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Jesus, You, and the Fight for Human Rights

From the series Jesus Skeptic

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.” In this message, guest teacher John Dickerson looks at the ways authentic followers of Jesus have fought for human rights throughout history… and how the equality we enjoy today is a product of their convictions.

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Message Transcript

There are many lights in the world, but when it comes to the sun, there's only one light of the world, there's only one light that when you see it breaking over the horizon, people in Chicago are seeing it and people in Miami are seeing it. There's only one light that brings the life and the warmth that the entire planet depends on. It's like, man, without that light, not only would we be depressed, but we would not have life. There's light and there's darkness in our existence physically, and there's light and darkness in our existence morally.

I wonder today, what if there were a light, just like the sun can brighten the earth, that can brighten moral and spiritual darkness.

What if there were a light that could brighten any evil, in fact, could extinguish evil. Would you want to experience that? I mean in the same way that when you wake up and it's 20 degrees out and it's dark and you see the sun rising and, and something inside you says, I'm so glad the sun is finally awake.

Today, we look at this quote where Jesus said in John chapter 8, “I am the light of the world” - not a light in the world, but the light of the world. And then He says this: Whoever follows Me will essentially be freed from spiritual and moral darkness or from evil. They'll be freed from addiction, freed from lying, freed from cheating and stealing, freed from abusing others. Instead, they will have the light of life. Jesus claims to be the only light that can fully extinguish evil.

I hope that gives you some hope today, wherever there's evil, maybe within yourself of some habit you can't break, or evil in your family's system of brokenness, or evil in the world. Jesus claims to be the only light that can fully extinguish that. Now, in our series, we've been looking at the greatest breakthroughs in human existence. What I mean is what are the things that took us from the dark ages when life expectancy was 45 years when there was no hospital to go to if you were sick, people didn't know how to read and write, slavery was a global norm, there's no antibiotic if your child got sick. And so, as a result, many children died before age 10.

What took us as a society, as a planet, from that existence to an existence where every one of us has a hospital that we can drive to. Every one of us has been taught by someone else how to read, right? We didn't go to school because we wanted to, we live in a society that made us do it for our own good. How did the world change so dramatically when it was in those dark ages, if you will, for thousands of years? What changed it?

And we saw that the top 10 hospitals in the United States, which are also the top hospitals in the world. We looked through the history of them and we saw that not coincidentally, but one after another, they were founded by followers of Jesus, who said, we're doing this to care for the poor.

And if that seems like an unbelievable claim to you, I'd encourage you to watch part two of this series because it's documented, we're making these claims from things that people wrote down, not from opinions.

Now in the book, Jesus Skeptic, there's documentation of these other breakthroughs as well: medicine, universities, the scientific revolution and education for all. If any of this is interesting to you, I'd encourage you get a copy of the Jesus Skeptic book.

Now, today, we're going to dig into the end of open and legalized slavery. And behind me now you see some of the well-known champions of that. And we're going to look through each one of these in our time today. But first, before we do that, it's important that we set the context because when we talk about history, the last 200 years is a very small time.

And the reality is if we go back thousands of years, a sad reality about humans is that slavery has been a norm in every major civilization up until the last 200 years. In fact, when Jesus lived the world that He was born into was under the Roman empire. We know the Romans had slaves. It's so well documented. In fact, just this week, researchers over in Pompeii where a volcano kind of uh, froze a whole civilization. They found these tiny little slave quarters for the slaves in Pompeii, about 40% of the population in the world that Jesus was born into were slaves. This was not an anomaly. This would've also been the case in ancient China, India, Egypt, Greece. In fact, in a historical guide to world slavery, researchers who spent their entire lives studying slavery throughout human history, said this: In the ancient near east, as in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the pre-conquest America.

So, before the Europeans showed up various forms of slavery and servitude almost certainly emerged long before they were systematized by laws or legal codes. So, when we look at cave drawings and ancient pottery and ancient records for civilizations that have them, slavery shows up all over the world. Here's how normal it was. Some of these quotes are going to make you cringe and that's good.

Aristotle, who most of you would be familiar with, you learn about him in your philosophy class, Aristotle lived about 300 years before Jesus. Here's how normal slavery was. And by the way, a lot of people say like, oh Aristotle, very sophisticated, wise person, right? He once said or wrote: He who is by nature not his own but another man's is, by nature, a slave. Aristotle wasn't the only one. Socrates and Plato also argued that slavery is the natural order of human existence.

