Right click on audio player to download mp3 or to change listening speed
How Good is Good Enough?
Well, we’re glad you’re here. Please take out your Bibles and turn in them to the book of Philippians and chapter 3. And if you don’t have a Bible with you, you can take one from under the chair in front of you, turn in the back portion of that Bible to page 155, and you would be at Philippians, chapter 3.
Now, if we were going to spend some time walking the streets of America, asking some questions, it would be interesting to see what response we would get. For example, if we were going to go around the streets of America and ask the question, “What do you have to do to qualify for heaven? What do you have to do to obtain salvation? What do you have to do to be accepted by God?” I have complete confidence that the number one answer we would get back would be, “You’ve got to be good,” because that is what our country and our culture believes overall. You see, it’s people who are good who qualify for heaven. It’s people who are good who can obtain salvation. It’s people who are good who will be accepted by God.
And that has been a popular notion in our culture for multiple decades. In fact, it can be illustrated by a song I used to listen to a lot in years past. It goes all the way back to 1964. It’s by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers. It’s called Last Kiss. Now, I’m not going to sing the song for you…that is for your benefit…but I want to read the lyrics of the song. They go like this:
We were out on a date in my daddy’s car.
We hadn’t driven very far.
There in the road, straight ahead…
A car was stalled, the engine was dead.
I couldn’t stop, so I swerved to the right.
Never forget the sound that night…
The cryin’ tires, the bustin’ glass.
The painful scream that I heard last.
Well, when I woke up, the rain was pourin’ down.
There were people standing all around.
Something warm running in my eyes,
But I found my baby somehow that night.
I raised her head, and when she smiled, and said,
“Hold me darling for a little while.”
I held her close. I kissed her…our last kiss.
I found the love that I knew I would miss.
But now she’s gone, even though I hold her tight.
I lost my love…my life, that night.
But the key thing I want you to notice is the theme of the chorus of the song, and I want you to just listen now to the chorus of that song.
Well, where, oh, where can my baby be?
The Lord took her away from me.
She’s gone to heaven so I got to be good
So that I can see my baby when I leave this world.
[end of audio]
You notice the thrust there? “My baby’s gone to heaven so I gotta be good so I can see her when I leave this world.” Being good…you have to be good…that is the way that you get to heaven and find acceptance with God. But what is interesting is to think about what does that really mean? What does it mean to be good? What is on the list?
Well, if you ask people that, you’d get all kinds of answers to that question. Some would say, “Well, what you need to do is you need to go to church. You need to be baptized. You need to do what is right.” Others might say, “You need to keep God’s commands. You need to do the best you can.” Maybe even some would say, “You need to pray facing Mecca three times a day.” Others might say, “Well, if you want to get to heaven, you want to be good, you have to break for animals, you have to recycle, you have to go green!” All of these ideas of what it means to be good.
But you know what the most important question of all is? The most important question is…How good is good enough? You see, if this is going to determine our future destiny, the most important question of all is…How good is good enough? And that question is directly addressed by Paul in Philippians chapter 3, which we’re going to begin to look at today.
Now, we took a little break in our study of the book of Philippians this summer. It’s a study that we have subtitled Spiritual Essentials for a Joy-Full Life. You want to experience a joy-full life? There are some essentials. We noticed in chapter 1 that the first essential is an essential perspective. We need to have that. The difficulty is common in the spiritual life. And then when we were in chapter 2, we saw another essential is an essential mindset. And that mindset is humility in serving.
Today, we’re coming to chapter 3, where we’re going to see a third essential for a joy-full life is an essential dependence. That is, our reliance on Jesus. If you have your Bibles open, I want you to notice what it says there in verse 1. He says, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.” Now, here is the plan we have laid out in these verses. We’re going to see first of all…as we read in verse 1…an opening thought by Paul, and then we’re going to see in verses 2 to 3, a warning about legalists. And legalists are those who say you have to be good in order to get to heaven. And then thirdly, we’re going to see Paul’s personal story in verses 4 to 11, and he is really going to, in that personal story address the question, “How good is good enough?”
