Well, good morning, everyone. And welcome to you. And I also want to say a word of welcome to any of you on any of our campuses. So glad to have you, and also to our online community. Thanks for joining us and being a part of it. Together we are the church. And today's just a wonderfully special day, but before we get to what we're going to talk about a couple of things I just want to share with you.
[00:00:20] And first and foremost, I want to thank you. I started this a couple of weeks ago and we delayed it because we thought we could do better and we did better, but I want to say thank you church. Because on Easter Sunday, we took up an offering above and beyond our regular offering because we care about women who are in need and are lacking resources.
[00:00:42] And I basically said, hey, can we like just dedicate above and beyond an offering to help women and church you came through big time. And so together on all of our campuses and our online community. Above and beyond you gave $390,000, which was, um, which was given to three different organizations two locally,
[00:01:04] and one actually in Lebanon. We sent money overseas to care for women there and church, that is the best the church can ever be. And I thank you for caring the way you do. Also. I want to spend a moment. I want to. Um, I want to pray for what's going on in our world right now, which we frequently do on weekends.
[00:01:21] Um, often the crisis is very close to home. This one's not so close to home, but it is in huge ways. One to talk about what's going on in Israeli, Palestine, and Israel, Palestine, and that conflict. Um, we, as a church spent a lot of time over there. You might or might not have ever gotten with us, but we have lots of trips over there.
[00:01:40] We're different than a lot of churches in that. What we try to do is we see all the sites and we get all that in. But we go beyond that and we try really hard to understand the conflict and to understand the conflict. You have to be willing to listen to two sides of a conflict. And there's an Israeli story and there's a Palestinian story and you have to hold those two in tension, in tension with one another.
[00:02:02] Um, What's going on right now, though is different. Uh, there is, uh, all kinds of problems, as you know, and it's a long lived problem. It goes back 70 some years actually goes farther than that. But basically what you need to understand is, um, there are two people who are arguing for the land. There are the Israelis and there are the Palestinians.
[00:02:19] So there's a lot more to all of this. I don't have time, but there's a different identities that are also claiming right to the land. And, and here's what I can tell you from personal experience and from a lot of reading and a lot of, you know, conversation, um, these people hate each other. You need to know that. I don't like saying that, but to not say that is really misleading.
[00:02:42] Um, one of the reasons that I am so passionate as a pastor, to you all on why we need to learn to love beyond is because I've seen firsthand what hatred will do to people. And there was no place on the planet, you'll see hatred more than, uh, the conflict between the Israeli Palestinian. Now what's going on now,
[00:03:02] that's even more complex is inside Israel. And I know this. If you don't understand this, I know it's just inside Israel. There is now conflict. There's almost a civil war breaking out between Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis. And I know that you might not have boxers to put that in, but it's ugly, ugly, ugly.
[00:03:19] It's ugly on steroids. And here's what I want to say to you. Okay. There is only one kind of forgiveness, big enough to deal with the problem in the middle East. Right. Now, here's what I'm saying. If you talk to both sides every time they'll say, well, we only did this because they did that. And then they'll say, well, we only did that because, and it's like, you go back and you go back and you go back and you go back and there's so much wrong done by both sides.
[00:03:45] And there's so much good done by both sides too, to be fair. But there's so much wrong. You get to the point where it there's always some first act that causes the response and you'll never solve anything. So the only forgiveness big enough to solve that problem is the forgiveness that comes through Jesus.
[00:04:00] And I know this can sound trite or simple, but I'm telling you the answer is Jesus. And until those people come to understand that there is no hope for that land. Now, I want to say this folks in our land that we live in, if we don't live out the teachings of Jesus, And we don't stop the hatred between our political parties.
[00:04:21] I'm telling you it's going to lead to the same sort of thing. And I want none of it. And so as a pastor of a congregation, I need you to understand, we have got to embody what it means to love in the name of Jesus. And we have to forgive, like Jesus taught us to forgive. So it starts here. And if we do this right, we'll have influence.
