The Ministry Matters

Week 1

Shannon Lovelady
May 6, 2018

This world is not our home. This is camping. We were never meant to find our worth; we were never meant to find our hope; we were never meant to find our satisfaction in this place, in your kids and your family, in your stuff, in anything other than God. It’s not our home. 
— Shannon Lovelady

How many of you guys are campers? Any campers out here? Oh wait, let's clarify. Let me explain. When camping, I’m not talking about loading up in an RV and heading to Disney World campers. That's not camping. You can call that camping if you want. I'm talking tent camping. Get out in the woods. Build a campfire. Just use trees. No water. Whatever you have to do. Right? That's my man. I love to tent camp. It is one of my favorite things in the world to do. I used to do it all the time. I actually told this story a few weeks ago to our teenagers and I think I shared this on the stage several years ago. I used to go camping all the time, but now I've got five kids and have no life of my own. 

Anyone identify? Yeah, so I don't do it anymore. But one of my favorite things to do once a year, hopefully twice, is when Natasha is gracious enough to let me get away for the weekend. Just me, my Bible, and nothing else out in the woods. I remember, specifically, this one time I was heading out. Just me, Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, and a two-liter Mountain Dew. That was my vice. We were going to spend some time in the woods for two days, just enjoying my time and God's time. I went to a place called Sand Rock. Yes, I see we’ve got one rock climber. Awesome!  

Anybody ever been outdoors? Anyone? Y'all like the outdoors? Have you ever heard of Alabama? All right, so I went to Alabama once and decided never to go back. Sorry, but I went to Alabama to this place called Sand Rock. It's this gorgeous place! I honestly don't even know the name of the town, but a lot of rock climbers go there and it's not even a real campsite. You can just go out there in the middle of the woods. Nobody shows up. You can go sit on this cliff overlook and see the lake that's down in the valley of the little town. It is gorgeous! Hawks flying over! It's just one of my favorite things in the world to do. 

It was, I think, a Friday. I'd gone out there to spend time just enjoying God's nature. The sun starts to head down before too long and you’ve got to set up camp, right? I need a campfire and to get my tent set up. I’ve got a little two-man tent that's really just a one-man tent. Really, it’s just not true. People don't want to get in that thing, but my little tent takes a few minutes to set up. It was time to set up camp and get settled in for the night before it got too dark and I couldn't see what was going on. 

So, I set up camp, got the fire going. I love a fire. I, absolutely, love a fire! That's my favorite thing in the world. Sitting around a wood burning fire and smelling like smoke. You know what I'm talking about? (Natasha says you have to take a shower before you get in bed. You are not coming to bed like that. I love it. She doesn’t.) The fire's going and crackling, and I’m sitting out there just spending what felt like hours. If you've ever been camping or out in the woods by yourself when it's dark and all you hear are crickets, a fire, and nothing else, you understand that. What feels like three hours generally is like twenty minutes, like time just slows and I think that's what's special about it honestly. 

It seems that time just kind of slows down and you feel like you've been out there forever. I'm thinking, man, it's got to be two in the morning when, really, it was probably 9:00 PM. It was time to kill the fire and get in bed, so I zip up the tent, get in my sleeping bag, snuggle up, and it's time to “hit the hay” and call it a night. I'm laying there  kind of half awake, half asleep and was just getting ready to be out cold when I hear something that I've never heard before. Never heard since. It sounded terrifying! Never heard a screaming banshee, but if I had, I would imagine that's kind of what it sounded like! I'm picturing witches flying around. It was a scary, man! "What the heck was that?" It was like somebody either just died or some vicious, weird creature was out there! I'm laying there and thinking… "it sounded like a long ways off, right?" So I'm still laying there and it's about five or ten minutes later, something like that. I'm thinking, "Sweet, whatever that was is gone." I am starting to doze off and I hear it again, except closer and louder!  

At this time I'm about to mess myself! I'm so scared because I have no idea what that was, but I'm genuinely fearful! Remind you that I'm armed with a Bible, C.S. Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity, and by this point, an empty bottle of Mountain Dew. But those were my weapons, and "I rebuke you, animal! The power of Christ compels you." Sorry. oh, so that was wrong. I'm scared to death sitting in this tent. This thing's getting closer. I'm hearing the crunch and it's getting louder and louder and louder! The reality was it was probably one hundred yards away. But then again, if you've been on the lake or in the woods and there's nothing else out there, everything feels like it's on top of you. I'm in my tent and it's crunching, crunching, and closer! 

