What does the Christmas story mean to you? In this message, Alistair Begg asks where Jesus came from, why He came, and why His coming is significant to us. Jesus Himself answers these questions in the Gospel of John: as one person of the Trinity, He came from heaven and was sent to fulfill the Father’s purpose for salvation. Christ’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection mean that we can enjoy unity with Him and peace with God for eternity.
John 6:35. Here, in this little section that begins at 35 and goes to 40, we have a wonderful summary statement that Jesus provides. You know, when you read the Gospel accounts in Matthew and in Luke and you read the prologue of John’s Gospel, you find yourself saying, “I wonder what Jesus has to say about all of this. I wonder what his perspective is.” And you have to wait for a little while, but eventually you find him explaining just exactly why it is that he has come. And in verse 38 here, Jesus gives us a summary statement: “For I have come down from heaven,” he says, “not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.”
The temptation this morning is that—and it’s a temptation primarily for myself—but it is that I take as light a pass as I possibly can over the material of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, reasoning something like this: “Well, these are dear people, and they came to church; therefore, reward them by saying hardly anything, and make it as easy as possible for them to listen and get on with their lives. After all, they’re faithful souls, and there’s no reason that you should take it out on them in any way by making them think unduly. Most of them have not been thinking for a number of hours now, and it’s unlikely that they will be thinking to you as you speak; therefore, try and say as little as possible as quickly as possible, and hurry home for your lunch.”
I must confess that I thought along those lines for quite a while, and I couldn’t get any freedom to do so. Not that I want to suggest to you that this morning is tremendously taxing. I hope that the youngest child that is here—and we want our congregation to be made up of children who can understand, as in Nehemiah chapter 8—but I hope the youngest child that is here will be able to walk away and say, “Yes, I remember the questions, and I remember the answers.” And I hope the person who is thinking deeply about the issue of the incarnation will also have enough to chew on when they go away.
And to that end, here are the questions. We’re going to ask the question, Where did Jesus come from, why did Jesus come, and what, if anything, does it mean to me? Where did Jesus come from?—the issue of his origin. Why did Jesus come?—the matter of his purpose. And what, if anything, does it mean to me?—the issue of significance.
Now, the words of Jesus here in this section are set within a context. And it is a long chapter, chapter 6. Begins with the feeding of the five thousand; it’s followed by Jesus walking on the water. The crowds are coming to seek him. They find him, verse 25 tells us, “on the other side of the lake,” and when they get there, they begin to ply him with questions. Jesus says to them, “I know you’re here only because you saw the miraculous signs. If you were really earnest about following me, then you would listen to what I say, and you would put it into practice.” And in the course of conversation, these people say, “Well, you know, Moses gave his followers manna in the wilderness. What miraculous sign are you prepared to do in order that we might have the confidence to believe in you?”
And in verse 32, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, it[’s] not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.” And listen to verse 33: “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Life to the world.” So this message of Christmas is a message of life. We know that; it’s mentioned again and again. It is a message of light. Therefore, I put it to you as being a supremely relevant message.
Even a cursory glance at the literature of recent days—the superficial perusal of contemporary magazines, especially those that are addressing the issues of the end of an era and the commencement of a new one—point to the fact that from a very secular point of view, we are greatly in need of a message of life in our world. For we live in a world in which it is not unkind to say that many are growing up and finding it to be almost totally without meaning. Teenagers in particular have grown up with such a diet of philosophy that they have decided that the world is without design and it is without purpose. And so you have these young people who have everything to live with and nothing to live for.
The world into which the message of Jesus comes is a world not only without meaning, but it is also a world largely without fulfillment. If it were that materialism fulfilled the longings of hearts, then we wouldn’t have had that anticlimactic feeling yesterday when we had our seventh pair of socks given to us. And we claimed that, of course, we were not materialists at all until the seventh pair. Actually, I got no socks yesterday, so I’m not speaking from any sense of embitterment at all. I’m not looking for them. But I’m just pointing out that there is nothing that can be given at Christmas that will answer the hole in your heart. For it is not a material hole; it is a spiritual hole. And until that spiritual void is filled, then we live in a world without fulfillment.
