Believe:879. How far will you go to find the truth? A journey through the gospel of John with Skip Heitzig.
Could you turn in your Bibles this morning to John's gospel, chapter two?
For most of us, knowledge is supreme. Absolutely supreme. There are certain things we need to know to do our jobs and to do them well. But there's another type of knowledge that isn't all that important to know. It's called trivia. It's out there, but nobody really cares except to go, "Huh." That's about all. For example, I bet you didn't know that no piece of paper can be folded over seven times. I know some of you are going to say, "I'll challenge that." You'll go home and try it---I did. I bet you didn't know that donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes. I bet you didn't know that mosquito repellants don't repel---they hide you. The spray blocks mosquito sensors so they don't know you're there. I bet you didn't know that doctors or dentists recommend that your toothbrush be kept six feet away from the toilet to avoid airborne particles that result from the flush. I know that's T-M-I, too much information, right? Like I said, I bet you didn't know that. I bet you didn't know the liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma. See, you go, "Huh." I bet you didn't know you burn more calories sleeping than watching television. At least when you sleep, you snore or you talk or you turn over. You don't do much when you watch television. I bet you didn't know that a Boeing 747 wingspan is longer than the Wright brothers' first flight. I bet you didn't know that American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by just eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class. I bet you didn't know that Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise. I bet you didn't know that apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning. I know you're going to eat apples tomorrow. I bet you didn't know that most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin. Eww! I bet you didn't know Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined. I bet you didn't know that it takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs. And I bet you didn't know that 35 percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married. Shocking, but true.
Most everyone doesn't know those things. But can you imagine being around somebody who knew everything? Everything? Even what you think---even what you think. Well that brings us to this section. We discover that Jesus knew everything and knew all about people and all about their motives. You know, there's that great story in the Gospels where they bring to Jesus a paralytic. And He looks down at him and Jesus says, "Son, be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven." The leaders in the room, the religious leaders, hear this and they're just thinking these thoughts. They're thinking, "This guy is blaspheming. Nobody can forgive sins but God." The Bible says Jesus turns to them, knowing their thoughts and says, "Why do you think evil in your hearts?" Can you imagine being around a guy like that? You go up to Jesus, "You know, Lord, I was thinking." He says, "No, you weren't thinking that. I know what you were thinking and I know why you're telling Me this." It could be unnerving.
I have saved the verses that we're about to read, verses 23, 24, and 25. Just those three this morning. I've saved them because they are so unusual. When we read them they give us pause; they make us evaluate our own faith. So let's look at verse 23 through 25: "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." There's three stories in chapter two. We've covered two; this is the last one. The first is the marriage at Cana. The second is the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. And the third is this short little paragraph that is an editorial statement; a summation of what happened during that one week at Passover when Jesus went to Jerusalem. In all three of these stories, there's a statement of faith that is given. For example, the marriage supper at Cana in verse eleven of chapter two. It says, "The disciples believed in Him." That was the result. In the cleansing of the temple, the next story in chapter two, it says that the disciples "believed the Scripture" and what Jesus said. Now we have in verse 23 a statement of faith by the crowds: they believed in Him. What is unusual is Jesus' response to their belief. It was not favorable. And it's because of what He knew. He knew everything and He knew everyone.
That's one of John's points. One of his points is that Jesus was omniscient. Now it's been estimated that our knowledge today is increasing at such a rate, in fact it's increasing at the rate of 2,000 pages a minute. And this is what it means: if you were to read twenty-four hours a day from age 21 to age 70, and you could retain everything you read, you would be 1 ½ million years behind when you were done. You could not keep up with the rate of knowledge that is growing. But what John wants us to know is that Jesus didn't just know stuff, didn't just know data, facts, and figures, but He knew the soul of men and women. And He knew their motivations. So in these three verses this morning, here's how we're going to approach it. We're going to notice three elements that John brings up. We want to look at the clues, the unmistakable clues, His signs. We want to look at the under committed crowd, they believed in Him. And then the uncommitted Christ in verse 24 and 25.
