Lessons From the Flood

We’re going to do the lesson today as one of my favorite stories. And of course, our theme this year is what? It’s giving you a hint on the slide there, is living water.

And when I say living water, the flood story may not immediately jump to your mind as a time where God just poured out life with the flood waters as he cleansed the Earth. But it depends on how you look at the flood. Is this a time of destruction or a time of God’s Salvation given to his people? So we’re going to get into that. It’s really one of my favorite stories.

I’m grateful for the kids being in here because hopefully they will stay engaged in this story. But this is not a kids story. Yes, it is a kids decoration theme. And sometimes you can do a whole Noah’s arc crib and decoration theme and throw the stuffed animals in there so that your kids start learning the fear of God from infancy, if you’d like. But it is a great story nonetheless.

And it starts in Genesis, chapter six, when God is looking at the Earth and seeing how great the wickedness of the human race had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of our hearts, the human heart was only evil and all of the time. Isn’t that amazing how Genesis describes it? It’s not like they’re pretty good or they’ve fallen below average. It’s like, no, they’re only evil and it’s all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the Earth and his heart was deeply troubled.

Another translation said, deeply grieved, you see God’s desire to share paradise and creation with all of mankind. In Genesis, chapters one and two and three, God desired for there to be a paradise. A lot of times when we see evil, when we have these types of prayer requests, when we see loss in our family, we think is that maybe it’s just God’s will. That’s not a very comforting thought. And it’s actually not true.

It’s not God’s will for death, sickness, harm, and destruction to befall the Earth. That is our version of what we think we’re okay, we’ve got this. That was really always our response to God’s Grace, forgiveness, newness and paradise is we have a better way, God, and we’re going to try our way out, and then we get into trouble, and then it grieves the heart of God. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

And this is the account of Noah. That’s a great statement in and of itself, because I do think sometimes we can use the wickedness of the world to get very discouraged, can we not? If you are at school for the teens, for the middle schoolers out there, it does not appear that there are very many people walking righteously and blamelessly before God. And so sometimes we can kind of give ourselves a free pass. What difference does it make who will notice if I am any different than anybody else around me. We can feel that way sometimes, right?

At our workplace. I just want to fit in. Why bother standing out? Why bother living and acting righteously? Why strive to be blameless in a world that’s so evil?

Well, who will notice? God notices. God sees and regrets and is pained with the sin of the world. But God is also so excited, so relieved, so thrilled when he sees somebody that is striving to be blameless and righteous in this world. That’s the first question.

Is that our goal? Is it our goal to not just sort of look around and try to be a little bit better than people who are only evil all the time? Or is it our goal to just find favor, to find approval from God in a world that is wicked? And how do we do that? How did Noah do that?

How did Noah find favor with God in this world? You can be turning your Bibles to Genesis, chapter 6, 11 through twelve, where God commands Noah to build the Ark. And no, he did not use Imperial units of feet and inches. They didn’t exist at that time. But I’m using that because we’re more familiar with that than cubits.

But in Genesis eleven or six, verse eleven, it says the Earth was corrupt in God’s sight and full of violence. Are we still, by the way, surprised at this? I’m surprised that people are so surprised at the evil in the world. They read the news as if it’s like man, the Earth. This was Genesis six.

You know what I mean? Like, after God wrote a little introduction, then it got bad quick and it just stayed the same. The Earth was corrupt, full of violence. God saw how corrupt the Earth had become for all the people on Earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, I’m going to put an end to all people, for the Earth is filled with violence because of them.

I’m going to destroy both them and the Earth. Well, if God would have stopped there, no one will say, Why are you telling me this? Because I’m part of all people.

He says this. Make yourself an ark out of Cypress wood. Make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. And this is how you’re to build it. The arc is to be 300 cubits long, 50 qubits wide, 30 cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof and opening of one cubit all the way around.

That’s for ventilation by the way. We had a farm growing up. And then when you bring those cows inside the barn, you are grateful for a little ventilation. Even with plenty of ventilation, you know that there is the presence of an animal.

Put a door on the side of the Ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I’m going to bring floodwaters on the Earth and destroy all life under the heavens. Every creature that has the breath of life in it, everything on Earth will perish. But I will establish my Covenant with you, and you will enter the Ark. You, your sons, your wives, your son’s wives with you.

You were to bring with you into the Ark two of all living creatures, male, female, keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird and every animal and every creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You were to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away for you and for them. And Noah did everything just as God commanded him. So if our theme is living water, what about the flood? Does not this demonstrate also the destructive power of water? Well, yes, it does, certainly.

But really, the flood is an act of Salvation just as much as it is an act of destruction. It is God’s desire to continue to renew a Covenant with mankind and to continue to alter and change and make another Covenant, to give us another chance. And then soon with Abraham, God will give mankind another chance and make an everlasting Covenant with Abraham. And then God will come to the Israelites, his people, who are suffering as slaves in Egypt, and make a Covenant with them. And then as they settle into the promised land, God will renew his Covenant relationship with them.

And then, even when they turn away and suffer in exile, God will come and bring them out of exile and renew his Covenant with them. And even then, this placeholder law, the old Covenant, God will then send his son himself, God in the flesh in the form of Jesus Christ, to start a new and eternal Covenant with his people. So God’s destructive power, though it is immense, is curbed by his desire to renew and sustain an everlasting Covenant with his people. Amen.

What was known? This is very interesting. Tell me what Noah knew after this encounter with God. What was known? What was the known information? What did God disclose to Noah?

Let me hear some answers. All right. He was going to destroy the Earth by a flood. Had the Earth flooded before? No.

He’s like, what is that word, by the way? What else?

Okay. He knew that he would be saved. That’s known information. What else?

He knew to build an ark. Right. What kind of wood was that known? Yeah, he was like, this is the kind of wood. Again, Noah is not an ark builder, so he doesn’t know what kind of wood, balsa wood?

That would not have been good. Reeds, that would not have made it. So it had to be a specific type of wood. Did he know the dimensions? Yeah, he knew the dimensions. And God said to finish it within like three cubits.

And I already measured that. It’s like he gave no. 3% margin of error. So God wasn’t demanding perfection. He never does.

Just 97%. That’s pretty accurate. I’m a structural engineer. We usually get about a 50% to 80% factor of safety. We sometimes double what it takes.

So we’re lazy and we’re wrong sometimes. So it’s better to be wrong and have a 150% margin of error. He knew how to seal the Ark. He knew where to put the door. He knew how to ventilate it.

God told him to store food. So there was a lot known at this time. Now, what was unknown? What do you think were the questions that he had in his mind?

How long how long do I have to build this thing? How long do we have to survive on this stupid thing? You know what I mean? How long is it going to take us to find all those animals? And is that my job?

And where do they exist? And how do I get two birds and I get cows male and female? That’s pretty obvious. How do I tell the difference between two Canaries you know what I mean? How do you tell male and female?

I mean, this is not biology class or reproductive science, but I don’t necessarily know. There’s so many unknowns about this whole thing.

What about us? What do we know about God? As a disciple of Christ, what are you sure of? What are you convinced of? What do you know as a fact? Somebody.


You know what’s going to happen? No one knows it’s going to happen. Correct. What about now? What about the Covenant that we’re in with Christ?

What is known to you? What are you sure of as a Christian?

Okay. God will hold his end. What else? Jesus will return. Well, who’s Jesus? Before we jump to Jesus will return.

Who is he? Okay. How many of you are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Son of God? If you were baptized, your hand should be up because you were asked that even if you weren’t baptized like me growing up, I was convinced Jesus is the Son of God. I for some reason just knew that as a fact.