We live, thirdly, in a world without freedom. Again, our young people are bright enough to understand that the message that is being conveyed to them is this: either they are a chance collection of atoms, or they are chemically determined. And their whole existence in life is devoid of freedom. They long for a freedom, but they continue to play Pink Floyd, sensing that the lyric there is correct and that they are nothing other than “another brick in the wall.” And consequently, it is no surprise to discover that for many, it is a world without hope. Much of the fearfulness at the end of this century has to do with the fact that people are without God and without hope in the world.
I sketch that by the way of background, albeit briefly, simply to remind you of the supreme relevance of one who stands straddling, as it were, time and eternity, and he says, “I am the bread of God that has come down from heaven, and I give life to the world.”
Well then, where did Jesus come from? It’s the kind of question that children ask their grandparents when they’re trying stave off being sent up to their beds. And when they know that it’s time for them to go to bed and they’ve exhausted every other question, if they have Christian grandparents, they may ask them a theological question, not in the hope that they get an answer but that they might be able to stay up a little longer. And so, just when you’re saying, “Come on, now, let’s get you up to your bed, because your mother will be home soon,” you say, “Grandpa, where did Jesus come from?”
And Grandpa says, “From heaven.”
And the kid says, “Where’s heaven?”
And Grandpa says, “Well, heaven is… Heaven is the word in the Bible for the home of God. Heaven, both in Hebrew and in Greek,” says Grandpa, “is the word for ‘sky.’ It’s the place where the throne of God dwells. It’s the place in which Jesus was before he came to earth and the place to which he has returned.” And then, hitting his stride, Grandpa says, “Heaven appears in the Bible as ‘a spatial reality that touches and interpenetrates all created space.’ Now, get up to your bed, and that’s enough for this evening.” ’Course, Grandpa didn’t say that, ’cause Grandpa’s not smart enough to say that, and he’s frightened that if he did say that, the child may be smart enough to come back with another question, which, of course, would leave him completely flat on the floor. Simple answers are the best. Where did Jesus come from? Jesus came from heaven. Where is heaven? Heaven is where God dwells. Okay.
Does it matter that Jesus came from heaven? Yes. That’s why it’s emphasized so much, not least of all in John’s Gospel. Look at 3:13. Jesus is speaking: “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.” Verse 31 of the same chapter: “The one who comes from above,” says John the Baptist, “is above all.” When you turn to the sixth chapter, from which we read briefly, you discover that this is mentioned all the way through. The coming of Jesus from heaven to earth is mentioned in verse 33, 38, 41, 42, 50, 51, and 58. In other words, it is a significant emphasis. This is not an extraneous piece of information. The fact that Jesus came from heaven is of vital importance. Why? Because it is affirming and confirming this essential truth: the truth of the preexistence of Jesus of Nazareth—that when Christ was born as a baby in Bethlehem, in his incarnate state, he becomes in that instant a dweller in time; but prior to that, he has existed in all of eternity in his creative power and in communion with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.
Now, this is a somewhat robust thought for the Sunday morning after Christmas, but it is a vital thought if we are not to be allowed to sideline Christmas in terms of sentimentalism, or in terms of a spirit of goodwill, or of cashew nuts, and blankets put over old ladies’ legs so that they don’t get a draft when the back door is opened from the garage, and all of that kind of thing: “I’ve had a marvelous Christmas. I shoveled my neighbor’s walk, and I ate a little more than I should, and it was nice to be with my friends. Now we can put it all back in the box again with the decorations, and we can get on with our lives, you know—the real part of life. Jesus came, he was in a little place, we looked at it for a moment or two, and we put him back where he had been.” Not so quickly!
“Where did you come from, Jesus?”
“I came down from heaven.”
“What were you doing up there?”
“I was creating the universe. I was creating people like you that would ask dumb questions about me.”
