The Power of the Gospel to Save
The Power of the Gospel to SavePastor Wes Aarum - September 8, 2019
Community Group Study Notes
- Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s Teaching.
- Read Psalm 16:4; Jonah 2:8; Deuteronomy 32:16; 1 Samuel 12:21. What do these verses tell us about idols and their effect?
- Read Romans 1:16. The “gospel” is the good news of what Jesus did for us through the cross (His death, burial, and resurrection), so that through faith in Him we can be forgiven, redeemed, and reunited with our loving Heavenly Father. How can the power of the gospel (this good news) rescue us from an “idol” in our lives?
- What stood out most to you in Sunday’s message and why?
- What is one action step from the message that you believe God wants you to put into practice in your life this week?
Well, good morning, welcome to The Chapel. My name is Wes. I want to welcome all of our campuses, welcome everybody watching online, great to have you guys here. Especially want to give a shout out to my son, Dylan, who is watching online with some of his dudes. He's a freshman this year in Georgia. He's on campus watching with some guys, so people are clapping for you, man, I don't know what that means, but that's cool. So, that's great.
I'm so excited you guys are here. I know some of you are thinking, "Wait a minute, wasn't that just the dude that was on that football video?" Actually, it wasn't. That's my stunt double, I don't do my own stunts, I've got bad knees. Messes my hair up. What? Okay.
So, anyway, man, so excited you guys are here, because really this is the deal, we're going to look at something today that is real. We all need and crave things in our life that are real and we're going to look at God's word that is real. This word, today that I'm going to share with you, has changed my life. It is still changing my life.
And I want you to know, man, I've been praying so hard for you guys this week. And I want you to pray for you in just a moment. Because unless you hear from God, it won't matter. It won't matter what I say. I have nothing to offer you that's going to change your life, but the God who created you, who loves you, who's passionate about you, has a word for you today. He knows what's going on in your life. He understands the dynamics of what's happening, not only in your present, but what's coming down the road for you in your future and he wants to speak into your life with that knowledge. And man, I don't want you to miss it.
So I'm going to ask us to pray together. And I'm going to invite you to pray and ask God to speak to you. So can we bow our heads together? And maybe you've never done anything like this before, but man, I want to beg you to do it, just silently say, "God, speak to me. You've got my attention, speak to me and I will respond."
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the privilege of being here today. God, we're so grateful to be in your house with your people. Lord, we need your word today. Holy Spirit, be our teacher. Only you can open our hearts. Only you can give us ears to hear. And I pray that you would do that. God, help us to lean into all that you have for us today, so that we can walk out of here different because we have encountered the King of the universe. And you'll receive all the glory because you alone are worthy. We pray this in your name, Christ. Amen.
If you would, please take your Bibles and open up to Romans. The book of Romans, chapter eight. Aw, we're going to look through this text. It's not going to be on the screen because I want you to have it front of you, either on the hard copy you brought with you or maybe on your electronic device or there's a Bible in the seat back or one of the tables there in the East Worship Center. Or you can just get close to someone who has a Bible, look over their shoulder, we're family, it's all cool, all good. But I want you to be able to see this text. All right?
So as you're doing that, I'm going to create something up here.
All right. Right? Look at this. This is awesome. This thing right here, this has incredible power. This thing is going to give me the life that I want. It's going to make me fulfilled, it's going to satisfy me. It's going to give me the future that I hoped for. And if you bow down to it, it'll do the same for you.
In fact, the reason you all got here safely today is because of this thing right here. That's right. Be in wonder of it. Be amazed at it. Be awed by it. Yes.
Now, if you're a visitor right now, you're going, "What kind of a crazy train did I just get on?" And if you're a regular attender, you're sitting there going, "Where is Pastor Jerry?" He's not here.
Listen, if I actually believed that, I'd just be nuts. Man, I just made this in front of you, right? I just put this together and now I'm giving it all kinds of credit for all kinds of things and power? That's stupid. That's insane. And here's the thing, I didn't just come up with this on my own. This actually happened in history, in recorded history as a matter of fact. It didn't just happen to a group of people, it happened to hundreds of thousands of people all at the same time. And, surprise, surprise, it's actually recorded for us in the Bible.
