why do you call me good? There's only one good and that is God. And so he said to him, "If you want to enter into life keep the commandments." The guy said, "Which ones?" And he named five of them. Now why would Jesus tell them to keep the commandments? Is he saying, "Well if you keep these commandments you'd go to heaven?" No, he's approaching that man on the basis of what that man believed was necessary to get to heaven, the law, and the commandments.
You're a religious fellow aren't you? You believe in the commandments don't you? You think that if you do the commandments you'll get to heaven, well let's see if you really do them or not. So he fired off four negative commandments, two positive commandments. Five of the six commandments from the second portion of the law of Moses which deals with the relationship with human beings, and caps it off by summing up the meaning of the law, "You will love your neighbor as yourself" because he said that he kept them, this man says verse 20, "All these things I have kept from my youth, what do I still lack?".
Now we'll find out what he lacks, Jesus said "If you want to be perfect go, sell what you have, give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come and follow me." Have you ever been to a dentist when he takes that little, long, very sharp pointed stick and starts poking around your teeth? And says, "Tell me when it hurts." And "Does that hurt?" "No", "Does that hurt?", "Does that hurt?" "Whoa!", and he hits a tender spot, you know what that's like? What Jesus is doing with the law is probing, like the dentist, hitting the tender spot, and the tender spot as this kid is saying, "I have kept all of the commandments," and Jesus is saying, "No you haven't."
You've broken the first commandment which is you will love the Lord your God with everything and have no gods before you, and that's the commandment you've broken. Your god is your wealth. The things that you own or think own, they own you. They have such a tight grip. You say you love your fellowmen, okay, and then sell everything because you love God more than anything and give it to the poor. I call this man the poor young ruler because instead of hanging, he said and say, "You're right, you're right there is nothing I can do to get gain and inherit work for eternal life." "I'm bankrupt, now what do I do?" Because Jesus told them what to do, after you sell everything follow me. That's the key follow me. Trust me. Believe me.
It's not that if you sell everything you'll get to heaven by you selling everything. The point is that I am touching the very area of your life that is your god and piercing through that armor and piercing through your heart to show you that you can talk big and say, "Oh I love the Lord and I love my fellowmen." Okay, let's see how tight of a grip what you own has on you, get rid of it. And then follow me. And in following Jesus, you will have the eternal life. The young man heard the saying he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions.
Interesting that a kid with a bunch of money, a rich young ruler would walk away sorrowful, he might think, "Okay whatever I'm not in this religious thing anyway. And I got plenty of money, see you." It's because he knew that Jesus had torn open his heart and exposed him for who he really was, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Assuredly I say to you, that it's hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And again I say to you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
Now you didn't laugh at that. But I can almost guarantee you that 2000 years ago when Jesus said, "It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," that the crowd busted to God or at least laughed a little bit and chuckled more than any of you did. I don't expect you to laugh at that because it's a 2000-year old colloquialism. What Jesus is saying is it's impossible for a rich person and you'll find out for any person to get saved apart from Jesus, impossible.
Now I want to warn you about something. You might in your reading, in your devotional time come across a commentator or a bible scholar or somebody with an opinion that will tell you that when Jesus spoke about, it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, they'll say, "Well you know what the eye of a needle was in Jerusalem was a little doorway inside of next to a big door way in Jerusalem, one of the big gates of Jerusalem they would when they close the wooden door to the stone gate, there was often a little door cut out in that they call the eye of a needle. And a camel couldn't go through easily but he could go through.
You see if you bring your camel up to the door of the city and the gate is closed, you have that little eye gate inside the big gate. And if you take a camel and you strip the camel of all of the goods that he is carrying and all of the saddlery that he has, and you get the camel really low on its knees and you push the high end quarters, you can get the camel through. Not easy, but it can be done. And that they say is an eye of a needle.
Well don't believe it because when Luke, in the Gospel of Luke tells the story, the word he uses for needle is a surgeon's needle. Not a needle in a door way. He narrows the word so specifically because after all he was a doctor so he would use something very specific, it was a surgeon's needle. The point Jesus is making is it is impossible by saying it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. And again, just look at the reaction of the disciples and you'll understand. Otherwise they would go, "Oh okay," then it is possible. Look at what the disciples in Verse 25 say.
When his disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished and they said, "Who then can be saved?" You know why they ask that question? Because the disciples being Jewish believed that if rich people can't get saved, nobody can get saved. You know why they thought that?
They believe that if you have riches, wealth it's a sign of God's blessing on your life and you must be doing a lot of good things because God has blessed you so much with wealth because it says in Deuteronomy chapter eight that God gives you the power to gain wealth and God will bless you in the land that he puts you in so if you have a loot of goods, it's because God has blessed you. And the reason God has blessed you is because you're now going to be generous and give alms to poor people, people who are in need.
