Sermon Transcript: This We Know 2/3/2019 Jeff Schwarzentraub 38 min read As we go before the Lord to hear his word, let's just continue our attitude of prayer this morning. Let's ask the Lord to speak directly to each and every one of us. Will you pray with me? Lord Jesus, we give you all the glory, honor and praise for who you are. Lord, we praise you for the gospel for you laying down your life on a cross and rising from the dead, so that we can have life in your very name. And we thank you for your living and active word that every time it's faithfully proclaimed, that we hear you. And so, Lord, we're asking this morning for you to speak through me to your people, God, that we would hear your voice. Lord, that we would become who you tell us that we are, that we would put into practice the very things you show us to do. And Lord, that we will begin to look more like you. And so, Lord for what you're going to do in advance, we give you all the glory, honor and praise in the mighty and matchless name of Jesus, and all God's people who are ready to receive his word agree by very loudly saying with me, amen, amen. Well, this afternoon at 4:30 Eastern, I'm sorry, 4:30 Mountain Time, Super Bowl 53 will be played, between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots. And the reason that we tune into a game like that it's because it's the biggest football game of the year. And even if you don't like football, you usually have it on in the background or watch this. But one of the reasons people tune in and watch is there's a difference between watching a game live or watching it on tape delay. The reason we watch is because we can make all sorts of predictions or we can have all sorts of ideas how something's going to go. But the reality is, we have no idea, which is why we tune in and watch it, hoping it goes the way that we want it to. Very different than watching something that's already happened. When I was in high school, we played for the state championship my senior year. And the game went back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth. And with four seconds to go, my best friend blocked a field goal for the other team, and we won the state championship 29-26. And I remember being on that sideline and just being elated, like we didn't know how it was going to go. But every time I've seen that game since, I've never sweated once. I mean, I pull out that old VHS tape and plop it into the recorder from some 30 years ago. And you know it's going to happen. Because when something is true, when you know what's going to take place, you tend to function differently. You can relax. You know this is what it is. And at the end of this letter that First John, that John is writing to a group of people, he's ending in these last four verses telling us, this we know, there are certainties in the Christian faith and he's going to highlight four certainties that we as believers know. Now, these four certainties are not certainties. You just need to say, "Yeah, I agree with that." These are four certainties John wants us to own at the depth of who we are. So, I'd encourage you to open up your Bible to the Book of First John. We're going to finish this book today, in verses 18 through 21. Let me read them and then we will unpack them together. Notice what he says. "We know that no one who is born of God sins, because he who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols." And in those four verses, as John is giving his postscript to this letter, he is telling us as believers of four certainties that we know that we have in Christ Jesus. And the first one is this. We know we have victory over sin because we belong to God. We know this. We know we have victory over sin because we belong to God. Notice what he says, "We know that no one who is born of God sins. No one who is born of God sins." This does not mean that we get to a place in our Christian life where we never ever sinned again. We just don't make a practice of sin. This is the same thing John pointed out if you flip your Bible back to First John chapter three, verses eight and nine, he says this. Let's go seven, eight and nine. He says, "Little children, make sure no one deceives you." The one who practices righteousness is righteous just as he is righteous. The one who practices sin is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. And the Son of God appeared for this purpose to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because his seed abides in him. And he cannot sin, because he is born of God. This is what John is saying. There is such a radical event that takes place in the life of a human being when they are converted to Christ, that they are no longer the same as what they used to be. That there's a fundamental change that's happened on the inside. While God loves the entire world and desires that all would come into a relationship with him, he makes very clear that for those who have called upon his name, who believe that he's the Christ, they have been given the right to become children of God. And when you become a child of God, what takes place is Christ comes to live in you through his Holy Spirit, and you are no longer the same as you used to be. You are fundamentally different. If you have your Bible, you can flip over to Colossians chapter 1 verses 13 and 14, where Paul writes about this radical transformation that has taken place in the life of a believer at the moment of conversion. Talking about Jesus, he says, "For he rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." When you come to a place where you realize you are dead in your trespasses and sins, that there's no way to Father God except through the God man, Jesus Christ, and you repent of your sin and trust Christ, here's what happens, you leave the domain of darkness for which Satan is the captain of and you are transferred into the kingdom of God's one and only beloved Son, Jesus Christ. You are either in darkness or you're in the light. You're not just kind of lit. You're either dark or you're light. You're either lost or your found. You're either an enemy or your friend. That's how clear that teaching is. And John is saying, if you've been transferred into the kingdom of God's beloved Son, you will no longer continue to sin. It's just not going to be part of who