True Or False

How Can We Live For God's Glory While Living In Exile?

Ross Sawyers
Oct 25, 2020    
Do you ever feel like being a Christian makes you an outsider in today's culture? Jeremiah chapter 29 teaches us how to recognize false witness and live for God's truth and glory while living in exile. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Ross Sawyer: 00:07 This morning, Father, we're grateful that you are an anchor and a rock, and we can lean into you and on you. And God, we're grateful today that our safety is in Christ, and that we are hidden in you. And we thank you for the love, and the compassion, grace that you've poured so richly on those who are your own God. I pray, Father, this morning that those who are far from you, that they might be drawn to you, whatever that means on this morning. God, we're grateful for people that are worshiping you all over the world today. And Lord, I pray, as your praise goes up in multiple languages and prayers, and your word is taught, I pray God, that your spirit would move with power, and the power of your word among us. And God, that we'd walk in response, whatever that is today, for your glory and for your name. And it's in Christ's name, I pray. Amen.

Ross Sawyer: 01:07 It has been a powerful morning of worship all morning long. This morning, I got delayed at the gym. I was in the sauna and this lady that's a believer, I told her one of the stories I was telling this morning. And she got all fired up, started talking about Jesus, and another guy that walked in, he still doesn't know what hit him. And there was just no compromise, where two or three together, God's presence is there, and it was in a sauna early on this morning. And then the baptisms today, and the praise and worship, and it's just been a strong morning. I am excited what God has for us these next few minutes, for those who are both in-person and online, we appreciate you being a part of our worship.

Ross Sawyer: 01:47 I started a book this week that I've not gotten very far through it, so I'm not going to name it yet, but I do want to share a story from it that I think is really helpful in light of where we are in Jeremiah in God's Word. In the mid-1940s, a Jesuit priest from Czechoslovakia, at the time, was studying to be a missionary in Russia. And he was very familiar with Russian thought process, and a Russian ideology, and in the mid-1940s, he already had an understanding of where things would go post World War II with Russia. And he was accurate, that within a couple of years they had moved into the communist era. In order to prepare those who were under his care, he said to those that were following Jesus, he said, the only way to survive communism will be with a total commitment to Jesus Christ. He understood that Christians would begin to face trials at such an extreme level, that they had never experienced before, that anything short of total commitment to Christ and they would not make it. He said to them that what they needed to do is begin to gather in small cells, small groups, this is what they did. And in these small cells, they would pray, they would study God's Word together, and they would fellowship together. He said to them that they have to give themselves totally to Christ, throw all their worries and desires on him, for he has a wide back, and then you'll witness miracles.

Ross Sawyer: 03:44 Again, Father Kolakovic, was right. And when communism came in, one of the first things that the communist leaders did was to subdue the clergy or the leaders of the church, and there were a number of imprisonments that began to happen among those that Father Kolakovic had been equipping. They were in prison for several years, in the 60s they were released from prison. And as they emerged from that prison, they began underground church in the Communist Era for the next four decades, until the Berlin wall fell in 1989, and a number of communist regimes fell after it. These young, vibrant followers of Jesus, at any cost, were some of the ones that were instrumental in that wall coming down. In the way they prayed, and in the way they sought God, in all those years that they were in communism.

Ross Sawyer: 04:43 We've been thinking about the underground church in these past several weeks. One of the questions that's come is, what does that have to do with us? When we think about what's going on in the US, why are we focused on persecuted Christians in other parts of the world? Why are we thinking about the underground church? Now, the reason that we are, is one, God was very clear a year ago, this is where we were to go for this fall. Secondly, it gives us an opportunity to learn about our brothers and sisters in Christ, all over the world, who are faithfully following Jesus and being persecuted because they simply are following Jesus. Not only do we learn about them and what's going on with those here in our family, as Christians, we also are encouraged to pray for them. And as we learn more, then we can more effectively pray for people.

