We are continuing a series called Practicing the Way of Jesus, How the Teachings of Jesus Can Impact and Change Our Lives. My name is Joe Sterns. I’m on the ministry staff here at the Broward Church. I’m spelling Tony Fernandez, although did you see him up here on stage? The guy does not slow down very easily, you know, so but it’s a privilege for me. Let me start with the scripture. Let’s begin our lesson with the scripture.

In it is Second Corinthians three, verse 18, it says, and we all with unveiled faces, contemplate the Lord’s glory are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord. Who is the spirit. The reason I read this scripture is that this idea of being changed, being transformed, to be more like Jesus is a theme that runs through all of these lessons on practicing the way of Jesus. But more than that, it’s a theme that should be running through our lives as Christians.

Can I get an amen on that? We should be changed by God’s word and by Jesus Christ. And so what we’re affirming in this series is that we want to be with him through prayer, through Bible study, through participating in the work of Jesus Christ. We want to be with him. We want to be like him, and we want to be obedient to what he teaches us to do what he did to imitate him. And so I’m very excited about the series.

What we’re going to be focusing on today is one idea on practicing the way of Jesus, and it’s this the teachings of Jesus. How valuable are they to you? How valuable are the scriptures, the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, how valuable are they to you? And the reason we’re looking at that is this. If you’re seeking to change if you’re seeking transformation to become more like Christ, you’re going to need to value the teachings of Christ.

If you don’t think the Bible is that important, you’re going to have a block, a hindrance and becoming more like Christ, because so much of Jesus and his way comes to us through his word and through his teachings. As an illustration, I’d like to talk to you about diamonds. So when I graduated from college, my first job, I got a degree in management and the first job I got was as a manager for Gordons Jewelers. Now I was in Gainesville and I couldn’t leave Gainesville because my wife had just got accepted into the medical school there.

So I knew I was. I was there for four more years. The job market in Gainesville for college grads was pretty flooded, but Gordon’s jewelers was hiring, so I didn’t care much about diamonds. That’s a diamond a round cut diamond. As you can see, I’m not wearing much jewelry. I’m not wearing any jewelry except my wedding ring. And that’s kind of the mindset I had even back when I was a young adult, is I don’t care that much about jewelry, but to do a good job with the responsibility that I’ve been given to manage the jewelry jewelry store, I decided to learn a lot about jewelry and in particular, I began to be educated through the GIA Gemological Institute of America on how to value how to grade diamonds.

And so grading diamonds, some of you may know this. There’s four Cs, there’s cut color, clarity and carat weight. I got a text from Paul France and he said, Oh, you forgot the last C, which is cost because they’re expensive. But there’s four Cs to judging a diamond. Now, when you look at a diamond, this is the top the front of the diamond, figuratively speaking. This is the top of it. It’s hard to see flaws in a diamond from the top because the diamonds facets are arranged.

They’re cut so that when you look at the top of it, that’s the most shiny, the most sparkly angle of the diamond. It’s throwing all this light back at you. But the trick is, if you take the diamond and you turn it on its side, you can see right into that thing. So here’s a diamond. It’s flipped upside down. It’s turned sideways. Now, we’re not looking at the top. We’re looking at the side.

This is held by a pair of tweezers. You’ll notice a bunch of dirt clods. I mean, they look like dirt clods, you see this image right here, these pieces, the scattering of what looks like dirt. Those are called in the jewelry terminology those are called inclusions. Those are flaws in the diamond. So what you have here is a significantly flawed diamond that’s still a sellable diamond, but it’s a pretty flawed diamond. Now, the idea of a flawless diamond is more rare than you might think.

A flawless diamond is very, very rare. What often is the case is the flaws are so small that they’re not visible to the naked eye. And that’s why you see either a jeweler or you see a customer looking through a little magnifying loop into the diamond to see if there’s any flaws in there, if they’re going to make a purchase. Here’s the warning. Buyer beware. If a jewelry salesman tells you that you’re looking at a flawless diamond, to put it kindly he’s probably exaggerating to make you feel better. I don’t want to say he was lying, you know, but he’s probably exaggerating because probably that diamond you’re looking at is not a flawless diamond. They’re genuinely rare. And here’s a little trivia fact about diamonds. Not only are they judged by how many flaws they have in them, but they’re also judged by their color. Now, many of you may not know this, but a diamond, the most valuable diamonds are clear.

