The End of the World as We Know It - Revelation 20
From the series: Guest Speakers
By Kevin Miller
Good morning. It's my honor to introduce our special guest speaker this weekend on behalf of Pastor Skip who's covering the pulpit this weekend at Calvary Chapel Tucson for his very dear friend, Robert Furrow. Pastor Skip sends you his warmest regards. With us this morning we have someone that taught, perhaps, some of you for a number of years, and many of your children for the almost six years that he served here as the mid high pastor.
Three and a half years ago God called him and his beautiful wife Jenn, who's actually singing alongside Natalie with us this morning for the worship team, sent him over to Clarksville, Tennessee, to plant a new church. And so for the last three and a half years Kevin has been pastoring Awaken Bible Church in Clarksville. Would you please give Kevin a warm Calvary of Albuquerque welcome.
Well, good morning. It's so good to be with you guys. If you have your Bibles, pull them out, open up to Revelation, chapter 20; that's where we're going to be. You'll have to excuse my throat a little bit. It was a bit of a journey getting out here this weekend. I had the honor of leading the Keep Calm and Marry On marriage retreat that is ending today in Santa Fe. And I was able to teach out there Friday night and Saturday morning, and then my wife and I drove here so I could teach last night and today.
So it's been a bit of a whirlwind, and I think Satan had an idea of what God wanted to do today, so he's been trying to shut down my voice. Yesterday I woke up and I literally had no voice, and I kind of panicked, cuz I kind of need it, you know. So, but God is good, and I'm here, and you can still hear me so we'll just go with—I'm, I'm like a baritone today. Okay? So we'll just go with that. Revelation, chapter 20, that's where we're going to be. Why don't we open up in a word of prayer?
God, thank you so for bringing me here. It's an honor to be here. Albuquerque doesn't feel like home anymore, but Cavalry always does. I love this church. I love what you're doing here in this city through this church. And, God, we open up your Word right now because we believe it is what it says it is. It is alive, and active and it can and will change us if we'll allow it. And so, Lord, I pray that right now we wouldn't just open up our Bibles, but you would open up our hearts and our minds to hear from you, receive your Word, and be impacted and changed by it. Speak through me now. We rely on you, in Jesus' name we pray, amen.
My family and I recently went on a little road trip to St. Louis. Of course, a lot of people this time of year are traveling. And if you ever go on a family road trip, there are a few phrases, questions, that you can count on hearing from the backseat, you know: "He or she hit me." "I have to pee." "What's that smell?" "How much longer?" You know, you know the typical questions.
And that, that last question: "How much longer?" is a question that we often even ask. It's a, it's a question that's been asked for thousands of years now. When we look at the news headlines, a lot of times that's the question we ask: "God, when I, when I look at all of the death and everything that's happening in our world, how much longer will you allow this to continue?"
And this same question has been asked for thousands of years. Asaph pondered that question in Psalm 74. He said, "O God, how long will the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme your name forever?" Or the psalmist in Psalm 94 verse 3, it says, "How long will the wicked triumph?" Or even if you fast forward to Revelation, chapter 6, during the seven years of the tribulation, those who give their lives for Christ are killed by the Antichrist in the midst of the tribulation. They ask the same question, Revelation 6:10: "They cried with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
So today what we're going to do is we're going to fast forward to the end of time, to the very last day on earth, and we're going to look at the fact that one day soon it will be the end of the world as we know it. And, thankfully, if you give your life to Jesus, you'll be feeling just fine when that day rolls around. There's hope, there's, there's forgiveness in the name of Christ.
Now, Revelation, chapter 20, of course, is not the end of the Bible, there are two more chapters. But it is the end of Satan, it's the end of sin, and it's the end of heaven and earth as we know them. And our text today is really a bittersweet text. It's bitter because of the eternal judgment of sinners, but it's sweet because of the eternal victory over sin through Jesus Christ.