you are. Why? Because Christ is in you. And by yielding to the Holy Spirit, Christ is going to begin to live his life in and through you. And so, to continually make a practice of sin is not what a believer does. Let me put it another way, believer, if you've truly been converted, you will know at the moment that you were truly converted, that things changed on the inside of your life. Desires begin to change and you will begin to realize that after you were converted, because it was such a radical transformation from the inside out, that sins that you want sinned, that you had no control over, now, you couldn't sin them in the same way because you felt such conviction. And you didn't want to live that way anymore. Because God changes who you are from the inside out. That's what our God does. And John is saying, we know this for certain. We know certainly, we have victory over our sin. No one who is born of God sins. They don't continue to sin. But he who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him. If you're a Christian, you will no longer continue to sin. And this is not very articulated well from the pulpits in North America. What we teach people is a false gospel that says this, "Listen, just be who you are. Don't worry about changing. Because no matter who you are, God loves you no matter what. And I got good news for you today. If you just pray this magic prayer and say what I'm telling you to say, then you'll automatically go to heaven someday." And the person thanks me. "You know how to change my sin. Even if I don't realize that God is upset with me?" "Totally. Just pray this prayer, it's magic." That's not the gospel. That is a false gospel. The gospel is this, you are dead in your trespasses and sins. You are an enemy of the cross of Christ. And God is bearing with you with great patience because he hates sin in your life. But he loves you so much that the Father sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to shed his blood on the cross and take your punishment for you. Because there was nothing you could do to get to God. So, God came to you. And through Jesus shed blood and his death on the cross, through his resurrection from the dead, when you come to realize that you are dead in your sins and God reveals himself and by faith you trust in Jesus Christ alone, you've been transferred from darkness and you are no longer the same. You are a son or a daughter of the most high God, period, end of story. It's a new identity. We've been talking about Second Corinthians 5:17, that you're a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have been made new. That Galatians 2:20 even crucified with Christ. It's no longer you who live, but what? Christ who lives in you. Salvation is not doing something magical or performing a religious behavior so that you go to heaven. Salvation is recognizing, I don't have a relationship with God the Father, because I'm dead. But Jesus Christ is the one who's made me alive. And the reason I know I'm alive is because he's living in me and he's living his life now through me. And no one who has Christ in their life will continue to sin because Jesus is the one living his life through you. That's what John says. We know this. Who was he talking to? He was talking to a bunch of spiritual religious people that just said, "Hey, by being spiritual, by being religious, we know the way to God." And John said, "No, no, no. We know God. And we have relationship with God. And if you truly know God, you will no longer continue to sin." It's a fact. Don't believe the lie that everybody says many people say that, "Hey, sin is not a big deal. Christ died for our sins according to the scripture. So, if you're a Christian, just sin all you want. It's not a big deal. God doesn't care." That is not the gospel. I mean, listen to these verses in Romans chapter six, if you want to turn them. Romans chapter six verses five through eight says this, "For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin." Now, if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. What's he saying? When you trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ, you are crucifying yourself with your flesh so that you can live with God. The gospel is not Jesus just forgiving you and freeing you from the penalty of sin. He's freeing you from the power of sin. He's not just freeing you from eternal death. He's freeing you from the power of death. What does that mean? That means if I'm truly born again, if I've truly trusted Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God lives in me, here's what it means. I no longer have to continue my pattern of sin because Christ is in me. And while I can't change myself, Christ can change me if and only if he's in me. And if he's in me, his desire is to change me. He wants to change me. And guess what? He promises to change me. He changes everybody who truly has him on the inside of their life. John said, we know this. Now listen to this closely because we don't hear this teaching very often. But in First Corinthians chapter six, Paul spells out the exact same thing. In First Corinthians chapter six, just listen to God's word because it doesn't really matter what I say. It matters what God says. So, listen to what God says First Corinthians chapter six verse nine, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?" This is God's words. I'm not making this up. You can read in your own Bible. Don't you know this, the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? None of them do. There's no unrighteous person that inherits the kingdom of God. Not one. Did you hear what I said? Let me just read it again because you didn't hear it. Do you not know the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? And in case you're pushing back, here's what Paul says next. Do not be deceived. Don't be lied to. Don't think that unrighteous people are going to heaven. I don't know how many times I've gone to a funeral and they asked a simple question. Did God save that person? Did they know Christ? And then, there's all this hemming and hawing around. Was he righteous or unrighteous? Was she righteous or unrighteous? Well, you know. It's not that hard. They're either righteous through the blood of Christ or their unrighteous, period, end of story, according to God's