[00:04:43] And so I'm going to pray that we will, um, That will live that kind of life. But also I want to pray for Jesus to be made known in the middle East, because that is the only answer. So if you would join me, let's pray. So God, we do turn our attention to you and we are so sorry for what's happening. Um, innocent people are dying and, uh, if this escalates even further, more innocent, people are going to die.
[00:05:09] And God there's so much complexity to the middle East and, um, Uh, unraveling it and getting a grasp of it is so challenging. It's so easy to hear one side of the narrative and believe that's all there is to it, but there's two narratives and God, it's complicated. As you know, our prayer would be father that they would finally give up on anything and everything, but you and God, that they would turn to you and that they would literally do what everyone must do to find peace in their life.
[00:05:38] And that is to surrender their life to you. And so we pray for that to happen. I don't know how it's going to happen, but God, it, it could happen and it needs to happen. So we pray for that. And God, I pray for us. I pray that we would not just like, say, we love you and say, we live for you, but God, that it would be so obvious by the way we treat people that this one's for real.
[00:06:00] And if we'll do that, God will have incredible influence and we can make a difference. So help us to love, like you loved and lived like you lived and got to embody it so people can see it. So people will believe it. I pray for this to happen in Jesus' name. Amen. All right. Well, thank you. Okay. So today is a special day for lots of reasons which you'll understand, but we're going to conclude a series that we started on Easter.
[00:06:21] We started on Easter, our series called from now on, and the whole point of it was that Easter. It was a very talking about the very first Easter, a very, very special moment in time, because there was something that happened. There was an event that happened. There was an experience that happened that from that moment on life, as we knew, it was never going to be the same again.
[00:06:41] And what I'm talking about is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So on Easter morning, we celebrated what they originally celebrated on the very first Easter that Jesus Rose from the dead. And the whole point of this that we were talking about is that once that moment happens in your life, where you understand what happened on Easter, your future will never be more of your past.
[00:07:00] There's going to be a transition and it's going to be different. It's going to be better because from now on, you're going to understand that life in Jesus is different than life outside of Jesus. So from now on, you don't have to be what you were, you can become what you've never been. There's a bigger, better future for every one of us from now on.
[00:07:18] So each week of this series over the last eight weeks, we've taken a subject and we just talked about like the first week was, it was all about despair, but from now on it's about hope so hope over despair. And we talked about the idea of being so frightened and I was just so afraid of things. But from now on we, we, we can have courage over cowardice.
[00:07:41] We used to be afraid. We're going to have to be, and we win each week of the series. We have done that. And today, what I want to talk to you about is the most important one of all of these series of all of the messages in the series today, I want to talk to you about belief over unbelief. I don't know where you are on this.
[00:08:02] I don't know whether you believe in God or whether you don't, but I want to tell you when you move. It will change your life. Now here's what you need to understand. The story of Jesus was meant to intersect your story. And the minute you start to understand that from now on, it doesn't have to be the way it was that intersection, where you start to realize that what Jesus did was for you.
[00:08:28] It will change everything. There comes a point where you've lived by sight. And then you decide, you know, from now on, I'm going to live by faith and I'm going to live differently than I've lived before. I'm going to see things differently. And that's what I want to share with you in the next few minutes.
[00:08:43] So belief over unbelief. We're going to, that's the title to get there. What I need you to do is open your Bibles to John chapter 20 John chapter 20. Just open it up, find that and get ready for that. And we're going to launch from there in just a moment. While you're finding that. I want to just point out the obvious that there's two types of people with us today and not talking about you in the room with me and you on any of our campuses and you who are online wherever you are.
[00:09:08] There's two types of people. There are those who believe, and there are those who don't believe. We're glad you're here. If you don't believe you're not unwelcomed by any means you fit in. You're good. You're good. It was a wonderful place to bring your unbelief and go, you know what? I'm skeptical. I just got a lot of questions.
