January 9, 2011
In His mercy, God redeems all who come to Him for forgiveness. He offers us this great gift not because of anything we have done but because of what Christ accomplished on the cross. Beginning a series of studies on the Gospel’s transforming work, Alistair Begg looks to Paul’s opening entreaty in Romans 12 to discover what it means to respond to God’s extravagant grace by going “all in” for Christ.
Sermon Transcript: Print
Romans chapter 12 is the source of our Bible reading this morning. It’s page 803 in the church Bibles. Romans chapter 12, page 803, beginning at verse 1.
And Paul writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
Father, we pray now that as we turn to the Bible you will make the Book live to us, that you will show us ourselves, that you will show us our Savior, and that you will accomplish the plans and purposes for this day that you intend, and that you might be pleased to guide our thinking and our responding accordingly. For we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
When asked to explain the impact of his life, William Booth, who founded the Salvation Army, replied in one striking phrase: he said, “Jesus Christ has all of me.” And those of us who’ve read anything of Booth and of the Salvation Army will know that there was nothing presumptuous or proud in that response, but it was the only way he could actually explain why it was that he, a mere mortal of insubstantial means, should have been used in such a remarkable way at that particular point in history. “Jesus Christ,” he said, “has all of me.” And this morning we want to think about what it might mean for Jesus Christ to have all of us.
The words that we’ve just read are not addressed to individuals; they’re addressed, essentially, to a group. But a group is made up of individuals, and every chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And Paul here is urging the Christians in Rome to take seriously the responsibilities and privileges that are theirs as a result of God’s grace in them and, in turn, through them.
Phillips paraphrases this opening verse as follows: “With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers [and sisters], as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies.” “I beg you … as an act of intelligent worship…” The word that is used there in Greek is the word logikos, which gives us our word logical. So it’s important for us to understand that this is not an exhortation on the basis of emotion—that this is not some attempt on the part of Paul, as is not unusual in contemporary terms, for the person in the position of leadership to try and manipulate, and move, and stimulate, and so on, individuals on the strength of emotional appeals and all kinds of stuff. No, in actual fact, his tone is not like that at all. His tone, you will see, is one of entreaty: “I urge you.” That’s the verb. It’s not “I command you.” He’s not, either, suggesting a possible response. He’s not saying, “I’ve got a couple of ideas you might like to think about and go away and consider them.” He doesn’t let them off the hook in that way. But his tone isn’t heavy-handed either. It’s the genuine work of God in him and through him. It’s the kind of leadership to which we respond. It’s like the captain on the field who manages to come alongside his players and say, “Come on! Together, let us go on. Let us go on to victory!” And so it is that Paul here doesn’t offer a command or a suggestion, but his tone is one of entreaty, and an entreaty that is marked at the same time by urgency.
The appeal that he makes is made on the basis of God’s mercy. That you will notice if your eyes are upon the text: “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy.” The “therefore” ties it back to chapter 11 and 10 and 9 and all the way through, really, to chapter 1, because Paul has been enforcing and reinforcing the foundational nature of God’s mercy as the basis upon which a sinful person may be put into a right relationship with a holy God. And so it is important for us—if we’re going to make sure that we don’t do despite to the text and use it in a way that is absolutely wrong—it’s important for us to pay attention to this phrase “God’s mercy.”
Now, it’s perfectly understandable that someone would respond by saying, “Why would I ever need God’s mercy?” Or someone might say, “I don’t think I really need mercy.” And it’s interesting—for me, at least, because I didn’t put any of this together—that on the flyleaf of your bulletin this morning you have the answer to the question “Why would I need God’s mercy?” And there in the catechism, in number 37 and 38, we have the answer: What happened to Adam and Eve when they sinned? Answer: They were separated from God. Question: Does Adam’s sin affect us? Answer: Yes, we are all Adam’s children. He acted for us all, and as a result, we are all born in a sinful condition. We’re all born in a sinful condition. So we do not start off with some territory within us that is unaffected by sin. We are totally depraved. That does not mean that we’re as bad as we could possibly be in every dimension, but it means that there is no dimension of our humanity that is not affected by our willful rebellion against God. It affects our minds and the way we think, it affects our emotions and the way we expend them, it affects our wills and what we determine to do with our lives, and so on.
