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← I Feel Like I'm Spiritually Dying - Ask Pastor Tim

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Showing Revision 4 created 12/23/2017 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. This is something that I know that
  2. James and I encounter on a regular basis.
  3. And maybe some of the others of you
  4. can relate to dealing
    with people like this
  5. or even maybe in your own life
  6. there's these kind of wrestlings.
  7. From Joseph Foster:
  8. "Pastor Tim,
  9. I feel like I'm spiritually dying."
  10. In fact, I thought, that's probably
  11. a good name for the study tonight.
  12. I feel like I'm spiritually dying.
  13. "My desires for God
  14. have come and gone,
  15. and I don't know what's happening.
  16. Maybe I committed the unpardonable
  17. with my willful sin.
  18. I need help, because I can see God
  19. in everything except for my life.
  20. I know that the gifts and call of God
  21. is without repentance,
  22. but somehow I feel like He's done with me.
  23. I pray every day and ask the Lord
  24. to deliver me or shed light
  25. or show me what I must do.
  26. Maybe I have some unrepented stuff.
  27. I don't know.
  28. All I know is God is silent
  29. and I think He left me.
  30. Yet, I'm still holding on and praying.
  31. I'm the worst ever,
  32. and I need help.
  33. I don't know what to do or say to Him.
  34. Please, if you could possibly pray for me
  35. and maybe pray about it
  36. and see what the Lord says to you,
  37. I'd appreciate it.
  38. I don't know if I'm even saved,
  39. but I heard God call me once.
  40. I remember when He delivered me
  41. and changed me,
  42. but I've fallen into somewhere
  43. I don't want to be.
  44. I've never been in such
    a bad place spiritually.
  45. I haven't been a Christian long,
  46. but I know the Word."
  47. And obviously, you can see some
  48. back and forth here.
  49. I don't know if I'm even saved,
  50. and then he says,
  51. I remember when He delivered me
  52. and changed me.
  53. He says I haven't been a Christian long,
  54. but I know the Word.
  55. At the same time, he says,
  56. I'm in a place where I never wanted to be.
  57. I've never been in such
    a bad place spiritually.
  58. I may have committed the unpardonable sin
  59. with my willful sin.
  60. So, it's obvious there's
    lots of confusion.
  61. "I've fallen into somewhere
    I don't want to be.
  62. I've never been in such
    a bad place spiritually.
  63. I haven't been a Christian long,
    but I know the Word.
  64. Maybe, I don't know the power of God.
  65. I need help. Please."
  66. James, how often do you get something
  67. of this nature?
  68. James: Every week.
  69. Tim: Yeah, when the church phone
  70. rang my phone,
  71. and when my email address
  72. was public information,
  73. I got them oftentimes
    more than once a week.
  74. In fact, some people,
  75. once they start calling -
  76. do you get that?
  77. Some of the same people
  78. over and over and over?
  79. Like, sometimes even more than once a day.
  80. James: I've been emailing him for years.
  81. Tim: So, this is a guy that you didn't
  82. just get one message from.
  83. James: Yeah, and he probably
    sent that a year ago.
  84. Tim: Probably.
  85. And I thought answering this
  86. is not just good for him
  87. if he happened to listen,
  88. but numerous people -
  89. for one, you've got numerous people
  90. that they don't know if they're saved.
  91. They're back and forth.
  92. Am I in? Am I out?
  93. They've got things happening in their life
  94. that they're not certain
    what to make of it.
  95. Am I Christian? Am I not a Christian?
  96. They recognize something's not good.
  97. Something's not right.
  98. They recognize God is silent.
  99. And on top of that,
  100. you have people all the time,
  101. and I think it's a favorite with the devil
  102. to really use the unpardonable sin
  103. just to paralyze people spiritually.
  104. And I know, when we did
  105. a full-blown message on the
    unpardonable sin one time
  106. and I mentioned in there
  107. my own testimony that
    shortly after I was saved,
  108. I came under the grips
    of that kind of thing,
  109. and God took me through it
  110. and just gave me real assurance
  111. in my own soul.
  112. But, you know, one of the things is
  113. James has been dealing with this guy
  114. for a long time.
  115. And see, the thing about
    one paragraph like this
  116. is there's so much
  117. that you really need clarity on;
  118. there's so much that you need
  119. to talk to somebody about;
  120. there's so much you need to dig into.
  121. Because here's the problem,
  122. when people give you
    a paragraph like this,
  123. the thing is people often -
  124. because we kind of have this built-in
  125. protection mechanism -
  126. people often present things in a way
  127. that they are wanting pity.
  128. I mean, you see this.
  129. You can see this if you've got a situation
  130. like in a pastoral situation
  131. where we've got a problem
    between two people,
  132. and you know, if you
    hear one person's side,
  133. you're going to get a story
  134. a lot of times that is very one-sided
  135. because you're getting their side,
  136. and it's going to be that way.
  137. And oftentimes, when
    you hear it presented,
  138. well, it's presented in a light -
  139. they're going to emphasize the things
  140. that they want to emphasize,
  141. because there is an agenda here
  142. to prove oneself right.
  143. Oftentimes, it's not surprising
  144. that people have defense mechanisms up
  145. and they want to protect themselves,
  146. and they desire to be in the right,
  147. and they desire to have pity,
  148. and they desire other people
  149. to show compassion to them
  150. and feel for them.