[00:09:24] It's awesome. Glad you're here. But I want to ask the two groups, a very specific question. So if you're here today is so in fact this will come up on the screen so you can kind of follow if today you believe in God, if that's you today, I believe in God. How would you answer someone who asked you, why you do so why do you believe in God?
[00:09:45] I know you're saying you believe in God, but I want to know why you believe in God. How would you answer that question? What would you put out there? And if you are in the other camp and the other camp would go, something like this, if today, you don't believe in God, here's my question. What would have to happen to cause you to change your mind?
[00:10:03] What would have to happen? And if you say there is nothing that could happen, that would change my mind. I want to point out something that's very uncomfortable. It's not pleasant. If you say there's nothing that could happen, God could do nothing to change my mind. I want you to understand what you just said about yourself.
[00:10:18] You're a close minded person and nobody wants to be that. So I would challenge you open your mind and go what we got to, what would God have to do? Come up with something? Well, God would have to do this. And, and, and, and because if you can't and your mind is so closed, you literally have box of God out of everything, and you don't want to be that guy.
[00:10:41] You don't want to be that close. So what would he have to do now? You hold those questions in the back of your mind. As we jump into John chapter 20. Now, here's what you need to understand about John chapter 20 and, and from now on. So Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, all right. Those are the four biographies of Jesus for four books of the new Testament.
[00:11:01] They all culminate with a resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's kind of the end of the story. And then Acts becomes the sequel. So it's like acts is literally written by the same guy that wrote Luke Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John Acts as Luke volume two, the sequel. And so what we've been doing is we've been looking at the difference the resurrection made in the lives of the, of the early followers of Jesus.
[00:11:28] And you can get that in the book of Acts and you can get a little of it, even at the end of the biographies before literally it, it kicks over into the book of Acts. So. Matthew Mark Luke and John end for all intents and purposes with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. But John gives us a little bit of detail, a little bit of insight into something that happened before Jesus literally ascended to the Father.
[00:11:50] And it's fascinating. All right. So John chapter 20, we're going to just jump in here and what I'm going to do for the sake of time is I'm just going to. W again, look, look down in your Bible so you can follow this. I'm just going to interrupt the story to make sure we're tracking. So here's how it starts.
[00:12:07] John 20 verse 24. Now Thomas called Didymus one of the 12. We got to stop right there. One of the 12, this is an important point. Here's what you need to realize. This is not. Uh, just an outsider. This is one of the apostles of Jesus. We're going to read a story about one of the apostles of Jesus. Now you probably know where this is going to go.
[00:12:29] You probably have heard the shore, but you got to understand. Luke wants you to realize he's one of the 12, the age. He's not a junior varsity player. He's not a, he's not a bench rider. He he's right there. He was ringside to the miracles of Jesus. He was ringside to the teaching of Jesus. He heard. The first time anyone ever heard the sermon on the Mount, he was there.
[00:12:49] First time he ever heard a parable, he was there. He got the very best of what Jesus had. All right. He was right there. He was so enlightened with Jesus. He literally said, Hey, I think we should go with him because he's going to die. And we should die with him. He was that committed. He literally said, wherever Jesus goes, I'm going to go.
[00:13:07] So you got to get to one of the 12th. All right. Very, very important point. And then you keep going down that says he was not with the disciples. When Jesus came. Now, I don't want to lose you. I need you understand what's going on. All right. The disciples got together after the resurrection of Jesus and they hung out.
[00:13:26] I'm going to show you why they hung out and I'm gonna show you where they hung out in just a moment, but they got together. And what you're going to discover is that Jesus showed up to the crowd to the 11 that were gathered together. And so he popped in all right. And he visited him. But. But Thomas was not there.
[00:13:47] This is what you need to understand. So the first time Jesus appeared to the apostles after the resurrection, he, he wasn't there. W where was he? Wa we don't really know necessarily where he was. Um, we know this when Jesus was crucified, all the disciples fled for their lives. If you're aware of that, they all took off.