And so today we're going to get a grasp biblically on: How do we live today in light of the truth the end is coming soon? Because in reality, as we're going to see today through Scripture, our lives should look very different today based on the fact that one day it's all going to end. So, how are we going to live today in light of that truth?
Now, let me give you kind of a quick timeline, Revelation timeline. Sometimes people are a little intimidated by the Book of Revelation; no need to be scared, we're not going to go super theological today. Our, our goal is practical, application, what are we going to do in light of these truths? But let me give you kind of a quick recap timelines to catch us up to chapter 20.
Around Revelation, chapter 4, the rapture takes place. John gets a glimpse into heaven. Christians during the rapture Christians will meet Christ in the air. Those of us who have given our lives to Christ will be there united with Him. It's the next event on the prophetic calendar. It could literally happen at any moment.
Beginning in Revelation, chapter 6 through 18, is what we would call the tribulation: seven years of God's wrath, unprecedented judgment on the earth, as well as unprecedented salvation on the earth. You're going to read Revelation, chapter 7, and find out that there is an enumerable amount of people who give their lives to Christ during the tribulation. Praise God for that.
And then, chapter 19 is the second coming of Christ. Immediately upon his return to the earth he judges those who have gathered together united under the Antichrist, united at Armageddon, to fight against him. Psalm 2 says that as the armies unite against God, God is in heaven laughing. It's is not a battle, he's not threatened, he's not scared. And although some of the imagery in Revelation might seem frightening at times, we know the end of the story: Jesus wins. Isn't that good news? Jesus wins. And so we follow Him into eternity.
Chapter 20 begins this future event, future time period known as millennium. It's a literal one thousand year period where Christ and his church return to the earth to rule and reign physically on the earth. During this time, Satan and the demons are locked up. According to chapter 20, they can't deceive any longer.
According to many Old Testament passages, earth is restored to somewhat of an Eden like state. Lifespans last much longer. Peace will be enforced worldwide. I mean, this is just an amazing place. The happiest place on earth will be earth itself; forget Disneyland at this point. Okay? It's an amazing place. And although earth enjoys a thousand years without Satan, that'll be a great time, verse 3 in chapter 20 ends in kind of a very peculiar way. Here's what it says, verse 3: "After these things he," speaking of Satan," must be released for a little while."
Now, your question when you read that might be: "Why? Could we just keep him locked up in time out for the rest of time? Why do we need to let the guy out? We're done with him already." Well, the answer, as we're going to see today, is that God still has one final purpose for Satan on the earth before he casts him into hell. It's a great reminder for us, that although Satan is mighty, he's not almighty. Amen? He is under the authority of the almighty God, and God will use him until his last moment on the earth to prove God right, and to prove God's faithfulness.
So we're going to break down our text in two main ways, and we're going to start here at number one: Satan's final rampage is the first half, and then we're going to look at sin's final ruin, and then we're going to circle back for some more application.
Number one: Satan's final rampage. Starting in verse 7, says, "Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city."
Now, when you first read this of Satan getting released and deceiving people, your first question might be, "Who will he even have to deceive?" Because obviously he's not going to deceive Jesus, or the angels, or the Old Testament New Testament tribulation saints, they've died and been perfected now in Christ. Those who enter the millennium on the earth will be those who are Christians, become Christians during the tribulation, and survive the wrath of the Antichrist.
So at this point of the beginning of the millennium, everyone's a believer, so who is Satan going to deceive? Like, are there some unrepented sinners hiding under rocks like cockroaches that God just can't seem to eliminate? Who is he going to find? Well, the group that's not mentioned is the following generations of the Christians who enter the millennium; it's the sons and daughters.
And these children, thank God, will be born into a world much better than ours is today. Jesus is king. There's nobody in a White House, it's just Jesus at a white throne, and he's ruling, and reigning, and judging from that. Everyone on earth at this point is subject to his reign and his rules; however, like always, salvation is a personal decision that each of us have to make, same with the sons and daughters during the millennium.
