(un)Apologetic Week 7: Dead Man Walking – Part 1
How do you know that Jesus is actually God? What happens to the people that never hear about Jesus? How can a loving God send people to hell? If God knew that Adam and Eve would sin, why would He even bother creating them? Why would God create the devil if He knew he would rebel? How’s it possible God has no beginning and no end? Why should I believe the Bible if God Himself didn’t write it? Can God and evolution both be true? What if I don’t agree with some stuff the Bible says?
So, why was God okay with slavery? Why does He seemingly allow wars? Where was God when I needed Him? If God is loving and all powerful, why is there evil?
Well, good morning to everybody, and good morning, also, to those who watch via the internet and the mobile app. We are in a current series called (un)Apologetic. One of the things that we do around here at Grace is we do series. And the reason we do that is because, as your pastor, I'm a teacher at heart. That's just sort of who I am. I’m also a professor and I like to teach. I want to make sure that when you come here every single weekend, you leave here with something that you didn't have before you came. You leave with some tools to put in your toolbox so that you can live out the Christian life that God has called you to live. And so, we do series around here so that we can take a big idea and then we can look at it in a bunch of different ways so that we can really learn a particular issue and then move on. It also gives us a catalog of stuff that we can go back to, as people that go here, and watch them again and remember what we learned and all that good stuff, so that we're being equipped to live out the Christian life.
Part of what we do when we're doing a series is we have a big idea. The big idea's great because the big idea not only focuses us once again, every weekend, as to what we're doing, but if you've missed a couple of weeks, it brings you right back in. And if you're brand new, once we do the big idea, you know exactly what's going on and then you can just move in from right there. It’s just a great way to do it. So, the big idea in this particular series is that we want to get equipped so that we're not afraid to share and defend our faith.
And that's a big deal because there are so many Christians that they love God, they've memorized certain scriptures, they pray for people and all that good stuff, but for whatever reason, they just have a very difficult time sharing their faith. They get a little bit scared to share it because they don't know that they might have the answers to questions that would come up. And so, we decided early on when we were thinking about the series for this year that one of the things that we wanted to do is we wanted to make sure that you are equipped to be able to better share and better defend your faith. And that's part of why we're doing this series.
We also knew this though. We also knew that there's a staggering group of people – it’s almost mind-blowing. It’s the fastest growing segment when people do religious studies. That fastest growing segment in America of religion is a group called the “nones and the dones.” The nones are people that do not go to church anymore. They do not affiliate with churches. It has grown from three and four. Now it's 12%, going to 17% in our country. There's a group called the dones that used to go to church. They no longer go to church. And then there's a group of what we call the deconversions, where people were Christians and now they are atheist and no longer believe. And this is happening in the 40 and younger generation in our country, and it's staggering. And one of the things we cannot do is a church is put our head in the sand and act like if we just sort of don't talk about it, it will go away. It's not going to go away. That's why in this series we have dealt with this stuff head on. We're unashamed to talk about this stuff because we believe that Christianity is true, and no matter what you throw at it, Jesus will win. Can I get an amen on that?
So, I hope you've been enjoying this series. We're going to continue on a little bit longer. We've got Frank Turek coming in at the end of this month. Frank's a world renowned great guy. Again, I mean, we're getting a great dose of all of this stuff. But here’s what happened. This last week, I was reading a book that had nothing to do with what we're doing here. Just reading. Personal reading, and thinking through some things. And it was a book written by a guy who's part of the Orange Conference. The Orange Conference is a group of Christians that are totally locked in on trying to make sure that the youth and children of this generation know Jesus.
And I want to make something really clear here. If you lose a generation, if you don’t win the next generation, we're always one generation away from extinction as Christians because God does not have grandchildren. He only has sons and daughters. You follow me on that? So, I'm reading this book and this book's telling me about youth and children and all of that and I'm letting it sink in. I'm at my office at the house and I read a sentence, then I read the next sentence and I just put the book down. Staggering. Shocking would be an understatement. But I want you to experience what I read and see if it does the same thing for you.
“The age of the average church member in America ages seven years every decade.”
This is the big one though that I put the book down.
“In the next decade, the average age of an American church member will be 60 years old.”
