Peace in a Hostile World
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Peace in a Hostile World

From Series: Grace and Peace, Volume 2

Ephesians 2:14-18  (ID: 3176)

In a world marked by division and enmity, a longing for harmony is not uncommon. Writing to the Ephesians, Paul addressed the world’s need for peace by identifying how the barriers that exist between people can be abolished. Alistair Begg conveys Paul’s message that true peace is found nowhere else but in the person of Jesus Christ. Through the cross we have been given access to God, and as His followers we are called to demonstrate to the world the peace that is ours in Christ.


Sermon Transcript: Print

In Ephesians 2, we read from verse 11:

“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

Amen.

We come, gracious God, to you as we turn to your Word, “living and active”[1] as it is, and we pray that we might bow down underneath it, as it were; that we might hear, by the Holy Spirit, your voice, beyond the voice of a mere man; and that together, preacher and congregation alike, that we may be found in submission to its truth so that we might live in the enjoyment of his blessings. And we ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

If you visit the official John Lennon website, you will find that there is a picture there of him seated at the white baby grand piano. It’s a pretty iconic kind of picture now. Those of you who were around when the video was shot for the recording of “Imagine” will know that it was at that piano that he was playing when the video was shot. You’ll also find that you’re given an opportunity to purchase a T-shirt—a white T-shirt that bears a simple inscription on the front in black lettering, just three words. They’re all run into one another, actually: “War is over.” “War is over.” And that T-shirt is available in one hundred different languages.

It’s a quite interesting thought that somebody who never even knew what a website was, because he died in 1980, should remain so influential in our world and still proclaiming in his death that for which he personally longed. It’s thirty-six years since his sad, untimely, violent death outside the Dakota building. And what he hoped for, frankly, just hasn’t happened. In fact, our world today, in 2016, is a far more strife-filled and war-torn world than it was when he exited it all these years ago. And at the heart of it all, he left behind this—what has become, really, a mantra:

Imagine there’s no countries,
It isn’t hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
And no religion too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.

[Now,] you may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you’ll join us,
And the world will live as one.[2]

Now, that longing was not unique to him. It’s a longing that exists in the human heart. I have spoken with people already this morning who long for harmony in a house that is marked by hostility, parents who long for relationships with their children that are marked by strife, people who go routinely to work in a place that is marked by disintegration rather than integration.

At the very heart of what Lennon is saying there is a fundamental notion, which is a pervasive notion in our culture—namely, that we might be able to achieve this, but it will involve the end of religion. If we could imagine a world without religion, then, of course, we could all live properly. That’s the notion. In fact, it is so interesting to me that after all these years, for young people, this is still a kind of secular hymn. In fact, we really just have two secular hymns, from where I stand. One is the funeral hymn, by Ol’ Blue Eyes, “I did it my way.”[3] And then now we have this secular hymn, which is “If you could imagine this, then you can probably see it brought about.” Well, of course, we can’t.

So, the end of religion, and along with that, what we have made reference to most recently because of our studies in Ephesians: the Coexist Foundation, which is found on the bumpers of cars as we drive around our community, where the notion inherent in that foundation is not that we will achieve this in the end of religion, but we will be able to achieve it in the blend of religion. And so, the fundamental notion is, if everybody could just stop making a fuss about the idiosyncratic elements in their religious or philosophical persuasion, then, of course, we could all live together quite happily. It is, on the one hand, a naive notion. It is, on the other hand, a sinister notion. Nobody today is prepared to deny—in fact, there is universal agreement about—the condition of our world. It’s broken.

Dylan’s not my favorite poet, but he usually manages to say it fairly succinctly, doesn’t he?

Broken bottles, broken plates,
Broken switches, broken gates,
Broken dishes, broken parts,
Streets are filled with broken hearts. …

Ain’t no use jiving,
Ain’t no use joking,
Everything is broken.[4]

There’s universal agreement on that. Where the disagreement comes is, what’s the cause of this brokenness, and what is the solution to the brokenness?

