Salvation Offered to Everyone who Believes

Jesus Had No Prejudice; Salvation Is Available For Everyone Who Believes

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:00] We celebrate God and the freedom that's found in him. We've been highlighting students over the last several weeks from our different high schools. Our vision is to establish worship in places where there is none, and one of those would be on our campuses, in our schools, and where there is none, that worship of Jesus would be established in those places. And for that reason, we just want to highlight what God's doing through 121 students at different schools.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:28] And we've been at this for a few weeks now, and today I'd like to highlight L.D. Belle and the work that God's doing through our students there. Lucille Rodgers is one of our students, and she shares her Bible verses with her friends, posts on Instagram, her Wednesday night notes. And this isn't the first time I've had somebody write that whatever they learn on Wednesday night with Jermaine and Courtney, that they turn around and post that so that other people can see the teaching that they're receiving. Actually reminds me of the Book of Acts where they said that Jerusalem was filled with the teaching of Jesus, and I love that our students are taking the teaching that they're being filled with of Jesus and passing that on.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:11] Natalia Rich, another student at L.D. Bell, she is a non-stop inviter of friends from her school to come on Wednesday nights and Sunday nights. In her free time at school, she spends time praying, she spends time having conversations with people that don't know Jesus. She looks at her notes that she's gotten from her time on Wednesday and Sunday, and then by looking at her notes, oftentimes that stirs conversation with other students, and she gets this opportunity to share her faith. One thing she said, though, it says as a Christian, she's outnumbered on her campus, and oftentimes that conversation is not respected and she's not treated as well by some of the non-believers, but nonetheless, she perseveres in it. She's also been a part of Young Life, which several of our students are involved in Young Life in different areas. And several of our adults have been in Young Life, led it, or are currently leading it, it does a fantastic job of reaching those students that are not interested in ever trying out of church.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:18] But I love what Natalia did, she wanted to make sure that Emma Lasoy was mentioned. And I love it when a friend sees another friend following Jesus, that she wants to make sure that this friend is heard about. And Emma has been leading in Young Life for the last couple of years, has done an excellent job there. The Lasoys have been part of our church for years, it's just really cool seeing God raise up students whose parents have been faithful as well.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:45] Young Life, by the way, Todd and Julie Ware have been leading Young Life since 2004, they're friends of ours, they were a part of 121 at one time, but leading Young Life at L.D. Bell. And to me, they are one of the richest pictures of what hospitality is and how you reach people far from Jesus, by having your home open, and their door is wide open. 24/7 for students to come. They used to have, I haven't asked recently if they still do a grilled cheese like Tuesday or something. Do they still have it? Grilled cheese is on Tuesdays. Do I have it right? Perfect, I'm getting nods of approval. And every student that gets off-campus lunch that wants to, can come to their house, and grilled cheese is a good way to cheaply feed a bunch of teenagers, so grilled cheese and pizza, you can't go wrong.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:36] And then our, the last student, and I wasn't smart enough in the 8 a.m., I was told this had been left for me, but I was looking for it. In my mind, a band hat is like, you know, a big old band hat. So this was left, and we have a band student, and just as I wore a drill team hat...How do I to wear this thing? By the way, I think band, and you may disagree with me if you have students that do other things, but I think the band...Is it straight? No. Does this go on the inside? Better? Where does this go? Under your nose? But Savannah Ivy is in the band at L.D. Bell, and she is influential in there, she's a really kind-hearted young lady and just bold in living out what it means to follow Jesus, she loves being a part of the youth group of 121. And like so many of our students, she is helping to lead middle school students. And the scripture tells us the older is to lead the younger. And I love that our students are modeling for us, leading. Our middle schoolers, many of them are leading our children. Many of our high schoolers are leading middle schoolers and children. And Savannah is one of those that is doing that, well. I don't know if I finished, but I think band, did I say this? I think the band spends more hours than any other extracurricular thing that goes on. And again, I know everybody's kid is busy, but the hours they spend are just crazy to do what they do. So we're grateful for Savannah. For the sake of not distracting all of us the rest of the morning, I'll go ahead and remove the hat, but it's right here. So I was told it was by the sound booth upstairs, I kept looking for the hat and I didn't find the box, so I'm glad we figured that out. But I love what our students are doing, we're talking about breaking barriers, and our students are barrier breakers. We have so many students that are following Jesus that are willing to break the barriers in their schools, so that their peers have the opportunity to hear about Jesus. They're doing it by inviting, they're doing it by reading, they're doing it by posting, they're doing it by sharing, there are so many ways that they're going at it, and I'm so proud of them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:08] And so when we think about breaking barriers, our students are some of those who are leading the charge for us. If you turn in your Bibles to Acts chapter 10, we're going to continue what's a three-part look at Acts chapter 10 verses 1 through chapter 11, verse 18. But I want us to hang out today in verses 34 through 48. And as we look at this part of Acts and this part of the story, I want to catch you up. We've been watching the rings of power; I don't know how many people are doing that if you're a Lord of the Rings fan. And when you start each week, it releases on Fridays, and you have a chance to watch the recap, or you can skip the recap and just hit the button on your remote and skip it, and I usually watch it because I need the recap to remember all the names and what happened the week before. And so I try to recap each week for people who maybe weren't here, or is a quick refresher, just to make sure that we're in context. The bummer is you don't have a remote unless you're online and you can cut out of this part, but you can't cut me out and skip this, so I apologize that you don't get that option like you would on the TV.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:20] In Acts chapter 10, the first 33 verses, we saw the breaking of barriers and the barriers of prejudice. There's a freedom that came with Peter and Cornelius. It's a fantastic story in terms of those barriers of prejudice coming down, and then the Gospel going out. Because if we have prejudgment towards other people or people groups, then we're probably not going to be inclined to speak to them about Jesus. Now I also recognize that for a number of us it's hard to share our faith with other people, so you might be thinking, I don't really share Jesus with somebody whether I'm prejudiced towards them or not, and so that would be another thing for us to wrestle through before God and to get that courage from him. But we're thinking about, are there peoples that we would never invite into our home? Todd and Julie Ware, anybody is welcome into their home. What about for us? Is anybody welcome into our home? And it's not just a hypothetical question, the way to follow up that question would be to ask, okay, if anyone's welcoming my home, when's the last time you had that person that you least liked in your home for the purposes of maybe talking about Jesus with them?