And if you read their writings, you'll see that they base this argument off of their observation. They say we've traveled around and every great society has slaves. Therefore, slavery must just be part of the natural order. This is the world that Jesus came into. And it's not just slavery. Human rights, as we know them today, we're born into a society where we think this is normal, but so many of our human rights, the rights for kids to not have to work, the rights for women, were not the norm throughout history. Here's another thing Aristotle said, and I hesitate to even read it out loud, because I'm like, someone's going to pull a video of that off the internet and just clip me quoting Aristotle on this. He said: A proper wife should be as obedient as a slave. The female is a female by virtue of certain lack of qualities and natural defectiveness.

I mean that's outright evil, it's outright evil, but this was the philosophy for slavery, for gender equality. Back to the evil of slavery, here's how one researcher, Catherine Cameron, who's spent her life studying this. The Oxford research in encyclopedia summarizes her work and says this: In her cross-cultural, so she looked at all the cultures around the world, historical research, all the data she could find, on comparative captivity - how did different cultures do slavery? There's lots of variation. She found that bonds-people, that is, slaves - those who are physically enchained - to be property of another person - composed 10 to 70% of the population of most societies. So, one to seven out of every 10 people in the global average was born a slave and never had any hope or opportunity of that changing. This lends credence to another researcher, Seymour Drescher, who has asserted that freedom, not slavery, was the peculiar institution.

What does that mean? It's more rare to live in a society that doesn't have slaves than a society that does, throughout human history. And we know this because even in the last 100 years, did you know that India, the country did not outlaw slavery until 1976? Saudi Arabia did not outlaw slavery until the 1960s. Slavery was outlawed in Peru in the 1930s, China, if you went to China in the 1930s and forties, you would still see slaves. It was still a normal part of that society up until the end of World War II, when the western nations went in is when that changed for China. Worldwide, this has been a plague on human existence, a spiritual and moral darkness all through human history.

I want to skip forward to Luke 4, verse 16 because it was in such a world, a world where the majority of people couldn't read, where women were often sold as property into marriage, where slavery was the norm, where there were not hospitals or antibiotics or immunology.

It was into that brutal world that Jesus said: I'm the light of the world. And those who follow Me are just going to be a beacon of light in the darkness. He said this multiple times. Here's another example, Luke 4:16, Jesus went to Nazareth, which is where He'd been brought up: And on the Sabbath day, He went into the synagogue as was His custom. He stood up to read and the scroll of the prophet, Isaiah was handed to Him. And unrolling it, He found the place. So He searches through Isaiah for this passage that describes the Messiah - God on earth to extinguish evil from humanity, and Jesus reads it. And He says: The spirit of the Lord is on Me because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to those un-justly imprisoned and recovery of sight for the blind to set the oppressed - that is, the captives that as Jesus' whole audience knew, the slave class - to set them free.

Messiah will free those wrongly imprisoned. Messiah will give physical sight to those who've been blind. Messiah will set the slaves free. I mean, what an expansive, impossible, outrageous prediction. And then Jesus looks out at his friends, people He grew up with, and He makes this impossible claim. Verse 21. He says: Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. In other words, I am the Messiah. I am the one who will set the captives free. I'm the one who will break the bonds of the oppressed.

Now, if you're a follower of Jesus and you've been in church for a while, perhaps you've heard this passage taught in a spiritual, metaphoric sense that we're slaves to addictions and to dishonesty and to all sorts of dangerous lusts and passions. And then when we believe in Jesus, He breaks those spiritual bonds and we can now say, no, to those things and, yes, to good things.

And that's true. But what I want to talk about today is the literal fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction about what His movement would do across the entire planet.

You see, if you were to fast-forward 1,830 years from the time Jesus said that, and if you were to be here in the United States, you'd be in a nation where half the country thinks slavery's evil and half still thinks it's okay and there's great unrest. And a war is about to begin, a civil war. And within that time, it was a great battle of ideas or ideologies. And we know the specific people who led the charge through their writings and their posters and their books to convince the entire nation that slavery is an evil because we live under a God who is just, who has made all people equal and that was the basis of their argument. And we know this because of their documentation.