Now, under those conditions, with Jesus physically reigning and ruling on the earth, you would think that Satan is like—okay, like maybe he'll find four people to deceive. You know? A dozen? Fifty maybe? Okay, max, a hundred, you know. Jesus is present on the earth. Who in their right minds would follow Satan and turn their back on Jesus? Well, unfortunately, verse 8 tells us he finds so many people to deceive, that the army he gathers up from around the world is numbered as the sand of the sea; you can't even count them.
So they, Satan gathers his army from around the world, they surround Jerusalem, verse 9: "Fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them." The battle is over before it even begins. And now, verse 10, great verse because it's Satan's final mention in the whole Bible. Ready? Verse 10: "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
Now, if you think—if you are of the persuasion that hell is not forever, you need to reread verse 10, and 2 Thessalonians 1:9, and Jude 7, and 12, and 13, and almost every time Jesus talked about hell. The Bible is very clear that hell is an everlasting, eternal place. Once you're dead, eternity is decided. There's no switching. There's no do overs. There's no earning your way out. In fact, to read verse 10 and come out believing that hell is not eternal requires you to go into it with your own preconceived ideas, and then not change your mind.
That's a problem, isn't it? Because you guys know, Pastor Skip teaches this all the time: God's Word is the authority. So if you believe something, and then you open up the Bible and you find out that the Bible actually contradicts what you believe, what do you? You change your mind; that's what you do. You're not the authority. God's Word is our authority. We submit to that.
I mean, there's no more emphatic way to say "forever" than verse 10: "Day and night forever and forever." So here's the biblical truth about hell, ready? Hell is literal, it's eternal, it's painful, but because of Jesus Christ it's completely avoidable. Nobody has to go there. In fact, Jesus said the purpose of hell—it was created for Satan and his demons, and in verse 10 it finally fulfills its purpose.
So there it is, verse 10, Satan's final mention in Scripture. I think we can clap for that, right? Isn't that good news? He's done with. Jesus wins. He's out of the story, Satan's final rampage.
Number two: Sin's final ruin. Now, verse 11 switches to kind of a courtroom scene. Now, if I say "courtroom," and you think "Judge Judy," then clear your mind. Okay? Thank God she's nowhere in chapter 20. This courtroom scene is nothing like any courtroom scene we've ever been a part of.
Warren Wiersbe describes it this way, he says, "There will be a Judge but no jury, a prosecution but no defense, and a sentence but no appeal."
Verse 11: "I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. Then the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
Now, I want to highlight two things about sin's final ruin. Number one: No one escapes. Genesis, chapter 1, dealt with the creation of heaven and earth. Verse 11 deals with the opposite. It's kind of like the uncreation of heaven and earth. According to verse 11: "The earth and heaven fled way. And there was found no place for them."
Chapter 21, verse 1, John says, "I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away." It was gone. By this point earth is so tainted by sin that God does away with them so that he can make room for the new heaven and the new earth. And so at this point it's just Jesus and anyone who has ever lived and rejected salvation through Jesus. Anywhere where they would love to run and hide is gone; it's all been wiped away.
Reading here about the second resurrection that Jesus talked about, he said the first is called the resurrection of life; the second is the resurrection of condemnation. Anyone who's anyone is here, according to verse 12, "small and great," because death is the great leveler. It doesn't matter your status, your position, your authority on earth. The Bible says it is appointed for every man to die once. And what every person here has in common in chapter 20, standing in front of the judgment seat of Christ; they may not have a lot in common, but they have at least one thing: all of these people have rejected Jesus for salvation.
And according to verse 13, "The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them." So in other words, no matter how, when, or where they died, when they if, if they rejected Christ for salvation, when they breathed their last, it doesn't matter where they were, who they were with, who they were on earth, they are resurrected to face the final judgment. And so there they are, standing in front of the resurrected Christ.
Now, I want you to try to picture how chilling this scene will be. Imagine who will be here. There's Jesus standing resurrected as the Judge, and who's standing in front of him? How about guys like Pilate, who once stood on earth as judge over Jesus; Caesar; the Roman guards, who whipped Jesus, nailed him to the cross. And there's Jesus still bearing the scars of what those Roman guards did to him, and now the tables have turned.