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:44] Now, that's a lot of toe-stepping before we've ever got into the Scripture. But that's exactly what's happening here, I'm only drawing out of what's happening here. We have to really unlikely groups of people that are coming together, Cornelius is one of those, he would have grown up probably chasing after Roman gods, somewhere that became empty to him. He looked at the Jewish god and said, I'm going to follow that God. And now God is opening the door for Him to know the true way to salvation through Jesus Christ. Peter, on the other hand, just a couple of days before we are right here, he would have had a prejudgment, a prejudice, towards Gentiles, any non-Jew, and he would not have thought that they should receive the offer of salvation in Jesus Christ. So we're seeing a remarkable thing happen in Acts chapter 10, with that prejudice coming down.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:38] Now, we need to keep in mind that prejudice goes in multiple directions. And today, in our culture, I would say that Christians as a whole are being prejudiced against by the culture, we're being prejudged as hateful, intolerant, bigots. And really oftentimes, if we do choose to mix it up and have a conversation with someone about Jesus, that's not a follower of Christ, probably what's embedded in them by now is that idea. So oftentimes we're prejudged before we ever get the opportunity to speak of who Jesus really is. So prejudice is in so many different ways. But what are we to do when someone's prejudiced or discriminates towards us as Christians? Love them, pray for them, bless them, that's the way of Jesus. And when we do that, that will help some of those prejudices come down that are towards us, when they see a people who love them and do good to them and bless them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:59] The walls are coming down for Peter, they've come down for Cornelius, and they're gathered up. And the big idea I'd like us to think about this morning is that salvation is for everyone who believes it. Let's reset ourselves in the character of God, that's where we left off last week in verse 34. I want us to think about, first, and to understand, is that God is not partial. And the reason that you and I are not to be partial to any kind of people group, is because God is not. We tie ourselves and anchor ourselves into the character of God, that's why we do what we do, and that's the ultimate reason. It's not for any other reason today, the primary reason that we are not to be prejudiced or discriminatory is because God is not. That's not who God is, he's not partial, "Peter, opening his mouth, said..." In verse 34, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality." And so, Peter...Have you ever had those moments, it may be that you know Jesus, or you don't know Jesus, but if you know Jesus and you're kind of walking along following him, or maybe you're not even following that close, but you hear something and it's like, oh, I didn't know that. I didn't know I was supposed to do that. I didn't know I couldn't do that sin; I didn't even know. But I understand now because God's made it known to me.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:33] Peter's having one of those aha moments of, oh, it's all coming together now. When Jesus said, Go and make disciples of all the nations, he really meant it, every tribe, tongue, and people. Oh, you'll be my witness in Jerusalem, where it starts, and in Judea and Samaria, where it's kind of people that are mixed in their races, I didn't really care for them, oh, the Gospel goes to them. And then now to the Gentiles, and the remotest parts of the earth. Oh, got it. And then I have a dream, and that dream was the game changer because it's, oh, there's nobody unclean to God in terms of the offer for salvation. Oh, I understand now. And so he said, I get it, God doesn't show partiality. Paul figured this out, too, and he wrote in Romans 2:11 that there's no partiality with God. James figured it out, he writes in chapter 2, verse 9 of his book, "If you show partiality, you're committing sin and are convicted by the law as violators."

