Living Proof He is the King of Peace

The Gospel Of John: Take Heart

Jesus is the King of Peace, and we can trust Him with anything that happens to us in this life. In this message, we hear from several believers who have been through great trials and heartache, yet they lean into their Savior and find their hope in Him. They have learned to trust Him more through these struggles, and they are a glorious picture of how the peace of God can reign in any circumstance.

Todd WagnerMay 19, 2013John 14:27; Job 13:15; John 14:27; Ecclesiastes 2:1-13

Well I'm going to let you walk with me into a moment where you will see that what we speak about here on Sunday is not just a collection of ideas. It's not a philosophy that is successful in a classroom or an academic setting. It is practical for daily life. Jesus said in John 14:27 these words, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."

"I am in control. I'm sovereign. I'm good. I know there are some pages coming in the story that you're living in," he would say to his friends that day, "that you're not going to like and are going to look like there's another author who can write and insert reality into the script that I, if I love you, wouldn't allow. You need to know something. There is no other author. There is no other sovereign.

It alone is me and these pages that are about to come are not pages that are spun out of control. They are pages to glorify me that you might see my goodness, that you might run to me and never go anywhere else for life. It's going to be a source of your salvation. As you cling to it, will become the salvation of others. These things that you have seen me do in serving the Father, you then will participate with me in helping others see the goodness of God."

I talked last week and I said that one of the reasons that we do not have power and that God is not mightily working through us to do greater things than he has done is because many of us in our futile, fallen rebellion continue to try and find peace in the world. There was a man who had been given wisdom beyond anything that anyone since has been given. His name was Solomon.

Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, chapter 2, put together a group of words that talks about the futility of trying to find peace in this world. Solomon was a man who was the first one, and maybe the only one in the history of the world, who ran out of mirages before he ran out of money. He could continually chase after anything that he thought might give him life. He was kind enough to leave his diary behind. I want you to read it this morning.

This is Solomon telling you that the world's peace does not sustain. This is Solomon telling you, if you just hung with him for 10 more chapters, God is too good to waste on old men whose bodies are dying. God is the God of the young. Enjoy him in your youth. Don't wait until later to get to know him. Ecclesiastes, chapter 2.

"I said to myself, 'Come now, I will test you with pleasure." Meaning himself. "'So enjoy yourself.' And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, 'It is madness,' and of pleasure, 'What does it accomplish?'" Because he had plenty of both. "I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly…" In other words, "I'm going to drink in moderation. Enjoy wine, but not get drunk."

"…until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives. I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees.

I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces." I bought an NFL football franchise. "I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.

Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them." I didn't watch porn. I made it. "I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.

So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done? And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both." In other words, being wise and learning is not enough. It still leads to death. This, too, is vanity.

"Then I said to myself, 'As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?' So I said to myself, 'This too is vanity.' For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind."

He continues for chapters, giving you more details on different aspects of that story. Where he ends up is, "The only thing that is not vanity, the only thing that is not futility and striving after wind is the one who has shown himself to me. He is Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father. He is Prince of Peace, and he alone can satisfy."

Solomon, having wasted decades of his life running an experiment to see if there was another way to find life apart from God, said, in effect, "Don't look for peace where the world gives it. Look for peace with God. Enjoy him because I have sacrificed decades looking for it apart from him. It doesn't exist."

This is what Jesus reminded us of when he came. You can't even enjoy what Solomon had because your sin separates you from God unless he pursues you the way he did Solomon and Jesus pursues you and he makes provision for you and reconciles you to him so that you can live with him and enjoy him.

He says, "Having come to me, don't leave me. This world is not your home, and I am not promising you peace in this world. In fact, I am calling you to war. Many dark pages are ahead of you because you live in a world still war-torn. I don't put a force field around my people that protects them from death and sin and disease in this world. I will just rescue them from it.

I won't take you out of the storm. I will be with you in the midst of it, and I will carry you through it. Even when the instrument of this world, death, stings you, I will raise you from it. But I want you to live with me in the midst of it." Every now and then, in horribly severe merciful ways, God finds people he trusts.

