daily Broadcast

Spiritual Healing – Operation Restoration

From the series Does God Still Heal?

God does, in fact, heal today, but often our presuppositions and expectations prevent Him from accomplishing all that He wants to in our lives. This series, from James 5, will help you sort through the many and conflicting voices in our day about the issues of healing.

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Message Transcript

Well, when you think about life, I can tell you two or three things. Number one, planes veer off course, even with high technology. You may remember when a major airline, which I will not name, two pilots – a pilot and a co-pilot – were on their iPads or checking Facebook or checking their email and their autopilot went right past the city about a half hour or so and they found themselves completely off-course. They had to turn around and also lost their job.

Not only do planes get off course, but satellites, over time, drop out of orbit. And just like planes and cars and satellites drift and get off course, so do Christians.

The thing about it is is that when you are in the process of getting off course, and when I am in the process of getting off course, the last person to know it will be you. It’s just the human heart.

Jeremiah would say, “The heart is deceitful above all else and who can understand it?” I wish I didn’t have a good testimony in this arena, but unfortunately, in various seasons of my Christian life, I have drifted a little and sometimes I have drifted a lot.

And I can tell you the most miserable people, at least from personal experience, in all the world are people who have a genuine personal relationship with Jesus Christ and little by little begin to live in ways that you know are not right.

And it starts off in little things, it starts off in very small compromises, and then you begin to drift and drift and drift and then there’s guilt and then there’s shame and there are issues. And then pretty soon you don’t feel like you’re worthy to come back.

And then we play all kinds of games like, I should, God is really mad at me so I can’t talk with Him. Or, I have embarrassed myself. And the drift continues and we get farther and farther and farther away from God.

Boy, I have been there, early in my Christian life especially. And still, I just pick it up a lot quicker and I know the symptoms and I make the U-turns more quickly now. But no one is exempt.

I have been doing what I have been doing as a pastor for over thirty years and I can tell you, people whose lives are amazing, who have decades under their belt of faithfulness to God, I can tell you about pastors and missionaries and people who we would all think, There is no way that they could ever begin to drift away from God, and I can tell you that I have met people who I never dreamed that could happen to, who are living far, far, far away from anything they know.

There is a verse in Proverbs that has become near and dear to my heart, not because I like it, but simply because it’s true. It says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” What I want you to know, for you or we are going to talk about spiritual healing or what I call it is: Operation Restoration.

How do you draw people back to God who really know God, who are followers of Jesus, but something has happened and they are drifting or have drifted away?

And what I want you to know is when they are drifting, whether it’s us or someone else, it seems right. When you begin to talk, “No, no, no. I’m okay! Nothing is wrong. Hey, you know what? We had some family in and I haven’t been to church in two or three months but I had to travel a little bit. My daughter is on the traveling team. But, hey, we’re great, man! There’s not problem here.”

And then if you’re really close friends and you notice some things and they won’t make direct eye contact and there is denial that happens. And then little by little by little, it just seems right. There isn’t a problem.

And people find themselves on the other side of a fence where God is over here and they are over here. And they find themselves where families are breaking up and they find themselves back in – I remember a good and close friend – he had twenty-one years of sobriety and returned to a meth addiciton. After twenty-one years. No one is exempt.

Notice the question: So what do you do when someone you know fails morally, turns away from Christ, deserts their spouse, or shows signs of spiritual drifting? On a scale of one to ten: Your life is moving more closely and drawing nearer to God; or Your life is drifting slightly, or fast, away from God. Where would you plot yourself?

Second question: What one person would come to mind who you know is a genuine follower of Christ who you sense they are really not walking with the Lord? They are beginning to drift. And if no one comes to mind, would you pray one of those little prayers in your mind right now and say, God, if there is someone, would You bring them to my mind right now? Because what you are going to get equipped with in just a few moments is a very specific way that God wants to use you to draw them back.

So where are you? And have you thought of someone?

With that, open your notes if you will, and let’s look at what the Bible teaches about drawing people back when we wander. Because we all do.

James chapter 5, verse 19. Notice the tenor of this. In fact, this whole book. It’s the first book in the New Testament, written by Jesus’ half brother. He says, “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth, and someone should bring him back, remember this,” or, “this you must know,” it’s a little bit more emphatic in the Greek than it is here, “whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

I want you to circle the word if, I want you to put a box around the word wander, I want you to put a circle around the words turns a sinner, and then put a box around the word death.