If you'll look in verse 23 at one word, it is the word signs. Get used to that word---John likes it. Seventeen times in this book, he will use the term signs. Sémeion in Greek. It means miraculous sign, a miraculous sign. So here's the deal: there were at least eight days that Jesus was in Jerusalem. The Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread combined one large national party. It was the biggest spiritual party of the nation that brought people from everywhere crowded into Jerusalem. Evidently Jesus, during that time, was performing signs, miracles. And they were probably a lot because it says that many of them believed; many people believed.
Here's the frustrating part. There's no details given about these signs. It doesn't say how many He did, where He did them, what He did, or the people that received them. And it's frustrating for the Bible student because we want to know more information. But not one gospel writer gives us any more details. Whatever they were, it brought a lot of P.R. on Jesus. A lot of publicity. How do I know that? I know that because chapter three, verse one says, "There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, 'Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.'" They were the kind of miraculous signs that got people's attention and gave Him publicity and now the limelight, the spotlight, is on Him. All together, 37 miracles are record by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, that Jesus performed. Amazing signs. However, the whole Bible's filled with miracles, right? From the beginning to the end. The Bible opens with a miracle---the creation of the world. The Bible closes with a miracle---the creation of a new heaven and a new earth.
Here's a problem, however. When it comes to signs, it seems that we have one of three tendencies with the miraculous. Number one, there is a tendency to over naturalize miracles. You know, we say things like, "Well every baby that is born is a miracle and every sunrise is a miracle and every sunset is a miracle and to find a parking space in the mall at Christmastime is a miracle and to find the exact amount of change that you needed is a miracle." We over naturalize them. We call everything that happens every day miracles. It's true, you and I can't cause a sunrise or a sunset, but these are naturally daily occurring things. They're not the miraculous. There's a second tendency and that is to explain them away. And typically this is what the unbelieving world does. They look at our definition of a miracle and say, "These are just primitive interpretations of natural occurrences by people who are ignorant and steeped in their traditions and all sorts of beliefs that really aren't concrete." And that has been the posture of the unbelieving world by philosophers all the way back from Selsus to Porphyry to Apollonius, in more modern terms, Spinoza, Hume. If you have philosophy courses, you know those names.
And on one hand, we go, "Okay. That's typical. We would expect the world to say that." But what you wouldn't expect and what we find is Bible commentators and even preachers wanting to do that with miracles: explain them away. For example, did you know that I've read a couple different books, several actually, where the miracle of the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea and the Egyptians being killed by the same sea, they've explained it this way. It really wasn't called the Red Sea; it was called the Sea of Reeds, or the Reed Sea. And the Reed Sea was simply bulrushes and water that was about eighteen inches deep. And so the children of Israel crossed the Sea of Reeds simply by wading through the water, walking through eighteen inches of water. Not a miracle at all. Of course they failed to explain how the entire Egyptian army was drowned in eighteen inches of water; they just kind of skip over that part. Or Jonah and the whale. They go, "C'mon, that's just a myth. That doesn't happen. It's like any fish story. You know, fish tend to grow every time you tell the story. It didn't happen." I have a set of commentaries in my library by a great scholar, but a great scholar who had problems with miracles. His name was William Barkley and he likes to explain them away. Example: the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 by Jesus? He says, "That wasn't a miracle. What really happened is everybody brought their lunch that day. But they were selfish; they didn't want to bring it out. They were hiding it, like wrapped up, until one little boy steps forward and takes his lunch out to share with people and everybody felt moved by the compassion and love of this child and they all shared their lunch with each other." That's what he says. Or Jesus walking on the water in the New Testament when the disciples are in the boat. You know what Barkley says about that? He goes, "Well, it was late at night. In fact, there was a full moon out and you couldn't see things very well and the winds often drive the boats in the Sea of Galilee toward the northern shore and so it's close to the northern shore and Jesus simply comes walking to them in the surf, like six inches of water, walking on the beach and then into the surf, but it looked like He's actually walking on the water." So here you have a Bible commentator having a huge problem with miracles.