That does not mean that Pastor Chip doesn't love older people. I don't want you to hear that. That's not what I'm saying. Okay? Because some people go, “That means he doesn't want…”
No. That's not true at all. I want every old person, every young person, every black, every white, every liberal, every conservative. I want them all in this church. Okay? I want everybody in the pool together, and understanding who Jesus is. So, it's not that at all. It's that I just want us to realize something. There is a really good chance right now that we're sitting on a powder keg of another generation that's coming up that is going to be so far from God that it's going to hurt the church. I can't speak for everybody else. I can't do for everybody else. I can only speak for what we're doing here. We're going to do everything that we can here at Grace Community Church not only to reach the older people, but we are also going to reach the younger people because we want to make sure that that generation hears about Jesus. And I hope that excites you. Okay?
So, here's the stone cold reality this series. I'm not an apologetics guy. I mean, I'm bringing in Mittelberg, Turek, and bunch of friends I have. Licona. They all are big apologists. I mean, they love to sit down and debate, talk about things and give a reason for why Christianity is true. That was not what I studied. When I was in college, seminary and doctoral work, I studied theology and I studied classical literature. And so, my heart is a systematic theology teacher.
And so, apologetics is great. I'm all for it. That's why we're doing this stuff. But it's not really – I don't get up in the morning wanting to go argue about God's existence. That's just not where I come from. So, I want to talk to you over the next couple of weeks about my heart and what I think is the greatest thing that we need to make sure we are focused on as a church when it comes to sharing and defending our faith. And so, I'm going to make a statement here that is a bold statement. If you want to write it down, that would be great. If you want to get a tattoo, you can do that. I'm just kidding. But if you want to write it on your neighbor's arm, that’s fine too. But I'll make a statement. I need to clarify it, but I want you to really listen to this because this is huge.
The resurrection of Jesus is the single reason the Church exists. People would say, “Oh…”
No. I'm going to push back. The reason the Church exists is because Jesus got up from the grave. And when we sell out from that truth and we start arguing about all the other things that we like to argue about – and we love to argue about a bunch of other stuff. We like to argue about politics. We like to argue about social issues. We like to argue about whether or not Adam had a belly button. We like to argue about creation and all the stuff that we do. And I am not saying that those things do not have a time and a place and are important, but I want to make sure that you're very clear here. None of those things save people. What saves people is a relationship with Jesus – the Jesus that got up from the grave on the third day.
And when the Church gets unfocused from that – and we are. Across this country, we are totally off task right now. We're so divided in so many ways and everybody's spitting at each other and frothing at the mouth and all of this stuff. Can you imagine if every church in America said, “Stop. All we're going to do right now is go out and tell people about Jesus and tell people that He rose from the grave. That's what we're going to do. We're going to love on people and we're going to share that Gospel.”
There'd be cities in America that would go into revival because we've got to stay focused on the thing that's the most important, which is the person of Jesus and the resurrection. And don't just take it from me. This is Paul. Paul the Apostle, who was the most prolific writer of the New Testament, says if Christ has not been raised – he could have said “if this,” “if Jonah wasn't swallowed by a fish,” “if Noah's Ark wasn’t exactly this way,” “if whatever,” – and I'm not saying those things aren't true, but he didn't lead with those things like we often do. He said, “If Christ has not been raised…”
Like, “This is for Him.” There’s a Latin term called the “sine qua non,” the “not without which.” In other words, you can't do whatever it is that you're doing without this. You can't play basketball without a basketball. And since we're talking about basketball, let's talk about the Kentucky Wildcats for just a minute. I'm just kidding.
So, anyway, if Christ has not been raised, listen to what he says. He says, “Then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”
That's strong. So, what I want to do over the next couple of weeks is I want to try my best to get deep in the DNA of our church that what created this whole thing that we call Christianity, what created even the writing of the New Testament was that some people saw a dead man walking and it changed everything. And so, what I want to do is give you some thoughts to think about. I want to give you some things that you will consider to be proofs of the resurrection of Jesus. But, more importantly, I want this to be a central point that we understand that if we're going to reach the unchurched out there and we're going to truly lead people into a relationship with God, our preaching has to be Jesus, Him crucified, and Him risen from the dead. And that is the good news of the Gospel and we want to make sure that we stay on point.
So, if you take notes, let's get to work. The resurrection is either false or it is the game changer. What I love about Jesus and I love about Christianity is I love the either/or-ness of Christianity. You know? Jesus didn't say in John 14:6, “There are many ways to the top of the mountain. Butterflies and rainbows and unicorns. He didn’t do that at all. Do you know what he said? He said, “I'm the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.”