And then I hear it again right outside my tent, no lie! It's got to be within fifteen feet of my tent, and at this point, it’s the most terrifying thing I've ever experienced in my entire life. I think, "this is it, I’m dead! I'm going to die!" So I did what any manly man would do, and I curled up in a ball in the middle of my tent, pull my sleeping bag up over my head. I stayed like this because my logic was if there's some demon creature out there, it's going to have to work really hard to get to me. I've got my foot on one end of the tent and my head on this end, so it's got to get tangled up in the tent to get to me. I am not going to just let it pounce on my head and so I'm terrified. 

We're talking like Blair Witch Project scared, all I want is my Mama! At this point I'm praying, “God, please let me live. I don't want to die tonight. I was here trying to find you and I don't want to find you this way. Please let me live!” Slowly I heard the steps go away and it screeched a few more times in the distance. It went off and then was gone. Probably three or four hours later, I finally fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning, the sun's coming in on the tent and I’m thinking … that was crazy! 

I’m freezing, but also sweating to death because the sun’s coming in. I packed up the tent, called Natasha and said, “Good news, I found Jesus in one night. I'm coming home, didn't take two.” I headed back home. Seriously, straight up, I've never been back to Sand Rock since ever. Don't know what that was, but no matter how many times I've been camping and no matter how much I love to camp, the reality is there's something about being at home. I love to go out and be in the tent. I have a blast and get all excited. But after being out there two, three days, whatever, at some point you start longing for your bed. I start to think, okay, the rocks and the sleeping bag are getting old. I'm ready for the foam mattress. 

I'm ready for air conditioning. I'm ready for a real toilet. I'm ready for a real shower. I want to be home where I know I'm supposed to be. Today, we’re starting this series called “It Matters.” This series is about the tension that we live in as Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ. Paul talks about it a lot. We're going to be in 2 Corinthians:5 during this series, if you want to turn there, Paul talks about it in all of his letters, but he talks about it a lot in 2 Corinthians:4 and 5, but 5, specifically. This tension that we live in as Christians is an understanding that this world isn't our home, and that we are desperately longing to be free of these tents. He says that we long to be free of the pain, the hurt, and the suffering of this world because we understand that there is a reality that heaven is our home. 

We're going to get to be in the presence of God Almighty, perfected as He intended it to be, but there's also the reality of I'm forty-five years old and I'm here. He wants to do something with me here. That's what this series is going to be about. This idea of “it matters.” And yes, what is it that matters? The answer is yes, all of it. It matters. You being here this morning matters. What we do when we leave this place matters. The gospel matters. Eternity matters in the here and now. I'm going to pray and just ask God's blessing on his word and then we're going to get into this today. God, thank you for your word. God, I thank you that your word is alive. That your word is active, that it is sharper than a two-edged sword and that you want to do business with this today as we open up your word by your spirit. 

God, speak to us. God, get me out of the way where I might be confusing and unclear. God, I pray that your spirit would speak in spite of that because ultimately my words mean nothing without Your spirit, without Your holy word, and so God, I believe again with all of my heart that incredible things happen when Your word is spoken, so speak to us now, God. If we need conviction, God, convict. If we need encouragement, encourage. Ultimately God just do business in this place. God, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, there are people here today that don't know You. They don't understand the gospel they haven't received this gift of grace that You so freely give. And so my prayer is that for them, specifically, that your spirit would call them today, and that today will be a day of surrender for them. God, ultimately just do what only You can do by Your word, Your spirit in Jesus’ name. Amen

So we're going to be in 2 Corinthians 5 over the next four weeks. And I want to give you just a little bit of background, a little bit history on Paul who wrote this letter to the Corinthians. There was a letter written to this church that he had a lot of vested interest in. As a matter of fact, we know that there are several things about the church at Corinth. Number one, we know that they were a jacked up church. To be fair, it's because they were in a jacked up culture. I mean they were in this pagan culture that was just messed up. There were all kinds of nastiness happening in this town and Paul showed up and planted a church here. These folks believed the gospel, they understood the gospel and they surrendered their lives to the gospel. 