So, let’s look at his opening thought for a moment. You notice it begins in most translations with the word finally. Now, what is interesting about that term is it’s really not exactly what our term in English would be, because we realize he is saying “finally,” and he has all of chapter 3 and all of chapter 4 to go. In fact, there are 43 verses yet to come. What the word really communicates in the original is this: “I want to talk about some remaining things that are very important.”
And you notice what he says there in verse 1. He says, “Rejoice in the Lord.” Now, when he says that, he doesn’t mean we need to plaster on a fake smile, that we need to be artificial and superficial when we rejoice in the Lord, that we put on some kind of fake veneer that all is perfect in our life. That is not what he means, because, you see, there is in the Bible a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness depends on what is happening…thus, the word happiness. When things are up for us, we are up; when things are down for us, we are down. When it’s going good, we’re happy; when it’s going bad, we’re unhappy.
Well, joy is different from that. Joy extends beyond the circumstances. And so, you’ll notice he says, “Rejoice in the Lord.” Not in who we are, not in what we have achieved, but in who He is and what He has done. In other words, we’re to have a quiet reliance on His adequacy so that whatever may happen to us we have confidence that He will see us through. “Rejoice in the Lord.”
And then, he says, “To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.” Now, I think what he is referring to is that he had taught some of what he is going to talk about in the rest of this chapter to them previously. You’ll remember he had been with them before. And he is repeating himself because it is a safeguard, a spiritual safeguard for them to hear these things again, which sets us up for the second part, which is the warning about legalists, in verses 2 and 3.
Notice what he says there. He says, “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.”
Now, we need to just step back for a moment and understand what is going on here. He is getting ready to talk about and address a group of religious legalists who were known as the Judaizers, and he is going to now critique them very heavily. And it’s important that we understand that when he does this…talks about these Jewish religious legalists, the Judaizers…he is not down on being Jewish. Paul himself was a Jew. What he wants to go face to face with are these people who went around saying you have to be good in order to get to heaven and be accepted with God. And so, he is now going to tackle this whole question of “How good is good enough?”
And here is the way the Judaizers would answer that question. If I were to interview them on the street and say, “How good is good enough,” their response to that would be, “What you need to do is follow all the Mosaic regulations in the Old Testament.” And then, the centerpiece of what they taught was…how good is good enough…is that you would have to be circumcised. That was the central thing that they talked about.
But they had their own good works list. They answered the question, “How good is good enough?” “Well, you have to follow all these regulations, and of course, you have to be circumcised.” And it’s important for us to understand where Paul was coming from. He was radically opposed to any deviation from salvation by faith in Christ alone. Anything that moved off of that, Paul was ready to confront. And so, what we really have here in verse 2 and verse 3 is a red alert warning. It’s a red alert spiritual warning that he gives to the believing community here. We’re familiar with the red alert warning from our homeland security, and this is a red alert warning.
And what is interesting…if you’ll notice in verse 2, you’ll notice he uses the word beware, and then he uses beware again, and then he uses beware a third time. Now, you cannot see this in English, but if you go back to the original, he actually uses alliteration here. All of the words beware begin with the letter k, so it is very, very distinct. “Beware. Beware. Beware.”
Now, you’ll notice what he says first of all in verse 2. He says, “Beware of the dogs.” Now, it’s important to understand that that was a little bit of a backslap at the Judaizers because the Judaizers said that those who don’t buy our list of how good is good enough, those who are not circumcised, we call them dogs. And so, he sort of turns the table here, speaking of the Judaizers, and he says, “Beware of the dogs.”
Now, in our culture, that doesn’t carry much of a connotation and a meaning to us because as a culture we like dogs. And it is important to understand that when he talks about being aware of the dogs, he wasn’t talking about a treasured family pet…you know, one that might lie in your lap or sleep in your bed with you. That is not what it meant at all. You know, people around the world even today view dogs very differently than we do in our culture.
I remember a while back, I was down in Mexico, and I was telling a story, and I wanted to illustrate about the difficulty of naming things. It can be hard to name things, and I talked about choosing names for our children, and then I talked about choosing a name for our dog. In our family, we had six votes. It was difficult to come up with a name for our dog. While I’m saying this in Mexico, everybody is laughing. They’re just all laughing! And I’m thinking to myself, There wasn’t anything funny about that. But what I’d forgotten about is that in Mexico nobody names their dogs. In fact, all dogs are addressed the same way, “Perro! Dog!”You would call your dog “Dog.” I would call my dog “dog” because dogs aren’t really worthy of a name in Mexico.
