(un)Apologetic Week 8: Sound Familiar?

Sermon Transcript


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?

[End Video]

Well, good morning to everybody and good morning, also, to those who watch via the internet and the mobile app. We're in a current series called [un]Apologetic. The genesis of this series was that we were aware of two things in particular. One was that of the amount of people who leave church at 18 and go to school or go to college, about 80% of them, when they're confronted with things in their biology classes, science and other things at school, about 80% of them stopped going to church. That's alarming. We also knew that when you poll people and talk to people across all Christian segments, one of the things that people say they have the most difficult thing doing is sharing their faith. You know? They love God, they like to read Scripture, they like to sing songs and they want people to know about Jesus, but sometimes trying to figure out the words to say, how to say it or even being able to field questions that are tough is difficult.

So, we thought, hey, this would be a great series to take on the difficult questions, really talk about that and not be scared to discuss the most difficult questions. So, we've been doing that. We're bringing in people along the way, too, that are great at this type of stuff. We're doing the question and answer stuff. We've got something online. You can go ask questions. I mean, we're trying really hard to really help this church get equipped to share and defend our faith. As your pastor, I can tell you that when I get up here and do what I do here on the weekends, my number one goal, and it's the thing I shoot for, is I want to make sure that when you come here, you get something to put in your toolbox so that you can leave differently and leave better than when you came in here.

So, it's a big deal for me to equip the saints to do the work of God. So, in every series, I try to come up with what I call a big idea. It's not only just for our creative team to be able to do graphics and video and stuff, but the big idea is a great teaching tool because every weekend we come back to that big idea. Even though we're sort of going at it in different ways during each week, it helps us to stay on the same page. It also is fantastic if you've maybe missed a week or two, or if this is your first time talking about the big idea, it let's you feel as if you're just joining right in with us and you don't feel like you're joining something midstream or whatever. So

So, the big idea and this particular series is for us to get equipped. I want to make sure that we get the things that we need so that we're not afraid to share and defend our faith. And that's the goal here. We didn't put a timeframe on when we would stop this series, but what we wanted to do is make sure that you felt, as a church, “Hey, you know what? You have helped us out. You've helped me out in sharing my faith. I feel a little bit more confident about telling people about Jesus, and I feel a little bit more confident about answering some questions.”

So, last weekend, I started what I would call a mini series within our series, and it was entitled “Dead Man Walking: Part One.” I talked about the resurrection, the power of the resurrection and the proofs of the resurrection. I think it was a really, really good message. We're going to continue “Dead Man Walking: Part 2” next weekend, but there's a little sandwich in-between those two, sort of like an Oreo cookie. So, this is the cream, you know? Are you like me? Do you just tear that thing open and go right for the cream? That's what Christians do. Anyway, this is going to be a little bit [different]. Still talking about the resurrection, still talking about Jesus, but this was just something that I wanted to do this weekend because it's Father’s Day. I wanted to sort of brag a little bit on our Heavenly Father. Also, I'm a dad and I wanted to say, “You know what? I want to preach on something that just passionately gets me going.”

So, here's what we're going to do. Please don't raise your hand because if you raise your hand on this you will date yourself. Okay? So, don’t do that. But there was this game a few years back on TV called “Name That Tune.” Yeah. You know, you're not supposed to respond to that. That's because those that are 20 in here are like, “What?” You know? So, anyway, that game was a game where they would play a song and your deal was in how many notes — and the shorter, the better. If you could name that tune, then you were better than the person who couldn't name that tune in a shorter amount of time. The reality is that the reason you can name that tune, if you can name that tune, is because you knew the familiarity of that particular song.

So, what I want to do is I want to have some fun today with you all. I want to do a little sort of exercise here to see if some of this stuff sounds familiar. And what I want to do is go through a number of stories in the Old Testament. There are about 40 or 50 of them, but I don't have time to do that, so we're going to have to narrow it down. But we're going to go through some stories and we're going to ask, “Does this sound familiar?”

