Be in Christ
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Be in Christ

Matthew 11:25–30  (ID: 2785)

Are you burdened by the weight of this world? You’re not alone! In fact, as Matthew’s Gospel records, Jesus invited all who are weary to come to Him, just as we are, for peace. Alistair Begg unpacks this famous invitation, exploring what it means to know and find our rest in Christ. Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light. When we accept His call to come, we find true freedom.

Series Containing This Sermon

To Know Christ

Selected Scriptures Series ID: 26201

Encore 2019

Selected Scriptures Series ID: 25910

Sermon Transcript: Print

I invite you to take your Bibles and turn with me to the closing verses of the eleventh chapter of Matthew, Matthew 11, where I’m going to read from verse 29 to the end, actually from verse 25 to the end. And as you’re turning there may I say what a privilege it is to be invited, and it is a pleasure to accept the invitation, to join you again here in what has become a memorable place for me along with many of you. We’re going to read the Bible, then I’m going to pray briefly, and then we’re going to study it together. Matthew 11:25.

“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’”

And our prayer together.

Father what we know not, teach us; what we have not, give us; what we are not, make us for the sake of your Son, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Well, in our studies this week, we’re going to look together at what the Bible says concerning the purpose of God the Father to make those who are his children like his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. So if you need to know where we’re heading, we’re heading in that direction. We’re going to think throughout the week of the process that is involved, at least part of it, in becoming like Christ. But it seems only logical, sensible, profitable, to pause before we turn there to consider what it means to be in Christ, for the Bible makes it very plain that it is only those who have become God’s children by grace through faith, who have been placed into Christ, that the Father by the Holy Spirit is in the process of making like Christ.

And so I want us this morning in the time that we have to think concerning what it means to be in Christ and most importantly to ask ourselves the question, “Does that phrase describe me?” I may be a boy, a girl; I may be here with my mum and dad. They may be very good Christian people, and I love them for it. And I’ve paid attention to much of what they’ve told me throughout my life, but here I am this morning in here for the foreseeable future, and I need to ask myself this question: Can I have my name—John, George, Louise, Alice, whatever my last name is—and then just put a dash against it and against my name say “in Christ,” of all the things that would describe me, of all the things that would mark me? Here I am as a husband this morning; I’ve joined my wife. She said there would be lovely events up here. “The only difficult part would be,” she said, “the Sunday morning when you’ll have to listen to somebody preaching.” Well, I’m glad you’re here. I hope you will be too. And I want to ask you, sir, how about your name and then just a dash and the phrase “in Christ”?

The Apostle Paul really made the phrase “in Christ” his own. When he told his own story, he told of how it was before he came to understand who Jesus was and why he came. Up to that point his life disregarded Jesus in a pretty remarkable way, as you will discover if you read the story. But it was when he came to discover the wonder of Jesus’ work that he was placed “in Christ.” And he said quite memorably, writing to some people who were living in Corinth at the time, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”[1] In other words, something has happened to change the status of that individual; if you like, their lives written out would be two volumes: volume one pre-Christ, disregarding him, knowing of him but yet not knowing him, and then coming to know him, and then volume two, “in Christ.”

Now it was with this in mind that I’ve turned to, I think, what is arguably one of the loveliest invitations in the whole of the New Testament. It comes in the final three verses of the passage that we read. The source of the invitation is Jesus Christ himself. It is Jesus that is speaking as you will note from verse 25. Jesus speaks first to his Father in prayer, he then makes observations concerning the nature of the Father’s revealing of the Son, and then he issues this invitation. The scope of the invitation you will notice is comprehensive. “Come to me all, all you who are weary and burdened.” That is not actually to sequester a certain group amongst a larger group, but it is really a description of the totality of humanity, as I’m going to show you. The source of the invitation is Jesus, the scope of the invitation is universal, and the significance of the invitation concerns the fact that Jesus is inviting these people to find rest for their souls. Not to have a vacation, not to just simply find that which would make life a little more bearable for them, but he’s speaking in eternal terms. He’s speaking in a way that encompasses the totality of human existence. He’s speaking in a way that addresses the big questions of life. Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? And does it even matter? All of those questions that any sensible man or woman will find themself asking from time to time is somehow or another wrapped up in this loveliest of invitations.