And the Bible says that we are oriented away from God, that we are curved in upon ourselves, that we are committed to going our own way. And it is on account of that that we need God’s mercy. Because God’s mercy is essentially his love in action in response to our sins. But, of course, the offer of forgiveness means nothing until we’re aware of our need of forgiveness. And that, actually, is why some of us are able to come to Parkside Church and listen to the Bible being taught, not only in this context but in smaller contexts as well, and somehow or another completely bypass the issue of God’s mercy and the nature of forgiveness and the need for forgiveness. Somehow or another we’re able to say, “Well, I’m sure there must be a number of people that are coming here who are dreadfully in need of forgiveness, but I’m so thankful that I’m not one of them!”
Now, I must assume that, because that’s why you remain unconverted. Because once you know that you’re in need of forgiveness, surely—surely—we have explained enough times that the answer to that need is found in the mercy of God. But until I am aware of my need of forgiveness, then the story of forgiveness doesn’t really mean very much.
Somebody comes to you and says, “You know, I forgive you,” you say, “Well, that’s very kind of you, but I’m not aware of anything that I’ve done.” But if you know you’ve been a wretch, if you know you’ve been unkind, if you know that you’ve said what you shouldn’t have said and done what you shouldn’t have done or left undone what you should have done, and you’re palpably aware of it, and the individual against whom you’ve offended comes to you and shows you mercy and shows you forgiveness, then that’s entirely different.
So what Paul is doing here is, he’s issuing a call to the believers in Rome to commit themselves one hundred percent—body, mind, and spirit—to the Lord Jesus Christ. And he makes his appeal on the strength of God’s mercy. Free to us—as we saw on the twenty-sixth of December, with the children—free to us, costly to God, and exactly what we need. And Paul does this not only in Romans, but he does it, indeed, throughout all of his letters. We wouldn’t be surprised by that, I’m sure. Let me give you just two cross-references. You needn’t turn to them, but if you want to note them, that’s fine.
This is him writing to Titus and giving Titus encouragement in his pastoral ministry. And he’s reminding Titus to remind the people to be good, to be kind, not to be slanderous, not to be a pain in the neck in the community. And he says, “The way to do this, Titus, is to remind them that they were really once a bad lot. They were deceived, they were enslaved by all kinds of passions.” He says, “I was just the same; we lived in malice, and we lived in envy. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared…” Here’s the transition; here’s the point of separation: We were once like this. We lived like this. We thought like this. “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us.” “He saved us.” This is an actual transaction. Personal. That which he has accomplished in his death on the cross and reconciliation he has applied to the lives of these individuals. “He saved us”—now, here we go—“not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” “Because of his mercy.”
If grace is that whereby God gives to us what we don’t deserve, mercy is that by which he doesn’t give to us what we do deserve. And the reason that he doesn’t count our sins against us is because he counts them against his only beloved Son.
When Paul writes to the Ephesians—this is my second cross-reference, Ephesians chapter 2—he makes the same point. In chapter 2, and right around verse 3 or 4 or 5; when we get there, we’ll find out. Once again, he takes the same approach: We used to be this way, we were once like everybody else, “gratifying … our sinful nature … following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”
Now that’s terminology that you’re not going to find in the newspaper! All of the newspaper is—and the magazines in contemporary literature—is to tell us all how wonderful we are! That’s why we can’t really explain, given how wonderful we all are, what the world was happening in Arizona that somebody would take a gun and kill all those people, including little ones, and shoot a lady through her head. I’m sorry, I thought we were all so wonderful? “Well, no, no, we’re not completely wonderful. There are some bad eggs.” No. We’re all bad eggs. “All have sinned and fall[en] short of the glory of God.” Some of our sins are more heinous than other sins, but our predicament before God is the exact same. So he says, we were the “objects of [his] wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions [and sins]—[and] it is by grace [we] have been saved.” The phrase is “God, who is rich in mercy.”
