Hello, and welcome to this teaching from Skip Heitzig, pastor of Calvary Albuquerque. We're starting a new series called "The War is Over," where we celebrate the songs from our worship team, Battledrums. It's from their debut album now available on iTunes, Google Play, or at battledrumsmucis.com.
In this series, Skip examines what these songs symbolize for our Christian walk. If this message brings spiritual transformation in your life, tell us. Email us at email@example.com. Worship music conveys our dependence on God and a celebration of Him. The song "The Light Has Come" celebrates a great truth from John's gospel. God's life that enlightens us has come in the person of Jesus Christ. We invite you to mark your Bibles to John Chapter 1. But before Skip begins, check out this sneak peek of "The Light Has Come."
(SINGING) Now our joy is alive. The light has come. Now our hope is restored. The light has come. Now our hearts are renewed. The light has come. Now we are free. The light has come.
Now our joy is alive. The light has come. Now our hope is restored. The light has come. Now our hearts are renewed. The light has come. Now we are free. The light has come.
Through the darkness, the light has come. To the broken, the light has come. To lead us, to save us, to steal our death and break the curse, the light has come. The light has come. The light has come. The light has come.
Would you turn in your Bibles, please, to the Gospel of John Chapter 1. Great to be with you today, not only here, but also those who are outside in our amphitheater and joining us on the computer at home or wherever they may be in the country or listening on radio. Just glad that we can be together somehow, worshipping in church.
John chapter 1. It's been said that Judaism and Christianity are singing religions and that atheism has no singing. It's songless. And that is because there's really nothing to sing about.
I found it interesting reading about a prominent agnostic named Robert Ingersoll post Civil War. Ingersoll, when he died, a death notice was sent informing people of the time of the funeral and where it would be at. But on that little notice was written at the bottom, there will be no singing. There will be no singing.
However, believers have always found the need to sing to express their faith through music. And it has been noted that well over 500,000 hymns have been written in the church age. Having said that, I think it is also important to note that a fresh expression of praise is needed in every generation for the simple fact that your kids hear things that don't mean the same to you as it does to them. They don't quite understand the language.
I enjoy the story of the couple in church with their hands raised, along with most of the congregation. They were singing "I Exalt Thee, Oh, Lord." And they looked down and heard their daughter with her hands raised, I'm exhausted, oh, Lord. I'm exhausted, oh, Lord.
Exalt to a kid doesn't mean much. Or the Sunday School teacher who's favorite hymn from the 1600s was the song "Oh, the Consecrated Cross I Bear" but a little boy in the class didn't hear it that way and didn't sing it that way. He sang these words-- oh, the constipated, cross-eyed bear.
A survey of 1,800 people across 24 different congregations revealed that believers like to sing, that they're comforted by the words of the songs that they sing. And yet in that same survey, over 50% believed they didn't sound very good when they sang. And I read that and chuckled because I thought, well, that's all right. God is not auditioning us for the present. He's conditioning us for the future. Just keep doing it. We'll get it right in glory someday.
But we sing because it expresses our faith. And did you know that the word "sing" or "song" or "sang" is found 206 times in the scripture? CS Lewis, referring to praise songs, called it "inner health made audible." Inner health-- I love that. How healthy are you inside? If you're healthy, let us know it-- inner health made audible.
Well, our worship team has put together a list of songs that is featured in an album they call "The War is Over," celebrating the grand the fact that the real battle, the real war, it's done. Jesus paid the price. The work is done. It's finished. But He's with us in our day-in and day-out battles that we all face while on this Earth.
And so we want to do a short series this summer on the songs that have become songs of our church, written by our worship team and sung in our church. And what we want to do is explore the scriptural foundation, the backing of them, the biblical themes from which these songs have been drawn. And the first is what you just saw in the video, "The Light Has Come." Through the darkness, we sing, the light has come. To the broken, the light has com. To lead us, to save us, to steal our death and break the curse, the light has come.