word. So, notice what he says, don't be deceived. Notice this, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God, period, end of story. They're not inheriting the kingdom of God. You don't live a life of sin and inherit the kingdom of God. The scripture makes that clear. Now, what we tend to do when we read this is we think, "Well, those people over there are bad. Homosexual, that's bad. And some of these others are okay." Listen, they're all bad. I mean, when you read that list, all of us see ourselves in there somewhere. You say, "I'm not a fornicator." Listen to this. If you've hit puberty, you probably are. I mean, according to God's standard, if you've ever lusted after somebody who's not your spouse, you're a fornicator. You don't enter the kingdom of heaven. Unrighteous people don't enter. If I walked through all the 10 commandments, every single one of you has broken every single one. You don't enter. But I love this. Paul goes on. Such were some of you. We've all broken his law. See, Christians just recognize by God's grace that they've broken his law. That's the only difference. But you were washed, you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of who? The Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God. See, the gospel is not, "I clean myself up. I got a little better. I'm better than that person." No, the gospel is, "I recognize I'm completely unrighteous. I will not enter the kingdom of God. And apart from Christ who died on the cross and shed his blood and rose from the dead, apart from his righteousness being imputed into my life, I have no hope. I'm completely righteous." And John says, "We know this. Because we've been born again, we are completely righteous." Here's what the enemy does. Listen to me. This is where it gets really, really practical. Listen, how many people do you know who have truly been born again who continue to practice sin and they'll say lies like this? I just can't get over it. God can never fix my marriage. My dad was a drunk. My grandpa was a drunk. I struggle with alcohol. This is what I am. No, that's what you used to be. Because Satan's major weapon, really what he does is it's his mouth. That's it. And every time he opens it, he lies. And because he knows he's lost you for all eternity, what does he do? John says, "We know we never have to live with our sin patterns anymore. We know we can have victory over sin." What did Satan say? "It didn't take for you. You have to live in your sin. Your marriage will always be broken. Your sexuality will always be broken. You'll always use drugs. You'll always be a loser. You'll always cheat. You'll always gamble. That's who you are." And God says, "No, you're not. We know we're not that. That's what I used to be. I've been washed. I've been sanctified. I've been set apart. I am a new creation. The old things have gone. Behold, all things have been made new." That's the gospel. We're not inviting people into BRAVE Church so you can become a better person. You can do that by watching internet shows. We're inviting you into BRAVE Church to tell you that you're dead in your trespasses and sins. But in Jesus Christ, you can have life with the eternal God of the universe, no matter who you are. And you can be completely cleansed and completely free. And not only know that you're going to experience eternal life, you can have the eternal life in your life right now and live a life free from the bondage of sin. That's the gospel. It's for freedom that Jesus Christ set us free. The liar, our enemy tells us, "No, you'll never get over that." Not only will we get over that, we are over that. We can live in the truth. And everywhere you go in the word, here's what you see, that people who are born again ultimately bear fruit. I mean, the parable of the soils in Matthew 13. Sower goes out to sow seed. What's the seed? It's the word of God. It's the Lord Jesus Christ. What happens when that seed the, word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, comes upon good soil? He produces 30, 60, or even 100 fold. Why? Because in every believer, that's what Jesus always does. He always bears fruit in a believer. What the enemy wants to do is lie to you. Some of you here today don't realize that you have been born again and you no longer need to continue in your pattern of sin. You can be freed from whatever it is. And others of you, the reason that you're not freed from the pattern of sin is you're not born again. You're very religious or you're good, but you've never come to the place where you recognize that you're dead and you're an enemy of God. And it offends you that I'm saying that, but I'm telling you the truth for the good of your own soul that you can recognize, it's not about getting better. It's about being repentant and having faith in the Lord Jesus, who's willing to forgive all your sins, amen. And this is how John said in his letters like we know this. We know we have victory over our sin. We belong to God, he's ours. And he'll keep us from stumbling. All throughout the scripture, we see how Jesus is going to present us faultless with great joy before our father who's in heaven, how he's going to sanctify us entirely. No weapon formed against us will prosper. You can't change yourself. Even as a Christian, you can't change yourself. But as a believer in Christ, having God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit working on your behalf, yes, you can be everything that the Bible says you can be. We know this. Church, listen to me, if you're born again, live that with utter certainty. You don't have to struggle and struggle and struggle and struggle. Here's what you do. You confess because in the same book in First John chapter one verse nine, if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. What good news. So, even when I'm not living out who I am, there's forgiveness for that. You know why this is such a big deal? Because your understanding of God's word and your biblical self-concept will change everything about who you are. If you leave this place and you say to yourself as a Christian, "Yeah, I'm just a filthy, miserable, rotten sinner. I'll never do anything good. I'm always going to send these ways," you will leave this building, you'll be a filthy, miserable, rotten sinner, who always lives your ways. But