Ross Sawyer: 05:41 Now, that being said, part of why I believe God has us in this season, is we also live in a culture that is increasingly chaotic and amped up against Jesus. And regardless of the outcome of the election in the next several days, the cultural chaos, and the cultural war against Jesus, will continue and will continue to be hostile and to amp up. And my hope is that we can learn from men like Jeremiah in the scripture, who also for four decades was faithful to God and his word, and yet was persecuted, was beaten, was imprisoned, barely anybody ever believed what he had to say, and yet, he was faithful in that time span. We want to learn from people who've gone before us, and have been in very persecuted eras, so that we can thrive and move through whatever is ahead for us with joy, and hope, and peace, and love, and life safe in Christ, that's possible.

Ross Sawyer: 06:55 If you'll turn in your Bibles to Jeremiah chapter 29, and I'd like for us to hang out in the first 14 verses of chapter 29. One of the things as you're turning there, or those scriptures will also be on the screen, to think about what Father Kolakovic knew, and what we know today, is that one of the ways to survive and actually thrive well in persecuted cultures is in the small group life. And that is a really big deal to us at 121, that we are actively engaged in smaller groups of community that we call life groups, where we're learning to do life together, study the scripture together, pray together, and that is partly how we will do well in the days to come in.

Ross Sawyer: 07:41 In this particular part of Jeremiah, Jeremiah is writing a letter to the exiles, those who have now been taken out of Jerusalem, the Southern part of Israel, and have been taken into Babylon in exile. And in this letter, he's helping them know what's true. And the message today, I'd just like to think of it under the idea of true or false. True or false, we live in a day where it's really difficult to discern what is true and what is false. The same thing was happening 2,700 years ago when Jeremiah was prophesying, there were those who were speaking things that were false, and he was one of the lone voices speaking that which is true.

Ross Sawyer: 08:33 I'd like to give an overview from verses 1 through 4, not read them specifically, there's actually too many hard names in there for me to read. And to save that embarrassment, I will just give you an overview. So Jeremiah is writing a letter, and in this letter, he's writing it to the exiles. In 597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, he comes in and doesn't totally ransack Jerusalem and the Southern half of Israel, quite yet, that'll come in 587, 586 BC, about 10 years later. What he does though, is he removes all the influencers from Israel and exiles them to Babylon. This is a tactic that totalitarian regimes use today, they eliminate the influencers in a culture, and they leave the poor and those who are less in the influential roles behind. It's exactly what has occurred here, the leaders have been taken, the priests, the elders, the prophets, the king, the queen, the court officials, others, they've all been taken to Babylon. And the Babylonians were not intending to enslave those that they took, they were not intending to banish them somewhere else, what they intended to do was bring the influencers into Babylon so that they would assimilate into Babylonian culture. Babylon is symbolic with evil, wickedness, godlessness, when you think Babylon, that's the way to think about it. People of God who had been rebelling against God, this is the whole reason that this is happening. Now, were being taken to a place where they actually saw people worse than them, and here they go,

Ross Sawyer: 10:42 Jeremiah, in the letter, he wrote some hard things, but he wrote truth. Now we all like to get a letter, don't we? And the exiles we're excited to actually get this letter, even though they ended up hearing hard things in the letter. But we live in a day where we probably get fewer letters than in the past, and I don't know about you, but I get excited when I see a card in the mail. In the middle of it, I'm old fashioned, I still get my bills in the mail. And so I get that, I want to see them. And so I get those, and then I get like 88 voter opportunity cards in the mail on a daily basis, as do you. And by the time I sort through those, if I can at least actually get a letter in there, if I ever see a letter, I get pretty excited about that. And the exiles they've now been removed from all that's familiar to them, and they've been placed somewhere that the language is different, the customs are different, God is not even in the hunt in the lives of the people, multiple kinds of gods are. And it would have been refreshing to receive this letter, even though it was from Jeremiah, who they were rejecting for years.

Ross Sawyer: 12:02 Now, this is interesting, right? In Job chapter 2 verse 10, I've been reading in Job some. And in Job 10 job says to his friends, "Shall we accept good from God and not accept adversity from God? And through it all (it says) Job did not sin." Will we accept good from God, and will we also accept adversity from God?