Which I love because do you know what that is? It's either true or false. I love that. Like, some of the other stuff that can you read and other religious books, you'd go, “Well, okay. That's great. But, I mean…”
Jesus is always calling you and me to a decision. This is the beauty of this. The resurrection is either false or it's a game changer. You can't half raise from the dead. It just doesn't happen. He either rose from the dead or He didn’t. Here's what Paul says about this. He says, “If Christ has not been raised, if that's the truth, if He's not been raised, your faith is futile and you’re still in your sins. You may think you've been forgiven, but you’re not. You’re just the same old person. Nothing has changed. Nothing has gone on if Christ didn't raise from the dead. Your faith is futile. Not only that, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. That mom that died, that son or daughter that died, that grandmother that died, you’re never going to see them again. They perished if Christ hasn't risen from the dead.”
And he uses this term “fallen asleep.” People go, “Well, why did they use that term?” Because Christians believe in resurrection. They believe that just like we go to bed at night and fall asleep, and then in the morning we wake up, they believe that there'll be people that they've sort of fallen asleep. They don't really, literally fall asleep. It’s just saying that body that's in the ground will also be resurrected. That there will be a resurrection at some point.
Even if you're here today and you're like, “I'm not really sure I really believe in all of this Jesus stuff,” let me just tell you something: You can belong here before you believe. This is a safe place. It's a great place to come hang out with us. We believe that if people hang out with us long enough, you'll realize that there's a God and you'll want to get in the pool with us. We just believe that passionately. So, you can hang out here. But here's what I would tell you: Isn't it cool that the Creator God put His thumbprint in, in our world, that every night you and me, when it's nighttime, dark, we go to sleep? And we don't really remember sleeping because we don't. We might remember a dream, but we just go to sleep. And then what happens is we wake up. We usually wake up and it's morning time. God, in His sovereignty, in His Godness, has ordained the world that every single day that you and I go to sleep and wake up, we are being prepared for resurrection?
Isn’t that cool? It's like in the book of Genesis, it says, “Evening and morning were the first day. Wouldn’t you have thought it would have said morning and evening wear the first day? I love that it's evening and morning first. God's a night person. Actually, what it is is it’s emblematic of resurrection. It's the darkness going to the light. On the third day is when life starts in the creation account. It was all these beautiful things going on. So, he says, “If Christ hasn't risen, then people who are dead, they've perished. And not only that, but in Christ we have hope in this life only. We’re of people to be most pitied.”
In other words, if we're running around sharing Jesus and we're getting thrown in prison and we’re getting beaten and all of those things, and there's no truth to anything that we're saying, then you ought to have pity on us. At the end of the day, the very first thing that we have to grapple with is not all the other things that we normally try to put into the box of what it means to be a Christian. The first thing that we have to ask is did Jesus, in fact, rise from the dead? Because Paul, in the New Testament, hinges that on everything hinges on that resurrection. If Jesus didn't resurrect, it doesn’t make a difference about the other stuff.
So, let's talk about the resurrection. The second thing that I'm going to give you, we're going to have to talk about for a minute, because we're going to have to go back to the first century, smell the first century, taste the first century to understand this. But I think once we understand this, we're going to go, “Whoa, this is pretty incredible.”
So, here's what I want to say to you: The resurrection of Jesus is really the only plausible explanation. And what I mean by that is that when we look at facts and we go, “Are there other explanations?” There could be other explanations, but I think you're going to see that as the only plausible explanation for why people – the people that were following Him – continued believing in a Messiah that had been crucified, or a crucified Messiah. And I've got to explain that. There’s a lot of stuff here that I've got to explain. So, let me work through this.
When, when we talk is philosophers, we have an acronym called IBE, which means inference to the best explanation. When you have a set of facts in front of you and you look at those facts, what is the best explanation for what happened? So, let's go back to the first century and let's look at Jesus. Let's look at what went on. I think you'll conclude here in a minute that, man, the only really good explanation for this stuff is the resurrection. Okay?
In the first century, we had what were called Messianic expectations. Now, there were different groups of Jewish people, like different denominations. There were Pharisees and Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes and all these groups of people. They all had a different way in which they approached it, but all of them believed that God was very, very soon going to do something incredible; that He was going to send a deliverer, like Moses, that would deliver the children of Israel from the oppression of Rome and would set Israel up as a kingdom and then the law would go out into the world and the nations would be converted, and the nations would beat their instruments of war into instruments of peace.