And indeed—and I won’t go there—but if you’ve read through the New Testament readings of today, through the New Testament little Bible that we use with each other, then you will know that this very issue has been addressed this morning in the reading from Romans chapter 3, beginning in verse 21—the exact same transition: “But now a righteousness from God has been revealed, which is ours through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, given to all who believe on account of the same manifest mercy of God.”
Now, why do I belabor this this morning? Well, because of what I’m about to say. Because if we do not get ahold of this—that the entreaty, the urgency, is based on the mercy of God—then what will happen is, we will immediately turn this into a kind of quid pro quo, so that God has done some nice things for us, therefore we ought to do some nice things for God. Or, “We had a sermon this morning,” somebody would go out and say, “that we’re really supposed to all just kind of pull up our socks a bit and try and do our best. It was about getting committed. And, you know, we’re trying to get committed as well.”
Well, no, if you leave the mercy part out, you immediately go wrong. You see, this call here is not a call to people to do this so that they might be accepted by God. This is a call to people who are accepted by God in Jesus to do this—not so that they might be accepted, but on account of the fact that they are accepted. There’s all the difference in the world! That this is a call to those who are set free by grace to become all that God intends for us to be. This is a call to those who have come to believe that on the cross Jesus took the punishment we deserve and he provided the forgiveness we don’t deserve. That’s to whom Paul is writing: those who have actually been changed by this good news; those who have actually been converted by this good news; those who have moved from volume 1 in their life, whereby we are “by nature objects of wrath,” to volume 2 in our life, where we understand that we are now the objects of God’s mercy. And the transition point, the place of departure, is in our coming to trust unreservedly in Jesus Christ—“in Christ alone.” To be converted. Converted. It’s almost an old-fashioned word now. To be absolutely changed by God. To face the fact that by nature I am upside-down, and that by grace God turns me the right way up, and that my mind is then absolutely changed, and as a result of that, my behavior follows from my thinking.
Now, when Calvin addressed this, he put it absolutely wonderfully. And I want to tell you what he says, and I want you to listen very, very carefully. He’s writing, in his commentary, I think—no, that’s another place. Doesn’t matter. He’s writing! And he points out that when a person has been brought under the conviction of sin, then the story of mercy is amazing. Of course, until I’ve been brought under the conviction of sin, as I’ve just pointed out, the story of mercy may be of interest, but it’s apparently at arm’s length and irrelevant. Right?
I mean, you don’t need a fire brigade to come to your house if your house isn’t on fire. I mean, somebody wants to drag the fire brigade up to your house, say, “Hey, we just thought we’d come up,” say, “Well, that’s very nice, but there’s no reason for you to be here. There’s no fire here.” Or the person, the doctor comes and says, “I thought I’d put you on a drip”—which is better than him coming to you and saying, “You look like a drip”—but the fact is, you say, “But I don’t need a drip. I’m perfectly fine right now.” But, of course, if you’re horribly dehydrated and he offers to do that for you, then you have reason to thank him.
And incidentally, the only way that we ever are convicted of our sin is by the work of God the Holy Spirit. This is something that God does. This is not something the preacher does. This is not something the teacher of the Bible does. This is not as a result of somebody standing up here saying, “You this, you that, and you the next thing.” ’Cause you can do that till you’re blue in the face, and it hasn’t made a bit of difference to anybody. No, this is what happens when the Spirit of God takes the Word of God home to your heart and you go, “Oh, that’s me! Oh, that is me. Oh, that explains me.”
You see, that’s why we pray, “Show me myself and show me my Savior.” First, I need to see myself, and when I see myself, I see myself as a sheep that is lost. I see myself as in rebellion against God. I see myself as empty and in need of filling and so on. When I see that, then where do you go for mercy? Calvin says,
Then we show that the only [safe haven] is in the mercy of God, as [displayed in Jesus, in which] every part of our salvation is complete.