He lets them be before us what saints of old have always been: People who experience the horrors of living in a world that is not yet made right by him, and he rescues them from being subject to it, but he lets them still live in it and he lets us watch them navigate through it. We see in them a peace despite pages being written that look nothing like they could contain joy or peace.

Yet we find in the midst of that, people who are holding on to something that has to be more than what we think we can find life in, because they don't have these things. They still have joy. I have taught to you from this stage about a man named Job. Job says in chapter 13, verse 15, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him." On this stage I have shared with you my friend Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms and without legs. I have heard people say to me, "I never thought I could envy somebody who didn't have arms and legs, but I want what that guy has."

What that guy has is John 14. What I want to let you know is I don't have to ask God to bring Job before you. I don't have to ask Nick to be here every weekend. We live in the midst of heroes. On this platform this morning, you're about to see holiness. You're about to see people who God has written pages into their story that, apart from the truth of John 14:27, lead to depression, suicide, anger, and all the horrible options of men.

I want to let you know that his Word is true, his grace is sufficient, and we are without excuse. As we prepare for that, I share with you another story from a man, Horatio Spafford, who lived in the 1870s. Horatio was a man who had come to know Christ. He had raised his family to know and honor Christ. He was friends with D.L. Moody.

He was a very successful attorney in Chicago. He had invested heavily in Chicago real estate, which really would've worked out well for him except for this thing called the Chicago Fire. There was this horrible fire that devastated him financially and economically and brought him to ruin. For two years, he tried to put his life back together and had reestablished a certain amount of strength again in the things that the world could offer him.

His friend D.L. Moody was beginning some opportunities in Europe to talk about the freedom that sets people free. Horatio was going to go over there and sail with his wife and four beautiful daughters overseas in order to advance the gospel. Business affairs at the very end kept him behind. So he sent his wife and four daughters before him to participate in gospel mission.

On the way over there in this wide open ocean, the boat that his wife and four daughters were on ran into another vessel, sunk the ship, and he received a telegram from his wife that said, "Saved alone." Horatio Spafford got his belongings together as quick as he could, got to the coast as quick as he could, got on his own vessel and began to sail over to be with his grieving wife.

When he got to the spot on the Atlantic Ocean where his daughters had died, the captain of the ship said to him, "This is the spot." He went down below deck, and he wrote these words that have become to us a blessed song. This is not just a song of somebody sitting alone pontificating. This is a song of a man who came to know the truth of John 14:27.

I invite you to sing it now, and I invite you to sit and watch Job and others walk up here on stage and testify to you that these words are true. By the way, after this song that God gave Horatio Spafford, it didn't all go well with his soul since then. He had lost four kids. God gave him three more. His only son, Horatio Junior, lived for four years after his birth after that loss and died at 4 of scarlet fever.

So sea billows continued to roll sorrowfully over them, but he knew what Solomon found out and what Jesus came to tell you. There is a peace which passes understanding if you abide with him who says, "In this world you will have troubles. Let not your heart be fearful. Take courage. I'm coming for you. I'm enough." Let's stand and preach to one another.

It's one thing to sing and it's another thing to live it. I am standing on this stage with heroes of the faith, and there'll be a whole other group at 11 and a whole other group at 5:30. People who sit right next to you every week in this church that everybody calls, "Beautiful. Taken care of. Perfect." We are beautiful. We are taken care of. We are made perfect by him, but there are some dark pages written into our book. You are not alone. You are not unique. Your issues are not blind to God's eye.

Some of you are ignorant enough to think that, "Okay, when God writes those kinds of dark pages into my book, maybe I'll need him." Or some of you are deceived enough to think that your story is so painful that you can't love God anymore. Well I hope you're convicted because right here in this community that God has given us, live Job, live heroes, live blessed ones of God. I want you to hear their stories.

Melissa Miller: Hi, my name is Melissa Miller. At 36 years of age, not married, I was told that due to cancer, I would have to have a hysterectomy, ending my hopes of having my own children and family. In that moment, I had to answer the question, "Is God and his love enough?" The first thing that came to my mind was the very first Scripture I had ever memorized, Job 13:15, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him…" Because of my belief in his Word and the love and encouragement of his people, I have been able to say, "Yes, he is enough."