Now that puzzles me because here we are, we human beings. In the 1950s we can make a nuclear submarine, 33 tons of metal that can go down and up 3,500 feet in the water. We sent, in the 1960s, people to land on the moon---that's us. And so here we are willing to attribute much greater power and efficiency to humans than to God. There's a third tendency and the tendency here is toward hype. Hyping up your miracles. In other words, "Your miracle can happen today! Just send in that money and you'll have your miracle! Have you experienced your daily miracle?" And all this does is cheapen the whole idea of what the miraculous really is. Jesus performed signs. Nicodemus saw that and so did everybody else. According to Webster, the dictionary, a miraculous sign is this: "An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs." Here's my definition: a miracle is a divine work wrought with divine power for a divine purpose. And Jesus did a lot of them and only 37 are recorded and all the ones He did during this week are summed up in just a little statement like this.
Let me just kind of press this a little bit further. We look at things and go, "Wow---that was a miracle!" But think of it from God's perspective. See God is not a prisoner to His own laws. Yes there are natural laws that are in place in our universe. But God can supersede those laws and enact another set of laws. That shouldn't surprise us. We even do that. If you were to stand on a runway and look at a 747 and think how heavy that thing is and think that thing can put 500 people in it, carrying 45,000 pounds of over packed luggage in it and you're going to tell me that thing is going to get off the ground and go halfway across the world? The law of gravity would say there's no way that's going to happen. That thing is earthbound because of the law of nature: gravity. So what do we do? We simply enact higher laws to supersede the law of gravity. One is aerodynamics; the other is thrust or propulsion. You get air rapidly flowing over the surface of a foil and it creates lift. You get jets that propel it forward and all of that together will lift up that huge aircraft.
So we read that dead people come back to life and lame people can walk and blind people can see and deaf people can hear. What we have is God simply enacting another set of higher laws over the laws that He put in place. And we call it a miracle. I'll tell you something that really helped me in this. It was an example that I saw. I had a friend years ago who in the basement of his house, in Huntington Beach, California, had a train set. When I say a train set, the basement, the entire basement was his playroom for his trains. He was an adult, he was the homeowner. He had a village constructed with homes and trees and buildings and little people. It was massive and it was all controlled from afar with a remote control. But every now and then, he would step into that world himself and reach into that little city and move something around or put the train car back on the track and get it into direction. And that just served to give me a little example of what a miracle is. There's natural laws. Every now and then, God will intervene into natural law and enact a higher set.
Here's the real question: why did Jesus do miracles? What was the plan, what was the purpose? Why did He do so many? Number one, because He loves people. And He's restless in the face of human suffering. That's evident throughout the New Testament. The second reason that Jesus did miracles is to prove who He was. So people would see it and put two and two together and make a decision based upon that. It was authenticated that He was the One---the Messiah, the God. And so after He fed the 5,000, the crowd said, "This is the Prophet!" That's why He did it. In fact, Jesus says, "Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and that the Father is in Me or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves." That's why He did it. The miracles provide evidence that this is God in human flesh. So that's the first part: the signs, the clues, the unmistakable clues, the miracles.
Look closer at verse 23. Let's look at the crowd: "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did." Ok. Here's what's interesting to me as I put the whole chapter together. Remember when He was in the temple and He overturned the tables? And the leaders said, "We want a sign! Show us a sign! After doing what you just did, give us some miraculous sign." Did Jesus give them a sign in the temple? Nope. In fact, He spoke cryptically about His own resurrection: "Destroy this temple and in three days I will rise it up." And then He leaves the temple without giving them a sign and goes all around Jerusalem doing? Signs! To a whole other group of people. So many that it says, "Many believed." What happened is it got their attention and for many people, listen carefully, not all but many people, the signs and wonders was the beginning of their faith. The beginning of their faith journey; Nicodemus was one of them in chapter three. He'll be drawn in by the signs and he'll have a private interview with Jesus and his life will change. But when you read in verse 23 the word believed that does not necessarily mean committed faith. It does not necessarily mean committed faith.