Yeah, let me give you the quick back story. Moses took the children of Israel out of Egypt, right? Under God's direction after the plagues and miraculous things that happened. Through the Red Sea, and so they're on the way to the Promised Land. They camp out at this mountain. Moses goes up the mountain to meet with God and ultimately get the Ten Commandments.
So, we pick up the story again here in Exodus 32. "When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron," Aaron is Moses' brother, "and said, 'Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow, Moses, who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what's happened to him.' Aaron answered them, 'Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons, and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.' So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, 'These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'"
These are your gods. Crazy, right? They credited the works of their hands as their savior. That's nuts. Here's the hard truth, we do it all the time. We do. Oh, yeah. Oh, no, we don't do it with like a bottle and a Cheez-It wrapper and pen and paper and tape. Nope. You know what we do it with? We do it with our jobs. We do it with our careers. We do it with money. We do it with stuff. We do it with relationships. "If I just get this relationship, then I'll be happy, then I'll be satisfied. It's going to give me the future that I want."
The Bible has a word for that, it's called idolatry. Yeah. And it's serious business. And here's the thing, there's someone who is cheering us on the entire way, wanting us to grab on for our idols. His voice is behind our temptations to sin. His voice is behind these idols. He is the enemy of your soul, his name is Satan, the devil, the accuser.
He is the one who wants you to buy into this. You know why? Because he knows where it leads. He knows exactly where it leads. The Bible tells us that. Look at this in Psalms 16, "Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more." Will suffer more and more. The very thing you want to run away from, is the very thing you run into when you grab on to an idol. You suffer more and more. It's crazy.
Let me frame it this way, how many of you would take life advice from a mass murderer? Anybody? No. Imagine if I came up to you, I said, "Man, look at this book, this is awesome. You've got to check this out, it's incredible. Nine Steps to Healthy Relationships by Adolph Hitler. Yeah." You look at me and go, "Wes, just punch yourself in the face right now. Just go ahead and do that, I'll wait. Just do it. Because that's stupid."
And it is. It's crazy, right? But do you know, when you grab on to an idol, you are taking counsel from, you are getting instruction from, you're getting advice from a serial killer? Jesus told us that. The Gospel of John, look what he records. "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language. For he is a liar and the father of lies."
Satan lies to you. These idols lie to you and to me. And he wants us to believe those lies because he knows where they lead. And ultimately, he knows what the end game is. It's the end game of sin in our lives. Again, the Bible tells us this in Romans. "For the wages of sin is death." Wages are something you earn, something you work for. It's what you get paid in.
When you and I, when we choose to sin, when we grab on to an idol, death is what's coming. Satan is set on death for you. You've got to understand that. This is no game, this is no laughing matter. Listen, Satan wants you, he'll give you every reason in the world to want this and to be casual about it and to make friends with it and to justify it. Because look at who he is, the Bible exposes him, man. "Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." That word looking means seeking, the force of that word is hunting. You and everyone you love is being hunted by the enemy of your souls right now. And this, idols, is one of the chief ways that he uses to draw us into his agenda. Man, this is no joke. This is serious business.
So what do we do? I mean, how can we untangle ourselves from that, man? How can we say no to that? How can we get victory over that? I've got great news for you today. One word: Gospel. The Gospel is how this happens. The power of the Gospel in our lives helps us to say no here, to say, "I don't want this," and to say yes to God.
You see, the Gospel means good news. Literally means the good news, most of us know that. You've been around church, you've heard that before. It's the good news that we don't have to earn our way to God, that Jesus has already done it for us. In a nutshell, this is the truth that the Bible proclaims is that we are sinners. Sinners by birth, sinners by choice. We came into this world and we sinned, we are separated from God, man, and we live our life based on our agenda. And if nothing happens in our life to change that, we're going to step off of this planet in death, separated from God forever in a place of justice and judgment called hell.
It's what we deserve. But it's not what God wants for us. And so, he launched a rescue mission. He sent Jesus to earth. John 3:16 became a reality for us. "For God so loved the world," so loved you and me, "that he gave his only Son." He says, "Listen, I'm not waiting for you to come after me, I'm going to pursue you." That he gave his only Son to die on the cross, to take the punishment for our sins. Because God is just, man, we're going to pay for our sin, or we're going to let Jesus pay for our sin. Because God is just, someone has to pay for our sin, and you don't want to live in a world where justice isn't for real.
