For This I Was Born…

From the series Jesus Unfiltered - Testify

Courage or cowardice - what determines which of those show up when we're faced with a challenge? Sometimes we can genuinely surprise ourselves with a measure of courage we didn’t know we had. Other times, timidity and fear keep us quiet. Chip talks about why that happens and what motivates our courageous or cowardly responses.

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Message Transcript

As we continue our series in the gospel of John, chapter 18 if you want to get a head start and get there. I want you to finish a sentence the best you can. The sentence goes like this: For this reason I was born and came into the earth, to…you fill it in. For this reason you were born and you came into the earth in order to…what would you fill it in? If you had just to jot that in or say, “The reason that I am on this earth, the reason that I was born, the reason that I am here at this time in history, the reason that I for reasons I don’t understand live at this time with who I am, where I live, what I know is…” What would you say? It’s kind of tough, isn’t it?

Let me give you a little help here. Jesus actually will answer this question for Himself very specifically and when you see the answer, what you’ll realize is there is a lot of instruction about why you’re here and why I’m here.

Jesus will say, “For this purpose I was born and came into the earth, to testify to the truth.” He said the reason He came was to testify to the truth. “Everyone on the side of truth,” – are you ready for this? – “listens to Me.”

If you just read through John chapter 18, you would be tempted to think, Oh, this is the chapter where Jesus gets arrested and Peter denies Him three times and then He gets in front of Pilate. And you would be right. But you would miss what John the writer, inspired by the Holy Spirit, has tucked inside this, the climactic message of the whole chapter is exactly this: “I was born for this purpose, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.”

And then what you’re going to see is we are going to see a list of people who testify. Some courageously and some cowardly, some truly and some falsely. And what is embedded in this passage – are you ready for this? – is why we do what we do. Why I do what I do; why you do what you do.

And what we are going to see is it will be determined primarily by one of two words. There is going to be people that will be courageous and will testify to the truth, and there will be people who will be cowardly and they won’t testify to the truth and their whole life and their complete trajectory of their future and purpose will be determined by whether they are courageous or whether they are cowardly.

Theologian Lyman Abbott put it this way: “Every life is a march from innocence through temptation to either vice or virtue.” And each one of us will make a decision about our destiny. And our destiny will be primarily determined by whether we courageously respond to the truth or cowardly.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when was the last time you ever heard anyone call another person a coward? Right? I mean, we don’t even use those terms anymore. So notice on the front of your notes, let’s to a little definitional work so that when we use these words, I want you to get them in your mind and in your heart and then we are going to go through the passage and I am going to show you all the people who testify in different ways, and you will be

able to say, “Coward/courageous.” Are you ready?

Courage: the ability to do something that you know is right or good even though it is dangerous, frightening, or difficult. The synonyms are: brave, daring, heroic. An example: someone who acts in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism or even danger.

Cowardice: a trait where fear and excessive concern override doing or saying what is right, good, and of help to others or one’s self in time of need.

Now, there is no joke. These synonyms I got right out of the dictionary. Synonyms: weakling, milksop, namby-pamby. Example; this is very interesting: a person who runs the other direction after seeing a person who needs help. I want to do something because some of us don’t have a lot of Bible background, and all four gospels piece together Jesus’ last night.

So Jesus’ final night looks like this. First, He is arrested. Next, He is tried before Annas who is the chief priest’s father-in-law. He has a unique relationship. Annas, it’s an illegal trial, he will send Him to Caiaphas, who is the actual high priest. And then during this time, Peter denies Jesus.

He goes through these trials through the night and then it’s dawn. And the Sanhedrin of the council, at dawn, will then have a third trial and they will convict Him of blasphemy and they say He should be killed. And Judas learns of that, he goes out and commits suicide.

Then they take Him to Pilate, because the Jews don’t have the power to kill under Roman law. And so they bring Him to Pilate and Pilate realizes, This is politically not the best thing to do, so I’ll see if I can get Herod to do it. So he sends Him to Herod. Herod says, “I don’t want to touch it.” He sends Him back to Pilate. And then, eventually, Pilate, as we will read, condemns Him to death. Have you got it? That’s His evening. Are you ready?

