That God May Be Glorified!
1 Peter 4:7-11
|1 Peter 4 (NKJV™)|
|7||But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.|
|8||And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."|
|9||Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.|
|10||As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.|
|11||If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
Peter wrote to Christians in the Roman Empire who experienced persecution and were about to suffer greater persecution! How were they to respond to these trials and troubles? In our text, we see they were to love and serve one another, and use the gifts that God gave them—and so are we!
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.
Hey guys, how is it going? It's wonderful to be with you here tonight. Twenty years ago, when we first moved out, my wife is with me, Margaret and my daughter. We were attending Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque, and it's a great privilege to come and share with you tonight, excited about what the Lord's put on my heart and prayed that he would speak to your heart.
Let's go to the Lord and do a prayer. Father, we thank you for the amazing privilege we have to gather together as your body. Lord, we know that God, you have something to say to us. Lord, we ask that God, we would have the ears to hear and that God our hearts would be receptive or just whatever it is that you desire to, Lord, move in us, or reveal to us, or even spur us on, or may you just continue to, Lord, feel this place with your presence and with your power. We love you, we thank you, and we ask that you would, Lord, just bless our time together now as we open your word and we ask it in Jesus name, amen.
I'm going to ask if you would turn your Bible with me to 1 Peter, Chapter 4. We've been going in our fellowship back home through the book of 1 Peter and I came across these verses totem not too long ago and it was just something that I think penetrated my heart and I just wanted to kind of share with you guys. I know, next week, you're having epicenter conference here and I wish I could come. I was looking forward to coming and found out it's the same weekend my daughter is getting married, and so obviously, I got priorities right? So, I won't be able to come but I love Joel and I love the idea of the whole topic of prophecy and the things that -- especially in the days that we're living in. We're living in pretty exciting times.
Things are happening fast and as we're looking at Peter here, in 1 Peter, Chapter 1, let me give you a little bit of history, just kind of the setting. Peter is writing to a group of Christians who were in the Roman Empire and were experiencing great persecution. So much so that they had to leave their homes at this point and it was about to get even crazy or nero was about to turn up the heat. It was about to be serious persecution, burning at the stake and lighting up his gardens, dipping Christians in torn. It was about to get really tough. So Peter is writing the word of encouragement. I think it's a word just to encourage the church to endure persecution, to endure suffering. I think as we see in our world things, are changing, and it could be that we're going to be that church that's experiencing difficulty, persecution. So Peter is writing, and I think to them, but I think also to us, this text and let's read them together 1 Peter Chapter 4 beginning in Verse Seven. "But the end of all things is at hand. Therefore, be serious and watchful in your prayers, and above all things, have a fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling as each one has received the gift, minister it to one another is good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ to whom belongs the glory and the dominion forever and ever, amen."
What a passage! You see, Peter is writing to this group who is in the middle of persecution and is about to go through greater persecution is going -- look guys, let's get this in a right perspective. The end is at hand. Now for them, we know this was some 2000 years ago. This was written 1940 years ago that Peter is writing this to them and he's going "Hey guys, the end is at hand now." For them, the end was at hand for sure. Their personal persecution, many of them would die. I think even more so, he is writing to those who would be here when the end is at hand for us. I think he is really trying to narrow down to that last generation.
Look guys, no matter what goes down, God has a purpose, God has a plan, and your goal is to glorify God in it. How do you do that? He is going to give us a couple of things here. Number one, He is going to tell us that we need to be watched serious and watchful in our prayers. Number two, He says like, "You guys need to love one another." And then thirdly, He says, "You guys need to serve one another."
Now, He opens up that verse, that section of scripture by saying, "But the end of all things is at hand." I love it because you see I'd love prophecy. In my whole Christian life, I've got saved when I was about 10 years old and my mom got saved. She was taking me and my brother and sister to church and we were filled with the spirit and God was moving in my life. I was around 10. By the time I turned to 12, I was brought up and I should say half a Christian home. My mom was in love with the Lord, my dad was a hippy. He smoke pot, did drugs, drinks every night, and so my mom was constantly trying to pushing down the right road and my dad was there kind of steering us down the wrong road.