John's gospel Chapter 1 takes us back to the very beginning, where in the mind, the heart of the Father, the light, his Son, was to come into the world. John begins, John Chapter 1, verse one, "In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through Him. And without Him, nothing was made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness did not comprehend or overwhelm it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. This man came for a witness to bear witness of the light that all through him might believe. He was not that light but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light which gives light to every man coming into the world."
Now, this is John's beginning of the gospel. When Matthew begins his gospel, as Jesus comes on the scene, Matthew quotes from one of the ancient prophets, the prophet Isaiah, who said of the coming of Jesus Christ, the people who have sat in darkness have seen a great light. And those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, a light has shined.
The picture that Isaiah paints is that of sitting in a dark room or across a dark night. We're in the dark for years and years and years, waiting for the light to come. And finally, finally, one day God sends his Son, the light of the world.
There are five truths, five aspects of this light in John's gospel that I want to uncover with you. And I want to look at it like a five-pointed star. With each point of the star, the light gets brighter and brighter.
Here's the first aspect. The light is typical. Let me explain that, typical meaning emblematic. It's a type of something. You've heard of the types of the Bible, that one thing symbolizes something else. And so the term "light" is often used to speak of not just physical light but to be emblematic or symbolic or a type of something else.
Sometimes it means knowledge. Sometimes it refers to wisdom, God's wisdom. Sometimes it refers to truth or God's guidance or God's favor. But so often, and here, it speaks of a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. So the light is typical. It typifies him.
And let me sum it up by saying that physically, light speaks of the glory of God. When the Lord began his creation, he simply spoke a sentence, let there be light. His presence was known by the issuing forth of light.
And when the children of Israel were marching through the desert from Egypt to the promised land, you remember how God led them through a pillar of fire and a luminous cloud that led them from place to place. And then much later, when David looked up in the sky at the heavenly lights, the sun, the moon, the stars, he said, the heavens declare the glory of God.
And then finally, one day we'll see it ourselves. But John sees the new Jerusalem. At the end of the Bible, he says, there was no need for sun or moon to shine in it, for the glory of God was its light. So physically, light speaks of the glory of God. When we say Jesus is the light, we're simply meaning that He is the glory of God in human form. As the writer of Hebrews expressed it, He is the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person.
Also, intellectually, light speaks of the knowledge of God. God has a certain attribute none of us have-- omniscient. You know what that means? He's all-knowing. He knows absolutely-- he's the ultimate knower.
There was a period of our history, not ours in America, but of world history, called the Dark Ages from about 500 to 1000 AD, give or take a century. That was called the Dark Ages. People lived in the dark. They were un-enlightened. They didn't have knowledge. They were superstitious. And that superstition led to violence.
Those were the Dark Ages, eclipsed centuries later by what was known as the Enlightenment. Now we know stuff. Now we're enlightened. Well, Jesus Christ was the ultimate knower, the ultimate enlightened one.
The Bible tells us He could be in a room, and He could know what people were thinking. That would be unnerving, would it not? He could read their minds, read their thoughts. At other times, he knew so much he predicted the future. He predicted his own death, his own burial, his own resurrection.
So physically, light speaks of the glory of God. Intellectually, light speaks of the knowledge of God. There's another way it's typical, or emblematic. Morally, light speaks of the holiness of God, just as light is brilliant and it is pure and spotless. So, too, there is no flaw in God's character. 1 Timothy Chapter 6 verse 16, God alone is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light. In other words, there is perfection with Him, no flaws.
Years ago, an author by the name of Rabbi Harold Kushner, very liberal Jewish writer, wrote a book called The Passover Plot, among other books. But he basically said God is imperfect. He couldn't manage making a good world. It's filled with so many problems. And that's just sort of out of God's control. And he encourages us, the reader, to forgive God.
Oh, come on. Forgive poor God. He can't help it. Would you just forgive him? Listen, that's ludicrous. That's laughable. God doesn't need to be forgiven for anything. He didn't do anything wrong.
He is absolutely perfect, and so was Jesus. He said to his enemies, which of you can convict me of sin? So morally, it speaks of His Holiness.