As all mankind are, in the sight of God, lost sinners, we hold that Christ is their only righteousness, since, by his obedience, he has wiped off our transgressions; by his sacrifice, appeased the divine anger; by his blood, washed away our stains; by his cross, borne our curse; and by his death, made satisfaction for us. We maintain that in this way man is reconciled … to God the Father, by no merit of his own, [and] by no value of works, but by gratuitous mercy.
By gratuitous mercy.
But first, I need to see what I deserve, before I bow down in wonder that another, [a] perfect Savior, has died in my place and taken what I deserve in order that I might receive the forgiveness that I don’t deserve. This, loved ones, is at the heart of Paul’s exhortation: “In view of God’s mercy, I say these things to you.”
Now, I’m going to move on. But I’m going to move on after I’ve paused. And here’s my pause: all that I’m now about to say will not be irrelevant, but it won’t be significant unless you are in Christ, unless you are converted, unless you have come to trust unreservedly in the work of Jesus upon the cross. If you haven’t, then for there to be this kind of exhortation will either lead you to despair, because you’re unable to get there, or it will turn you into a legalist who begins to think that “because I am managing to do these certain external things, I am actually now putting myself in greater proximity to the living God.” Religion says, “Do this, and you’ll be accepted.” Grace says, “You’re accepted; do this.”
And that is why Paul gets to chapter 12 only after he’s gone through 1–11. Because in 1– 11, he has laid down the theological underpinnings of all that is now about to follow. He’s done all of the hard work, if you like, of laying out the condition of man, of providing the solution in Jesus. And then and only then, and only as he reaches back in the phrase “in view of God’s mercy”—he’s unwilling to unanchor himself from all that’s gone before, because he recognizes how prone we are to legalism—and so he says, “Therefore, I beseech you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy…” “In view of God’s mercy.”
Do you know God’s mercy in a personal way? Do you bow down in your heart of hearts when you’re on your own and go, “O God, you know what I’m like. You know who I am. You know how rebellious I am, by nature, against you. And yet you love me in Jesus? I can’t believe that you love me the way you love me! Because I am as bad as I could possibly be without you!” Or do you say to yourself, “Well, I’m sure there’s some people around Parkside like that. I feel sorry for them. I think they’re a bit over the top, and you know, they’ll get over it in the end. But I’ll just keep going, and try and do a few things, and keep things going along”? Did you listen to Psalm 1? Did you listen to the beginning of the service? “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, or stands in the way of sinners, or sits in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and on his law he meditates day and night. He will be like this…” Then what does he say?
All of that’s fine. Everybody’s like, “Well, that’s nice. Nice man, knocking, walking in the thing …” They say, “Beautiful. Stop right there.” No, we can’t stop right there. Why? Where’s it go next? “The wicked are not so. They are like the chaff which the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, or sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” Loved ones, that’s why you need to be converted; because if you die, your soul is lost—for all of eternity, lost! No second chance. No rerun. No redo. Lost!
You can’t have all the upside without a downside. And he presents that: two diametrically opposed ways, in order that the mercy of God, which stands in between a broad road that leads to destruction and a narrow road that leads to life, may become the very gate of life, may become the very entry point into heaven, may be consumed by the love and mercy of God.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
[And] pardon there was multiplied to me;
[And] there my burdened soul found liberty
Now, loved ones, one of the reasons for the significant numbers that roam around on the periphery of Parkside—one of the reasons—is that a significant number of that significant number are unconverted. And that there is no point in you fiddling around with this brochure and going away and annoying yourself about buildings and reaching the world and everything else until you personally get saved; until you personally trust Christ; until you are able to say, “To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” And your mother’s not gonna do it for you, your uncle’s not gonna do it for you, the fact that your spouse is married won’t do it for you. You will stand before God and answer yourself. I can’t make it any clearer than that.