So I had this constant battle going on, and I remember by the time I was 12, 13 years old, I kind of thought, "Man, what dad's doing is fun." And I kind of started veering that road with dad. I started drinking and smoking dope and getting involved with just the crazy party life and while I was around, I imagine 12, 13 years old and a couple of my friends were shooting basketball. We had just gotten high. We smoke the big fatty. We were out to shoot in hoops and one of my friends turns to me and we've seen the moon and the moon had a rainbow around it. Have you ever seen the moon with a rainbow around it? I looked up and he goes, "Isn't the Bible say something about Jesus coming back and there would be a rainbow around the moon?" And right away I went, "No way." And I remember running as fast as I could home because I knew if mom is home, I'm good. But if mom is gone, I'm in trouble, right. So I remember running full speed home, kicking the door in, running and looking for mom, ran to every room in the house, "Mom, mom, mom!" She wasn't anywhere to be found. I go the kitchen and there was a boiling pot of water and it was bubbling over. I was already packing my bags. I'm going to go to the mountains. I'm going to survive on berries. That was where I was going already. I remember I was sitting on the couch, just going "I miss the Lord." He came and I wasn't there. There were tears in my eyes and my mom comes walking in the door. She goes to me, "What's the matter?" "Nothing." I just kind of blew it off and kind of went my way. Well, what happened was that neighbor kid had cut his finger. She gets run over to the neighbor to help fix the little boy out and did this whole -- I think the Lord set that whole thing up. Trying to get my attention, it didn't work. It was still eight or nine years later before I finally came back to the Lord, but ever since then, it was just kind of like when did this coming back of the Lord.
Guys, when you have that kind of urgency, when I came to Christ at 23, I thought for sure, Jesus is coming back within the next year, and then a year later I go, I go, "It's got to be close now." Here we are 24 years later and I'm still waiting for the Lord to come. But I think as Peter's writing this, he is wanting them to have that urgency in their life. I'm still waiting for Jesus to come back. You look at the signs, you look at our world, you go, "Man, it could be even closer than ever." Jesus will come back at any moment, at any minute. I think when you have that kind of urgency, sometime you can kind of get put in the same camp with Harold Camping, remember him? 2011 May 21st, he said, "Jesus is coming back."
I had a friend who was in Albuquerque who saw the big RV text, a picture of the RV that said "People get ready. Jesus is coming back on May 21st 2011. You get guys like the Hale-Bopp group that thinks that the Martians were coming to deliver them from the earth and all of these false prophets and those who claim to know the coming of the Lord. I think when we have that kind of urgency, we can sometimes be put in the same camp with them all. But make no mistake about it, it's going to happen. Jesus is coming back. You see the world that we live in is in rebellion against God. The world that you and I occupy or got their fist just shaking at God, and one day God is going to call those things to account. It might not be this year, it might not be next year, it might not be for 10, 15, 30 hundred thousand. I mean, we don't know the time. Jesus said, "No man knows the day and the hour." But it's going to happen, and when he does, his church, those who have been following him and seeking after them will be taken out of here.
The Bible calls the thought there we call it the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says this, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and thus we shall always be with the Lord." Guys, that's a promise. It's going to happen. I'm always praying, "Lord, let it happen now." Today would be fine.
Now, I remember my two girls were born. My daughter is with me. She is getting married next weekend and I remember just praying after my second daughter comes, "Lord, just come back before I got to marry them off." He's got a week okay. It's going to happen and we know that when it does happen, it's because God's wrath is going to be poured out upon the world. God is finally going to call to account. It tells us in the book of 1 Thessalonians 5:9, it says, "For God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us that whether we wait or sleep, we shall live together with him." So that the promise that we're going to be smashed away in the promise that we're going to be with the Lord forever before his wrath is poured out upon the world and then the Bible talks about a tribulation that's going to be a great tribulation like the world has never seen Jesus. In Mathew Chapter 24, it goes into detail of what that's going to look like. He told us that there's going to be wars and rumors of wars and there's going to be all of this confusion in the world and it would be like birth pains on a pregnant woman. It's going to intensify and it's going to get more intensified. If you have children, you know what I'm talking about. Your wife goes on a labor and you're watching the clock, your timing 20 minutes apart, and then you're looking at the clock, it's 10 minutes apart and like, "Get in the car. We've got to get over there."