Now, this is of distinct importance, because it is orthodox Christianity—therefore distinguishable from Unitarianism, from Mormonism, and from Jehovah’s Witnesses. Every time I mention this, people write me letters—especially when it goes on the radio—and they send me information from their books, showing to me clearly that many earnest and devout people do not understand the doctrine they are being taught in the cults in America. I had a letter this week from a Mormon explaining to me that I shouldn’t have said what I said about the preexistence of Jesus, and she sent me a large screed from the Book of Mormon, which, of course, I have on my shelf and read from time to time myself. The lady is deluded. She doesn’t understand that what is being said in the book is actually denying the things that she thinks it’s affirming. For Unitarianism and Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses and all the other cults teach that there was a time when Jesus did not exist. And if you think that there was a time when Jesus did not exist, then you are not orthodox in your understanding of Christianity.
And the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 met to deal with this because it was quickly becoming a problem in the early church. And they affirmed certain truths: that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are of the same substance as one another. And they began to formulate, although not explain, what we refer to as the doctrine of the Trinity. And emerging from our study last week, it is clear to me that the difficulty that some had with it—apart from the difficulty that I brought to it as a result of inarticulation—the difficulty in hearing is on account of the fact that some of you do not have an understanding of the Trinity at all. And you look in your Bible, and you say, “Well, the Trinity isn’t in the Bible.” It’s from trinitas, the word for “threeness.” And when you take the Bible and you unfold it, you discover this: that God is one and three; that each person of the Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—are coequal and coeternal, each being I in relationship to the other two, who are you, so that the Son may address God the Father as “you,” and the Father may address the Son as “you,” and both may address the Spirit as “you.”
“Well,” you say, “what is it, that there are three roles being played by one person?” No, that is modalism, which is a heresy. “Is it, then, that there are three gods that just cluster up to one another?” No, that is tritheism, which is also a heresy. “Well, then what is it?” That there is one God, and that one God is equally they. If you want something to chew on in the afternoon just before you fall asleep, write on the top of a sheet of paper, “One is they,” and have a pleasant afternoon.
And when you go back into your Bible, you will discover that the Trinity is at work: God the Father initiating, God the Son complying, and God the Spirit executing. Think about it in relationship to salvation: God the Father plans it, God the Son procures it, and God the Spirit applies it to our lives. So what God the Father has planned in all of eternity in conjunction with the other members of the Trinity is then carried out by the Son and then is applied to people’s lives by the Spirit, who takes the Bible when someone is speaking or explaining and rings a bell inside of your head and said, “You know, what this fellow is talking about is exactly what you require.” And all the elements of the Godhead are involved in that.
Well, all of that simply to say that the child in the manger, the infant of Mary, is none other than the incarnate Christ. “Veiled in flesh,” says the carol writer, “the Godhead see; hail th’ incarnate Deity, pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.” He is God with us.
Incidentally, classic Unitarianism taught this—and there’s a lot of Unitarianism in Cleveland. Some of the finest architecture in Cleveland are Unitarian churches, especially as you go down into the Heights area. They said that Jesus was a person who was just born like any other person, but because it says in the Bible that he came down from heaven, they said that he went up to heaven mysteriously, and then he came back down from heaven. But he wasn’t in heaven to start with; he sort of went up to have a visit, so that he could come back down. Modern-day Unitarianism talks about an ideal existence in heaven rather than a real existence in heaven, which is a very clever piece of semantic work, and what they’re saying is this: is that Jesus existed in heaven in the thought of God the Father; he was not God, but he existed in the mind of God; and therefore, in that sense, he came from God, from heaven.
Well, what did Jesus say? He said, “I came from heaven.” Well, don’t you think we ought to at least allow him to say what he says? Who put words in the mouth of God? “No, Jesus, that’s not what you meant. Let me explain to you what you meant here.” How proud!
Where did Jesus come from? He came down from heaven.