Well, you take that, and you multiply it times 100 in the day that Paul lived. In fact, someone was telling me between the services; it’s still that way somewhat in the Middle East, that dogs are sort of viewed like rats. But in Paul’s day, that was not a nice thing to say about somebody that they were a dog. He was referring to the scavenger street dogs. The dogs that were disease-carrying animals that lived off roadkill [animals killed by cars] and garbage. In fact, these dogs were a great threat to attack you and to harm you. So he says of the Judaizers, “Beware of the dogs.” In other words, they are troublemakers. They are barking out dangerous error because they say, “This is what you have to do. You have to be good in order to get to heaven.”
And then he calls them later on in the verse “evil workers.” “Beware of the evil workers.” He is saying they are spiritual pirates. They’re out there distorting the true message of salvation. They’re out there promoting good works! “You have to be good enough. You have to be good in order to get to heaven.”
And then he calls them, thirdly, “Beware of the false circumcision.” And this is very graphic communication by Paul here. You see, these people, the Judaizers, remember were promoting the very careful surgical procedure of circumcision. They would say, “That is a good work that is necessary. That is what you have to do if you’re going to be good enough.” And he literally calls them…and I think the NIV picks up on it…mutilators. Beware of the mutilators. Why? They are mutilating the truth of God. It’s not true that you can be good enough, but that is what the Judaizers were saying. “You want to get to heaven? You want to be accepted with God? You have to be good.”
He says, “We, who embrace the person of Christ, are the true circumcision. Our hope is not in legalistic acts, or religious ritual, or compiling goodness. Our hope is in Christ and His finished work on the Cross.”
Keep your finger here and turn with me a couple of pages to the right to the book of Colossians, chapter 2. And Paul talks about the work of Christ and how that is what we look to, not our own personal goodness. In chapter 2, verse 10, he says, “In Him, in Jesus, you have been made spiritually complete.” And then, in verse 11, he says, “And in Him, Jesus, you are also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands.” See, God did a spiritual work in our hearts, some spiritual surgery on us.
And then, you’ll notice in verse 13, it says, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions…” It wasn’t that we had to collect all this good; He forgave us all our transgressions, “… having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way.” How did He take care of the problem? He “nailed it to the Cross.” That is what the true circumcision believes…that it’s all built on Christ’s finished work on the Cross.
So, if you go back to Philippians 3, you’ll notice he says, “We are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus.” We glory not in what we do, not in the goodness that we can accumulate, but on what He has done. And he says, “We put no confidence in the flesh.” Our confidence, what we’re counting on, is not human effort. It’s not human merit. In fact, there is nothing we can do that merits the forgiveness of God and earns us a place in heaven.
That is why Paul in another place…Ephesians 2:8 and 9…wrote, “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
And that leads us very directly into Paul’s personal story that we see beginning with verse 4. Notice it says, “Although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more.” What Paul is saying is, “If the truth is you have to be good to get to heaven one day, then I ought to be at the head of the class. If anyone could be good enough, it ought to be me.”
In fact, as he begins to tell his story, it’s almost like he is saying to those who would be wondering or objecting, “Hey, can you top this? Let me just share with you,” Paul is saying, “for a moment my pedigree. Let me just share with you my personal portfolio of “good,” and you just tell me how does it compare to yours?”
And what he is really going to share with us in these verses, I think, is the ultimate religious resume. Paul was the one who had the largest religious trophy case of anyone on the planet. And in terms of ancestry and in terms of orthodoxy, Paul was the ultimate religious fanatic. And you know the old story that we say…you know, if you were going to look up religious fanatic in the dictionary, Paul’s picture would be there. If anyone can be good enough, it would have been the apostle Paul, and he is going to share with us in these next few statements three religious credentials that were his, and he is going to share with us four religious achievements. So, as we work through this, just think about the kind of good that we would have brought to the table compared to Paul.
His first religious credential is in verse 5. He says, “I was circumcised the eighth day. I was circumcised when I was eight days old.” And what he is really communicating, particularly with those Judaizers in mind, he says, “Wait a minute, guys. I want you to know I’m not a proselyte, I’m not a convert to Judaism.” And some of the Judaizers were. He says, “No, no, no. I was an insider from birth, and the badge of the chosen people was etched on my body when I was eight days old.”