It seems as though we're seeing the birth pains intensify, getting closer and closer and closer together. And so when Peter is writing this is he is wanting to tell them, "Look guys, the Lord is going to come back. The day of the Lord, the end is at hand." So how do you respond to that? What is it that we do if we believe that Jesus is coming back and I think we should all do that? I think we're encouraged to watch. We're encouraged to be ready, or he tells us a couple of things here. Number one he says, "Therefore, be serious and watchful in your prayers." That's powerful, because what he is encouraging us do is not to freak out. He is telling us, "Don't go and start storing up all of your supplies." Don't start talking stocking bullets, right? He goes, "You don't trust the Lord. The Lord is coming back, you know what, you need to be praying. We need to be not only praying." He says, "You need to be serious and watchful in your prayers."
We realized what a privilege that you and I have, Christian. That we have access to the throne of God, that we can enter into his throne room anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and even in the leap year. You have access to God and what an amazing privilege that is that you know, I don't have access to a lot of people but I have access to God. There are times I can't even get hold of my wife on the cellphone. I can't call the Governor. I don't know how get hold of the President, then a lot of the represent -- I mean I don't have access to them. But I have access to the creator of Heaven and Earth, and that you and I have this privilege because of the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us to enter into the presence of a Holy God. I think if we're alone is we just kind of realize, "Man, I probably don't take advantage of that as much as I should."
I know I have to constantly remind myself, "You know what, you have to spend time in prayer. You have to kind of carve it into your schedule. You have to kind of go, "You know what? I'm getting up a little bit earlier. I'm staying up a little bit later. I'm going to seek the Lord because I have access to him." He says you're to do it seriously and you do it watchfully and then he tells us in the next verse, check this out, "And above all things --" above all things, what is he saying? "Have a fervent love for one another." Guys, why would he tell a persecuted church that here is a priority for you, you're to love one another, you're to make it a priority in your life. Why would he say that to Christians? Aren't Christians all supposed to be loving?
Here is the thing. You're a Christian, you've been saved by the blood of Jesus, but you're still a sinner, right? People have hurt you. Even within the church, people have hurt you, and the thing is just that, the mark of Christianity is love. What did Jesus say? The greatest commandment of all -- when he was asked, what's the greatest commandment of all, Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul and the second commandment is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus said that they will know you're my disciples by the love you have one for another. It really is the mark of Christianity. But it's not an easy thing or else Peter wouldn't have to remind us to do that, right? He goes, "Guys, above all things, don't forget this. When you're persecuted, when you don't feel like it may be you want to isolate yourself, or you've got to remember that above all things, you have to love one another. Love one another. I like what he says, "You love one another fervently." Fervently, with a fervent love, I'd looked up that word, that that was an interesting word. It's the idea of having a stretched out love.
You guys watched the Olympics. I was so impressed by the runners. I just love to see these guys that can just make it down the finish line the 50-yard dash, the 100-yard dash, and I was watching a couple of them while they were running and they were just kind of stretching to just everything they had, a couple are even diving across the finish line. That's the picture here, because you have to have a fervent love for one another, you have to have a stretched out love. One that goes the extra mile, that gives the extra inch, it's that kind of love that is encouraging us to have.
Colossians 3:13 says it like this, "Bearing with one another, forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you so you also must do." It should be part of our character. It's part of our culture that we have that kind of love for one another especially even when you're going through persecution, even when you're going through trials and tribulations, even when you don't feel like it that you have that kind of fervent love for one another, that stretched out love for one another, and He tells us why. Look what He says, "For love will cover a multitude of sins."
I think He just told us that you guys are all sinners and you're going to need love to cover that, right? You're going to offend one another. You're going to have attitude with one another. You're going to blow your top with one another, but something will cover that, it's love. Love covers a multitude of sins. When you love somebody, you overlooked their faults, you overlooked their shortcomings.