And here in our studies in Ephesians, a book written a long time ago, a letter written a long time ago by a converted Jew by the name of Saul of Tarsus, Paul the apostle, we are at the very heart of peace discovered in a context of hostility. I think if you listened carefully when I read this, you would see that in verse 14, we’re introduced to Jesus immediately as “our peace”—that this peace is discovered not in a program but instead in a person. He “is our peace,” verse 14; he’s “making peace,” at the end of verse 15; and he “preached peace,” verse 17.

It’s no surprise, because the Old Testament looked forward to the one who would come who was the Prince of Peace.[5] And what Paul is saying is, “I discovered that Jesus really is the Prince of Peace. My life was marked by hostility. I had a hatred for people. I was pursuing these people to the point of imprisonment and of death. But I’ve discovered how wrong that was, how warped I was, and how wonderful Jesus is.” Of this peace: he made it, he preached it, he is it.

The cross of Christ offers a real and a lasting peace.

And so, when we read the Gospel records, of course, we discover that this is exactly what Jesus himself said. “I’m going to leave,” he said to his followers. “I’m going to leave my peace with you. I don’t give you peace the way you’ll find it in the world. This peace is a revolution in itself.”[6] When he came to look over Jerusalem, Luke records, “When he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace!’”[7] And what he was saying was, “Of all the people in the world, you should know! You had the prophets. You had the law. You had all the lines running forward to the Messiah who was to come. And yet, here you are. How often I would have gathered you the way the hen gathers her chicks, but you wouldn’t come to me!”[8] It’s not too hard to imagine Christ, as it were, looking over the cities of North America and saying the exact same thing: “If only you would listen, Cleveland. If you would only pay attention, New York City.”

You see, the devil is the great fabricator, isn’t he? Because the devil has convinced people that the answer is the problem: “The problem is you people on about Jesus,” as if somehow or another, we’re the ones causing the trouble by stating the truth. “If only you would stop that and join in with the bumper sticker, all would be well.” Well, but we can’t! It’s not a matter of being bombastic. It’s not a matter of being even dogmatic. It’s not a matter of just trying to promulgate a concept on the world. It’s a matter of truth!

What is truth? That was the question from Pontius Pilate, wasn’t it?[9] Did he say, “What is truth? Please tell me.” Or did he say, “Hey, what’s truth?” “What’s truth?” I mean, was Pontius Pilate postmodern? “Hey, what’s truth? Truth’s whatever you want it to be. You can’t find truth.” Or “truth is in the amalgamation of every concept of truth.” And against that, Jesus stands and he says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. [And] no one comes to the Father except through me.”[10] The only way to meet the God who made you is in and through he who is the Prince of Peace.

And as staggering as it sounds, that is the claim that the Bible makes, and it is that which Paul is saying here. We’ve been at it for a couple of weeks. We’re building on what has already been said. Verse 13: “You who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of [the Lord Jesus] Christ.” The cross of Christ offers a real and a lasting peace, both on the vertical axis and on the horizontal. And so it is that he’s saying to the church at Ephesus, essentially, “One day, in perfection, that which God has purposed in the mystery of his will, to unite all things in heaven and on earth, that which will finally be brought to fruition in a new heaven and a new earth is to be present amongst you in a kind of microcosm as you, then, benefiting from all that is yours in Jesus, live with one another on that horizontal plane as a result of the difference that Jesus has made.”

Now, you see, this was of pressing import for these people, because Ephesus, as with other communities of the time, was marked by separation, and it was marked by hostility. Jesus in the gospel had, if you like, invaded the community as the Word had been preached through the apostle Paul, and separation had now been replaced with integration, and hostility was now being swallowed up in community. And the reason this was happening is because God had purposed to create a whole new society. That’s why in the passage that we read, he talks about creating “one new man.” “One new man”—that God is doing something. That is, he is creating a single, new, reconciled humanity that supersedes, transcends, all the old, divisive barriers, which have been broken down as a result of his work. All right? So, the church is that society. The church is that society—invisible, visible in a variety of places here and there. But we are supposed to be an indication to a broken world of what happens when people discover that Jesus has dealt with the brokenness.

Now, it’s not ever going to be perfect this side of eternity. But the fact that it isn’t perfect does not give us any excuse for not doing our best to see it perfect—in other words, that the problem ought not to be on our side as a result of a lack of endeavor or willingness, or as a result of our own divisive prejudices, or because of things that we hold on to in our past.