For example, this publication called The Liberator. Any secular historian, you don't have to be a Christian to look at the facts, would say that The Liberator was, if not the most, one of the most influential publications in turning people's opinions. See, there were people in the north who hadn't personally seen slavery and they're like, Well, I don't have a slave. I I'm against it, but what does it have to do with me? And they needed to be educated about what life was actually like in the south and for slaves. And publications like The Liberator are what did that. And in time, turned the conscience of an entire nation. Now within The Liberator, you can see in the middle that Jesus is standing there, that there's a cross behind Him and that there’s a slave kneeling and praying for freedom. And there's a Caucasian man sort of repenting on the other side.

And that they're on equal footing before God. Now, if you were to study the banners and the words here, I’ve highlighted a couple of them, you'd see that the words around, or on the top there, above Jesus say: I come to break the bonds of the oppressed. It's the verse we read in Luke 4. It's Jesus saying: Me and My followers, we will set the captives free. In the ribbon beneath, you see some other words of Jesus. It's in the King James, an older translation, but they’re quoting Jesus who said, in Matthew 22: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Now the reality is at this time in history, people in the United States and Europe and western Europe were the first societies in all of history where most people could now read. And this had come about because the Protestant Christians wanted people to read the Bible.

And all of that is documented. And as a result, this King James Bible was an almost universal textbook. So, when the abolitionists, those are the people who fought to abolish slavery. When they tied their argument to the Word of God, you have for the time in history, an entire nation, where most people have read the Bible for themselves. It was a unique window of time. And they say, it's according to the Bible that we have to overthrow this. Even if we're not part of it. Even if it's out of sight, we have to give our lives to follow Jesus. And if you imagine a barn full of kindling and a match, the kindling was a nation that knew how to read the Bible for themselves. The match were the abolitionists who like a spark in the darkness said, we will give our lives to end this evil and injustice of slavery. It took them hundreds of years. In fact, it's started in 1688.

Here's a document well known by historians from the Quaker Christians in Germantown. So, 1688. This is the United States does not exist yet. This is a colony. This is a new land. It's pioneers. They're cutting down trees with axes. They're dying of cholera and stuff. And these Quaker Christians who are reading the Bible for themselves, wrote the document behind me, which most historians say is the first ever universal declaration of equal human rights.

That all people should be treated equally regardless of their gender, or their race, or what class they were born into, or even their religion, that all people should be treated equally because of Jesus and Him saying over and over again, you can read this document for yourself and it quotes about eight times, Luke 6:31. Jesus saying: As ye would that men should do to ye, do ye also to them, likewise. That was the Quaker's mantra.

We call it the golden rule today and in modern English, it sounds more like this: Do unto others, as you would have them do to you, or at an elementary level: Treat others the way you want to be treated. That was their whole thesis.
As ye would that men should do to ye, do ye also to them, likewise. That was the Quaker's mantra.

We call it the golden rule today and in modern English, it sounds more like this: Do unto others, as you would have them do to you, or at an elementary level: Treat others the way you want to be treated. That was their whole thesis.

And the Quaker Christians within the United States started this spread of people who could read the Bible for themselves. Becoming convinced that even if I don't have slaves, I need to be an activist in ending slavery as a whole. The Quaker Christians knew that the largest slave empire at that time was the British empire because Britain, at that time, controlled Australia, South Africa, colonies all around the world, including parts of north America. And so, the Quakers started to create, at great expense to the themselves, these propaganda coins, anti-slavery propaganda coins with scripture on them.

On the left, you see a slave kneeling, and he says: Am I not a man and a brother? That is a Bible verse from the book of Philemon, verse 16. On the right side, you see their Quaker mantra: Whatever ye would that men should do to ye, do ye to them also. In fact, the Quakers sent so much literature and so many activists over to England and to the British territories to petition against slavery, that we have a modern term that was coined by their huge propaganda push to end slavery. And it's the term campaign when someone campaigns for office, or if you campaign for a cause that term was coined by the Quakers campaigning to end slavery.

Here's that verse, Philemon 1:16. This is all the way back about 30 years after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven in the New Testament church. The New Testament church was this first ever in history where you had men and women worshiping openly together, where you had all the different races, in an incredibly racially divided world, gathering together.