Even people from our day and age; people who said God was a myth, and now their faced with the reality. Richard Hawkins, Richard Dawkins, Charles Darwin, Adolf Hitler, the tables have turned and now Jesus is the Judge. No one can escape. But here's the second truth about sin's final ruin: Nothing escapes. Not one sinful action escapes the eyes of Jesus.
According to verse 12 he begins to open up books, and suddenly anyone who has ever rejected Christ for salvation is faced with page after page of their sin that he begins to recall to their memory. Every sinful thought, action, glance, word, everything sinful in their whole lives is, is recounted to them page, after page, after page. Time will be no issue at this point, and according to verse 13, Jesus in person judges each one according to their works.
So he points out their sins, and he reads page after page of their sin, and the way that they've rejected Christ. And then he says, "You know what? Let me check one last book." And he pulls out the Book of Life. You guys know the Book of Life, when you give your life to Jesus; your name is forever written in the Book of Life. That's your entrance into heaven. But after He reads off sin, sin, sin, of each of these people's lives, He begins to scan the pages of the Book of Life.
And every person standing at the judgment seat of Christ, their names are not found written in the Book of Life. And at this point, according to Matthew, chapter 7, people break into desperate pleas in front of Jesus. Matthew 7:22: "Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?' "
"Jesus, I'm a good person. You don't understand, like, I, I know you just read all those horrible things that I've done, but I really think there's a lot more good in my life than bad. I, I, I know that I told people that you were a myth, but I get it now. Like I'll, I'll stop all of that, please!" And they're pleading, and at this point it's too late.
And Jesus will speak the dreaded words in Matthew 7:23, "Depart from me, I never knew you." And those will be the final words that will ring in their minds for the rest of eternity. And so as each person is judged, hell will be the obvious, just decision. No one escapes, nothing escapes.
And finally, in my opinion, the saddest verse in all of Scripture, verse 15: "Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." And the sobering thought behind that verse is that we all know people who will be there that day. It is no accident that those people are in our lives. God has allowed our paths to cross with theirs so that we would speak up about the gospel. So what's keeping you quiet? Our hearts should be broken and burdened for those who need Jesus.
So what can we learn? I know this is a very sobering, heavy passage, but there's a lot to learn from it. And let me give you guys three things to write down. I would encourage you guys to take notes, if you haven't been already. Three things, practical application, for us to take home from this passage.
Number one, write this down, it's a hard truth to swallow, but we need it. Number one: You are the problem, not your surroundings. You are the problem, not your surroundings. Since the Garden of Eden, we've been playing the blame game. Haven't we? Adam got caught in his sin, and what did he do? "It was the woman," classic man, you know? What did she do? "Uh, it was the serpent," blaming, shifting the blame somewhere else.
We do this today: "I'm angry because I'm Italian." "I fight because I'm Irish." "I'm an alcoholic because my dad was." Wrong, wrong, wrong! You're angry because you're a jerk without self control. Sorry. You're a, you're, you're, you're fighting because you're selfish and you never outgrew temper tantrums, apparently. You're an alcoholic because you drank the beer. Your dad didn't shove it down your throat.
My family has been plagued with divorce for multiple generations now. Does that mean I have to divorce my wife? No, by God's grace divorce in my family stops with me. I refuse to be an, an innocent victim of my family or my surroundings. And we need to stop looking at our circumstances and blaming those, instead of looking inwardly, because that's where the problem lies.
I believe one of the main reasons for Jesus releasing Satan at the end of the millennium is to prove that theory wrong. I mean, think about the setting on earth. Jesus is reigning and ruling physically. The world is at peace. Satan is gone. Only Christians enter the millennium. If we are products of our environment, shouldn't this kind of environment be producing little angels? Just chubby cherubs popping out left and right. You know? I mean that's what you would think from this.