Now, Paul says, “You’ll be helped in this if you realize a number of things.” Let me summarize them.

A Broken Wall

Number one, that Jesus has broken down the wall. Jesus has broken down the wall. He “is our peace.” He’s “made us both one,” has “broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.”

Many of us have grown up or grew up with, certainly since 1961—I was nine when they constructed the Berlin Wall. And I lived from the age of nine for a long time assuming that that was the future of humanity—that that wall would never come down; that it divided East and West Berlin; it divided, in many ways, large segments of the world. And along with many of you, I was intrigued when Ronald Reagan—at the Brandenburg Gate, was it?—stands up and says, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” That was a great day. I wasn’t even an American; I was like, “Yes! This is fantastic! I love this guy!”

You know when he said that? Twenty-nine years ago, on the twelfth of June. Twenty-nine years ago today. Took a little while. Three years later, in 1990, on the thirteenth of June, the official demolition of the wall began. It was actually being demolished before the official demolition began, if you will remember the scenes as the gates were opened and people were able to cross from East into West. It’s etched indelibly in our minds, if we have lived through that history. And in a far greater and more significant way, what Paul is saying here concerning this wall alters absolutely everything. And for the Jew and for the gentile, it has made all things new.

Now, there was a literal wall, there was a physical wall, in the temple courts. And some of the commentators say, “But since Paul wrote Ephesians before the destruction of the temple in AD 70, he couldn’t possibly be mentioning the breaking down of that wall, because the wall was still up.” Well, why? Of course he could be! And I think he probably is. Essentially, what he’s saying is, “The wall may physically be still sitting there in Jerusalem, but the reality is, my dear brothers and sisters in Ephesus, that in his flesh, Jesus Christ has broken down that wall.” His flesh has been torn, and the curtain has been torn, and access has been opened up to everybody. And on that day, when that curtain was torn, the whole shooting match was changed, and Jew and gentile now had access to God directly in and through the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ—so that in his death, all of the symbolism that was represented in the wall…

Because while there is a physical wall four and a half feet high, a partition, the real wall around the Jew was the wall that was placed around the Jew by the law, by all of those bits and pieces—by the regulations about what you could eat, and what you could drink, and how many times you washed your hands, and where you were going, and how many feet you could walk on the Sabbath, and how many things you hung from your head, and the tassels that hang from your coat, and all of those other things. They all said to the people around them, “You ain’t got none of this. And we are really special!” Okay?

Well, in actual fact, they were really special. Because God had chosen them. God had called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees. And when he called his people out of Egypt, you’ll remember that he took them to the Holy Land. And on the way to the Holy Land, he gave them his commandments so that they might express their distinctiveness in a holy lifestyle. He promised in the journeys to meet them at a holy place, and by means of the rituals and the sacrifices, he portrayed for them his willingness to forgive them and to restore them.

And that’s just a matter of historical record. You know that that is the case, because you live in a Jewish community in the city of Cleveland, and it is not uncommon for you to be in a place where it is absolutely obvious that there is a dividing wall between myself as a gentile and my Jewish friends. It doesn’t need to be a bad issue; it’s just an issue. I grew up, a third of my class in Glasgow at elementary school was Jewish. I spent a lot of time with my Jewish friends. But four o’clock on a Friday afternoon, when the daylight began to flee, in a winter evening in Scotland, I was told to go home. Because I did not belong in their Sabbath celebrations. I was not part of that. I get that! And that’s what he’s referring to here.