[00:14:07] They, they were all scared to death. And then what's the crucifixion from a distance. And, and they were like not wanting to being like right when the Romans came and got Jesus and they carried them off, they were like for fear that they would also be crucified. They kept their distance. It was some faithful, courageous women.
[00:14:28] If you don't know this, who discovered that Jesus had risen, it wasn't men, men were too afraid to go near the tomb. It was the women who went to anoint the body of Jesus who discovered. That he had risen from the dead. And do you remember on Easter morning, we read this passage. I'm about to read again when they discovered that he was not there, there was an angel in the tomb and the angel said something to the women.
[00:14:50] Let me remind you. We tell, we talked about this Mark 16, six, and seven. Do not be alarmed. The angel said. You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene who was crucified, he is risen. He has risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid him, but go tell his disciples and Peter, he's going ahead of you into Galilee there, you will see him just as he told you.
[00:15:14] So the angel directs the apostles go to gala, which is North of is, uh, North Israel. Right. And he'll meet you there. So Jesus shows up there. And what we just discovered in John 20 is when Jesus showed up and made his appearance, Thomas was not there. Now, why wasn't Thomas there? We don't know why he went there.
[00:15:35] Maybe the boys sent them out to get falafel. I have no idea. Hey, don't ever run an errand for the boys. I don't have any idea, but probably it says all the disciples fled. He was still in hiding. Possibly. I don't know this. We don't know this. We just know he wasn't there for some reason. He wasn't there. He maybe hit so well, maybe he'd given up.
[00:15:55] Maybe he had just had all of his hope stash when Jesus crucified. We don't know. We just know that he wasn't there, but the others were there and Jesus showed up. And this is what you've got to understand. So the other disciples told him, told Thomas, we have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Oh yeah, listen in less.
[00:16:19] I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into his side. I will not believe it now, folks, don't miss this. They're excited. We seen the Lord. He's reserved from that. If you'd have seen the resurrected Lord, it would have blown your mind and change your paradigm because people have been crucified.
[00:16:40] Don't rise from the dead, but Jesus dead. And they're all gone. We saw him. Now again, I don't mean you're going to believe, but, but Thomas was very clear. I don't believe I, unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into his side. I will not believe that those were his terms.
[00:17:01] I'm not crossing over on this until I see those things happen. Do you see the stubbornness? Do you see the doubt? Do you see the unbelief? That's what you're dealing with. Don't miss it. Now I want to keep reading. Watch what happens next a week later. Oh, a week. Yeah. A week later, his disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them.
[00:17:26] He's hanging tight right now though. The doors were locked. Don't miss that. They're hunkered down in some room with the doors locked. They're scared to death still. And they're hiding behind this lock the door. Jesus came and stood among them and said peace with you. Let's just stop right there. These are men hiding out behind locked doors and Jesus just pops in.
[00:17:55] Okay. Now when Jesus just pops in, you got to understand. These people are wetting their pants. All right. I don't know how to say that of that. Doesn't offend you, but they're wearing their pants. They're scared of death. When Jesus just pops in out of nowhere behind locked doors, you're going how'd you do that?
[00:18:10] And they have a lot to learn about who Jesus is. So Jesus doing what he has to do. He goes guys, calm down, calm down that like, no, seriously, don't get freaked out about that, but I want to show you something. He immediately no small talk with Thomas now. Hey Thomas. Good to miss you. Last time. Where were you last week at church man?
[00:18:26] There's no small talk to Thomas. He gets right to Thomas. Look what he says. He said to Thomas, put your finger here, see my hands, reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop, doubting and believe. And Thomas said to him, my Lord and my God. And then Jesus told them, you have seen me. You have believed blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.
[00:18:55] Who are those who have not seen and have believed. Raise your hand. If you're in the camp, I've not seen, but I believe now you got to understand what Jesus is doing here. He is meeting Thomas right at the point where Thomas laid his challenge out to God. Unless I see that unless I put my head in, if I can't not believe in, Jesus goes okay to here do to what would it take for you?