Have you ever seen an engaged couple? You just kind of look at them and they just got to Google eyes at each other and then there's one gentleman in particular, just a rough young man and his fiance just looks at him and go, "Don't you see the dude?" How is it that you don't -- I mean everyone else sees that the guy's a creek. We have a word for that, right? "Love is blind." No, no, love isn't blind. Love covers. Love covers the multitude of sins. It looks over our faults and our shortcomings, and I think that's why Peter's going, "Look guys, you guys are going through it right now. It's hard. Being persecuted isn't easy. You guys need to be praying and you guys got to love one another with the fervent love because that kind of love covers the multitude of sins and it covers all of the faults that you're going to have with one another and all of the things that will offend one another. It's interesting that he throws in there that she should be hospitable to one another. Not just being hospitable with one another, he says, "Without grumbling." I go, "Why would he put that there?" Because sometimes we can be hospitable, but we're grumbling the whole time, "I'm doing this but I don't want to, little creek." He goes, "Hey, have that kind of hospitality."
The idea of hospitality is that you are being generous to guests, that you are going out of your way to make them feel comfortable and that is really is the heart of your love for one another, that you're even sacrificing you own comfort to make others feel comfortable. He goes, "Have that kind of hospitality with one another." Notice when he says, next he says, "And as each one has received a gift, minister to one another as good of the manifold grace of God." Now guys, here's something that I think it's a revelation for us that everyone of us have gifts. If you're part of the body of Christ, if you've received Christ into your life, you've asked him to forgive you for your sins. One of the things that transpired is that God, He gives you, He empowers you to serve. All of us have different gifts, they differ from one another. He will tell, "We'll turn there in a second." But I think it's important to note that He's talking to a group of people that are suffering, He's telling, "Look, don't stop serving even though you're suffering, even though you're being persecuted." I can tell you how many times that I've counselled with someone and go, "You know I've got to step down. I'm not serving because I'm going through so much." I think it's Peter going, "Look, you need to serve. You should be serving. It's a gift that God's given you and I like what he says next he goes, "Because you are steward of that gift." A steward is the idea of a house manager that you are just carrying for someone else's goods, someone else's possessions.
Christian, that gift that God has given isn't yours, it's Gods, and he entrusted it to you so that you would use it for the ether fine of the body. He tells us in a couple of places -- let me ask you to turn -- first of all, turn to Ephesians, Ephesians Chapter 4. Look at Verse 15.
Ephesians Chapter 4, the 15th verse will begin there, watch what he says, "But speaking the truth in love that we may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies according to the affective working by which every part does its share. It causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." He tells us in the book of 1 Corinthians 12:4, he says, "There's a diversity of gifts but it's the same spirit. There's a differences of ministries, it's the same Lord. There's a diversity activities, that's the same God who works all in all." Look at verse 7, "But the manifestation of the spirit is given to each one for the profit of all."
So here's the deal, if you're part of the body, when you're using the gifts that God has given you then you're profiting from it. You're the one who benefits from it. If you don't use that gift that God has given you, then you're actually hurting yourself. You see, the one serving is much out of, if not more out of, serving than the one who's being served. Jesus said, "It's more blessed to give than to receive." It's an amazing thing because He's encouraging the church. Look, by design, the way God created the church, we should be serving one another and even when you're being persecuted, even when you're going through trials and tribulations, even when all these things are happening in your life then you have a responsibility, why? Because you are a steward of that thing God entrusted to you, that gift. And so He tells us there in the next verse going back to 1 Peter, watch what He says, "Being good stewards of the manifold grace of God, if anyone speaks, let them speak because as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let them do with the ability which God supplies."
Now, he breaks it up into two categories of gifts, the speaking gifts and the ministering gifts, right? The speaking gifts are the gifts of prophecy, the gift of teaching, the gift of tongues, the gift of exhortation. I mean, those are the speaking gifts. He goes, "If you have the speaking gift then anyone speaks, let him do so with the oracles of God, because if you are ministering, do it with the abilities that God has supplied you." I like that. That it really isn't anything about me and it's not anything about you, it's about God. He is the one who empowers and he is the one who in gives and anything you have is because Gods entrusted it to you and therefore you begin to use those gifts. You begin to go out and say, "Lord, where do you want to use me? How can I serve you? Am I a speaker or am I minister?" The idea of ministry is the idea of service and service, when you think of the service gifts, I think you would categorize them, those who have the gift of giving and those who the gift of administration and those who have the gift of helps and mercy, those that are out just doing the day-to-day ministry. He's going, "It doesn't matter what gift you have. Not one is greater than the other or one is less than the other, but you have a gift and you may have multiple gifts, but are you using it? Are using it for --?