And I do so in light of what Paul is saying: mercy. Mercy! “Oh, I cannot believe it! That you, Father, would welcome me with a robe and a ring and shoes and a party, when I have taken all of your stuff and squandered it and made a mess of my life. And I came up the road only to tell you I’m horribly sorry and I’ll live in a shed.” That’s perfect! That’s the way to come! But this is the welcome of the Father. Why? Because of the work of Jesus. And who’s left outside? Smarty pants! Who’s unprepared to acknowledge that he needs forgiveness. So some of us stay away because we’ve made such a mess of it, we don’t think there’s any possibility of salvation; and you need to know that the mercy of God is so vast. And others of us stay away because we think we’ve done such a terrific job, there’s no need for forgiveness. I fear that the latter may be in greater attendance at Parkside.
“Well,” you said, “I thought this was about the building and going on and everything else.” Loved ones, I don’t give a rip about the building as much as I care about the fact that you are gonna end up in eternity, and so am I. And that I’m gonna give an answer for every word that came out of my mouth, and I wouldn’t waste five minutes of my good breath trying to encourage unconverted people to get excited about a project about which they do not ultimately care. What would be the point of that? There are buildings all around the city and all around the world that testify to the absolute absence of any kind of spiritual life at all. No, the real work that needs to be done is this work—this work. And until that work is done, then the exhortations that flow from it are pretty well irrelevant.
But let me go to it, and I’ll just try and wrap it up. Converted and committed—converted and committed. What does he want us to do? He wants us to offer our bodies—that is, to offer ourselves. You say, “That’s fairly straightforward: ‘I want you to offer yourselves.’” Now, that’s important, because he’s not saying, “I want you to offer your money,” or “I want you to offer your intellect,” or “I want you to offer this or that or the next thing.” No, he says, “I want you to offer yourselves.” See, in other words, “I want you to offer everything that you are,” because this represents all that I am, all that I think, all that I feel, all that I know. This represents all my capacities, limited as they are. We have different capacities. Some of you have, you know… But each of us has got to come and say, “Okay, am I going to take this seriously? It represents all the influence that I can exert on other people, all the difference that I can make in the world.” That’s really it. He says, “What I want you to do is take all of that and put it in.”
We had no television in our house when I was a boy, until I was twelve years of age. Looking back on it now, it would have been good if my parents had kept it out in its entirety. But I finally wore them down, at the age of twelve. Up until to that point, I had to go to friends’ houses to watch the TV, and I’m so old that I started watching old Western movies in black and white. And I became a great fan of Westerns, and I still like them, provided they’re not profane. And I have certain things that I like about Westerns. I won’t go into the details, except for one, and that is that I’ve always been intrigued by the gambling scenes in the saloon. Not because I have an interest in gambling; I have nothing good to say about gambling. But it was always portrayed in such a wonderful way. And the tension always builds, you know? And in the old days they had the beads, you know, of perspiration on the top lip, and it all got kinda sweaty and everything. And the fellow with the armbands would do the thing, and he’d look around the table and look and look. And he’d say something like, “Are you in?” And then somebody would just push his chair back from the table, and he was out. And then someone else, he’d get, you know, one of the things and put it in. But we’re all waiting for the other guy—the guy with the mother lode, at the thing—all that big stack. And his … And then eventually … It’s just like, wow! All in! “I’m putting the whole thing in.” There’s something fantastic about that kind of commitment—even if it’s crazy. People are, like, in awe of that.
That’s why the guy that designed Chicago has Chicago as his legacy. And if you’ll forgive me, that’s why Cleveland is Cleveland. Because Cleveland wouldn’t allow anybody to build a tower that was taller than the Terminal Tower, when I came here in ’83, until Key Bank managed to push up beyond. How can you have leadership that says that by 1975 we’ve maxed out, we’re done? The people are flocking to cities like that: “Let’s go and live there. That sounds terrific! They’ve finished. They’re done!” You can live on a lake that is “Erie” in a city with a tower that is “Terminal.” It’s a perfect place to go and live. They’re not going there; they’re going to Chicago. Why? Because the guy who did Chicago says, “Dream no little dreams.” “Dream no little dreams. They have no power to move people,” he said. “We gotta go up and out and beyond and there.”