But God says, "I'm going to sacrifice my Son for you. He's going to pay for your sin so that whoever believes in him," wide open invitation, there are no boundaries. "Whoever believes in him," not about him. Lots of people believe about Jesus, they believe he was an historical figure. But when you believe in him, that means you surrender to him, you commit your life to him. Whoever believes in him, that what he did on the cross he did for you, he died to pay for my sin. When I say no to my sin, when I repent and I invite Christ in and I place my faith in him, I believe in him.
"Whoever believes in him," John 3:16 says, "will not perish," there's a promise, "will not perish but will have eternal life." Eternal life is life that never ends in heaven, and ultimately in a relationship with God. That's the end game of our salvation. That's the end game of the Gospel. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to," heaven? No, it doesn't say that. "No one comes to the Father but by me."
The end game of the Gospel is to get us into a relationship with God, and ultimately we'll spend eternity with him in heaven. And it happens the moment we invite Christ into our lives. When that happens, the Gospel blows up in our lives in all the right ways, in some amazing ways.
That's why Paul said at the very beginning of his book to the Romans, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel." He says I am not ashamed, I'm not backing down, I'm not sitting back, I'm not going to be timid about this, man. "I'm not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to every one who believes." I'm not ashamed of the Gospel, because it's the power of God to save.
The Gospel is the power of God to save. When you invite Christ in, the power of the Gospel moves you from darkness to light, from death to life, from hopelessness to hopefulness. From a life without purpose to a life marked by purpose, from hostility towards God to embraced by God.
And here's the big truth for today, it's on your notes, it's this, relating to idols, the power of the Gospel saves us from what is false to what is true. It saves us, rescues us from what is false to what is true. Specifically in the area of idols, it rescues us and saves us from all that is false, that would lie to us, and is life taking, to all that is true and that is life giving.
So how does that work? Well, that's what we're going to look at today in Romans 8. Now, if you're a young adult, we've created an environment for you if you're post college, 20s and 30s, we've created an environment for you called Nights at The Chapel. You can check it out on the chapel.com/nights. We kick it off next month. And the reason I bring that up is because we're going to be diving deep into Romans 8, because the truths contained in there are spectacular.
And we're going to get a taste of that today, because I'm going to look at four things as a result of the power of the Gospel expressed in Romans 8 that'll help us defeat and untangle ourselves from that which would bring ruin to our lives.
When you become a Christian, one of the amazing things that happens is that it changes your standing with God. It changes your position with God. That's the first thing that Romans 8 says in verse one. Look what Paul the Apostle writing here says. He says, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." In Christ Jesus is Paul's way of saying for those who invited Christ in. You become in Christ Jesus.
There is no condemnation. Think about that for a minute. If it said less condemnation, that would be good news because we deserve a lot of condemnation for our sin. This says no condemnation, zero. There is absolutely no, once you become a Christian, there is no condemnation that is going to happen from God to you as a result of your sin, ever. No condemnation.
How can that be? Because Jesus took all that we deserve. He took all of our condemnation. Look at some of these verses that speak to that. "We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way. And the Lord has laid on him," on Christ, "the iniquity of us all." Every single one of us, every single bit of condemnation that we deserve, God put on his Son, Jesus. There's none left for us. He took it all.
Look at this, "For Christ also suffered once for sins. The righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." Again, that's end game. He wants to bring us to God. Once, one time, Jesus died one time, paid for all sin.
And look at this in Colossians 2, "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all." See that word right there? All. Say it with me, all. Come on, one more time.
Come on, like you're going to win something!
There you go, yeah. "Forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness which stood against us and condemned us. He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross." When you come to Jesus, one of the things that happens is that there is now no condemnation for you, for your sin, ever. Sin past, sin that you'll do today, sin that you'll do in your future, there is no condemnation because Jesus paid for all of it.