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:09] God's not partial, if you are, you're committing sin. In God's character, that's not who he is. For someone that's a believer and a follower of Jesus, it's not who we are anymore. If we didn't know that today, it's an aha moment. Got it, I don't usually confess that one. Peter says this isn't who God is, God is not prejudiced towards the appearance or the way someone looks. God is not prejudiced towards someone's religious background. God is not prejudiced towards a particular race. God is not prejudiced towards a nationality. God is not prejudiced towards a class of people, wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between. God is not prejudiced towards gender, and God is not prejudiced towards someone's sexual preference, as far as the invitation of the Gospel goes. No walls, it goes to everybody, and salvation is offered. The offer goes out to everybody. Verse 35, "But in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him." There it is, every nation, he got it, I understand now, it's for every nation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:46] Last week we celebrated our Spanish service and their third anniversary of doing a service on their own. And we see ourselves as one church, we're not looking at as a separate church, we're one church, and that's in the Spanish language. We tried a number of ways to translate and do it together, but it's far more effective when it's in the Spanish language, that's why we have a Spanish service. And last week, I was reminded that there are 15 different nationalities in that service, it's about 150 to 200 people. Now, diversity can be a number of things, we've limited diversity to color, and that certainly is diversity. And, to have 150 people of the same color, but very diverse, 15 different nations among them. There would be that kind of diversity here, I know we look primarily one color, but there's a wide range of diversity here. We can grow in other ways of diversity while celebrating what is part of what God has done here. God is about the nations, and he's letting us be a part of the nations all over the world, as well as right here. And he says everyone's welcome to him, those who fear him and do what's right.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:20] The weight of fear and doing right begins with what he says in verse 36, “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)." The way to a genuine and true fear of God is through Jesus Christ. The way to be welcomed in, not just with the offer, but to be welcomed in with a new identity in Him, is through Jesus Christ, and it's peace that comes through Christ. And once we realize that God is not partial, then what do we do? We just follow what Peter did, we communicate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:07] In verse 37, "You yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." Peter now has everybody gathered, it's family and friends of Cornelius, it's these non-Jewish people, an unlikely gathering, they're eager to hear what Peter has to say. And now what does he say? He takes advantage of the moment, he doesn't start talking about anything other than the core message, which is Jesus. And first, he speaks in sum about the life of Jesus. John the Baptist is the one that was the forerunner, he introduced him, and then Jesus comes onto the scene. "John the Baptist said, said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Here he is." At Jesus' baptism, a dove comes down and the Holy Spirit comes on him, the Father says, "This is my son, with whom I'm well pleased.", And Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, in the power of the Spirit, began doing good and healing. He walked the streets, and he healed people, and he removed demons, and he offered the way of salvation, and he taught, and he provided for people. He was doing good and healing.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:42] Can you imagine as he walked the streets? Just when someone would catch his eye, and when he looks at them. I think it might look a little like this, a few years ago I was in Seattle, and we were walking along with a guy named Keith who was there serving. And when we went in and got some coffee, and Keith comes out, he hadn't drank the coffee yet, and he sees a homeless guy. And he walks up to the homeless guy, I've not forgotten this. Preston, if I can just kind of borrow you to say it, and he comes up to...You didn't have to drop the coffee, I'm sorry, this isn't going to work. That's good, though, I like it. Assume I haven't given you the coffee yet, and Keith looks at him and he says, my name's Keith, looks him right in the eye, and shakes his hand. He says, I'm Keith, what's your name? Preston. He wasn't Preston, but for the sake of the story, he just squared him up, and then he gave him the coffee. What did Keith do? He dignified the homeless guy. He did just give him something, he looked him in the eye, he touched him, he said his name, and he received his name back, called him by name, then gave him the coffee. Jesus did that every day, all day. We do good when we just value a person, looking them in the eye, and whatever the appropriate gesture is. That's what Jesus was doing.