Jesus The Restorer | Timothy "TA" Ateek

Timothy "TA" Ateek // Nov 14, 2023

Do you ever wish you could hit the reset button on past mistakes? This week, Timothy “TA” Ateek walks us through Peter’s redemption story in John 21 to remind us that the past doesn’t have the right to remind us of our failures, only of our restoration in Jesus Christ.

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What's up, Porch? How are we doing tonight? It's good to see you. Great to be with you. I hope all is well. Thanks for trusting us with your Tuesday night. If this is your first time ever with us, thank you for trusting us, and I hope this place feels comfortable and like home for you. I do want to give a shout-out to all of our Porch.Live locations watching tonight, like you Porch.Live Boise, Porch.Live Dayton, and Porch.Live Scottsdale. Thank you for tuning in. I hope all is well with you guys.

Some of y'all have heard me share this before, but several years ago, some of my closest friends, Sterling and Natalie, bought this older home, and this older home had this one room at the back of the house. That one room had its own air conditioning unit. You're like, "Why are we talking about HVAC?" Well, let me tell you.

The previous owners had bought an air conditioning system for this one room that was just too big for the room. I don't know all of the ins and outs of HVAC, but what my friend told me was happening was that this system was short cycling, which means it was overproducing. So, without my friends Sterling and Natalie knowing it, there was moisture that was forming on the inside of the unit, and it was causing mold to build up in the unit.

The problem is that my friend Natalie has a condition where her body struggles to eliminate toxins. She has had this struggle for about two decades. So, I want you to think about what was happening. Without them knowing it, this air conditioning unit was quietly operating in the background of their lives every single day, and it was blowing air through their home, which was actually poisoning Natalie's body and sabotaging her health.

The reason I tell you that is because, tonight, we're going to talk about our past failures. I'm talking about that moment or that season in your past that you could just slap the label on "What was I thinking?" For some of you, it was college. It's like, "Well, what part of college?" "College. What was I thinking?" Not going to it but what you did in college.

Some of you are like, "It was freshman year of college," or for others it is like, "It was the relationship with that girl" or "That guy" or "That choice I made in my first job" or "That abortion." "It was that choice in my past." When you look back on it, it causes shame and regret. Without us realizing it, our past failures can be a lot like my friends' air conditioning unit. Our past failures can quietly operate in the background of our lives, blowing shame and regret through our souls like air through a house.

That shame and regret can poison our souls and lead to all sorts of issues. It'll impact your relationship with God. It'll impact your relationship with others. It'll impact your future marriage and the way you parent your kids. Our shame and regret has to be dealt with. So, I don't know what you think of when I ask you, "What is it?" What is it from your past that, when you look back on it, you just think, "What was I thinking?"

If you could have a do-over, if you could just hit a button that would cause things to loop back, and you could just try it again or do it differently, what would it be for you? I just want you to know that this talk is deeply personal for me. I've shared my story here at The Porch a lot, but if you're new here, the reality is during my young adult years, I was here in Dallas. I was going to Dallas Seminary. I was getting a degree in Jesus.

At the same time, I was working at a church with high school students, and I was telling high school students one way to live, and then at the same time, in my private life, I was doing the opposite. I was living a compromising life. I was making compromising decisions, and those compromising decisions led to major consequences in my life. It all boiled up to a point where I had to sit with about 50 or 60 staff members at the church I was working at and share with them my sin, and I had to step out of all forms of leadership in ministry.

When that happened, shame and regret moved in and made themselves at home. My failures began to quietly operate in the background of my life. My past failure began to blow shame and regret through the house of my soul, like air through my friends' house. It impacted me in so many ways…so many ways. I remember going to that church, and whenever I would go to that church, I thought everyone was looking at me. I began to believe everyone saw me for my sin.

Or if I saw someone out in public from that church, I began to think, "Well, they probably, when they see me, just think about what I've done." Or when I started dating my wife Kathryn… She had a cleaner past than I did, so I felt unworthy of God's good gift of Kathryn in my life. I just didn't believe I deserved her, like I deserved something less because of my past.

Or when I got back into ministry and became a student pastor, I felt so ashamed to be in ministry with the past I had, because I thought I was unqualified. Let me change that wording, because we're all, in some ways, unqualified for ministry. I felt unfit. I felt unusable by God. Then I also operated with this mentality that I just wanted to get as far away from my failure as quickly as possible, because the more distance I could put between my failure and my present, the more God would like me.