You can read that in like passages like Isaiah 2, at the beginning. They believe that. In fact, the New Testament shows you how expectant that they were for this messiah to come. In the gospel of Luke, it says, “The people were in expectation.” It was like a buzz in the first century. And they were questioning in their hearts concerning John. This is John the Baptist. He's not the Christ, but they saw him, and what he was doing was so incredible. He was preaching such great messages and people were being called to repentance. They stopped and said, “Do you know what? Maybe this guy is the Christ. Maybe he's the one.”
And they all were looking for this political deliverer, this person that would deliver them in a political and military way, that would overthrow their enemies and then would set Israel's kingdom up to be all that God had called it to be. In the first century, this is going on regularly. And so, before Jesus – and this is all historical. Before Jesus, there were hundreds of people that claimed to be the messiah, and people followed them, believed in them, thought they were going to be the one. After Jesus, hundreds more. In fact, all the way even to 126 AD, the Simon bar-Kokhba Rebellion was a massive rebellion. Thousands of people believed he was going to be the messiah. They minted coins and everything else. And this is 126 AD. It is like 90 some odd years after Jesus has died and risen from the grave. There was this idea that there would be a messiah that would come that would liberate Israel.
Well, Rome knew that story. They didn’t believe the story, but they knew the story. They thought, “You know, if these Jewish people think that this person is going to be a messiah, they may rally around and get 100 people, 500 people, maybe 1,000 people, and they're going to take up arms and they're going to create problems in Jerusalem. So, what we’ve got to do is we got to nip this stuff in the bud before it ever comes out.”
So, Rome had a great way of dealing with a messiah because if the messiah was going to liberate Israel and was going to overthrow Rome, the one thing that would squelch that messiah is if you killed him. So, Rome had a way of dealing with messiahs. Do you know what they did? They crucified them. Hundreds of them. Thousands of them. They crucified them because they were able to go, “There's your liberator. There’s your God that’s going to deliver you. Right? Look at him. He’s up there hanging. Do you think he's going to really deliver you? He’s not going to deliver you.”
And here's what happened with every messianic movement, every single one of them: As soon as the person was crucified, they were onto the next thing. Nobody sat around and said, “You know, that was a really good guy. Too bad that happened. Maybe we'll write some books about him and we'll talk about him.”
Nobody did because that was a failure. And, in fact, if you would have been part of the messianic movement of this person that got crucified – and there were hundreds of them. When your messiah, your would-be-messiah, was crucified, you ran. You got out of town. You hid because what you didn't want is for Rome to know that you were following this guy that they crucified because they may just go ahead and kill you too. So, what you didn't do when your messiah got crucified is continue the story. You didn't do it. It was gone. It was done. Over.
Well, when you read the New Testament, when Jesus dies, Peter can't deny Him quick enough, even before He's on His way to death. The disciples go run off and hide. Why in the world? What is the best explanation that a group of people that just saw their messiah die, that if they came out and said, “Hey, let me tell you about Jesus. I was a follower of Jesus.” You're probably going to die. Why would you all of a sudden start talking about your messiah? The best explanation is that they saw a dead man walking.
You can come up with a lot of other explanations, but the best explanation, when you understand the first century, is that there's no other reasonable explanation for why they did what they did other than the fact that they saw Him alive.
The next thing is this: Having women be the first witnesses of the resurrection would have been a self-defeating account. You would have started out of the gate with nobody listening to you. I'm sorry for the women today that I'm going to have to take you back to the first century. It was brutal back then. Don't get mad at me. Get mad at them. I'm cool. It's all good. But I do need to take you back there to understand why this is a big deal. So, the Gospel tells us it was Mary Magdalen (woman), Joanna (woman), Mary the mother of James (woman), the other women (women) with them who told these things to the apostles.
The first people who witnessed the resurrection of Jesus? Women. First preachers of the Gospel? Women. That messes a lot of people up already. That's what the Bible does. It will mess you up all the time. But these words seem to them, the men, an idle tale and they didn't believe them. So, what is the most plausible explanation for the fact that a crucified messiah, all of a sudden they started talking about Him again? And why in the world, if you're going to start talking about this messiah that you say has raised from the dead, why would you start it off with a self-defeating account that nobody would believe in anyway? Let me just give you some history. This is your buddy Josephus. First century.
“Let not the testimony of women be admitted on account of the levity and boldness of their sex, since it is probable that they may not speak truth, either out of hope of gain or fear of punishment.”
It gets worse. Here's the Talmud.
“Any evidence which a woman gives is not valid. One who is accounted a robber is qualified to give the same evidence is a woman.”