And he’s saying, “God gave that to you for a very, very good purpose. The fact that you may have turned it into a bad purpose does not alter the reality of God’s purpose.” However, it was only intended ever to be an interim arrangement. It was a Mosaic law for a select group of people in a select place for a select period of time. And the rituals and the food regulations and the material sacrifices all pointed forward to the fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ. “I need no other [sacrifice], I need no other plea.”[11] It has been dealt with in Jesus. And so then, the believing Jew and the believing gentile discover that their relationship with God is on the same basis, and on the only basis that we have access to the Father: through one mediator, even the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, you see, loved ones, this is why the notions of our society about how you create, for example, Middle East peace are destined for failure. Because the only way that you can actually get an Arab and a Jew to unite at an organic heart level, I suggest to you, is in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because when I go to Israel later this year and then go to Egypt after that, I guarantee you that I will be with Jewish believers and Arab believers who have radically different political perspectives, in the way that there are people in this congregation now that have radically different political perspectives. But that’s not the issue. The issue is that when the Arab and the gentile, when the Jew and the gentile, stand up and sing together, what do they sing? They sing the same song: “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song.”[12] “He is my cornerstone. He is my solid ground.” The Jew says, “I had all of these things in my heritage, but I realized that they only were pointing me to Jesus. Now that I have Jesus, this thing has been broken down.”

Now, don’t misunderstand it. It’s not for this morning. Some people take this, they say, “And that’s why, once you’re in Christ—we were once under law, but now we’re under grace; therefore, there’s no law.” That’s not what we’re dealing with here. Christ has fulfilled the law insofar as he has exhausted its demands and borne its punishment and kept it in all of its fullness. The law remains, for the believer, a mirror in which we see ourselves. So the Ten Commandments is not a ladder up which I climb to acceptance with God, but it is a mirror in which I see the fact that I did tell lies and that I have been covetous and that my only hope is in Christ alone, and that when I’m wondering what it means to live in purity and in holiness and not to covet and not to tell lies and to honor my father and my mother, the work of the Spirit of God is to show me the moral law of God, not as a means of acceptance with God but as that directive by which, through the Spirit, I am able to seek and to follow God. With all that said, the fact of the matter is that the Jew and the gentile are now united as a result of the finished work of Christ. He has broken down a wall.

One in Place of Two

Let me say a second thing. He has made one in place of two. You see that there in verse 15: he has done this in order “that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two.”

The law remains, for the believer, a mirror in which we see ourselves.

For years, Sue and I had a license plate; it just said, “WE2R1.” We thought it was really very nice. And I still have it in the garage somewhere, because I liked it. We stole the idea from an American couple that we admire very much, who are about hundred years old now. But the reason we did it was because we understand together, don’t we, that marriage is one plus one equals one. One plus one equals one. That’s marriage. “Whom God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”[13] So, that’s the deal. That is a picture of Christ and his church. And what Paul is saying here is that he has taken those who were once separated from one another, who were actually hostile towards one another, calling each other names—“You don’t have it,” “We don’t want it,” all that kind of stuff—and he has created “one new man in the place of … two.”

You see, all the insider/outsider stuff which marked the context of Ephesus has been obliterated in the cross of Christ. “There is no longer,” says Paul to the Ephesians, “this distinction between those who are far away and those who are near”—those far away being the gentiles in their unbelief, those who are near being the Jews in their proximity to God. But the converted Jew has understood that the scaffolding within which his forefathers lived has actually been dismantled.

And therefore, the things that he used to hold dear—“All I once held dear, built my life upon…”[14] You think about it in Philippian terms, where Paul says, “I was a Pharisee of the Pharisees. I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. I had a good background. As far as the law is concerned, I was fantastic!” Then what does he say? “But in relationship to all of these things, I now count them as nothing, as refuse, for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.”[15] In other words, he says, “I have found in Christ that to which all of this stuff pointed. I was up really close, but I was far away.” The gentile had none of that—no circumcision, no laws, no dietary requirements, no special meeting places. So what have they got to go on? The exact same thing:
“All I have is Christ.”[16]

You see, when the Jew and the gentile sing—in fact, when the church sings—it’s at the essence of what it’s all about. You know, “I once was lost in darkest night [but] thought I knew the way.”[17] Okay.

Now let’s go and say… Let’s, for example, let’s do an interview. Let’s do an interview with an up-close. Nicodemus. “Nicodemus, nice to meet you. Thanks for coming. Just wanted to ask you a few questions about this. You were a religious man?”

“Yes.”

“Pretty well-schooled in the law?”

“Oh, absolutely!” and so on.

“So you would say you were pretty well up close, were you?”

“Oh, yeah. I was as close as somebody could ever get.”

“So why did you go and start asking Jesus questions?”