Ross Sawyer: 12:33 In verse 4, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon." Notice, there's not credit given to Nebuchadnezzar taking the people exile, God sent them into exile. God is sovereign, he's in control, he has his purposes for where he puts people, when he wants to put them there. There's purposes for his people being exiled. There's three things here that I want us to see in these verses that I think will be helpful in 5 through 14, to think about true or false.

Ross Sawyer: 13:12 The first truth is, settle in for the long haul. In verses 5 through 7, they went in exile, assuming it would be a short period of exile, that they would soon be back to their Homeland. And Jeremiah is writing them something different, it's a hard truth for them to hear. But he's telling them, you need to settle in for the long haul, you're not coming back anytime soon. Matter of fact, this is what he says, he said, "Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce." You're staying here, so go ahead, when you get there, just build houses. You're not going on a camping trip and you're coming back home. You're not taking a little vacation to Babylon, and then coming back, you are staying there. "Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. ‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease." This is a place for you to go to build, to plant, and to thrive in your families. Make the most of where you are in the exile, settle in for the long haul, quit feeling sorry for yourself, quit complaining, this is where you are. Make the most of it, settle in, you're here for the long haul.

Ross Sawyer: 14:48 Now, verse 7 would be really shocking to their ears, as they read it and heard it. Remember, Babylon to them will be a repulsive place, wicked, evil, actually the same way the people of God had been described because of their rebellion, but it's easier to look at somebody else being worse than we are. And this is what they're told to do in Verse 7, "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare." He's telling them, you're to look out for the good of the city where you are an exile. And the word welfare here, and it depends which version of the Bible you're reading, the Hebrew word for welfare is Shalom. And that Hebrew word Shalom means peace, it means wholeness. And he's telling these exiles, who've just left everything that's familiar, that I want you in where you are, to seek the peace of the city. So whatever city you live in, whatever city I live in, we're to seek the peace of that city, this is transferable to today. It's what he's telling his people, this is where I've sent you into exile, it's where I have you, and so seek the wholeness of the city and pray to the Lord on its behalf. So part of how we seek the peace and wholeness of a city is to pray for it, and then there's a really pragmatic reason that he gives for doing this, that word Shalom is in here three times in this one verse. For in its welfare, you will have welfare. In its peace, you will have peace. In its wholeness, you'll have wholeness. Make where you are the best it can be, so that you also can have wholeness and peace.

Ross Sawyer: 16:52 So what would this look like? Jesus gives us an idea in Matthew 5:14-16, it gives us similar ideas. As Christians, it says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." I put you in exile, burn bright in the city, do good things for the city, and let those good things glorify God in the way you conduct yourself. I think this is helpful for us today. How do we do this? How do we seek the wholeness and the peace of our city? How do we do that? And here are a few suggestions, there's a number more than this, this would just be some thoughts. One is really clear in this verse, pray to the Lord on its behalf, pray for the city, seek God for the city. So what do we pray for? We pray for city leaders, we pray for businesses in the city, we pray for schools in the city, for teachers and principals and administrators, we pray for neighborhoods in the city. We pray for leaders in our city that we like and dislike, we pray for neighbors that we like and that we dislike, we pray diligently for them. We pray in our parent and neighborhood chat groups.

Ross Sawyer: 18:48 Just a wild thought, what if on your next door group, or your school parent two or three or four groups you're in, what if you opted not to participate for a season of time by writing things? Instead, what if you peruse those things and prayed? What would happen if these next several days prior to the election, rather than spending any more time on Twitter, or Instagram, or Facebook, or watching the news, or wherever your sources are, or allowing it to be the notification that pops up and you're constantly seeing updates on your screen, what if we took that same amount of time and space and prayed instead? I'm close to certain, there will be nothing new under the sun in the next 10 days, there might be a different story, but the principles will be the same, it's not changing. What if we spent more time praying through those things, rather than responding, or getting upset, or getting anxious and fearful, about the newest thing we today? What if we pray? That's what Jeremiah is telling them to do. He's writing them a letter, he's saying, hey, you're in a place you don't want to be, pray for them, that's what you're to do. Now I know, I've heard people tell us, they don't think that's going to do any good. True or False? False, it will do good. What would happen if just this bunch of people prayed diligently? What would happen? Seek the wholeness of your city, pray for the city. Pray for the salvation, the true Shalom, the true peace, of leaders in the city, of people in the schools, of our neighborhoods.