Can you resonate with any of this? Do you know what I'm talking about when I talk about shame? What I'm really talking about… Do you know what shame does? Shame attacks your identity. Something happens where you move from "I failed" to "I'm a failure." You might not lead with that. If you're out at lunch, and someone is like, "Hey, tell me about yourself…" "Let me start off… I'm a failure. I like college football. How about you?"

Maybe you don't lead with it. Maybe that's not even what you think on a regular basis, but if you were to kind of zoom out and look at your behavior, you operate as a failure. It's in your wiring. It's your mentality. It's the difference between your identity and activity. I did fail. That was my activity. I did fail, yet my activity became my identity. What I had done became who I was. I was a failure.

So, I just wonder how many people here, if you were honest… If you were to somehow, in the quietness of your own heart, or when you're lying in bed at night and finally turn the phone off and all you are left with is your thoughts… I wonder how many people live under the crushing weight of the banner over your life that you have put there, and that banner reads "Failure."

Do you know what was interesting as I talked to Sterling and Natalie about that messed-up air conditioning unit? They said, "Before we understood what was going on, we tried a bunch of different things to help Natalie with her health." She would try different things, and certain things would work for a short period of time. She might have a good day here or a good day here, but ultimately, her health would tank. It's because they weren't treating the problem.

Ultimately, what they had to do was they had to identify the source of the problem, and someone had to come in and rip out that busted system and put in something new. I tell you that just to say we have all sorts of ways of dealing with our shame. If you know what it feels like to fail… If you can look back, and you're like, "Man! If I could just have a do-over…" If you can look back and pinpoint something, I wonder what you've done to manage that shame.

Some of us make promises to God. "God, I'm never going to look at porn again. Mark the calendar. Mark the day. This is it. I'm never looking at porn again." "God, if you will just give me another girlfriend (or another boyfriend), I promise you I will never do anything bad again. I will never do anything impure again." Like, "I promise I am never going to do this again or that again." We just make promises, because we think if we can perform for God, he will provide for us. That's actually karma: do good, get good.

Or we don't make promises; we just compare. We go out, and we look for someone who has failed worse than we have, and they make us feel better about ourselves. It's like, "I know I failed, but I didn't fail like that. At least it wasn't that bad." Or we punish ourselves. We deprive ourselves of good gifts from God because we think that if we can kind of pay for our failures, we can balance the scales in our own lives.

The reality is, just like Sterling and Natalie needed someone to step in and intervene and rip out the broken and busted air conditioning of their house, Jesus Christ wants to step into your life tonight and rip out the busted failure that is blowing shame and regret through the house of your soul, poisoning your life and distorting your identity.

Jesus is going to show us what he wants to do with our past failure by allowing us to see what he did with Peter's past failure. So, if you have a Bible, I want you to turn with me tonight all the way to the end of the book of John, John 21. If you've been with us over the last several weeks, we've been in this series called Glory.

The glory of God is the supreme goodness of God. It is everything praiseworthy and good about God. God's glory, his goodness, has been demonstrated and displayed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. So, every week that we've been in the book of John, we've been looking at one activity of Jesus that displays the glory of God. Today, we're going to see Jesus as restorer, that Jesus Christ is the restorer of our souls.

If you're new to the Bible and not very familiar with Peter, Peter was one of Jesus' twelve closest friends, but it was even more than that. Jesus had three he spent even more time with. Peter was one of those. He was super tight with Jesus. Jesus gave Peter a new name. Peter's original name was Simon, and Jesus gave him the name Peter. When you give someone a nickname, that means you're tight with them. That was Peter.

But if you're familiar with the Bible, then you know what Peter's greatest failure was. What was it? Yeah, he denied Jesus three times on the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested. So, before we get to John 21, listen to the wording of Luke 22, which tells us what happens right after Peter denies Jesus for the third time.

It says this in Luke 22:61: "And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, 'Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.' And he went out and wept bitterly." This is in the Bible. I don't know what you think is in the Bible. If you've never taken time to read it, this is not just some mythical world of larger-than-life people who never struggle. It's the opposite. It is real, down-to-earth people who have real problems.