[00:19:20] What would it take? Again, if you say nothing, you have no open mind, what would it take? You think God's capable of that you think God might be trying to do that to you this very day, trying to meet, meet your condition? What would it take. You, I don't know. Well, why don't, you know, you should know, think it out.
[00:19:42] What would he have to do? And so, she shows Thomas touch. Thomas goes to my Lord and my God, you understand what he's saying? Like, Oh, I'm sorry I get it. I get it. And Jesus says those words. They had to have stung a little bit. Don't you suppose? Jesus told them because you have seen me, you believe you believed only because does bless it or those who have not seen any yet believed Thomas couldn't,
[00:20:08] you just have believed now, listen, listen, please think right here, Thomas. How long have I been with you, Thomas? How much have we done together? How many miracles have I shown you? Don't you think it would be possible since I raised Lazarus from the dead that I could resurrect from the dead. Don't you think it's possible?
[00:20:27] Don't you think that somehow you should have been mentally prepared for what God was doing in your life? Thomas. Don't you think you should be farther along a resurrection is a sort of thing. It should have been anticipated Thomas, but based on the past, Yeah, we have, uh, an interesting thing in our culture.
[00:20:45] We, we, and you've said, you've heard this well, I seeing is believing. I won't believe it unless I see it. If I don't see it with my own two eyes, that's often the condition. So people say, well, what would it take if Jesus appeared to me in person and made himself known that would change everything. W what it seeing is believing, would it, would it change?
[00:21:07] What do you need? Uh, many people would suggest seeing would make no difference whatsoever. We say seeing is believing, but, um, it's just too much evidence that that's not true. And especially in our day and age with Photoshop and the ability of tweak videos now, and there's all kinds of technology where you don't, you don't know what you can believe that you see, but we love to say if I could just see it with my own eyes, I would believe it.
[00:21:32] But if at one woman, a woman named Mary Jo sharp wrote a book, why I still believe she documented something, I think it was a bit fascinating. Let me take you there. She documented. In, um, in Nazi Germany at the conclusion, if you know about the raiding of the concentration camps, the, you know, the Holocaust, she documented, uh, the experience of Dwight D Eisenhower when he saw firsthand, what he saw.
[00:22:01] And, uh, in fact, uh, Eisenhower wrote a letter, April, 1945 to George C. Marshall. And he said, these words, in fact, I'm going to show you, this is what he said straight from the letter. The things I saw, bigger description, visual evidence, and the verbal testimony of starvation cruelty beastiality were so overpowered.
[00:22:23] So leave me a bit sick. I made the visit deliberately in order to position to be in position, to get firsthand evidence of the things. If ever in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda. Uh, Eisenhower took 80,000 feet of film and took pictures, pictures of himself in the concentration camp with the prisoners.
[00:22:50] These were used as evidence in the Nuremberg trials about what they actually did big, because he said, if you don't see this, you're gonna, you're gonna run across some people who say it never even happened. Which folks to this very day, there's a number of people who say it never even happened. But it didn't start now.
[00:23:08] It started then seeing is believing. How about we got it 100% wrong, 100% backwards. How about if the truth of the matter is, is believing is seeing, believing is seeing the key to seeing is believing if you would, but believe you could see. And until you believe you're blind.
[00:23:37] What do you mean? Yeah. You can't see your lack of belief has blinded you to what God's doing in your midst. Could it be possible? I belief in him, folks that, um, shows you things you've never seen takes you places you've never been opened your mind in ways you've never had it open. Changes you. You know, it's interesting.
[00:23:59] The Bible describes faith. Belief that kind of faith is, this is the wording. I love this Hebrews 11 one. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Do you ever think is possible that maybe God designed the universe so that you don't get to see what you claim you have to see because he wants to give you something better than that.
[00:24:26] He wants you to have belief and faith. Not sight to live by belief, to live by not sight to live by. She, she, faith is about putting your belief into action. And when you do that, your belief will overcome your unbelief. Let me read a quote by Donald Miller. I think this is provocative. He said the trouble with deep belief is that it costs something you ever think about this.