Ross Sawyer: 21:08 Another way that we can seek the good of our city is to vote, a way to love our neighbor is to vote. This week I read a book by David Platt, he's the author of Radical, many of you are familiar with him. If you're not, he's a great guy to get familiar with, he loves the Lord, anchored well in the scripture. And he writes this book and he says, "There seven crucial questions to consider biblically before we vote?" Now you're thinking great, I voted last week, so did I, I wore my sticker. The lady wouldn't even give me my sticker. I said, I want my sticker that I voted, put the sticker on me. But many of you haven't voted, maybe if you pick up Platt's book, it will be helpful. One thing he pushes for is that we understand the issues, that we have biblical clarity on the issues, and the ones where the biblical clarity is not as much, that we understand the practical consequences of those issues. And at the end of the book, he gives an idea for a grid of how you can think through each of the issues with biblical clarity and practical consequences. There's going to be tradeoffs and compromises you're making, and by doing that, you can get an idea of where God is leading you in thinking about those things that are most prominent. Which leaders do you believe will best serve your city, our state, our nation. And could we, by some chance, get to a place where we could actually have winsome, gracious, robust conversations with people with whom we disagree? Could we actually invite somebody to sit across the table from us that we know holds widely divergent views than ours, and have a real conversation with them? I understand that it's hard in this climate, that's actually ways to seek the good of our city.

Ross Sawyer: 23:21 In China, Christians who are Chinese that are being greatly persecuted, one of the things they did early on in COVID in this pandemic, is they were handing out masks to people in their city. Think about that for a moment, they're handing out masks to the very ones who perhaps are spying on them to turn them in for their illegal religious activities, they were seeking the good of their city. There's practical ways for us to serve and seek the good of our city. Last weekend, several in our church participated with Six Stones, and helped people in our cities around us that don't have the resources to fix their homes and get them into a good spot. And several people were a part of that, that's a way to seek the good of the city. We have people in our church that are on the school board, and on committees in our schools, and we can run for city council, we can influence our cities by being in positions of leadership in the city. And then a few weeks ago, we purchased a mobile home in the area right behind us, right around our neighborhood that surrounds the church, so that we can have a deeper influence for the gospel in the neighborhood right around our church. There's so many ways that we can influence and seek the good of the city. That's what Jeremiah's saying, settle in for the long haul, settle in where you are, and then start seeking the good those around you, of your city, your schools, be an active part of what is going on, who knows what God might do.

Ross Sawyer: 25:00 Here's a second thing, and the second thing is to recognize what is false. In verses 8 and 9, and again, we live in a time where it's harder and harder to recognize what's true and what's false. Here's what was happening in their day, “For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. ‘For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the LORD." So the problem for these Israelites, is they are listening to prophets that are speaking false things to them. And they actually like what's being said, rather than the truth, it felt better, it was more optimistic, and that's what they wanted to hear. Now, regardless of what they were hearing, it was false, that is not truth. And so they could believe the false all they wanted, but what was true was still going to happen.

Ross Sawyer: 26:00 What were some of those? In chapter 28, verses 10 and 11, Hananiah is one of the false prophets. And he said to the people, Hey, within two full years, Nebuchadnezzar, he won't have anything going for him anymore, his rule will be over and you'll be free. False. Chapter 27, Judah won't be conquered by Babylon. False. Chapter 29, the exile in quickly. False. Chapter 6 verse 14, superficial healing is what the prophets were saying, they were saying peace, peace, but there is no peace. It really could be as simple as saying the economy's good, and it's going good for some of you, so, peace, look, there's just peace everywhere. That's superficial, he says, no, that's false, that's not the truth. Chapter 23 verses 26 and 27, The false prophets were trying to get the people to forget God's name, and these are the people that are supposed to be leading you towards God.