Paul was a church planter, if you will, here. We know that at least three times that we know of, Paul actually spent time in Corinth specifically with this church ministering to them and pastoring this church. We also know that Paul actually wrote at least three letters. We have recorded 1 and 2 Corinthians, but we learn, I think it's in 1 Corinthians 5 if I remember right, Paul actually talks about a previous letter that he had written. He says you remember in our previous letter and he actually talks about some pretty scathing things that he said in that previous letter. Then we also learned in 2 Corinthians that he had said some pretty scathing things as well. Specifically, I'm referring to 1 Corinthians, this being the second letter that he had written to the Corinthians. 

So we understand that Paul had a good relationship with these folks. If you guys are like me, a lot of times Paul intimidates me. Anybody feel like that? No one. Awesome. Paul does intimidate me. What I mean by that is sometimes I read Paul's words and to be honest, sometimes I feel like Paul is kind of arrogant. Sometimes I feel like Paul is this guy that's got all this junk together, that he knows everything and just wants to explain the gospel crystal clear to everyone. If you don't get it, you're an idiot, is how I feel his letters are sometimes. But what I love about 2 Corinthians. specifically. is Paul opens up his heart and we understand that he's got a very intense relationship with this body of believers at the church, at Corinth. 

He cares about them deeply. As a matter of fact, so much that we get to see the human side of Paul a little bit and that he's super concerned about how these folks feel about him. He admits that he wrote this letter to them and I think it's in 2 Corinthians 7. He actually says at first, “I was worried about writing that letter because honestly I didn't want to hurt you, because I do love you very much and I didn't want to hurt your feelings. I've heard that you guys have repented, so now I'm not sad that I wrote the letter. I've been worried sick about how you guys were going to receive it.” But he has gotten word that they received it, so now he’s not sad that he wrote it. “The things that I had to say to you actually caused godly sorrow in you.” And he explains the difference between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Just so we're clear, Godly sorrow understands that my heart, my wickedness, my self-worship desperately needed a savior. 

It causes such great pain for God, so much so that he had to send his Son to die for me, and that I had no hope without him. That's the gospel. And now because of the pain inflicted on the Son of God on the cross, he took my torment. He took my punishment. He took God's wrath and he bore it on himself so that I could have the life. He imparted his righteousness, his holiness on me. That's who I am now. That is my identity. Scripture says the righteousness of God. Now that's the gospel. When I understand Godly sorrow, it breaks my heart that God had to do that for me. Godly sorrow leads to true repentance and true repentance says I'll do whatever it takes to right wrongs that I've made and to surrender my life. Paul says in Romans 12 that the only logical sacrifice is the only logical response to the sacrifice that God made for us. It is to offer our bodies, to offer our lives, as a living sacrifice. To lay down our rights, to lay down our desires so that Christ can now live in us. Clearly, that’s the Gospel.  

Paul gets excited because he realizes that these guys are understanding this and they're repenting. He's relieved at this restored relationship and the theme in the letters to the Corinthians. Many of Paul's letters, but specifically the letters to the Corinthians, is the idea of this freedom that we have in Christ, and to be clear, Paul  says, listen, you have been freed and if the Son has set us free than we are truly free indeed! He says, stays free, man. Stay free. That's who we are. Then he says, but there's also this responsibility and walking out our freedom this side of eternity. What does this look like? Paul spends a lot of time telling us, this is how we stay eternally minded, but how we live here, this side of eternity. This is what God desires of us here, this side of eternity. He talks about what matters and ultimately it's everything. I want to read 2 Corinthians 4:7 before we get to chapter five to kind of set this up because I think he gives such a beautiful picture of what the Gospel really is and who we are in Christ. Listen to what he says. 2 Corinthians 4:7, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, it's the Gospel. We've been changed. We've been transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ. But we ourselves were like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure man.” How beautiful is that? 

I think if we're honest, man, that's how I feel. Yeah, they got it. "How in the world could you entrust something so beautiful as the Gospel to something so broken and fragile as Shannon Kyle Lovelady?" But we're like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure and this makes it clear. I love this man. “Let us be clear where the glory goes.” He said this makes it clear that our great power is from God. It's not us. It's Christ Him crucified and now alive in me. That's our hope. Then he goes on to the end of chapter four and verse sixteen. He says that's why we never give up. Our bodies are dying. Our spirits are being renewed every day for our present troubles are small and they won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. This eternity mindedness helps us to not look at the troubles we can see now. Rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen, for the things that we see now will soon be gone, but the things that we cannot see will last forever. What matters man? Eternity matters. Period. End of discussion. 