[00:24:55] What would it mean if you really believed in God, what would it cost you to believe in God? And there was something inside me, some selfish beast of a subtle thing that doesn't like the truth at all, because it carries responsibility. And if I actually believe these things, I have to do something about them.
[00:25:13] Could that be the reason you don't want to believe what God has been trying to maybe get you to see through your belief? But you're choking it. Cause you just, I don't know. The big idea of this message is very simple. It's this, our actions reveal our beliefs. So we can say, we believe in God. We can say we anything, finish a sentence.
[00:25:37] We can say anything. I want to say this. Your actions will show the world what you really believe. And I mean that whether you really believe in God or not, it just w w your, my actions, you want to know what I really believe, follow me around and see how I live my life. That is true of me. And that is true of you.
[00:25:58] Your actions reveal your beliefs, your actions. Tell the whole story. I want to do something. I'll do this very, very quickly. I want to jump over. To the sequal for just a moment. All right. So that was a story that was before Jesus finally ascended, which is the beginning of the book of Acts that we just looked at.
[00:26:16] So he appeared to Thomas and he said, look, you need to see here. I'm showing you, here you go. But in the book of acts and the sequel, there's a story. It's an Acts chapter eight. It's just too good. And if you I'm just going to read it to you, you can write the text down and check me on whether I fudged. I just don't want to take the time for all of Us.
[00:26:37] Let me just read to you what happened. Okay. And this is going to be in Acts eight, begin with verse 26 and it's going involve two people they'll pay attention right now. An angel of the Lord said to Philip Phillips, one of the two people, right. Go South to the road, the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, Gaza, Gaza, the Gaza strip.
[00:26:59] This is the very places in the news today. Right now. Go from Jerusalem to Gaza. Gaza is, uh, just North of Egypt. Uh it's that, uh, that section that's that again? It's called the strip. So he started out and on his way. So Phillip's just going, I don't know. God told me to go down there. So I'm going to go down there because God said to, he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of the treasury of the Kenneth or Candice.
[00:27:25] Okay. Who is a queen, which means queen of the Ethiopians, this guy. He Philip is going to go meet somebody who is an executive in the court of Candice. He some sort of a bigwig, he's a, he's a leader of some sort. The man had gone to Jerusalem to worship. And on his way home, he was sitting in his chariot, reading the book of Isaiah, the prophet, the spirit told Philip go up to that chariot and stay near it.
[00:27:55] So this guys tripping along in his chariot, Philip just pops in there. However he gets there and God goes, go have a conference. Did you ever wonder if it were possible that God was actually orchestrating events in your life for you to have a chance to see what you've never seen? So you could understand what you've never understood and it's not as coincidentally as you might've convinced yourself that God actually wants to open your eyes.
[00:28:18] He actually wants you to see for yourself. So Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah, the prophet, Isaiah was written 700 years before the time of Jesus. Do you understand what you're reading? Phillip asked? Well, the guy says, how can I, uh, in a, somebody explains it to me. So he invited Phillip to come up and sit with them.
[00:28:44] Would you mind, would you. Um, so this was the passage of scripture. The unit was reading, do not miss this. This is what he was reading from the book of Isaiah. I was led like a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before his Shearer is silent. So he did not open his mouth in his humiliation. He was deprived of justice who can speak of his descendants for his life was taken from the earth.
[00:29:14] Any idea, any guesses on who he's talking about? Who was led silently like a sheep before the shearers didn't open his mouth. Didn't retaliate. Didn't strike back. Who was taken before he had this incidence? The unit asked Phillip, tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about himself or someone else?
[00:29:37] Then Phillip began with that very passage of scripture. Now watch here and told him the good news about Jesus. Do not miss this. You know what he's talking about, the very thing we talked about on Easter morning that this, this incredible thing happened where this innocent one. Like a sheep before a slaughter did not strike back to not retaliate.