They have no color within them. But a diamond almost always has a little bit of a yellowish or sometimes a brownish tint that that movie series in the 1970s, The Pink Panther was the name of a diamond that had a pink hue to it. And that’s where that name came from. And so diamonds can actually come in all different colors. A colorless diamond is more rare than a flawless diamond. And so these are ways to value diamonds. Now, the reason I’m using this as an illustration is because we’re going to be talking about valuing the teachings of Jesus.

And I love the scripture right here. It says, As for God, his way is perfect. The Lord’s word is flawless. He shields all who take refuge in him. And so we who are believers, we who are Christians, my brothers and sisters. We believe that God’s word is flawless. Now we have a bit of a challenge, and that challenge is if the word of God has been flawless and life changing to you, you would want other people to know that.

You would want other people to experience that. You would want them to be changed, transformed, born again by God’s word. But sometimes as a Christian, it’s like this. It’s like here I have a picture of a woman’s hand with a handful of diamonds and I feel I felt my whole adult adult life this way. I became a Christian when I’m 18, when I was 18, and now I’m sixty three. So that whole time I felt like I’ve got the Bible in my hand like a handful of flawless gems.

And I’m holding it out to people. And I’m saying I have found the flawless word of God. It’s like a flawless diamond. And I would like to give you a flawless diamond for free. Now, our challenge as Christians is persuading people of that and some people take us up on the offer, and that’s that’s exciting and that’s part of our purpose to to be a light to the world and to share God’s word. But there’s a whole lot of people that look at that and they go, oh, I actually don’t think those are flawless diamonds.

I think they’re more like dirt. You’re like no, this this really, really is the flawless word of God. And they’re like, no dirt. And so that’s a challenge for us. And this challenge is spoken about in the scriptures and in this passage of scripture, it says for the message of the cross is foolishness. It’s dirt to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God, for it is written.

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. Where is the wise person, where is the teacher of the law, where is the philosopher of this age, has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? Now, I actually believe that the wisdom of the world gives us a mixed result. I think there’s a lot of good things that have come from philosophy, either ancient or modern. There’s a lot of truths that we’ve been able to figure out.

But on the other hand, has the wisdom of this world given us the world that we want? And I would say of course not. You know, it’s actually as humans, it’s our fault. It’s our responsibility that we go to war against each other. It’s our fault that there’s human trafficking. It’s our fault that there’s crime, that there’s divorce, that there’s molestation, that there’s all these different things that we’re ashamed of. And God has made us adult enough that it’s actually our fault.

And I know it’s a temptation to go, look, God, you made me. So it’s your fault that I’m like this. But you can learn from the scriptures as a whole that God is saying, oh, no, I made you adult. You’re actually responsible for what you’ve done, although it’s human nature that we’re prone to blame shifting. It is the fact that our human wisdom is not saving us. We need help. And so what we’re going to talk about today is this how valuable are the teachings of Jesus?

So we’re going to look at it from three different ways. We’re going to look at it from how something we already covered just now is that Jesus’s teachings often go against conventional wisdom, human wisdom. That’s what the passage of scripture we just read is making a statement about and saying that the teachings of God often differ with our culture, often often differ with what the media is telling us. It’s even often differing with what your family tells you or your friends tell you.

Another thing that we’re going to look at as we value the teachings of Jesus is that his teachings have changed civilization for the better. There are things that Jesus an itinerant poor preacher two thousand years ago who didn’t even start off as a celebrity. There’s things he said that have changed civilization all the way up to modern day. And we’re going to look at that a little bit. And the last thing we’re going to cover is that his teachings are life saving.

So I don’t know if it’s my business degree or not, but I really like tables and charts, and so I would like to do a comparison here on this first issue of Jesus’s teachings being different than the teachings of the world. I’m going to show you for examples, actually trimmed this from six examples because there are so many examples of this in scripture. But on the first idea of personal progress, how do you view or how do you feel about your own personal progress, your growth, whether you’re a success or not?

And what the world is saying is you go for it, you grab it, you’re going to make your own destiny. You’re going to make your own way. You need to make it happen. And in some ways, that’s good. But Jesus gives us a pause when he teaches this. He says whoever exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Does that work? So if you don’t blow your own horn, as we used to say, if you don’t promote yourself, if you don’t put yourself forward, nobody’s going to do it for you.

And so does this actually actually work and what’s behind this principle is a living God. Like if you humble yourself, who is going to exalt you? And so this is actually a step of faith. If you say, rather than being boastful, rather than being self promoting, I’m going to humble myself. What you’re doing is you’re putting your own value in the hands of God because he’s the one that’s going to lift you up. And so what Jesus is saying is not only is this a paradox and we’re going to talk about what a paradox here in just a second.