Ross Sawyer: 27:04 Several of you have recommended to me a documentary to watch, I commented on it three weeks ago, without watching it. That's not a good plan, but I did it anyway. A week and a half ago, I watched it. Now. It's interesting because Netflix is the one who put out this documentary, not a conservative Christian group, Netflix put it out. Many of you have watched it by now, it's called The Social Dilemma. In it, they're interviewing several Silicon Valley execs, several of those who've been leaders and developers of our social media platforms. There are a number of things that, and a number of you have said this, that are frightening to listen to them. Like it's frightening to hear the developers of the social media platforms say, emphatically, they do not let their kids have phones. The ones who created it, they're not using them in their home, that's fair to say that's frightening, because they understand the addictive nature. And one of the most vivid images to me was imagine you're looking at that screen, and there's thousands of engineers on the other side of that screen that are fighting against you, thousands of engineers against our 13 year olds. Fair? No, that's not a fair fight. Satan is crafty, he's seducing, he's addictive. But I think one of the things that I found interesting, is towards the end they were interviewing a few of them, and they said, without a common truth, we are headed towards chaos. Social media platforms are already a means to create chaos, they're doing it all over the world. But here's people who, and they were working under an evolutionary philosophy in this documentary, if you listen for that, you'll hear it more than once. Now here's their solution, or one of the solutions, collective self-will. We can overcome this with collective self-will. No, collective self-will is what got us in this mess, minus God, minus truth. It reminded me of Pilate when Jesus was standing before him talking about truth, and Pilate asked this question, he said, what is truth? Truth was standing right in front of him. These creators of these social platforms know that they have become platforms for falsehood, manipulation, deception, lies. They have profiled you and me, to the point where they know more about you than you know about you, and they know exactly how to lead us. We are all being shaped by something, will we allow that which is false to shape us, or will we allow that which is true to shape us?

Ross Sawyer: 31:07 How do we stay in a way that we can discern true from false? Well, a couple of weeks ago, a friend allowed us to stay at their Lake house for a week, and it was a renewing time and an energizing time. And part of what was so renewing, is I was able to spend two or three hours a day just alone with the Lord in his word, renewing, memorizing his word, reading it, just thinking on it, praying. Just relaxed in that space, and that refreshed my spirit, and my mind, and my heart. Yesterday, I was able to spend that same kind of time. And what I know to tell you is, that if we're going to discern true from false, then lingering in God's Word is how we discern truth. It's how they say, if you're going to try to figure out if money is counterfeit, the way you know something is counterfeit, is to know what the true currency looks like, and then you know what's false. So we know truth, and we know falsehood, by understanding what truth is. And in God's Word, we have truth, we immerse in truth, we live in truth, we rehearse the truth, so that all the falsehood doesn't start to take over. You do understand more and more that what's happening, that part of what we're going to see increase, is a pitting of our children and college students against parents. You do understand that, they're living in a whole different world. And I'm not saying you're not paying attention, but I'm still telling you they're native to this world, and if there was ever a time to immerse in truth, it's now. I got up this morning, and I saw something that someone had sent me, and I just started praying for our students on our college campuses, that those who are Christians and love Jesus, will be able to stand firm against the wave that is against them on any campus in our country today. They'll only do it as they stand firm in God's truth, and we can lead and model the way in that truth.

Ross Sawyer: 33:34 Two resources that can be helpful beyond it, and I would say that what we do is we study God's Word, we test things against God's Word that are out there, and then if there's time, we look at other resources. And one of the helps that I read about this week, that Ligonier Ministries just put out, it's called A Field Guide to False Teaching. There are a number of false teachings running around out there that we'll run into, it'd be a good thing just to have to go to when I run up against it. I don't think it's something you'd read just for fun, but it'd be a great resource. And then one that I'm enjoying the most is, What Would You Say, and these are videos by a group called Break Point, they're about five minutes long give or take a minute. If I was a parent of a teenager or a child today, I would be downloading this in my library of resources, so that when my kids ask me these questions, I have a quick way to go get substantive answers and responses to them, answers that are truth, and they're anchored in scripture, phenomenal resource.