And the reason I want to ask does it sound familiar is because of this: I teach literature from time to time at Knox. I teach classical literature. I teach from Hesse to Nietzsche, Plato, Augustan, Thucydides and all those great works. And one of the things that you know when you teach literature literature is you learn how to read a book, you learn how vocabulary works, you learn how arguments work in books, but you don't have to have literary degree to understand this. You and me both know that if we went to a library, walked into the library and picked 30 books off the shelf, 40 books or 50 books, whatever that amount was, and we read each one of those books, we would conclude that it wasn't like the other book, it had different vocabulary, had a different agenda, it had different themes because it had different authorship. And if you read a book that had commonality or themes, you would realize, “Well, it must be a common author.”

So, knowing that if you just take 40 bucks off the library shelf that were written by different people, you're not going to have common themes because it's not written by a common author. Well, the same logic should apply, technically, to scripture. The Bible, which we sort of see as one book is not. It's 66 books that are located between the table of contents and the maps. There are 66 of these dudes and dudettes. There are about 40 authors that have written those books, and they were written probably somewhere over a time of 1,200 to 1,500 years. Some people like to say 800, but whether it's 800 or 1,000, or whether it's 1,000 to 1,500, it's a good long period of time here. It was written in different places, different continents and all of that good stuff. And so, the question would be, if you took all those 66 books and you read them, should you be able to find a common theme?

The answer would be no because they were written by people at a different time, in a different place, and if you did find common themes all the way through them, what it would suggest is a common author.

So, for me, when, when I think of my Christianity and I think of Jesus and I think of the resurrection and all of those things, I'm just absolutely stunned at the Old Testament stories that all talk about Jesus. And I think that as we go through some of these, you're gonna go, “Whoa, that really sounds familiar,” and so it's going to be fun. And Jesus teaches us that this is the way to do it because in Luke 24 — and you can go home and read this today or tomorrow, whenever you'd like to read it — he meets up with two disciples that are leaving from Jerusalem to walk to Emmaus, which is about a six or seven mile walk, two and a half to three hours, and we're told that Jesus teaches these two Emmaus disciples the things concerning himself out of the Old Testament.

So, for three hours, Jesus teaches these people about Himself out of the Old Testament. The question you would ask is if the Old Testament really is all about Jesus, then we have to ask a question because there's no way people a thousand years before Jesus could have known all these things. And so ,what it would suggest is that there is a divine author behind Scripture. So, I just want to take some time here on Father's Day to Brag on our Heavenly Father, show how He has given us such a wonderful book. And you're going to leave encouraged and you go, “Man, He didn't beat any dads up at all. Man, he’s a nice guy.”

I am. I'm a nice guy. So, anyway, let's get started here. Those who watch via the mobile app and internet, get your bibles out and we're going to have some good times. So, let's start off here early on in a couple of these stories. I think I've told it before, but I'm gonna tell it a little bit differently, but I also believe in teaching and I believe that until you hear something like five or six times, you don't fully get the full ramifications of it. So, let's go. We’ve got a bunch of stuff to cover. We'll get out here about two o'clock and y'all can have lunch. It'll be great.

So let's get to working. You guys are aware of this guy Adam, right? The guy that sort of set us all up for the world that we live in. Adam and Eve. Well, we meet Adam and in the book of Genesis, and in Genesis 2, we have this really cool passage of Scripture that tells us about Adam, and it's before he has fallen. So, he is a sinless being. He's innocent. He's not done anything wrong. And we meet the text here.

It says, “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man,”

Now, the Hebrew for “deep sleep” is almost coma or death-like. So, here's Adam before the fall, Genesis 2. Remember, the fall, if you've never read the Bible, is in Genesis 3. And I always say that if the fall wouldn't have happened, we would've had a pamphlet for the Bible, not the 66 books. So, here he is, sinless. He hasn’t sinned. He’s perfect in all of his ways. All this great stuff. And God sort of puts a deep sleep on him. So, he falls asleep, almost coma-like, almost death-like. And we're told that while he slept, He took one of his ribs.