I never doubted that he was the Son of God. What else do we know? Yeah, Paul. God will be with you because that is a promise. What else do we know for sure? God loves us.

These are known things, right? Jesus. How about he died on the cross and rose from the dead? How many of you are convinced that that’s not just a story or a fable or a myth, but that it actually occurred that a bodily resurrection of Christ happened? There is a lot that we do know with 100% certainty.

We know that if you confess Jesus’s, Lord, you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. You make those confessions of baptism, you will be saved, you will be forgiven of your sins and given the Holy Spirit. These are promises. These are known. What don’t you know yet?

The name of God. I mean, the throne of God. I mean, we have some pictures. Somebody at one point, the scriptures say if he tells you his name, like your mind will explode or something like that, it’s too Holy to pronounce. What else do you not know? What heaven looks like. And when are we going to go? Is it before we die? Do we wait for judgment? Is there like a big locker room where everyone’s getting dressed?

And then when the last person becomes a Christian, then it’s over. And is there 1000 year pre post millennial? What is the Book of Revelation about which I’m studying right now? I’m having a blast doing it. Would love to teach that to us as a congregation, but I would venture to say there’s a lot that we don’t know.

We know that Jesus is the son of God, that he’s coming again, that he is Lord of heaven and Earth, that we confess that he is Lord. There is a lot that I don’t know. I mean, even James says, you don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It’s a mist.

So there is actually a lot that we don’t know. Like, when will God and how did God and I don’t know, dinosaurs. You know what I mean? I don’t know. You know what I mean?

Is the Earth 6000 years old or 600 trillion billion years old? Is the universe expanding? How did God do that? Was it six literal days? Was it periods of time of God’s creation?

We’re asking the God who really does not have any concept of time, who created time. There’s a lot that we don’t know. My point is this. What do you focus on?

Because a lot of people use the unknown to just sort of override the known. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know. Is God eternal? And so then we give ourselves a free pass on what is known.

And Noah could have done that. Well, should I be building or should I be, like, trapping animals? What do you want me to. There was a lot of time. I think you’ve heard me share this before. Even the door being on the side of the Ark, that’s a design flaw. There’s no way to keep the art afloat if there’s a door that can’t be sealed on the inside and outside. And I don’t even know if they had, like, a shutting thing. It was so big that there’s no way that him and his three sons in law or sons could close that thing.

Did he just hire unbelievers? All right, since you think we’re crazy anyway, we’re going to subcontract you to close the door, seal it, and then you’re going to die. But you can jump on if you’d like. I don’t know there’s so much. Here has to be our response: with what is known, obey it, with what is unknown, trust God. It’s almost like that deserves to be a song.

Obey and trust.

It is a song. Trust and obey. Or there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. That is so true. That has not changed.

The circumstances that we’re in right now may be different. We may not be building an ark, but we are building the temple of God. The Kingdom of God serves as God’s Holy temple, built on the foundation of the Apostles and the prophets. Christ Jesus himself is the chief cornerstone, and we are being added to this temple. So we are building something that will survive God’s judgment.

We are building something that will survive because it’s based on a Covenant that is everlasting that is written in the blood of Christ. And there is so much known that we have to just obey what we know. And then that nagging stuff that we don’t know we have to trust God. And I think the tension that we feel as believers, as disciples of Christ is there’s things that we know, but we’re rebellious and we don’t want to obey.

And then there’s things that we don’t know and we don’t like trusting God in those things. It actually takes faith to do both. It takes faith to obey what God has said, because if you obey the commands of Christ, you are different than everyone else around you, just the way Noah was different than everyone else around him. There is that crazy guy building the boat. Well, there’s that crazy person at my school that is going to talk to me about God.

There’s that crazy person at my work that’s going to share their faith with me and invite me out to their Church. We are the crazy people in the world, or at least God has called us to be the crazies in the world. The people that in a wicked world are blameless and righteous and stand out and are seen and walk in favor with God. The circumstances may be different, but really the calling is the same. And we have to then trust what we don’t understand or know for sure. Which is easier or more difficult for you?

For some of us, the issue that tests our faith is obedience. And again, like I said, we sometimes use the unknown as an excuse to disobey or neglect the obvious commands of God. So for those who struggle with obedience, our struggles probably just include our desire to fit in, our desire for comfort and ease, our selfishness, our lack of taking responsibility. And maybe it’s even just immaturity that keeps us from truly obeying the known commands of God. But for others of us, and this might even describe more of us in this room, because maybe we’ve sort of agreed to the obedience part, but maybe for many of us the real struggle is trusting in God. Maybe we become good at kind of doing Church, serving, giving, but our desire for control keeps us from truly trusting God. I’m convinced more and more that the idol of control is such an insidious idol. Do you ever read about the Israelites and every King is, but he didn’t remove the ashera poles and didn’t remove the high places.

How did that work? How are they serving God and worshiping Yahweh at the temple? But there were still these other idols that existed. Why not just get rid of them? Well, that’s us as well.

But if Jesus is Lord, then why do we still serve the idol of control? So for those with issues and trust here’s how it shows up. We are the ones that tend to perhaps work too much.

The idol of control, I think, comes out in anger, a short fuse, and just a general irritability. We’re just annoyed all the time because there are things outside our control that if we were able to control it, it would be a lot better.

You’re wondering why that’s so easy for me to access the symptoms of this idol.

Lack of trust also and lack of control there’s a criticalness of other people.

Both of these things take faith. It takes faith to obey, but it also just takes faith to trust in God. And everything in between takes faith. We are just called to live by faith. Even though what is known is known and what is unknown God has, we still are called to live by faith.

You know what’s interesting is Noah had to exist in that tension for probably about 75 years during the construction of the Ark. And then every unknown thing was instantly made known. All the nagging doubts were clarified in a moment’s notice. Genesis seven says pairs of all living creatures that had the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the Ark. Can you imagine 75 years of just being annoyed at God?

Like, how am I supposed to do that?

The animals going in were male and female of every living thing as God commanded Noah. It’s like, why didn’t you just clarify that, God? Why didn’t you just use that in your explanation? So I didn’t spend the last 75 years worried about this one detail about this whole plan of yours. It’s like, well, the Ark’s done.

How are we..? Oh, they’re here. I mean, I’m not checking genders. They’re just. They’re here. God is taking care of it.

They’re just coming in. The birds are flying in the animals, the snakes are slithering in the pythons, all the different lizards, the cockroaches, thank God, survived. The rats, mosquitoes, every living thing.

Then the Lord shut them in. Another thing where it’s like, you could have just told me that’s how you were going to do it, God. God Knows what he’s telling us. He knows what he’s commanding us and he knows what he’s withheld. He knows the things that cause us to struggle and we want to control. Both of those are faithful decisions.

We have to faithfully obey what we know and then faithfully just let go and surrender the stuff that God is in control of. And in a second, at some point in your life, or maybe as you stand before the throne of God, all those weird questions that I’m going to ask God when I get there. No, you’re not. You’re not going to ask him any of those questions. They’re all stupid questions.

When standing in the presence of God, when you’re standing in the presence of God, you’re like, I had this long list of questions while I was on Earth. He never answered or addressed any of them. For some reason, I can’t think of a single one in this moment. Can you imagine standing in front of God? There will be no questions.

It would be so clear, oh, that’s how God is going to do it. As we prepare for Communion, I want to bring in a few New Testament parallels between Noah and the flood story and lessons for us today as Christians. Certainly a couple of you mentioned the idea of Jesus’s return, Jesus coming back. There is a day that is imminent. And Jesus sort of on Throwback Thursday, brought in the story of Noah.