  151. So there's a sense,
  152. when you can present things,
  153. and you don't always get all the details.
  154. Sometimes you don't get some
    of the most relevant details,
  155. and James, if he just
    unfolded with this guy,
  156. he could probably tell you things
  157. that are not expressed here
  158. that are really critical and necessary
  159. to try to properly diagnose
  160. where a guy like this is at spiritually.
  161. But, I think there's some general things
  162. we can say about a situation like this
  163. that can be really helpful.
  164. Think about what he's saying.
  165. Think about the impression
    that you get here.
  166. You get the feeling
  167. that very often, very often,
  168. you get the feeling from people
  169. that they are in a situation
  170. that if it was in their control,
  171. they would not be in.
  172. See what I'm saying?
  173. You get this sense
  174. that they want to be saved,
  175. but God's not saving them.
  176. Or they want to have assurance,
  177. but God's not giving it to them.
  178. You see, it's presented in a way:
  179. Well, I want this. I want this.
  180. I would gladly be converted.
  181. I would gladly be a healthy Christian.
  182. I would gladly have all this assurance,
  183. if it were in my power to do it.
  184. If it were up to me,
    that's what I would have.
  185. That's the condition I would be in.
  186. I would be a very healthy Christian.
  187. I would have assurance.
  188. I would be walking well.
  189. I would be pleasing the Lord.
  190. (Incomplete thought)
  191. It's presented in the way it comes across,
  192. they believe that they're doing everything
  193. they can possibly do
  194. in order to make things right with God,
  195. but God isn't coming through.
  196. And if you didn't hear that in this,
  197. let me emphasize something again.
  198. He says this:
  199. "Maybe I have some unrepented stuff.
  200. I don't know.
  201. All I know is God is silent,
  202. and I think He left me.
  203. Yet, I'm still holding on..."
  204. God left me. I'm holding on.
  205. "...and praying.
  206. I'm the worst ever and I need help."
  207. Do you see the feeling
    that you're getting?
  208. I need help and God's not helping me.
  209. He says, "I don't know what to do
  210. or say to Him."
  211. In other words, I've expended myself.
  212. I've gone to Him for help.
  213. I've said everything I know how to say.
  214. I've done everything I know how to do.
  215. And He's not helping me.
  216. "Please. If you could
    possibly pray for me.
  217. Maybe pray about it
  218. and see what the Lord says to you.
  219. I'd appreciate it."
  220. And so, you see what he's saying here?
  221. He's saying I'm holding on.
  222. I'm praying.
  223. You get this idea again
  224. that he's assuming
  225. he would gladly make
    everything right with God.
  226. Brethren, let me tell you.
  227. Look, I feel for this guy in this sense.
  228. Is there confusion? Yes.
  229. Is there frustration? Yes.
  230. Is there ignorance? Yes.
  231. I mean, to be in the place he is.
  232. I feel pity for him.
  233. But listen, we need to
    listen very carefully
  234. when people speak this way.
  235. Listen, if anybody says to us;
  236. they come across in this way,
  237. that I'm doing everything
  238. and God won't save me.
  239. I'm willing to be saved.
  240. I'm willing to be right.
  241. I'm willing to have a
    relationship with God.
  242. But God is silent.
  243. God's not helping.
  244. God's not coming.
  245. You see, you need to be very careful -
  246. very careful that you pity
  247. an individual like that,
  248. and fall into basically
  249. putting your arm around them
  250. and staring at God like this.
  251. You know? What are You doing?
  252. Lord, what are You doing?
  253. And you can do that.
  254. You can do that.
  255. You have to be real careful.
  256. Because look, the fact is
  257. that when you go to Scripture,
  258. do you ever find -
  259. do you ever find?
  260. I was thinking the other day,
  261. years ago, years ago, years ago...
  262. I saw this Hollywood production -
  263. Was it called "The Robe?"
  264. Something that was made
  265. about some Roman soldier.
  266. It was "Ben Hur" or it was
    "The Robe" or something.
  267. And there was a woman
  268. portrayed in the movie
  269. who was basically on a stretcher -
  270. on a bed -
  271. and they were hauling her around.
  272. And she said,
  273. I asked the Master to heal me
  274. and He didn't.
  275. And He told me that it was God's will
  276. that I not be healed.
  277. Anybody see that movie?
  278. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
  279. Maybe it's probably best you don't.
  280. But I've always remembered that,
  281. that how dare Hollywood do that!
  282. How dare they do that!
  283. That is no small thing,
  284. because there is no account
    like that in the Bible.
  285. There is no account of somebody
  286. genuinely going to the Lord for help
  287. and He turned His back on them.
  288. Never.
  289. In fact, do you know what you find?
  290. Weeping.
  291. "How often I would have gathered you,
  292. and you would not."
  293. Brethren, we need to be aware
  294. of just how God presents
    Himself in Scripture.
  295. Look, what can happen is
  296. you begin to get exposed
  297. to accounts like this,
  298. and you can begin to suppose
  299. because this is how they feel,
  300. God is cruel.
  301. God is standoffish.
  302. God doesn't want to help me.
  303. God is just up there
  304. and in all my desperation
  305. and all my cries for help,
  306. He just ignores me.
  307. And that's not the case.
  308. That's not how we find
    the Lord in Scripture.