Well, here are the kicker guys. Look at the end of Verse 11 there, "Do it with the ability which God supplies that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ." What's the purpose of all of it? That God may be glorified? The whole deal is that our lives are intended to bring glory to God. The church was intended to bring glory to God. So whether you're going through the persecution or whether you're going to the trials or tribulations, you're taking that and you're going, "God, I just need your help." Just pray.
I remember getting saved. I grew up in a catholic background. My younger years, I did catechism, first communion, confirmation. I did all of those things and what I thought prayer was, was just simply repeating words that I had learned and I was good at them. As a matter of fact, I remember going to confession and the priest would tell me, "You have to go out and say a hundred Our Fathers and 59 Hail Mary's." I mean, I was bad, right? I remember this is how messed up I was. I remember confessing -- I will go to Saturday night mass, I will confess sins that I was hoping I would accomplish. In that way, I could say my prayers to have them forgiven before I do them. So my whole thought was that if I just said my prayers -- prayer is just simply talking to God, right? I remember coming to the Lord and just going, "Why do you know how to pray? What do I say?" And then just simply learning, you know what, all you've got to do is talk to God like you would your friend. Just converse with Him, tell Him what you are going through, tell Him what your struggles are. Just the idea of praying and seeking the Lord and asking God to be with me in all of the things I was going through to change me from a lot of the hang ups I had and all of the addictions I was fighting and you know, "God, I don't how to do this, help." So His encouragement, look guys, in your prayers, you're glorifying God, why is that? Because you realize that you are dependent upon Him. "God, I really don't have nothing to offer you. I'm messed up. I really don't even know how to talk to you. That's how bad it is." But as we come to Him in prayer, we're just saying, "God, help me. I need you." As we're having love for one another -- I think if we all be honest here, its hard to love other people isn't it? Especially those that rub you wrong or those who've hurt you or offended you, and He's telling us, "Go out and love one another."
Now by doing so, you're bringing glory to God. Why? Because what's he done for you? He has loved you in spite of you, right? You fail him over and over again. I know I do kind of like, "Lord, it's me again. I did it again, help." And He's constant with open arms you know, "Ray, come on get back over here." And it's that same kind of love that He's asking ask to display, why? Because it's the same kind of love He has displayed to us. And in doing that, what are we doing? We're glorifying God in our actions and as we're out serving, as we're speaking, as we're out ministering to one another, as we're out doing those things that God asks us to do in that way and Jesus said, "Look, you're going to bring glory to me by your actions." You guys say, "It's my prayer." As we're looking at this text is that we would realize that no matter what you're enduring tonight, no matter what you're going through, God has plan for you and God has a purpose for you and He wants to be glorified through your life. He created you for that very purpose that you would bring glory to His name, that by your serving, by your love -- I don't know what it is like here in Cavalry Albuquerque and if I tell you this, Calvary Chapel Green Valley, we're always looking for servants. You can never get enough servants. We Last year, we opened up. It's a group, a Bible study inside the public schools K through 6th Grade at CEF program and we now have all the Ballens School, a CEF program in all of the schools and we've got some starting in Los Lunas now and what's awesome, it's exciting, is we've got like 252 in our kids showing up to a Bible right after school inside the public schools, and it takes an army, right?
We've got a whole another group and we're always going, "Lord, raise up more of them because we could get in more schools, we'll go two days a week." I mean, what an opportunity to share the love of God, take a Sunday school class, a Bible class into the public schools. Here's the amazing thing is that we're seeing not only the kids get saved, we're seeing grandma and grandpa, mom and dad showing up, "Can I come at the Bible class too?" "Sure, come on in." and they are accepting the Lord, right? But it's not possible to do that unless the Body of Christ stands up and says, "Hey, we want to serve?" I'll speak. I'll watch a kid. I'll do this. Just being present, just standing there makes a huge difference so that who gets glorified? God. God has given the Body of Christ. Everyone of you, everyone here that names the name of Christ, everyone who's received Christ the Lord and Saviour, He's given you gifts for that very purpose. I love it because you realize that as Peter's writing this, these guys are going through the fire. They're going through the persecution.