One of Jesus' closest friends denied him three times after he said he wouldn't. So, what was the result? He actually locks eyes with Jesus, and in that moment, he sees his sin for what it is, and he goes out and weeps bitterly. Now think about it. If you're God, and one of your closest friends betrays you, you have options. Right? You're in charge of that guy's story. That guy's story could be like, "And Peter was never heard from again." Or like, "The ground split open and swallowed Peter whole, and he was never heard from again." There are options.

Yet we turn to John, chapter 21, and it says this. Verse 1: "After this…" After…what? After Jesus went to the cross; after Jesus bore our sin and shame; after Jesus, on the third day, walked out of the tomb victoriously, conquering Satan, sin, and death. After that. "After this Jesus revealed himself again…"

He reveals himself again to the disciples, which included Peter. "…by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way." Here's why I highlight again. Jesus could have done anything he wanted with Peter, yet he reveals himself to Peter, not just once, not just twice, but in John 21, this is him revealing himself again, because it's the third time that he has shown up in Peter's life.

Do you know what's interesting? When we think about Jesus being betrayed and arrested, we only think about Judas and Peter. Judas is the guy who betrayed Jesus, and Peter is the guy who denied Jesus. But have you ever read Matthew 26:56, which says this about the rest of the disciples? "Then all the disciples left him and fled." Have you ever thought about that? It wasn't just Judas. It wasn't just Peter. All of them, all twelve, deserted Jesus Christ in his hardest hour.

So, again, if you're God, and all twelve of your closest friends desert you, what are you going to do? I'd probably just get a new crew, because I could; I'm God. I'd be like, "These guys are jokers. They're dead to me, and they're just dead, period. I'm going a new way." Yet Jesus' actions communicate that the relationship with Peter and everyone else was still on schedule. It was on as scheduled. The disciples' compromise didn't change Jesus' commitment. So, the first truth I need you to know when dealing with your past failure is this:

1) Your compromise doesn't change Jesus' commitment. Your compromise, whatever it was, doesn't change Jesus' commitment. Some of y'all need to hear this tonight. Don't miss it. His commitment can withstand our greatest compromise. Your relationship with Jesus has never and will never rest on the strength of your character; it has always and will always rest on the strength of his.

So, I'm just going to ask everyone to look at me. I promise this isn't elementary school where it's like, "I need all of your eyes on me," but I'm asking for your eyes because I don't want you to miss this. Some of you need to hear this tonight. Jesus Christ isn't even close to giving up on you. Not even close. Jesus Christ isn't even close to giving up on you. You're like, "Well, yeah, but you don't know what I've done." I don't need to know what you've done. One of Jesus' best friends denied him three times. It's probably not worse than that. He's not even close.

He's not even close to giving up on me. That was one of the most beautiful realities for me to come to grips with. To be on a walk with the Lord one night, to just be walking around the neighborhood, and to come to this realization that after all of my sin, after all of my life, Jesus has never once considered giving up on me. Never once. You're like, "Well, you're a pastor. Of course not." Well, let me just go through my list of sin.

After all my self-sufficiency, after all of the times I have prioritized other things above Jesus, after all of the careless and hurtful words toward others, after the bitterness, the gluttony, the lust, the pride, the manipulation, the selfishness, and the attempts to use God for my glory, not once has he ever considered giving up on me, not once has he withheld his love from me, and not once has he given up or withheld his love from you. So, that's where we have to start. Your compromise does not change his commitment.

2) Jesus is the author of new starts. I don't know what you brought into this place tonight, but I have great news for you. A new start is possible with Jesus Christ. Why? Because he's in the business of giving clean starts to messy lives. He is the author of new starts. I want you to see what happens. Follow along in John 21. We're going to cover a lot of ground. There's no way we have time to unpack everything that's going on. I'm just going to hit the highlights. But I want you to see what happens. Verse 1:

"After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, 'I am going fishing.' They said to him, 'We will go with you.' They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, 'Children, do you have any fish?' They answered him, 'No.' He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.' So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish."

Don't miss what's happening here. If you're familiar with the Bible, this story should sound familiar to you, but here's what you need to understand. This story happens twice in the Bible. It happens when Jesus first calls Peter to be his disciple, and then it happens right here. What I'm trying to show you is that Jesus kind of hits the reset button on Peter's life.