I want to suggest to you therefore that it is not an invitation to be set aside; rather it must be given a top priority. It demands our attention and it calls for immediate action. And if we want to know the action for which it calls, we need only pay attention to the action words, which means we’re not going to adjectives or prepositions or pronouns or nouns, but we’re going to verbs. And the verbs are clear and we’re going to go through them. There are four of them. I will spend longer on the first than I do on the remaining three. (I say that as an encouragement to the young people who, after I finish the first one are saying, “Goodness gracious there will be no lunch today at all!” No, I’ve found over time that I do spend too long on the first, but I’ve learned also to warn my listeners.) Well, let me point out the verbs. First “come” in verse 28; “take,” verse 29; “learn,” verse 29; “find,” verse 29. OK? So we’ll just work through them as we go.

The invitation to come

First of all, this invitation is to come, and to “come to me.” This is Jesus. “Come to me,” he says. In other words, it is a person-to-person invitation. Only those of you who are of a certain vintage will even pay any attention to the phrase “person-to-person.” If you remember in the old days, before we all had cell phones and interstellar communication that was instantaneous with one another, we would make telephone calls, sometimes across an ocean, and in making the call as a Scotsman it seemed to me only sensible to ask for it to be person-to-person. That way if the operator was unable to get the other person on the other end of the phone, I didn’t have to pay for the telephone call, and as a Scot that was and remains a significant issue. Well you see this invitation is both generic and specific. It is an invitation that is made by a person to persons. It may be personalized by all who hear it and all who listen to it. It is an invitation not to a program, nor is it an invitation to a philosophy, but it is an invitation to and by Jesus himself. And he who by virtue of his identity may command a response introduces himself as being gentle and humble in heart, and instead of commanding our response, he entreats our response. “Come to me,” he says. “I want you to come to me.”

Now we need to be clear about the one who issues the invitation, and as a sidebar I’m turning to Luke 4. For those of you who like to follow along, you can turn for a moment to the account of Jesus returning to Galilee and going to Nazareth where he’d been brought up, and on the Sabbath day going into the synagogue as was his custom, Luke tells us, and in the course of the synagogue worship “he stood up to read” from the Scriptures. And Luke tells us in Luke 4:17 that, “The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’”[2]

Now these would be words with which the synagogue attendees were familiar. He was reading the familiar prophetic words that have come out of the scroll of Isaiah. [It was] customary after the reading for someone to sit down in the place of the teacher. Luke tells us that once the scroll had been removed from him and placed in its position, he sat down in the position of the rabbi and the eyes of all in the synagogue, Luke tells us, “were fastened on him.”[3] Now think of this. He’s in his own town. He’s returned as a homeboy to Nazareth. He’s back amongst the people who would know him, the folks who went shopping with his mother, the folks who had children who were the same age as Jesus, who’d grown up together in Nazareth, those who knew him as the boy from the carpenter’s shop. He has returned. He’s in his hometown synagogue. He has known the privilege of reading from the Scriptures in this way, and everyone was “fastened on him” to hear what he would have to say, and from his mouth came words that none of them would ever, ever have anticipated. He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”[4] And “all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’”[5] they said. “Isn’t this the boy from the carpenter’s shop? Do I understand exactly what has happened here? He has just read the prophetic Scriptures anticipating the coming of the Messiah who will establish the Kingdom of God, give sight to the blind and healing to the lame and so on, and establish the day of the Lord’s favor. He’s just read all of that, and did I hear correctly? Did he say, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’? Is he suggesting that he is none other than the Messiah?” Yes.

Now we have established this this morning without turning to the Bible. We have affirmed this this morning from the absolute commencement of our worship: “We’ve a story to tell to the nations” of a Savior, of a Lord, of a King.[6] We haven’t said this morning, “We have an option to give to the nations—that we have a possibility to be included along with Islam and along with Buddhism and along with Confucianism and along with New Ageism and along with selfism, that we’ve all gathered here in order to say that we just want Jesus to be included in the pantheon of twenty-first-century deities.” We haven’t said that. We have affirmed in our songs the identity of the one who issues this invitation. It is the identity of the one who issues the invitation that gives significance to the invitation. Hence I say to you, it is not to be set aside. It is a priority to be attended to.