Now, when we give our lives to Christ, the Bible pictures it as stepping out of the shadow, stepping out of darkness into the light, which means on a moral level that we refuse to live a hidden life any longer. We are now walking into the light and being exposed by the bright, pure light of God's holiness. But that's OK, because we are forgiven. But we leave the darkness behind, the shadows behind.
So light is typical. That's the first point on the star. The second point on this five-sided star is that light is expressible. Just like the moon expresses or reflects the light of the sun, our lives ought to reflect and express God's light in this dark world.
Look at verse 6. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. Now, this is not the John who wrote the book of John, the author of this book. This author is writing about another John, John the Baptist. "This man came for a witness to bear witness of the light that all through him might believe. He was not that light but was sent to bear witness of that light."
Now first of all, notice the abrupt change. John begins in heaven, in eternity past, in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. He is the source of life, and he is light. And then suddenly, we get like plopped down from heaven to Earth. There was a man, right? Or literally, "a man appeared." That's how the text literally reads, "a man appeared, sent from God, whose name was John."
So suddenly, we go from heaven to Earth, and we're introduced to this representative, a fiery preacher, John the Baptist, who came from the south, Judea. So I guess technically he was a Southern Baptist.
Actually, sorry. There's just certain things you walk into you just can't help. He was John the Baptizer. That's how I like to refer to him. He had no denomination at all. There were none.
He was simply a prophet, a voice, that shattered the silence that had been going on for 400 years. God had nothing to say to humanity for 400 years between the Old and the New Testament. Suddenly, John comes on the scene and breaks, shatters that silence.
And he has a mission, verse 7. "The man came for a witness to bear witness of the light." Now, the word witness is a legal term. A witness is somebody who takes the stand and testifies in court to what he or she has seen and heard. And that's how John the author speaks about John the Baptist. It's as though John the author brings all of humanity into a giant courtroom and presents the case for Jesus Christ.
Ladies and gentlemen, he says, members of the jury and of the court, I want you know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the light of the world. And I call as my first witness John the Baptist. He'll tell you.
And that was John's whole aim in life, was it not, to point to Jesus, not to point to himself. He said, I must decrease, he must increase. That's the whole purpose. His highest aspiration was to express the light, to point to the light.
Look at verse 7. Here's why he did it. "He came for a witness to bear witness of the light, that all through him might believe." Did you read that? That all through him might believe. Through whom? I know you're tempted to say Jesus Christ, but that's not what it says. It's a small h. My Bible translation does me the service of capitalizing every pronoun related to God or deity and putting small h's where humans are concerned. So "that all through him"-- small h-- "might believe."
Through whom? Through John the Baptist, through John the Baptist, that all through him might believe. In other words, John's life was a channel. John's life was a conduit. John's life was the medium through which the light, Jesus Christ, could be expressed.
If you ever come with us to Israel and you go to Jerusalem, which you will, you find the old city of Jerusalem is a walled city with several gates. And one of the most prominent gates that we all walk through several times is known as the Jaffa Gate. And it's recognizable because the Jaffa Gate has a tower, a citadel, called the Tower of David. And inside that little Tower of David at night on a few nights of the week, they have a light show that shows the history of Jerusalem.
And so you sit down in the Tower of David, the citadel. And when it begins, a voice comes through the loudspeakers directing the audience's eyes' attention to the lights that will be shown in different parts of the room. And that's how I see John the Baptist.
He's the voice of one crying in the wilderness, he said. He's the voice that says, ladies and gentlemen, the show is about to begin. You may want to wear your sunglasses for this one, because the light of the world is about to come. That was John. And that was his highest goal.
And let me say that is the highest use of your life. That is where you and I ought to spend our time, our talent, are treasure, not trying to find out who we are and express who we are as much as express who He is through our lives. The light is expressible, and it was expressed through John the Baptist.
Speaking of songs, one of my favorite songs by Francis Havergal goes like this. "Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee. Take my voice and let me sing, always only for my king. Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee."
John didn't want the limelight. He wanted to shine the limelight on Jesus Christ. So that light was typical. That light was expressible.