As matter of fact, if you were to jump over the Chapter 4, look what He says in verse 12, we are in Chapter 4, go to verse 12. Look what He says in verse 12, "Beloved, do not think it's strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings that when His glory is revealed, you may be glad with exceeding joy." What a cool verse. He's going, "Look, don't be surprised. You're going to be tried. You're going to be persecuted." Christian, it's part of your association with Christ. Remember what Jesus said back in the gospels Matthew? He says look, "If they persecuted me, they're going to persecute you. If they would obey my word, they would obey your word. But no servant is greater than his master." Hey, you're going to be persecuted. It's what Paul said in 1 Timothy. He says, "And anyone who desires to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Persecutions are loved. Why? Because what they did to Jesus even people associate you with Jesus and so they're going to do the very same thing they did to Him to you, rejection, persecution and then you've got another enemy, the evil one, right? I mean, he warns them. In Chapter 5 Verse 8, he says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." That's fun, right? You've got an adversary, the devil who is constantly looking to kill you like a roaring lion without teeth because he can't touch you and it's an amazing thing because this whole idea of persecution is really the whole book of 1 Peter. You're being be suffering, you're being persecuted, read the Book of 1 Peter 1 to 5. I mean it's just dealing with those that are being persecuted, but then I thought it was a great encouragement.
I think guys we are living in times. We're here in America and I think we are all pretty clashed, comparably, right? You might feel persecuted, your family doesn't want to hang out with you anymore, your old friends are gone and you're weird now, you're one of those Jesus freaks. But if you go to China, if you go to Africa, you go to any of the Muslim countries, go to Egypt right now, you want to see persecution, you can see the church is being persecuted all over the place. Next week or actually a couple weeks from now, we have Wes Bentley whose doing far reaching ministries, whose training Chaplains to go into the battle field and there seem I think just in the last two months they had three chaplains died because of the persecution of the Muslim that's going on there in Africa and it's an amazing thing that it's Peter encouraging them, "Look guys, even though all these things are going down, nero and the persecution, you still have a huge responsibility. You still act like you're the church. You pray, you love, and you serve."
Now, I've been sharing with you as the church, but let me tell you from the other side of that is you see for those 10 years that I walked away from God, those 10 years where I had totally backslid and drugs and coke and dope and just living a very immoral life. You see there was a time when there was a barrier between me and God. That barrier was sin and I wasn't ready to repent of that sin and like I shared with you, that was one of many instances, where I think God was trying to get my attention. There was one time where I thought I had Odeed and I had taken too much drugs and I remember getting on knees because I thought I was going to die and I said, "God, if you just deliver me this one time, I'll give, I'm done." I remember being in my room and all of a sudden, I was sober, there was a peace that I can't even explain to you. I remember I would just like, "God, you showed up." He took away all the addiction and it was sad. I mean that was the end of my running from God, but two days later, I was out high again. Here's the deal guys is that you can continue to run from God, you can continue to rebel against God and I think and believe God will pursue you time and time again. There was another time when I was in a car accident, I remember being on the side of the road, standing on the side of the road, looking at my vehicle that had been tee-boned and it was on the driver's seat and the officer comes up to me and he goes, "Who was in that car." I said, "I was." "And you're alive, you're standing here?" "Yeah, I don't get it."