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:20] Do you think that healings don't happen today? The removing of demons. Just a few weeks ago, a person in our Spanish service, they cast a demon out of that person just right out here the other day, they saw them freed up in that moment, it's unbelievable. Two witches have come to Christ over the last three years in the Spanish service, it's happening. See, that is what Jesus does, he is still doing it for His glory so that more and more will trust and follow Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:52] Doing good and healing, and being freed from the oppression of the devil, Satan's a liar, an attacker, and a deceiver. A guy in our church has just recently written a book, and he asked me if I would look at it before they publish it. And I was reading through it and there was a moment for him that when I read it, I thought, okay, that's a moment for me too. The book is called Shameless, and the struggle is that he wrestled with shame through alcohol addiction, and God has freed him up, the last four years sober. That is really cool. But he said he was listening to a story, and he said it was an unlikely story that changed things for me. Because it was a young lady talking about abortion, and she said that when she went in to get her abortion, she thought she was doing the right thing and she thought that would really free her up, but when she left, she felt condemned and guilty on the inside. But here is the insight, he said, that wasn't my deal, mine was alcohol, but she said Satan is the one who encourages the sin, and then Satan is the one who condemns you when you commit the sin. That's Satan who does the whole loop, encourages it, and then condemns you when you do what he encouraged. And when he realized that was the source of where the shame was coming, and that the real freedom came in Jesus Christ, that freed him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:38] First John 3:8, "Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil." That's what he did in his life, his death, and his resurrection. Peter is summing that up, he talks about his life, and then he talks about his death in verse 39, “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross." In Deuteronomy chapter 21 verses 22 and 23, in the law, it says that if any man is hung on a tree, he's accursed by God. In Galatians 3:13, then we're told, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE” Why does it matter that Jesus hung on a tree and was crucified for us? Because in our sin we are cursed by God, we are under God's condemnation, we're under God's wrath, and that's where the grace is so stunning. Because Jesus, perfect in his humanity, is God, took that curse on himself when he hung on that tree, so that you and I could be free. And he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so we might die to sin, and live to righteousness, for by his wounds, you're healed. They're communicating his life and his death. In Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me." It's not that just Jesus died on that cross that day, when we believe what Jesus did, then we know that we too died with him, we're in union with him in his death for those who have believed in him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:01] But it didn't stop with his death, verses 40 and 41, now his resurrection, “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. He was alive and lived a perfect life, he died and, in his death, took on our sins and the curse of God. But God didn't leave him there, he accepted the sacrifice, and he raised Jesus from the dead, so that sin, death, the curse, the wrath, all of it, that didn't win, Jesus wins. The life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus. According to Corinthians, over 500 people saw the risen Jesus, his real and physical body, they saw him. And many of them, they ate and drank with him present at the table.