Open your Bibles now to chapter 18 and let’s examine the testimonies and some of them are by just actions and others are by words.

Chapter 18, verse 1, “When He had finished praying, Jesus left with His disciples and crossed over the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and He and His disciples went into it. Now Judas, who was betraying Him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with His disciples. So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. And they were carrying torches, and lanterns, and weapons.”

The first person who testifies is Judas. It’s a false testimony and it’s a hypocritical one. The other gospel writers say the reason they have lanterns, it’s very dark and it says there is a detachment. A very unique Greek word for detachment. It could be a whole battalion or it could be a smaller group of six hundred. But at a minimum it’s two hundred soldiers. So there are two hundred Roman soldiers along with some officials.

Judas is leading and it’s kind of dark and they have got their lanterns, so his testimony, after how does he respond to the truth in Jesus? He comes to Him with “Rabboni,” which means: “you are my Teacher and my Rabbi who I have followed,” and then he gives Him a greeting of warmth and kisses Him so that now the soldiers know who

to arrest. He is a betrayer. He doesn’t listen to the truth.

“Jesus, knowing what was going to happen to Him, went out and asked them, ‘Who do you want?’ ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. He said, ‘I am He.’” Notice what happens. “Jesus said, (And Judas the traitor was standing with them all.) And when Jesus said, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and they fell to the ground. And again He asked them, ‘Who is it that you want?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ ‘I told you I am He,’ Jesus answered. ‘If you are looking for Me, then let these men go.’ This happened so that the words He had spoken would be fulfilled: ‘I have not lost one of those that You gave Me.’”

This is a very, very interesting passage and we miss it in the English here. First of all, you’ll notice that Jesus went voluntarily. After He was in the garden, they didn’t catch Him. It says He went out to meet them. Second, He wants to make sure His disciples are safe. And so you see that He gets them off the hook. But three times, did you notice the witness of Jesus? “I am He, I am He, I am He.”

The Greek word is: ego eimi. If you would go to Exodus chapter 3, and the Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, when you would find God revealing Himself to Moses, and gives His covenant name: I AM THAT I AM, guess what it is in Greek? Ego eimi. Jesus is saying, “I AM THAT I AM.” I am Jehovah, I am the Messiah. And when the words come out of His mouth, there is such power that two hundred soldiers, bam! Flat on their face, along with Judas.

They all get up and He says again, “Who are you looking for?” And He repeats it again, and even a third time. The first testimony is a false one; it’s Judas, a betrayer, a hypocrite. The second one is the Son of Man and His testimony is He verbally identifies, it’s a powerful one, that He in fact is Jehovah God.

We move on.  Testimony number three, “Then Simon Peter, who had a sword,” the word for sword here could, literally, be like a long fishing knife and that’s probably the case. It could be used for a short sword or a long fishing knife. And notice what Peter does.

“He drew it and he struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.” And I’m guessing he was not aiming for his ear. “The servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given Me?’”

Now, Peter takes a lot of flak in the New Testament. He is the big mouth, he’s impetuous, he’s impulsive and he is going to deny the Lord a little bit later. But can we just get our arms around what is going on here? He has earlier said, “Lord, I will die with You.” And Jesus said, “You don’t really understand what you’re talking about.” We get all that side, right?

But there are two hundred soldiers. There’s Peter, there’s ten other disciples, and there’s Jesus. And we know from the text earlier that all these men, now, are all in. They believe. “The Father sent You. You have the words of eternal life. You’re the Messiah. You are fully man; You are fully God.”

And I don’t know what the odds are, but two hundred soldiers, ten guys with no weapons, me with one weapon – Peter said, “I am all in. I am going to defend You.” It may have been misguided, but it was heroic. It was courageous. It was daring. He was willing to give his life right then and right there. His testimony, by his actions was: I believe. There is nothing more important than my relationship with You. And we know Peter was married.