Very straightforward passage. It says there’s a problem and then it gives the solution. The problem is, notice, “if,” notice, “one of you.” This is written to Christians. “Brothers,” notice there’s a tender heart. No one is mad at anyone. It’s the apostle early on, there’s persecution, there’s difficulty. A lot of Christians are getting killed for being Christians. There’s a lot of peer pressure. A lot of these early Jews, when they would follow Jesus, their families would disown them. That meant they didn’t have a business to fall back on or relationships.

And in the midst of all this, “My brothers, if anyone among you,” notice what, “drifts” or “wanders from the truth.” The word wander, you know what word we get in English? The word planet.

In the ancient world, you would see the stars and the constellations, of course, would move across the sky. But there would be these stars that they just seemed to wander around. Well, they were planets.

And so over time, the word came to mean something that was moving around. And early on they were trying to figure out: What’s the course? All the stars seemed to be very, very stable. The planets are moving.

And so he says, “If you know one of your brothers or one of your sisters who wanders,” and then it’s a very interesting construciton. The idea of this is that you might wander because you make a willful choice, but it’s a construction in which you may be wandering and not even know it. It’s like you’re unconsciously being wooed or seduced and you don’t even know it.

It’s a picture of in the ancient times, the word is used of if a sheep is nibbling on some grass and all the other sheep and the shepherd are there. And then you nibble over here and then you nibble a little bit more over here and you nibble over here. And you weren’t trying to do anything wrong but just the grass was so good and so you nibble over here. And then the sheep looks up and the sheep are gone and the shepherd is gone.

That’s how it happens sometimes. And so you wander away from the truth of God’s Word, you wander away from the truth of the life in the body, you wander away from the truth of God speaking to your heart and prompting you, you wander away from your loyalty and your relationship with Jesus.

And so he says, If that should happen, here’s the solution. Someone should bring him back.

You noticed in the last time when there was a need for physical healing, the responsibilty was on the person to ask the leadership to help. It’s just the opposite here. Here, if we are aware, we are to take the initiative.

And then he talks about if a sinner turns from the error of his way, you’ll save him from death. And we’ll talk about what that means. But that word turn is used both of believers and unbelievers.

When Jesus was speaking to Peter, and Peter said, “I’ll die with You,” remember? And Jesus said, “Actually, you are going to deny Me three times before we hear the rooster cry.”

And then in the scenario He says, “Satan is seeking to sift you. But Peter, I have prayed for you. And after you blow it and turn,” this is this word, “go back and help your brothers.”

And so the word is used of a believer who strayed away from God or an unbeliever. It’s the idea, regardless of who it’s addressed to, of someone who is going in a direction and you help them do a one hundred and eighty degree turn in their life.

And so the problem is wandering from the truth. The solution is to bring them back to God. Can I ask you that question one more time? Is there someone that you know in this condition right now? Who comes to your mind? What is your responsibility from this passage?

I had an opportunity to talk with a young gal who is involved in ministry in this area, a number, a number of months ago. And a long, long, long conversation. And she is a person who fits this perfectly.

And as I prayed, I didn’t know her that well, but she was involved in ministry, knew a lot of people in this area, and literally is living in a lifestyle that she would tell everyone was the opposite of everything that she believes now.

And then can we just get real about this, why this is hard? I want everyone to return. I just don’t want to be the one to confront them, right? Don’t look at me like that.

Because, see, what I’ve got is I’ve got between now and the end of this weekend to call. And here’s this person, she met on a plane, we had a five-hour conversation. The following weekend, she came to church, we had a little bit of a connection, I jotted her a note, I gave her a book, she promised that she would read it. She never got back to me. I waited and made a follow-up call, “Hey, have you read it? How are you doing?”

I waited another couple, three weeks, I did another follow-up.

But I just had that little prompting as I was praying about this and thought, I need to call and find out how she’s doing. Who do you need to call and find out how they’re doing? Because people are wandering. And when they do, it causes death. And the death he is talking about here is, it can be physical death, but death in Scripture is separation from God.

Now, let’s talk about how to go about this, because my experience is there are a couple of extremes: You’re thinking about this person who needs to be drawn back to God and one extreme is, many of you sitting here are going, Wait, wait, wait a second. Who am I to judge, right?

You can see they are kind of flirting or you can see that you think they returned to an addiction but you’re not sure. Or you haven’t seen them around in a while but how do you graciously bring it up?

See, we were made as a body to be like an immune system to help one another. We are all going to drift. Part of the reason why we have so many small groups is I need a group of people who…we all look good on the outside, right? And we can all do the general stuff, “Oh, I love God, you love God,” quote a verse, “I’m reading the Bible some.”

You can go through all the external activity and your heart be really moving far away from God. And the only way that you’re really close is when you are honest with one another with vulnerable relationships.