[00:30:06] And they took his life
[00:30:11] and everything changed. And from now on, it was all different and he explained something to watch what happens next. Don't don't miss, uh, let me change it. Turn the page. Hold on. Has he traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, look, here's water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?
[00:30:31] And he gave order to stop the chariot. And both Phillip in the unit went down into the water and Phillip baptized him. Wait a minute. What in the world just happened? Why are we talking about water? Why are we talking about baptism? Because as Phillip was explaining to the unit, all of a sudden he started connecting the dots and he started realizing that this thing 700 years was a prophecy about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which has just happened.
[00:30:54] And then, and then this thing called baptism is connected to what happened to Jesus, which is connected to the prophecy of Jesus. And, and he starts to realize. I want that. I want him and his eyes are opened. He searched to see what he's never seen, and he sees a puddle of water and he goes, what can I get baptized right now?
[00:31:17] And Phillip looks at him and goes, you can do that. What does baptism have to do with any of this? Well, let me, let me show you another passage. Let me take you to Roman six or don't you know, that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism, into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the father, we too may live a new life.
[00:31:46] You see, when you start to see
[00:31:52] and you start to see when you start to believe you start making the connection, what happened to Jesus was supposed to happen to you. You see his death was supposed to be your death. That, that the wrong that he was paying for was not his wrong. It was your wrong, it was what you and I did that Jesus paid for.
[00:32:11] And, um, and that Jesus was willing. And I don't mean this to be trite, but God only knows why he was willing to pay for my wrong. He was willing to pay for your wrong. And Jesus was willing to die for me. And then when I start to believe that he died for me, my eyes, because I believe, start to see something that I was supposed to die for him.
[00:32:44] And you start to realize that this from now on life, this new life, this new beginning is me no longer living for me, but living for him and him no longer living for him, but living for me. And you. It would be a lot, like, I think it would be a lot like getting married. Uh, Lisa, my beloved we've been married for 43 years and um, in the 43 years, uh, there've been some great times and been some tough times, but 43 years that we've just, but I want you to understand what began 43 years ago.
[00:33:23] It was, uh, it was a moment in time where I wanted to make a transition, do not miss this. I wanted to go from something to something. I wanted to be done. And I wanted to begin. I wanted to move from being a single man to being a married man from living just for myself and providing only for me, but for living for someone else and for seeking to provide.
[00:33:50] I had enough of one thing and I wanted long and long for something different. And so we got a friends and family together and we had a ceremony. We call it a wedding. The wedding's not the big deal. Really it's the marriage, but the marriage begins with a wedding. And so we got our friends together and you know what we did at that wedding, we did what you do at weddings.
[00:34:14] We exchanged vows. I promise in sickness and in health for better, for worse. I'll be there. You know, when you make a bow and you wear wear ring, you CA this is symbol of my commitment. You know, we live in a day and age, which I'm not telling you what you don't know. People want to skip the commitment. I just want to live together.
[00:34:31] I just want to hook up. I want all the benefits. I don't want to commit to anything. Can I get you to see without the commitment you don't have anything. It's the commitment that makes the relationship special from to, from now on it. Won't I can't just jump back and forth. I made a commitment.
[00:35:01] Now what's this got to do with you?
[00:35:08] What would it take for God to get you to see what he's been, trying to show you? Why not today, take your belief and put it into action. Why don't you take what God's showing you and go, you know what? I want to go from two from now on. I don't want more of the past. I want a new future. I want a new beginning.
[00:35:35] I want a new start to my life. That's what baptism is. W we're going to do something here in the next few minutes, we have never in the history of our church other than then the last hour done and what we're about to do this, get ready for chaos. I went, we planned for it. It's it's going to be chaotic, but it's going to be different.
[00:35:57] And what we're going to do is in just a moment, I'm going to pray and I'm going to invite you to do something. Now I'm going to speak to two groups here. Okay. I want to speak. Uh, to all the people who are in person on our campuses. Let me talk to you first, then I'll talk to the online community. If you're on any of our campuses, here's what we're going to do.