Paul, the apostle would write things like: Here in the church there is not male or female, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free but Christ is all and in all. This was revolutionary 2000 years ago. And within that context, Paul the apostle wrote to a man who had a slave who had become a Christian. And he says this: He's no longer a slave to you. He's now a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you.

In other words, keep taking care of him physically, but he's not your slave now, he's your brother. He's a man made in the image of God and a brother in the Lord. These are the kind of passages the Quaker Christians would quote. Well, as the Quakers campaigned and sent their literature to the British Empire, a young man there named William Wilberforce who had been fairly wealthy and a lawmaker, and didn't really care about the cause to end slavery because he had constituents who were making money off of it.

William Wilberforce became a born-again believer - a follower of Jesus. And it so changed him that he looked at the nation around him. He said: People, you can't call yourself a Christian, unless you're actually reading the words of Jesus and doing what He said. And so, he wrote a book called Real Christianity. And that book, over about 30 years, swayed the entire population there in England to overthrow slavery, to make it illegal, not only in England, but in all of the British territories. William Wilberforce, after he became a believer in Jesus, got exposed to that Quaker propaganda, if you will, the campaigning against slavery.

Okay, so now slavery's outlawed in a good part of the world where the British Empire is, but here in the United dates, it still exists. We're into about the 1800s now. And in the 1800s, we know exactly who the people are, who led the charge to end slavery.

We know it because their publications and books still exist today. You can go to university libraries and you can see original copies of these documents that I'm showing you. For example, the declaration of the antislavery convention. So, a group of thought-leaders who gathered and said, “We are going to give our lives to end slavery.” It's about 30 years before the Civil War. Now, we know everyone who signed this document because within it they wrote, we know we might get killed for this. We know it might cost us our fortunes and our homes, but we are so convinced that this is God's will. And we fear God more than man, that if we die as martyrs, we die as martyrs, we're going to end slavery in the land that we call home.

We know exactly who signed it, because their names are still on there. And if you were to survey those names, you'd more than half, in fact, the majority, say “Reverend,” these were pastors. These were clergy who were riling up their entire congregations to say, we must overthrow slavery. Now let me show you on this document. Just a little bit of the scripture. If you look in the highlighting here, everything that's highlighted. There, there are eight different Bible verses. So, on the top half of the declaration to end slavery in the U.S., their whole justification is from scripture.

In fact, even that picture in the middle is a man kind of strangling evil. And under it is this quote where Jesus said, my followers: You're going to go do greater things. You're going to tread the serpent underfoot. In other words, you're going to extinguish evil. The serpent is a of picture of Satan. And these abolitionists, they saw it as a spiritual high calling as their eternal destiny to do the work of God on earth by extinguishing slavery.

The signers are a beautiful mix of European-descended, Caucasian Americans and African-American Americans who had been freed from slavery, or who had bought their freedom, or who had been born in the north. One of those is the Reverend Theodore Wright. Theodore Wright had been born in the north, never was a slave himself, born into an orphanage run by Quaker Christians, an orphanage that had a school. So most African Americans didn't know how to read, but because he'd been born into a Christian orphanage, he was taught to read. He became highly educated, a Presbyterian Reverend he's one of those many signers of that anti-slavery convention.

And what I document in the book, Jesus Skeptic, and what you just need to know is that if you go one by one through those signers and you read their own writing and you say, were they motivated by Islam, or by Karl Marx, or by atheism, or by Buddhism, you'll find things like this from Theodore Wright: Blessed be God for the principles of the gospel - the gospel is essentially Jesus’ life and teaching - were it not for these and for the fact that a better day is dawning, I would not wish to live. Blessed be God for the anti-slavery movement. Blessed be God, there is a war waging with slavery.

He stood side by side with people like Elijah Lovejoy. Elijah Lovejoy was a pastor and a Reverend. He was also a new newspaper printer and writer. And he would often write things like this, 1st Timothy 1, verse 9 says in the Bible: We know that the law is made for law-breakers and rebels. What are some categories of law breakers and rebels? Slave traders and liars. And so those are contrary to the gospel.