There is a faith that the Bible speaks about that falls short of being genuine saving faith, right? Doesn't James chapter two say, "You say you believe in God but even the demons believe and they tremble"? You see, it's one thing to have a recognition of who Jesus is and they all recognize Jesus as Christ, as Messiah, as the Son of God. It's a whole other thing to have an appropriation of that truth. In fact, I think James helps us out by telling us there's three kinds of faith that are possible. One is a demonic faith: even the devil believes and trembles. Number two is a dead faith: faith without works is dead. You can talk about what you believe all day long, but if there's no correspondent life change, it's dead faith. And the third kind is dynamic faith. It's real, it's authentic, and it lives on. Now notice what it says in verse 23, that they "believed in His name." They believed in His name. The Amplified Version translates it, "Many identified themselves with His party." So they're willing to accept Him as long as it's on their own terms. They'll accept Him as a miracle-worker; they'll accept Him as a healer. He's our kind of guy. Look what He does, look how powerful He is. He's like a genie in a bottle. So they're willing to accept Him as the healer of their bodies but not as the Savior from their sin. This will be evident later on.
Warren Wiersbe calls this group "unsaved believers." Isn't that an interesting term? Unsaved believers drawn to Jesus by His miracles but they will not commit himself, or themselves to Him. I want you to see the difference. Here's one instance. Turn with me to John chapter eight. Turn in your Bibles to John chapter eight, and look at two verses. This is going to help. John chapter eight, verse 30 and 31: "As He [Jesus] spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him, 'If you abide [continue, keep going] in My word [that is, obey what I say], you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'" See the difference? It's readily apparent. One more passage. Turn to Acts chapter eight, just go to the right, one book. Acts, the eighth chapter. This time the story takes place in Samaria. They're up there preaching the gospel. That's where Philip is---look what happens. Acts chapter eight, verse 13: "Then Simon [that's not Simon Peter, a different guy in Samaria]---Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done." Okay, it says he believed. But watch: "When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.' But Peter said to him, 'Your money perish with you, [now watch this] because you thought the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. [Huge difference] Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.'" Huge difference.
I want you to be aware of a movement that is happening in the gospel of John. You see it beginning here. But you're going to see a movement in the life of Jesus happen in the gospel of John where Jesus moves out of the bright light of popularity into the dark shadows of rejection---more and more and more. First, like here at the beginning, it's a bandwagon approach. Everybody's amazed and the crowds rush to Him because of the miracles that He performs. But pretty soon He's going to talk. He's going to speak. And when He speaks things like, "If you're gonna follow Me you have to die daily to yourself, take up your cross and follow Me." The words that Jesus will share with them bring deep conviction to the heart. And that conviction will eventuate in one of two possibilities: conversion or contention. They will be divided over Him and He's gonna move from being very, very popular to being rejected ultimately by the nation.
Good example of that and you don't have to turn there is in John chapter six---He feeds the 5,000. We're told this: "When they had seen the sign Jesus did, they were about to come and take Him by force and make Him their king." So Jesus escapes out of that and then He talks to the crowd and says some very, very difficult, hard things. And so some of the disciples said, "This is a hard saying. Who can hear it? From that time, many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." Oh, they're there for a free lunch and they'll come back later on hopefully for a free dinner, but when He starts telling them truth, many of them will walk away from Him. They want the signs not the Savior. So there's a problem with signs. If you base your faith on signs, they're never enough. They're never enough. You'll be upset by the one that didn't happen. You'll be upset by the prayer that wasn't answered, by the person who wasn't healed, by the payment that didn't arrive. They're never enough.
That's the reason faith needs to be based not on what Jesus does, but on who Jesus is. So you see the difference? You can say you believe in Him. There's a big difference between recognizing Him and appropriating Him. A difference between knowing who He is and knowing Him personally. I guess it would be sort of like when I was living in California, I remember the mailman that delivered my mail. I recognized him. In fact, I had never met him but I could tell you a lot about him. I could tell you how tall he was roughly, what color hair he had, how he walked, what he typically dressed like, certain mannerisms. I knew a lot of facts about him. But one day I decided to put my hand out and actually meet the guy and we struck up a conversation and eventually a relationship and I came to know him personally. Big difference between knowing about him and knowing him personally. That's the difference here.