So he is laying down his life. And what I want you to observe, he is laying down his life in the presence of Jesus. He is laying down his life after he has seen the power. I mean, can you imagine being one of the disciples and there are two hundred guys and lanterns and all this stuff. And he goes, “I am He.” Bam! They all fall down. I don’t know about you, I’d be, like, “Hey, dude, this is good. We’re with you, man.”

They don’t know what is going to happen. But there is great boldness in the presence of God and the fellowship of other believers, and when you see the power of God’s Word.

Well, the story continues. Jesus has been arrested. And now He is going to go before Annas, who is the father-in-law of the high priest. “Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound Him, brought Him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.”

Now, you’ve got to get some background here. Annas is the father-in-law but he had five sons and this is his son-in-law. When Judaism was rather pure, the high priest was a very important role. It’s the person who only had the authority once a year to go into the holy of holies. But

the history here, is this is one of the biggest crooks of all time. Annas, basically, was in cahoots with the Roman government. He bought the high priesthood so one of his sons, was the high priest and now it’s his son-in-law, but he is the power broker. So the reason they are taking Jesus to Annas is it’s kind of like some of these dictatorships where the guy might step down, but he is really pulling all the strings. This is the power guy. He is very, very wealthy; he is very connected; he is very powerful.

And so no matter who the high priest is, this is the guy deeply calling the shots. He was also in charge of a thing called the Bazaar. And the Bazaar was where all the animals, you could, when you went, people would come for Passover for miles and miles and miles around. So rather than bringing all their own animals, there was, you read history, sometimes they would sacrifice sixty-five, a hundred thousand, a hundred and fifty-thousand sheep. And rather than bring their own sheep, they would buy one. Well, he had a monopoly on all the animals and he would do a surcharge. And so this guy is getting filthy rich and placing his sons and sons-in-law in all these situations so that’s the background.

Caiaphas is his son-in-law.  And, notice, there is a testimony.  The testimony is John just mentions. “This is the one who said, ‘It is better for one man to die for all the people.’” And if you remember your gospel history, it came at a time when they were debating about what to do with Him and then the author says, “He said this, but as the high priest, it was prophetic.”

He said it with this in mind, Hey, you know what? Rather than Him taking our position and Rome coming down on us, we will just get rid of Him. But, in fact, as the high priest, God spoke through him that, in fact, it is better for one man to die, because Jesus would die and pay for the sins of all people of all time, a true testimony.

The story goes on and we pick up the story in verse 15. “Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in. ‘Surely, you are not another of this Man’s disciples,’ the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, ‘I am not.’ It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire that they made to keep warm. And Peter was also standing with them, warming himself.”

You pick it up in the English, but the phrasing here in the Greek is she is asking a question, expecting a negative answer. This happens to us sometimes too. It’s like, “You’re not one of those evangelicals, are you? You’re not one of those people that actually really believe in the Bible and that Jesus was a literal person and raised from the dead, do you?”

Now, and by the way, this is so interesting that God would allow us, it’s such a God-given book because no one writing a book to start something would ever allow the leaders to look like this. Moments ago, he would take on two hundred trained Roman soldiers. And now, circumstances have changed and a servant girl just asked a question, “You’re certainly, I mean, you’re certainly not one of His followers, are you?” And what does Peter say? He was courageous and now he is a coward. “No, I’m not.”

We pick up the story. It continues. The high priest begins to question Jesus, verse 19. “Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about His disciples and about His teaching.” Now, notice Jesus’ focus and His response is going to go back to how openly He testified, how openly He shared and taught and what He is going to call on them to do is do what? Bring witnesses in who heard My teaching, let them testify about what is true and what I spoke.

“When Jesus said this, He said, ‘I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews came together. I said nothing in secret. Why question Me? Ask those who heard Me. Surely they knew what I said.’ When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck Him in the face. ‘Is that the way they answer the high priest?’ he demanded.”

Now, notice the theme the author keeps bringing up. “‘If I said something wrong,’ Jesus replied, ‘testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?’ Then Annas sent Him still to be bound to Caiaphas the high priest.” Are you catching the drift? Are you catching and realizing there is a series of people and the issue is: how do they testify to the truth? Are they courageous or are they cowardly?
We pick up the story. It continues. The high priest begins to question Jesus, verse 19. “Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about His disciples and about His teaching.” Now, notice Jesus’ focus and His response is going to go back to how openly He testified, how openly He shared and taught and what He is going to call on them to do is do what? Bring witnesses in who heard My teaching, let them testify about what is true and what I spoke.