And Elijah Lovejoy, as a pastor and writer, would take passages like that and he would write books and pamphlets that would say: You can't call yourself a God-fearing person and allow slavery. Well, Elijah Lovejoy lived in St. Louis. And so, on one side of the river was slave territory and on his side was free territory. And it was not uncommon that the pro-slavery rebels from the south would cross the river and burn down his house, which was also his publishing headquarters. They did this on three occasions and on the fourth, they brought a shotgun with them and a mob broke into his house of those who wanted slavery. And they shot Elijah Lovejoy five times with the shotgun. They killed him.

These followers of Jesus would go and paint towns with posters like these: I don't know what weakness may overcome me but I don't believe I will ever deny my Lord, Master Jesus Christ. And I would deny Him if I denied my principles against slavery. They'd put up posters like this: What is life or rest to me, so long as I should hold a commission direct from God Almighty to act against slavery? The will that it took, the will that it took and the motivation.

Now, I'm going to go through very quickly a number of these leading books from the time that swayed the northerners who were kind of complacent and saying, Well, I don't have slaves. What does it have to do with me? It was books like this, The Bible Against Slavery, or The Testimony of God Against Slavery, or An Anti-Slavery Manual, An Examination in the Light of the Bible and of Facts into the Moral and Social Wrongs of American Slavery with a Remedy for the Evil - that's written by a pastor, John Fee.

John Rankin started as a pastor in Kentucky. He got up in front of his church and he said, “Slavery's evil. You all need to set your slaves free.” And they ran him out of town. They didn't want to do what Jesus said. It was one of those quote churches, quote, Christians who weren't following Jesus. So, the Reverend Rankin sold everything he had in Kentucky, he moved to the other side of the Ohio river and in Ohio, slavery was illegal. So, John Rankin bought a house. This is his house. You can go visit it today in Ripley, Ohio. And you can look out his window and that's the Ohio river.

And what John Rankin would do is what's called the underground railroad. These safe houses that escaping slaves could stay in his house was the first safe-house north of the Ohio river. And there are dozens of true stories of him looking out that window in the winter months, when the river was iced over and slaves with children, barefoot are running across the river and he would grab that lantern that you see there. And he would run down and he would bring them to his home and he would clothe them. And he would feed them because he believed in a God who said, all people are made equal and whatever you've done for those who are the most hurting, you've done unto Me.

Harriet Tubman, who is well documented as a great hero of the faith, who not only escaped slavery, but then risked her life to keep going back in and leading others out. Her very final words documented in her official obituary are these: Give my love to all the churches - because these churches, the good churches, were so interwoven with this cause - ‘I go to prepare a place for you,’ she said, ‘that where I am, ye may also be.’ If you know your Bible, she's quoting Jesus. This is a quote of Jesus and how beautiful to know that Harriet Tubman and all of these heroes of the faith, we're going to get to meet in the kingdom of heaven, for those of us who follow Jesus.

Frederick Douglas, another well documented hero, who also escaped from slavery, bought his freedom, but then went back to help others traveled around the Northern states as a lecturer and an author, turning the national will against slavery. There's a passage in his book, his autobiography, where he describes his conversion at about age 11. He was hearing the good news of Jesus preached. And he decided to believe in Jesus for himself. And after he became a Christian, and in the south, he saw these people who claimed to be Christians.
He wrote this, “Between the Christianity of this land,” those people who would justify slavery for their income, but don't actually read the Bible, “and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference.” And you'd think that that would turn him away from being a Christian at all, but quite the opposite. He said: No, I'm a true Christian. I'm one who actually follows Jesus. And in his autobiography, when he describes his moment of conversion, he talks about this old man who was there, who prayed with him. “And the good, old man had told me that the Lord had great work for me to do.”

So, when Frederick Douglas would be showing up at a lecture hall and there was word that, Hey, there's, pro-slavery rebels coming. They're going to try to attack you. He had this fire inside him because of his own free will and personality, and the great hero he is, but also because he believed in a God who had called him to an eternal work. He says of the moment, right after he was converted, “I saw the world in a new light,” the light of the world, “and my great concern was to have everybody converted.”

Well by God's grace, these righteous followers of Jesus and thousands of others, prevailed in the U.S. Civil War and extinguished, at least the open, legalized slavery, the beginning of a journey that continues of true equality in our land. A journey that by the way, will probably not be fully completed until Christ returns. But here's where I want you to zoom out. I know as Americans, we get real caught up on America. After the Civil War, in 1890, the wealthiest nations in the world - who's that? The U.S., Britain, France, mostly western Europe, they gathered in Brussels to sign the 1890 Brussels Act.