Let's look at the star one more time and come to the third point on this bright star. And that is the light is reliable. This is reliable light. Look at verse 9. "That"-- speaking of Jesus, not John. "That was the true light." Stop right there.
Now, inserting that adjective "true" implies that there are false lights. Here's the true light in contradistinction to false light. In fact, the word itself for true is the Greek word "alethinos," and it means true, genuine, as opposed to fictitious, counterfeit, and imaginary. There have been and are many, many false ways to become enlightened. But there is one true light.
If somebody ever asked me to paint a picture, they commissioned me to paint a picture of world history-- not that they ever would. Trust me, I lack the skill set. It wouldn't happen. But if they said, we want you to paint world history, for me it would be quite easy.
I'd go to Home Depot or Lowe's and ask the paint manager for the darkest, blackest, madness paint available. And I'd get a white canvas, and I'd just dump the can on top of the canvas and cover it all with darkness. Let it dry. And then I would get the whitest of white lights, start in the corner, and with that paint, I'd draw a streak across the canvas and then more streaks and more streaks until it flooded the whole bottom.
Because in all of the dark world, there has been one, authentic, reliable light. And His name is Jesus. He's the true light. He's reliable, the reliable light.
I just mentioned the Dark Ages, technically from 476 AD to 800 AD. But you know what? I believe every age of man is dark and in need of light. I believe we live now in the dark ages.
Oh, come on, Skip. We are so enlightened. Haven't you been following the news? Our country, our culture, our world is so modern and so enlightened.
Really? Have we made that much progress? Did you know there have been more victims of war in the 20th century, the last century, than all other centuries combined? Yeah, that's progress for you. It's a real utopia out there.
But that's how blind humanism is. Secular humanism is so blind they actually live with this constant belief that we're getting better and better and better. But they're blind to just the plain facts.
If I take you back to the beginning of the 1900s, it was believed by many people in the world, especially in this country, that we were bringing in the Golden Age, that we would figure out how to eradicate poverty and end war and bring people into a utopia. And that thinking that pervaded our culture was also found in theological circles. It was found in churches under the theological term Postmillennialism. We're going to bring in the golden age of messiah ourselves.
Now, I have a question for you. What happened to that philosophy? Well, let me tell you what happened to it. World War I happened to it. World War II happened to it.
Vietnam War happened to it. Nuclear proliferation happened to it. The AIDS virus happened to it. September 11, 2001, happened to it. The Gulf War happened to it and on. ISIS happened to it. On and on and on it goes. to where we realize this is the history of humanity.
Where's the Enlightenment? It's dark out there. Jesus is the true light.
I've met people who were in search of enlightenment. I met one girl in India. And I asked her, well, what are you doing here? And she goes, oh, I'm going to an ashram. I want to explain what that is, but I said, so, how long are you going to be here? She said, oh, several months.
I go, now, why are you here? She goes, I'm searching for enlightenment. I want to be enlightened. I said, OK. So we had about an hour before her flight, and we got to speak about what enlightenment means.
I met a couple people on their way to Tibet to become enlightened. I've met many people on their way to the Holy Land over in Israel because I want to be enlightened. I sought enlightenment. I took LSD for enlightenment. And I remember I actually saw lights come out of the sky. I thought I was being enlightened.
I sought it through astral projection and spirit riding, and I discovered in my own personal journey in coming to Christ, I've come to believe what Jesus said. I am the light of the world, and whoever follows me will never walk in darkness. There are many would-be lights and enlightenments, but there's only one true, reliable light.
So this light that has come is typical, expressible, and reliable. So we have three points on the star. Let's look at the fourth. The light is helpful. It's helpful.
Look again at verse 9. "That was the true"-- real, authentic-- "light, which"-- now watch this phrase-- "which gives light to every man." Or better put, which gives light to everyone. Just as the sun-- though it's 93 million miles away from the Earth. Just as the sun is the center and the source of light and energy on this Earth in our solar system, so God's light, his truth, has been imprinted at the center of the personality of every person.
God plants his knowledge in us. It's with theologians call general revelation, that God reveals himself generally to everyone in two ways, creation and conscience. Creation tells us there's a God. Our own conscience tells us there's a God.
