Speaker: Tim Bollinger
Scripture: Genesis 18:22-33

From the series Part 3

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Additional Resources
Genesis Part 3 Reading Plan Download
Genesis Part 3 Dig Deeper Questions Download

Full Sermon Transcript

So today, on this first Sunday in January, we are kicking off what we’re calling Genesis part three. And so you might be here today. You might. This might be your first Sunday ever at Shepherd’s Gate. We had some people at our last service. That was the case. Or maybe you came to one of our Christmas services and you came back to check out this place called Shepherd’s Gate. And so you’re probably wondering, well, what if I was in here for part one and two? Good. So here’s the good news is we have this incredible website. If you just go to ASCII church dot org and the reason it’s ASCII church or is because no one knows how to spell the word shepherd. Okay. So you go to ASCII church dot org and if you click on the top where it says church on line, you go down to watch on demand. Check this out. And then you hit books of the Bible. And all the books of the Bible that we’ve covered are actually on this page. It’s so cool they updated it. If you click on Genesis, we’ve added the numbering to them to make it super easy because we would just encourage you to go back and to watch all of the messages that we have preached up to this point. And I know some of you are probably wondering, do people actually do this? And the answer is yes.

I know about a dozen people that have been attending our church just the last couple of months. And because of the things that are going on in our church, they want to know kind of where our church stands on certain topics and issues. But this also becomes an incredible resource for you as you read your Bible. And you might be reading a passage of Scripture and you might be like, man, you know, I wish I had more context or I wish someone was explaining more of what this means. I can’t wait until that tab that says Books of the Bible is just continues to grow as we continue to go over books of the Bible. Here at Shepherds Gate. And now what they’re doing in just the last several weeks because of I so here’s I working in a positive way is they’re transcribing our sermons. So if you can read faster than you can listen, you can go on and you can click the transcript able to show you our entire sermon. Isn’t that cool? You didn’t seem very excited about that.

You know why? It’s it’s it’s partly because people just don’t read anymore. Right. So that’s why we got to chop up our sermons and these little 62nd clips and throw them out on social media to you throughout the week as well. So we’re doing everything that we can to push content to you to let you know what it is that we’re doing. In fact, if you haven’t downloaded our website, our app, I would just encourage you to download our app. If you go on our app, it’s really cool. Right on the right on the home page, it tells you it links you to this series on Genesis three. And when you click on it, you’ll see here that you can actually look and see all of the text that we’re going to be covering in this series. So you can actually read the passages of Scripture before you come to church and you can highlight and underline and kind of grapple with attacks. And then when you come here, you can say, okay, what is it that they’re going to teach us and how are they going to explain God’s word to us, as well as discussing questions and specifically at the bottom of every single week are family questions.

So those of you that have your kids and your kids, you can have those faith conversations either on the way home or at the dining room table, whether it’s breakfast or dinner or whenever you have those strategic times of sharing and passing on the faith to the next generation. So again, we are doing everything that we can to create content for you. And I know some people have asked, what is this sermon series from another church and are you just copying and pasting these questions? And the answer is everything that we’re doing here is made in house. It’s organic, it’s original Shepherd’s Gate material.So all the questions that you see,the family questions of the sermon series have all been made by us praying that the Holy Spirit gives also word for our church and for our community. And so we want you to make sure that you take advantage of that. Does that make sense? All right. I can tell you there’s no better time to do that than now, because this is the this is the most strategic weeks that you can be disciple. Do you know why? Because it’s cold and it’s dark and there’s nothing else to do. You can’t go on your boat.

You can’t go up to your cottage, You can’t open your camper. You can’t really go for a walk unless you bundle up in 14 layers. This is the perfect time for you to dig into God’s Word and to watch what it is that God awakens in your heart and your life. I just want to encourage you with that today as we start part three. And so for part three, it’s going to be Genesis chapter 18, and we’re going to conclude with chapter 25 that starts today and goes all the way to March 17. So it’s 11 weeks, but it’s 12 services. And the reason it’s 12 services is because part of this is going to be Ash Wednesday that actually is on Valentine’s Day this year. So on February 14th, it will be part of our Genesis series. Now, as you heard Kat talk about the next three weeks, we are going to be discussing sensitive topics just like we have with Genesis chapter one or Genesis part one in Genesis part two. And so I want you to know how basically we come up with the topics that we’re going to be discussing, because there’s kind of two ways to write a sermon and a sermon series.