I still deal with emotional loss and I have continued to have negative physical effects as a result of this surgery. But through it all, I really do believe Psalm 84:11, that he is my strength and shield, that he is withholding no good thing from me, because my heart is his. I have and continue to learn to trust his definition of what good things are.

Todd Wagner: I'm asking you guys to, in your heart, applaud and, in your heart, pray as these stories continue to be written, as glory is given to God, as salvation prayerfully is brought to others, and as reinforced strength is brought to you and to them. We'll listen with silent applause for God and prayer as we hear all these stories before us.

Jessica Gober: My husband's name is Kevin, and I am Jessica Gober. I'm going to probably read a lot of it. Having been born with a uterine defect, we knew the road to having biological children would be challenging. Within a year's time, we heard the heartbeats of two babies during two different pregnancies and celebrated with family and friends.

However, shortly after that, the heartbeats of both of those babies had stopped. Afterwards, we had several medical procedures to address the losses and doctor's appointments and numerous tests done to discover that though we can get pregnant, my broken body attacks them as intruders and kills them. Though we have grieved, God has sustained us and given us much joy and laughter, strength, and peace that surpasses all understanding.

We know that we will have wants and losses in this world. Though we believe that it would be a sweet gift if he gave us a biological child, last Christmas we were sweetly reminded that he has already given us the only baby we will ever truly need in Jesus. He has a plan for us and it is good. In Isaiah 55 it says that his ways and thoughts are higher than our own. He goes on to say how powerful his Word is. Then he goes on to say that you will move forward in joy and peace and we are grateful for that. Thank you.

Suzanne Sanderson: Hi, my name is Suzanne Sanderson. From as young as I can remember, I wanted to be a wife and a mom. Turning 40 is just around the corner, and I never would've guessed I would be single and childless. Yet, God has shown his faithfulness in writing my story time and again. I choose to fight the lies that I must become this or do that so that God will give me a husband and instead believe the truth that God loves me and is giving me what is best and what most glorifies him right now.

I cannot imagine changing my 30s and all that he has allowed me to be a part of. I now don't think, "Oh, I know he has a great plan for my life." Instead, I choose to realize I'm living the great plan he has for my life. Because it's the life he is giving me, it's what is best and what is good. I am thankful that he promises and I choose to believe him when he says, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!"

Sarah: My name is Sarah and I'm Daniel's mom. In 2006, Daniel was born at 32 weeks of pregnancy with a hole in his heart and irregular heartbeat. His esophagus didn't develop well and food allergies. We were alone. In 2008, we started attending Watermark. Now we have a family over here and family sitting over there.

At that time, our journey turned in a new different direction with mental health issues. It has been very, very hard, but we have not walked this path alone. As you can see, I have all these friends and family sitting. It has been hard. We have valleys. We have mountaintops. However, God has been faithful to us.

There have been many, many tears, many sleepless nights, but I can tell you that it is just like in Genesis 21, God heard our voice, has seen our tears, and answered our prayers. Hagar, just a single mom mentioned there. My prayer for you today is the same way. We start every day and we end our days, Daniel and me, that the Lord bless you and keep you and may his face shine on you and give you peace. He is the only one who can truly give you the peace. Thanks.

Samuel: It was in September of 2008, I was deployed to Afghanistan. It took a blast of an IED to bring me to a place where I finally realized I needed my Creator. As I was engulfed in flames, I threw my arms in the air and cried out, "Jesus, save me!" There was no miraculous extinguishing of those flames, but in that moment he heard my prayer.

I didn't know that. I gave up the will to fight, to live. I was waiting to die, not knowing that before that moment, a physical death probably would've been a spiritual death as well. Life has not been easy since then. It's been filled with much pain, but it's also been the biggest blessing. That day put me on a journey where I can stand before you and say that God is faithful and he is my provider.

My wife and I often think of Romans 5:3-5 where I can say that, "…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." We're not promised that life will be easy or that this society's idea of blessings will always be with us, but you should know, as I have had to learn, that a relationship with Christ is enough and all we need.

Male: Hi, this is my wife and five years ago, one of our four children, our only little girl contracted leukemia and over the next 17 months, piece by piece of her was either cut out or destroyed. As we lay in the emergency room… I had gone a period of time where I couldn't feel God. It seemed like he wasn't there. We're just trying to get my daughter through 15-minute periods of pain.