“Well, because I discovered that being that close, I didn’t actually have a living relationship with God. I didn’t know that. So I went to see him one night, and I asked him questions, and we had a great conversation. I’ll tell you about it later.”[18]

“Thank you. Hold on just a minute. One other lady to talk to. Ah-ha! Now, you’re from the ‘far away’ department, aren’t you?”

“Oh, yeah. Yeah, I’m far. I’m far out. Yeah. Yeah, I had five husbands, a live-in lover, and I met Jesus. And he told me about living water. And I was about as far away as you can get.”

“And where are you now?”

“Well, he brought me near.”[19]

“Near? How did he bring you near?”

And then she explains the story.

So, now I got this amazing picture of Nicodemus and the woman at the well holding hands, singing, “I once was lost in darkest night and thought I knew the way. All I have is Christ.” That’s what he’s saying.

And you see, Paul says to the Ephesians, “The divisions and the distinctions that have marked you in bringing you to faith in Jesus Christ no longer may be tolerated. They cannot be promulgated. They cannot be elevated. You cannot hold on to these things.” And I’m not going to try and apply this, but you can apply it for yourself. We can’t, as a church, chastise ourself because we’re not what we would like to be or whatever it is. We are what we are. But we long to be what God wants us to be. And in some measure, at least, there ought to be the evidences of these very things.

The basis of our unity in the Lord Jesus Christ, preached both to Jew and to gentile. He preached it to those who were far away. He preached it to those who were near. It has been proclaimed. It may be enjoyed, but only as it is believed and accepted. You get that? He proclaimed it. You may enjoy it, but only as you believe and accept it. For all that Christ has done for us is as no value to us so long as we remain outside of him.[20]

“We Both Have Access”

He’s broken down the wall; he’s made two out of the one; and finally, just in a word—verse 18—and “we both have access.” “We both have access.” In fact, you will notice in verse 18 how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are involved in this great mystery: “Through him”—that is, Jesus the Son—“we both have access in one Spirit”—God the Holy Spirit—“to the Father”—there is the Father. And the remarkable thing, and so hard for the Jew to believe apart from the enabling of the Spirit of God, and so hard for the gentile to believe: “But I haven’t done this. And I don’t have that. And how could I go in there? And on what basis can I go? And that big sign has been up there for so long.” Well, Jew and gentile share the same access. Access to where? Not to a temple building in Jerusalem but directly to the Father.

You see, Christ’s death on the cross and the tearing of that curtain basically finished that temple. Finished it! AD 70, it was destroyed. And when people talk now about “going to the temple, going to the temple,” I presume they’re not reading their Bibles. Read the book of Hebrews. We have come to this place. We have come to Mount Zion. We have come to the temple. We are here in the new Jerusalem.[21] The access which Jew and gentile have is not to a temple building in the Middle East; it is to God the Father himself, in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. All of that alienation that marked them, all of that separation that spoiled them has been dealt with in Jesus.

And all alienation—the alienation that is present in our culture this morning—is ultimately subsumed under the fact that both Jew and gentile are alienated by nature from God. Because we’re sinners—Jewish sinners, gentile sinners, White sinners, Black sinners, Chinese sinners, Japanese sinners, but sharing this reality. In fact, when Paul writes about it in Romans 5, he says, “If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God…”[22] So God reconciles his enemies. In other words, we all have a relationship with God. We either are related to God as his enemy, or we’re related to God as his friend. “If while we were enemies we were reconciled, how much more, then, that he has made us his friends through Jesus.”[23]

Well, I wonder where you are this morning in this continuum. Let’s come back—let’s end with John, shall we? Not the Gospel of John. “Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try,” apparently. I haven’t tried. I don’t know.

Imagine there’s no heaven,
It’s easy if you try,
[There’s] no hell below us,
Above us only sky.
Imagine all the people
Living for today.[24]

Well, that last part is not hard to imagine, is it? If you watch a golf tournament this afternoon on TV, you’ll only be watching it about fifteen seconds, and somebody will start on about, “And he’s just in the moment. He’s just in the moment. He’s over this putt, and he’s in the moment.” And they interview him afterwards: “And how did you get on, on the thirteenth hole?” “Well, I just tried to stay in the moment.” Like you had a choice? You were in the moment. You only had that moment!