When did Jesus first call Peter to be his disciple? It was three years prior to this. Where was Jesus when he first called Peter to be his disciple? He was by the Sea of Galilee. Where are they now? They're back at the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Tiberias is just another name for the Sea of Galilee. What had Peter been doing the night before Jesus showed up and called him to be his disciple? He stayed up all night fishing and didn't catch anything.

Jesus shows up three years prior to this story and says, "Hey, put your nets on the other side of the boat." They do, and they catch so many fish it begins to tear their nets. So, do you see what Jesus is doing here? He's kind of starting over with Peter. He's like, "All right. Let's just go back to it." They're at the Sea of Galilee. Great. Check. Peter stays up all night fishing and catches nothing. Check. Insert Jesus.

Jesus shows up. "Hey, put your nets on the other side of the boat. Have you guys caught anything?" "Nope." "Great. Put it on the other side." And what do they do? They catch 153 fish. The only difference between this story and what happened three years earlier is that this time the nets don't begin to tear. It continues in verse 7. Look at what it says.

"That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.

Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.' So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' Now none of the disciples dared ask him, 'Who are you?' They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead."

There's so much going on here. I just want to highlight two things. Remember, Jesus has brought Peter back to the Sea of Galilee. Peter has just stayed up all night fishing and caught nothing. Jesus is doing exactly what he did with Peter three years earlier. Now, what's interesting is Jesus brings Peter and the other disciples to a charcoal fire. When was the last time Peter was around a charcoal fire? On the night he betrayed Jesus.

The only other thing I want you to see is that Jesus already had fish on the fire, which is pretty baller, because they just caught 153 fish. It's as if Jesus is saying, "Y'all don't have anything I need, and I have everything in myself, yet I delight to have you with me and to share it with you," which is really beautiful.

Now watch this. Verses 15-17: "When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter…" Look at what he calls him: Simon. When was the last time Jesus called him Simon? I don't know when the last time was, but what did Jesus call him the first time he called him to follow him? He called him Simon.

"'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' He said to him a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Tend my sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?' and he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.'"

How many times did Peter deny Jesus around that charcoal fire? Three times. So, what does Jesus do? He brings him to another charcoal fire, and he asks him the same question three times. "Do you love me?" Why does he ask him it three times? So that each denial could be replaced with an affirmation of Peter's love for Jesus.

Do you see what Jesus is doing? He's saying, "Let's start over. Let's just start over. Let's just go back. Sea of Galilee. Up all night fishing. You catch a bunch of fish. I bring you to a charcoal fire. I call you 'Simon,' and now each denial is replaced with an affirmation." Jesus is giving him a new start. Why? Because Jesus is the author of new starts. That's what he does. What Jesus is doing here is exchanging Peter's story of failure for his story of forgiveness. That's what Jesus is doing. He is taking Peter's failure and replacing it with forgiveness and favor.

Do you want to know why this moment between Jesus and Peter was possible? Do you want to know why Jesus was able to forgive Peter in this moment and restore him? It's because sandwiched in between the two charcoal fires was the cross of Jesus Christ. On that cross, Jesus bore all of Peter's sin and shame. The three denials… Jesus died for those denials. When Jesus walked out of the tomb, he was conquering Peter's denials.

The apostle Paul explains really well what Jesus accomplished on the cross for you and me. Listen to his wording in Colossians 2:13-14. Paul says, "You were dead because of your sins…" If you're not a Christian in here, you need to know that you might be physically alive, but in God's eyes, you are spiritually dead. You're not spiritually bad; you're spiritually dead. It's impossible for dead people to do something pleasing for a holy God.

"You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ…" That's what Christianity is about. Christianity isn't about us coming together to figure out what we need to do for God; it's us coming together to realize that when we could do nothing, God did everything.

"Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave…" What's the next word? I want you to say it like you believe the Bible is true. He forgave all of our sins…all of them. He canceled the record. He canceled the entire record of your sins. "He canceled the record of the charges against us…" And he didn't just cancel it. Look at what he did. "…and took it away by nailing it to the cross."

This is where you have to get your theology right. Either Jesus has forgiven all of your sins or none of your sins. Period. Either all of them or none of them. You choose what you believe. But the reason shame and regret will have their way in our lives is because we believe Jesus forgives the sins that are easy to forgive but really struggles to forgive the significant sins.So, this is where you have to realize that when Jesus went to the cross, he went to deal with the entire record, all of your failure. It's either all of your sin or none of your sin.