  309. That is not how we find it at all.
  310. And I know I've brought
    this verse up before,
  311. but I think it's worth looking at again.
  312. Look at Luke 14.
  313. I really dealt strongly with this text
  314. when I dealt with hyper-Calvinism.
  315. But brethren, we want to think right.
  316. Don't let sinners
  317. who claim to be seeking for
    God and not find Him -
  318. don't ever let them
    change your view of God
  319. from a solidly biblical view of God,
  320. and from a solidly biblical view
  321. of the free offer of the Gospel.
  322. Sometimes, we can take sinners
  323. just far too much at their word
  324. to the place where we
    begin to question God.
  325. And to the place where
    a shadow comes over.
  326. Be careful
  327. when unconverted people
  328. or people like this,
  329. who they don't know if they're in,
  330. they don't know if they're out,
  331. that they're doing everything
  332. that He requires,
  333. and they're praying,
  334. and they're calling upon Him,
  335. and they're believing,
    and they're trusting,
  336. and they're repenting,
  337. but God isn't doing anything.
  338. Because that just isn't true.
  339. Listen, if God hasn't saved somebody,
  340. be certain they have not believed.
  341. Be certain.
  342. But anyway, Luke 14.
  343. Let's look at this.
  344. Verse 16
  345. We need to have this in
    our mind all the time.
  346. This is such a helpful and balancing text.
  347. "He said to him,
  348. 'A man once gave a great banquet,
  349. and invited many.'"
  350. Notice the invitation.
  351. Notice that the people aren't
  352. doing everything that they possibly can do
  353. to get into the banquet,
  354. and he's keeping them out.
  355. Scripture never paints a picture
  356. of a banquet going on in here,
  357. and the crowds are
    amassed around the house
  358. trying to get in at the door.
  359. Now once the door's shut,
  360. people try to get in.
  361. After it's too late.
  362. But in this day, at this time,
  363. in this age of the free
    offer of the Gospel,
  364. there is never a picture of a closed door.
  365. The picture is: you're invited.
  366. There's never a picture of people
  367. gathered at the door saying,
  368. please, let us in;
    please, let us in.
  369. And He's saying, oh no,
  370. no, you can't come in.
  371. That's not what we find.
  372. Remember what Scripture says?
  373. The kindness of God
  374. is meant to lead us to repentance.
  375. Not to harden us.
  376. God didn't give Joseph his meal
  377. the day that he wrote this
  378. to convince him that He was a cruel God
  379. and unwilling to help sinners.
  380. Just the opposite.
  381. Just the opposite message
  382. was sent by the meal he ate that day.
  383. You see, the way Scripture
    presents it is this:
  384. It presents it as here's this banquet.
  385. Here's this banquet - v. 16.
  386. "A man once gave a great banquet
  387. and invited many.
  388. And at the time for the banquet,
  389. he sent his servant to say to those
  390. who had been invited,
  391. 'Come, for everything is now ready.'"
  392. But what? They didn't flock there
  393. and then he turned them away.
  394. They all alike began to make excuses.
  395. "The first said to him,
  396. 'I have bought a field.
  397. I must go out and see it.
  398. Please have me excused.'"
  399. You see, it's not God turning them away.
  400. It's them making excuses and running away.
  401. That's what we have to see.
  402. And look, if somebody comes along
  403. and they're questioning whether
  404. they are even saved at all,
  405. they put God in a bad light.
  406. Brethren, be careful that
    you don't take sinners -
  407. unconverted sinners -
  408. too much at their word
  409. as far as the picture they paint
  410. of an unwilling God to save.
  411. Don't go there.
  412. Because you know what?
  413. Lost people are in the
    power of the evil one.
  414. Lost people are deceived.
  415. Lost people do not have
  416. proper views of God.
  417. Be careful that you don't
    buy into that view.
  418. Because what God does is
  419. He shows Himself in Scripture
  420. very willing to save.
  421. And He sends His Son into this world
  422. to actually even look at a city
  423. of His rejectors and weep tears,
  424. and say how often I
    would have gathered you,
  425. as a hen gathers her chicks,
  426. and you would not.
  427. You would not.
  428. Not, I would not. You would not.
  429. That's how God communicated to this world.
  430. That's the kind of Messiah
    He sent into this world.
  431. "They all alike began to make excuses.
  432. The first said to him,
  433. 'I bought a field. I
    must go out and see it.
  434. Please have me excused.'
  435. Another said, 'I bought five yoke of oxen
  436. and I go to examine them.
  437. Please have me excused.'
  438. Another said, 'I've married a wife
  439. and therefore I cannot come.'
  440. So the servant came and reported
  441. these things to his master.
  442. Then the master of the
    house became angry."
  443. Why?
  444. Is He angry at a bunch of people
  445. that want to be saved
  446. and are standing at the door
  447. trying to get in to the banquet?
  448. But He's angry because
    He didn't elect them?
  449. Nothing like that.
  450. He's angry because the
    invitation was free;
  451. it was full;
  452. and they refused it.
  453. Sinners on judgment day
  454. will not talk like this.