If we look around the world at creation, we see magnificent design. And a thinking person says, hm, that looks as though it's been designed. There must be a designer behind the design, instead of, well, it just happened.
It would be as ludicrous as me going out to your new car in the parking lot and saying, it's amazing that after millions of years, that car of yours oozed up out of the pavement. You'd say, that's ridiculous. It was designed.
And when I see more intricate designs around me in the universe, I concur. There's a designer behind that. The heavens declare the glory of God. The firmament shows his handiwork.
And then there's conscience. And our conscience reveals to us, because God put it within us, there must be a God. And I can prove that because we, people, ask the big questions.
Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What's this life really all about? We ask those questions, which makes us unique. The very fact that you can ask those questions shows you you're unique.
Your pets don't ask those questions. My dogs don't crouch in the corner going, I wonder if there's a heaven. I hope I go there after I die. What is the meaning and purpose of my life? They don't do that. They just want a bone now. That's about it. They live in the eternal present.
But we have a-- well, it's been called a God consciousness. That's what the Quakers used to call it. This has been called the Quaker verse, verse 9. Because they use this to show that God has put a light, even if it be ever so faint in some people, where they realize there must be something else.
Paul put it this way in Romans 1. "The truth about God is known to them instinctively. God put it in their hearts." God put it in their hearts.
I've always loved what Adrian Rogers used to talk about. He used as an example a trucking company back East. Every time they had a new hire brought into the company, they would give the potential new hire a test, a polygraph test, a lie detector test. And they ask a battery of questions.
One of the questions was, do you believe in God? And the trucking company noted that every person who came in and said no to that question failed that question. In other words, the polygraph said, you're a liar. It's as if God imprinted into humanity this helpful enlightenment where we just instinctively think there must be someone, something out there.
I remember as a child, and then a teenager, experimenting with all those things I just mentioned. I couldn't help but shake the idea that, I'm doing this, it seems promising, but I feel like it's wrong. I'm sinning against the light.
That's what Paul noted when he spoke in Athens. He said to all the Athenian philosophers spread out before him on the Areopagus, he said, you know, God made us. And he put us in our respective places on this Earth that men should seek the Lord in hopes that they might grope for Him if perhaps they might find Him. It's a picture of a man groping in a dark room, moving toward the lighted doorway. God put that within us. This light is helpful.
Now let's complete the star. The fifth point on that star, and we'll close with this, is that this light is approachable. It's approachable. It came to us. It came to the Earth.
Verse 9, "That was the true light, which gives light to every man"-- here's that last phrase-- "coming into the world." Now, I will admit verse 9 is awkward in English. It's an awkward sentence. And the way I just read it in this translation is misleading.
And so other, newer translations kind of help out the real meaning of John the author. And it would be better translated thus, "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." See the difference? True light, referring to Jesus Christ, was coming into the world. It's a reference to his birth, his incarnation, his leaving heaven and coming into our world.
And in coming into our world, He becomes approachable. It's not like God is in heaven, just shines a flashlight down. He steps out of heaven through the galaxies to this green-blue-tan Earth to the backwaters of the Roman Empire to the land of the prophets to the town of Bethlehem and into the womb of a virgin and is implanted there and is born into our world. And we, John said, beheld his glory as of the only begotten of God.
Phillip Yancy writes, "One night in the cold, in the dark, among the wrinkled hills of Bethlehem, those two worlds came together at a dramatic point of intersection. God, who knows no before or after, entered time and space. God, who knows no boundaries, took on the shocking confines of a baby's skin and the ominous restraints of mortality. The light has come."
Why? Why the incarnation? We make a big deal out of it. Why is it so important? Why did He come from heaven to Earth?
For our purposes, let me give you two reasons. Reason number one was to show us how dark we are without Him, to show the level of the darkness of our world without God. And number two was to lead us out, to, with his light, show us out of spiritual, moral darkness into the light.