I asked her, I said, "Are you telling me you still believe there is a God?" She said, "I do, but he is so unpredictable." Over time I struggled with, "Is he even there?" He impressed on my heart a verse out of Job that said, "Were you there when I created the heavens and the earth?" I thought, "What a jerk!" Then over time, I realized it was the most loving thing he could say to me, either, "I know what I'm doing," or "Good luck."

As he pulled me back to himself, never letting me go, I realized… Then I started getting worried about what I had said and what I had done. He made it clear to me that in John 10 he talks about, "When my son provides forgiveness for you, there's nothing anybody can do to snatch you out of my hand. Nothing in this world or any other. Not even you." Because what he did was 100 percent fulfilled. I'm able to rest and trust and we even have a significant amount of joy in the character of our three boys who at least at this moment have been amazing. So anyway.

Wife: And he is enough.

Ann Piper: Hi, my name is Ann Piper. September 17, 2011, could not have been a more peaceful day. I was home with my husband Matt and my two sons. I was recovering from cancer surgery that took my right kidney. Overnight, everything in my life changed. I woke up the next morning and discovered that my sweet husband of 21 years had died in the night. He was only 45 years old.

I thought, "Lord, what are you doing? A month ago I find out I have kidney cancer, and now I'm a widow at 44 years old? I cannot do this on my own; much less raise my two sons, one of whom has autism." It has been a very painful and tear-filled journey, but I can tell you that I have not been alone.

God has provided a community of really great family and friends who have loved me, supported me, spoken truth to me through God's Word, and just been there right with me every step of the journey. God has given me a desire to talk to him every day, be in his Word, and pray to him like I have never had in a lifetime of following him.

Although I'm still a work in progress, I'm still in grief, and days are very tiring and sad, I can tell you that in those moments, God reminds me that Psalm 63 is true. That, "Your unfailing love is better than life itself…You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy." I thank you, my Father.

Becca: My name is Becca. This is my husband Brad and our daughter Selah. We're here to tell you about our daughter Noelle who is 6 months old and battling an aggressive form of leukemia. She has been in isolation in the hospital now two-thirds of her life. Outside of our family and some very close friends, the only faces she has seen have been covered by a mask.

Her big sister Selah has only been able to come see her at the hospital for a few hours since January. She has had three rounds of chemotherapy, 50 different procedures, tests, and scans, and more blood transfusions than we could possibly count. She is now in remission. She still has a long road ahead of her, though.

Despite the treacherous journey, we have been so comforted by the Lord and his faithfulness. The body through prayer, through support has been absolutely incredible. The day we learned that Noelle was in remission, we did have Psalm 13, verses 5 and 6 on our lips. It says, "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord's praise, for he has been good to me." We don't know what the future holds, but we do know who holds us, and he is our hope.

Rick Smith: My name is Rick Smith and this is my wife Abbie and our 2-1/2-year-old son Noah. Two and a half years ago, we were surprised to learn three hours after our son's birth that he was born with Down syndrome and several heart defects. As we began to work through what that meant for his life and our family, we got a call from our pediatrician that said his newborn screen came back positive for a very rare metabolic disorder that could take his life.

That was a page in our story that we never saw coming. As parents who loved their little boy, we began to get worried and anxious and scared for our little boy. We began to just press into the Lord and pray and put Scripture around our house, because that's really the only thing we knew to do to give us peace in the middle of something that we never saw coming.

So today, Noah is a healthy little boy and a blessing to everyone that he meets, but the truth is, we don't know what the future holds for him or for any of us. We do know that Psalm 46 says that, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." We will trust in God.

Randi: I'm Randi, and a year and half ago when I was 27 and had a 14-month old baby girl, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer. Since then, I've undergone a double mastectomy, 16 rounds of chemotherapy, hormone therapy, complete reconstructive surgery, and I've been put into a medically induced menopause. I lost my hair, my breasts, and potentially my ability to have more biological children, but I have never known more of God's goodness than I do now.