Second: Why did Jesus come? Why did Jesus come? He tells us in verse 38: “For I have come down from heaven.” And then he tells us what he didn’t come to do—namely, his own will. And then he tells us what he did come to do: “to do the will of him who sent me.” In John’s Gospel, as elsewhere in the Bible, the coming down from heaven is actually not the emphasis. The emphasis lies in the purpose of his coming down from heaven. And you’ll notice that the purpose of Jesus in coming down from heaven is stated first of all in relationship to God and not in relationship to man. “Why have you come down from heaven, Lord Jesus?” “I have come down from heaven to please my Father and to perform his will.” Isn’t that what he’s saying? “I didn’t come down here to do my own will, but I came to do the will of him who sent me.”
Now, this takes us back to where we were last week. Because it is impossible to understand the work of Christ in relationship to the will of God unless we see it in terms of a pre-time, preincarnational agreement that takes place between the members of the Trinity, in which the Son agrees to complete a specific task, and the Father promises to uphold the Son in the fulfilling of the task and then to reward him for having done so.
Now, when you get to grips with that, then you understand what it is that Jesus is saying all the way through. For example, in John 5:30, Jesus says, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, … my judgment is just”—now, here’s the phrase—“for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” Verse 16 of chapter 7: “My teaching,” says Jesus, “is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.” Verse 16 of chapter 8: “But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I[’m] not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.” John 14:31—I won’t keep this up—but verse 31: “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”
Now, when the work is accomplished, he is then able to return to his Father. That’s the significance of his prayer in John 17:4, where he prays to his Father and he says, “Father, … I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work [that] you gave me to do.” So when you think of Jesus, think of a man with a mission. Think of someone who, in growing into his manhood, exists to fulfill the plan and purpose of God. Indeed, even at the age of twelve, his parents are mystified. His mother, Mary, and his father, Joseph, finding him in the temple, seeing that he is having these amazing conversations with the religious leaders of his day, they say to him, “Hey, Jesus, we’ve been looking everywhere for you.” And remember his reply? “Don’t you realize that I have to be about my Father’s business?” Can you imagine them going down the road again, back towards Nazareth, and talking to one another the way parents do once their children are out of earshot, and Mary saying to Joseph, “What do you make of that business back there in the temple? What is that stuff, ‘I have to be about my Father’s business’?”
She still hadn’t grasped it when at the wedding of Cana in Galilee she comes around to Jesus, and she says, “Hey, Jesus, they’re all out of wine. It’s a faux pas here. They are done with wine. Can you do something?” You remember Jesus’ reply? “Woman, … my time has not yet come.” It’s an amazing statement! Can you imagine his mother again? She walks away, said, “All I said was they ran out of wine. I mean, I don’t know about his time coming around. I just said, ‘Jesus, we’re out of wine.’” “My time has not yet come.” Why? Because he was a man with a mission. He knew that the issue was not that they’d run out of wine. He knew that the issue was that they needed the wine of cleansing, that they needed the water of life, that the real thing that they required was not that their party keep going but that they might meet him who was himself the incarnate Christ.
So don’t think for a moment, if you’ve come here today and you’re questioning these things and you’re wondering about these things—and I hope that there are many here who are in that position—don’t think for a moment that you can so quickly sideline Jesus and push him away, as it were, with the Christmas ornaments and say, “Well, that’s enough for a while,” because he doesn’t allow us to do that. He won’t allow us to wriggle away so easily. In fact, the statement “I have come down from heaven” here in John chapter 6:38—the statement “I have come down from heaven”—if that had a full stop after it, without the explanatory phrases which follow—namely, “not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me”—then frankly, it would remain a marvel, but it wouldn’t make any sense.
And that’s where many people are with Jesus. First of all, they’re not sure that he ever did come down from heaven, but if you can bring them to believe that perhaps he did come down from heaven, they have a full stop after heaven: “Jesus came down from heaven.” “Huh?” Well, why did he come down from heaven? “Not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”
I mean, is it really feasible to think of a Christmas which emerges as a result of Jesus coming down from heaven in order to teach everybody to be kind to one another and enjoy a spirit of goodwill for a few days? Do you think God left eternity to come to time to say, “Hey, have a nice time”? That’s what people want us to believe: “Well, why would you make such a fuss about Jesus? I mean, Jesus is somebody that’s there in a cradle or crib or whatever it was, and basically, you try and be nice for a while and give a few gifts and get on with your life. And after all, he’s just one amongst many. There’s Buddha, there’s Muhammad, there’s Krishna. Goodness, we’ve got gods everywhere now in America. We have all kinds of people we can turn to, all kinds of things we can plug into. We’ve got a spiritual panorama before us. You’re really going to make such a fuss about this Jesus? Put him away. Put him away.” No, you can’t do that, you see. Because he came down from heaven as a man with a mission.