This was the first time in all of human history. Thousands of years, this was the only time that the wealthiest nations gathered together. And they said, we declare slavery, illegal and evil, and we will not conduct trade, we will not do business, with any country that allows open and legalized slavery. It's as a result of that, that many other nations who were dragging their feet on slavery were more or less forced to come around. And what you can do is you can look at those nations in 1890, who signed that act, and you can look at their populations - how Christian were they? And they're all over 70% Christian nations.

Russia at the time, this was before the Bolshevik Revolution, I know I'm getting into history here, forgive me. Russia was an Orthodox Christian nation at the time, the western European nations, they weren't perfect, they were messed up, but they were trying to do what Jesus said and they overthrew slavery.

That's why we've been born into a world. This isn't even 200 years old, where slavery is a assumed to be an evil. And, of course, the fight for true human rights continues in modern history with people like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. A Baptist pastor, a seminary graduate, who you can go online and you can listen to his speeches. And what you'll find, as you listen to them, is that the majority of them are sermons. And that the majority of them were delivered in churches on Sunday mornings.

He said things like this, “I want it to be known throughout Montgomery, and throughout this nation, that we are Christian people. We believe in the Christian religion” - of the entire logic and philosophy of him giving his life in uncomfortable ways, being willing to die as a martyr, if necessary. He said this, “If we are wrong, then Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie and love has no meaning.”

I hope what you don't hear from me is some kind of assumption that everyone who's claimed to be a Christian is perfect. They're not, I'm not, we're not, but we’ve got to zoom out to realize only one time, in all the thousands of years of history, has slavery been completely made illegal and overthrown, and then spread globally. That's happened one time.

And we know the people who led the charge and we can read their motivations for ourselves. And it's not atheism, or Karl Marx, or Buddhism, or these other thought-systems that I'm not here to attack them, but you're just not going to find that in the logic of the people who led this charge - Jesus followers - those who truly have read His words and said, “We’ll do what He says, no matter the cost.”

Don't worry. I'm not going to unpack all this, but I always want to talk about our world today. How are women's rights in the world today? I'm not going to open this wide open. We've got a long way to go on all these things, because we're born into a world that's corrupted by sin and evil human nature has been corrupted. Jesus is the only one who can change people's very nature.

So women's rights in the world today. Aren't where they need be. But the world economic forum has ranked countries by their women's rights. And I've got the list for you here. So, I didn't put this together. This is from the world economic forum. And then what I did is I looked at those countries and I went to the Pew Research Center, which we've talked about a non-Christian group that tells you here's how many people are Christians in each of these countries.

And I put those lists together and I found that in the top 10 nations for women's rights today, the average population is 75% Christian. Now I just want to show you the other end of the list. Here are the 10 worst nations for women's rights in the world, today: Yemen, Pakistan, Syria. These are societies that exist today, where if a woman goes outside without her head covered, she gets beaten with a whip where she's not allowed to drive a car. She's not allowed to have an education. She's not allowed to vote where women are still sold in marriages, where deals are still made, where it says, Oh, you don't have enough money to pay? Then I'll take your sister as payment.

And these are nations, societies, where Christianity is not allowed and that is present. But it's also, if you were to trace back in these top 10 and lowest 10 nations, you could trace back 500 years and you'll see Christianity as a major influence in the top 10, and as total lack of influence in the bottom 10.

The point is this, Jesus’ followers though, imperfect, as they have followed Him have become a light in the world in a way that nothing else in history ever has. And the bottom line is this. If you really want to make the world a better place, we all say we do, if you really want to make the world a better place, then why not join the movement that has an irrefutable track record of these huge breakthroughs in society.

Back 2000 years ago, John, the disciple, wrote this about Jesus: In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world and though the world was made through Him - He's the Creator - the world did not recognize Him.

My question for you today, have you recognized Jesus as the light of the world? Have you recognized Him? Have you invited Him to extinguish any darkness or evil within you, within your family? And then once you have, will you join us as a movement that says we'll be sincere followers of Jesus, and we're going to live under a God who is just, who has made all people equal.