Well, from this Christ to “all who are weary and burdened,” all who are weary and burdened. “Ah well,” says somebody, “that lets me off the hook because I am neither. I’m neither weary nor burdened. Now I can push the button and ignore the rest of this because,” you’re saying to yourself, “I’m strong and I’m carefree.” Oh, are you really? Do come and introduce yourself to me at the end. I’d love to meet someone strong and completely carefree. Fifty-six years of life have told me that I haven’t met a single person who isn’t pushing a wheelbarrow, and in that wheelbarrow he has all the cares and responsibilities and fears and failures that make up his or her life, and you’re no different this morning.

Have you had the experience of going to the doctor for a routine checkup? Did you go early as they told you, at eight o’clock to desk A12, where the well-meaning person wrapped that rubber band around whichever arm could produce the best vein? And they did the preparatory routine blood work. And have you ever had the experience of later in the day sitting there apparently fit as a fiddle and being told by the doctor that despite all appearances to the contrary, you are significantly unwell. Oh, when you walked in you had no notion of it. Frankly none of your friends would even have considered it. They’d seen you running that morning or riding your bike the previous week, but now everything is different. In fact, it is the circumstances as they had been; they have only now been revealed—the result of blood work, the result of an MRI, a scan that has been done—revealing the true circumstances that are unapparent from the outside.

That’s what the Bible does. The Bible provides for us an MRI. It investigates at the very core of our being, and it points out to those of us who believe we have the world by the tail, who are strong and carefree, that in actual fact things are not the way we assume. That when it comes to the issues of our souls, the Bible says we are suffering from a terminal illness. The terminal illness is described in the Bible as sin. Most people think the issue is about our sins, plural, the things we do or we haven’t done. And so if we haven’t done a lot lately or we haven’t really done as many as someone else we’ve known, we say to our self, “Well you know sins are not really that big of an issue for me.” Well in actual fact, sins are not really that big of an issue for you; the issue for you is sin, because it is our sin that has separated us from God. And the Bible says that all have sinned and are separated from God. All of us have fallen short of the standard that God has established: that is perfection, and none of us have ever lived to perfection. In the words of Isaiah from which we’ve already quoted, at least the same book, all we like sheep have gone astray. Each of us (no exceptions) has turned to his own way.[7] In other words we’ve got a real dilemma and the dilemma is simply this: that we’re unfit for heaven and we’re unable to rectify our circumstances. Now that would be a burden if it once dawned upon us, wouldn’t it? Suddenly into the résumé of our lives, into our CV, we have to write if we’re honest, according to the Bible, “I am by nature unfit for heaven and unable to rectify my circumstances.” That’s a bit of a burden.

You say, “Well we’re a very nice group here up at camp; I mean, we wouldn’t be up at camp if we weren’t a very nice group.” Well, I know you’re a very nice group, and that’s why I like coming. It’s nice to come and be with nice people. I’ve discovered over time that there are two ways that people reject Jesus as Savior. There are two ways that they endeavor not to come to him, not to respond to his invitation. Here they are: number one, by being as bad as possible and breaking all the rules; or by being as good as possible and keeping all the rules. Those are the two ways that’ll find you saying “No” to the invitation of Jesus. If you’ve been so bad and broken them all, you say to yourself, “There’s no hope for me,” and you’re wrong. If you’ve been so good and done it all right, you say to yourself, “Well there’s no need for me,” and you’d be wrong. The invitation is clear, the source is articulated, and the significance is undeniable.