And what was his mission? Verse 39 and 40 tells us. The will of God—which he came to fulfill—the will of God who sent him is that he would “lose none” of all that the Father has given him, but instead “raise them up at the last day.” In other words, the coming of Jesus had a definite and well-defined objective—namely, the actual, complete, and sure salvation of all whom the Father has given to the Son.
Now, don’t stumble over that. Just allow that to hit you as it should. You go to John 17, you find him saying the same thing: “Father, I have lost none of those that you gave me.” What is this? This is the doctrine of election: that God has purposed from all of eternity to put together a people who are his very own. That’s what the Bible says.
That brings me to my final question. Where did Jesus come from? “From heaven.” Why did Jesus come? To do the will of the Father, to fulfill his pleasure. And what is that? Well, it is the salvation of men and women. Well then, here’s the final thought: What does it mean to me? Or perhaps better to ask the question, “Where, then, do I fit into the scheme of things?”
Ask yourself that this morning, on this final Christmas of 1999, in relationship to the things that you’ve been considering—not just just now but all the way through. Ask yourself, “Where do I personally fit into the scheme of things here? Because if I listen to what you’re telling me, Alistair, it goes something like this: That God is a self-existent God. From all eternity he is everlasting. He is pure, he is holy, he is just, he is love. And this God exists apart from man and doesn’t need any of us. So God is altogether distinct from us, inasmuch as we need everyone and we need others. But God within the communion of Father, Son, and Spirit—one God, coequal, coeternal, distinct in persona, same in substance—that this God exists in and of himself. He’s in need of nothing and in need of no one.”
“How are you?” we might ask. And his answer would be, if we might say so reverently, “Absolutely fine, thank you very much.” Then the question ought to be: “Well, God, what are you doing here in Bethlehem? Lord Jesus, what are you doing here upon this cross?” And what is the answer to that? It is that God in all of his holiness cannot bear to look on sin, cannot be indifferent to sin. And there from eternity, he purposes to send someone to be the Sin-Bearer so that sin will be punished, and justice will be fulfilled, and righteousness will be extended to those who believe. And God, in the immensity of his being, determines that Christ will fulfill this objective. In his love, which is unlimited, he looks, and he sees our guilt. He looks from heaven, and he sees our humanity and our misery; he sees our unhappiness and our wretchedness; he sees the state of the world this morning as it is in the results of sin. And that’s why Jesus is born. That’s why he’s born.
“Love was when God became a man,” at least expressed in one of the carols that we’ve been singing all week long. I can’t remember which one it is, but it has the two lines up against one another: “Thus to come from highest bliss down to such a world as this.” I mean, we don’t even really like it here, do we? This is not a great place. It’s okay, but it sure isn’t perfect. So why would a perfect God leave perfection to come to imperfection? “Oh, just to show us to be nice. Just to eat cashew nuts and have a time of goodwill.” How pathetic is that! Who would live for such a story? Who would preach that message? Who would die for that, you know? Who would commit their life to that? I wouldn’t have the gall to ask anybody to make a commitment to that kind of God. But a God who would come and invade time because he sees our wretchedness and our need, and he says, “I love you with an everlasting love, and I want you to find all of your comforts in me, and I want you to find all of your joys in me.” “My song is love unknown,” says the hymn writer, “my Savior’s love to me, love to the loveless shown, that [I] might lovely be.”
You see, this message is not to the glory of man; it’s to the glory of God. I really detest the kind of preaching that starts off with “You know, you’re a wonderful group of people, and I want you to know how wonderful you are, and you’ll know how wonderful you are because here is Jesus, and he came to see you because you’re such a wonderful group of people. Therefore, just pull your shoulders back and get on with your life.” That is all to deify man and to denigrate God. The message of the gospel is to the glory of God: that he who needs nobody wants to have a relationship with you—that he who is in total perfection is prepared to make a friend of sinners!