Now, the Hebrew is a little unclear. It may be rib, it may be substance. It doesn't make a difference. The bottom line is He took something out of Adam, which is interesting. He wounded Adam before the fall. He wounded Adam before he had sinned. He takes out of his side this rib or substance and heals him back up. He takes that substance and it says when He had taken that, He made it into a woman and He brought her to the man. So, the idea here is that Adam, before the fall, is wounded, and out of his side comes the stuff that creates Eve, which is his bride. And, of course, when he comes out of that deep coma-like sleep, there is his woman; there is his bride. They're in the garden. Isn’t this beautiful? That's awesome. Just does this sound familiar? John, who understands Genesis really well — he starts off his gospel, “In the beginning,” just like Genesis is in the beginning. Genesis starts off with seven days of creation. John starts off with seven days. You can read it. It’s all in there. It’s literarily beautiful. It's great stuff. But he teaches, and John's the only one who does this, and who understands Genesis really well.

He has Jesus on the cross, and Jesus hangs His head in death. He goes to sleep. He's dead. He records that His side is pierced. He’s a sinless man whose side is pierced. Out of the side, we're told, flowed water and blood, which are the exact things that create the Church. If it weren't for the blood of Jesus, if it weren't for the washing of the water of the Word, if it weren't for the baptismal waters, we wouldn't have the Church. So, the substance out of His side creates the Church, which we learn is His bride.

And on the third day when He awakes, figuratively speaking, and the stone is rolled away, we find Him in John and we find Mary Magdalen looking at him thinking that He is the Gardner. So, He's in a garden. So, here He is awoke and here's this — and it's beautiful, too, because Mary is such a great picture of the bride of Christ. She's a woman who's been possessed seven times. She's a woman that is not very beautiful in that sense of the word, which is all of us. We all have scars and we all have stuff, but a beautiful story.

Let's work through these things and see if some things sound familiar. Let’s take another guy. Remember Abraham? If you don't know Abraham, he was a guy in Genesis 12 that God said, “I want you to leave your family, your country, your city. I want you to do that. I want you to take a journey.”

And Abraham has enough faith — remember? — to go, but he doesn't go alone. Remember? He takes a Lot with him. Remember that story? Remember that? I always say when God asks us to go somewhere, we usually take a “lot” with us too, right?

So, he's on this story, and part of this story is will Abraham have an heir to share all these blessings that God has given to him? And so, the story goes on. How's he going to have a son? There are a lot of issues. Abraham makes a lot of bad decisions, but eventually God gives him a son named Isaac. Now, what's interesting is God requires of Abraham to offer up his son Isaac is a sacrifice. And most of us, when we read that, we’re like, “Why in the world was that going on?”

Well, you’ve got to understand, — if you don't understand that the Bible was not written to you and me — it was written for you and me, but not to you and me. You have to understand that in the ancient Near East, all the deities — and they believed there were many gods at this time. Okay? All the deities required, periodically, a sacrifice of a child. So, this story is really teaching them, as the Old Testament does, little by little by little by little, they learn more about God. They realized that God is not a God who actually requires sacrifices of children. Okay? So, to them, this would have meant a lot that we probably wouldn't read into because we’re not living in that culture.

But let's look at the story here, because I think the story is also telling us something else. So, Abraham has got to take his son. He thinks he's going to have to kill him. We're told this in the text. We're told, “God says to Abraham, ‘Take your son, your only son,’” — that’s interesting. Of all the words that could have been chosen here, “I want you to take your one and only son.” He could have said, “Take your son.”

No, no. “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love. And what I want you to do is I want you to offer him up.” Well, they journey and then we're told in the text, “On the third day,” — that sounds familiar. Could have chosen a lot of words here, but on the third day, Abraham lifted up his eyes and he saw the place from afar.