“When Jesus said this, He said, ‘I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews came together. I said nothing in secret. Why question Me? Ask those who heard Me. Surely they knew what I said.’ When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck Him in the face. ‘Is that the way they answer the high priest?’ he demanded.”

Now, notice the theme the author keeps bringing up. “‘If I said something wrong,’ Jesus replied, ‘testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?’ Then Annas sent Him still to be bound to Caiaphas the high priest.” Are you catching the drift? Are you catching and realizing there is a series of people and the issue is: how do they testify to the truth? Are they courageous or are they cowardly?

Verse 25, “As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, ‘Surely you’re not another of His disciples?’ And he denied it, saying, ‘I am not.’ One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, ‘Well, didn’t I see you with Him in the olive garden?’ Again, Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster crowed,” as prophesied, three times. And, by the way, the other gospel writers, a little bit more graphic. Peter doesn’t just say, “No, it wasn’t me.” He says, “Blankety, blank, blank! I don’t know the guy!” He actually curses and completely disowns any relationship with Jesus. And this is the same guy who was willing to die an hour or two or three before.

The scene shifts now and the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid the ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace, they wanted to be able to take the Passover.”

So it’s okay to have three illegal trials. This is the irony of religion and we have to all look in the mirror. The irony is that they want to make sure they are ceremonially clean to take the Passover, but they do three illegal trials and are going to kill an innocent man because He claimed to be God and loved people, raised people from the dead.

“‘What are the charges you bring against this man?’ Pilate says. ‘Well, if He were not a criminal,’ they replied, ‘we wouldn’t have handed Him over to you.’ Pilate said, ‘Take Him yourself and judge Him by your own laws.’ ‘Well, we have no right to execute anyone,’ the Jews objected. This happened so that the words of Jesus that had been spoken indicating the kind of death He was going to die would be fulfilled. Pilate went back inside and summoned Jesus and asked Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ ‘Is that your own idea,’ Jesus asked, ‘or did you talk to others about Me?’ ‘Do you think I’m a Jew?’ Pilate replied. ‘It was Your people and Your chief priests who handed You over to me. What is it that You have done?’”

Testimony. “Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jews. But now My kingdom is from another place.’ ‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, testifying again, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.’ ‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked.

And with this he went out again to the Jews and said,” notice it’s an examination by a government official. Here’s his testimony, “‘I find no basis for a charge against Him. But it’s your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at this time of ear at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you “the king of the Jews”?’ They shouted back, ‘No, not Him! Give us Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion,” and actually had committed murder. So these guys that don’t want to be ceremonially unclean so they can take the Passover want a murderer to get off and an innocent man to die. Do you see? Cowards/courageous. And Jesus, testifying to the truth and making this climactic statement about His entire life purpose.

And, by the way, that is our call: to testify to the truth. What is true about God, what is true about us, what is true about the world, what is true about the future. What a statement. “Everyone on the side of the truth listens to Me.” I guess despite how grey the world has become, at least according to Jesus, who died and rose from the dead, you’re either on the side of truth or you’re not.

Now, what I want to do, because I think the fact is is that all of us are courageous, at times, and all of us are cowardice at times. And I’d like to dig a little bit to find out why. What made these people do what they did? Because I want to know why I do what I do. I sort of want to know. Part of me doesn’t want to know.  But I’ll never be courageous if I don’t realize there are certain things that are predictors of making you and me cowards in our lives.

Now, you’re going to have to get your fingers ready and I am going to ask you to look up a couple passages, because I don’t want you to hear me say something, I want you to open and look and read and go, Oh!

Lessons from John 18. Lesson number one is a question. What kept Judas and Annas from listening to the truth in Jesus? And the answer is: greed. Annas was making a fortune; Judas probably had a lot of mixed motives but it was for thirty pieces of silver. It’s what you could buy a slave for.