First of all, to show the world how dark it was-- see, up to the time Jesus came into the world, mankind as a whole could enjoy a relative kind of righteousness, a comparative kind of goodness. We still do it. Well, I'm not as bad as she is. Well, that guy is like tons worse than I am.
And we love to do that. We like to find people less than ourselves, and we compare ourselves with ourselves. Paul said it's unwise to do that. But we do that. And the world kind of got by with a comparative, relative goodness and righteousness until ultimate perfection walked into the room.
And when ultimate perfection walks into the room, our response is, uh-oh, I'm not as good as I thought I was. If that now is the standard, well, I have fallen short of that. And Jesus came and he spoke and he lived very differently than we live.
And by doing that and saying those things, he showed us all up and exposed our darkness. And you say, how cruel of God to expose our darkness. No, it's not. A sick person will never go to a doctor unless they know how sick they are. My dad used to say, oh, I'm just good. No he wasn't. As long as he lived in that lie, he would never seek help.
And so many people never come to Christ because they go, I don't need a savior. They don't know how black it is in their heart and how disrupted their sin is in that relationship with heaven. So it revealed the level of our darkness.
But second, in grace, to lead us out of the darkness-- Jesus said, I am the light of the world. I am the light of the world. You can follow me and never be in darkness.
So as we sing, through the darkness the light has come. To the broken, the light has come. To lead us, to save us, to steal our death, and break the curse, the light has come. The light, Jesus, has come. And he is approachable, and he is approachable today. He is available today.
A man lost his car keys. He was telling his friend about it. I lost my car keys. They were out on the street across from the house. There was a bright overhead street light, and he asked his friend, would you mind helping me find my keys?
So they looked around there for several minutes, and finally his friend said, where exactly did you drop your keys? And the guy said, oh, I lost them in the garage. And this friend said, so why are we looking here? And the guy said, well, the light's better here. [LAUGHTER]
Now, I tell you that lame story because it illustrates a very salient truth. Some of you have lost your way, and you don't know when or where. But the light's better here.
Here in this fellowship of God's people singing these songs, the light's better here. Here, exposed to the truth of God's word, the light's better here. Here in the presence, where God is with his people, the light's better here. And here in this place, though you can't remember where or when you lost your way, the light is better, and it accentuates your darkness but promises you hope that you can escape into the light.
And in this place where the light is good and you can see clearly, hopefully the spirit of God has opened your eyes to be able to see. As the writer of "Amazing Grace" said, I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see. And I'm praying that some of you will see your need for Jesus Christ and make a decision to follow him and walk in the light.
Let's pray. Our Father, John the author has said a lot in a few verses. There's so many truths here, and we just skimmed the surface. But we're dealing with this truth that we sing as an anthem. The light has come.
And I pray, Father, that as the light of your truth, your wisdom, your knowledge, your word has shined into the dark places of our hearts, and along with the conscience that we have that nags at us and tells us, there is something beyond this Earth, beyond this life, there is a designer, there is a God. And you have placed that yearning for eternity in our hearts that beckons us to leave the darkness and come to the light.
I pray that we would cooperated with our conscience and your calling, step out of the shadows, and decide enough is enough. I want to be set free. I want to become enlightened, and I want to walk in the light of truth, the light of the holiness of God, having enough of the shadow lands, deciding that I want my life changed. I want all forgiven. And I would love to know that my name is written in the book of life.
Father, we gather each week for that purpose, to be exposed to the light of your truth. But Lord, I am always nagged by a feeling that not everyone who comes to church is the church, that not everybody gets it. Many politely come and sit and make certain acknowledgements. But there's not been a personal trust, commitment, turning from the past, turning from sin, repentance, and a turning to Christ where it's real. And my life is governed by those principles.
Lord, you placed within our hearts a yearning, a thirst. And we are restless, as the theologian said, until we find our rest indeed. We are thirsty until we drink from your spring. We are aimless, and we are wondering. We are groping in darkness until we step into the light of Jesus Christ.
It's how you made us. And it's why we're here this morning, and I pray for some who have come who have not done that yet, that they would turn their lives to Jesus. Some are religious, but they haven't given their lives personally to Jesus. Some have a conditioning and an upbringing that they haven't personally given their lives to Jesus. Others have stumbled or gone away, gone astray, and they need to step out of those shadows and come back to your light.