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:12] Verse 42, what do you do with that information? You communicate it. “He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead." So we live in a culture that says don't judge, everybody throws that phrase out quickly, no judgment, no judgment here, don't judge. And yet, ironically, if you track the news long enough before you get too depressed, there's a lot of judgment going on, in a lot of different directions. Now, when Jesus said not to judge, he said not to be critical or a fault finder, that's what he means. Every one of us, as human beings, make assessments about things all day long, God has given us common sense to look at something and make an assessment. What He's telling us not to do is to be critical and a fault finder about that, and before we help somebody who's missing something, we take a look at the log in our own eye instead of the speck that's in someone else. He didn't say, don't help the other person, just look at your own self because you're probably the bigger issue, then you can be free to help the other one. But we don't have to worry about judging other people, Jesus is going to do that. He judges both the living and the dead, that's what he does, and he'll take care of that. He knows the human heart, and he knows what's happening in the heart. Jesus is the one who will judge the living and the dead. The Scripture says in Hebrews, that all of us have been appointed to live once and to die once, and then comes judgment. All of us will stand before God one day, and we'll be held to account for what we did in this life, no one escapes that day. And the only way you and I will be able to stand on that day is through the grace and mercy of what Jesus Christ did on our behalf and that we believed it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:24] In verse 43, “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” When we believe it, we receive forgiveness. One of my favorite articles to read most every day of the week is Breakpoint, John Stonestreet writes it as a norm. And on September 6th he wrote an article about the mental health crisis with our teenagers. And now, mental health experts tell us that mental health disorders have surpassed any kind of physical condition as the most common reason that children have impairments and limitations. And one reason they cite for it is the overwhelming amount of social information that a child receives. A ten-year-old was not designed to receive the load of information they receive. I don't know that a 40-year-old was designed to receive the load of information that we receive, but we're talking about children. And, adding to this crisis is, we do not have enough trained counselors to handle the load. I see that just when I'm trying to help people find a counselor, and it's three or four weeks out before we can get the first visit. A Harvard psychologist said, in this article, "Psychiatry needs to get right with God." He said it's not a social media problem we have, it's a meaningless problem that we have. Our kids aren't finding significance, we've kept them busy, and they haven't had time to think about what's significant. It's a significance and a meaning problem.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:29] Billy Graham, years ago, before all of this that's going on in the last several years, said that if 50% of people in mental health institutions would receive God's forgiveness, they would be freed up. But please don't hear me diminishing that there are not real mental health issues, there are, but so many things come about because we've refused God and his offer of forgiveness in life, and the freedom that he brings in removing the crushing weight of sin and replacing it with the weight of his own glory and goodness and grace and freedom and life. We have hope in Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:27] I've named about 25 students in the last five or six weeks that have found this hope, meaning, and significance, and are sharing it. Could I just beg and cheer us on to do the same? Because the problem with our country is not first a political problem, it's not first an economic problem, it's not first an educational problem, it is first and foremost a heart problem. And until the human heart is rescued from sin, and until the human heart recognizes that God in Christ is the solution, we'll continue on a path that is destructive. But there's a freedom and an offer to everyone in the Gospel, and everyone who believes, who will receive it. Is that an offer you've received? When we receive it, we become a new creation. And a way we know we've genuinely received what Christ says is when we hear the information in our mind that I've just spoken of, and our affections are stirred. Like there's something in our heart that just gets glad when we hear this news, there's something that is a joy that starts to rise up when you hear it and say, Oh, that is good. And once my affections have been stirred because I have this information in my mind, then my will is changed, and I start to be a follower and I'm obedient to what Jesus said. Now I'm completely submissive to him because my mind has been changed, my affections have stirred up, and now I can't help but want to follow him. And then all those things that are off, everyone's welcome into the invite, and then God starts to do a work once He enters into our lives, and he changes our hearts in our lives and those things that are amiss or off that we didn't realize we're sin against God, whatever those things are, God starts to change those. And we realize, oh, this is how God sees sexuality. Oh, this is how God sees gender. Oh, this is how God sees race. Oh, this is how God sees my wealth and what I'm to do with it generously. Oh! But all those come after the invitation is open to everyone without prejudice, and then we watch God change lives.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:33] One of the crises in our culture is our children who are wanting to change their bodies. One thing we can affirm is that they recognize something's broken, and we can say to them, you're right something is broken, but this isn't the way to solve it. The way to solve it is to believe what Jesus did, because he makes all things new. What you're longing for is a heart to not be broken anymore, and that's a good longing, and Jesus can give you what you need. But will we pass along that new identity that everyone can have? That Ephesians 2 talks about, where the walls have come down at the cross. We're now in union with him in his death and his resurrection, and we're one new human race in Jesus Christ. Oh, that's the good news of the Gospel. But Paul tells us in First Corinthians 1, there'll be two reactions to this, "The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." Is it foolishness today, or is it power?