The invitation to take

Now we have three verbs to go. The second one is take. Take. And there is a sense in which take, learn, and find extrapolate the nature of what it means to come. Or if we put it differently: What does it mean to come? Well it means to take, to learn, to find. So there’s a sense in which the other three should be shorter than the first. (I haven’t forgotten. All right? I haven’t forgotten.) Second verb, take. “Take my yoke upon you.” Now the yoke, as some of you from a farming background will know, was a wooden frame placed across the back of oxen, usually, yoking them together; but it also … If you have these wonderful pictures from Holland, I think, or maybe it’s Scandinavia, of those lovely blonde girls with the two buckets on either side and they balance those buckets as a result of having a yoke across their shoulders. They use the yoke in order that the weight might be distributed evenly on both sides and make it possible for them to walk along the road. It’s a lovely picture. It’s a clear picture. It’s the picture that Jesus is using. He says, “I want you to ‘take my yoke upon you.’” My yoke upon you. Incidentally—and I don’t pay much attention to this kind of thing, but it is a fascinating little concept—some have even suggested through time that it may well have been that Joseph (that is the carpenter in Nazareth) had as his sort of advertising slogan outside his carpenter’s workshop, he had as his slogan, “My yokes are easy.” Huh? So people would say, “You know if you’re going to get a yoke for yourself or for one of your beasts, get one of Joseph’s yokes ’cause they don’t chafe you, they don’t rub the back of your oxen’s neck. He’s just wonderful in the way he makes them.” I don’t give much credence to that, but I do give absolute credence to what Jesus says when he says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Do you know what he was doing there? He was distinguishing himself and his message from the story that had been given to these people by the religionists of his day, particularly, peculiarly by the Pharisees. These were individuals who were meticulous in their desire to do what was right. In fact they were so consumed by it that when they had finished with all the things that God had said they ought to do, they added a good dose of their own, and so they made it virtually impossible for anybody to be able to do anything. And the idea that a man might be accepted before God on the strength of all of these external obligations was absolutely crushing in its implications, in much the same way that many have been brought up in a religious background that has essentially been a succession of stories saying, “Come on now, you can do this. Come on now, try a little harder. Come on now, this is just there for you to achieve.” That will wear the neck of any thinking person quickly, but that’s not what Jesus says. He says, “Take my yoke upon you.”

To be under the yoke, the authority, of Jesus is not a burden, it is a delight.

To be under the yoke, the authority, of Jesus is not a burden, it is a delight; and “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”[8] Free in order to become the very bond slave of Jesus. Free not to do what I want, but free to do what I ought. Since by nature I cannot do what I ought because I’m in bondage to my own desires, I need somebody to set me free from the bondage of my own desires in order that I might live in obedience to his will. Jesus is Lord. That is not an expression of personal devotion, that is a statement concerning Jesus’ identity. And because he is Lord, to come to him—to respond to the invitation—is to take on an obligation, and the obligation is a freeing obligation, but an obligation nevertheless. And let me tell you clearly, since Jesus is Lord, those who have come to Jesus and live under his yoke have no freedom to behave in any other way than the way in which Jesus as Lord declares. So the issues of morality, the issues of sexuality, the conducting of business, the practice of family, all of these things are gathered under the yoke of the Lord Jesus Christ. So when Paul summarizes it again in writing to people in Corinth he says, “You’re not your own. You were bought with a price, therefore glorify God with your body.”[9]

The invitation to learn

Thirdly, learn. Learn. Come, take, learn. Learn. Have you listened as children come home from school? Every so often I’m in a situation where it just so happens either the bus gushes out all these little bodies or I happen to be somewhere in a school playground, and all the children come running out. And it’s fascinating just to listen to the initial things that are said by the mums who are there to welcome them. And you must check, and I don’t want to be unkind in this way, certainly I don’t want to bring shame down upon myself, but would I be wrong in suggesting that almost the overarching and recurring question that is issued to the child as they come towards their mother is, “Did you have fun today?” Did you have fun today? Now if you happen to be in the company of a Chinese parent or an Indian parent, if you listen carefully, they’re not asking that question. They’re actually asking, “Did you learn anything today? ’Cause that’s why you went to school: to learn.” Now there’s a revolutionary thought, isn’t it? “Did you have fun today?”

I don’t want to overstep my boundary, but have you been to some churches recently? Would I be wrong in thinking that the question when it’s all over is akin to the standard maternal question of the children coming from school, “Did you have fun today at church?” Loved ones, that’s not the question. “Did you learn anything?” Well if you want to learn something, presumably you’d have a Bible. If you had a Bible, presumably you would open it. If you opened it, presumably you would look in it to see if what the person up behind this box is saying is actually in this Bible. I’d be very concerned if I were you. I’d be very concerned.

Christianity, you see, changes the way a man or a woman thinks.