One way is to be like, Hey, I really want my congregation to talk about this topic. And then you go to the Word of God and you look up different Scripture references to fit that topic. Well, when you do a book of the Bible and you go chapter by chapter, verse by verse, this is how it works, is you open the Bible and you read it, and you read it again, and you read it again and you read it again. And you allow God’s Word to speak to you and you go, Wow, look at what it’s addressing and look at how it’s impacting my life and look at how it actually is insanely relevant to the things that are going on in our lives today. And so when you see these topics, these aren’t topics that we just picked out of the sky. These are topics that came from digging deep into these chapters and reading them and saying, okay, God, what is it that you’re speaking through these passages? And so next week we will be talking about the LGBTQ community, and we’ll also be talking about building bridges and what that looks like here at Shepherds Gate.

The following week, we will be talking about why we believe the church is in decline. If you didn’t know, the church is at a rapid decrease pace right now in America and it has been around the world. Well, why is that? And then the final Sunday of January, we’ll talk about sexual perversions. So you see why there’s a PG 13 rating on that. And so you guys are the 1030 service your kids. We would just encourage you to put them into the kids program where they will be covering similar attacks, but not at the level that we’re going to be covering it. They’ll be covering at age appropriate levels. Now, if you come to the 9:00 service, we will have our kids staff here that will be able to take your kids and they have activities for them and planned for them. So we will have kids activities and programing at both services. So since we’re going to be hitting it hard for three weeks, we thought we would come back the first Sunday, February and cover something easy. So we thought we would talk about politics. How does that sound?

Okay, because I don’t know if, you know, 2024 is kind of a big year. Some things are some candidates out there. Honestly, I like to focus more on God in Scripture and what he’s doing through the church. But nonetheless, we live in this society. We do. So we got to address it. And whether or not we actually live in a Christian nation because anybody know, do we live in a Christian nation? See, we don’t even agree in here. So it’s going to be great. It can be awesome. February 11th, we’re going to do Ishmail 2.0 and those of you that were here for Genesis two, remember that we had a guest speaker, Abdu Murray, and we asked him to come speak because he was a former Muslim. He was raised in a muslim family and God got a hold of his life. He radically converted to Christianity. And so as he spoke last week or last series, he spoke from just a personal perspective that just was able to really tie in the text. But as he was preaching the text that we had given him and the boundaries that we told him to stay in wouldn’t you know, he started actually going to the future and he started using the texts from the Genesis three series.

What, you think that’s unfair? So I said, Abdu, because you did this, you have to now come back and you’re going to have to do Ishmael 2.0. And so he said, Yes, sure, I love being at Shepherd’s Gate. I’d love to come back and speak. And do you know what also is going to happen on February 11th? Are any of you, you know, paying attention to what’s going on in little old Michigan? It is you can say it loud. Go ahead. What is it? What’s February 11th, the Super Bowl? And so it’s going to be cool because we’re all going to have our lions jerseys on and we’re going to be celebrating. And so come on Sunday morning, we’re going to listen to Abdu, give us God’s word, and then we’re all going to gather and we’re going to watch the Detroit Lions become Super Bowl champions. Amen. Amen. Look at that. It’s the loudest game that I’ve gotten so far this morning. After they win the Super Bowl, we’re going to come back and for the next six weeks, these are the topics human sacrifice.