So one extreme is: I’m not going to do this because I don’t want to judge anyone. And then the other extreme is there are some people in every church who feel like there is God, the Holy Spirit, and they have this badge called, “Junior Holy Spirit.” And they love to do it!

God says, I want you to intervene if you see a brother or sister wandering, you draw them back. And when you do, you save them from separation from God and it covers a multitude of sins.

The question I would say is: How do you do that? And James doesn’t say, does he? He just says, “Do it.” And so I would like to suggest there is a two-part strategy that we get from the context of this passage, but I think even more from a very parallel passage that teaches us exactly how to do it.

God’s two-part strategy for restoration is, number one, pray for them. I know you hear: Pray. I mean really pray. Jot in your notes: Proverbs 21:1. The fact of the matter is the reason I have drifted away from God, the reason anyone drifts away from God is your heart gets hard.

And pretty soon you don’t hear His voice. And you have a responsibility and I have a responsibility to love them, to care for them, to show compassion, to speak words of life, to speak words of accountability or even rebuke done in the right way. But words just can bounce off. The only One who can change a heart is – who?- is God.

Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it whatever way He wishes.” So you need to see yourself as: I have talked, I have shared. Like with this gal that I am thinking about, today I said, Okay, God, who knows all things and is all powerful, I am sending up a prayer to You. I want You to come down in this other part of San Jose and speak to this woman’s heart. And then I prayed very specific things. I pray, God, You’ll turn her heart back to You. I pray specifically, God, would You make her life miserable in her current state of affairs? Would You cause the sin that she or some other person is involved in to have no pleasure anymore? God, would You take the velvet vice of Your love and however hard, and I’m asking You to be gentle, but however hard You need to do this to bring this person to see this is not the lifestyle, apart from You? Lord, will You do that?

Some of us have prayed that for our children during big times of their rebellion. And it’s hard, because you beg, Oh, God, please be gentle. But whatever it takes. A life of a believer, apart from God, moving in the opposite direction, is a very dangerous place to be.

I remember maybe the first time I learned to pray like this, I was a young pastor, and I had just moved from my very first pastorate to California many, many years ago. And I woke up in the middle of the night and I thought, Oh, wow, what’s going on? And it was a digital clock: Two-o-something. And I was just wide awake. And I thought, Wow.

And so I got up and I read a little bit and then I shut my eyes as I prayed and then I did what I need to do more often. Then I just shut up and I said, Lord, I don’t know why You got me up and maybe it’s nothing special. But if so, would You please bring it to my mind? And, honestly, I’d like to get back to bed. And so whatever You want me to do, would You, let’s take care of it.

And as I sat quietly, He brought four people, very specifically to mind, and whispered, not an audible voice, I want you to write them a letter and I want you to tell them, just tell them the impact they have had in your life and how just the quality of their life and what it meant. Okay.

So I jotted them each a note and one I was really burdened for. And so I thought, You know that message of a couple weeks ago? For whatever reason, I think that would be great for this guy. So I went into the office the next day, took my little envelope, sent him that message.

Two days later I was talking to a mutual friend who knew the situation where I came from. And they said, “Did you hear about so-and-so?” I said, “Hear what?” “He’s not walking with the Lord anymore.” “Oh, no. No, are you kidding me?” “No, no, no. He is, like, way, way. He’s whoo.” I said, “That guy? He was a leader in the church. This was how he helped me. He helped all my kids. He led part of the youth group. Man, I know it was a really hard time and I think his wife left him or something really bad happened, but he’s got great kids. He’s what?”

And then I thought, Wow, I just wrote him a letter two days ago, outlining his spiritual history and how God has amazingly used his life over the years. And then I thought of the message I sent. I thought, Wowie!

And here’s the point: God so loves and so cares about every, single person who has wandered and drifting away from Him. In this case, He went all the way to California to wake up one guy who didn’t want to get up, brought a name, told him what to do and what message to send Him because He cared so much about another guy states far away.

When you pray, God can do that. God can change people’s hearts.
God’s two-part strategy for restoration is, number one, pray for them. I mean really pray. Jot in your notes: Proverbs 21:1. The fact of the matter is the reason I have drifted away from God, the reason anyone drifts away from God is your heart gets hard.

And pretty soon you don’t hear His voice. And you have a responsibility and I have a responsibility to love them, to care for them, to show compassion, to speak words of life, to speak words of accountability or even rebuke done in the right way. But words just can bounce off. The only One who can change a heart is – who?- is God.

The second is: Care enough to, here’s the big word, confront. Confront. Galatians 6:1 and 2 says, “Brothers, if someone is caught,” literally, “trapped in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, for you also may be tempted. Carry,” or, “bear one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” which is what? It’s to love.