Christianity, you see, changes the way a man or a woman thinks; hence the invitation to learn. Don’t you love that great quote by C. S. Lewis when he says, “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the rising of the sun, not simply because I can see it but because by it I can see everything else”?[10] That coming to Jesus changes everything, changes the way I view everything, changes my perspective on Jesus, changes my perspective on time, changes my perspective on resources, changes my perspective on career, changes the kind of person that I want to marry and live my life with. It just changes everything. As we learn from him, it is as we learn the Bible, we learn that our acceptance with God is a result of the fact that Jesus has lived the kind of life that I should live but can’t, and that he has fully paid the penalty that I deserve for the kind of life I do live but shouldn’t. That’s the gospel.

Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous (that’s him) for the unrighteous (that’s me) to bring me to God.

You see the gospel is what God has done in Jesus in a moment in time. The gospel is not the story of the perils that attach to rejecting it or of the benefits that accrue to those who accept it. Many of us, I think, have heard about what happens to us if we don’t accept the gospel or the benefits that we may enjoy if we do accept the gospel, but some of us are sitting there saying, “I wish somebody would actually tell me the gospel.” What is the gospel? Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous (that’s him) for the unrighteous (that’s me) to bring me to God.[11] That he who was without sin became sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.[12] So that when we sing,

O Christ, in Thee my soul hath found,
And found in Thee alone,
The peace, the joy I sought so long,
The bliss till now unknown.
Now none but Christ can satisfy,[13]

what we’re affirming is that all of the blessings of God are made available to us in the person of his Son Jesus. And simply a head knowledge of that is not to be equated with our having come to believe it and trust it and learn of it and be yoked by it for ourselves.

I wonder do I speak to an individual this morning? To somebody for whom this is absolutely so apropos, you think I was driving in the back of your car with you for the last two months. I wonder is that the case? How would I ever know? But I have prayed to this end. I have asked God that if I would extend this invitation of Jesus, that it would be for those who are there to receive it—a boy or a girl, a man or a woman—somebody trying to unscramble the riddle of their lives, putting the jigsaw pieces of the puzzle together as best they can, and finding no matter how much they look at the picture on the front of the box they’re unable to get there. Well can I say to you, why don’t you come then and respond to this invitation?

The invitation to find

Take this yoke, learn from this Christ, and finally, find. Find. “Find rest for your souls.” For your souls. There’s a concept, isn’t it? Have you noticed how the last twenty-five or thirty years in Western culture have paradoxically become totally preoccupied with spirituality, while at the same time rejecting the notion of our souls as an entity, as that which will transcend and will go beyond us when we “shuffle off this mortal coil”?[14] Hence, all of the possibilities, all of the means available to aid us in our time-bound pursuits—hence all of the talk shows in the afternoon that are all about me and myself and my agenda and all of the things that are understandably important to me, but the one missing element in them is the notion of eternity—is the concept that the Bible makes so perfectly clear, that death is not the end, that it is appointed unto man once to die and after this comes judgment,[15] a judgment that will be absolutely fair and a judgment that will be absolutely final, an inexorable appointment towards which each man and woman moves. That’s why this is so important, because this is the only way that anyone ever may find such rest for their souls.

Remember when Jesus told the story of the man who’d done so well in business. It wasn’t a criticism of doing well in business. He had done well and he decided that it would be opportune for him to develop his holdings, to build bigger barns to store what he had. There was no problem in that either; that was a legitimate thing to do. What made it so galling was the fact that the one piece of the puzzle that he left out was the vital piece, and Jesus said, “Well you know that is really foolish, because tonight your soul will be required of you.” Your soul will be required of you. “Then who will get all the stuff in your barns?”[16]

When Paul summarizes the experience of his Christian story, he just says “to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”[17] You know that’s the only way that equation works. You just walk around this campground this afternoon and try any other word that you can put in after the “is.” “To me to live is” and then finish it with “to die is gain.” Try success: to die is not gain. Try money: to die is not gain. Try the preoccupation with family: to die is not gain. There is only one way that you can complete the equation. “To me to live is Christ.”