Now, if you grew up going to Sunday school and you know the story of Abraham and Isaac, maybe you can figure out what we’re going to talk about on Ash Wednesday, the following week, we’re going to talk about widowers. And I want you to think about this because we talk a lot about widows and orphans. And there’s lots of scriptures about widows and orphans. But have you ever those of you that have been in church heard a sermon specifically addressing widow widowers. And so it’s a really cool text. And if you’ve lost a loved one, I just know that that week is going to be really meaningful as we dive into that part of Genesis. Anybody, you don’t have to raise your hand. Are you single out there? Are you looking? Do you feel that God has placed that on your heart? There is a text in Genesis for you. Anybody married out there, anybody hoping their marriage is better in 2024 than in 2023? No. One. That’s great. That’s why we do these sermons. And here’s the thing. You’re looking at it and you’re like, isn’t that it shouldn’t be love and marriage?

Why just say marriage and love? And it’s so cool because when you read the text, it’s marriage in love. And I just believe that God’s going to do some things. And marriages in our church, followed by infertility, sibling rivalry and parent favoritism, again, all in scripture. And then finally, some of, you know, March 17th, St Patrick’s Day, the Irish in the room, we’re going to be looking at sellouts in our society. Now, the reason that we’re ending on March 17th is because Palm Sunday is actually March 24th this year, which means Easter is March 31st. So here’s what you need to know. 11 weeks from right now is Palm Sunday, which means 12 weeks from right now is Easter. And some of you, you like to keep up your Christmas decorations until the spring. So here is your warning. Put your hat on, put your coat on, take your Christmas decorations down because you only have 11 weeks until you got to put up the Easter eggs and get all the Easter decorations around. I know some of you are having anxiety right now because you’re like, I just got through the time with my family.

I just got a very good time with my family. It’s coming up quick and I want you to think now about who it is that God is even going to lay on your heart to invite to one of our Holy week and especially our Easter services. Does that sound good? All right. So if you’re new to Shepherd’s Gate, this is kind of like, you know, in school where it’s like the first day of class and you get the syllabus and. And that’s kind of why we do this, because I want you to be prepared for what’s ahead. But I also want you to get excited about what’s ahead. I don’t want you to miss a single week of what we’re doing here at Shepherd’s Gate. In fact, if you’re not in the hospital or you’re not dying, you should be here. And if you are in the hospital or dying, then one of the people that we’re here should be with you and they’ll help you watch the service online so that you don’t miss a single week. Does that sound good? All right. That’s how passionate we are and that’s how much we just believe that God has a word for you and your family.

Everything. We a man. All right, Here’s where we’re going to start today because Genesis part three, we’re going to look at this whole concept of the wrath of God versus the mercy of God. And this is God a raffle. God is God a God of mercy. And what does that look like in view of Genesis Chapter 18? Now, we did end kind of oddly, the last series when we ended in the middle of Chapter 18, and we’re going to start in the middle of Chapter 18. So if you want all of Chapter 18, just go back and listen to the last message from Genesis chapter two. But here are the questions that I want to propose, not just today, but for all of the weeks that we’re going to be addressing in January. These are the questions that I just want permeating in our mind. I want us to just kind of grapple with this and struggle with this over the next several weeks. How does God deal with continual unrepentant sin? Now, I use those words on purpose, especially the last three words, because you can be a child of God, you can be sorry for your sins and still caught in continual sin. But this question says, Well, how does it that God does with deals with?

When people are caught in continual unrepentant, they refuse to repent of their sins? Question number two is this When does God decide his mercy has come to an end? Can we look at the life of Abraham and Sarah up to this point? And we can see certain patterns that God has developed? Can we look at other scriptures throughout the Bible and look at patterns and say, okay, God, when is it your mercy? You just come to an end and what does that look like? And then finally, this is how you personalize it for us. What is it that we have been called to do with those who reject Jesus and his teachings? Now, again, you might be here and you might not know what you believe. Maybe you came to the Christmas service. Maybe this is your first Sunday. Maybe you didn’t grow up in church.I’m so glad that you’re here. We want to engage with you. We want you to come back week after week. Whether you believe what we believe or are you agree with what I say or what Ben says. We want you to be part of this community.