Now, do you feel smart, smug, proud—or humbled? He gives grace to the humble, and he resists the proud. So you sit there, or I stand here, we say, “You know, I really deserve this. Oh, I can see why this is working out. After all, you know, I may not be the best, but I’m a cut above most, and I know why it is that he would include me in the group. If he’s got a group, as it appears to be here, I can see why I’m in it. After all, I’ve been in most sport teams, and I did quite well in my fraternity house, and I’ve done pretty well in business as well. I’m not surprised if I’m in this group at all.”
I can pretty well guarantee you you’re not. ’Cause he sends the rich away empty, and he brings the proud down from their thrones. And those who say they are full and in need of nothing go away totally hungry. But the individual who is prepared to say, “You know, as I think about this story of a God who came from heaven to fulfill a plan from all of eternity that includes my name in it, I can do nothing other than just thank him from the bottom of my heart and say, ‘I want to love you, and I want to live for you.’”
Do you love God, and do you live for him? Have you ever actually said that? Have you ever come to that place in your life? Don’t stumble over the doctrine of election here. It’s not a bomb for people to drop. It’s not a banner to be waved. It’s a bastion for the souls of those who believe. It is a security to us. It is a reminder to us of the immensity of God’s grace. For look at verse 37: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” “I will never drive away.” So don’t sit there and say, “Well, I don’t if I’m part of the group that’s supposed to come to him.” None—none—are ever shut out from the mercy of God, save those who shut themselves out through unbelief. There is no possibility—there is no possibility—that Christ will not receive some who desire to receive him. God gives men what they choose, not the opposite of what they choose.
You see, faith is not ultimately a condition of salvation. Faith is really an evidence of salvation. For the very faith by which we believe is a gift from God himself. Therefore, the question is not “How much faith do I have?” but “Is my faith placed away from myself and in Christ?”—not whether I am able to stride out with great confidence towards him, but even if I come on bended knee or on my hands and knees; not if I’m able to grasp a clear picture of him, but if at least I’m able to look to him. For everyone who looks to him, everyone who comes to him, he will never drive away.
So what of you on this final Sunday of 1999? Where did Jesus come from? Well, he came from above; he came from heaven. Why did he come? He came to do the Father’s will. What’s the Father’s will? That he would lose none of those that he had given his Son. Well, does that mean, then, that my confidence has to do with a doctrine? No. ’Cause we’re not called to look to a doctrine to be saved. We’re called to look to Christ and be saved—the Christ who said, “And whoever comes to me, I’ll never drive them away.” Which is really quite remarkable.
When you think how many applications we’ve made for things and got one of those letters back: “Sorry, no can do. Sorry, no entry. Sorry, not smart enough. Sorry, not rich enough. Sorry, not popular enough. Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.” We understand that. What kind of society is this that is for the poor, the wretched, the lonely, the sinful, the screwed up, the messed up? You say, “Well, I don’t want to be in that society, ’cause I am none of the above.” Your condition is graver than you understand, sir.
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
 See Nehemiah 8:2.
 John 6:26–31 (paraphrased).
 Roger Waters, “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2” (1979).
 See Ephesians 2:12.
 John 6:33 (paraphrased).
 J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton: Tyndale, 1993), 294.
 Charles Wesley, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (1739).
 See Luke 2:46–49.
 John 2:4 (NIV 1984).
 John 17:12 (paraphrased).
 See Titus 2:14.
 John E. Walvoord, “Love Was When God Became a Man” (1970).
 Edward Caswall, “See amid the Winter’s Snow” (1851).
 See Jeremiah 31:3.
 Samuel Crossman, “My Song Is Love Unknown” (1664).
 See James 4:6.
 See Luke 1:51–53.
 See Revelation 3:17.
 William R. Newell, “At Calvary” (1895).
Copyright © 2021, 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.