It is not just a myth. It’s not just the Gilgamesh. All these ancient civilizations have a flood story. It is a story that happened, especially as referred to by Jesus Christ. He’s referencing true history.

He is the word of God. So as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the coming of the Son of man? For in those days before the flood, people were eating, drinking, marrying, being given a marriage. There was a lot of announcements then, too, up to the day Noah entered the Ark. And they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.

That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Did they know nothing about? I guess because they chose to know nothing. I mean, really, Christ people are without excuse, but we have to also present the gospel to them. Noah had an opportunity to present really through his life and through this gigantic ark that he was building the end times that God is pronouncing judgment on this world.

And Christ has as well, and will sit and judge and defend those who believe in him. And so we always have to be prepared. We do not know. One of the things in the category of being unknown is when will this happen? So we always must be prepared.

The other thing is just God and his tendency always in every Covenant to cover over our imperfections. With Adam and Eve, they tried to cover them up. Yes, we sinned, but we fixed it. See, fig leaves. We got it.

God, we don’t need you. And God said, no, I am going to provide for you a covering. And the first death occurs in scripture when God takes animal and sacrifices and provides a skin covering for Adam and Eve to cover their shame. We see God continue to cover our imperfections. We see it in the law of Moses as sacrifices of atonement and sin and even unintentional sins were made to cover over and to atone for our imperfections. I know of nobody who has undertaken this ark building project.

The only one that comes close, which is a bit of a herculean effort, in my opinion, is Mike, who built this canoe.

What kind of wood did you use there? Cedar wood. And wood obviously retains moisture. So how did you get this to be waterproof? Fiberglass, inside and out. And that’s including, like, a resin, right? All right. This is a pretty awesome achievement of he, even, like, jointed a few designs in there and everything. I’m not doing this in my garage anytime soon, but I love the craftsmanship of this.

Now, was that a one time deal? The resin? Just one and done? That’s second. Wow.

It actually does appear that there’s some tension on your line. I don’t know if that’s a weed or. Two of every species of fish, although they wouldn’t survive on the canoe. Incidentally, the reason why he didn’t have to make aquariums on the ark is the fish and the whales did just fine in the flood. Does that make sense? The sea creatures, if somebody ever wonders that just smack them really quickly.

It was breath. The breathing things needed to be saved. The fish, they did just fine.

So Mike and obedience to Genesis Six coated it with Gopher. That’s why we sing. And we’re going to close with the song later today. Out of Gopher wood. Why do we not just say out a Cyprus?

It’s still two syllables. Gopher wood. This idea of gopher, it’s interesting. The Hebrew word for this resin, this pitch is also the same as a ransom.

It’s a payment that covers over the ransom price. So it’s a sum of money to cover the ransom price. Also Bitterman, used for coding waterproofing, as the henna plant used for dying. So gopher is the word there is translated as ransom. Well, that’s a huge theme in the New Testament.

First, Peter says, knowing that you were ransomed from the feudal ways inherited by your forefathers, not with silver and gold, but the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot. So the ransom, the price that was paid to cover over your sin and the feudal wife that we live outside of Christ is gopher. It’s pitimen. It’s this resin that God covers us with with the blood of Christ. And then Peter brings this up again and also hearkens back to the time of Noah’s Ark and says, Christ suffered once for sin, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God.

He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit. After being made alive, he made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits, those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the Ark was being built. And Peter continues to bring this symbolism of that Covenant into the new Covenant. In that arc, only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water. And so it was living water.

It was an act of Salvation for all of mankind that mankind was once again saved, redeem and given a second chance in the flood waters. And water, this water now symbolizes baptism that saves you also. Not the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you. This water of baptism saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So it is part of the new Covenant. And there is a throwback reference to Noah and the Ark. And really, baptism is a trust and obey scenario. Obey. We have faith in Christ.

We make a confession that Jesus is Lord. We’ve repented of our sins. We know for a fact that he is the Son of God. But even in the unknown things saved you by the resurrection. I don’t know why he chose that vehicle of Salvation for all those in the New Testament in the new Covenant with Christ. I’m not sure why he did that, other than there is a sense of cleansing. But as Peter says, it’s not a symbol, it’s not dirt from the body, it’s not a shower. It’s actually a vehicle of Salvation when we trust and obey and combine those things. I don’t know how God does that.

I don’t know that how December 5, 1990 me making that confession of faith and being baptized into Christ. I didn’t feel any different. But that’s the unknown. I just trust that that was the promise of God that I received in that moment. I have to trust that.

I wish I could see my name, the book of Life, verify. Just look it up. Can I just see my registration? Is there a confirmation number that I’m going to need in heaven? Do I need to make a reservation or no, you got to trust all that.

And then this idea of coating it with pitch inside and out. At baptism, the blood of Christ is that outward clothing. Now you are outwardly dressed with Christ, but then inwardly you are renewed by the Holy Spirit. Both of those promises occur when we are baptized into Christ. God coats us inside and out with himself. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

And lastly, as we take Communion, and then Communion is a little different. Today we’re out of some of the I think we had a few of the mobile communions, but we’re going to pray and then the worship team will be singing a song. We’ll be singing Oceans, which is appropriate God’s calling us out into this great unknown. But the ushers will excuse you and you’ll be able to go to the back where they have some emblems of Communion.

But the idea is that eight and all were saved again. Is that the will of God to destroy all of mankind and save just eight. No, it is clear that God wants as many as possible to be saved. God’s invitation is to all of us. This is good and pleases God, our Savior, who wants eight people to be saved.

No, he doesn’t, all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind. The man Jesus Christ who gave himself as a ransom for all people. I hope that you have not taken that invitation to really study the Bible and understand what is known about God and come to a decision to trust what is unknown about him, God will reveal himself to you so that you also can make that decision by faith to proclaim Jesus is Lord to receive the Holy Spirit and forgiveness of your sins when you’re baptized into Christ and then live in that tension that the rest of us live between what’s known and what is still unknown about our faith.

Amen. Let’s pray for Communion. Father, we thank you for this time and ask that God you would bless this fellowship with the faith to live in the tension between the known the things that we know. And right now we know that as we take this bread and as we take this juice it does represent the body and the blood of our Savior. And that we know without a doubt that he died on the cross and rose from the dead for the forgiveness of our sins.

And we know that you keep coating us inside and out. You didn’t just cover our imperfections once, but that blood that was shed is enough to continually cleanse us inside and out from our sins. The name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


We have a 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon service in the Southwest, so I just told Eddie, hey, you know, I can skip the gym on Sunday morning and worship with you. So I appreciate the invitation and I’m excited to share some thoughts with you, excited to just be encouraged to mutually, hopefully by each other’s presence. How’s my clicker doing here? All right. We are in the year twenty, twenty one. Our theme is one. Very creative.

And it didn’t really dawn on me that we started in Ephesians Chapter four talking about one body, one spirit, one lord, baptism, all those things, until Tyler did the lesson last week and did such a great job of giving us the back story. And I thought, wow, you know, we jumped right to Ephesians four. If you look at the book of Ephesians, one through three is all inspiration and then four through six is all instruction and fixing things.

And I thought, you’re your lead evangelist is a moron because twenty twenty was a dumpster fire. And all I wanted to do was just fix it. Let’s just fix the church. We don’t need all that inspiration. Let’s just get Ephesians 4. So I’m sorry this year’s been so, so terrible. But you know, it was my call and I guess I blew it. I should have inspired us all, but. We’re just going to start the year over.