Ross Sawyer: 34:38 Now, these eight ways we've been doing, it builds confidence as well, in the truth that we're talking about, how to study God's Word. We have to recognize what's false, that's some ways to recognize truth. The last thing in verses 10 through 14, is to seek God with all you've got, not just with a little of you've got. Did you catch when I started with Father Kolakovic, the Jesuit priest, what did he tell those who were following, and those who were about to enter into the communist era? He said, the only way you'll make it, is to totally follow Jesus. Total commitment to Christ, wholehearted, devotion to Jesus. This morning, I baptized a man about 40 years old, and one of the things he wrote, is now he is wholeheartedly and totally devoted to Jesus Christ. That's how we'll thrive, that's how we'll do well.

Ross Sawyer: 35:26 Verse 10, “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon." Not only do they know they're going to be there, now they know it's going to be for a lifetime. If they're just entering in, it's 70 years, that's a lifetime that they'll spend in exile. "I'll visit you and fulfill my good word to you, to bring you back to this place." I will bring you back, there'll be a day you'll come out of exile, for I know the plans. And for many people in the room, and those who are watching, this is like a life verse for people. Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare..." There's that word again, and it's plans for Shalom, plans for peace. "...and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." He's telling them in the middle of their exile, in this letter, it's actually a hopeful letter, there is a future hope, hunker down now, lock in where you are, seek the good of where you are, and then hang on, and there's a future, there's a bright future.

Ross Sawyer: 36:25 "Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you." Is that God's grace or what? Here are people that have refused God, they're facing the judgment of God now. And he says, there will be a day where you're going to come back and you're going to pray. And do you know what? I'm going to listen, I'm going to listen to you, And, "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." The Hebrew word for heart, includes the way we think, our emotions, and our will, what we do. Seek me with your mind, seek me with your affections, your emotions, seek me with your will, your actions, and you'll find me. You'll find me. "I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’ I'll bring you back, and 70 years later, God honored his word, and he began the first wave of bringing the exiles in Babylon back to Jerusalem.

Ross Sawyer: 37:54 There's not one Word of God that fails, not one. They would return and get a glimpse of Shalom, peace, but in their human hearts...Which by the way, the social dilemma documentary, the piece they missed, they missed God. and they missed that the human heart is the problem, not the social media platform. It's the human hearts that created it, and the human hearts that use it, it's just a tool for the human heart to show itself in really expansive ways. They would do the same, and only catch a glimpse until one day, God himself, would arrive on the scene. And in Christ, he would say, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me." What is truth? It's a person, Jesus Christ. How do we enter into the safety of that truth? Romans 5:1, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Justified by faith, faith in Jesus and what he did on the cross, and the power of the resurrection in Jesus Christ. In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." Truth, peace, in Jesus. Christ in us, we experience the same truth, the same peace, and add to that, the same love, the same joy.

Ross Sawyer: 40:15 And in Christ though, interestingly, we too are actually exiles in this world. Jesus, himself, self exiled himself. His true home is heaven, and he left it, and came to a place that primarily opposed him. He talked about a kingdom in which he's the King, that's not of this world. Amazingly in this kingdom, for every person that believes Jesus and Jesus alone, the King calls us son and daughter. We're sons and daughters of the King, and not only sons and daughters, we're citizens of the Kingdom. Philippians 3:20, we're sons and daughters, and we're citizens. And not only sons and daughters and citizens, in Second Corinthians 5:20, we're ambassadors, representatives of our Father, and the greatest gift that we can offer in this world, is the gift of truth in Jesus Christ.

Ross Sawyer: 41:54 The lady I was with in the sauna this morning, and I need to explain this, I know cause there's new people and you're thinking, wait a minute. So, the sauna at Lifetime, it's, co-ed, everybody's dressed, it's out in the open, across from a swimming pool, big glass doors. It's like your zoo animals when you're in there or something, looking out at everybody. But today, Ms. Charlotte knows who's she is, and she couldn't talk loud enough about Jesus. And the poor guy that walked in next, I don't know if he knew it hit him, because we had it going on in that place. She just talked about, not terribly too long ago she came to Jesus. She said, my family doesn't understand it, my friends don't understand it. I try to explain it to them. I don't understand why they don't get it, it's so frustrating, why can't they see Jesus? Why can they not see this? I love her zeal, she's a daughter, a citizen, an ambassador, representing Jesus.