Do you know what he has done? If you're not a Christian, I hope you leave here truly understanding what's on the table for you tonight. Complete forgiveness of all of your failures is on the table tonight. But here's the good news: Jesus doesn't just take away the record of your sin; he gives you his record of righteousness, which is amazing.

So, when a holy and perfect God looks at you, he doesn't just see that Jesus has taken away your sin; he sees that Jesus has given you his righteousness. When a perfect God looks at you, he sees Jesus in you, so everything God the Father feels toward Jesus, his Son, he now feels toward you. You get to experience the love and the delight God the Father has for Jesus because you are now, according to the Scriptures… Through faith, you are in Christ, which is amazing news.

I tell you this just to say the cross must always be bigger than your failure. Always. Now, if you've wronged someone, go seek forgiveness. Go make it right. And I'll tell you this: you don't have to forget about your past; you just have to put your past in the right place. Your past no longer has the right to remind you of what you've done; it only has the right to remind you of what Jesus has done. Your past failure's only responsibility now is to display the beauty and the greatness of God's grace.

3) Your life can still glorify Jesus. That's amazing news. Your life can still glorify Jesus. Look at what it tells us about Peter in verses 18-19. Jesus has just said three different times, "Do you love me?" Peter says, "Yes." He's like, "Feed my sheep. Tend my lambs." He's saying, "Peter, go play a significant role in the building of my church." Not a building but a people.

You fast-forward to the book of Acts, and you see Peter is the leader. He's the one who stands up, and when he gives a sermon, like I'm doing right now, 3,000 people trust Christ just like that. So, what Jesus is saying when he says, "Go feed my sheep" is "Go lead. Go do something for my glory." Now watch what he says in verse 18.

"'Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.' (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, 'Follow me.'"

Jesus is referring to the death Peter was going to die. Peter was going to die by crucifixion. Tradition tells us that he was even crucified upside down. I want you to see the wording. This is Jesus himself saying, "Look. Right now I'm just talking about the death you are going to die to glorify me." Jesus himself is saying, "It is still possible for you, Peter, to glorify me."

Do you know what's amazing? When you do go and read the book of Acts, do you know what the story of Peter's life becomes? Peter's story isn't "I failed"; Peter's story is he was imperfect but faithful. He went out and led for Jesus, yet he still sinned. He still struggled. There's a story where Paul has to call Peter out, but the label of his life was not failure; it was imperfect but faithful.

I'll just tell you this. I have a wife and three kids, and when I die, at my funeral, the greatest thing anyone could say about me is for my wife or my kids or my friends to stand up and say, "You know what? Timothy Ateek was an imperfect person. He was very imperfect." For my wife to stand up there and say, "You know what? He was too moody sometimes. He was imperfect, but he was faithful. He was faithful to follow Jesus. He was faithful to love his spouse. He was faithful to love his kids. He was faithful to love God's church. He was imperfect but faithful."

There's not a bigger compliment I could receive or that you could receive. So, I just tell you this to say your life can still glorify Jesus. Don't let your limited perspective tell you what a limitless God can and can't do in and through you. You can still glorify God in dating. You can still glorify God in marriage. You can still glorify God as a parent. You can still glorify God as a coworker. You can still glorify God as a boss or an employee. I don't say this to minimize our sin; I just say it to maximize the power of God's grace.

You know what? If you've been at The Porch for a while, you've heard me share about my story of how I lived a compromising life, and I was working at a church, and I had to step off of staff. For the new people in the room, do you know what church that was? Watermark Community Church. It was at this church I had to sit with a room full of 50 to 60 staff and tell them about my sin. It was at this church that I was asked to leave staff and step out of leadership for a period of time because of my sin.

Now God, in his kindness and grace, has brought me back. Why? Because he wasn't done with me. The reason I share my story is that I don't have a story to hide; I have a story to tell, because my story now is a trophy of God's grace. I've told my story now to tens of thousands of people. I've gotten to sit one-on-one with young adults and talk to them about my failures during that season. I don't have to do it with shame in my heart; I do it free of shame, because now my past's only responsibility is to remind me of just how great God's grace has been in my life.

It is a trophy of God's grace that I can stand up here tonight and say, "I don't have a story to hide." You can know my past, because Jesus has restored me from my past. He has redeemed me from it. The cross of Jesus Christ is capable to deal with all of our sin. I hope you believe that tonight.