  455. They won't talk like this.
  456. Look, I know there's confusion here.
  457. But, did you hear?
  458. He said maybe I committed the unpardonable
  459. with my willful sin.
  460. Do you know what he's acknowledging here?
  461. Willful sin.
  462. Do you know what Scripture says?
  463. Can you think of
    anywhere in the Scriptures
  464. that it speaks about willful sin?
  465. Two texts come right to my mind.
  466. Can you think of one?
  467. Hebrews 10:26. Let's turn there.
  468. Keep your finger here because we
    need to finish out this account.
  469. See, he's acknowledging
    that he has had light.
  470. He's acknowledging that he has been
  471. exposed to the Gospel it would seem.
  472. He's acknowledging that he even believes
  473. he was exposed to so much
  474. that he thinks he may have been saved.
  475. He says, "I haven't been a Christian long,
  476. but I know the Word."
  477. I know the Word.
  478. And yet, he admits willful sin here.
  479. Hebrews 10:26
  480. "If we go on sinning deliberately
  481. (or willfully)
  482. after receiving the
    knowledge of the truth,
  483. there no longer remains
    a sacrifice for sins."
  484. Let me tell you something
    else you don't want to do.
  485. You don't want to come to people like this
  486. and assure them that
    everything's going to be ok.
  487. Or even assure them that
    everything is presently ok.
  488. In other words,
  489. you don't have to worry.
  490. You haven't committed
    the unpardonable sin.
  491. You haven't gone too far.
  492. You haven't been overly willful
  493. and tread upon the blood of Jesus Christ.
  494. You can't tell people that.
  495. Because you know what?
  496. There are such things in Scripture,
  497. and when you know the Word
  498. and you've been exposed to the truth,
  499. and you go on in willful sin,
  500. that is extremely dangerous.
  501. And you don't want
    to tell people it's not.
  502. You don't want to tell
    people at all that it's not.
  503. Anyway, back to Luke 14.
  504. "Another said, 'I have married a wife
  505. (v. 20) and therefore I cannot come.'
  506. So the servant came and reported
    these things to his master.
  507. Then the master of the house became angry
  508. and said to his servant,
  509. 'Go out quickly to the streets
  510. and lanes of the city.
  511. Bring in the poor and crippled
  512. and blind and lame.
  513. And the servant said,
  514. 'Sir, what you've commanded has been done.
  515. Still there is room.'
  516. The master said to the servant,
  517. 'Go out to the highways and hedges...'"
  518. Spurgeon preached a tremendous message
  519. on this text called,
    "Compel Them to Come In."
  520. Notice this.
  521. Notice what the master is saying.
  522. "Compel people to come in
  523. that my house may be filled.
  524. For I tell you, none of those men
  525. who were invited shall taste my banquet."
  526. But it's not because they got invited
  527. and then they desperately wanted to come
  528. and were turned away.
  529. It was only because
    when the invitation came,
  530. they thought there were better things
  531. than the banquet.
  532. See, there's only one thing
  533. that prevents people from coming
  534. to the banquet.
  535. It's clearly that they loved other things
  536. more than the banquet.
  537. They were more important.
  538. You know, one of the things is
  539. we have to be honest.
  540. He's obviously a young guy using "IDK."
  541. That "IDK" shows up a lot of times here.
  542. I don't know. I don't know.
    I don't know. I don't know.
  543. You know what? You need to know.
  544. You need to know.
  545. Can I tell you something?
  546. Blind Bartimaeus is a great picture.
  547. Why? Why do I say that?
  548. Jesus came passing by
    on His way to Jericho.
  549. Blind Bartimaeus - what did he do?
  550. He heard the throng of people going by.
  551. That's Jesus.
  552. Jesus, Son of David.
  553. What did he do?
  554. What did blind Bartimaeus do?
  555. He cried out!
  556. What did the crowd do?
  557. James: Rebuked him.
    Telling him to be silent.
  558. Tim: Shut up!
  559. Hold your tongue!
  560. What did he do?
  561. He kept going.
  562. You know why?
  563. Two realities gripped that man.
  564. Be sure of it.
  565. I'm blind.
  566. And my only hope is Christ.
  567. You see, you don't yell like that
  568. until there's a proper assessment
  569. of who you are, what your condition is,
  570. and who He is
  571. and that your only hope is found there.
  572. That is key.
  573. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.
  574. You know what?
  575. You do need to know.
  576. We need to be honest with ourselves.
  577. You know what, no sinner ever gets saved
  578. until they come face to face
  579. with what they are.
  580. Why do sinners flee to Christ?
  581. Because they come to recognize
  582. like blind Bartimaeus,
  583. "Lord..." I mean, they're
    not going to give up.
  584. I can remember that night
  585. when I cried out.
  586. I mean, I saw what I was.
  587. And He was my only hope
  588. and my only help.
  589. We do need to know.
  590. Because you remember what Jesus said.
  591. He said the doctor comes for the sick.
  592. See, if you waffle around.
  593. Sometimes the thing with people
  594. who they don't know if
    they're saved or lost,
  595. the real issue is:
  596. they don't know if
    they're a sinner or not.
  597. That's the real issue.
  598. That's the real issue.
  599. Well, I don't know if I'm
    really that bad or not.
  600. See, blind Bartimaeus was not waffling
  601. about his blindness.