And another religious credential that he carried is he said, “I am of the nation of Israel.” Remember, Israel is the country that had…the people that had the special covenant relationship with God. He says, “I am a pure-blooded Israelite. Take a look at both sides of my family.” In essence he is saying, “I am a double insider.”
And then, a third religious credential that he gives. He says, “I am of the tribe of Benjamin.” Now, that doesn’t mean much to us, but in those days, it was like, “Whoa! Tribe of Benjamin, huh?” You know, the only son of Jacob who was born in the Promised Land was Benjamin. The first king of Israel…by the way, what was the first king of Israel’s name? Saul…hmmm, I wonder who Paul, who was Saul, was named after? First king of Israel came from the tribe of Benjamin. It was the royal line of the nation of Israel.
Those are his religious credentials, and then he starts talking about his achievements. He says, “I was a Hebrew of Hebrews.” You say, “What does that really mean?” Well, in part it meant that he spoke Hebrew. And you say, “Well, didn’t all the Jews speak Hebrew? Didn’t all the Hebrews speak Hebrew?” And the answer to that is no. All you have to do is go back to Acts, chapter 2 where you have the feast of Pentecost, and you have the coming of the Spirit of God and the birth of the Church, and you have these people, these Jews, from all around the world who have come to Israel. And when the disciples begin to speak to them, God empowers them to speak. They’re speaking in the various languages of all these people. Why? Because they didn’t speak Hebrew.
But Paul said, “Not me. I spoke Hebrew, and I’m a Hebrew of Hebrews.” He was trained under Rabbi Gamaliel…we learned that from the book of Acts…the number one teacher in all of Israel. He was his star pupil [top student]. And we also learn, when he talks about being a Hebrew of Hebrews that he was the son of Pharisees. That means both sides of his family…we learn this from the book of Acts…both sides of his family had been Pharisees. We’re going to see the significance of that in just a moment as we look at the next achievement that he had.
He said, “I’m a Hebrew of Hebrews.” And then, he says, “As to the Law, a Pharisee.” And the Pharisees were the strictest, most respected group of all. They were the elite religious leaders. They were the A-team [top group], if you would. And he says, “When you look at my achievements, I was a Pharisee.” In fact, in Galatians 1, he says, “I was more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions than everybody else. I was the guy who was leading everything. I was the leader of the class, so to speak.”
And then he says by way of an achievement, in verse 6, he says, “As to zeal, I was a persecutor of the church.” You say, “Well, how does that fit in?” Well, you have to remember that they believed Jesus was a blasphemer and a fake! And Paul went on a campaign against this rebel group. And it’s almost like he would be saying to the Judaizers something like this: “Hey, did any of the rest of you ever have enough commitment and guts to go face the usurpers? Did any of the rest of you have enough guts [courage] and involvement and commitment to go hundreds and hundreds of miles on foot to track them down?” Of course, none of them did, but Paul did.
And then, you talk about achievements. How about this one? “As to the righteousness, which is in the Law, found blameless.” Now, it’s important to understand really what that meant. Do you know that there were 613 commandments that were given in the Law? And what he is saying is, “When you look at those 613 commandments, I kept them totally consistent with the pharisaic interpretation.” Now, he didn’t really keep them consistently with Jesus’ interpretation of what the Law meant, but in terms of the pharisaic interpretation, Paul said, “Hey, 613 of them? I kept them.” There is not a person in this room who could have said that.
I like the way the New Living Translation puts it…puts it this way: “I obeyed Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault.” Wow! You want to talk about achievement? You want to talk about human goodness? Paul was at the top of the “made it to the top” list. That was Paul! He was the religious man of the decade. He was the Michael Jordan of the Jews. He was the gold medal winner of the goodness games. There was nobody like him! I like what Sam Gordon writes. He says, “If being good, decent, and upright could transport a man to heaven, Paul would have ridden there first class.” That’s Paul.