We’re going to talk about what that is. But what he’s saying is there is a living God, my father, and he is going to be the one who’s going to see your humility and he’s going to lift you up. So this unconventional wisdom, this counter intuitive teaching works because there’s a living God. And here’s what you see in scripture frequently. You see a lot of paradoxes, things that are counterintuitive. Here’s a dictionary definition of a paradox.

It says A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement like humbling yourself instead of exalting yourself, that when investigated or explained may prove to be well-founded or true. A paradox is when things turn out the opposite of what you expected, and Jesus brings that up all the time. We’re going to look at three more illustrations on this. On the idea of fulfillment, which is kind of a companion issue for personal progress, what is going to fulfill you? What is going to make you happy?

What is going to make your life worthwhile? What the world tells you is you have to determine that for yourself and you have to go for that yourself. Only you know what makes you happy. That’s what the world is telling you. Only you know that. And so if you’re going to be happy, you need to decide what makes you happy and you need to go for it. As the saying goes, how’s that working out for you? And the challenge is we may think we know what makes us happy, but we see the lives of people all the time who try for a while to fulfill themselves.

And as they get older, they realize this is actually not working. Like I think I know what’s going to make me happy, but it’s not working out the way that I thought. And Jesus offers an idea that’s challenging and that is instead of fulfillment coming from a self centered focus, it comes from serving God and serving others. Look what he says in Luke, Chapter six. He says give and it will be given to you a good measure pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap for with a measure that that you use, it will be measured to you.

So what Jesus is saying is, don’t be a taker, be a giver. Don’t be self-centered, be others centered. Guess what we see again here. Do you see it? A living God. Because when you measure out your giving, it says it’s going to be measured back to you. Who’s doing that? The living God. When God sees that you’re a giver, it’s his responsibility to see what you’re doing and to respond by blessing you back for the fact that you are trying to bless other people by being a giver.

Once again, this takes faith, does it not? This takes faith to base your life about around being a giver rather than being a taker. What about injustice? The world teaches that you should fight back. The scriptures have a challenging and different idea. We’re not going to look at that particular scripture, but many of you are familiar with the scripture from Matthew Chapter five in the Sermon on the Mount, where he talks about if a person strikes you on the right cheek, you should turn to them the other cheek also.

Now, listen, there is a thread in the Bible. There is a theme in the Bible that there is a time and a place to fight back that is in the scriptures, but it adds something to it, and that is to leave room for God to be the one who really makes big things happen. Look what it says here in Romans, Chapter 12. It says, do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone, if it is possible, as far as it depends on you live at peace with everyone.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written. It is mine to avenge. I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he’s thirsty, give him something to drink. And doing this you will heap burning coals on his head. So once again, these teachings are only working if there’s a living God who’s engaged in your life and who’s working for you.

What this is saying is that God’s got your back. What he’s saying is when you’re oppressed, when you’re wrong, when there is injustice, God does see it and he’s saying, leave me some room because I’m going to take care of this. And God is the one who battles against oppressors. Now for our role I do think it is powerful that in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, which continues on today, where did that start?

That started in churches with Christian preachers proclaiming the word of God because the principles of the scriptures push back against injustice. And you do have to admit this is countercultural, is it not? This is counterintuitive, to pray for your enemies, to feed your enemies, to give them something to drink when they’re thirsty. The last illustration on how the teachings of Jesus can often contradiction, contradict the teaching of the world is on physical desire. Now, I’m putting this tactfully and modestly for children that are watching.

But what I’m talking about is an intimacy. And when it comes to this, the world is telling you you need to find intimacy any way that you see fit. The way that you want to express your physical desire is fine. And it needs to be, in essence, a free for all for anybody who wants to express physical intimacy can do it any way that they want. What the Scriptures teaches is a little bit challenging because what it’s teaching us is, rather than you doing this your way, Jesus is calling us to do it God’s way.

Here’s just one example in the scriptures. Flee sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but listen to this, whoever sins sexually sins against their own body, do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit? Who is in you whom you have received from God? You are not your own. You were bought at a price. And what he means by that is that Jesus Christ died for you purchasing your salvation.

It says you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. This puts us at a little bit of a fork in the road. Which teachings do you value? Do you value the teachings of our current culture? Do you value the teachings of conventional wisdom of modern or even ancient philosophy, or do you value the teachings of Jesus more than that? Now, certainly there are times that the values in our culture overlap with the teachings of the scriptures, but the time is going to come in each one of our lives when you’re going to have to decide between popularity and what the culture is teaching and practicing and the teachings of Jesus.