if you leave this place and say, "I don't feel any different, but I know that Christ is on the inside and that everything he said he can do through me, he can do in me and I'm going to live with a new identity, that I'm completely forgiven, that I'm totally righteous, that I'm beloved of God, and nothing can change that. And I'm going to live out. And I have power over the sin in my life and God can change me. And God, I'm confessing that I can't change myself. But I want you to change me." Guess what? God will change you. You might say it's impossible. Here's what God would say back, "Nothing's impossible for me." There you go. There you go. Yeah. He can change everything. That circumstance you're in, that addiction you have, that sin pattern that you just can't seem to wash away, do you think that's hard for God? No, through the shed blood of Jesus in his resurrection from the dead, that's nothing for him. He wouldn't even sweat to fix that for you. But you got to live out your identity. I mean, you got to be resolved in the fact that this is who I am in Christ. And I'm not letting the Satan rob me of that. I'm a new creation. John says, "We know this. We're certain of this." Church, be certain of this in your life. You are free to search the resurrected Christ. Obedience is not something you have to do. As a believer, obedience is something I want to do. It's who I am. It's the obedience of faith. Now, if we're certain of that, that we have victory of our sin because we belong to God, check this out in the next verse. We know that we also have protection from the evil one and his power in this world. We have protection from the evil one and his power in this world. Notice how verse 18 ended. He says, "But he who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him. We know we are of God that's belonging to God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." So, just a couple words on Satan, okay. Satan is a created being. He's not God. Satan can only be in one place at one time. Now we say things in the church, like Satan's attacking me, and Satan's coming after my family and Satan this and Satan that. And we put it on him. He can't be doing that to both of us at the same time. He can only be in one place at one time. Chances are it's not Satan. Chances are it's some of his helpers, his little minions, his little demons running around doing work on his behalf. There's one Satan. But here's what you need to know. There's Satan. And then there's the Lord Jesus Christ, who created Satan. And here's what the word says. It says that he who was born of God keeps him. Who's that? And it's Jesus Christ. You say, "Well, how was he born? Because you told me he always existed." Hey, listen, listen. If the father is eternal, he can beget that which is eternal. His only begotten Son is eternal. And his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and rose from the dead can keep you, and check this out, the evil one, listen to me, you need to get this church, the evil one cannot touch you. The evil one can't touch you without Jesus Christ's permission. Do you hear what I'm saying? He can't touch you. The enemy cannot touch you without permission from the Lord Jesus Christ. How would you like to be a foot soldier in that army and get that promise? The enemy cannot touch you ever without permission from your commanding officer. That'd be a pretty good promise. That's the promise we have in the Bible. He can't touch you. Yet, why do we as Christians live in fear all the time? What's Satan going to do? This could happen wrong. This could happen to my kids. This could happen to my marriage. He can't touch you. You're protected. And I told this story a number of years ago. So, I feel it's okay to tell again. When I was in second grade, I used to hang out with kids that were a lot older to me. I used to play football with those in sixth, seventh and eighth grade or baseball or whatever. And athletically, I could hang with them. But physically, I was a lot smaller. And so, at that age, I mean, I get roughed up sometimes pretty good. And we had one bully in our neighborhood. His name was JJ. And every time JJ came around, I ran as fast as I could to get back to my house. Because I knew if he ever caught me, I knew what he would do. Because he did it every time. He would pin me down on the ground, so I was looking up at him. And then he would place his knees on my bicep and lean on me. And he would begin to hock a loogie in my face and suck it back up. I still remember what that feels like number of years later. So, every time I saw him, I would run into the house and my mom would be like, "Just go back outside and play." I'm like, "I ain't going out there at all." I'll wait till JJ leaves. I live in fear. Because I knew what he did. Until one day when he was doing that to me. And I was at the neighbor's house, Brian's house. And he was pinning me down while Brian was inside. But that day, Brian happened to come outside and see what was happening. And I remember Brian, all I remember is laying on my back and watching Brian come over the top and tackle him and beat the ever living tar out of JJ until JJ cried. And as JJ was getting on his bike pedaling home, he said, "If you ever touch Jeff again or I hear about it, I'm coming after you again." Guess who my best friend was from that point on? I'm a fan of Brian. We're going to hang together. We're going to be together. And I know even if he's not with me, then I'm protected. Because if he gets word that JJ tried to pick on me, I'm going to Brian. He'll take care of that. Hey, listen, I got great news for you today. The devil cannot touch you without permission from Jesus. And while he's not scared of you, he's scared of the God inside of you. And if you're walking with him, he can't touch you. That's what it means in the Psalms. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me. No one can touch me. I can't get touched by Satan or his plan in this world unless Jesus Christ thinks it's better for his glory. That's it. So, why do we live in fear? We live in fear because Satan lies. And Satan tells you if you begin to walk with Jesus and walk out your identity, you're never going to get it right. And if you stand up for your faith, you're going to get fired at your job. And we live in all these fearful things. Here's the truth. You have protection from the evil one and his power in this world. Notice what he says at the end of verse 19. It's a pretty radical statement. He says, and we know that we're of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. It's the same as I was telling you earlier. If you've been transferred into the kingdom of his beloved son, that's the kingdom of light. Then there's a kingdom of darkness. Here's what he says about the kingdom of darkness. Everything single person who has not confessed Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior is not only in the kingdom of darkness, but they're under the thumb of the enemy in the kingdom of darkness, which means they are blinded to the truth and they can't see it. And when we talk about the world, we're talking about the unholy trinity. We're talking about Satan, who is constantly lying and telling people to stay in his kingdom or trying to invite them back. Or we're talking about our flesh, which even after we become believers doesn't leave us. We have these appetites potentially for sin. And then the third is we have the devil, we have our sinful self, and then we have the world. And the world system goes entirely opposite to everything that the word of God teaches and who Jesus Christ is. Opposite. Again, I don't know that you heard what I said. I'm trying to make a very bold statement here. The world goes opposite to Jesus headlong in every single way. That's why if you try to fit in with the world, here's what Jesus says, in the Book of James, do you not know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God. If you're trying to live your life to fit in in the world, you've taken your focus off that which is most important, which is to put it on the Lord Jesus Christ in the kingdom he has you in. And if you're in that kingdom, here's how you're supposed to respond to the world. You're to be an ambassador for Christ. You're to be a witness for Christ. You are a sojourner for a period of time, that's just temporal. You're an alien. You're a stranger. This is not your home. You'll never fit in with the world if you're a Christian, ever, in any way. And yet, why do we try to take our cues from the world? And why do we try to win people to Christ by trying to be exactly what the world is so we can win them to Christ? How about we just live completely radically different for the Lord Jesus Christ and let God do his work through his church to the glory of God, Amen. Amen. Now, let me just give you a couple examples, because I've been pretty fired up all weekend. But I'll just give you a couple examples from our world that sees the world differently than what God's word does and what I do. Okay, we'll talk about two different things. We'll talk about the sanctity of life and we'll talk about the sanctity of marriage. Okay, now, just hear me on this. Do not get up and leave until I'm done. Just let me share with you from the word of God. Just recently, there's new laws that are being passed in different states, and it's coming, where legislation is saying that a woman has a right not only to abort a baby, but to abort a baby up until the very moment that she delivers. Okay. Which means that even if the baby is crowning, and a woman is dilated, and you can see the head, you still have the right as a woman to abort that child. As a matter of fact, when this legislation came down, they lit up the One World Tower pink to celebrate women's rights. Okay. Now, let me tell you something. They're blind. They don't see the light of the glory of God. And that's why they made the decision that they made. Okay. Let me tell you what the word of God teaches in Psalm 139. The word of God teaches that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in our mother's womb. And however we are made, God is God over that. The G rated version of conception, when a sperm and an egg meet, and there's a zygote, that is called conception that is life. Okay. That's when life begins. You can do studies. You can even study science. And you can see how a baby in utero at a very young age in terms of weeks responds to music, responds to pain, responds to all sorts of things. Why? Because there's life inside the mother. Okay. So, let me just be clear from the word of God what we call it when a baby is aborted or terminated before it's due by the hands of men. Okay, here's what the Bible will call it. Now, just pay attention. It's murder. It's murder. There's no other way to define it. Okay. So, when we have laws that say we are going to celebrate murder in our country by killing millions of innocent people, we are not a nation of righteousness. Proverbs 14:34 says, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to all people." It is a disgrace what is going on. And you think I'm talking ... I'm not talking political. I'm talking about word of God. I'm not talking politics. This is not a political issue. This is a life issue and God created life. And it is murder 100% of the time. Okay. That's what the word of God teaches. So, I can't celebrate that. Matter of fact, I get fired up about that. And you can't go to a sporting event or political rally and sing God bless America, and ask him to shed his grace on thee when we're murdering innocent people. What god are you singing to? It's not the God of the Bible. And if you think we live in a Christian culture, you're dead wrong. We live in a post-Christian culture where we need to stand up for what is true and what is real and what is right and what is good. Now, let's just talk about this a little more, shall we. Because it's one thing to stand up here and call truth truth, but it's another thing to mix truth with grace. Because I know in a church of our size and I know having talked to women in our church, who have had abortions that if they could go back, would relive it differently and know there's a number of them. Here's what I want to say to you, ladies. At the cross of Jesus Christ, there is complete forgiveness no matter what you've done. And in the Lord Jesus Christ, he says in Romans 8:1, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He forgives all sin, for all repentant people, all the time. If you're coming to this church, and you're thinking, "Oh, my goodness, that was me." By repenting and trusting