  602. He knew.
  603. He knew. We need to know.
  604. We need to do serious and honest
  605. spiritual evaluation.
  606. We really do.
  607. Because you know what?
  608. Nobody, until they recognize,
  609. I'm blind.
  610. You see those people in Scripture.
  611. It was desperation.
  612. The woman - she had that issue of blood.
  613. "I've got to get to Him."
  614. That's the one thing that occupied her.
  615. Versus what?
  616. Luke 14
  617. What were they occupied with?
  618. A bunch of other things.
  619. Bunches of other things.
  620. There's one thing that keeps those people.
  621. It's their idols.
  622. It's their sin.
  623. It's when you love that ox,
  624. that team of oxen;
  625. it's when when you love that wife,
  626. that land more than the banquet.
  627. Your heart is pulled after other things.
  628. But they don't recognize,
  629. because when you get to the place
  630. where Bartimaeus is,
  631. you know what?
  632. Oh, remember those words?
  633. Remember when the invitation came to him?
  634. Remember when the invitation
  635. to the banquet came to him?
  636. "He's calling you."
  637. Did you have that looked up?
  638. Do you have Mark's account?
  639. Listen when they call him.
  640. Read what happens when they call him.
  641. "And Jesus stopped and said,
  642. 'Call him.'
  643. And they called the blind man,
  644. saying to him,
  645. 'Take heart. Get up. He is calling you.'
  646. Throwing off his cloak,
  647. he sprang up and came to Jesus."
  648. Listen to that.
  649. "Jesus said to him,
  650. 'what do you want Me to do for you?'
  651. And the blind man said to Him,
  652. 'Rabbi, let me recover my sight.'
  653. Jesus said to him,
  654. 'Go your way. Your faith
    has made you well.'
  655. And immediately he recovered his sight
  656. and followed Him on the way."
  657. Don't you love that?
  658. (Incomplete thought)
  659. That was the invitation.
  660. Call him.
  661. He's calling you.
  662. That's exactly Luke 14.
  663. Go call them.
  664. The Master's calling you.
  665. Remember, there was a master there?
  666. The invitation went out.
  667. The Master's calling you.
  668. Do you know why the wife,
  669. the field, the oxen?
  670. Because you don't really know
  671. who you are and how bad you need that.
  672. You see, that's the issue.
  673. Brethren, we have to know.
  674. I don't know.
  675. What? I don't know if I'm sick.
  676. I don't know where I'm at.
  677. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.
  678. Brethren, the thing that
    you find in Scripture -
  679. that leper that went to Christ,
  680. he knew he was a leper.
  681. The blind man that went to Christ,
  682. he knew he was blind.
  683. That Syropheonician woman
  684. knew her daughter had a demon.
  685. The man down there at the bottom
  686. of the Mount of Transfiguration
  687. knew his son had a demon.
  688. People in Scripture - they knew.
  689. They knew they had a problem.
  690. They knew - my daughter is sick.
  691. I've got an issue of blood.
  692. They knew it.
  693. And I've got to get to Christ.
  694. Brethren, there's only one
    way to come to Him.
  695. And that is desperate,
  696. and that is helpless,
  697. and that is broken,
  698. and that is seeing in Him our only help
  699. and our only hope.
  700. "I feel like I'm spiritually dying."
  701. That's what he said.
  702. But you know what, we have to step back
  703. and we have to say,
  704. well, is there not a cause?
  705. I mean, is there not a cause?
  706. We have to ask ourselves that
  707. even if we're in a place
  708. where we're solidly
    grounded as Christians.
  709. If we start getting into a cold state,
  710. a backslidden state,
  711. some kind of spiritual declension,
  712. we need to ask ourselves this.
  713. Is there not a cause?
  714. Did I not get here some way?
  715. Brethren, we have to be honest.
  716. We really have to be honest
  717. with the state of our own souls.
  718. You know the people that run to Christ?
  719. The ones that look up and recognize
  720. I don't have anything to offer.
  721. I'm poor.
  722. I don't have any righteousness.
  723. Lord, I'm guilty.
  724. I'm guilty.
  725. That's where I was.
  726. I don't have any righteousness.
  727. And I don't have any hope
  728. other than in Him.
  729. I am hellbound and I'm going there
  730. and I deserve to go there.
  731. And if Christ doesn't save me,
  732. there's no hope.
  733. And I cried out.
  734. You see, when you get to the place
  735. where you do know
  736. you're a leper;
  737. you do know
  738. Lazarus is dead in that grave;
  739. you do know you're blind.
  740. When you do know
  741. your daughter has a demon.
  742. You're not ignorant.
  743. You're not playing games.
  744. Because you know what?
  745. A lot of times when we say we don't know,
  746. it's a mask.
  747. Because the fact is we do know.
  748. This statement here,
  749. "Maybe I have some unrepented stuff.
  750. I don't know."
  751. That's not true.
  752. You do know.
  753. (Incomplete thought)
  754. Look, I'm not talking about
  755. looking under rocks for stuff.
  756. We're sinners.
  757. We're sinners by nature.
  758. We've done things in our life
  759. and we have idols
  760. and we're wrecked in ways we do know.
  761. I mean, you know, the truth is
  762. if this guy even is a genuine Christian -
  763. if he is after all this -
  764. or if you are,
  765. brethren, if we begin to go into a place
  766. where we find ourselves spiritually dying,
  767. the way out is honesty.