Ross Sawyer: 43:12 One day, we'll no longer be exiles. In First Peter we're called exiles. If we're comfortable in this world, that's actually a problem, it ought to be uncomfortable because we're exiles in this world, we're different than this world. But different in a way that we want to love those who don't love back. That's what it means to be in the kingdom of God. One day though, we'll get to our true Homeland and we won't be exiles anymore.

Ross Sawyer: 43:51 I want to end with this story of a man who has at least been one of the great ambassadors for Christ from the early 70s, until a few years ago when he died. Chuck Colson was a part of President Nixon's administration. He was a prime player in the Watergate scandal, and served prison time because of his role in Watergate. While he was in prison, someone that was a son, a citizen, an ambassador, of Christ, came to him and shared the message we talked about, about Jesus. And Chuck Colson, in that prison cell, received Jesus. His first book was called Born Again. And the rest of his days, so in the 70s, 80s, 90,s, 2000s, so I guess over four decades, he represented Christ with one of the greatest minds of our day, and influencing in every realm of our culture. The Break Point, which is a ministry that I refer to often, that I would still encourage you. They send out things every day, short little posts that are addressing cultural issues, but that comes out of Chuck Colson's ministry.

Ross Sawyer: 45:19 And on Friday the title of his, whatever you call it, blog, was how Chuck Colson thought abortion would ultimately end. And he was recounting a time about 25 years ago, and he was sitting in a church, awaiting the baptism of a friend of his. He was about 1of 80 people that were going to be participating in, and watching the baptism. As he was sitting there waiting, it made him reflect back a few months earlier when he was sitting in the gallery of the U.S. Senate. And it was on a day that the Senate, at least some in the Senate, were seeking to change the partial birth abortion act, and there was a defeat on that day for pro-lifers. And Carlson said one of the most dramatic moments he's seen in the U.S. Senate came in the middle of that discussion among the senators, really talking about infanticide, and killing babies at three quarters of the way along in a mother's womb. And he said that statement was made in the Senate, and there was silence. And in that silence, there was a baby in the room whose cry pierced the silence, and yet still, that partial birth abortion act will continue on. Colson walked down the hall, he said that he was in the midst of pro-abortion supporters and they were cheering the victory of the day.

Ross Sawyer: 47:26 So he's sitting in the church about to watch baptism, that’s what he's thinking about. You know, sometimes like you might be thinking about something else right now, that's what he was doing. The reason he was thinking about that, is because the baptism that day was a man named Bernard Nathanson, who was one of the abortion industry's greatest leaders in that time, and had performed 75,000 abortions himself, including his own child. At the altar with him was Joan Andrews, a pro-life activist, who'd actually served five years in prison because of her pro-life activities. Here were the two of those together, and Colson said he was struck looking at them and then looking at the cross that was on the wall, and it reminded him that the U.S. Senate, while that they could not stop infanticide, Christ could. And Christ is the victory, and the gates of hell cannot overcome the church. He's overcome the world. Here was a man, three decades in the satanic world of abortion., that was now joyfully receiving the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. And he said, he thought this abortion war will be won in this way. No amount of political force, no government, no laws, no army of planned Parenthood workers, can ever stop the work of Jesus Christ in the heart of a human being. This simple baptism was a reminder to him, that a holy baby born in a stable 20 centuries ago, still defies the wisdom of man. Jesus Christ cannot, and will not, be defeated.

Ross Sawyer: 49:49 Let's pray together. Father, I thank you for the truth today of Jesus Christ, and that our hope is in you today, our confidence is in you. our joy is in you, our hope is in you, our peace is in you, everything Jesus is in you.

Ross Sawyer: 50:15 And I pray God, where any of us are looking for outside of you, will you draw us back in today. Will you draw those who've never been in, in?

Ross Sawyer: 50:29 Thank you for Jeremiah, Father Kolakovic, so many men and women, the lady in the sauna this morning, such an encouragement, not wavering, not shrinking back, firm in Jesus. And it's in Jesus' name, I pray. Let's be still before the Lord, and anything God might be saying to you, just allow that to just sink in, that we might walk in it as we move out of here in a moment.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051