OK, all right. We’re gonna start in Ephesians 1. We’re going to do a whole series over. No, we’re not going to do that. We already made our bed. We’re going to sleep in it. Tyler fixed it, so we’re just going to move on amen? I want to talk about this idea of being equipped now, because we really do want the church to feel equipped. We want you to feel like I have the tools to fix this. If you ever had the wrong tool for the job that was like doing projects with my dad when he would come and visit me, sort of like that’s what I would like.

All right. We need to fix everything we can while my dad is here. He’s since passed. But I mean, I got a lot of useful work on the houses that I had whenever we would live somewhere like Dad, let’s fix this. But it was always a struggle working with my dad because he’d be like, where’s your sledgehammer? You know, I just I’ve never needed a sledgehammer yet in my life, but I guess I will go get one now.

So it was always an inventory of tools that I did not have. We don’t want you as a church to feel that way. We don’t want you to feel like a heavy burden has been placed on you. But I have no tools. I have no equipment. I don’t know what to do. Really, that is the role of the ministry staff is that you might feel equipped. And that’s really where Tyler left off. We’re starting today verse 11 of Ephesians four says Christ himself gave apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, teachers to equip you, the church, his people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and knowledge of the son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. And I want to talk a little bit about that today, but I think we have been using the Body of Christ analogy, rightfully so, because it is biblical for so long that sometimes that familiarity makes us numb to this analogy, the idea of the body of Christ and how we’re all parts of the body that we all function together.

So I want us to think of it a little bit differently today for today’s sermon, I want you to think of the church as an orchestra with a choir all behind us. Now, I love being a part of the worship team. I love that they put up with me and let me play guitar. But I love music and it is amazing to see an orchestra play together in unison. And I’m going to play a song for you that’s only about a minute and 30 seconds.

And it’s known to I guarantee all of you, you all know this song. It’s about also Sprach Zarathustra, which is, of course, by the German composer Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 as a show of hands. Who knows this tune? By Faith. Everybody raise your hands. You know this song. This, I think, is recorded by the Boston Philharmonic. Tympani. And that organ right there at the end.

And, of course, you know, this is from this was from Stanley Kubrick’s film. He put it in there, Space Odyssey 2001 written that that movie came out in 1968. But he used that song. And just I know this is probably not news to some of you, but the composer’s intent was for this to be orchestrated by a picolo three flutes, third doubling Picolo, three oboes, English horn, clarinet in E flat, two clarinets in B flat bass clarinet B flat, three bassoons a contra basson, six horns in F and E trumpets at C and E.

The four of those three trombones, two tubas, a timpani. You guys heard that timpani. Right. The bass drum, the cymbals, the triangle. You got to get the triangle in, the glockenspiel a bell on low E an organ that you heard at the end. The strings consisted of two harps a violin, one and two parts, 16 of each of those 12 violas, 12 cellos, eight double basses with the low B string. That’s what you just heard.

I know probably most of you discerned all of those right? Now, what if one trumpet player out of those hundred instruments was playing the Star Wars theme by John Williams? Would it still be like ninety nine percent pleasant to listen to because really everybody else was doing the right thing. Would you be able to drown out, you know. No you wouldn’t. You’d be like, what is that person doing, he’s ruining the other 99 instruments, playing this beautiful tone poem in the key of C, which I know you knew that as well.

We’re going to listen to this one more time, not just with one trumpet out of tune, but God bless whoever this director was who was leading their middle school orchestra. But they made a go at this song. I don’t think they had all of those same instruments, but but they made a good run at it.

So we’re going to listen to. OK, so far. They got one more shot at it. You know there’s three asian kids trying to hold this thing together. You know, she’s still going for it. She’s like, sweat running down her back, parents video cameras out. I know you want me to go go to the next slide, but. Guys want me to play that again?

Now, OK, before we throw these kids under the bus, when we think about the church, obviously, the first version of that is what we’re striving for, right? Right. How does our church look and sound sometimes? You know, we are we maybe have a few folks that are kind of doing their own thing or maybe just not equipped. You know, maybe they haven’t had enough time. But but think of the lessons here. You know, I remember we were at the World Discipleship Summit in San Antonio.

I got to play guitar on that summit. It was a blast mainly because just because I know Brian Craig. It’s not my guitar playing ability, but I have a friend on stage and he’s like, you play with me. So, Brian, I got to play. And we were playing a song, I think it was Comes Thou Fount where I played mandolin. And we had this disciple from Norway, I think. And she was the number one violin player in the nation.

It was it was your sister in Christ still is, and so she played violin with us. And at the time, Katie was in a band just like this in an orchestra. And we were going to those concerts, you know what I mean? Where I mean, it’s, you know, it’s exciting and you’re rooting for them and you’re taking them out for dinner afterwards. You present them with flowers and but the concert was not the main event.

It was just then growing. And I remember Katie, fifth and sixth grade. It was rough and in middle school there was a huge jump and and they did a great job. And then by the time high school then she finished at Freedom High School and the Music Department at Freedom High School is ridiculous. It’s amazing. I mean, their concerts were truly a joy to be there. And so you saw the growth. You saw the progression and and his violin player I told her that, yeah, my daughter’s playing. She’s in like fifth or sixth grade. And so it’s a little rough at home. When she practices, she goes, you know, this is the best age to start because at this age, they really have no idea how bad they sound. And you think about that band, you know what I mean is they were at Chick fil A afterwards, you know what I mean? They were like we nailed it.

You know, we did Stanley Kubrick or Richard Strauss proud. And, you know, you think about the conductor. Have you ever been to an orchestra and wondered, you know, what is that guy? Is he or she even really necessary? You know, I will tell you for sure, the more novice the orchestra, the more critical the conductor is. Right nows Justin’s at Potter Street Middle School, and he plays percussion. And Miss Berry, again, is an amazing conductor and runs the music department there.

I’ve watched her because we got invited to one of their practices and rehearsals and during homeroom or whatever it was back to school night. And, you know, if anything was off, you just of grab a clarinet and play the kid’s part and hand it back to them and then, OK, the trumpet, here’s what I need you to do. And then, OK, so the violin, what you’re going to need to do and you kind of realize, oh, she can play every instrument.

She’s not just doing this, you know what I mean? Pointing people. The conductor is very critical. And I would say that at the Boston Philharmonic level, probably less so. But you also don’t see what’s going on in the background and all the work. You just kind of seeing the final performance when everything is in perfect tune. And that’s really the picture that I think Paul is trying to paint here with the church, is that you may just think that on Sunday, oh, I wish I got to be that guy up there telling jokes or whatever, you know, being in the ministry.

That’s what I thought growing up. Oh, I can’t wait. We’ll talk a little bit about how fun that is later in today’s sermon. I would just say that leadership is very necessary. And why? Well, because that’s the composer’s intent. The composer is Christ. Christ, God, the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures. And it’s supposed to work in this way where Paul talks about the apostles, the prophets, the teachers, the pastors.

In other passages, he talks about those with gifts of administration and and deacons and other roles in the body of Christ. And that’s really God’s choice. It’s the composer’s intent. And I know some would argue for a more organic approach. And let’s just let the Holy Spirit guide us. We don’t need really those types of leaders. Well, two things, number one, again, this is biblical. It’s not like we as a church came up with these rules.

These are godly rules set apart and chosen by Christ. So I’m not going to outthink Christ. Christ gave us leadership. Secondly, I think we have to be careful to allow the Holy Spirit to rubber stamp our organic, chaotic approach to things because the Holy Spirit is the very agent of God that brings order out of chaos. If you look at the creation of the world, the world, the earth was formless and void. It sort of sounded like.