  768. Because you know,
  769. the only way you get
    saved in the first place
  770. is honesty.
  771. I'm a sinner.
  772. You see, that was the tax collector.
  773. God, be merciful to me, the sinner.
  774. God doesn't save the righteous.
  775. He never has.
  776. He doesn't save those who are well.
  777. And you know how any sinner
  778. who really gets saved,
  779. gets saved in the beginning?
  780. They come desperate.
    They come broken.
  781. They come bankrupt.
    They come guilty.
  782. They come vile.
    They come filthy.
  783. They come a sinner
  784. to a Savior.
  785. And you know, the thing is,
  786. if we begin to fall into some kind
  787. of spiritual lethargy,
  788. in the same way we came honest
  789. in the beginning, we need to come again.
  790. Lord, the truth is,
  791. I do have things in my life
    I need to confess to You,
  792. and I need to repent of.
  793. And we do know.
  794. We know.
  795. It's just a matter of being honest.
  796. If we really think,
  797. if we really think...
  798. we do know.
  799. Brethren, no concealment.
  800. No concealment.
  801. If we confess our sins,
  802. He's faithful and just to forgive.
  803. I really believe there's so much
  804. in 1 John 1 about fellowship
  805. and that relationship.
  806. It's true when we come at first
  807. and it's true in maintaining
  808. that relationship with God.
  809. You cannot be hiding things.
  810. No concealment.
  811. There needs to be honesty.
  812. We can't be compromised.
  813. Unreserved openness.
  814. We talked about, Sunday,
  815. with open face.
  816. We need to deal with God
  817. with an unveiled, open face.
  818. Open hearts before Him.
  819. We go to Christ as sinners.
  820. Once we're saved,
  821. we go to Him as we really are.
  822. And brethren, the thing is,
  823. it's the same whether
    we go to Christ at first
  824. or whether we go to Him now.
  825. The truth is that we go to Him to receive.
  826. He doesn't want anything.
  827. That's what He says.
  828. The water of life without price.
  829. But you know the same thing goes
  830. in the Christian life.
  831. Yes, He expects us as Christians
  832. to be living the righteous life,
  833. but it's still abiding in Christ.
  834. He supplies all of our needs.
  835. He supplies through His riches.
  836. It doesn't come from us.
    It doesn't originate with us.
  837. There's no starting point with us.
  838. We're not the source.
  839. We're not the originator
  840. of anything we need to live this life.
  841. And we can lose sight of that
  842. as we walk in this Christian life.
  843. We can lose sight of the fact
  844. that we are just as dependent on God now
  845. as we were at the very beginning.
  846. And if we become careless and negligent
  847. of that reality,
  848. we become self-sufficient;
  849. we become independent.
  850. And look, we need to be honest.
  851. Don't conceal anything.
  852. And he's admitting willful sin.
  853. And then he says maybe I have things
  854. that I need to repent of - I don't know.
  855. That's the kind of attitude
  856. that's going to leave you
  857. in a condition like this.
  858. I mean, look, when you recognize,
  859. I'm just like blind Bartimaeus.
  860. Unless the Son of David comes to me
  861. and answers my cry,
  862. there's no help.
  863. And so what do you do?
  864. When you really recognize you're blind
  865. and when you really recognize
    He's your only help
  866. and there is no other,
  867. you are going to cry in desperation
  868. until He says, "Call him."
  869. "Come."
  870. And then what do you do?
  871. You throw off the garment and you run!
  872. Why? Because you really saw what you are.
  873. And you really saw that
    He is your only hope.
  874. He says here,
  875. "I feel like He's done with me."
  876. Well, I don't know that
    and he doesn't know that.
  877. But I can tell you this,
  878. Jesus Christ is the only Savior of sinners
  879. and there is no other hope this guy has.
  880. What are we going to say?
  881. If we feel this way,
  882. or if somebody else feels this way,
  883. what are we going to say?
  884. So, ok, you feel like God's done with you.
  885. What? Should you assume He is?
  886. And just be content to go to hell?
  887. I wouldn't advise that.
  888. I wouldn't advise anybody to take that.
  889. If I'm sitting there
    like blind Bartimaeus,
  890. might I say to Christ,
  891. I'm bad.
  892. I'm real bad.
  893. I'm so bad that I don't know
    if there's any hope for me.
  894. But, He's the Savior and if
    anybody's going to help me;
  895. if anybody's going to provide
    hope for me it's Him.
  896. Lord, help me.
  897. Help somebody that's committed
    the unpardonable sin,
  898. because I want to be saved!
  899. Anyway, brethren, you guys understand,
  900. saving faith is not
    believing you're saved.
  901. That's assurance.
  902. Saving faith is like blind Bartimaeus
  903. where you recognize,
  904. He is my only hope.
  905. And I'm trusting Him.
  906. I'm trusting Him to save sinners
  907. as He shows in His Word
  908. that He will for those who trust Him.
  909. Faith believes,
  910. not that I'm saved;
  911. faith believes in the Person
  912. and the work of Christ,
  913. and that that alone is my hope
  914. and it satisfied God.