Which means that God has forever changed his posture towards you from one of righteous condemnation to open arm acceptance. This is God's posture towards you as a Christian. Every single day, 24/7, for the rest of eternity, right here. Right here, this is his posture. Passionate for you, delighted in you, you're his child. On your best day, when things are going great and you're following him, on your worst day when you're blowing it. On this day, this is God's posture towards you, because there's no condemnation for you in Jesus Christ.
That's amazing. That's amazing! I mean, we could just end right here, go home, and just allow that truth to absorb in us and just wash over us with waves and waves of joy. Because it's incredible.
But it gets better. Flip over to verse 31, 8:31, it says this, "What then shall we say in response to this, if God is for us, who can be against us?" Here's the second thing, God is for you. All that God is, the Creator of the universe, all that he is, is for you, is in your corner, is on your side, is working for your good. God is for you, always, always.
No condemnation. Open arm acceptance. And God is for you. Don't allow the enemy of your soul to take a slice of your current circumstances which seem to be telling you a different story and get you to make a negative belief about an eternal God. God's story is big and he's at work in ways that you can't see right now.
Right? Remember Joseph? Joseph, the guy who was sold in slavery, his brothers, went, was faithful, in Potiphar's house, falsely accused of rape by Potiphar's wife, was thrown into prison, was there in prison for several years, then, man, there's light at the end of the tunnel. He interpreted this guy's dream, he says, "Hey, you're going to be restored to the palace when you get there. Remind him that I'm here." That happened. The guy was restored to the palace, totally forgot about Joseph. Two years later, two full years later, all of a sudden the king has a dream, this guy remembers, "Hey, there's a guy in prison that interpreted my dream. King, I think he can do the same for you." They went, got Joseph, interpreted the dream. The king said, "You're number two in charge of the most powerful nation in the known world at that time."
Guess how long that took. 13 years. If you had showed up and year number two in Joseph's life, you know what you thought? God's not for you. You show up in year seven, God's not for you. You show in year ten, God's not for you. You up in year 12, God's not for you. But in one move, God rips back the curtain and says, "This is what I've been working all along."
And maybe you're in year two or year four right now and Satan's lying to you. God is telling you the truth, "I am for you. I am for you." Listen, no one twisted God's arm to make him love you. No one did that. He chose to do that because of Christ. He said, "I am for you."
And God says, "I'm going to let you know the visible display of how much I am for you so that you won't have to question this anymore." It's found in the very next verse, verse 32. "He who did not spare his own Son, Jesus, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things?" This is the amazing logic of God. He says this, look at it, "I've already given you the greatest thing I possibly can, my Son, Jesus. It doesn't get any bigger than that. It doesn't get any greater than that. There is nothing above him. I've already given you the greatest thing I possibly can. Do you really think I'm going to short change you on all the small stuff?"
What's the small stuff? Everything that we're looking to our idols for. Everything. Purpose, hope, pleasure, satisfaction, fulfillment. Everything that we think we're going to get from that, small stuff. God is saying, "Listen, I've already shown you how committed I am to you. Do you really think I don't know about this stuff? You really think I don't know about your needs? Do you really think I'm going to short change you on that? I've already given you the greatest thing I possibly can."
It's amazing. But it keeps going. Look at verse 35. It says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written, for your sake we face death all day long. We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
God says, "Look, I know you're going to face junk and brokenness, it's going to come against you. But you need to understand, there's something that covers all of that, that is stronger than all of that."
"No, in all of these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." In verse 38, Paul says, "For I am convinced," zero doubt, zero doubt, "I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth or anything else in all creation," it's like he ran out of words, "will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
God will never stop loving you. Ever. Period. He will never lessen his love for you. Period. Nothing can separate you. That's the power of the Gospel in our lives. And here's the thing, we don't deserve any of it. And none of it depends on us. It depends on what God has done for us, not what we do for him. It's what he's done for us in Jesus Christ. And when we allow these truths to get a hold of us, it changes things.
See, our role, our job as believers, is to believe what God says, to put the full weight of who we are on this truth and then cooperate with it, to live it out. Because some of you might be thinking, "Well, if this is all true and God's forgiven me for everything, and he loves me for everything, then does it really matter how I live?" Absolutely it matters how you live.