And that’s what we’re gonna do in Parkside Church in the next decade. Six new congregations planted within the decade. One of them started in this year—the development of the ministry in and through Green. These buildings will come along the way if we’re all in. If you’re not all in, don’t fiddle around with this thing. If you’re all in, this thing’s a piece of cake.
If you go to the back of this and you look at the numbers and you start fiddling around with the numbers, you didn’t get the point. The point is, we’re not going to have the jokers coming round now with those little trays; we’re going to have those little diggers that will come around. We’ll have them coming up and down the aisle, and then you just put yourself in. And then once they got a complete load of them, they take ’em out and drop ’em in the parking lot.
And the people say, “I’m all in. I’m all in.” And if you will get all in, then there’s no saying what will gonna happen. But “all in” starts with trusting Jesus, getting baptized, joining the church, getting connected, committing to the vision, and being prepared to be disrupted for the next decade of your life. It’s a fabulous idea to plant a church in Youngstown, isn’t it? Until we tap you on the shoulder and say, “We think that you would be one of the best fifteen couples in the church to be the church-planting church in Youngstown.”
Say, “Oh no, now, wait a minute. I’m not in for that.” Well, listen. You’re either in or you’re not in. No one’s going to tell you what to do. But who’s going to go and replace all our aging missionaries? I mean, Kep James is like a hundred years old now, isn’t he? And he’s ten years younger than me! They’re all on the way out. I’m fifty-eight! Eighteen years here, add eighteen, what does that get to? I don’t know. Seventy-six… “trombones in the hit parade.” It’s… who knows? We don’t have that much time left.
So here’s the thing today: converted, connected, committed. Go home, figure it out, and be prepared to say, “Lord, wherever, whenever, whatever. But we are absolutely committed to seeing unbelieving people become the committed followers of Jesus Christ.” And the things that we’ve produced and the connections and everything else are all sheets of paper. The real issue is the work of God’s grace and mercy within our lives, transforming us from selfish individuals into selfless individuals who are more concerned to see unbelieving people become the committed followers of Jesus Christ than we are to go and build a holiday house in Arizona. Unless, of course, you want to use your holiday house in Arizona to see some unbelieving people become committed followers of Jesus Christ.
There’s only one life
It will soon be past
And only what’s done
For Jesus will last.
Father, thank you, now, for the Bible. I pray that you would help us to adjudicate on all the words that have been spoken, so that only that which is true and pleasing to you may find a register in our hearts. I pray for those who remain outside of Christ, that they might come to you and admit that they’re more sinful than they’d ever been prepared to believe, to acknowledge that in Jesus they’re more loved and accepted than they could ever have hoped, and then that they might turn to you and confess their sins and seek your forgiveness and ask you to fill them up with all the fullness of God—and so that we don’t become a congregation of people just trying to do good things in the strength of our arms, but rather that in the power of your grace and mercy we might live to the praise of your glory.
We hear the call of your kingdom, and we look around on one another, and we urge one another to stand up and take our place in the battlefield. Help us, Lord. To this end we pray, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
 R. Hudson Pope, “Make the Book Live to Me” (1943). Paraphrased.
 Titus 3:1–3 (paraphrased).
 Titus 3:4–5 (NIV 1984).
 Titus 3:5 (NIV 1984).
 Ephesians 2:3 (NIV 1984).
 Romans 3:23 (NIV 1984).
 Ephesians 2:3–5 (NIV 1984).
 Romans 3:21 (paraphrased).
 Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, “In Christ Alone” (2001).
 Pope, “Make the Book.”
 John Calvin, “Reply to Sadoleto.”
 Tim Keller, The Prodigal God (New York: Penguin, 2008), 128.
 Psalm 1:1–3 (paraphrased).
 Psalm 1:4–5 (paraphrased).
 See Matthew 7:13–14.
 William R. Newell, “At Calvary” (1895).
 Philippians 1:21 (NIV 1984).
 See Luke 15:11–32.
 Attributed to Jack Miller. See, for example, Katherine Leary Alsdorf, foreword to Every Good Endeavor, by Tim Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf (New York: Penguin, 2012), xix. Paraphrased.
Copyright © 2023, 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.