In other words, they're there on the third day, now, from the time where God has said, “Your son is going to die. He's as good as dead.” On the third day, they start walking towards this mountain. They see it. It's Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah is where Jerusalem will eventually be, where the temple will eventually be, where all the sacrifices will eventually be, and where Jesus will be offered up for a sacrifice. So, they see Mount Moriah. They see it. They arrive there on the third day and Abraham says to his traveling companions, because they didn't travel like onesie, twosies. They traveled in companions because there were robbers along the way and you wanted to make sure that you were safe. So, just like Mary and Joseph wouldn’t have traveled alone, they would have had a group to go with them and all this. I mean, we've got all these stories that not understanding culture, it helps us to really understand culture when we read these stories. Like, we think Mary and Joseph showed up at the last second. It says, “While they were there.” They had gotten to Bethlehem and they'd been there for awhile. Then she had a child. Just read the text. I'll tell you what, the Bible will mess you up if you read it.

So, we get to Mount Moriah and he says to all the people that are with him, “Hey, listen, we're going to go up and worship, and we are going to return.” That's plural, folks. Abraham believes that he's coming back with his son. But I think the text is clear that Abraham really believes if he goes up there and kills his son, God's going to raise him from the dead. And you go, “Oh, Chip, you're reading into that.” Well, the writer to the Hebrews in Hebrews 11 says that when Abraham was taking Isaac, he believed that God would raise him from the dead. So, me and the writer to the Hebrews are right.

Anyway, he's going to go up this hill on the third day and offer up his son, and he believes there’s going to be a resurrection. So, they go up, and on the way it says that Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and he laid it on Isaac his son. Isaac carried would up the hill. That sounds familiar. Don't get too excited. It's just written by people. There's nothing here to see. None of that at all. Don't get too excited.

So, he lays it on Isaac, his son, and as they're going up, Isaac, who is a smart kid, says, “Daddy, where's the lamb for the burnt offering?” Like, he's looking around and going, “Man, it looks like we're missing something here. No lamb.”

Abraham's like, “I don't know. We're going up to the top of the hill. I’m going to put some ropes around you and kill you.”

No. He didn't say that. So, he's like, “Where's the lamb, Daddy? Well, as they get up to The top of the hill, I think Isaac probably realized why there wasn’t a lamb. He starts getting bound by his dad. His dad takes the knife out, he’s getting ready to kill him, and right as he gets ready to take his life, God says, “Whoa. Stop.”

And we're told in the passage that Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. You should be expecting a lamb. A lamb is what you should offer, not a ram. But there's a ram in the thicket bush. Where's the lamb? Where's the lamb at? Maybe the lamb will come later when John says, “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Maybe that's there for a reason. I don't know. Maybe it sounds familiar. Maybe it doesn't.

Let me tell you another story here. I'm not going to give you the every little scripture, but I just want to tell you the story and highlight some of the sections of a guy named Joseph. You’re probably familiar with Joseph. This is the guy that got sold into slavery by his brothers and Potiphar's wife and all of that. I just want to give you a couple of highlights out of the story of Joseph. It's a long story, but just a couple of highlights. See if this sounds familiar.

So, Joseph was the uniquely beloved shepherd son of his father, Jacob. Okay? And he was rejected by his brothers. He came to his own and his own received him not. He was betrayed by a brother named Judah who sold him for silver. If you read the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, Judah’s name is Judas in the Septuagint, which is what a lot of people would have read in the first century. Interesting.

Not only that, but when he was unjustly charged — it was an unjust charge when he was in Egypt and they put him in prison. That's a dungeon. Back in the day, and also in the first century, they put you into the ground. So, it’s sort of emblematic of the place of death or whatever. It's interesting because when he gets put in prison after he's been charged unjustly, which is sort of like the abode of the dead, he's placed between two criminals.

That sounds familiar, doesn't it? A little bit. Don’t get too excited. It’s just written by people. No reason to get excited here. And the two criminals are the bread maker and the cup bearer. The bread and the wine. That's interesting. What's interesting is he tells the bread maker that he's going to be hanged on a tree. The bread is broken, body hanged on a tree. The cup bearer, he tells him after three days — three, just three days. They just chose that word, I guess. Three days, the cup bearer would lifted up and restored to the right hand of the king. That’s interesting. Then, in Genesis 45:5, Joseph, when he's raised up to the right hand of the king, says he told his family these exact words: He had been sent there to prepare a place for them.