That takes us to the last and final thought: the uncommitted Christ. Verse 24 and 25, these are words that stop us in our tracks: "But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all [the word men is italicized, it's implied but it's not there, He knew all, He knew everything], and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." What we have here in these two verses is how Jesus responds to nominal Christianity. Sobering, isn't it? You'll notice in verse 23 the word believe and in verse 24 the word commit. Two different words in English; in Greek it's the same exact word. In fact, in the Greek language it's a play on words. It would sound to our ears more like this: "They believed in Him but He did not believe in them" or "Many trusted Him but He would not entrust Himself to them." The Tyndale New Testament says, "He would not put Himself into their hands."
So they believed, but what kind of faith did they have? Stony ground faith. This is what Jesus said in Matthew 13: "The seed fell on stony places where it did not have much earth and immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. This is he who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy but he has no root in himself but endures only for awhile but when tribulation and persecution arises because of the Word, he stumbles." Boy, this puts a whole new light on, "Have you committed yourself to Christ?" I guess the big question is, "Has Christ committed Himself to you?"
And the reason Jesus didn't commit Himself to them was because He knew all men. He had spiritual X-Ray vision. He could look at a person and know every motive that they were dealing with. Wow. So verse 23, 24, and 25 is an editorial comment by John, sort of summing up what happened in Jerusalem. This is what he wants us to know: this Jesus had an attribute of God called omniscience. He knew everything. He could look at you with penetrating eyes and know past, present, what you're thinking, why, why are you there, where you're going to go, what's going to happen. He knew it all. I'll tell you, dealing with that kind of a person, as I mentioned, can be very unsettling. You know, we don't like it in a restaurant if we see somebody staring at us from across the restaurant. We get really nervous. We really want our privacy. But imagine somebody like Jesus who, when He looks at you, sees everything that you think is hidden. That's an attribute of God.
Hebrews 4:13 tells us, "No creature is hidden from His sight. All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account." So, sort of a large point here in chapter two is that no one with artificial faith in Jesus' presence could get away with it. He could see right through it. So to put it bluntly, you can't pull the wool over His eyes---so don't try. Here's the bottom line point: be real. Be honest. If you don't feel like this, don't do that. As Spurgeon said, "Your ordinary face will do." Be genuinely who you are because living before God with any kind of a façade is stupid. He knows everything.
Now let me close today by just giving you three quick things to go home with, three important summary principles. Number one, since He knows everything, it means that He knows the worst about you. You know how good that feels? Because in human relationships, you come into a relationship with a person, especially a dating relationship, and you get awfully afraid that if that person finds out about the skeleton in your closet that they're going to reject you; it's all going to end. God knows all about the skeletons in your closet---already. He's not shocked. Psalm 103 says, "God knows our frame and He remembers that we are dust." I gotta tell you something: God doesn't have a high expectation of dust. He knows all about you; He knows the worst about you already. Number two, because He knows everything, He also knows the best about you. He knows what other people don't know. They might know about one little thing you did wrong, one problem you had, but they don't know about all the other good stuff you've done and they certainly don't know the motivation of your heart. God does. God does. In First John it says, "If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our hearts and He knows all things." He knows the worst about you; He knows the best about you. And here's the third and final principle to walk away with. Since He knows everything, He knows what He's going to make out of you in the future. He knows that. When He looks at you, He doesn't just see imperfections in you; He also sees the finished product. The Bible says, "We are His workmanship." He sees the finished work of art.
There's a bumper sticker that says "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." Some people put that on their car so they can speed and get away with it, I guess. Christians aren't perfect. And Christians are forgiven. But there's much more than that. Christians are God's project. He's working on you and He knows what you're going to become with His hands in your life. The best example of that is Nicodemus in chapter three, verse one. By the way, chapter three shouldn't be there. What I mean by that is the chapter breaks were added much later, after the Bible was written. And people thought that it was sort of a new thought. It's not a new thought. What John wants you to know is the difference here. Jesus knew all men. He didn't need that anybody need to testify to Him of man because He knows what is in man. Chapter three, verse one: "There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews." He's a different man. He has a different reason for coming to Jesus. He's going to be changed. Jesus is going to work on this guy and change him.