We want to be part of your life. But there’s a point in all of this that I just believe Scripture is crystal clear on in helping us understand our purpose with our time on earth, which is actually what we’re going to be talking about today. But before we jump to Genesis 18, we are going to have to rewind a few chapters because the writer of Genesis, what he’s done up to this point is he’s he’s dropped these breadcrumbs along the way, and he specifically has dropped breadcrumbs when it comes to talking about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And so what I want you to do, what I want you to do is I want you to see just what these breadcrumbs have been, even though there hasn’t really been an explanation up to this point, because it sets us up. So where we’re going to land today and then it’s going to help us as we move into the future. And so if you go back to Genesis 13, his name still Abraham at this point. It says he lived in the land of Cain and is and what lived among the cities of the plain. And he pitched his head, his tents were near Sodom.

Now, if you don’t know the story, if you haven’t been around for either for part one or part two, Abraham and Sarah were called by God to leave their land, to leave the comforts of their life and to go into a new area. And part of that was they brought Lord, which is Abraham’s nephew, with them. And so the God was blessing them. And they and they went through ups and downs. And we’ve been through that with all of the sermons up to this point. And they decided that they were going to divide some land. So a lot goes in. He pitches his tent near Sodom, and that’s a key. That’s a breadcrumb for us. But then he also adds this detail. The people of Sodom were wicked and we’re sinning greatly against the Lord, but he doesn’t tell us how they’re wicked and he doesn’t tell us how they’re sinning greatly. If you go to the next chapter in chapter 14, what you actually read is that there was these kings that came and they took Sodom and Gomorrah captive, and when they did that, they also took a lot. Abraham’s nephew and all of his possessions and his family captive as well.

And the reason was, is because they went from living near Sodom to now they’re why they’re in Sodom. And wouldn’t you know, because Abraham Abraham is this incredible family member has a heart for his relative. He actually divided his men. He created this army. He defeats those that came in and took over Sodom and Gomorrah. He recovers all the goods and he brings back his relative lot in his possessions together with the women and all the other people. So it’s interesting because God has already used lot to kind of rescue Sodom and Gomorrah. You can see how God’s mercy and grace has already been used through Abraham to bring them back. And so they’re back now living in Sodom and Gomorrah. And so as we look at Chapter 18, it says the Lord, this is God. He appears to Abraham by the ox of memory. And he sat at the door of his tent and the heat of the day. And in verse 17, it says, The Lord says, Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation.

All the nations on the earth will be blessed through him, for I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. And we’ve talked about this. We see generation after generation after generation of God’s faithfulness so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what I have promised him. So God chooses him. And God is the one that makes the promise with Abraham. That’s what we’ve read consistently over and over again throughout Genesis. The Lord then goes on to say, The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. So again, he’s repeating this idea that Sodom and Gomorrah is not a very good place. In fact, they are caught in continual unrepentant sin even after being rescued. Even even after being restored, there’s still a level of wickedness that God will not tolerate.

And when you read passages like this and you can see this movement of God is actually going to go down and see, you might ask yourself, Well, wait, isn’t God all knowing? Isn’t God all powerful? Isn’t he omnipresent? Which means he’s everywhere at the same time? Why would he need to go down and take a look if he already knows? And so whenever you see these kind of phrases in Scripture, what it shows you is actually the heart of God. It shows you how much he cares about his most precious creation, us human beings created in his likeness, in his image, because he repeats these kind of phrases all the way back in the garden with Adam and Eve when they first sinned. It says that God came down to them in the cool of the day or when the when the people decided they were going to build a tower called the Tower of Babel up to God, God came down to see what they were doing. And so again, that’s just showing us. It’s not that he doesn’t know what they’re doing, it’s just showing us the heart that he has for people. But look what happens next.

This is crazy. He’s kind of wrestling. Okay, what am I going to do? They’re not getting it. They don’t seem like their hearts are wanting to turn toward me. And so Abraham approaches God and he says these words, Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are 50 righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of 50 righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you will not the judge of all the earth do what is right. And yes, so incredible. Abraham,Why does he have a heart for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah? Why is he interceding for the people of Sodom? Why is he trying to stop God’s wrath and Sodom and Gomorrah? I want you to think about that. This is how God answers them.If I can find 50 righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.