Paul goes on in chapter five and he describes this dilemma we're in as Christ followers. This being torn between two worlds. This understanding that this world isn't my home, but God has a purpose for me here, and now he says, for we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down, that's when we die and leave. This earthly body will have a house in heaven and an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing we will put on. We will put on heavenly bodies. We will not be spirits without bodies. I want to make sure we're clear on heaven. Guys, we're not going to be floating around on clouds playing harps, singing songs, seriously. That's not heaven. I know some of y'all are laughing, but I know some are like, "for real? I'm more excited now." That's not who we are.

Heaven is about creation, the way it was intended to be, perfected. Finding out everything, our every sustenance, and the Creator God. I don’t know about y’all, but man, I cannot wait for that perfect body. No, no, no. It's going to be even better! I cannot wait. Seriously? In the back during worship, when I'm squatting down praying during that last song. By the way, man, our worship team, good grief, wow! I'm praying in the back and I get up to walk and, oh, my knees won't work. But it's going to be perfected in heaven and understand that it's going to be amazing! While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan, and it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us, but rather we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.  God Himself has prepared us for this and as a guarantee, He's given us what the church is. The Holy Spirit and God. Do you understand? Seriously Christian, do you understand that you have the Creator and hear me loud and clear? Because if you don't understand it, you don't get it! 

Then you’ve got some soul searching and questioning to do, to be honest. Do you understand that upon salvation, receiving God's grace and his mercy, you have the Creator of the all knowing, all powerful God of the universe dwelling within you. You understand that? Do you understand Galations? I mean really? If you have laid down your life, then Christ now lives, His Holy Spirit is in you. Do you understand that? This side of eternity, God and His incredible love and grace have given us a glimpse of eternity. Just a glimpse of what it's going to be like to be in his presence without fail. Find our worth in Hm, find our hope in Him. Find your everything in Him and He's given us that now. Our God is good, but it does create this dilemma if I want more. 

I want more. I have this unquenchable thirst of give me more. "Give me more and give me more. And God, like Paul said, I want to be with you now, but I know that you've got work for me to do here now." So we're torn as his children. We're always confident though, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies, we’re not at home with the Lord, for we live by believing and not by seeing. Let me say that again. We live by believing and not by seeing. I hope you guys know that your feelings will lie to you. Yes, we are fully confident. Why are we fully confident? Because we have been marked, we have been bought, we've been adopted. My identity in is Christ and I am fully confident because of his Holy Spirit who has taken up residence in me. It's changing me. And we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we're here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to what, Church? It is to do what pleases him. Our goal is to please Him. And the tone starts to change here a little bit.

"Wait, wait, what? What? We're talking about heaven and how great it's going to be." But Paul says, as long as we're here that we got work to do, for we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or the evil that we have done in this earthly body. Then he goes on in verse 11, and he says, “Because we understand, we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord.” We understand the gospel. We understand the importance of eternity. We get it. So we do what, Church? Come on say it like you mean it. We do what? We work hard to persuade others. See, God knows we’re sincere. And I hope you know this too. We work hard to persuade others. Guys, you need to understand everything, we do. Everything we say, it matters!

2 Corinthians 4:7The work we do matters. The ministry matters. It matters. He says it this way in Philippians 1, if you want to flip there real quickly. Philippians 1: 20, he says, “For I fully expect and hope that I'll never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ as I have been in the past and I trust that my life will bring honor  to Christ, whether I live or die,” and this will sound familiar to you guys, “for to me, living means living for Christ and dying is even better.” Some of you guys probably know the NIV version. “For me to live as Christ and to die is gain, but if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ.” Guys, do you see the torment that Paul's feeling here? It's not about flesh and spirit. For him, it's about being in God's presence completely, or it's about doing God's work by his presence here. Now he says, I'm torn between two desires. Verse twenty-three, “I longed to go and be with Christ, which will be far better for me, but for your sakes, it's better that I continue to live.” Guys, we're citizens of heaven working hard in a foreign land right now. That's who we are. 