I remember when I heard the gospel very plainly and simply first by watching it on television with Dr. Graham. Second was sometime before that when a friend of mine named Gino, after being saved one Saturday night, came to me on a Sunday and told me that I was a sinner, I needed to be saved, and he had accepted Christ. My response was to pick him up by the shirt and throw him against the wall and say, "Never tell me that ever again!" And then I said, "Don't you know I've been raised in a church all my life?" And I went on to talk about how I believed. I was like this crowd. I believed in that I recognized who Jesus was. But it wasn't genuine, from the heart belief. I had not received Christ. Huge difference. When I did, when I decided to put my faith in Jesus, it was so weak and it was so frail and it was so faltering. But it was real. I really wanted to be forgiven. I really wanted to have hope in my life. And Jesus took me on as His project and began working on me. And what followed were signs. Not all my diseases being healed but the greatest sign of all: my life being changed. You could ask my friends, you could ask my family. They'd say, "Yep, he's a different dude today." They couldn't explain why, they just knew things had changed. And what I thought was impossible happened: my life changed. Jesus changed it. He not only saw the worst of me and the best of me, He saw what I would become and am still becoming by His grace.
I pray that if you haven't genuinely believed, committed wholeheartedly, that today would be the day that you do. Let's pray together.
Heavenly Father, You know all men, all women, all thoughts, all motives. You know the genuine from the false. As Paul said to Timothy, "The Lord knows those who are His." You know that far better than we do. We don't know if the person sitting next to us is really a believer or not. We might think we do, but we don't know the human heart, You do. But Lord, forget about them for a minute, at least we should. We're thinking about ourselves right now, because there may be some of us who have been religious, who have been well-meaning, who come to church, who sing the songs, who say we believe, but that's a faith that is short of saving faith. And maybe we just know that because our whole life and faith and experiences seem so cold, and we want it warmed up. We want the richness of what it is to have a relationship with You, personally, authentically, through Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray for anybody here who has never yielded their life to Christ. They have never surrendered. They have never said, "I give up and I want to live for You, and I turn and repent of my sins and I turn to You completely." They've never done that---yet. Or, others are confused, because they went to a camp or they went to a meeting, and they did something. They just---they just don't exactly know what that was. They certainly don't see that in their experience today. And I pray, Father, for anyone who is in any of those camps, or a third camp: somebody knows that they walked with You but has been backsliding. I pray that today they would come back home to Jesus. And as our heads are bowed, and our eyes are closed, and we're about to end this service, now's the moment of truth. If anyone will cooperate with God dealing and moving you to accept Him, and you're willing to come to Christ today and be forgiven of your past and have Christ wholly committed to you, if you're willing to do that, if you're willing to believe in Him, if you're willing to trust Him completely, I want you to slip your hand up. Keep it up for just a minute, just so I can see it. I want to pray for you as we close. You're just acknowledging, "I need Him. I want to receive Him. I'm going to devote my life to Christ today, and it's going to be real." God bless you, and you, right in the middle. And you, and you, and you, I see all of you together. Anybody else? God bless you, in the middle. In the balcony, God bless you guys. Anyone else? Right over here to my right, on the side. And so, Father, we pray that great life changes would occur in the lives of these who have come, who raised that hand and acknowledged in their heart they want their life changed. They want things around them changed. They really want forgiveness. They want hope. Right where you are seated, I don't want to let this time pass us by, if you raised your hand, would you just talk to the Lord right now? Allow me to lead you in a prayer. Would you say this after me to Him? Lord, I give you my life. I admit I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I trust that Jesus died on the cross and that He rose from the dead for me. And I turn from my sin and I entrust my whole heart to You, Jesus. I trust that You'll save me as I receive You as Savior and as Lord. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and help me to live for You. In Jesus' name, amen.