Sort of like John 14: Where I go, you can come too. I'm going to go and prepare a place for you so that where I am you may be also. So, I'm going to prepare a place for you so that you have everything that you need when you get to Egypt in a famine.

I'm just convinced it is all not really there. It's just fanciful wording, but interesting. Remember Moses? Anybody remember Charlton Heston. Remember that cat? So, Moses delivers the children of Israel out of Egypt. Remember that story? They go through the Red Sea. Now, this is important to understand. In the Old Testament, the sea is always emblematic of death and chaos because, remember, at the beginning of Genesis 1:2, the world is covered with water and there's nothing that can live. It takes the ground coming up out of the water that creates the place for life on the third day.

Anyway, the water, when you go through the water, it’s always emblematic of death. So, they go through the Red Sea and then we pick up the story here in Exodus. We’re told that Moses led Israel on from the Red Sea. So, they come out of the Red Sea, and they went out to the wilderness of Shur. Next phrase here, don't read anything into it. I'm sure it just happens there, but it says, “They journeyed for three days...” — it's crazy how these words just show up — “...in the wilderness without finding water.”

So, they’ve gone through the waters of death and now they're on the third day. And not only that, but they've gone without water for three days. And you know that when you go without water for three days, it's ugly. Right? So, they're right there at the point of death and it says they come to a place called Marah. In Hebrew, that means bitter. There's water there to drink, but they can't drink it because it's bitter. That's why it was named Marah.

Now, the children of Israel were good church folk Because it says they grumbled to Moses, “What are we going to drink?” You know, they're upset. They're like, “Dude, you brought us out of this. What's going on here?” All this good stuff. “Where are we going?” It says, “He cried out to the Lord.” Moses cried out to the Lord.

If you're reading this story, you probably can go, “Yeah, what's going to happen is God's going give them water. They got water. That’s great. Move on to the next story. On we go.”

Well, what's interesting is what the text actually says, because it's sort of not what you would expect. He cries out to the Lord and the Lord showed him a tree. Why would that be there? That’s crazy. It was really cool. “Show him” is where we get the word to “Torah” from. He pointed him, he taught him, he showed him a tree. Why, on the third day, do we need to see a tree? What’s going on with a tree thing? It says, “He threw it into the water.” He took the tree and threw it into the water and the water became drinkable.

So, on the third day, there was a tree that turned bitter waters into something that could be life sustaining. This trees thing — I mean, it was a tree, like in the Garden of Eden, like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. You know? And they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and it gave them death. Is there another tree that somebody was hung on? Isn't an interesting that that tree that Jesus hung on was a curse for him, but blessing for you? Isn't it interesting that that tree is located, biblically, in the Gospels, between two gardens? The tree in the midst of the garden, the Garden of Gethsemane, the crucifixion, the garden of the tomb. Sort of interesting. So, he pointed him to a tree that the Torah points to a tree. Does the Torah point to a tree? I don't know. All on the third day and bitter waters become drinkable? I don’t know. Don't read into it too much. It’s just sort of strange that it's there.

But this passage here, 2 Kings 4, I'm not going to  read it to you because I'm going to make you go open up your Bible later and see it for yourself. But in 2 Kings 4, we have a story of a prophet name Elisha. Elisha comes to a city called Shunem, and there's a widow there. He meets the Shunammite woman, too, and she blesses him in so many ways. He asks her, “Is there anything I could do for you?” She's like, “You know, I really wish I had a son.”

He prays for her and she has a son. Then, after she has the son, he goes out in the field with his dad and he dies. Elisha prays for him and he's resurrected. Now, what's interesting is — and the person who discovered this is Bruce Waltke. Dr. Bruce Waltke. You can look him up. He's considered the greatest Genesis scholar and one of the great Old Testament scholars of our generation. Bruce Waltke is the mentor, and was the Sunday school teacher and spiritual father — he really poured into this person's life  — of Dr. Warren Gage, one of our board members. They're as close as can be.

I mean, they are really, really tight knit.