And incredible God says, All right, you can find 50 people, 50 people that that that recognize their sin and have turned toward me and recognize me as the one true God. Then I’ll spare the place in Abraham. It’s kind of an interesting response because he speaks up again. He says, Well, now that I have been so bold as to speak to you then, and he adds this detail, I love this, though I am nothing but dust and ashes. He guy with everythingthat I’ve been through in my life and the way that I know that you miraculously saved me and called me out to be this person that you have created and destined me to be. And God, even as I’ve been living in this foreign land. And sometimes I got it right. And there are so many times when I got it wrong, God, somehow in your grace, in your mercy, you didn’t give up on me. You still continued to keep the covenant that you made with yourself. The covenant that you would work through me and bless all nations. Through me, God, you’re the Creator and I’m the creation God.

I recognize you as a sovereign God of all. What if the number of the righteous is five? Less than 50? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people? All right. Those of you that are good at math in here, what’s 50 minus five? Check this out. This is how God responds. If I find 45 there, he said, I will not destroy it. So Abraham’s like, okay. But what if I ask for more? Once again, Abraham spoke to him and it just stopped. Paul, I think you’re going to have to help me because I think the clicker died. What do you think is next? There we go. If only 40 are found there, he said for the sake of 40, I will not do it. Then Abraham says, Well, may the Lord not be angry and don’t be angry with me. I just want to ask. Let me speak again. What if only 30 can be found there and God answers, I will do it if I can find 30 there. What do you think Abraham’s going to ask for next 2529? Now that I’ve been so bold to speak to the Lord, what if only one tea can be found there? I look at God’s grace and mercy for the sake of 20, I will not destroy it. And then finally, as he says, Lord, don’t be angry at me. Let me speak just once more.

What if only ten can be found there? God answers in for the sake of ten, I won’t destroy it. And when the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left and Abraham returned to his home. So now that you’ve seen this progression, now that you’ve seen this interaction between Abraham and God, I want to go back to the three questions. How does God deal with continual, unrepentant sick? When does God decide his mercy has come to an end? What have we been called to do with those who reject Jesus and His commands? It’s interesting that Abraham would even have the heart for others. Many believe that the reason he had the heart and why he it was so important for him to get down to ten is because once again, he had a heart for his family. He had a heart for lot. And and those relatives that were connected to lot. And he’s like, if I can just get it down and God, will you spare will you will you not wipe out lot even with all the things that he’s done and all the things that he’s gotten himself into? And of course, because he he first planted his tents near Sodom. Of course, whenever you put yourself near temptation, what happens?

You get dragged into it. So it’s not really a big surprise that you go. He goes from near Sodom and all of a sudden he’s living living in Sodom where he becomes a prisoner of other kings. And then he’s brought back and he doesn’t relocate himself. He’s still living in Sodom and Gomorrah, even after all that he’s been through. God, will you once again just show grace and mercy to my family? Here’s to eternal realities that we really, truly need to understand. Those that are outside of faith in Jesus will perish. Are those that are outside of faith in Jesus will perish. If you don’t know Jesus, if Jesus hasn’t produced faith in your heart, really, because He’s not Lord and Savior of your life, you will perish. Now, perish is kind of a churchy word. And if you’re again new to church, you might be wonder, what does that mean? And so God has created us to be eternal beings. And Scripture is absolutely clear that when we die or Jesus comes back, we will spend eternity either with Jesus and is in His presence for all eternity, or we will spend eternity in hell. And it’s because this is what Jesus taught.

This is what Jesus explains to us over and over again when He walked the earth. It’s the whole reason it came. It’s the whole reason we just celebrated. Christmas is the reason we’re going to be celebrating Easter in just a few weeks. Jesus says, I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus is the only way. There is no other way. But this is also what’s important is God does not want anyone to perish. The more you read Scripture, the more you actually understand what are in the pages of Scripture. You will see this pattern over and over again. The incredible patience and grace and mercy of God. You will see the way in which He allows his creation for us to be led astray either by our own sinful desires or because we buy into the lies of the devil. And over and over and over again, he will do everything that he can to bring us back to himself. But there comes a point with God when He knows our human hearts and he knows what it is that we will ultimately do. And he comes to a point where, yes, his justice will be unfolded. And sometimes that’s the harsh reality.