I just want you to think here. Why in the world would you lead with the account that it was women that saw Jesus? The most plausible explanation is that they saw a dead man walking, and this is exactly what happened. They weren’t concerned about getting their story right. They were concerned about telling people that they touched someone that had died. On top of that, they preached the resurrection in Jerusalem. See, you’re thinking here if you're going to start something, a religion, you're going to get people hoodwinked and convince them of some other stuff, maybe for whatever reason that you want to do that, you're going to go somewhere where nobody knows about any of this stuff. You’re going to tell him, “These people preached that the guy that everybody saw just a few days ago dying on a cross, that they knew that one of the members of the Sanhedrin, Joseph of Arimathea, buried him in his tomb, they started preaching, “The man is alive,” in Jerusalem where everybody could go, “That isn't true. Here's the body.”
Think about that. That is so powerful that the start of the Church started in the very place where everybody knew the guy had just died. It’d be really easy to go, “That’s not true. Here's the body.”
You don’t think the Roman guards and Pontius Pilate would have gone house to house and gone everywhere in that whole place to make sure that body was found so they could parade that body around and say, “This is a lie?”
They preached it in Jerusalem. On top of that, we have very early witnesses and very reliable resources concerning the resurrection. Nobody – that's a strong word – not even atheist scholars denies that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. It's unanimous. Nobody denies that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians around 54 AD. It's not disputed. I mean, almost everything is disputed. It's not disputed. Everybody knows Paul wrote it and knows about the time. Twenty some years since the death of Jesus, Paul is Writing 1 Corinthians. What he says in this epistle is profound. He says, “I delivered to you as a first importance what I also received.”
That word “received” is very important. This is an early creed that Paul received that probably goes back to the time of the start of the Church. It's very simple and it's just part of the early churches. They didn't have a Bible. Some of us are like, “Oh, I thought they had the King James in the first century.” No. The King James was written in 1611. I've heard people say, “Oh, brother, if it was good enough for Paul and Silas, it's good enough for me.”
No, no. It wasn't. It wasn't. They didn’t have Bibles back then. The Church didn't even have Bibles until around the 16th century that they actually could carry around and read. We don't even think in terms of this stuff because it's so accessible to us. They didn't. They had a story. A guy in Jerusalem, Jesus, a carpenter, He died. Right? Yeah. You heard about that? He died. Yeah. He got up. Really? Yeah. I saw Him. Whoa. You in? I'm in.
That was their story. That's the way they did it. Paul says, “Here's the creed. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scripture. He was buried and He was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.” That was good enough for the early Christians. He died for you, He was buried and He rose again. It was their creed.
But listen to what he says after this. He appeared to Cephas. Peter. Peter saw Him. Not only that, but then to the 12. Peter, with the other 11, another visitation to Peter. So, if you think Peter just lost it one day and thought he saw Jesus, it happened again and all the other 11 saw it. “And on top of that, He appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time, and most of them are still alive. Like, you can go talk to them. We're only a few years away from when Jesus died. Everybody remembers the story. It's not that far away. I mean, you go talk to these people. They saw Him. Some of them have died, but not all of them. Talk to them.”
Then He appeared to James. James was Jesus' half-brother. He was one of the children that Mary and Joseph had after Jesus. Can I ask you a question? What would it take to convince your brother that you were God? Because James writes us an epistle in the New Testament and he believes his brother was, in fact, God. James saw a dead man walking.
And then to all the apostles. In Luke 10, we’re told there were 70 or 72. In the book of Acts, maybe there's 120. “He appeared to them too, and then He appeared to me.”
See, this is something that you can go, “We can just disprove this because all you’ve got to do is go talk to these people.” But this is something that’s not just “believe this hocus pocus.” This is, “These people saw Jesus alive. Talk to them.” And then people go, “Well, yeah, but you know, we don't know what we read in the Bible. I mean, we don't know if it's correct. I mean, that's a long time ago. How do we know that the words that we have are actually the words that we have? How do we know that the gospels haven't been corrupted? How do you know that what you're reading is, in fact, what they wrote?”
That's a great question. I'm a literary guy. I teach literature, so I could give you a great answer. Most of you will know these things. These are books that nobody questions. Nobody questions when you read Homer. Nobody raises their hand in class and goes, “Do we really know if Homer wrote this? Do we really know that these words are…?”