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:29] And then I just want to sum up what happened in 44 through 48. We communicate this, then we watch God. In verse 44, "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message." I would love it someday if God would let me be part of that, that I'm in the middle, like, that I didn't even get to verse 40, and the Holy Spirit so came on us that I was done. Some of you may be thinking you wished I was done anyway, whether the Spirit comes or not. But Peter didn't even get to finish what he was saying, and the Holy Spirit comes down and all in that room who are listening, this unlikely gathering of people, the Spirit falls upon the. "And all the circumcised believers, (All the Jewish believers is what that means) who came with Peter were amazed. They couldn't believe it, wait a minute, the Gospels for them. Oh, wow, we didn't know that, but now we know. And the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also, the non-Jews, that's good news for most of us here, most of us aren't Jewish in our background. This is great news for us when we read it, we're the Gentiles. Like we're grateful, we're the remotest part of the earth, when they're speaking. "They were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God." They were speaking in foreign languages, the praises of God. Does that ring a bell?

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:15] In Acts chapter 2, Jesus had promised the Spirit would come, and when he did, they were all speaking in different languages, the praises of God, and they could understand each other. It's as if God is saying I've accepted the Jews in Acts chapter 2, and I want you to know now and in Acts chapter 10, I'm accepting the Gentiles, and they're having the same experience. Does that have to happen to every time? No, or probably most of us wouldn't know Jesus today. Does it happen sometimes? Whatever God does, He does. But he's saying I'm putting my stamp of approval on this, and the good news of Christ is for the Gentiles today, you can see it. Now, I love what Peter does, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." What Peter is saying is, uh oh, looks like God has accepted everyone and given them a welcome invite to know Jesus, so it seems like we should too as a church. And the next step, when someone receives Jesus, they receive the Spirit, and then they're baptized. Next week, we'll be doing baptisms for anyone if that's not something you've done yet. You've received Jesus, but maybe you've not been baptized.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:37] But then look how it finishes off, this is the whole deal, "Then they asked him to stay on for a few days." Now, remember, this is an unlikely bunch of people that have gathered up. They were prejudiced towards one another just a few days before, now they're going to hang out together at each other's table, and what do you think Peter is going to do? He's about to disciple him full-on, these are new believers in Jesus. So when a baby's born, we don't set the baby aside and just hope it all comes out okay for them. No, that baby is heavily nurtured 24/7 and monitored any time they're out of our sight. Scripture describes a Christian who just received Jesus as a baby, new, scoop them up, bring them to the table, and do life. An older believer and a younger one, if you're a believer, you're one step ahead of somebody. You have a story, you may not know a lot, but you can give what you have. That's the way of Jesus, that's his offer today, Salvation is his offer. And then the offer for us who know him is to give that offer, and then to walk it well with someone that believes.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:19] In light of our message today, I want us to end our time with the Lord's Supper, and to be able to remember and think more deeply and visually about the message just shared in Acts 10. Now, I wanted to take a little bit more time to explain today, sometimes we move through it a little more quickly, but I just want to make sure that when we do the Lord's Supper that everyone understands, as much as we can, why it even matters and why do we do it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:59] In the Old Testament, the Hebrew people had been enslaved for 400 years, and they were crying out to God for a deliverer and a rescuer, and God sends them Moses to deliver them. There are a number of things that happen before the actual deliverance, but the night that God actually brings the people out of Egyptian slavery, he tells them to take the blood of a slain one-year-old unblemished lamb and place the blood over their doorposts in the lintel, the mantel over the door. And that night there would be a death angel that would pass over those where there was the blood of the lamb, but for every home that did not have that blood over their door, the firstborn would be killed. After that deliverance, then God said to the people, I want you to observe the Passover on an annual basis, and every time you do remember the deliverance, I brought you from Egyptian slavery.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:14] Now fast forward hundreds of years, Jesus comes onto the scene, he lives his life, dies, and is resurrected. Right before his death, he's celebrating that Passover meal when Moses had delivered the people through God's hand, through that Passover lamb. Jesus says to his disciples, he said, this is the last time I'll have this meal with you, this Passover meal. And he does something that stuns them, he infuses a whole new meaning into that Passover supper. And he basically says to them, I'm the Passover lamb, and while it might not be clear yet, in a few hours and a few days in a few weeks, it's all going to come clear. But whenever you take this in the future, remember that this is my body broken for you, and do this in remembrance of me. And any time you drink this cup, which would represent the anger and wrath of God being satisfied on the cross with His shed blood, any time you take this cup, take it with gratitude. That's why, depending on your tradition, that some people call this the Eucharist, that word means thanksgiving. It's giving gratitude to God for the shed blood of Jesus. So for every person that has received Jesus, every time we take it, we remember what happened at the cross, but it's not just looking back, it's also for the present. And that we look around, and every person who takes this with us, is a son or daughter of God. And it's a reminder that we're brothers and sisters of his. And we're secured and bound together in all of our differences, but unified at the cross.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:28] But it's not just the present, it's the future. Jesus said you'll do this again with me. And in Revelation, it's called the marriage supper of the LAMB. And on that day, when everything is made right and restored and made new, we'll have the greatest reunion supper table ever. Every person that's believed in Jesus through his shed blood will be gathered around this table. So we remember looking back on what Jesus did, we remember who we are today in Christ, and we remember in the future, this is where we're headed.