So I want to give you a visual illustration of how the power of Gospel plays out in our lives according to Romans 8 and how it will help us defeat this. I'm going to ask my daughter, Lindsey, to come up and give me a hand right here. Because I want you to see visually, this illustration has really helped me and I want you to see it too. This is Lindsey, she just turned 16 last week. So, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Stand over here.
So if you're a teenage boy in the crowd, back off. Okay? I'm just saying that right now, back off. All right, okay. All right, Lindsey, turn around, face me. Okay.
Now, Lindsey, what do you see?
Lindsey: Your arms are open.
My arms are open, okay. What do you see with my face.
Lindsey: You're smiling.
I'm smiling. Okay. That was a little psycho. Okay, sorry. Yes, I'm smiling, I'm happy. All right, yeah. You see that. All right.
I want you to turn around. Okay. What are my arms doing, don't look to the screen, that's cheating. What are my arms doing right now? You don't know, right? Because you're not sure. Are they open? They might be open, you don't know.
What's the expression on my face right now? You're not sure, right? You have no idea because you can't see me. Okay, I know. Some of you are going, "This is pretty obvious, Wes. Hello? Get to something." I will, hang with me.
Okay, turn around, turn around, look at me. Okay.
If you're a believer, all of what I'm about to share with you is true. If you're not a believer, if you don't really know Christ, this is what's waiting for you.
I want you to imagine that this is you. If you're a Christ follower, you're a Christian, you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, this is you. And I want you to imagine me as God, your heavenly Father. So when you are facing God, this is what a life of obedience looks like. Because when you're choosing to obey God, it's as if you are facing him and you can see what's going on in his heart for you.
Hebrews 12, for example, says, "Get rid of the junk and all of the sin that's behind you, man, get rid of that and fix your eyes on Jesus and live the life and run the race that he's marked out for you." So it's as if you're choosing, when you are obedient, it's as if you're facing God, when you choose to be obedient, and you see his passion for you. You see his posture for you. You see the light in his eyes for you as you spend time with him in the word. You get that.
Now I want you to turn around. When you choose to sin, when you choose to focus on an idol, or grab on to an idol, it's as if you're turning your back to God. Here's the thing, has his posture towards you changed? No. Why? There's no condemnation. So it hasn't changed. His posture is still this for you. His face still lit up for you. But can you see it? No. Do you wonder about it? Yes. Why? Because the enemy of your soul right now is whispering in your ear, as you are choosing to be disobedient, he's whispering these words, "Man, are you sure that God, are you sure that he's still open towards you? Are you sure his arms are still open? Are you sure he still loves you? Because I'm pretty sure that he's fed up with you, and the choices that you're making, he's pretty tired of that."
And what God has declared to be crystal clear in his word becomes very unclear in your life because you're living a life of disobedience, and you miss it.
Turn around. This is the truth, your obedience doesn't earn you God's love. It positions you to experience God's love. All right? Because you've got to get this as a Christian. Because this is so freeing. Listen, your acceptance by God, your approval by God, your loved by God has absolutely nothing to do with your performance. Nothing. You can't earn it, you can't work for it, you don't deserve it. It's grace. It's all God's grace.
And the moment you invite Christ into your life, it all becomes yours. You become in Christ. This is God's posture towards you. Which means, as a believer, God loves you just like he loves Jesus. He approves of you just like he approves of Jesus. He accepts you just like he accepts Jesus. And he will never change his mind about you, just like he will never change his mind about Jesus. He won't. He won't change his mind about you. Never. Never.
Listen, that's the truth. That is what is true for you. And as you choose to obey, you get to experience it and it changes everything. When you understand your obedience positions you to experience that, it changes things. For example, it changes how you look at your spiritual disciplines. Your reading the Bible. I read my Bible, not to get God to love me. I read my Bible because I know he does love me and I want to experience that. I want to lean into his love for me. I want to lean into his acceptance for me.
And let me tell you, once you get a taste of that, you get hungry for it, man. You get jealous for it. You want to spend time with God because you want to experience his passion for you.
But there are times in our life when we don't do that. Times in our life when we sin. When we choose the idols. Even though we know the truth, we choose the idols. We listen to the lies of the enemy, we buy in. Lindsey, I want you to turn around, I want you to grab that idol, if you would.