This world is not our home. This is camping. We were never meant to find our worth; we were never meant to find our hope; we were never meant to find our satisfaction in this place, in your kids and your family, in your stuff, in anything other than God. It's not our home. 

It's a pretty imitation, but it's a broken imitation. Creation is groaning to be with the Savior. 

So we're citizens of heaven. We're working hard now. Why? Not because we have something to prove. Paul had nothing to prove, but I believe fully that when we truly experience God's grace, when we truly understand our purpose, when we truly get the Gospel, and again as we talked about it weeks ago, Romans 12, memorize Romans 12, all of it, Paul says, listen, now that you understand the Gospel, now that you understand the gifts you've been given, your only logical response to give up your life. That's it. That's the gospel. You're the only logical response. The only response that can ever make sense is to say, “Wow, I've been spending my entire life living a way that seems right to man and it leads to death over and over and over and over and over and over again, but thank God I have a Father who loved me enough to pay the price so that I could live. Thank you for the good news of Jesus Christ.” My only logical response can be to offer my life as a living sacrifice. That's it. To find my hope in him, to find my worth in him. I believe when we understand the gospel, it changes us, Church. 

When you receive God's grace, you can't remain the same. Everything changes. I believe that with all my heart, it changes the way you're a husband. It changes the way you're a wife, changes the way you're a teacher, changes the way you’re a student, changes how you parent. It changes how you're a boss. It changes how you're an employee. It changes how you're a neighbor. It changes how you view people who have a different color. It changes everything. See, as Paul said again, back to 2 Corinthians 4-7, this light that's shining in our hearts, when we received the grace of Jesus Christ, it cannot help but reflect the Creator. Your lives can’t help but do it. Why? Because you have the living God dwelling in your church, that God will never leave you nor forsake you, nor abandon you as part of your DNA. You can't help but change when you understand that's who you are. Now it's a matter of fact. I would say it this way and I pray that you hear this as total love and not condemnation. You guys know that I believe we belong to each other and the most unloving thing I can do to you is not speak truth to you. As a matter of fact, I would say that if you haven't changed. 

If your life looks no different than before you met Christ, I would actually say you probably haven't met Christ and received His grace and I can tell you, I've been there. Done that. I prayed a prayer. I jumped in a tub. I went forward with tears in my eyes, but I didn't understand his grace. I didn't meet Christ for several more years. It was worldly sorrow. It had nothing to do with Godly sorrow. The emotions were raw. The emotions were real but I did not receive his grace. How do I know? Because I wasn't changed and just so we're clear, I'm not making this stuff up. Let's read James, his words. James 2: 14. “When we understand eternity, when we understand the Gospel and God's grace and we receive his grace and his Holy Spirit, it changes us.” James was Jesus' brother who didn't believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but many years later died to self, because he believed that Jesus was the Messiah and he headed up the church at Jerusalem. This is that same James. So he said, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions 

Can that kind of face save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing and you say goodbye and have a good day, stay warm, eat well, but then you don't give that person any food or clothing.” What good does that do? You see, faith by itself isn't enough unless it produces what, Church? It's dead and useless. James understands that we're going to fire back with an argument and he says. “Now, some may argue that some people have faith, others have good deeds, but I say, how can you show me your faith if you don't have good deeds?” I will show you my faith by what church? Then he goes on and he gets harsh. Here it says, “You say you have faith for you. Believe that there is one God.” I hope you hear the sarcasm in his voice. He says, good for you, Christian man. I'm begging you. Listen to this. Our society preaches such a cheap gospel. He says, good for you. Even the demons believe this. They even tremble and terror. Demons are very aware of who Jesus Christ is. They are. They are very aware that there is one God. They are very aware of who the Messiah is and they tremble at his name. 