Well, just “imagine all the people living for today.” That’s the issue, loved ones: we are living for today, with no thought of yesterday and no prospect of tomorrow, by nature without “hope and without God in the world.” And into that hopelessness and into that alienation steps the Prince of Peace, takes our punishment on himself, grants to us a forgiveness that is entirely undeserved, and looks out over the city of Cleveland and says, “Oh, if you had only known what makes for peace.”

We all have a relationship with God. We either are related to God as his enemy, or we’re related to God as his friend.

You know, I hope John Lennon did not actually believe that deep down. I hope it with a passion. When he and Yoko Ono went to Scotland in that big, gigantic Rolls Royce—the old silver shadow or silver cloud that he had painted in psychedelic colors; you can see it if you read the books—and they ran it off one of the narrow highland roads in Scotland and both ended up in the hospital, the minister that went to see them—the local Church of Scotland minister, the Free Church minister that went to see them—was my friend Davey Paterson. I’ve told you about Davey Paterson. He’s the guy who told me, “Is it steak or is it mince?” But that’s another story altogether.

But Davey went to see them in the hospital and told me afterwards he had the most amazing opportunity to share the gospel with them—that he told them straight-up. He didn’t go in and ask for autographs. He went in and did what he should do. And some days, when I’m thinking about it, I say, “O God, I hope, somehow, in the dying embers of his existence, that he remembered what Davey told him, and that he didn’t have to imagine anymore, because he found the reality in the person and work of Jesus Christ.”

I don’t know where you are in relationship to these things. You’re sensible people. You’ve got to read the Bible. You think these things out. You going to live in an imaginary world, or do you want to deal with the real world?

Father, thank you that we can look in your Word, and it’s not just a matter of us being able to understand it, but the more we read it, we realize it understands us. It shows us what we are.

And some of us have convinced ourselves this morning that we’re so far away that there is no possibility of access. And then we hear that Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd, and he comes seeking to save those that are lost, and even when he had ninety-nine all safely in the camp, he goes out over the hillsides in the darkness of the night searching for the one.[25] Some of us may be here this morning, and we feel we are that one, so far away. And if we will just turn to you, we’ll discover that you are the God who brings us near and the very inclination of our hearts grounded in your grace.

Some of us are up close. We’ve been convincing ourselves for ages now that our baptism, our fastidious attendance, our keeping of the rules has dealt with everything that is required. But in our hearts there is a helplessness. In the core of our being there’s no reality of forgiveness. We’re divisive, disruptive. We treat people as if they ought to be as we are. We need your grace. We want to be able to say from our hearts that all we really have is Christ. For on the day that we stand before you, we will have “no other argument,” we will have “no other plea”; it will only be “enough that Jesus died, and that he died for me.”[26]

Accomplish your work, Lord, in our hearts in these moments, and in our church over these days, so that you may be glorified. For we ask it in Christ’s name. Amen.


[1] Hebrews 4:12 (ESV).

[2] John Lennon, “Imagine” (1971).

[3] Paul Anka, “My Way” (1969).

[4] Bob Dylan, “Everything Is Broken” (1989).

[5] See Isaiah 9:6.

[6] John 14:27 (paraphrased).

[7] Luke 19:41–42 (ESV).

[8] Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34 (paraphrased).

[9] See John 18:38.

[10] John 14:6 (ESV).

[11] Eliza E. Hewitt, “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place” (1891).

[12] Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, “In Christ Alone” (2001).

[13] Mark 10:9 (paraphrased).

[14] Graham Kendrick, “Knowing You” (1993).

[15] Philippians 10:5–8 (paraphrased).

[16] Jordan Kauflin, “All I Have Is Christ” (2008).

[17] Kauflin.

[18] See John 3:1–15.

[19] See John 4:1–26.

[20] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 3.1.1.

[21] See Hebrews 12:22.

[22] Romans 5:10 (ESV).

[23] Romans 5:10 (paraphrased).

[24] Lennon, “Imagine.”

[25] See Matthew 18:12–14; Luke 15:1–7.

[26] Hewitt, “My Faith.”

Copyright © 2022, 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.