Warren was my doctoral advisor for one of my doctorates. Warren told me about the time that Bruce called him and he said, “Have you ever noticed that in 2 Kings there is a third day thing going on? In verse eight, it says, “One day,” verse 11 says, “One day,” and verse 18 says, “One day.” And on that third “one day”, there is a resurrection of someone who is dead. Interesting.

I was driving to church last night — and I'm a pretty honest guy. Like, it has to be substantial for me to say. This is true. I started thinking, “You know what? I wonder, in the text of 2 Kings, in the whole book, I wonder how often the word ‘one day’ is used, because if it's used a lot, it would sort of diminish that thinking.”

So, I went into my Bible software, I pulled up the Hebrew text, and it's great because I can highlight a word and I can do a search to look for every usage of that word in the text. So, I did that through all of 2 Kings. What came up was shocking in one way, but not shocking in the other. There's only three uses of the word “one day” in 2 Kings, and it's in 2 Kings 4. One day, one day, one day. And on the third “one day,” there is a resurrection of a boy from the dead. I'm sure that just happened. I mean, you know, it’s just there.

How about this story here? Daniel. We all know Daniel. Like, Daniel in the lion's den. We all know him. I mean, we heard about him. So, Daniel 6 tells us the story, and we're told that the king has put what are called “satraps” over all the leaders. Daniel's one of these leaders, but he's excelling above all of them because the spirit of God is on him. And all those leaders, all the leaders, conspire to kill Daniel. The leaders conspired to kill Daniel.

The leaders have a problem because they can't find any fault in Daniel. That sounds familiar. So, the leaders go to a person in this particular passage, the king, who can help them get rid of Daniel. The king doesn't realize that he's being used by them because they say, “Hey, king, we’ve got this great idea. If anybody prays to anybody but you for the next 30 days, they go to the lion's den.”

The king’s like, “Yeah, that sounds like a great idea,” until he realizes what he's done and then tries to get out of it because we're told in the text once he realizes what he's done, he tries to spend the whole day up, until evening, trying to get Daniel out of the mess that he's created. Of course, Pilate didn't try to set up Barabbas and Jesus so that he could get Jesus off. He didn't send him to Caiaphas so that he could get away. He didn't wash his hands and say, “I don't want to have anything to do with it,” when he realized what had gone on with the leaders, but that's a whole other story and has nothing to do with the story at all, I'm sure.

But Daniel is set up by these leaders. They want to take his life, so they concoct the story. So, let's look at the text here. When Daniel learned that the document had been signed — so, he knew. He knew if you pray and it's not to the king, you're a dead man. Well, he went into his house, and the windows in his upstairs room open towards Jerusalem. Three times a day, he got down on his knees, prayed and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

He prayed all day, all three times. The first time, he knew he was a dead man. We're told that they watched this. They watched him pray all day. Then they went to the king and said you, “Yo, king.” In the Hebrew, it doesn’t say, “Yo, king.”

They said, “King, we watched Daniel pray yesterday, all day, to his God. He didn't pray to you. He's got to go.” The king realizes, “I should've never signed that,” but he did. And according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, Daniel has to go to the lion's den. He spends all day, up until the evening, trying to get Daniel off, but he can't. And so, on the evening of the second day, Daniel is put into the lion's den. The text says a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den.

Man, that sounds sort of familiar. They put a stone in front of the den here? And the king sealed it with his own signet. The stone was sealed with the royal seal. Man, that sounds familiar too. And so, the next day is the third day. At the break of day, early in the morning — that sounds familiar too — the king arose — could’ve chosen a lot of other words here. He ran, he was excited. No. He rose. Rise. He arose and went in haste to the den of lions and calls out, “Daniel, are you there?”

He's like, “Yo, king. I’ve been partying with the lions.” That’s not in the Hebrew. He says, “Yes, I'm alive, king,” and the king, so excited, says, “Get the stone rolled away and have Daniel taken up out of the den.”