How foolish! Can't you see that? Faith without good deeds is what, Church? Useless! So you are saying, “James, was just a human. What does he know? Maybe he's off.”  Well, let's let's look at what our Savior said. There was a sermon he preached called the Sermon on the Mountain. He got to the end and he preached all kinds of good stuff and the whole crowd was amen and amen and amen. Then people were coming and being healed and following him and saying, “We love what this guy is saying. Preach it, brother.” Then in Luke 6:43, we read, “A  good tree can't produce bad fruit and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart. An evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what's in your heart,.” Then he takes it a step further, and man, I'm telling you, church, hear me. Paul was talking to the Corinthians. As somebody who loves you dearly, this verse  keeps me up at night. This verse terrifies me. Verse forty-six. The reason it terrifies me is that I believe he uses words saying that we're all going to stand before Him one day and we're going to say, “Lord Lord, we did all these things. We volunteered on June 23rd. We came to church. We prophesied in your name. We prayed in your name.” Then He's going to say, “Depart from me, I never knew you. It was lip service. It meant nothing. You hadn't received my grace. You hadn't received my spirit. It was just nothing.” Then he says in verse forty six, as he gets done with the sermon, he says, “Why do you keep calling me, Lord, Lord?” Hear me, Church! “Why do you keep calling me, Lord, Lord, when you don't do what I say?” 

Make no mistake, Jesus is clear in his implication here. What he's saying is, stop calling me your Lord when you don't do anything I say. Then he goes on. We used to sing this cute little song about it. He says I'll show you what it's like when someone comes to me. He listens to my teaching then follows it. That's like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. That rock will never be shaken because it's the rock of Jesus Christ. And when the flood waters rise and break against that house, it will stand firm because it is a good build. Its foundation is Jesus Christ and his foundation is the Gospel and, come hell or high water, nothing will destroy it! There'll be a peace that passes all understanding of joy beyond comprehension. Why? Because the foundation is true, but if you give lip service, anyone who hears and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the world hits, when the floods come, when life hits you square upside of the face. When cancer strikes, when divorce happens, when that sudden death hits, when that abuse takes place, whatever it is, insert a broken world here, Church. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins. Why? Because it's not real. It's not built on anything solid except lip service or some chlorine water. 

Faith that doesn't express itself in action, honestly, is really no faith at all. It's just not! Does your life look different because of the Gospel. Cedric, can you come here a minute? 

Cool. This is Cedric. Cedric, Do you have faith in me? You trust me? Alright, so I need you to turn around and close your eyes. Hold your arms out. You’ve got faith in me. I'll catch you when you fall back. So did he have faith? How do you know? What if he had stood there not falling back and said seriously, “I’ve got faith in you. I got faith in you.” What would you all say? You're full of it. You're full of it. It's lip service. It means nothing. 

Thank you, man. 

Faith without works is dead church, and I'm not saying this out of condemnation because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. What I'm saying is ask yourself, am I in Christ Jesus? That's all I'm saying. It matters a lot. Eternity matters and it starts here and it starts now and it transforms us and it changes us. Your marriage changes. Your workplace changes. How you preach. Just go down the list. It changes you. It matters! Why? Because at the end of the day, Christ was crucified 

I was crucified along with Him and He now is alive in me. At the end of the day, that’s it. That's all that matters. It's the gospel. Is it being lived out in your life? Maybe today you need to go get in that baptistry. Maybe you've been fighting and going I have got to get baptized but why? Simply make no mistake. It is by grace through faith that we are saved and then every single Christian in the New Testament went, so, Jesus, what do we do? Get baptized. Be Immersed. You better believe it matters. Better believe it's important. You better believe it's necessary. Why? Because Jesus said, do it. That's it. Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I say? Maybe today you need to do that. Maybe some of you today, maybe today's the day. You need to go to your wife, go to your husband. You need to repent. Quit talking about how sorry you are. 

Maybe today's the day you turn around and say, you know what? My faith is going to be lived out in action because God is transforming and doing something in my heart. We talked about this earlier, but we have an app and on our website, there are ways that you can serve in the church. There are so many ways that you can serve in the community and put your faith to action, but guys, I don't want to make it about that at all. I mean, it matters. Don't mishear me. It matters. We are getting ready to be all in our community and teach the world that there is a God who loves them dearly. He would give anything for them and he has given everything for them. It’s our job to show them that, so this stuff matters. But what really matters is Christ was crucified and now is alive in you and you have this Holy Spirit residing in you. So today, let's get that right. If you need somebody to pray with, I'm going to be over here. Other people will be over here. If you need to talk, let's talk. If you need to get in the baptistry, let's get in the baptistry. Whatever you gotta do, it matters. It matters.

God, thank you for loving us. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for salvation. Thank you for the hope that you bring. Thank you for Jesus Christ and who now is alive in us. In Jesus' name, Amen.