He has given me a peace that transcends all understanding, a calm amidst a storm, a heart that is so deeply and desperately in love with him, a confidence in his plans, a beauty that comes from within, an amazing husband, the best family, friends, and community in the world, a divine provision to meet all of our needs, an immeasurable amount of joy, and a sweet, unwavering trust in my Savior.

I learned through cancer that Jesus was enough. I knew about God's goodness before I had cancer, but now I have experienced it with every ounce of my being. I wouldn't trade that for anything. God had such bigger plans for me than I had for myself. My favorite verse is Romans 8:28. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Reese Christianson: Hi, I'm Reese Christianson, and this is one of my three kids, Aaron, my youngest son. For 44 years, I was a sinner who didn't know I was in need of a Savior until I read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. When I accepted Christ over the next four years, that ended up causing a rift in my marriage, and my wife filed for divorce four years later.

We went through 28 months of litigation and I lost everything. I lost a friend, a wife, a partner, a lover, a confidant, a home, my identity, and the ability to see my kids and to hug and kiss on them everyday. I was left with a mountain of debt and giant tax liabilities. In January of 2008, some friends of mine handed me a Watermark News and said, "Hey, why don't you go check out DivorceCare?" So I did.

I went a few days later and was welcomed by some incredible leaders and staff members who just loved on me and said, "Hey, you're not the first guy in the world to experience divorce." They pointed me into a Christ-centered orbit, and I started really digging into the Word and getting into community.

This isn't the way that I would've written my story, but God has redeemed all of that pain and suffering. I've served for eight semesters as a leader now in DivorceCare. Two weeks ago, I got a call from a small group member from a couple years ago to say that he and his wife had been remarried and that their 6- and 11-year-old children were now all under one roof. I've been having a front row seat at DivorceCare and our ministry as a whole and have seen 12 full marital reconciliations, a good part of those where there had been complete separation and divorce.

Second Corinthians 1:4 says, "…[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." Then in Matthew 6:33 is, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Today is my twenty-third wedding anniversary. I'm not married anymore, but I'm part of the bride of Christ and Jesus is our perfect groom and more than enough.

Jackie: Hi, I'm Jackie. This is my family. I have cystic fibrosis, which is a genetic progressive lung disease with no cure. Life expectancy when I was diagnosed was 13, which it's up to 38 now. I'm 30, so I'll let you all do the math on that one. CF has been a thorn in my flesh throughout my lifetime.

I spend about 2 hours a day doing treatments, which include a vest that shakes my chest to clear my airways. My boys really think that's funny. I inhale antibiotic medications to treat the bacteria and slow the disease's progression. I have some scars up and down my arms from multiple IV treatments. I lose lung function each year.

I'm haunted by a massive lung bleed I had in 2009 where an artery in my lungs ruptured and filled my airways with blood. They couldn't stop it so they did an emergency procedure and I woke up in ICU on a ventilator. However, while CF has brought me a lot of pain on this earth, it's ultimately CF that brought me to my knees and lead me to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ so I can spend eternity with him without pain.

Without this trial, I might think that these boys or that my husband were things that I deserved, but I now understand that they're blessings from the Lord. I have been blessed with lungs that are strong enough to allow me to run every day and I never take that for granted. The confidence that I once had in my own flesh is now replaced by a complete dependence on the Lord's provision.

I understand that "… [His] power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." It's not, "Jesus plus a cure is sufficient" or "Jesus plus healthy lungs." It's just "Jesus is sufficient."

Todd: Why don't you take a moment and just pray that God would allow you to know this peace that passes understanding as he prompts you to pray for our friends who are before you. Do that, but pray that the truth of Scripture sinks deeply into your hearts and that your life becomes a glory to God and a source of salvation and gospel declaration to others that you might, though he slay you, hope in him. Be still before the Lord.

These are holy moments when you step into the reality that we live in. God's story was not to write death into this world. God's story was not to bring disease. That's not his idea. His idea was that men should live with him forever, but he created man and he knew that man, because he wanted man to be able to love him, which means he had choice, would make the choice to leave him.

When he left him, he put himself under the dominion of another, one who will bring about chaos and destruction and death who is not in fact good. We live in a world ruled underneath the sovereignty of God by the Prince of Darkness. He brings all these stories and he taunts you. He says if you mess with him, if you mess with his economic future, if you mess with the future of his health, if you mess with his children, if you take away his dreams, they will run away from you.