I want to close by talking about how you respond to a message like this. Here it is. Peter ran to Jesus instead of running from Jesus. Do you know what I love about Peter? He denies Jesus three times, and then when John looks at him… They're on the boat, and he's like, "Hey, that's Jesus." Peter flings himself into the water and is like, "I don't have time to wait for us to paddle there. I want to get to Jesus now." Instead of running from him, he ran to him.

Here is what I love. When Peter came to Jesus, what was the question Jesus asked Peter? "Do you promise you're never going to deny me again?" It wasn't that question. "Peter, you're committed to going to church every week from here on out, right? That's part of the deal." It wasn't that question either. "Peter, you're not going to embarrass me and screw up again, right?" It was not that question either.

What was the question? "Do you love me?" That's the question on the table for you tonight. It's not "Do you promise?" It's not "Can you find someone who screwed up worse than you?" It's not "How are you going to punish yourself to make things right?" It's "Do you love me?" So, here's the deal if you're here tonight and you don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you are not a Christian.

If that's you, I want you to know that when we talk about knowing Jesus, what we're talking about is knowing the one who left heaven and came to earth and lived a perfect life, because we have lived very imperfect lives, and died the death we all deserved to die for our sin. When he died, he was taking all of the punishment our failures deserved, and then we believe that this Jesus walked out of the grave as a demonstration that he was victorious over all of our failures.

So, tonight, his victory can be your victory. Your life does not have to be defined by your failures; it can be defined by his forgiveness and his favor toward you. But it's only possible through faith. It's only possible by you coming to a place where you talk to God and say, "Jesus, everything he's talking about… I want that to be true for me. God, I give my life to you.

You can be in charge of my life. Would you just come in? Would you be my Savior? Would you be my King? Would you rule in my life? I give my life to you. If it's possible for you to not just forgive me but to give me the righteousness of Christ, God, I want that." If that's you, would you come to him tonight?

If you're here and you are a Christian, but you're running from Jesus right now because you're running in your shame…you're living under the banner of failure…stop running. Stop running. God in his love for you has brought you here so he could ask you this question: "Do you love me?" All you have to do is say, "I do love you. God, forgive me."

Then, if you've sought God for forgiveness, yet you're still living in shame, let me just tell you what needs to happen. You need to begin to agree with God about your sin. Jesus is saying tonight, "I canceled the record," yet when we let shame rule, we're saying, "Yeah, but what about my record?" He's like, "I canceled it." It's like, "Yeah, but what about that sin on the record?" He's like, "Yeah, I took it away." "Yeah, but I don't know about that sin."

We have to agree with him. "You canceled the record, because you, Jesus, are greater than my sin, and I trust you." So, would you come to him tonight? Whatever it is, would you run toward Jesus, and would you experience his grace and his forgiveness? Would you allow him to trade your story of failure for his story of forgiveness and favor? Let's pray together.

I just want to ask. If you're here tonight, and you're not a Christian, but everything I said just a minute ago makes sense, and you're sitting there saying, "Yes, I want to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, and I want everything you just said to be true of me…" If that's you, with eyes closed, would you slip up your hand really quick just so I know who I'm talking to in this place tonight? Great. Awesome.

If that's you, I encourage you right now to pray and say, "Lord Jesus, I want everything he just said. Would you come into my life? Would you forgive me of all of my sins?" Just tell him, "Thank you." Say, "Thank you, Jesus, that you died for me. Thank you that you rose from the dead for me. Would you save me, and would you lead me in a new life?"

Then, if you're here tonight, and you are a believer who has been walking in shame… We sang a song earlier talking about witnessing the faithfulness of God and telling of his faithfulness. That's what I've done tonight. I've stood up here and told you I've witnessed the faithfulness of God in my own life to restore me from my sin, so I've testified about it to you. I want that for you.

So, maybe you just sit there and thank God for his faithfulness to cancel the record of your sins. Then maybe you stand and sing and testify of his goodness and his faithfulness in your life, but don't just run out of here. Do business with the Lord now.

God, you are good. Thank you for your kindness in our lives, that you don't give up on us, that you're not even close to giving up on us. You still love us, still pursue us. I pray for people who carried shame in. May they not carry it back out. May they leave it here and leave free. We need you. We love you. Amen.