Nobody questions that. Nobody questions Sophocles. I teach Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War. Nobody questions that were reading what Thucydides wrote. Nobody does. Nobody even questions it. It’s not even on the scope of anybody question this. Herodotus’ or Tacitus’ Annals? Nobody questions these. Tacitus’ annals, written in 100 AD, earliest manuscripts that we have – we found volume one and volume two, the first part and the second part at different times. The first copies that we have are from 850 AD. The next ones are from 1050 AD. So, a difference of like 750 to 950 years from when he originally wrote, and we have 30 of those manuscripts. Nobody questions it. Everybody knows Tacitus wrote Annals. Nobody goes, “Do we really have the exact words?”
Nobody does that. Thucydides, 1,350 years from when he wrote, with 96 manuscripts, and nobody questions it. Nobody goes, “Man, do you really believe those speeches that are in there? Do you really believe?”
Everybody knows that he wrote that. They don’t even question. So, when we come to the New Testament, let me lay this out for you here. The New Testament, first of all, we have 5,838 manuscripts of the New Testament. We have a New Testament that was written somewhere between 45 and 65 AD. I reject anybody who puts these dates past 70 AD. There's no reason to do that. The temple was destroyed in 70 AD. The book of Hebrews says in Hebrews 10 that the priests stand daily at the temple offering sacrifices. You would have said, “The priests used to stand daily at the temple offering sacrifices.”
The only reason you need to date the gospels past 70 AD is because in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 and in Matthew 13 Jesus says, “The temple's going to be destroyed and this generation will see it.” He tells them clearly that's what's going to happen. Well, the reason you want to date the gospels after 70 AD is so that Jesus isn't telling you something that's going to happen before it happens. “Gospel of John was written late. It was like 90 AD.”
Well, in John 5:2 it says that there is in Jerusalem, at the pool of Bethesda, the five colonnades of the sheep gate. That’s present tense. That was destroyed in 70 AD, which means he would have said “there was” if he was writing afterwards. Which means if you want to go ahead and adopt the 90 or 100 AD of those things, then you just even get closer to this. But we're talking a period of 55 to 85 years from this with 5,838 manuscripts. There is no reason in the world, folks. This isn't me trying to convince you of Christianity. This isn't me trying to do anything other. This is me just being honest. When I look at this, there is no reason in the world to conclude that what we have in the New Testament is not exactly what the New Testament writers wrote. You don't have to believe it, but I can assure you of this: We got what they wrote. If you believe any of this other stuff, there's no reason to deny the New Testament unless you just don't want to believe what it says.
Now, listen to me because this is important. I can sit here all day long and tell you about facts, and we talk about the intellectual component of believing in the resurrection. That is not why we come here. See, I believe all that's true. I believe that there is no reason to deny the resurrection. It is the best plausible explanation. But here's what I know, and this is what we're after here at Grace. We don't believe that the resurrection is just something that you mentally go, “I agree with.” We believe that the resurrection of Jesus, and Jesus as a person, changes lives right now, today.
The resurrection power of God that raised Jesus from the dead flows through the veins of those of us who believe in Jesus, which means if resurrection power is available, it means life change is available. It means marriages can be restored. It means problems can be resolved. It means that God can be at work in us in the same way. And the same power that drew Jesus out of the grave can be at work in our church and in our lives, and we believe that it changes everything. This is not an intellectual exercise. This is an exercise to say God wants to have a real relationship with you that stirs you up, that makes you uncomfortable at times, because that's what God will do. If you've been walking with God for 30 years, the resurrection power gets going in you again, you're going to get uncomfortable because that's what God does. And what I want is a wholly uncomfortable church that passionately wants to see those people out there come to understand who the person of Jesus is, and that He rose from the dead and He can change their lives.
Let's pray. Dear Heavenly Father, I pray right now, in our seats, that even today we celebrate, it's the Pentecost Sunday, the day of Pentecost after the resurrection, when the spirit of God fell on the early Church. God, my prayer is that Your Spirit would fall here in our church, that You would make us disturbed and uncomfortable, that You'd give us a passion for the lost, a passion to get outside of the four walls of the church, a passion to stop playing Christianity, but being passionate followers of Jesus that want to engage this world and see a difference made in this community.
God, stir our hearts. Let us drink deeply of the resurrection’s power in our lives. And I pray, Lord, that as we walk out of here today, that You would continue to lead, guide and direct us, that You would watch over us and protect us. And I pray that You would bring us back safely to when we meet again. And help us to stay focused and diligent on being what You've called us to be here at Grace, a church that reaches the unchurched by being intentional neighbors that reflect Christ.
Lord, we love You, we thank You and we praise You. In Jesus' name, and everybody said, “Amen.” Give the Lord a big hand clap. Tell Him you love Him. God bless everybody. See you soon.