It is the most freeing thing you can do. It's the most satisfying way to live. Our heads are bowed. If you are willing to come to Christ this morning to have your sins forgiven, to have your name written in his book of life, as he calls it, if you want that, and you are willing to receive Jesus Christ, as our heads are bowed, I'd like to see your hand up in the air. Just raise your hand up and say yes to Him. Keep it up for a moment so I can acknowledge you. I'd love to pray for you in a moment.
Bless you, right up here in the front to my left and in the back and right there in the middle and again right here in the middle toward the front. Anyone else? Raise those hands up. Say yes to Him today. Anyone else, raise those hands up, way in the back to my right. If you're in the balcony, raise your hand up.
If you're in the family room, I'll acknowledge you. I can see through those windows. Just raise that hand up if you want to come back to Christ or give your life to Him for the first time. Just raise those hands up. God bless you, right up here, a couple of you. I love that. Right up here in the front, very front, to my right on the side right over here, and again to my right toward the back.
If you're outside, there's hundreds of you outside, to my left, you raise your hand up. There's a pastor who will acknowledge your hand right where you're seated. Maybe you've come just to listen. You're sort of afar, but you need to come to Him today. If you're in the overflow rooms, there's a pastor there as well.
Now, Father, I pray for these. You love them so deeply, and you have a plan for them. Thank you that we're able to witness that in part right here this morning. We all know what that feels like. We're so thankful for these who are making a decision to cooperate with their conscience, your creation, and this calling of God on their lives through your spirit. In Jesus' name, amen.
Would you stand, please? We're going to close with a song. I'm going to ask those of you who raised your hands to get up from where you're standing now, find the nearest aisle, and stand right up here. Walk to the very front. I'm going to lead you in a prayer to receive Jesus Christ.
Now, I'll tell you why we do this. Jesus called people publicly, not to embarrass them, but to strengthen them, to encourage them.
And you can hear the applause as they encourage you as you come. If you're way in the back or the family room, come through the door. They'll walk you in from the outside. It'll take just a moment.
I love to pray with you to receive Jesus.
[SINGING IN BACKGROUND]
That's right. You come. So beautiful. So beautiful. Young and old, male and female, whole families.
We'll pray in just another moment. Anyone else? I just want to give time. Sometimes it takes a little while for God's medicine to reach down to where we go, OK, I know, I know that I needed to do this. I'm going to do it. I was one of those wait-until-the-end kind of guys. I remember the day.
I put it off. Yay! Those of you who have come forward, I am so honored to stand with you and to pray with you. I'm going to pray out loud, and I'm going to ask you to pray these words out loud after me. Just like at a wedding ceremony, people say their vows to each other out loud.
And at the same time you say these words, try to tune every one of us out of your minds and just tune in to who you're talking to, the Lord. So let's do business with God. Say, Lord I give you my life.
Lord, I give you my life.
I'm a sinner, and I know it.
I'm a sinner and I know it.
Please forgive me.
Please forgive me.
I believe in Jesus Christ.
I believe in Jesus Christ.
I believe He died for me.
I believe He died for me.
That he shed his blood for my sin.
That he shed his blood for my sin.
And that He rose again from the dead.
And that He rose again from the dead.
And that He's alive right now.
And that He's alive right how.
I turn from my sin.
I turn from my sin.
I leave it behind.
I leave it behind.
I step out of the shadows.
I step out of the shadows.
And I turn to Jesus Christ.
And I turn to Jesus Christ.
Who is the light of this world.
Who is the light of this world.
I give you my life.
I give you my life.
Help me to live for you.
Help me to live for you.
In Jesus' name.
In Jesus' name.
Because of sin, we were spiritually dead and in darkness. The beautiful news is that the light has come, and He gives us life. And just a reminder, you can fine Battledrums' album, "The War is Over," on iTunes, Google Play, or at battledrumsmusic.com. You can also give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for listening to this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.