But the reason that Satan can, at the end of Christ's thousand year reign, find an enumerable army from around the world is because the problem is not external, it's internal. And although everyone during the millennium will outwardly conform to God's ways, many will lack inward transformation, and that's the problem.
Following Jesus is a personal decision that each of us have to make. It's not enough to be born into a good Christian family, or go to a great church. Everyone during the millennium will do those things. They will be born into great families, have many opportunities to serve Jesus. Outward submission can never substitute for inward transformation. It will never be enough. Recycle all you want, serve at soup kitchens, help old ladies across the street, those are good. Good deeds are nice, but it's heart change that's needed.
You need to allow God to change your heart. You can have all the filters, and the blocks, and the accountability set up in your life, but ultimately if you want to sin, you will find a way to sin. The problem is not external, it's internal. And until you surrender your sinful heart to Jesus, you will be fighting a losing, dying, battle candy coated by a bunch of good works. And those good deeds can lead you straight to hell, because they will numb your need for God. You'll feel good about yourself, and you'll forget that you need Jesus. You are the problem, not your surroundings.
Number two, write this down: Don't try to hide from God. Ever since I turned thirteen and hit my growth spurt, hiding has become an increasingly challenging thing for me. Hiding my six foot five frame behind anything is just not easy. I'm normally the first out in a round of hide and seek, or the first out in paintball. I just—I'm in pain and regret; it's terrible. So, if you want me to go paintballing with you, uh, I have something else to do, sorry.
But in verse 11, people will want to hide, but they won't be able to. Remember it says that heaven and earth fled away. Suddenly anywhere and anything that people would have run to, to hide, is now gone; it's just them and Jesus. There's nowhere to hide from the all seeing eyes of Christ. But the truth is behind verse 11, that verse 11 is simply a physical expression of an already present truth. Because Hebrews 4:13 tells us that: "There is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."
David pondered the same thing in Psalm 139 when he finally realized: "Even if I wanted to get away if God's spirit, I can't." How about what God said in Jeremiah 23? He said, " 'Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so that I shall not see him?' 'Do I not fill heaven and earth?' says the Lord." He's saying, "I'm everywhere. You can't get away from me. I see it all."
So, if God sees everything, what that reminds us is even if you feel like you're getting away with it, you're not. I don't know what that deep dark sin is that you're hiding, but God sees it. And you know what the great news is? He loves you anyway. He died to save you anyway. So today is your day to come clean, and to get out in the open and say, "That's who I used to be, but it's not who I want to be anymore." And God can forgive you, and today you're going to have an opportunity to give your life to the God who died to save it: Jesus Christ. So don't try to hide from God.
Finally, number three, write this down: Let God rewrite your story. Write that down: Let God rewrite your story.
Our lives today are more recorded than ever in history. Some of us are journalers, so you still go old school with the pen and paper. But there's lots of technological ways to document as well. There's over five million Instagram photos posted every day; over four hundred million tweets sent every day; over two and a half billion Facebook updates, wall posts, comments; tens of MySpace posts. Right? You guys were a little slow on that one. Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, they, they record our thoughts and our lives.
Do you know God is also a very prolific author? Not only did he breathe the words of this Book, but Psalm 56 says that he writes about our pain and our suffering. Psalm 139 says that he wrote down each day of our lives before they ever happened. Originally my notes—I put that he recorded the days of our lives, and then I felt like that sounded like God's watching soap operas; so I just decided I'll reword that. You get the truth, you get the point.
Verse 12 reminds us of the frightening truth that until we give our lives to Jesus, every single sinful act in our life is written down so that one day it can be held against us. And so without Jesus, and because of sin, every person ever born is headed to hell.
Revelation 21 tells us who ends up there: "The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." That list in Revelation 21:8 reminded me of an earlier list in Scripture. First Corinthians 6 verse 9, Paul writes, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God."