Ross Sawyers: [00:47:15] Paul goes on to write about this as well in First Corinthians 11, and apparently, people had gotten careless in these remembrances. And he said to them, Be careful that you don't come under judgment for taking the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner. What is an unworthy manner? This is how I understand it, I would say today that if you don't know Jesus, you just you haven't believed this yet, then there's really not a reason to take the Lord's Supper. It's kind of weird because we welcome everybody, and it's like we've invited you to dinner and you don't get like dessert or something, you know we're going to separate you out. It's not what we're doing, we're simply saying this is for someone that knows Jesus. And it makes no sense to be celebrating what Jesus did by taking something if you don't yet believe it, and there really is no judgment here when you don't take it. I think it's a great time to just reflect and ask, God, will you stir my heart? Why do I not believe this? Just whatever he wants to do, it's a good reflection.

Ross Sawyers: [00:48:32] But there's another group that I think we have to be careful of where we can do it in an unworthy manner. Every one of us battles sin, there's not any of us that don't battle the remaining sin in our lives. I can start with 15 of my own just to start every day that I ask God to kill because I'm confident I'm going to have these that I'm going to battle today, I'll fail some, I'll win some, depending on how leaned into the Spirit I am. But there are some people that have said I know what God says, I don't care, I'm going to do it anyway. I think that state of the heart is part of what an unworthy manner is. Does that make sense? There's a difference between, I'm in the fight it's a battle, and it will be until we take our last breath; then I've just succumbed to it, I'm doing it, I don't care what God says. I think that's an unworthy matter. I think that's worth taking a time out and just asking God, will you really break my heart over this to a place of confession and repentance? I don't think we're a good, repentant people. When we really recognize our sin, the closer we grow to Christ, the more repugnant our sin becomes, the more our hearts break, and the more repentant we would become, that would really be a pathway. So this could just be a time of asking God to even bring me to that spot.

Ross Sawyers: [00:50:11] So wherever you are today, we want God to work freely in it. That's how I understand Scripture, and we want to be true to that, to what God has revealed to us there.

Ross Sawyers: [00:50:22] So I want to give you some space to just be quiet and still. David and the band will play over us. And then whenever you're ready, we'll have people that are stationed all around the room, and you can just see whichever one, y'all can go ahead, whenever you're ready, you can just go to them and receive the elements. If you're not comfortable receiving them from a person, I believe we have them on a table in the back. So if you're not comfortable with a person, there's a place in the back by the sound booth where you can go and get the elements yourself. So let's pray together and then let God have his way in these moments.

Ross Sawyers: [00:51:05] Father, thank you for our church, I love who you've assembled us to be. And God, I pray that our gratitude would only increase and our love for you today through what you did for us in the message of your life, death, and resurrection. Father, give us boldness and courage to speak it so that people will know they're welcome. And then, God, I pray just as your changing our hearts and our direction and breathing life into us, would you do that into every other person? Jesus, I pray in these moments as we think about what you did for us, I pray that your name would be honored and glorified and that we'd reflect deeply on the crushing weight that you bore on that cross, and deeply on the deep glory, the weight of your glory that you filled us with.

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