Now, what's interesting is it says that all the guys that had sort of concocted to get rid of Daniel, they were all thrown into the lion's den. You would expect that he’d just write, “And they all died,” or, “They ate them.” That's what you would expect to sort of see. It says, “They were thrown in lion’s den and their bones were crushed.”

Like, why would you record bones being crushed unless you're going to record that when Jesus hung on the cross, not one of his bones was broken? And then the king sends letters out into the kingdom telling everybody about Daniel's God. All these letters go out telling everybody about this. Folks, we could go with Esther on the third day, we could go with David — there are four or five David things. You know? “Hey, Jonathan, on the third day, shoot the arrow this way or that way. Let me know what's going on.” All these third day things. There are third days all over the Bible. It's all over the place.

So, here's the question I've got, and then we'll pray. How do we reasonably explain the shadows of Jesus' resurrection and three day motifs that appear throughout the Old Testament? What's the most reasonable explanation for this? If you’re asking with no blinders on, not trying to be biased or anything, reasonably speaking, what you would conclude if you had all these books written by different people over different periods of time, what you would conclude is that there is common authorship. I'd like to suggest to you that that right there is about as proof positive behind the fact that your Heavenly Father superintended the words that we have in the 66 books of our Scripture. And I think you'd have to have a lot of bias not to conclude that.

So, I want to pray for three things. The first thing I want to pray for is if you find yourself here today and you're like, “You know, I used to have a relationship with God,” or, “I've never had a relationship with God at all,” or, “Maybe it's not really where I want it to be,” hey, on Father’s Day, why don't you come home? Your Heavenly Father loves you more than you could ever even imagine. He jumps off the porch when we start down the road. He loves you.

Just say, “Father, it’s Father’s Day. I want to come home. I've been doing things my way, not Your way. Forgive me for those things. I want to have a relationship with You.”

It’d be a great day to come home on Father’s Day. The second thing I want to pray for is I want to pray that God would really burden our church and speak to our church to have a renewed passion for reading Scripture. Go home, blow the dust off that thing and open it up. I promise you they are jewels to be found. I promise you God will speak to you when you read the Scriptures. And the third thing I want to pray for is for all the fathers. I want to pray that you have a great day, that you remember today and go, “Man, you know what? I’m coming back next Father’s Day. That place rocked.”

So, I want to for those things. If you would, would you bow your heads? Let's pray. I’m praying, also, for those watching the internet and the mobile app as well.

Let’s pray. Dear Heavenly Father, we just pause for a moment here and thank You for what You've given to us in Scripture. It’s far more than a book. So, Lord, I pray right now for the three things. I pray, Lord, if anybody's here, if anybody's listening via the mobile app or internet, I just pray, God, that if this is a moment that they're having right now with You, that they go, “Man, you know what? I want to come home. It’s a great Father’s Day when I come home to my Heavenly Father.”

Lord, let that be a reality right now at their chair, right at their computer, right at their phone. Say, “God, I want You to come into my heart and life. I believe in Jesus. I believe He rose from the dead on the third day. I just want to come home, Lord. Forgive me of the things that I've done.”

If you prayed that prayer, please let us know you. If you pray at the mobile app or the computer, send us an email. Let us help you continue this walk.

The second thing I pray for, God, is here at Grace that You would burden our church to have a passion even more than we do to read Your Scripture, to read Your Word and hide it in our heart, Lord.

And the third thing I pray for is for the fathers that are in here. Lord, I know that oftentimes being a dad can be tough. It can be challenging. Many times, you might not feel like we're celebrated like we should be. But Lord, I pray today that every father would know, as they walk out of here and we give them a little gift, I pray that they would know they are loved and that they matter, God. I pray that You would continue to raise up strong fathers in our church, Lord, to lead, guide and shepherd families and ministries, Lord, in ways that You've intended them to do.

So, Lord, we love You, we thank You and we praise You. We ask that as we walk out of here, that You would continue to lead, guide, and direct us, we pray that You would watch over us and protect us, and we pray, Lord, that You'd bring us back safely to when we meet again.

Help us, Lord, to stay focused on being the church that You've called us to be, which is 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.

Chris Pedro