That was what the void of Earth sounded like as it groaned and cried out to the heavens, and so the spirit of God hovered over the earth and began to create order. So when we say organic, it’s really the Holy Spirit creating a system that works in perfect tune with God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, and this breath, the Holy Spirit that spoke the world and brought order out of chaos. So it’s not just let’s be organic.

Let’s pass our instruments and let the spirit teach us this song. That’s not really the sound that comes from that is not pleasing to God. Now, we also have our starting point too. It’s not our job as the leadership of the church to do all the work. It’s not Miss Berry’s job during a concert to be like I’m embarrassed parents by what this sounds like. So I’m going to just play it all for you since I know what I’m doing. No, we have to have a starting point. Sometimes your family group, as it’s going, it’s you know, that’s maybe where the ministry starts. But guess what? Over time, we need to be progressing to a place of tuning and listening to each other and blending together and playing together and crafting your skill on your instrument according to the gifts that God has given you to where then after time, we start seeing the picture, we start listening to the tune, and the Holy Spirit now is is working in a way that’s pleasing and that sound is pleasing and that the communion with the church is in unison.

That’s really what we are striving for Does that makes sense? And so I just wanted to share that because I think God is not a god of chaos, but he is a god of form and function and purpose. And the spirit is his agent of bringing about form and purpose out of chaos. And I think it is true that the bottom line is some of us, and I’m including myself in this, we just have a problem with authority of any kind.

And I would challenge you, my nature is rebellious. That’s my sinful nature. I am rebellious. Add to that I feel also entitled, like I feel like rules are for general society to stay non chaotic. But I’m a little bit of an exception. So if I make a left on a red arrow, like it’s like I get it safely, but I know if I buy in in general, but I’m entitled and I’m an exception and gosh, I wish I could talk to the guy who synced these lights in.

For now. That part is true. I wish I could talk to the guy who syncs the lights in Orlando, but I’m rebellious. I’m entitled. You add sarcasm to it and you can see why Sean marries me. Like you can see what a blessing that is for her to deal with me, for me and those who are like me, who are rebellious in nature and who love that way because you think it makes you an independent, free thinker, I would ask you to study out authority in the scriptures and study out rebellion to authority.

You will find that in every case, men and women who please God work under authority. Is it godly authority? Rarely. It’s it’s actually rarely godly authority. Daniel worked under Nebuchadnezzar and served God in incredible ways, was Nebuchadezzar a great lead evangelist of the church? No, he thought he was a God. And God drove him insane. Joseph worked under Pharoah and did amazing things for God and saved many people under a broken system. Elijah served under Ahab and Jezebel. Like nobody names their kids those names, you know, a name like Jezebel’s, my daughter Jezebel. Awesome. Son Lucifer. You know, it’s like there’s just certain names that the Bible has ruined because they are rebellious to the core. Now, you may think, my child, is, I should have named her Jezebel whatever it is. That’s not the point. Jesus himself was a man under authority. And the Bible says the government was on his shoulders. And guess what he never fixed? The government. He submitted himself to the Sanhedrin’s decision and the decision of pilot, though he could have overruled both of those decisions with an angelic nuclear bomb. Yet submitted to those decisions to the point of death. I think of Saul not waiting on Samuel. Why? Because he just probably was like I was just letting the spirit lead and Samuel, you know, I’ll do the sacrifice. But that’s not the order that God had in place under the law of Moses this was a priestly duty and it was not Saul’s duty to perform. He was the king. But he he he sort of was out of order. And you think well its just a no, it’s an issue of authority and it grieved God. Leadership in the church then is not so much a job as it is a calling. And how do you know it is your calling? And this applies to every everybody in here. Not just those who serve in the full time ministry, but those who work and perform you know, we call it secular work to it, but it is really a calling. And how do you know that it’s a calling? It’s because you care deeply about it. You can’t not do it. You can’t even run away from it. Joan, I tried. I tried. This is my third time in ministry because they just keep running away. When you care deeply about it. It also makes you very, very vulnerable to pain and hurt.

And that’s what Paul talks about in leadership. He says, besides everything else I face daily, the pressure of my concern for all of the churches. It’s like, wow, every church. Who is weak and I don’t feel weak, who is led into sin and I don’t inwardly burn. Well, let me share what these words in the Greek. Pressure [Greek] is like a riotous mob, a troublesome throng of persons seeking help or counsel. So Paul was saying emotionally he felt like he was overrun by a violent mob, a mob of what? Concern, and that that’s a nice way of saying what the Greek says is worry or anxiety.

It says it’s dividing and fracturing a person’s being into parts. Because it sounds like Paul had anxiety. You know, I developed anxiety about two and a half years ago. I didn’t know what it was, but I almost panicked had a panic attack right before a worship service. I just told Bill I, I feel like all the cells in my body are don’t want to work right. I can’t explain what it is. I got sick.

I don’t have a fever. I, I just don’t know what’s happening to me. Let me show you what my sermon is today. And we’re there at Hunts Creek Middle School. I kind of scrolled through it in five minutes at nine fifty five. I said, be ready in case I can’t preach. I went up to play bass and I couldn’t figure out what was happening. I couldn’t even play. I didn’t know the notes. These were not difficult songs.

I put the bass down. I pointed at Bill. I drove home and passed out for three hours. That was Mother’s Day too, you know, my kids and everybody went to Disney, downtown Disney and ate. And and I didn’t realize it was the conference, the stress, the, you know, new church gave new life. And you’re probably saying, Marshall, you’re doing it wrong if you feel all that way. I would submit to you, yes, I’m definitely doing it wrong.

However, I can’t not care. So I think that’s the that’s the challenge.

And I can’t just not care. It can’t just be a job. I feel called to this. And so there’s times like a riot or the mob of concern begins to overtake me. And I don’t know what to do. And if I’m doing it wrong, then Paul was doing it wrong because he wrote this like, I’m not reading this is not my journal entry. This is Paul’s journal entry to the church in Corinth saying, I feel as weak as the weakest member in every church and I feel the sin of whoever is sin in every church.

And I feel that every day. Woo I mean, anyway, sometimes we wonder, like what more people step into leadership. And you’re saying that’s why. Because it’s no different if you lead a family group. Really as a family group leader, you feel as weak as the weakest person in a group of ten that you lead. I don’t care if it’s a church or a small group. You feel if you care which you do, you feel it.

But but I think all of us who are living out our callinge are going to feel this to some degree. Right. If you care, you’re going to feel a mob, a pressure an anxiety. And we are as a church, going to be rolling out in the next couple of weeks our mental health coaching ministry, which I’m very, very excited for. And I hope that we take advantage of it. We need to be people that are interested and investing in our self care.

I don’t know that I can do anything about this because I care about the church and you care about the church. So we feel this way, but we’ve got to heal from it and figure out how to live in this state. I think of Moses, who, you know, one minute he’s begging God to save the Hebrews. You know, he’s sitting there as judge and and he’s solving every case. Bring me bring him to me and bring them to me, bringing me and then there’s a time for Moses is like God, these are your people.

These are the sheep. They bear your name. I have nothing to do with them. I can be that way. I can go from super caring and stress and anxiety to, you know, kill me now, God. You know what I mean? Let’s just. When are you coming back jesus? Enough people, you know, I mean, just project the future and who’s going to become a Christian and just let it go. But I think all of you guys on the front lines, I think of those of you in school and teaching and administration and I think of Melik as he embarks on a new job as Principal Maitland Middle School, how do you think Melik will feel when the riotous mob shows up on Tuesday or Wednesday of middle school students?