So if rich people can't get saved, who can be saved? That's their question. If a rich Jewish believer can't get saved, who can be saved? And Jesus looked at them, gave them eye contact and said to them, "With men, this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible." Now please understand and hear this before we take the Lord's Supper. Who then can be saved? It's impossible, it can't be done. No person on earth can be saved in and of and by himself or herself. Impossible? Give up.
The rich and the ruler just said, what mush I do? You can't really do anything that's your problem you thought you could do. Who then can be saved? It's impossible, but then he adds, "But with God, all things are possible."
And then Peter answered and said to him, "See, we have left all and followed you, therefore what shall we have?" Now finally Peter gets what Jesus is saying. "Oh I get it, you want all of us." You want total and absolute surrender. The rich and ruler wasn't giving you that. We've left everything. What shall we have? So Jesus said to them, assuredly I say to you that when the son of men sits on the thrown of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my name sake shall receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last and the last will be first.
Okay so Jesus, we, your close buddies your disciples, we have like given up everything and we areally are following you unlike that rich, young, dude who got mad and walked away. Jesus says, "Yes, Peter but you can't out give God. You've given me your life. Wait until you see the rewards that are coming for you in glory." He speaks about the regeneration and the 12 disciples sitting on the 12 thrones. He is speaking about in particular the thousands year reign of Jesus upon the earth where he will rule and reign from Jerusalem and the 12 tribes of Israel regathered in that land will be ruled by the 12 apostles. He is speaking about the millennium, the kingdom age in the regeneration.
What the Book of Acts calls the restitution of all things, the physical, literal kingdom that God promised in the Old Testament to Israel. "So don't worry, you'll be handsomely rewarded Peter," and everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my name's sake will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life.
So for it to sum up what we learn in Chapter 19 before we pass out the elements, there are four lessons. Let the Lord impress one or all of them on your heart tonight. Number one, whatever God calls you to do, he equips you to do. If he calls you to be married he'll equip you to be married. If you ever say, "I can't do this anymore" you're wrong. He'll give you the power to do it. If he calls you to be single, what he calls a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of God, voluntary celibacy that you might focus on the things of the Lord it's because he has equipped you to do it. He has given you a gift to do it. So whatever God calls you to do, he equips you to do.
Lesson number two, God never tells kids to act like adults but he tells the adults to be his children to enter the kingdom.
Isn't it funny how many times as parents we say, "Johnny, grow up." He's only three years old, what do you mean grow up? He should act like a three-year old. God would say to you, "Grow down." Grow up by growing down. Be a little more dependent on me, a little more abandoning toward me, a little more trusting of me.
Lesson number three, salvation is impossible, impossible. You cannot get to heaven by doing good things. You can't get to heaven by being very sincere. You can't get to heaven by being religious. You're not good enough to go to heaven. I'm not good enough to go to heaven. It takes somebody stepping out of heaven to this earth who lived the perfect life that you and I never lived and took all of our sins on his body and died in our place for you to be saved. With men this is impossible but all things are possible with God.
And the fourth and final lesson is that whatever you sacrifice now on this earth to serve the Lord, whatever sacrifices you make, whatever place you move to, to serve the Lord that isn't the best place in the world or a job you give up, or benefits you give up or certain joys you sacrifice, you will be paid back so abundantly. Paul said, we can't even imagine the weight of glory that is coming our direction.
Father we thank you for the ability to live in a country that has the freedom to assemble, the freedom to open up the Bible, the freedom to worship not only according to the dictates of our heart but according to the dictates of your truth, your written word. We thank you. We know that there are countries where if you bring a Bible, you will be arrested. If you open it up it will bring danger. It will incur danger. Thank you for the brave men and women that are outside of our boarders and in our military that are working and serving to secure these kinds of freedoms. Help us as a nation not to abuse those freedoms. We're thankful to you because of that, thankful to you for themAnd I pray that as we worship even the rest of this service before we close as we take these elements that our hearts, our whole beings would be engaged. And we would become like a little child. We can be so inhibited sometimes Lord when it comes to our worship, so afraid of what others would think around us if we sang really loud or raise the hand or showed any emotion that we love you. And then we think of a little child who wouldn't think twice about showing that kind of display. May we relax just a little bit more and surrender to you just a bit more. Give grace Lord to those who are married, those who are facing a divorce, give grace to those who are single who have been divorced or lost a spouse, please give your gentle grace Lord. Help us to digest these truths and we thank you that you have made what is impossible possible. Our names are written in the lamb's book of life so we give praise into the lamb that was slain.