I’m going to ask you to open your Bibles to Luke chapter 16, because I want you to hear Jesus’ actual commentary. Greed is a powerful thing. It’s something we all wrestle and struggle with. But Annas and Judas did not listen to the truth because of greed. Have you found it? Luke chapter 16. I’m going to begin at verse 14. “The Pharisees,” the religious leaders, “who were lovers of money, heard all these things that Jesus was teaching and they ridiculed Him.” Here is Jesus’ response, “And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your heart. For that which is highly esteemed among men,’” money, power, position, and stuff that comes with it, “that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”

Question that I ask myself and I ask you: is your testimony hindered because it could have implications for your career? Are you less than bold at work? Are you less than upfront? Are you less than verbal? Are you unwilling to be unashamed to be a follower of Christ because if you are, that might really hurt your chances for your promotion? Or you might be viewed differently at work?

Or the fact of the matter is is is your life so busy working to make money to finally get to buy a house here or to you name it, that, really, you don’t have much of a testimony? Your life really isn’t very different.

The fact is, you have a lot of debt, you have an untamed schedule, your life is dictated by demands, and you would never call yourself greedy, but the unconscious pursuit of what you think is required has by that pattern dismissed you as being a person who is identified loving, holy, caring, different in the best sense of the word, follower of Jesus. It was true of them and it can be true of us.    I have had a chance, over the years, to hire a few people out of the business world to take very significant positions and they are so well-equipped, especially in the areas that most pastors aren’t trained, like Virendra.

So my conversations usually start something like: “I have an amazing downwardly mobile opportunity for you.” I’m dead serious. “And what I want you to know is that I can’t probably pay you even close to what you’re making. But if God, in fact, is leading and calling you to do this, you will have untold reward and you will be rich in ways that all the money in the world could never satisfy.”

Now, I’m not saying at all that you need to come out of the business world. I’m just saying that one of the big things he had to really ask himself is: “Am I willing to trust God from lots and lots of zeros behind my name and what I have made to be an executive pastor?” All I want to say is: greed will make you and me a coward. We will run from the opportunity. We will be afraid of what people think. Courage is stepping out and being bold, even when it feels dangerous or you’ll receive criticism or be viewed as anti-intellectual or a Bible-thumper or one of those even prejudiced people.

The second reason or lesson from John 18 is: what kept the religious leaders from listening to the truth in Jesus? And the answer is: pride, power, and position. Pride, power, and position.

I’d like you, if you will, to open to John chapter 12. Just move back from John 18; John chapter 12. Again, I want you to hear the actual gospel writers. I want you to look at it for yourself.

Because in my heart, I don’t want to believe that pride or position or that that would make me a coward. But according to Scripture, it does.

Verse 42, it says, “Nevertheless, many of the authorities,” these are Jewish leaders, Jewish religious leaders, “believed in Him. But for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it so that they would not be put out of the synagogue, for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”

Anybody concerned about your social standing? Anybody concerned about how you are viewed? Are you sophisticated? Are you intellectual? Anyone really not want to come under some sort of label that you’re a Bible-believing, unashamed, follower of Jesus? I have met people in the business world where some of the, what I know, people who really, really walk with God. And I have had people say, “I had no idea he was a Christian. I had no idea she was a Christian. Well, I knew that they were a high integrity person and I knew they worked hard.” There’s a lot of people who have high integrity and work hard. But they mortgaged their testimony. There was no testimony! There’s no testimony!

The only way they are going to hear is you and me. And the pride of what people think or the sense of loss of power or position. My question for you and me: is your testimony hindered because of social pressure and how you’re afraid people will look at you? It’s one of those take-it-to-God, honest questions.

The third lesson is: what kept Peter and Pilate from listening to the truth in Jesus? Well, it takes a little historical research with Pilate. And all I will tell you is that he made a handful of bad decisions and the emperor, at the time, was dealing with some other things and he went on a long vacation and he put one of his commanders in charge of Rome.