in Jesus, I can give you faith on the ... I can give you the authority of God's word, you're completely forgiven. Amen. Let's talk a little more, shall we? Abortion is not a woman's right to choose. Neither a woman nor a man has a right to choose to murder somebody in cold blood. And if you think I'm talking too harsh, you should go watch how they do this. Because I've read up enough about it. This is not some just like lethal injection. It's painless and it's fine. They chop the baby up. I'm sorry, but you need to hear that from somebody because you're not going to hear it on the news. It's murder of innocent lives. It's one thing to stand up here and say, "Okay, well, that's a woman's right." It's not a woman's right. But let me talk about the men for a second. Okay, men, listen up. This is not a woman's issue. Because I don't know of a woman that's ever been impregnated without a man. So, where are we as men? You can't get a woman pregnant and abdicate your responsibility and walk away and say that's your issue. No, that's your issue. And if you don't have the responsibility enough to love the woman that you're with and care for her child, then you shouldn't be engaging in that type of relationship you are, period, end of story. Men, step up. And then let's go one step further. See, as a church, it's really easy to stand here in a church that believes Christ and a church that believes the Bible and say, "This is what we believe. This is what we believe. This is what we believe." But let me tell you something, if you can't run into the darkness with darkness, darkness doesn't light up darkness. Light lights up darkness, which means you can't just sit here and be tomato face and angry at all these people that are doing all these things wrong, and then run it them and shout at them and pick it at them and tell them, "You're wrong." How do we show the light in the darkness? Here's the question. It's one thing to say it's wrong. But then what are we willing to do as a church? What about that teenage girl that got pregnant and didn't even want to, but she did. And she's too scared to tell her parents because her parents are going to get mad at her. And so, she does the thing that she thinks is the best thing to do, which is abort the child. And now, she's got inner turmoil and know she can't ever go to church again because there was nobody there speaking life into her life. And what about the woman that said, "Well, I would, but we're talking 18 years of finances and food and care and I don't even have a man around." Men, what are we going to do to step up? And who's going to care for the child? And who's going to care for the mom? See, those are the things that churches do. And you can stand on the truth and say it's wrong when you can complement that with love. Like Jesus said in the gospel that we're salt and light and let your light so shine before men so that when they see your good works, they get praise to your father, who's in heaven. How are they going to know what we believe when we hold our standard high, but what they see in us is good works, that we genuinely love you. And that we're here for you and that we care for you. And we'll do whatever we can to help you. That's what it means to love like Christ. That's what it means to live in a world that's hostile. The world's never going to change. I mean, I encourage you to vote. You should vote. There's this responsibility to vote. But voting and legislation will not change the heart of man. Only Jesus Christ can change the heart of man. So, what are we going to do? We're all called to step up and be salt and light. That's the sanctity of life. Can I talk about another one nobody wants to talk about anywhere? Can I talk about the sanctity of marriage? Nobody talks about the sanctity of marriage. God does. Do you know why God talks about the sanctity of marriage? Because he invented it, and he designed it, and he created it. And on the sixth day, when God created the world, he created men and women in his image, in the image of God. He created them how? Male and female. Both male and female are good. And marriage happened when God said, "For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh." That's marriage. A man and a woman till death do they part, that's marriage. Any other thing that falls shy of that is sinful. It's sinful. God created male and female. I mean, I saw a meme the other day on Instagram. I thought it was really good. It says, "If I had a dollar for every gender, I'd have $2." And I said, "Amen." I mean, there's two genders, there's male and female. If in utero God created you female, that's who you are, celebrate it. If he created you male, that's who you are, celebrate it. And God gives clear instructions in his word as to how men and how women should live, their unique roles and how they complement one another. That's what the Bible teaches. And yet we live in a world that says, "No." I mean, even the Boy Scouts of America have to change your name because you can now be a girl in the Boy Scouts of America. It's crazy. But notice what I said, anything that falls shy sexually of a man and a woman in marriage is sin. So, before we jump on the homosexuality and lesbian bandwagon here for a minute, do you remember what we just read? Fornicators? Yeah. Hey, Christians, you shacking up? It's sinful. Yeah, but we're a little bit older now, we get it. It's sinful. Yeah, but it's just porn on the internet. Nobody sees it. It's sinful. It falls short of the glory of God. God created sexuality to be engaged only in a marriage between a man and a woman. If you're single, you have a choice. You either get to be celibate or you get to be married God's way. That's it. Everything that falls shy of that, sin. Why is anybody talking like that? You know why? Because they're afraid that if they stand up and say those things, people are going to come after and people are going to hate them. "Oh, man, people are going to not like what you had to say today, Pastor Jeff." I'm not really that concerned. What I am concerned about is that God's people hear the truth. And they hear it with grace. Because no matter what sin you've been in we've already described, that if you were a homosexual, when you're in the kingdom of darkness, when you come into the kingdom of God's beloved