You see, God's going to pursue you. It finally came to that last point in my life whenever my mom was praying for me. I had a mom who prayed like no one's business. I remember coming home and I'd be drunk trying to find my bed and my mom I would trip over, she was on her knees over my bed praying and I literally find the bed and roll over and hit mom as I was trying to dive into my bed. My mom believed in anointing with oil. I had oil over everything, my tennis, my caps. I mean I was like, "Oh, Mom." She was a praying woman. Since then, my dad's come to saving faith, my brother my sister, myself because of mom's prayer, I'm convinced. But you can be in that place, maybe you've heard and I did and you realized, "You know what, I've been running from God and I don't even really know if I'm part of the church. I don't know if I've come to faith in Christ." You see all of that transpires guys as an act of faith, it's you by faith say, "God, I'm done running. I don't want to be like that anymore. I don't want to be separated from you." Isaiah 59 says, "That God's ears is not to small that He can't here you, His hands not to short that He can't save you, but your sins have separated you from God." You see, God is reaching out to you. Maybe you're denying, God's speaking to you. You realized, "You know what, I don't want to be in this camp that's in opposition of God. I want to give my life to God and I want to ask Jesus to come in and to take over my life." You do that simply by saying, "God, I messed up. I'm a sinner. I need your forgiveness, and I need the blood of Jesus Christ that cleans us to come and wash me from all of my sins and for you to fill me with Your Spirit and in gift me and empower so that I can now be part of your church, part of your people."
As we close our service tonight, I just want to give an opportunity, maybe you're here tonight and God's speaking to your heart. You realized you're talking about the church, you're talking about praying and serving and talking about these things that I'm supposed to be doing, but the reality is that, "Man, I'm not even in the same camp. I'm not even part of the same team."
We're going to do is that the worship team is going to come out right now and we're just going to worship, but if you're here tonight and God's speaking to your heart and you're going, "Man, you know what, I need to get right with God. I need to ask Christ to come in my life." What we're going to do is we're just going to give an opportunity for those of you here tonight that are ready to take that step, ready to surrender your life, to say, "God, I need you." Then what we're going to do is I'm just going to ask that wherever you're at tonight is that you would just simply stand to your feet and want to pray with you tonight because God speaks to your heart. So if God is speaking as we worship as we sing and if He is here and you're going, "You know what, I want to get right with God tonight. I want to ask Him to forgive me, to cleanse me." If you're a Christian, I'm going to ask as you're praying that if God speak into you, would you just take that step of faith and say, "You know what, I'm ready to give. I want to ask Christ to come into my life. I want to ask him to change me and transform me and to begin to work inside of me." As we worship, as we sing as God speak into your heart, I just ask if you would just stand up, let's pray together.
I'm going to ask you to do one more thing. You see when Jesus called His disciples, He called them publicly, He told those disciples, "Pick up your cross and follow me." So as tonight God's speaking to your heart, I'm just going to ask if you stood up man, would you just make your way down the aisle and you're saying, "You know what, I want to follow Jesus with all my heart." Would you just come, come. We're just going to pray with you man, just come, that's awesome, just come, make your way down here.
That's an amazing thing. Let me tell you what Jesus said, Jesus said, "If you confess me before men, I'll confess you before my Father who's in heaven." He also said, "If you deny me before men, I deny you before my Father." You see, these guys here just, "You know what, I don't care. Jesus, I want to ask Him to come in and may be you're right now still in your set and your heart's raising and you're going, "Man, I don't know this is the big step." It is a big step. It's the best step you'd ever take in your life. If God speak into you, you're still sitting, you're still standing and you know what? I need to take that step. I need to just surrender all. I need to ask God to just take my life. I'm going to ask that you would because they're going to sing one more chorus, just one more time, I believe there's more of you, you know who you are right now that the spirit of God is tugging on your heart, you know what, just come, come man. Let's worship.
Well, everyone decided for you. You've just taken the biggest step of your life and we're going to do is we're going to pray. We're going to pray a simple prayer of faith. I'm going to ask that you would say these words with me and as from your heart to God that you say these words and as we pray, that the Bible says this, that the Angels in heaven rejoice that when one sinner repents -- man can you imagine heaven right now rejoicing? You guys are going, "God, I need you." That's awesome. Let's pray together. I'm going to ask that you would say these words with me and this go before the Lord, "Dear God, I confess to you that I'm a sinner and I thank you that you're a saviour, that you sent Jesus to die for me. May you fill me with your spirit now God, may you guide and direct my life as I surrender it to you. In Jesus name I pray, amen." That is awesome, bless you!