And this commander, after a season, decided that he was going to try and marry into the royal family. And that made the emperor think, I think he’s after my job. So he came back, had him executed. And then anybody that he appointed as an official, he started going through and had them executed. Well, Pilate was one of the guys that was appointed by this guy.

And so when the Jews say, “Hey! Anybody who has this king of the Jews is no friend of Caesar’s!” Pilate is going, You know what? This is easy. I can’t handle one bad PR here because all they have to say is… It was fear! Peter was afraid. Weird, isn’t it? He wasn’t afraid when there was two hundred soldiers and he is standing next to Jesus, but a servant girl and he sitting next to her, he’s afraid! Moment of truth: “Are you one of His followers? Do you follow Him?” This is like what ISIS people are doing right now, around the world. “Are you one of His followers? Yes? Your head comes off. No, you can go.” It has happened, historically. This isn’t hypothetical stuff. Peter goes, “No.” He ran. He was a coward.

You know the root word, you know where we get our word coward? From the Latin word for tail. It’s a picture of when an animal puts its tail between its legs and runs away from a predator of more power. And he was overwhelmed with grief.

The final lesson is: what empowered Peter to listen to the truth in Jesus, initially? You know what? I don’t know about you, but those – greed, power, position, fear – I get all those. “The fear of man is a snare,” Proverbs 29:25 says. “But blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” At the end of the day, isn’t it faith? Do I trust God for my position? Do I trust God with my money? Do I trust God with what people think of me?

See, we won’t testify unless we are people of faith. And I’m not saying it’s easy, but courage is choosing to do or say what we know is right when we are frightened and concerned about what could happen.

But this is a positive lesson. What empowered Peter to listen to the truth, initially? The answer is: Jesus’ presence and power. Right? There are two hundred soldiers, but there’s Jesus! There are two hundred soldiers, but He speaks; they all fall down! There are two hundred soldiers but my bros are here! We are in this together. There are ten of us here. Not that the ten are going to win, but isn’t it amazing that just with a few people around you, that our faith rubs up against one another, and just doing life in community in a way, we take steps together. And as I hear about what you do and what she does that it empowers me to step out.

And I’m sure you guys think, Oh, yeah, Chip. Do you know that you never have any problems with this? You’re a pastor. And you’re so passionate up here. And blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I was doing the funeral for Theresa’s dad

And there’s this little funeral home and there’s this big, open area and a little alcove and there’s a coffin and the lid is up and there’s Red. Not much of him. He got really, lost all this weight, but just…So for four hours, different people are coming in and there’s a dead body there. And I don’t know Theresa’s family. And so for four hours I’m building relationship and realizing, I mean, I felt like a missionary trying to figure out, Oh my gosh. I don’t know how life works here.

And little, by little, by little I felt like God was giving me favor and I was kind of connecting and then it’s time to go to the gravesite and Theresa and her sister said, “Please, make sure. In our whole family situation, there’s a lot of people who don’t know the Lord. There are a lot of people who are not on their way to heaven. We need you to, really winsomely, really share the gospel.”

And I remember I went out to the car and we are getting ready because they are putting the body in the thing and we are going to go to the gravesite. And I  remember just sitting in the car and thinking, This is so awkward. And I just had this overwhelming sense of fear. And it was like, I mean, it’s illogical. Like, what are they going to think of me? And it’s really small. Actually, the larger the group, the easier it is to be bold. Give me thousands of people! Give me fifteen or seventeen and it’s like, yeee. You know?

And I would have been a coward. And I sat I the car alone just reviewing my little message, just saying, God, it will not matter what any of these people think of me. This may be the only time, ever, they hear the gospel clearly. And so I need to share it, and then I need to let them know exactly how to trust Christ. And then I need to give them the opportunity; this is what you need to do today if you never have.

I don’t think courage is being an amazing person. I think courage is stepping out, regardless of your fear.

Revelation chapter 12, it’s talking about overcoming Satan and spiritual strongholds. And it says, “And they overcame him,” Satan – how? What does it say? “They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony and they did not love their life, even when faced with death.” I want you to know you telling your story, you being bold, God is going to use regular people like us to testify, courageously and not be cowards. And it is powerful.