That for me was the sadness of reading the obituaries both in The New York Times and also in The Wall Street [Journal] yesterday of Randy Pausch, the 47-year old lecturer from Carnegie Mellon whose final lecture was an inspiration to everyone who heard it. And to those of us who heard snippets from it, who wouldn’t be inspired by somebody who was able to speak so clearly to a generation he was about to leave behind concerning the importance of values, the importance of memories, the importance of family, and every other thing? Absolutely masterful all the way down the line with only one part missing. In fact, if you read the Times yesterday, the final paragraph reads, “Doctor Pausch gave practical advice in his lectures” (now notice, here’s the phrase) “avoiding spiritual and religious matters. He did however mention that he experienced a near-deathbed conversion: he switched and bought a Macintosh computer.”[18] I suggest to you that that is a level of sardonic wit that can only be possessed by someone who has said, “Don’t come to me with your invitation. I’m fine, thank you very much.”

But for those who recognize that life is frail, that “fading is the worldling’s pleasure, all [the] boasted pomp and show,”[19] that “solid joy,” that “lasting treasure” is found in Jesus, then here, I suggest to you, is the loveliest of invitations. The loveliest of invitations. “Come to me,” to Jesus. “I’m humble, I’m gentle, I’m approachable. Your problem is so severe that I had to die on the cross for you. I love you so much that I was willing to die on the cross for you. Come to me.”

Do you get lots of invitations? We do. They come into the house from all different places. Some of them are standard mail and everything else. They go in a kind of system (I think there’s a system; I don’t know). But every so often you have to say, “Well, who did it come from? Are we going to deal with it? What should we do?” And sometimes it comes down to … it comes down to, “Well, we’re going to go,” and then the question is, what are you supposed to wear? What are you supposed to wear? And every so often someone will say, “Well I don’t want to go to that; I have nothing to wear.” That’s never me that says that, but I think I’ve heard that phrase, “I don’t want to go to that; I have nothing to wear.” Well, you just go to this banquet just the way you are. Clothes are provided. He takes all the “I’m-so-good-I-don’t-need-this” clothes, which are rags, and disrobes us. All the “I’m-so-bad-and-messed-up-there’s-no-hope” clothes, which are rags, and disrobes us. And he covers us over with a “robe of righteousness”[20] provided by Jesus Christ himself, so we’re able to say,

Just as I am without one plea
but that your blood was shed for me
and that you bid me come to thee,
Lord Jesus Christ, I come.[21]
The only way we know God is because God has chosen to make himself known.

Let us pray. There may be some for whom today just represents the closing link in a huge long chain of family prayers and friends’ invitations. Perhaps we’ve made it all so complicated, as if somehow or another by our intellect we’re going to find God. There is no intellectual road to God. The only way we know God is because God has chosen to make himself known. That was part of the reading. “I thank you that you’ve hidden this stuff,” he says, “from the wise and the learned and you revealed it to little children,” not that we would become childish, but that we might become childlike. Perhaps for some this brief prayer will give voice to your heart today. If that’s the case, you may say it in your heart along with me, and if it is the case, I hope you’ll tell someone before the day is out that this was your prayer and that you have responded to this invitation.

Lord Jesus Christ, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment, and offering me forgiveness. I turn from my sin and receive you as my Savior.

And now may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God our Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit rest upon and remain with all who believe, today and forevermore. Amen.[22]


[1] 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV 1984).

[2] Luke 4: 17–22 (NIV 1984).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] H. Ernest Nichol, “We’ve a Story to Tell” (1896).

[7] Isaiah 53:6 (paraphrased).

[8] John 8:32 (NIV 1984).

[9] 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (paraphrased).

[10] C. S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?” in The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 140. Paraphrased.

[11] 1 Peter 3:18 (paraphrased).

[12] 2 Corinthians 5:21 (paraphrased).

[13] [Emma Frances Bevan?], “None but Christ Can Satisfy.”.

[14] William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene i.

[15] Hebrews 9:27 (paraphrased).

[16] Luke 12:16–20 (paraphrased).

[17] Philippians 1:21 (NIV 1984).

[18] Douglas Martin, “Randy Pausch, 47, Dies; His ‘Last Lecture’ Inspired Many to Live With Wonder.” The New York Times, July 26, 2008.

[19] John Newton, “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken” (1779).

[20] Isaiah 61:10 (NIV 1984).

[21] Charlotte Elliott, “Just As I Am” (1836).

[22] 2 Corinthians 13:14 (paraphrased).

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.