Because I think Melik is living out his calling he’s going to care and I believe that he will have to manage stress. He’s not going to just be like, hey, you know, you kids are bullied. You know, it’s OK. Whatever. No, I mean, if you’re teaching just a classroom of kids, 20 people, you know, they’re connected to a family and a parent and siblings. And so whatever it is, you know, I think of the first responders like Josh and Geno and others who are first responders.

It’s not just the job, you know, oh, man, I’m going to do my best to save this person. But if not, you know, I’m going to keep a professional boundary and I’m going to go home and play with my kids. That’s very difficult. That’s the riot. You’ve been in a riot and you go home and try to handle the pressure. I’m sure there is a lot of anxiety that comes from that. But you’ve got to figure out how to deal from.

And I think of every one of you that’s living out your calling, you feel it. You care. And, you know, that’s that’s what I think we we as a church need to understand is is from your ministry staff. We care. We care deeply. We don’t want to play every instrument. Like I didn’t create this mess. Now, women as a show of hands, is that my responsibility to go out and play the mom out of the car while my wife cleans the vomit out of the child’s hair as a show of hands I want to see from my sisters if that’s my responsibility. You are correct. That’s the day when I realize I have to be a man. I can’t be a wuss anymore. I can’t just be an entitled selfish ball of no, that’s your job. Like I. So you might think that’s an odd time to become a man. For me. It was very poignant that the rest of my life is really going to be spent cleaning vomit.

That’s OK. And that’s, that’s what makes us mature and grow. Jesus said this. And I think it is because our goal is completion. Our goal is to finish and be in perfect tune with Christ. And what’s amazing is that for those who’ve been baptized into Christ, you are in perfect tune even if you play and exert your gifts out of tune, somehow the spirit between earth and heaven retunes your instrument. The spirit is like, here’s what he meant to play.

Here’s what she was going for. And somehow the church, because of what Christ did when he said it is completed and bowed his head and gave up his spirit for us. He brought the earth into perfect tune. And Philippians said that now I’m sure of this that he who began a good work and you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. We get to be in perfect tune with God even now because of the sacrifice and the blood of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

Born Again

One that’s good enough, just the number one, and so if you remember, we’ve taken the first part of the year to go through Ephesians four, there is one body one. Anybody know Spirit one? Hope one. Lord one Faith.

And now what? One baptism. Well, does that seem as important as all the others, we’re going to go to one God next month, but, you know, I thought, well, what do we do when we get to one baptism? Well, I guess we’ll just preach about baptism. So that’s what we’re going to do today. All right. We’re going to preach about what the Bible says about baptism. And, you know, a lot of churches sort of it’s getting harder and harder to really pin down what do people really believe? Because sometimes it’s like, yes, we we believe in baptism. We do baptize people. That’s part of membership. A lot of their websites. You go on and look at their statement of faith or statement of beliefs. And I will tell you that even that is getting a little harder and harder to discern. Like what? OK, I read your statement of faith. I still don’t know what you believe. It’s it’s very ethereal and very it’s kind of like just contact us and we’ll let you know what we really believe.

I would rather just know what you believe, what you teach on these areas. And so that’s what today’s lesson is, is this is what we believe. This is what we teach from our church about what baptism is. I hope I do a good job of representing that. All right. So let’s continue on here. I don’t have my clicker. I feel a little bit a little naked, but born again of water and spirit, you can be opening your Bibles.

I brought mine today. I would recommend you bring one to church so that you know that what we are saying is at least from the scriptures. And we’re going to start in John, Chapter three. Verse one. And this is early on in the Ministry of Jesus. And people are trying to figure out who he is. And it says there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Ruling Council, who came to Jesus at night and said, Rabbi, we know you’re a teacher who’s come from God, for no one can perform the miraculous signs you’re doing.

If God were not with him. And in reply, I don’t even know that there was a question. I didn’t see a question that Nicodemus asked. You know, I just see sort of hey we you know, we’re trying to figure who you are. We’re trying to figure you out. So Jesus just said, I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he’s born again. Well, how can a man be born when he’s old?

Nicodemus asked. Surely he can’t enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born. Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he’s born of the water and the spirit. Flesh gives birth the flesh, but the spirit gives birth to spirit. You shouldn’t be surprised at my saying you must be born again. Next slide, please. So we’re talking about New Birth and of course, you know Nicodemus upon hearing (?) Birth, right.

And and this is not unlike Jesus to take something from the material world. Right. Like a farmer goes out to sow seed and he scatters it. Right. And there’s a lesson about that. OK, that’s very familiar to them. Right. He said the kingdom of God is like a big haul of fish, which the man separated. The Kingdom of God is like a pearl. And so there’s so many analogies that Jesus pulls out of the physical world to help us understand a spiritual principle.

This is another one of those. So let’s talk about physical birth for a second and then just talk about what Jesus may have been referring to when he’s talking about being born again into the kingdom of God, of the water and the spirit. So let’s read some of the miracle of New Birth. Right. And we know this psalm and this psalm really paints a picture for us as Christians. It has to be our statement of belief even about the unborn .

Psalm One thirty nine says, I praise you because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. You know, it’s important to feel good about yourself, right? You know, there was a time when the monks would just sort of walk around and just lash their back and they hit their heads with a stone because they felt like we are corrupt sinners. Well, I don’t I believe that about myself. However, on the flip side, you see the Psalmist saying God has created you.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God doesn’t make mistakes. He did not make a mistake with you. You are wonderful. Because God created you, my frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written before one came to be. And so we see that God has a great plan for you even before you were born.

Now let’s talk about the process of physical birth. How does it start? Well, we’re not going to go into the biology lesson of this, but it starts with conception. That’s sort of the most exciting part, right? It’s the kickoff of of a new life. It is conception. If I know that we’re we have no kids kingdom today. So that’s as much as I’m going to say about that. You can ask your parents at home if you need to know what is that long word conception that Marshall talked about and what has happened there?

Well, a new life has begun. Then what happens? You’re born. Oh, I hope not. Because you’re not ready yet, even though you are alive, even though God is weaving you together, you’re actually not ready. You can’t breathe oxygen, you can’t eat food yet. You are very dependent on what is called the gestation process. And so there is a life that’s growing and gestating and developing and and your lungs and your eyes and your brain and all of that is beginning to be woven together in your mother’s womb by the Lord, our God.

And then at some point you are ready, at some point it’s like I’m very ready, at some point it’s like let’s let’s meet this kid as soon as possible and then what happens? Birth. And that, you know, there’s a moment of transition that happens at birth. You go from the darkness to the light and the baby’s eyes are probably open. Looking around, he’s warm. He’s in sort of a ninety nine degree placenta there. And then suddenly he’s in a 60 degree hospital.

I don’t know why they have to keep him so cold, but he flies into the world with about a 30 degree temperature difference and he freezes up. It’s like it’s cold in here. I’m not ready yet for life. And suddenly, you know, if you’ve seen that, you know, they suck the little fluid out of the lungs and the kids coughing and, you know, burping and sneezing and crying and all that is very traumatic. It’s it’s scary.

I mean, men have stronger men than me have passed out, you know, and, you know, praise God for all the moms. Let’s just it’s not Mother’s Day. Last week was Father’s Day. We don’t do a whole lot. We’re excited about the conception part. But, you know, let’s let’s give it up for the women who go through the gestation and the birth. I’m spending too much time on this. It’s stuff you already know.

Let’s get to the Bible. And here’s the thing of all of you who are here today. How many of you went through this process to enter the world? Most of you, all right. Is it all necessary, I mean, is it kind of all of the process necessary? Can you can you reorder things a little bit, can you shuffle as long as you check all three boxes? Is that good enough? Can you just be born, then gestate and then be conceived?