How good is good enough? Do you know that that question haunts people in this generation? How good is good enough? Do you know that is a haunting question to somebody in Islam? Seriously. They wrestle with that question because being good is what is going to get them to heaven, and so they have to know how good is good enough.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are haunted by that question. I’ve talked to them. I’ve had several admit that to me. Because you see, they believe that you have to be good to get to heaven, so the key question is…how good is good enough? There are people in churches in America today, there are people who you work with who are haunted by that question because they believe you have to be good. And so, the real question is…How good is good enough? And yet, the Bible teaches us that our good works will never qualify us for heaven or allow us to be accepted by God.
Turn to the left in your Bible a little bit to Galatians chapter 2 and verse 16. I want you to see this. Being good…you have to be good…will never qualify someone for heaven. And I want you to notice how Paul repeats himself. He is trying to make a point. He keeps saying the same thing. He says, “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified…” declared righteous, “…by the works of the Law…” It’s not that you can be good enough, “…but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified…” accepted by God, “…by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
Isn’t it tragic you have people running around saying, “You have to be good,” and the truth of the matter is that no flesh…that means nobody. It doesn’t make any difference what your culture is, what your background is, what your religious orientation is. Nobody will be justified by being good.
And you look at all these credentials and all these achievements of Paul that he had. He was the best of the best of what human goodness had to offer. But what is interesting is if you follow his story, you’ll know that Paul did a 180-degree turn. You can read about it in Acts 9 and Acts 22 and Acts 26. See, he was walking around doing his goodness thing, and suddenly there was this light from heaven that shone down that blinded him. There was this voice out of heaven that said, “Saul! Saul!”
And this guy who was the superstar of goodness suddenly found that his robes of self-righteousness were gone, and he was completely spiritually naked before the God of the universe. And all of his credentials and all of his achievements faded into nothingness in the brightness of Christ’s righteousness.
And I want you to notice verse 7 of Philippians 3. Paul takes up here some accounting terms, and I want you to notice what he says there in verse 7. He says, “Whatever things…” He is talking about all these achievements and all of these great “goodness” things that he had. He says, “Whatever things were gain to me…” the original is in a plural, “All the things that were gains to me individually,” he said, “I counted as loss,” singular. The New Living Translation says, “I now consider to be worthless because of what Christ has done.”
In fact…I mean, verse 8 is one of the most startling verses in the New Testament. He says, speaking about all of his goodness that he had, “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them…” all this goodness that I’d stacked up, “…but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.”
The word that is translated rubbish in the original is skubalon. He says, “When I think of all that goodness that I had stacked up, you know my view of it now? Skubalon!” What does skubalon mean? Well, skubalon was manure. Skubalon was fecal matter. Skubalon was excrement. The word skubalon was used to describe stinky, rotten food. The word skubalon was used to describe a decaying corpse. You have to be good? How good is good enough? The guy who was the head of the class said it was all skubalon. If I were going to translate that into the vernacular of today, I would translate it this way: “stinky crap.” That is what my goodness was…stinky crap.
And by the way, that is not just a New Testament picture. In the Old Testament, in Isaiah, chapter 64, verse 6, it says, “All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” What a polite translation. That filthy garment was really a term that was used of menstrual cloths, of cloths that a menstruating woman would use to bleed into, and then that smelly, bloody mess would be just discarded. How good is good enough? Well, all of our good deeds in order to earn acceptance with God…it’s skubalon. It’s stinky crap. It’s filthy, menstrual rags that are now just to be discarded.
And you think, Why the strong language? …which would certainly have caught people’s ears. The reason is when we embrace our goodness to get us to earn something from God…acceptance and a place in heaven…when we are embracing that, it keeps us from trusting in the work of Christ, which is our only hope! And that is why it’s skubalon…totally worthless.
See, what it means, men and women, is that we can’t be good enough. It’s not a matter of coming from the right kind of family. It’s not a matter of being dedicated to the proper religious system, no matter what the religious system may be. It’s not enough to help the poor. It’s not enough, Paul is saying, to be a goodness superstar, and frankly, most of us are far from even being close to being described that way. Why? Because by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.
You know, that song Last Kiss…a song I enjoyed listening to when I was younger…but I have to tell you it always bothered me, that chorus, when it came up. “She’s gone to heaven, so I’ve got to be good.” And I’m thinking to myself, What a tragic situation if you think” you have to be good” is going to get you there.