  915. My only hope.
  916. Anyway, I think my primary reason
  917. for bringing this up
  918. is that we want to be careful, brethren,
  919. that we don't think wrongly of God
  920. when we find sinners struggling,
  921. and assuming and wanting to convince you
  922. that they're doing
    everything in their power
  923. and that they're actually responding
  924. in a biblical manner,
  925. and God wants nothing to do with them.
  926. Don't fall for that.
  927. Don't fall for that.
  928. Listen, those who do not
    want to give up their sins,
  929. typically find the Gospel
    very difficult to understand,
  930. and typically find fault with God
  931. for not saving them on their terms.
  932. People that are scared to death of hell,
  933. but love their sin,
  934. they will tell you stories
  935. that will cast a shadow
    over God's character.
  936. Beware.
  937. And the reason they will
  938. is because they want to get to heaven
  939. holding their sins,
  940. and God won't save them
  941. because they want to skip hell
  942. and hold on to the sin
    they so dearly love.
  943. And you see, that is precisely the thing
  944. and the only thing
  945. that keeps men and women from responding
  946. to the invitation.
  947. They love their stuff.
  948. They love their sin.
  949. And you know, you can imagine the guy.
  950. You can imagine the guy, right?
  951. That went to see his oxen?
  952. Once he comes to recognize,
  953. you know, ok, I've checked them out now.
  954. I might like to get into the banquet.
  955. Now, God's going to keep me out?
  956. Yeah, be careful.
  957. Scripture says that if you hear
  958. the fullness of this truth;
  959. you hear about the blood of Christ,
  960. and you go on willfully sinning,
  961. you may find that the Master is angry
  962. and you'll never get in.
  963. Be very careful.
    Be very careful.
  964. Brethren, the big thing
    that I want to stress
  965. in situations like this
  966. is we want to stand for
    the character of God.
  967. And in Scripture, God sent His Son
  968. into this world
  969. to shed tears over His rejectors,
  970. and to shed tears
  971. and to exclaim with great pathos
  972. that I would have gathered you.
  973. I would have gathered you
  974. and you would not.
  975. See, that is the character
  976. of the God that we find in Scripture.
  977. Anybody want to add anything to that?
  978. James: We could maybe just give a thought,
  979. you mentioned a couple times:
  980. Come to Christ broken,
  981. and constant response to that is
  982. then they look inwardly and think,
  983. am I broken enough?
  984. Tim: Yes, and that's so good.
  985. I was just reading
    Lloyd-Jones the other day,
  986. and he said this:
  987. He said there was a day
  988. when the term repentance
  989. communicated weakness.
  990. What a saying.
  991. What a thing to say.
  992. Today, I get this distinct feeling
  993. when we talk about repentance,
  994. it doesn't make people think of weakness.
  995. It makes people think of
    something they need to do
  996. in order to get God's attention
  997. or to get on God's right side
  998. or to twist His arm.
  999. But you see, the very
    nature of saving faith
  1000. and the very nature of true repentance -
  1001. it's blind Bartimaeus.
  1002. It's, "Lord, I don't have
    anything to offer."
  1003. You see, that's what repentance is.
  1004. The idea of repentance is this idea
  1005. that remember, we talked about this,
  1006. it's re-thinking, but more than that,
  1007. that Greek term metanoia has to do
  1008. with changing your mind.
  1009. What happens?
  1010. Well, basically, we're going along
  1011. and we're thinking we're pretty good.
  1012. We think we're not blind.
  1013. We think we have strength.
  1014. We think we have something to offer God.
  1015. We really think - we heard
    it today at the funeral -
  1016. people assume that they're good.
  1017. Blind Bartimaeus was in a position
  1018. where there was no assumption
  1019. that he had sight.
  1020. You see, repentance is really a mindset
  1021. that Christ is mighty
  1022. and I don't have anything to offer.
  1023. And then saving faith is beholding,
  1024. that's trusting Christ.
  1025. That's seeing the reality of Him.
  1026. That's hearing this One can restore sight;
  1027. this One can cure the leper;
  1028. this One has raised the palsied;
  1029. He's raised the dead;
    He's calmed the storm.
  1030. Ah, that's what I need.
  1031. And so it's not so much,
  1032. oh, what can I do
  1033. so that I can get to heaven?
  1034. All it's about is in my desperation
  1035. and my emptiness
  1036. and my bankruptcy,
  1037. I just have to get ahold of Him.
  1038. I have to get His attention.
  1039. That's blind Bartimaeus.
  1040. He cried out. People told him to shut up.
  1041. But he wasn't going to shut up. Why?
  1042. Because his mind had been changed.
  1043. He knew.
  1044. There may have been a day
  1045. when Jesus didn't mean anything to him.
  1046. There may have been a day when
  1047. he had no idea about Jesus
  1048. having that ability,
  1049. but somewhere along the line
  1050. he came to learn about this Savior.
  1051. He came to learn about this One:
  1052. He can heal.
  1053. Word came to him.
  1054. And you remember,
  1055. that was the very thing that Jesus said
  1056. to those cities where most of
    His mighty works were done.
  1057. He faulted them for not having repented
  1058. after He did those mighty works.
  1059. Well, here's Bartimaeus.
  1060. And he caught wind of those works.
  1061. And something happened in his mind
  1062. and something happened in his thinking,
  1063. and he wasn't thinking,
  1064. oh, how can I produce a repentance
  1065. that is somehow going to
    work out God's favor here.