This is hard even for many of us who are Christians. I’m sympathetic to this. The pressure from your friends, from your family, from the media, from from movies, from the lyrics of songs. It’s almost overwhelming to adopt the values of the culture that we live in today, even when it differs and disagrees with the teachings of Jesus. Tony brought this up in a diagram. He’s using some of the earlier messages in this series. And what he said was the voices that we believe and the voices that we listen to form and shape us.

They mold our progress, our formation, how we evolve as an individual. And if you’re not thinking about who you’re listening to, you’re going to have unintentional formation. The culture’s going to just form you whether you want it to or not. If you’re not paying attention, see the relationships we have, whether they’re Christian or non Christian, whoever it is, the conversations you have with your family, with your friends, with coworkers, with fellow students, it’s going to shape your values system and it’s going to cause you to be formed.

And, of course, the habits that you have do the same. What Jesus is calling us to is to make the voice that you really listen to, to be biblical teaching, to be the teachings of Christ and to have biblical community as the voices that you listen to with the highest priority. Now, I don’t believe that Christians should only develop friendships with other Christians. I don’t believe that remotely. I think we should develop friendships naturally with whoever we can build with.

But when you’re talking about choosing values, when you’re trying to get advice on how to become more like Christ and to make wise decisions, I believe the voices that should have the higher priority are in the biblical community because it’ll be more likely based on biblical teachings. I’d like to talk about a second area of valuing the teachings of Christ in the three areas we’re going to look at. We just looked at how the teachings of Jesus can go against the cultural teachings often.

And I like to make this point. I believe that the teachings of Jesus have changed our civilization, even for people who are not Christians, it’s changed our civilization. Let me give you three examples. The first is expectations in marriage. Listen to this scripture, which gives a really interesting window into the culture of Jesus times. Jesus is saying this, I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and marries another woman commits adultery.

Listen to this window into the culture then. The disciples said to him, if this is the situation between a husband and a wife, it’s better not to get married. In other words, what they’re saying is, if I don’t have that, the safety valve of divorce, I don’t even think I should get married in the first place. And what this shows is that not only was divorce a lot more common back then, but people expected it.

Now, who are these people who are talking? These are Jesus’s apostles. And they’re going, man, if I don’t have a divorce clause, I don’t even know if I want to get married in the first place. That’s how much they relied on this idea that I don’t like this. I can walk away from it. Jesus’s teachings right here have changed our culture for the next two thousand years after he said them. Now, look, I know people are still getting divorced, but our expectations coming to the altar of marriage have become death do you part. You’re going to be together. That’s the goal. That’s the vows. That’s the commitment you make now. And many people, even if they fail at it, when they first got married, that was genuinely on their heart. I intend to stay with this person from now until the day I die. And because many people don’t have the help of God, they end up failing on something that they genuinely wanted and that was to have a successful marriage.

He has changed our culture on the expectations of marriage. He’s changed our culture on viewing the physically impaired. Listen to this passage. As you went along, he saw a man blind from birth, his disciples asked him, here we go again, we have another window into their culture and their thinking, two thousand years ago. Rabbi, who sinned? This man or his parents that he was born blind? Neither this man nor his parents sinned said Jesus.

But this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. So apparently two thousand years ago, if you saw somebody that was crippled, that was lame, that had some kind of physical deformity or physical setback, you would assume, I guess they got what was coming to him. I guess there’s some kind of sin or some kind of wrongdoing that has made God angry at them or disappointed in them. And what Jesus is saying is that is not the case.

And nowadays, people don’t view the physically impaired as inherently being connected to sin. Most cultures and most people don’t view that. And now we have things like the Special Olympics where we’re supporting people who are physically disabled. And I got to tell you. This is really personal to me. Two years ago next month, it’ll be two years ago that I had my stroke and now the right side of my body is physically impaired. And I can’t the reason I don’t make gestures with his hand is it’s not very good at it.

And the reason I have trouble walking is because of that stroke. I want to tell you something. In the two years that I’ve had this disability, not a single person, Christian or non Christian, not a single person has said a single unkind word to me. Now, I expect that will happen someday. I expect somebody will make fun of me or somebody will get impatient with me or speak badly about me. But I’m just telling you, first two years, not a single unkind word.