And when you are holding to your chest the very means of your own ruin, this is still God's posture towards you. His arms are still open, he's still passionate about you. But I want to give you another illustration based on Romans 8, because I believe this is also what God is doing in those moments when we are in rebellion against him. Because nothing will separate us from his love.
I believe he's not only just doing this, I believe he's doing this. And I believe that he's whispering these truths into your ear as his child. And he's saying, "I love you. I am for you. I am on your side, against your sin. I'm not mad at you, I'm mad for you, because I hate that sin. I hate that idol. Because I know how it will destroy you and ruin you. And I love you. I hate it like I hate the cancer that invades the physical body. I hate it and I will do what I need to do to convict you, to discipline you, to instruct you, to woo you. I will do what I need to do to get that out of your life because I am for you. I love you. And you are mine."
And you know what God wants from you? He wants this. Lindsey, you can put that down, turn around. This is what he wants, this is what he wants. Listen, this is what repentance looks like. This is what repentance feels like. When you turn from your sin and you run back into the arms of God. And you know what you'll find? That nothing has changed in how he loves you. Because you're his. Because of the Gospel. Thanks.
Listen, at the end of the day, you're going to believe something about this and you're going to believe something about God. Either you're going to believe the promises that your idol makes you, or you're going to believe the promises that God makes you. Because you can't believe both, because they are traveling in opposite directions. And you know what God's word says bout this. You know the truth. The sorrows of those will increase who cling to other gods. Heck, you know it by experience. If you're a believer you know that.
I mean, how many of you, 24 hours after you have sinned, you've grabbed on to that idol, you've done that thing that you promised God you'd never do. 24 hours later, how many of you are going, "Man, that was a great choice. That was such a great decision to sin. That was so life giving to me, it was a blessing to people around me, it really helped me become the person I want to be, really helped me connect with God." No. Never. Never.
Listen, God is coming to us through his word in Romans 8, and these four things are true for you as a believer right now, forever more. They're on your notes, I don't want you to miss them. The facts of Romans 8 for believers, one, there is no condemnation. God has forever changed his posture towards you because Jesus paid for every sin. Everything that could make God change his posture toward you, Jesus paid for. There's no condemnation.
Two, he is for you. God is for you all the time. At work, in your life, for your good. Because he's for you. Three, God has already given you his best, Jesus. He's already given you his best, Jesus. He will not short change you on the small stuff. He knows what you need. The cross forever answers the question, what does God think of me? And four, nothing can ever separate you from God's love. Nothing can ever separate you from God's love.
A closing illustration and this is for those of you who, right now if you're gut level honest, you're sitting there and you're saying this to yourself, "Wes, I want to believe that. I want so bad to believe that. I want so bad to experience that, but man, it's just not my reality. Man, I've blown it so many times. I have such a hard time believing that God really is this way towards me."
Listen, if that's you, I get it. I totally get it, man. Self-condemnation, I get it. I graduated from the JV leagues of self-condemnation a long time ago, man, I'm in the pro leagues. I mean, you say something negative to me, I've already said ten other things internally negative to myself.
And so what do you do? You've got to go back to the truth, man. You've got to go back to the truth of what God's word said. You've got to sit on that, you've got to soak in it, you've got to believe it. Right? Because your feelings don't always tell you what's accurate. Your feelings, our emotions, can't tell us what's true. Our feelings lie to us so often. You know that's true.
How many of you have ever felt like you were in love before? Only to find out, yeah, not really. It's probably bad tacos, right? I mean, you don't know. Crowd participation time, how many of you have ever gone to a scary movie before? Let me see your hands. All over, okay. Be honest you're in church, how many of you have ever been scared at a scary movie before? Let me see your hands. Look around, okay. Right. Do you know that you are in absolutely no danger in that theater? Do you know that? There's no way the guy with the chainsaw is coming off the screen. Not going to happen. And yet, we get all tense and we, "Ah!" Popcorn everywhere.
Why? Because our feelings are lying to us. Man, they were telling us a narrative that wasn't accurate. Your feelings can lie to you. That's why we have to go to God's truth and anchor ourselves in what he says.