  1066. You see, the whole idea of repentance
  1067. is weakness.
  1068. Real repentance brings us to a mindset
  1069. of weakness; not of strength.
  1070. And he recognized, I can't do a thing
  1071. to restore my own sight.
  1072. But if I can just cry out to Him,
  1073. He is my only hope.
  1074. The cry doesn't save me.
  1075. It's the cry to Him.
  1076. I've got to get to Him.
  1077. He's my only hope.
  1078. Oh, think about when he heard those words:
  1079. "He's calling you."
  1080. He threw off his cloak.
  1081. Think about that.
  1082. Blind men don't throw off their cloak.
  1083. Blind men are going to keep in contact
  1084. with the stuff that is precious to them,
  1085. and I guarantee you a blind man
  1086. would have valued his cloak.
  1087. He threw it off because it
    didn't matter anymore.
  1088. Because it wasn't like the wife
  1089. or the oxen or the field.
  1090. It didn't matter.
  1091. He's calling me and He's my only hope.
  1092. And if I can get to Him,
  1093. I don't care about anything else.
  1094. I've got to get to Him.
  1095. I don't care.
  1096. People that talk like this guy talks,
  1097. and then if you were to take a snapshot
  1098. of their life and see them
    surfing the Internet,
  1099. and see them spending hours on video games
  1100. and see them watching smut on TV.
  1101. See, when you know He's my only hope,
  1102. and I'm sick and I'm blind
  1103. and I'm bankrupt
  1104. and I'm in trouble
  1105. and I'm guilty
  1106. and I'm a sinner before God
  1107. and I'm going to hell -
  1108. you will cry out.
  1109. Bartimaeus did not all of a sudden
  1110. decide that he was going to go
  1111. over to the other side of Jericho
  1112. and beg for awhile
  1113. and then he would worry
    about finding Jesus later.
  1114. When you come to the realization,
  1115. when you do a proper spiritual inventory
  1116. and you recognize,
  1117. I am lost and I'm going to hell
  1118. and I am under God's wrath,
  1119. and it is not well with my soul,
  1120. and I'm going to perish,
  1121. and I need Christ.
  1122. He is my only hope and my only help.
  1123. That's it.
  1124. (Incomplete thought)
  1125. If you're here in that condition,
  1126. throw off the cloak
  1127. and run.
  1128. But the throwing off of the cloak
  1129. and the running don't do you anything,
  1130. don't look at that.
  1131. Can you imagine him?
  1132. He threw off those things.
  1133. Can you imagine him?
  1134. Can you imagine watching,
  1135. here's a blind man.
  1136. He had some idea of the direction
  1137. that Jesus was in.
  1138. He might have heard Jesus even.
  1139. I don't know, but he took off.
  1140. Can you imagine a blind man just running?
  1141. It's like he didn't care.
  1142. His one thought:
  1143. I've got to get to Christ.
  1144. Get to Christ.
  1145. I've got to get to Christ.
  1146. And his life proved it.
  1147. What he did proved the
    nature of that repentance
  1148. and of that faith.
  1149. Yeah, such a question, it would be
  1150. so ridiculous to Bartimaeus.
  1151. Are you blind enough?
  1152. Do you sense your blindness enough?
  1153. Obviously, he was blind enough.
  1154. And obviously, he did sense his blindness.
  1155. But his focus was on that reality,
  1156. that I've got to get to Christ.
  1157. I've got to get to Christ.
  1158. Anybody have anything else?
  1159. Father,
  1160. Father, we know that You save sinners.
  1161. Lord, we know that from beginning to end,
  1162. we don't love first. You love first.
  1163. We don't call first. You call first.
  1164. We don't see first. You see first.
  1165. Being saved does not originate
  1166. in our own minds.
  1167. Being able to behold the reality
  1168. of our only hope being in Christ.
  1169. We even read about this on Sunday.
  1170. There's a veil.
  1171. We recognize that the god of this world
  1172. blinds the eyes of unbelievers
  1173. and those that are perishing.
  1174. Lord, have mercy and save sinners.
  1175. Lord, please, in this day,
  1176. bring sweeping - Lord, sweeping salvation
  1177. to multitudes, we pray, Lord,
  1178. may this be a day of salvation.
  1179. May today be the day of salvation.
  1180. Lord, would You have mercy upon
  1181. the masses of humanity in our country.
  1182. Lord, I pray for Joseph.
  1183. Lord, I pray. I pray for him.
  1184. Lord, there's no sinner beyond Your reach.
  1185. We just pray that You'd have mercy.
  1186. We pray, Lord, have mercy upon sinners,
  1187. just like him.
  1188. Just like we were; maybe some of us are.
  1189. Mercy, Lord. We pray for mercy.
  1190. Aside from Your mercy,
  1191. aside from Your compassion -
  1192. Lord, You sent Your Son.
  1193. And we see His tears by faith
  1194. as articulated there for us in Luke 19.
  1195. We see those tears.
  1196. Lord, may the reality of those tears
  1197. be demonstrated in our presence
  1198. in this generation,
  1199. by You sweeping many into the Kingdom.
  1200. We pray this in Christ's name,
  1201. Amen.