son, that was just a sin pattern. That wasn't how you were born. It's a sin pattern. Now, that you live in the kingdom of light and God's beloved son, he'll transform that. You're no longer who you used to be. What are we as a church going to do? But we're going to hold the standard high of the sanctity of marriage. We're going to hold the standard high of the sanctity of life. And at the same time, we're going to be known as the most loving people that come alongside people that see it differently than us so that we can proclaim the gospel. I'm not here to debate the word. I'm here to proclaim the word. This is what Jesus says. We live in a day much like Isaiah's day in Isaiah 5:20, read about woe to those who call evil good and good evil, that is our day. That is where we live. And if you don't see it, it's because there are other things that are clouding your mind about what God is saying to you. The only place you're going to get this isn't a church that actually preaches the word of God. We know we have victory over sin because we belong to God. We know we have protection from the evil one and his power in this world. You don't need to fear the world. Most people are afraid to be a Christian. If I stood up and said that at work, I'd be fired. If I said that to my neighbors, they would never talk to me anymore. But here's what's going on. If the light is willing to put it under a bushel, then how's the world ever going to know about the light. If you lost your job because you live for Christ, are you telling me that Jesus Christ can't provide a new job for you? Are you telling me he can't use your firing to bring other people to Christ? What are you living for? You either get to live for Jesus or you get to live for the lies of the world. I'm encouraging all of you, live for Jesus. He's worthy of your best and your glory and your praise. I mean, Jesus said this in John chapter 15 in verse 19, I'm sorry, 15 verse 18, 19. He said, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you." He says, "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you." In other words, because Jesus reaches down and he's the one that is key in salvation, he's the one who rescues us from darkness and he put us here, when we begin to live in his kingdom, the world will hate you. So, when nobody really in the world hates me, then start living fully for God's kingdom in every way doing everything Jesus says and watch the haters come out. That's just the way it works. Anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. The reason we don't experience persecution and the reason we have too many Americans saying, "I'm praying for persecution for our country, because that'll sift it," don't pray for persecution. It's coming. Don't pray for it. Pray that we live aligned with God's word and that God could use us living in the light to bring revival to our nation, which is what our nation needs. Our nation needs to know when they're singing, God bless America, they're singing to the Lord Jesus Christ to a sovereign over America and every other nation in the world. Amen. Amen. We know we have victory. We know we have protection. If we know that, here's how we know. We know that we have relationship with the true God through his eternal Son, Jesus Christ. We have a relationship with the true God through his eternal Son, Jesus Christ. Listen to verse 20. Listen how many times you hear the word true. John says, "And we know," it's like a PS. Let me tell you what else we know. That the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true and we are in him who is true. In his Son Jesus Christ, this is the true God and eternal life. How can John speak authoritatively? Because he knew Jesus personally. He knew Jesus Christ was the God man. And he knew Jesus Christ was the only way to the Father. And he didn't mince words when he said that. There are no other gods who can save you. There is no such thing. I've traveled the world. I've talked to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jehovah Witness. I mean, I've talked to cult people and religious people and all. They can't tell you about this God of love, who gave his life for them, who now lives on the inside of them, who speaks blessing over their life, because there is no such God. And even Muslim clerics that I've talked to, and I've asked how do you know that you're saved? They'll tell me very candidly, "We don't. That's up to Allah. When we die, I guess we'll figure it out." And well, I wouldn't want to figure that out. What if he doesn't accept you, because that's what we have to deal with. I said, "But we know that in Christ, we have eternal life." Amen. Yeah. It's exclusive. First John chapter five says it like this, verses 11 and 12, if you go back just a little bit, so simple. And the testimony is this, this is what John's testifying, that God has given us eternal life and this life is in his son, He who has the son has the life. He who does not have the son does not have the life. Jesus Christ is the eternal life. He is the Son of God. Either he is on the inside of you and you are born again and save, and we're going to live for him in his kingdom, or you are dead in your trespasses and sins. And it's as clear as that. So, here's what I said, all you religious people that are coming to BRAVE Church that like singing songs that think you're a pretty good person, when was the moment that you were born again? When was the time that you turned your life over to the Lord Jesus Christ? When was the time that you gave him your best and your everything? When did that happen for you? When did you know that you were transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved son? When did you start walking by faith and yielding to the Spirit so that you could have him? And before you hear the lie of the enemy saying, "Oh, you've already done that? Don't worry, but don't listen to Pastor Jeff." Now, that's not for you. That's for all those weird pagan people that are coming. Jesus is talking to you. When did you do that? I mean, that's not an offensive question for me. I can tell exactly when it happened for me. I'm not offended by it. I'm grateful for it. I was offended when the gospel got shared with me because I grew up religious for 18 years. And when some guy was trying to tell me I wasn't