Now, Paul was not writing to simply give another list of people who aren't going to make it to heaven; that wasn't his goal. The best part and the point of what he was saying is the very next verse, 1 Corinthians 6:11, this is the best part: "And such were some of you," he says, "But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." Did you catch Paul's language? "Such were some of you," it's past tense. They let God rewrite the story of their lives.
He's telling them, "You used to be on the list of people who were going to hell, but do you get it? Jesus died in your place. You accepted that by faith, and the end has changed. You're no longer on that list. That used to be who you were, but God has rewritten the ending, and you are now saved, and washed, and forgiven by the grace of Jesus Christ. Good news, this is the good news of the gospel, that we can have the same—oh, you can clap for that.
Because what Jesus would much rather do with that handwritten list of requirements against us, according to Colossians 2, is nail it to the cross and say, "Forgiven. Their name goes into the Book of Life. They're going to be with me for eternity." Verse 14 calls hell "the second death." But Jesus says in Revelation 2, "He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death." So how do you overcome?
Well, simple, 1 John 5:4 says, "Whatever is born of God overcomes the world." It's not whoever goes to church enough overcomes the world; whoever owns a Bible, and goes to a good church, and grew up in a Christian family overcomes the world. No, "Whoever is born of God overcomes the world." So what does that tell us? Your only hope for salvation and eternity in heaven is Jesus Christ, that's it. It's not your good deeds, it's not your church attendance, it's not your Bible; those are great things, but they're not enough in and of themselves. It's Jesus that you need. And so I'm begging you today, don't let verse 15 be the end of your story; let God rewrite it.
I read that 14 percent of the U.S. population, about forty million people, hit the road for Thanksgiving travel last week. Of course, with that many Americans on the road travel gets pretty treacherous. Really, with two Americans on the road travel is treacherous, right? But I read, and many of you guys probably read the news story in Texas on Thanksgiving Day, there was a massive chain reaction pileup that closed eastbound I 10 for eight hours. There were a hundred and forty cars involved. Two people died. Almost a hundred people were sent to the hospital, many in serious or critical condition.
According to the police report, the fog was so thick that when the police arrived on the scene, they didn't even realize that they were dealing with multiple accidents. In fact, one police officer said that even with his lights and his sirens on he couldn't see more than about ten feet in front of him, and cars were still passing him. Many vehicles were traveling about seventy miles per hour before they even saw the wreck, and by then it was too late.
So I'm reading this on Thanksgiving Day, and my heart just broke for these families whose Thanksgiving Day ended in tragedy. And then I realized there is a spiritual truth in this text, in that news story for us as well. Because what Revelation 20 reminds us is that without Jesus we are those people traveling at seventy miles an hour through the fog, and we are careening into disaster. Disaster is right ahead, and we have to stop, and we have to get our bearings.
You know, speaking of this, this coming day, the end, Peter asks this question, 2 Peter 3 verse 11, he says, "Therefore, since all these things," earth, anything we cling to here on earth, everything we invest in. "Since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?"
What he's saying is, "If everything you are living for and investing in on earth will one day burn and be wiped away, shouldn't that probably realign your priorities? Shouldn't that change what you're living for?" It's all going to be gone, and one day it'll be you and Jesus, the day of reckoning. What will you have lived for? Will what you're living for right now matter in eternity? That's the question to ask. And so by God's grace, I hope that today I can be like the guy standing on, on the freeway in Texas waving you down in the fog and saying, "Stop!" Let Jesus have control.
And that includes Christians today as well, because some of you, you may have made a decision to follow Christ years back, but you're not living it today. You know, Jesus still loves you. You know, there's still hope for you to live with purpose and meaning, but you need to repent of your sin. You need to turn to Jesus, and he is ready and willing to save you, and give you forgiveness.
And for those of you who have never made a decision to follow Christ, today is your day to do that as well. In fact, in just a moment this will be your chance. Let's allow God to rewrite the end of our stories and give our lives meaning and purpose. Would you guys pray with me?