What Paul is really saying is that embracing the person and work of Christ and establishing a relationship with Him is of surpassing value. That is why he says what his goal is there in verse 9 of chapter 3. He says, “That I ‘may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law…’ It’s not my goodness, ‘…but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.’ It’s not my goodness; it’s His death in my place.”
And he has this overarching ambition. What he says there in verse 10, “My overarching ambition is ‘that I may know Him,’ that I could grow deeper in my knowledge of Him, that I would know ‘the power of His resurrection,’ the transforming power that can take a human being and change their heart and their thinking and their attitudes and their actions, so that when I face problems, His resurrection power won’t have anything that it can’t handle as it works in me, and that I might know ‘the fellowship of His sufferings.'” You know, suffering is a normal, common thing in this world and life. And he says, “When you know Christ, that becomes a venue to display His grace through your life.”
And so, here is the question I have for you today…Where are you today? Do you know that every living, breathing human being is either a Saul or a Paul? There are really only two categories that people fall into. Some are Sauls, who believe you have to be good, and they’re wrestling with that question, “How good is good enough?” And there are others, which would include many of us, who are Pauls, who know that you can never earn salvation, you can never earn forgiveness. In fact, the Bible teaches us that salvation and forgiveness is a free gift. Ephesians 2:8 and 9: “It is the gift of God, not as a result of works.” Romans 6:23: “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
A number of years ago, newspapers across the nation told the story of a young boy in Ohio who had become trapped in a very difficult to traverse rocky cave, and that cave was threatening to become his death tomb. And members of the National Capital Cave Rescue Team were flown into Ohio as well as an expert rescue team from the US Bureau of Mines in Kentucky. And after 25 and a half hours of work, and at the expense of $250 thousand dollars, those groups managed to rescue the boy.
And when asked what the rescue effort would cost the parents, the one who was in charge of the overall operation replied, “Our services and the services of the rescue squads were free.” It cost a quarter of a million dollars to save the boy, but it cost the boy nothing. And the same thing is true in this whole realm of going to heaven, and finding acceptance with God, and receiving the gift of forgiveness. It is the free gift of God to you and to me, but Somebody paid the price, and it was God Himself who became a man and came to this planet to die in our place.
How good is good enough? We can never be good enough.
[One of the applications coming out of our message today is we have a little book. It’s on the table back here and also on a table out in the hall. It’s by Andy Stanley entitled How Good is Good Enough? And we want you to feel free to pick up a copy of this book as you leave here today. And we want you to read the book. And then we want to challenge you not only to read the book, but we want you to give the book to somebody else you know. It may be somebody at work, it may be one of your neighbors, it may be a good friend, it may be a family member, but this book does a great job of unpacking that whole idea of how good is good enough. And the answer is: we can never be good enough.]
So, I want to ask you the question…How is life working for you? What is your destiny? What does it turn on [pivot around]? Do you believe like the song, “I’ve got to be good so I can see so and so when I leave this world”? Are you ready to die?
Let’s pray together, and I want to just pray for any that are in our midst who don’t know Christ personally at the…maybe you’ve been trying to be good. And I want to challenge you right now…you might think…Well, I don’t know if I’ve ever trusted in Christ. It’s a free gift? I want to lead you in a prayer. If you’ve never made sure about this, let’s make sure about it now, and prayer is just the vehicle, it’s the means to communicate your heart to God’s heart.
And I want to encourage you right now to pray this prayer right now before the God of the universe to tell Him…and you can just repeat in your heart to His heart as I say this:
God, I want to acknowledge that I could never earn salvation or forgiveness or heaven. I, Father, want to acknowledge that Jesus Christ died in my place. God, I am ready this day, [this Labor Day weekend], to trust Him alone as my only way to heaven and forgiveness. And Father, I want to thank You that Jesus Christ loved me, and I want to pray that You would make me the kind of person that You have designed me to be.
And for those of us who already know the person of Christ, and we’ve received the free gift of salvation, oh, we want to just say knowing You, Jesus, is the greatest thing in all of the world. Knowing you’re forgiven is the most wonderful thing in all of the world. And we just simply want to say You are our joy, and You are our righteousness. And our hearts’ desire is to know You more. And we thank You in Jesus’ name, Amen.