I attribute that in large part to the teachings of Jesus, that now he’s opened the door for greater compassion, open the door for greater empathy for those who are disabled rather than feeling like there’s something inherently wrong with them. So I’m going to avoid them. And I’m super thankful personally that Jesus did that. And the last illustration, I want to get on the powerful teachings of Jesus and how they’ve changed society is on the idea of dissolving separation by class, race and culture.

Is this problem solved? Of course not. This problem is not solved. We still have a problem today in human nature. Even as Christians, we have to watch ourselves for this, that we don’t think of people who are different as less than us or we don’t look at our our group and say, I want my group to have more advantages or I want my group to be more important than that group over there. Some people, as you know, have a nicknamed that tribalism and humanity, humanity deals with this all the time.

The important thing about the teachings of Jesus is that he pushes back against it. I’m going to give you an example. There’s a lot of scripture on this. I’m just going to give you one illustration of this that comes with its own illustration. Its in james chapter two, my brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in.

If you show special attention to the man wearing the fine clothes and say, here’s a good seat for you, but you say to the poor man, you stand there or sit at my feet, sit on the floor at my feet, you have not you have discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts. And so this idea of discriminating between rich and poor as one of many, many ways that we can discriminate sinfully against each other. The Bible teaches and pushes back against.

That once again that’s why I believe we’ve made some progress in our modern society through civil rights. And a lot of that teaching came from the scriptures and came from the Christian community because Jesus is pushing back against it. How common is it today to have laws in writing that favor one racial group of over another or one or wealthy people over poor people? What I see happening is that’s being purged from our legal systems. But I want to show you how it used to be.

All the way back in ancient ancient history, we found this Code of Hammurabi. This is the it comes from the seventeen hundreds B.C when even writing itself was in its infancy. This is called the Stelae, an ancient monument with writing on it. We found the Code of Hammurabi. It’s our oldest known legal code that we can read. And in it, it divides people as far as how to punish them into three categories slaves, free men and property owners.

And it only recognizes women as far as how they relate to men. And what it says in here is that slaves are going to be punished different than free men and free men are going to be punished differently than other free men who are wealthy enough to have property owners. As a matter of fact, one of the things in here, it would almost be comical if it wasn’t so tragic is that if you were royalty and guilty of a sin, even murder, this law would allow for you to take your own family member and have them put to death rather than you being put to death for that that murder because you’re royalty.

And see, what I see is the teachings of Christ are pushing back and changing civilizations in a problem that may not be solved until the Lord comes back. But at least the words of Jesus are affecting our society for the good. And the last thing that I’d like to look at as we value look at the teachings of Jesus is that the teachings of Jesus are life saving, life changing. And in this area, I want to give you three, three examples.

But before we do that, I just want to point out that we are not just talking about whether Jesus is the best teacher ever. Are we saying that Jesus is better than Buddha, better than Confucius, better than Socrates, or better than pick a modern philosopher of your choice, Nietzsche or whoever you whoever’s caught your ear? Are we saying that Jesus is better? Well, well, actually, yes, we are. But we’re saying more than that.

One of the things I do want to recognize is that people in different religious groups and even those who are not religious can still discover the truth. I’m not saying that the teachings of these other people are not valuable in their own right and have strong elements of truth. But what I’m saying is Jesus is more than the best philosopher who ever lived. He is the best, but he’s more than that. Let me give you three reasons. The first is your own hunger and thirst.

Listen to this passage. Jesus declared, I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Jesus is not talking about food and drink. This is a metaphor. This is an illustration, as we can all see. What he’s saying is what you’re hungry for I can give you. That’s what Jesus is saying, what you’re hungry for come to me and I will give it to you.

What you thirst for inside, what makes you empty, what makes you depressed? What makes you frustrated? I can give it to you. Just come to me. I can tell you that there’s no other philosopher saying that. Just come to me and I’ll fix it all. This is profound. This is life changing. This is life saving. This is how we are considering valuing the teachings of Jesus. But they are life changing. They are life saving. The second example of this is your purpose and your mission.

You ever to ask yourself, why am I here, why am I here, like what? What is my role in life? What am I supposed to do in this life? What is my purpose? I think most thinking people have have kind of come face to face with that question at different times in their life. There’s a lot of scripture on this, too, but I’m just going to give you one one passage to consider. It’s going to take two slides to show you this, but in the Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus said, you are the salt of the earth. If salt loses its saltiness how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world, a town built on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven. How do you feel about that purpose? How do you feel about that mission? I would bet that some of you, maybe even some of you who are my brothers and sisters in Christ might be a little bit put off by this because it’s others centered. It’s a purpose in your life. It’s not all about you. What Jesus is saying is we are the salt of the earth, we are the light of the world.