Sometimes we don’t want to actually admit that or understand that or even talk about it. But you have to understand something. This is really what is the reality of the world that we live in. We live between this reality here on Earth and the attorney, eternal reality that awaits all of us. In fact, your time on this earth is more precious than you even realize. And God is calling all people to himself. Why do we do the Christmas services? Why do we do the Holy Week services so that we can invite our friends, so we can invite people who don’t know? Chris, you haven’t heard that God is a guru, is a merciful God, and he’s constantly reaching out and praying for us and wanting us to be part of his family. In fact, if you go to the New Testament and you read all the accounts of Jesus, I mean, when Jesus started his ministry, he went town by town, village by village. He’s healing people. He’s raising the dead. He’s, you know, healing people of sicknesses, all sorts of incredible things.

But the greatest miracle that he actually performs in each and every one of their lives is giving them faith, is acknowledging that he is the savior of the world. In fact, there’s this one account where Jesus is teaching this crowd and he goes into this town and there’s this little short guy there and he can’t see Jesus because there’s so many people. And so he decides he’s going to climb the tree. Those of you that grew up in Sunday school, you might remember this story. What’s the guy’s name? Yeah, look at this. He enters Jericho and he’s passing through, and there’s a man. There is names of kids, and he’s a chief tax collector and he’s white. Well, interesting, isn’t it? And what does Jesus do? He pushes the crowd away and he goes to the base of that tree, and he looks up at Zacchaeus and he says, Hey, I want to go to your house. I want to spend time with you. I want to understand your story. But more importantly, I want to have this time with you because I am Jesus and I am the promised Messiah.

And when you know that all these people were just upset that Jesus would even spend time with them because of this man’s reputation. But Jesus went to the man’s house, and I want you to see the words that are spoken over this man.Jesus says this to him Today to day salvation has come to this house because this man, too, is a son of what it means. Why I love the Old Testament. The more you read the New Testament, the more you’ll see over and over again the references to the Old Testament. And he ends by saying these words, This is his mission for the son of man came to you. What? Save us together, seek and save the lost. Do you know this church was created in 1980 and this was the bull’s eye. This was the reason Shepherd Gate exists to seek and to save the lost. And can I say this? I know these last years have been stressful. I know there’s been a lot thrown at us. I know this world continues to just get flipped upside down. But the mission that God has given us, just as he’s given Jesus, the mission has not changed. I’m so glad COVID for years behind us in 2024 is ahead of us.

And we can now, on this first Sunday of January, dedicate ourselves to the Lord and dedicate ourselves to the mission that God has given us as a church, as followers of Him, to go and to be light into our communities, to be saw, whether it needs to be small, to speak the truth, where we need to speak truth, because God’s still in the business of saving people today. And you know what that includes? Good. And you know how I know that? Because he hasn’t come back yet. He hasn’t destroyed the earth. We’re still here, which means his grace and his mercy is still being played out each and every day. Again, time is limited, time is short. And what are we going to do with the time and the relationships that God has given us? Remember this. This is our kids verse for the day. God demonstrates His own love for this while we were sinners, while we were so lost in our sins, Christ died for us. Christ went to the cross for eyes. Chris stretched out his arms and he bled and he died.

And he took our sins upon his shoulders. We’re not better than anybody else. We don’t get to just come to church and have our Bible studies and have our social groups, which are all good things, and just hunker down and wait for Jesus to come back. Did you know that we’re called to be out in the community? We’re called to be out with our family and friends were called to be witnesses for him. And when we understand that our identity is in Christ and what it is that he has done for us with faith, then we can begin to unravel what is actually a real life purpose. I know many people write, they make goals, they make plans, they have dreams for the coming year. But I can tell you this your real life purpose, my real life purpose is to seek and to save for loss that we share what it is that God has done for us with those that God has placed in our lives. Do you understand your real life purpose, and are you actually intentionally living that out? And what’s so incredible is we want to give you the resource to be able to help you in that. If this is your church and you call Shepherd’s Gate your home, I want you to think about what even God has done in this place just the last five years, because it was in 2020 that we first handed you these cards.