No, it it follows a process. And who’s in control of this process? Well, it’s God, it’s still a miracle. I don’t care who you are. If you’ve been in that operating room or living room, wherever you had your child, you realize, whoa, that was miraculous. And so just because God has ordained nature to work in a certain way does not remove the miracle of God himself, amen? Let’s keep moving.

How do we how are we born again spiritually, then how is this going to work? Right, because we see in physical birth, God still works through the laws of nature because all of us went through this process, though each of us was a miracle. And that process may have been very different and unique. Our process with Katie was unique. I spent the first two days of our conception in a test tube in a lab in Beirut, Lebanon.

We went through in vitro fertilization to have Katie. For us, it was still a miracle. And then she attached onto Sean’s womb, which is the critical part of in vitro fertilization and gestated and was born. And she’s fairly normal, even though the process was a little unique and different and still miraculous. So God is always working in harmony with nature now. God can do whatever he wants, right? Christ even went through this process, even though his conception was a little different.

It was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Jesus still gestated, was born, and we get to celebrate that this year. I can’t wait for Christmas amen. So how about spiritual new birth now? God is still in us. Again no exceptions lived like that at one time, gratifying our sinful nature following its desires. Like the rest, we were objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive and Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions.

It is by being saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated him, seated us with him in the heavenly realms, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show us his incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus, for it is by faith or it is by grace you have been saved through faith and just in case you wanted to take credit for your faith, he says and that’s not from yourself. That also is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast for where God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do so in the very same way that your days before even one came to be and you together in your mother’s womb. So God also planned to save you. God’s grace intervened in your life when you were dead in your transgressions, and God had this great plan and dream for you even before you were born again. And the faith that you have is is the key. And so where does faith start? Where is the conception of faith? How does somebody go from a place of deadness no faith to a little bit of faith? Some. Where does that start? Many of you guys know the I think I’ve shared the story of my brother Monty was going to work one day and he would go to this little gym. It wasn’t like a, you know, an L.A. fitness type thing.

It was sort of like a basement of an apartment that had a few things. But if you know my brother Monty, that’s how he likes it. He just likes a few people and a few machines. And so he was down there. There was only one other guy there and he’s working out. And at some point he notices the guy is just laying on the ground. Now, usually everybody kind of works out in their own way. So I don’t know if this guy was in a corpse pose of yoga or or what.

But after about a minute, my brother Monty said, well, not being corpse pose, he may actually be a corpse. And it turns out he was the guy died when they were working out. And so he called nine one one, and for about eight minutes, Monty started resuscitating him through CPR. They arrived and the guy’s alive. Crazy isnt it? Kind of resuscitated somebody, whereas our EMTs or our teachers or Mike has, Jim has. Paul, I believe.

Wow d a whole gosh that’s amazing. So there’s people that are alive intervened. And at the point where he was dead lying on the floor, what control did he have over his future? None. Unless there was an outside agent that intervened, this guy would put their words on a page that the Holy Spirit inspired men to write over hundreds of years and have been preserved accurately, that we can read them. And I don’t know how it works. But when you hear the message of Christ, somehow a life is born, faith is conceived.

But now when you hear and accept and believe the message, are you then saved? Are you forgiven of your sins? Are you indeed alive? Have you been set free, washed of your sins? Have you gone from spiritual darkness to spiritual light, or is there more? Born again. Something about repentance, change, developing, gestating, forming convictions, something about repentance belongs in this process of being born again. Repentance is key because it’s kind of like when a when a baby is born premature.

You know, there are some complications with that. There’s the lungs. There’s sometimes the last to develop and breathing is labored. And there’s some touch-And-Go times. Probably many of you had a premature child born. Right. And so, you know, it’s a little scary, isn’t it? Because, well, in the same way, we have to repent. There’s a time when you’re ready and then amen, right, yesterday morning, Lahna, the daughter of tristin Hyers was baptized into Christ and it was really exciting. Susan Mattox, others studied the Bible with her and just to see to see her become a Christian was so cool. I don’t know why they did it at six thirty in the morning, but my dog started licking my face at six twenty five says that I’m up. I joined Zoome and watched her get baptized. It was exciting. She studied for about a year and sometimes with the teenagers it takes some time.

That’s OK. Sometimes we’re ready. You know, for many of us we studied the Bible and within about a week time we made that decision to repent of our sins. I know I was kind of like my time’s up. I sort of tried as hard as I could just to sin. I figured that’s my plan. I’ve gone to church my whole life. Let’s try to sin for the rest of my life. And really, my plan was to kind of get back to church around age 40, you know what I mean?

Because I you know, I like church. I like the food and I liked, you know, all those things I liked about it. I like, you know, it’s good people. So I figure, let me just sin from 20 to 40 and then I’ll just kind of, you know, take the senior tour back at church. And and that’s about a year and a half. I was like, this is disgusting. Sin is not delivering on all of its promises.

And I made that decision to repent. And most of my sins are listed right there in Galatians five nineteen through twenty one. And then what happens then when you’re ready. Well, then let’s do it/ like like Ananias said to Paul, what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, wash your sins away, let’s look at the early church. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost to believers and really he preached the first part of what we talked about, believing the message.

And not all these Israelites accepted the message, but three thousand did. And they were cut to the heart and in verse thirty six, he says, you know, Peter ends his sermon, says, Let all Israel be assured of this. God made Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart, said to Peter and the other apostles, brothers, what shall we do? Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And so that really is, in a sense, the process of of what we see in scripture, of what it means to kind of go from spiritual darkness, from being dead in your transgressions and sins to being made alive. And they work. A lot of people say, well, you know, repentance and baptisms are outward signs of the inward working of grace. And I would simply say, if you look at first, Peter, three twenty one, we won’t read it.

But it talks about baptism, saves you. Why? By the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Colossians two says being buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith. Is baptism a work? Well, if it is the one that did all the work was Jesus Christ. And so his ability to extend grace to us was based on the work that he did on the cross. Like I was going to do, I made it about three semesters and then I turned myself in at age 20.

I’m like, all right, I’m done. And I’m glad I saved those 20 years of sin. By no means we died to sin. How can we live in in any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who are baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism, into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the father, we too make a new life.

If we’ve been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection, for we know our old self was crucified with him and that the body of sin is done away with so that we don’t have to be slaves to sin any longer because anyone has been died as has died, has been freed from sin. If we died with Christ, we believe that we’ll live with him also. So as you can see this, for many of us, this is something we know.

And let me just speak to that for a second. For those of us who maybe are part of this church and went through, in a sense, a process very similar to this and are thinking great sermon, Marshall, I took you a long time to prepare. I mean, I’ve been studying this out for 20 or 30 years, like I know this. Can you guys, like, praise God that, you know, this, like, praise God, that you know this?

Because not everybody knows this, and I think everybody should know this because we want to live a life free of sin, we want to be set free. And I kind of kept I couldn’t figure out how to break free. Let’s go to the next slide. You know, I sort of you know, I never really put the connection that that there was a process that I had to enter into this covenant relationship with God and entering that covenant. And the terms that God laid out does not undermine the grace of God.

It doesn’t undermine the miracle. Just as the miracle of new birth is new. I don’t know every few seconds on Earth like God is doing miracles, like one more probably just happened right now somewhere in Florida. Conception just and they all went through that process. So to be born again, to be to be a Christian. How many of us have to go through this process to understand, to hear the gospel to to believe and accept it? I believe that.