One of our primary purposes in life, one of our primary missions in life is to have an eternal impact on those around us. For your coworkers at work for your family members, your friends, the people you go to school with, your teammates or whoever else is your neighbor or whoever else you would rub elbows with is saying this is your calling. This is challenging because it’s others centered. And so as we look at this, the last illustration I wanted to give you on how Jesus is teaching are life changing and life saving is your life and your death.

And by the way, I hope that those of you who have been disciples for a while can say with me, amen to this idea that this purpose of being the salt and the light of the world is fulfilling. It’s powerful, it’s wonderful. It’s hard work. It can be frustrating. Any purpose worth fighting for is that way. But I tell you, in my old age, I have no regrets for this one. And I think a lot of people have chosen a purpose other than what Jesus has given them.

And now they’re feeling like things aren’t working out like they wanted to. I think this is a genuine, wonderful purpose on life and death. Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. I don’t know if you think about the brevity of your life, I had to go to several funerals in the last 12 months. One of them just this last month was my wife’s father passed away.

And we we actually had the funeral, the memorial service here and I’m sixty three, my wife and I joke about this, we say that we are in the fourth quarter, so for any of you who’ve done any sports, you know that in a sporting event, you get the first, second, third. And then you got that last quarter where you’re watching the clock and the stakes are getting higher and higher. There’s only one person who has a cure for our death, that’s Jesus Christ, I think I can honestly say that I’m not afraid of dying.

I’m not afraid of death. I am afraid of the pain of dying. I don’t want to go through that. And I think that’s what’s deserved me for the sins I’ve committed. And so I’m going to try to take my medicine when it comes. But I don’t think I’m afraid of death. I really have the faith and have put my hope in this resurrection. And by the way, there’s no place else to turn. The only person who has solved the problem of death is God, the father and his son, Jesus Christ.

It is the only way. It is the only hope that we have. In conclusion, I just want to ask you, are the teachings of Jesus transforming your life? Do you value the teachings of Jesus enough to read them, put them into practice and be transformed by the fact that you were with Christ? You’re studying his teachings and more than just intellectually learning it, you want to put it into practice? I hope all of us, even those of us who have a deep conviction of the values of Jesus, have had a refresher course and a reinvigorated on the value of the teachings of Christ.

And before we before I say a prayer and we go to communion, I just would like to speak for a minute to those of you who would like to become a Christian or if you’re not sure whether you’re a Christian or not. Our encouragement to you, as I put up here on the screen, is to ask a member of this church to study the Bible with you, step one in becoming a Christian is examining the gospel message. I know some of you may have come from a church background where what you were expecting is to come forward in church.

The way that you would become a Christian is to get up. We have a song and you come forward in church and sometimes in our church we do have an invitation song, but it’s for a different purpose. It’s for prayer requests. But I just wanted to say this. It’s our conviction in this congregation that the decision to become a Christian is so deep and life changing. It’s bigger than the day you get married. It’s bigger than the decision to have children.

It’ll be the most important decision you ever make in your life, and it’ll be utterly life changing. We believe it’s much more appropriate to sit down with somebody who’s already a Christian over the scriptures and examine the gospel message as you make that step. So step one in becoming a Christian are encouragement to you is to find a member of the church. Now, if you’re in this congregation here in person and you don’t know a member of the church, you can talk to me.

You can talk to one of the ministry staff, you can talk to one of the ushers, and we can try to put you in touch with a member of the church who lives near you, who’s a mature member, who can study the gospel with you. If you’re joining with us through Live Stream online, we would encourage you to put in the chat line right now, I want to study the Bible or you could put a want to study the gospel.

And we have moderators on those chat lines, as you’ve already seen, and they can put you in touch with a member of the church if you will, fill out a digital connect form. Thank you guys for your time, let’s pray before we remember what Jesus did on the cross for all of us and we take communion together. Let’s pray, Father. We are so thankful for your teachings and for the life that you lived out through your son on this earth.

Father, they are life saving, their life changing. We also want to thank you, Father, for the incredible and complete amount of love that you showed us in giving up your son on the cross for us. Father helped us to respond appropriately, help us to be grateful. Help us to be obedient. We know we cannot work for our salvation, father, but we know that it means a lot to you for us to be obedient. And that’s the appropriate response out of love and faith for you.

God, we pray these things in your son’s name. Amen.