saved, I was mad at that guy. Now, I praise God for the guy that had the guts to tell me that I was hell bound. Praise God for that. And if you do know Christ and you truly are born again, then here's my question. Why are you not yielding to a spirit and living out the gospel in such a way that you are light to the world, that people know when they see you. That if they came to your funeral and they asked, "Was that guy Christian?" No doubt he was righteous, man. He lived different than anybody else on our block, anybody else at work, any other person I knew, totally believed the Bible and lived out what it was said. That's what I hope they say at my funeral. That's the gospel. It's exclusive. That's what John's saying. And we know that it's through Jesus Christ and him alone we have eternal life. And then John finalizes this letter. Normally you say, "Sincerely, John," or you say, "Talk to you later, John. See you next time, John." Here's how John ends the letter. Little children, guard yourself from idols. Kind of a weird ending to a letter. I mean, no one has ever written me a letter saying, "Little children, guard yourself from idols. Jeff, guard yourself from idols." Here's what he's saying. He's saying, because we have certainty of these three things that God has been telling us, here's what you need to know. Number four, we know we must guard ourselves from idols. Now, most of the time, when we hear the word "idol," here's what we think. We go back to Exodus and we think about Moses and Aaron. And we think about the fact that when God delivered Israel and he parted the Red Sea and crushed the Egyptians, then provided for food and bread, all the different things he did for Israel. And we see all that. And then Moses goes up to get the 10 commandments on Mount Sinai. Aaron gets all the people to pull their jewelry together. They make a golden calf. They begin to worship the calf and run around crazy having orgies and all sorts of stuff. And we read that and be like, "Man, that's crazy. I would never worship a cow. I'd never get my jewelry over and form a statue and put it on my mantel. That's just not what I would do." Let me just tell you, that's not what an idol is. An idol is when you give your ultimate desire to that which is an ultimate. An idol is when your desires for other things are greater than your desires for Jesus. An idol is when you're sitting in church saying, "I hope he finishes a sermon soon because Super Bowl pregame starts at 2:00 and I got to be there on time. And I care more about that than what he's saying about Jesus." That's an idol. You see what I'm saying? Yeah. Anything can be an idol. Good things can be an idol. You can idolize your wife. You can make an idol out of your wife. You can make an idol out of your husband. I hear that's very easy to do in my marriage. You can make an idol out of your kids. You can make an idol out of anything that's good. Something that draws your attention. When you just think about all the things that nab for your attention, prestige, money, sex, wealth, sports, hobbies, leisure activities, movies, books, travel, all the hedonistic things you can do, moving to the mountains, worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. I mean everything has this pull on our heart saying, "Yeah, I hear the certainties, but man, my heart is really here." Now, here are the certainties and then live out the certainties and be very careful. In the same way, Jesus is protecting you, "Hey, take steps to make sure that you're not getting pulled back into a place." And how often do you need to do that? Daily. Daily. As a pastor, I need to do that daily. There's no coasting in the Christian life. I mean, just when you think that'll never happen to me, I'd never do that. I don't know how many people I've counseled in my office that tell me, "If I go back and hit rewind, I would have never ever done that, didn't even realize I was ever going to get there." Why? Because they didn't guard themselves. And John said just because you have these certainties is not automatic that you're going to live them out. So, little children, it's his tender way of saying, church family, people that I love, just protect yourself. Guard yourself from idols. Get into a community with people that genuinely love you. Serve alongside people that genuinely care for your spiritual well-being. Allow the Lord to use your gifting for his glory. Make Jesus Christ the priority of your life. And when you do, live with the certainties of the victory over your sin. Live with certainty over protection in this world. Live with the certainty that Jesus Christ is the true God and guard your heart from idols. Amen. Would you stand with me as we pray? Lord Jesus, we give you all the glory and all the honor and all the praise for all that you are. Perhaps you're here today and you would say, "I thought I was a Christian before I got here. But I've never seen change in my life. I've never yielded to the Holy Spirit. I didn't even want Christ in me. But I want that today, because I realize apart from him, I'm going to experience eternity without Christ in hell." And if that's you, here's how you can pray. Jesus, I know I'm dead without you. But I believe that you shed your blood on a cross and died for my sin and that you rose from the dead. And right now in this room, I confess you as my personal Lord and Savior. Lord, there's others of us here who have confessed you as Lord. And we would just say, Lord, we just need to confess specific sin over to you again, that we see that we're saints but we've been living like sinners and not caring. We've been complacent. So, Lord, forgive us. And through the power of your resurrection, help us live free from the sin that we've been experiencing. And then Lord, I would just pray as a church, that while we trumpet and hold the standard of your word high, that more than anything else, we'd be known as a church that loves, loves people different than us, love people in sins that we may never even think we would sin and cares for this world the way that you would want. Because, Lord, we believe while we can't change the world, we believe you can through the love that we have for this world. So, Lord, do a work in and through us individually and as a church for your great name, in Jesus' name, amen.