Here's the illustration, if Jesus could show up here today in person, he's not, he's seated at the right hand of the Father. One day he's coming back, that's going to be awesome. But if he could show up here today in person, he would take you and he would take you away where no one else would be around, it would just be you and him one on one. And you would be standing there and Jesus would be looking in your eyes. And his face would be so lit up with excitement over you, and you just can't even hardly believe it.
And he'd look at you and he'd say these words, "I know everything about you. Everything." And then he'd say this, "And you're the one I want." Your mind would be ripping with questions. "Wait, how could this be? Jesus, do you have any idea how many times I've blown it? Do you have any idea what I've done? Do you know what's going on?" And here's the thing, because he's Jesus, because he's God in the flesh, he'd know exactly what you were thinking. He'd know that you are thinking that.
So I believe he'd move in a little bit closer, he'd extend his arm, he'd pull back the sleeve of his robe and he'd say, "Look at this right here. See? Look at this scar. This is where they spiked me to the cross. When they took me, they arrested me, and they beat me up and they tortured me. They bludgeoned me, they mangled my body, they shredded it literally. It's where I hung on the cross and God the Father put every single sin of the human race, every single one of your sins, on me. And he poured out his wrath on me for your sake. I bled out that day for you. See this? This proves that you're the one I want. This proves you're the one I love."
In that moment, could we really go over and say, "No thanks, Jesus. This is what I want. This is what I need." Really?
I'm not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation, for everyone who believes. So here's the question, where do you need to let the Gospel blow up in your life? If you're a Christ follower and you're believer, you know you have a relationship with Jesus, what is this for you? What is this for you? Where do you need to repent today? You say, "Wes, I'm not really sure what this is." Here's a way to find out. Where are you telling God no? Where in your life are you telling God no? Because behind every no is an idol. Behind every no to God is a wrong belief. Where are you telling God no? Where do you need to start telling him yes? Because you can.
You can repent and turn around and let him wrap his arms around you. Today you can start a process in the right direction. See, it's true in the physical realm, it's true in the spiritual realm, what you feed grows, what you neglect suffers, and what you starve dies. Some of you have been feeding this. Today you can stop because of the power of the Gospel. Today you can stop. And you can turn and you can repent and you can embrace Christ.
Some of you need to actually believe that what God says is true is actually true for you, that this really is his posture towards you. You need live out of that. For some of you, you need to give your life to Christ for the very first time. You've known about him, but you don't know him. You don't know for sure you're going to make heaven. You don't know for sure that you have a relationship with God. You hope so, you think so, that's crazy. Because God says you can know. You can know.
Today, I can tell beyond a shadow of a doubt, on authority of God's word, today, if you're here and you don't know Christ, the sole reason why he brought you to this place, why he put you in front of that screen is so that you can know him. There really is a God and you really do matter to him.
Jesus is saying, "Look, see that? This proves you're the one I want." The real question is, and the only question is, what do you want?
Let's pray together. With your heads bowed and your eyes closed, this is your moment, man. Thank you so much for your grace, you guys are always so gracious to me, I'm so thankful. But this is the critical moment, what did God talk to you about and what are you going to do about it, man? God loves you. He speaks into your life with that passion. We get used to that, man. We get used to what he did on the cross. Our hearts become dull. We become friends with our idols. We become comfortable with them. And we're ripping ourselves off.
What did God say to you today and what are you going to do? Take a moment and just respond to him as his child. You are so precious to him. Final question, if you're here and you've never invited Christ into your life and you know you need to do that, you want to. You want to experience this love of God for you first hand. You can. You can know your sins are forgiven. You can know that you're going to heaven. You can know that you have a relationship with God. You can know that. You can step into that.
And if that's you and that's what's beating in your heart right now and that's what you want, then just tell him. Tell Jesus that's exactly what you want. If you're not sure what to say, let me give you some words. Somebody loved me enough one day to give me some words to help me. Just pray something like this, not out loud, in your heart. Words aren't magic, mean them as your own. Just say something like this silently. Just say, dear Jesus, I know I'm a sinner. I get it. I know I need a Savior. I know I can't save myself. I believe you died for me, you paid for my sin and you have life to give me and I want that. I want you. So I turn from my sin, I repent and I turn to you. Jesus, come into my life right now and give me life. I am all yours. I believe in you, I'm all yours and I believe you are now all mine.