Every now and then, God says, "Oh yeah? Watch Melissa. Oh yeah? Watch Samuel. Watch the Williams. Though I allow your darkness to run through their life, they will hope in me." The reason that God allows this to happen is not so Satan can be instructed about the glory and goodness and sufficiency of Christ. He is convinced of that! It's so that you might see it.

We are people who realize that because of our sin, death has come into this world. We are people who realize because of God's love, grace has been made available to those of us who believe. We are people who rejoice in the God of our salvation. Not because we get to skip through life but because our God has brought us back to life. We celebrate that.

God calls every individual at the moment of understanding as a first act of obedience as a believer, which means it's wonderful if your parents christened you, it's wonderful if you were in some organization that decided to have something called infant baptism, but it's just not biblical baptism.

Biblical baptism involves a believer who stands up before others and says, "Count me as a follower of Jesus, and he guarantees me nothing except salvation, which is everything to me. Though he slay me, yet I will hope in him." We celebrated that to the hundreds just a couple of weeks ago. I want you to know why these people have stood before you with great hope though their husbands are not with them and though their lungs fail and there is no husband beside them. Though fire burned all around them, they rejoice in the God of their salvation.

Because there was a moment when every single one of them came to a point that you're about to see others have come to. Our prayer is that you'll walk out of here today and you'll declare as these people declared the hope and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Be encouraged. God is at work redeeming people while we suffer. Rejoice with me.


Todd: Welcome to one of the greatest days at Watermark. We're going to give you a little glimpse at all the joy we had and why we celebrate the way we do with bounce houses and food and laughter and clapping. It's because the Scripture says that when one lost sheep, one lost coin, one lost son, one lost sinner is found and they come to clarity about who Jesus is and what he has done, it's a cause for great rejoicing. We've celebrated a lot today.

We don't just baptize people today. We baptize people all year long. If you weren't able to profess the first thing that believers ought to profess when they come to know Jesus, we invite you to let us know. We don't need to wait until we do this with hundreds next May, but you need to know this: that Christ Jesus came and died for men.

He was resurrected because God found his sacrifice acceptable. He told us that when we personally appropriate faith into our own lives and say, "Christ died for me," to participate in the picture of that love by getting baptized. The clearest picture is the one of submersion, which is why we do this. That Christ died for me, was crucified, and was buried and was resurrected on the third day by the resurrection power of God. So you can identify me with Jesus.

That's what the word baptize means. It means to be identified with something. So people today all around me are saying, "Identify me with Jesus. I want the community around me to encourage me, to help me, admonish me, disciple me, call me to repentance, and encourage me on to more love and good deeds. Now count me as his child and as his servant." We're glad that you get a chance to relive that joy with us today. If you've never taken that first step of obedience and you know Christ, let us know. Jump in. Follow him.

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I don't know if you have friends in this city, but we'll be here again at 5:30 to declare the greatness and sufficiency of Christ alone. I can't think of a better way for you to invest your Sunday afternoon than to have them hear about the faithfulness of Christ alone later today. Jesus has left us here with many dark pages because there are many here who do not know that he is the light of the world.

It would be a tremendous shame to waste this suffering, to not bring more to him. Let me start with those of you who are in this room, who are ignorant enough to think that because an IED has not gone off in or near your Humvee that you don't need Jesus to save you. You need him. You have no idea the pain that awaits in this life and the life to come if you don't know the Prince of Peace. Come to him.

There are some of us who believe that our pain is so unique that there is final irrefutable evidence that God doesn't care. I rebuke that this morning. It is a lie from the pit of hell. He knows all about your pain and suffering. He beckons you to trust in him until he returns and takes you home.

These momentary, light afflictions, they don't look momentary and they don't feel light to me, but his Word is true and we will rejoice for thousands of years that we believe in it. If you don't know Christ, will you come to him? These saints of God and I will be here to help you know how you can trust in him. If you know him, will you go to war? Will you profess him before men and would you stop finding peace in this world? It doesn't exist, but Jesus does and he has risen. He has risen indeed. Worship him. Have a great week. We'll see you.