And then to lead, to change. True change. Crucifying your old life. And then what are you waiting for? You’re ready to be baptized, wash your sins away and and call on his name. And then and then it’s and then you’re good for the rest of your life right? No struggles. I mean, really, God puts his hedge of protection around you. You don’t ever struggle with the same sins again. It’s just it’s it’s magic.

I thought that was going to happen, actually, you know what I mean, like the first day I was like, you know, I just felt like I had this sort of super power. And then the next day I was like, man, I was tempted to lust like, didn’t that just didn’t it disappear? That’s why I said, you know, I love the one day when free from sinning, I shall see your lovely face.

I can’t imagine what life would be like without a sinful nature. I just can’t picture that. I can’t picture me not having the desire. To just say that doesn’t make sense, it’s so much of who I am that sometimes I almost forget, like I’m forgiven, I’m sanctified, God’s blood has washed all that stuff away. Amen. So. What else what else is there? You know, a lot of us, perhaps we grew up either Orthodox or Catholic and and so in a sense, there’s a checking of some of these same boxes.

But but we really have to ask ourselves, is that what it means to be born again? Right. Because they believe in the sacrament of baptism and the necessity of baptism. And so, really, as soon as you are born very quickly, you would be baptized. How many of you guys went through that process where you were born and soon thereafter you were baptized and then later on you confirmed that. So you hear the message. You go through catechism and you study and you kind of say, yeah, I believe that I’m confirming what I did back then.

And then you go through kind of confession. And that’s sort of a lifelong thing where repentance and and so it’s kind of a three, one, two. But again, that’s sort of birth. Gestation, conception, right? And so is that I don’t see examples of that in scripture. What else is kind of popular right now? A lot of churches in the church I grew up in really wanted you to land on believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and savior.

And so I kind of re-upped that many times. Like I reaffirmed that I believe in Jesus. I would go to camps and close your eyes. Nobody’s looking. Do you accept Jesus? Every time I’m like, yes, I know he’s the son of God. And that’s where I drew the line. I never got that that should make a difference. I should repent. I lived in slavery to sin. And so the only difference between me and all my friends, it didn’t go to church- better.

So I was worse. I was guilty all the time. And I just I kind of envied my friends. Like, you guys don’t even feel guilty like I’m a poser. I’m guilty. I shouldn’t be doing this. You don’t care. I just was a hypocrite. But part of it was nobody ever really preached and truly asked me to confess my sin and totally repent of it and then be baptized. Next. Um, a lot of churches, you know, they’ve really begun to- growth and baptism as a ministry in the church.

And so it’s a good thing to do. And they they kind of on the outset it would look like they believe in it. But it’s more for membership. It’s more for a confession of faith that you already are saved. But this is something that’s good to do, like communion, as I said earlier, and then growing and repenting and changing. And so there’s a lot of programs that they put together. And this was sort of the Saddleback model of Rick Warren and and that has kind of spread throughout Americana and become sort of megachurches.

And and the main purchase there is that you all kind of believe in Jesus, but there’s something that is more in scripture. And I think that it’s important that we make that distinction next. And then, you know, a lot of churches now are really seeing, you know, you can see it with David Platt, Francis Chan. You see others that have kind of awakened to this idea that baptism in Acts Chapter two is very compelling, like that was the first sermon of the early church.

And when they say, what shall we do? He doesn’t recite the sinners prayer. Just bow your head. Nobody’s peeking except Jesus. He doesn’t say that. He says repent and be baptized. Churches are kind of putting this piece together. And that is good news. Amen. Before you move on to the next slide, the challenge is, is is anybody actually really dealing with sin? Because I know I would have gotten baptized when I started studying the Bible in this church at age twenty if they would have said, this is what you need to do, be baptized I would have just done it because I was ready. I was open. But we studied about my sin and we confessed our sins to each other and we dealt with sin, and that was the first time in 20 years that I had that talk. And I will tell you that talk with my sin. Thankfully, that’s like practice for what Christians should be doing all the time. James, 5:16, says, confess your sins to one another. Pray for each other so that you may be healed.

What I think what happens if we don’t really deal with our sin is that we miss out on the healing that comes from confessing sin and praying together. And that’s the bond that I think draws us closer and closer as disciples. It’s not that we, you know, how are you? I’m blessed. I’m blessed, too. I’ll see you next week. Bless you. You know, we can’t just church this thing up. We got to get real, right?

We have to get real and talk through our sins and and so I’m encouraged that it’s becoming more commonplace to understand the necessity of baptism. But I also still think it’s important that we just talk to one another. Amen. So we’re going to kind of come in for a landing. I’m going to give you some homework. You can take a picture of this next slide because is this a biblical pattern? This I’m a guy that some of you don’t know.

So if I said something today that does not sound cogent with what you believe, that’s totally fine. This is not what I grew up believing. But the next slide is, I think, compelling. The only place where you see actually people confronted with the gospel of Christ, after Jesus has risen and gone into heaven, which is what baptism is, it’s a participation in the death, burial and resurrection. So it’s binding from that time forth in this new covenant.

And so in each conversion, you kind of see something of this playing out. You seeing you see it play out, you see them confronted with the gospel, you see them confronted with their life, their sin, and then you see a change. And then in each case, you see them say, hey, here’s water, why shouldn’t I be baptized? Amen? And. Next slide, please. What about Romans 10, we’re going to close here and then we’re going to prepare our hearts for communion by singing a song together.

A lot of times this is a scripture that people will put forth saying really all you have to do is believe or confess your belief. And we know this more as the confession of faith that we proclaim at our baptism. What does it say? The word is near you. It’s in your mouth. It’s in your heart. The word of faith. We’re proclaiming if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you’ll be saved. For it’s with your heart you believe and are justified with your mouth that you believe and are saved. And so if you look at the text of that, that is actually what we ask people to proclaim at the time of their baptism. This is their confession of faith. You can go to the next slide. What are the questions we asked? Well, there’s some version of this. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, which is believe, right?

Believe is kind of step one. Yes. You confirm that you believe. Repentance is the next step. What is your good confession? Jesus is Lord. Well, that implies repentance has taken place because you can’t make Jesus Lord if you’re still Lord, if you’re sinful, nature is still alive and well, you have to be dead and buried. You have to be lying on the gym floor saying you’re not going to rule my life anymore. You’re sinful nature goes. And then you are now be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. So that’s really, according to Romans, ten, eight, nine. What Paul is saying is that’s the that’s our confession. That’s our the faith that we are proclaiming when we see people baptized into Christ. Amen? I would encourage you to study the Bible and review the pattern of conversion that you do see in the Book of Acts.

And to say, is that biblical? And then dare to ask, have I been born again? Right. Have I been born again or am I still dead in my transgressions? And no, that again, the grace of God is sufficient for you. Whatever you have done, God has great plans for you to make you alive again. And what’s cool is that Nicodemus became a disciple, that early connection with him. So many of the Pharisees went the other way, so many of the Pharisees opposed him.

So many of the Pharisees consented to put him to death. But Nicodemus and Joseph of Aramathea, they are two of the people that sort of had this curiosity about Christ when it came down to the cross, when it came down to that decision to put Jesus to death, they did not go along with it. They didn’t consent because they knew he was the son of God and because of their faith, because God chose I mean, because of God’s grace, these people became disciples of Jesus.

And so, lastly, just keep preaching. Again how can they hear unless we preach unless we keep speaking, and if you learned nothing new today, then you are blessed. And you have enough knowledge of scripture to help somebody else become a Christian. We’re going to sing Lead Me to Calvary to prepare our hearts for communion, and then we’ll take communion together. Amen?