Jesus we come before you right now, and we're thankful for your grace. We're thankful that no matter what we've done, who we've been, you stand ready, willing, and able to forgive and to cleanse. And so, God, I pray that right now those of us who have given our hearts to you would live in the boldness, in the liberty that we have in Christ, that we would embrace our forgiveness and our new eternal destination, and live in a way that honors you.
And, God, I pray for every other person here, or listening, or watching online that has never made a decision to follow you. In just a moment, Lord, I'm going to give them that opportunity, and I know that right now you are extending your grace to them. And so I pray that they would respond in faith, they would turn from their sin, and they would turn to Jesus. They would abandon the control of their lives that they thought they had, and let you control it and steer it from here. Speak to them right now, Lord; give them boldness to make a public proclamation or commitment to Jesus.
If you would, keep your heads down and eyes closed, I want to give that opportunity right now. I believe God is speaking to lives across the building, here in the room, up in the balcony, maybe in the family room. If you're in the cafe listening to this, or you're watching or listening online, I believe that God is speaking to you right now. And in just a moment I'm going to ask you if you've never made a decision to follow Christ, or if you have, and you need to get back on track, today is your day.
And what I'm going to ask you to do right now is to lift your hand, and in just a moment I'm going to call you forward, and I'm going to lead you in prayer to surrender your life to Christ. If God is speaking to you, and you recognize now: "If I died tomorrow, I don't know where I'm going to go. I need to get right with Jesus." Would you be so bold right now to lift your hand, and I want to lead you in a prayer to surrender your life to Christ. I see your hands back there on the side. If this is your, if God is speaking to you, the last thing you want to do is drag your feet.
Would you lift your hand right now, and I want to lead you in a prayer. I see your hand right here in the middle, up in the balcony, wherever you are. I see your hand all the way over here on the side, over here in the middle. This is your moment. The Bible says the last thing you want to do when God is speaking is harden your heart. Today is the day of salvation. There's a hand in middle, over here on the side. You can put your hands down if you raised them already.
But if there's anybody else, this is your moment. In a just a moment I'm going to give you a chance to come forward and make this a public decision, and we want to commitment—we want to celebrate this moment with you. Is there anybody else that needs to lift your hand? I know it's a bold decision. I know you probably weren't planning on making this decision today, but this is what you need. I see your two hands right over here. All the way in the back, I see your hand.
Jesus, we come before you right now, and we thank you for the many hands that have gone up in this place, and in just a moment, Lord, I pray that you give them the boldness to step out of their chair, and come forward, and publicly commit their lives to you. Jesus, you are our only hope. We trust in you, and we ask that you would receive us, God, and we know that you will. And we thank you for your blood that washes away our sins, in Jesus' name we pray, amen.
Would you guys stand? Now is the moment that I'm going to call you forward. If you need to make a public decision to follow Christ, and you just lifted your hand, or you should have and you didn't; now is your moment. Would you come up here, we're going to sing through a chorus of this song; I want you to join us up here. Would you guys celebrate those who are making this decision and giving their lives to Jesus. Step out of your chair and join us right up here, right now. [Worship music playing]
Look what God is doing right here. God changes lives when we respond; amazing. You guys know Jesus himself said that when one sinner repents the angels throw a party. The party is, like, times ten in heaven right now; isn't that awesome? God is working in their lives. So here's what I'm going to do. You guys are making the best decision in your whole life right now, and in just a moment I'm going to lead you in a prayer.
And these are simply words that I'm going to ask you to say just from your heart, you're saying them to the Lord. These aren't code words or special words to get into heaven, but you're just telling God: "I'm a sinner; I need you to save me. I'm tired of what I've done, and I turn my life to you." And so, I'm going to ask you guys, would you repeat this out loud after me, and we're going to commit your lives to Jesus. You ready?
Say this after me: Dear Jesus, I give my heart to you. I'm tired of my sin. I'm tired of the way that I've lived, and I want to live for you. Thank you for dying for me, and for rising again. Fill me now with your Spirit. I give you my life, in Jesus' name I pray, amen.
Amen! Would you give them a hand? Wow! Awesome!