It was January of 2020. If you got the card, go ahead and grab it right now and grab the pen as well. And how many of you were here in January of 2020 looking at So this is your fifth time getting this card. Okay. And what’s interesting is I have all the cards from the last four years. And it’s interesting how things change over time, isn’t it? And the people that God has placed on our on our hearts, because we believe our mission here at Shepherd’s Gate is to impact the world with the love of Jesus. And for the last five years, if you’re new, you can kind of see behind the scenes now you can kind of see the game plan of why we believe that we exist as a church. Abraham’s praying for ten. We’re asking everyone that calls Shepherd’s Gate home to pray and ask God to give them four names for people in your life that you can intentionally pray for each and every day, that God would open up a door, that He would open up or opportunity for someone that’s far from Christ or doesn’t know Christ to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. And here, folks, if you’re here today and you have a family member, maybe it’s a child or a grandchild, I can tell you, put them first on your list.

Some of you I know you’ve been praying for them for five years, like five years I’ve been praying for them for this son of mine or this lost daughter of mine for 25 years. Let me encourage you, Do not give up. Keep praying, keep lifting them to the Lord. Keep asking that God would bring other people into their lives. Maybe they stopped going to church or they started getting involved in an addiction, or now all of a sudden they’re believing different things and they’re going down this different path, or they’re listening to this podcast or or they’re following this person on TikTok, whatever it is, pray against it, pray against it like you’re praying against the gates of hell. How Does that sound? And you know, the best place to put these cards, those of you that have been here, you know, where I always tell you to put this card is on the mirror of your bathroom because you look at yourself every single day. There’s not one person in here that doesn’t look in the mirror every single day.

Is that correct? And think about what that card does when it sits there on the mirror of your bathroom as your colman your hair. That’s how I call my hair. And you brush your teeth, because when you look in that mirror, you also remind yourself it’s not about me and it’s not about now. It’s about those people on that card I saved. I get to go to heaven. If I get hit by a car, I would Jesus. If I get diagnosed with cancer and die, I’m with Jesus. What about my neighbor? What about my coworker? What about the person that I hate their guts? Put them on the card, begin to pray for them, and watch what it is that God does in your life. Watch how He melts away. The pride and the anger and the insecurity that you’re carrying into 2024 against that person. See, we don’t sing these songs because they’re cute songs. Hell got it. You know, whatever it was, I lost another one. I am free. I’m free by me. We’re actually singing. We actually believe these words to be true. We stand on the line of eternity.

All eternity And God, I believe, is doing something even as the church continues to decline and all the weirdness that’s going on in our day and age, can we just be a church that says we’re going to push against it? We’re not going to sit there and let some statistics drive our church. We’re not going to sit there and be some negativity and just hunker down and let’s all just get some wagons. We’ll all turn into the Amish. We can go live out in the country, right? We’re not going to do that. God, We’re going to do what you have called us to do. We’re going to be a church that continues to move forward and we are going to try to depopulate hell and bring as many people into heaven as you give us the ability to because we’re willing to wait on our cell phones. More importantly, we’re willing to lay down our lives for those that don’t know Jesus. Amen. Sorry, I just get a little excited. So this is what we’re going to do. This is called a Shepherd’s Gate altar call. You ready for this?

I want you to grab that card that you have, and I want you to grab a pen because I believe the Holy Spirit is already speaking to you. And I want you to begin to fill out that card, because as you fill up that card, you’re bringing that loved one, that friend, that family member, that enemy, and you’re going to lay that at the altar and we’re going to give you time right now in space in our service to do that. Quintons going to play softly on the piano, and we’re just going to ask that the Holy Spirit does his work and if this is your church, if this is your home, if you are a follower of Jesus, we know trust, believe he is at work right now. In this moment, and he’s going to give us the names to put on our cards. So let’s go ahead and do that now.