[00:36:15] I'm going to just pray. I'm going to ask you to stand and then we're going to sing one more song and this service will conclude. All right. Um, during that song, as we're standing, if you want to take your belief and put it into action, which is the only way your beliefs are ever really made, known, and you want to make a commitment for, from now on to a new future.
[00:36:35] I want to invite you to come in all of our worship centers, you can find on the sides, they'll be towels, white towels. We use white towels for surrender. I give God I give and a pick up a towel, go in the back and we have clothes for you to change into private changing rooms. And then in the courtyard of all of our campuses, we have either a swimming pool or some sort of a baptismal.
[00:36:55] On all of our campuses. So you go and get a towel and again, I'll pray. We'll all stand while pray, you grab, grab a towel, they'll guide you. We'll get you out there. And then, um, we're going to baptize you right now in, in, in a service of commitment. Now we did this last hour and we were astounded at the number of people that came forward.
[00:37:17] Okay. I have no idea who's going to come forward in the service, but I know, you know, if I'm talking to you that you. You know what you believe and God's done what you needed him to do. So take the step of faith. All right. And so, um, And then we're going to hang out. Now, let me just ask to talk to the online community here for just a moment first off and as always.
[00:37:43] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being a part of us. We say this all the time, our church, isn't our church without you. So thank you for being who you are. If you're watching this online, we want you to understand that we're going to follow up with you. You got to let us know you want to make a decision.
[00:37:56] So go to centralaz.com/baptism. Let us know who you are and this week we'll get in touch with you and we'll make arrangements. You can also, if you want to, uh, you can do this in your own. Swimming pool. All right. You can take care of this. All right. Um, but if, uh, we can help you, you, you feel free to reach out to us and we'll follow up with you.
[00:38:14] Okay. All right. So here's what I'm going to ask you to do. I'm going to ask you to stand up church. That's just where we are. That's all come to our feet. Now. What's going to happen. Is here. The band's going to come out. So here they come. All right. Welcome the band back. Yay. All right. Um, so, uh, let me, uh, Let me, let me lead us into prayer.
[00:38:33] Now, let me, let me just explain this. Okay. So everyone's clear. So we're going to pray and if you're. Ready to take that step of faith you you're done with what was, and you're ready. So from now on, I want something different and better than you come forward and you, you get a towel. Okay. Wherever you are, you come forward right now, we're going to, we're going to stay and we're going to say one more song, and then we're going to go out to the courtyard on all of our campuses.
[00:38:56] Here's the deal. All right. I just wanna encourage you to stick around. I know we're in a hurry. We got to get out of here. Okay. Um, you really, don't, it's really kind of fun. To just kind of hang out together. And, uh, yeah. And, and so many of you saw this on the Gilbert campuses, you were walking and we were just having a ball out there in the courtyard.
[00:39:13] So we're going to meet out there, right? Just gonna hang out there for a little while between services and we invite you to join us and we're going to celebrate together the baptism of anyone who comes forward. And I hope that's you. All right. So let me pray. And then we'll be led in this song of worship.
[00:39:26] So father, thank you for our time together. Thank you for the experience that we get to have together. Thank you for our church. God, help us to realize. We can play around with this, or we can live it out. We can, uh, be about words or we can be about action and, and definitively demonstrating what really matters to us.
[00:39:44] And God just says we live in a culture that would love to skip the wedding. Uh, we would love to say, I can live with you without obeying what you asked us to do, but you were very clear that, um, that baptism is, are identifying with you. And just as when I got married, everyone knew just when I got baptized, everyone knew.
[00:40:03] I had made, uh, a promise and God, when we get baptized, we'll make it a promise from now on, from now on, I'm going to live by faith. And when I do, I'm going to see things I've never seen before, because you're going to show me so starts now starts here. It starts with us in Jesus name. We praise you. Amen.