And out of that passage will be a very clear instructional manual about what ordinary people like you and me are to do when we know someone who has wandered from the truth.

The first thing we do, the prerequisite, is that you are spiritual. Now, the idea is there is spiritual maturity.

This passage says: You need to be really, really careful and you need to be mature and be ready and mature and able to address this kind of issue, because sometimes we send someone to help a person who has wandered away and about three weeks later, we have two people who have wandered away.

I know you’re struggling with addiction. I’ve been through that, I’ve been clean for eighteen months, you’re back in it, I really want to help you. So you go hang out with them where they’re at, on their turf, to try and…

And the temptation is too great. So you need to ask yourself, first of all, Am I the right person in this particular situation, in this environment to help this person? Are you spiritual? Are you spiritually mature?

Second, what’s the aim? Notice it’s, “Restore him.” Restore her. It’s not blast them. It’s not condemn them. This word is used in the New Testament, in the Greek language, for someone who has had a compound fracture and you reset the bone so it can heal.

The temptation, if someone has hurt you deeply, or hurt one of your kids, or hurt someone that one of your children is married to, or ripped you off in a business situation and they have wandered, the anger, it can be, Okay! They are wandering? Hey! What do you think you’re doing? You’re messing up this, you’re ruining your life, you’re squandering your life, you’re killing your kids, this is what is going to happen. And I’ve got news: That doesn’t work. The goal is to restore them.

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” And for some of us, that person, the issue is, one, they have wandered but they may have hurt you or hurt someone you love and you’re going to have to really pray to where you have it in your heart to want to restore them, because there is anger.

But he says the goal is, brothers, you who are spiritual, restore them. And how? Gently. The attitude of gentleness. Jesus, He said, “My yoke is easy. Following Me is easy because I am gentle,” same word. Gentleness is a quality of alertness and it’s a quality of willingness to yield.

It’s a powerful quality. It disarms people. It’s the person who sits down and you get coffee or you meet them because they didn’t want to meet you and you know their habits, you know where they’re at and you meet them at work with two cups of coffee, “I’ll only take fifteen minutes.” And you lean forward, and with tears streaming down your face, “Look, I know you think what you’re doing is right. I want to help. You can work this out in your marriage. You’re going to wake up in ten years and your eight-year-old son is going to wonder what happened. The kind of lifestyle that you’re leading, this is what is going to happen. You’re going to be financially ruined. God loves you. You’re on a path of destruction. I would beg you. Turn around. I know it’s hard, there might be some consequences. I will go through this with you.”

It’s an attitude and a heart. Is there anyone here who hasn’t blown it? Is there anyone here who hasn’t, at some point in your lives, really messed up? And what was it? How does God, when He restores us, what’s His heart? What’s His attitude? How does He woo us back? How did He treat Peter? What was it like?

There are all kinds of sin, but I think betrayal is probably the worst sin in the world.

Remember what Jesus did? It’s kind of a process.

In fact, the Scripture says that when He was resurrected, one of the first people He went to see was Peter. Later on, after the multiple times where, in His resurrected body, He mad appearances and then in John 21, you have this amazing picture where He makes breakfast. And He calls the guys and, “Hey, Peter, remember the old days when you first started following Me?” “Yeah.” “Hey, throw your net on the other side of the boat!” “Who is it? John, I think it’s the Lord. I don’t know.”

And so they do it and, oh my. This is what happened when I first started following Him. Oh. The same thing is happening now. God’s goodness would be shown to me now after I betrayed Him?

And then they come in, what does it say? The text says what? There’s a charcoal fire. Do you remember what the text says the night, what was Peter doing, sitting around, what kind of fire when he betrayed Jesus? Charcoal fire. The same smell. The same remembrance. And He fixed some fish. And then He, eyeball to eyeball. It’s a process. It’s not something, “Peter, do you love Me?” “Lord, You know I love You in a very insufficient, failure kind of way.” “Peter, then I want to invite you to get back in the game. Feed My sheep. Peter, do you love Me?” “Yeah.” Three times.

And it’s almost like the Lord, in His gentleness, is saying, I get where you’ve been. And I love you! And I don’t want to just forgive you and say you’re a second-class citizen forever. I want to love you and restore you and I want to use you.

Have you ever thought through your Bible and thought about who God has really used after He has restored a Rahab? A David? A murderer like Paul?

Some of the people who have wandered away from God who you know may be the instruments of God that He wants to use in this valley or somewhere else beyond your wildest dreams and they are one intercessor away, one person who is courageous enough to confront, who is spiritual, and wants to restore and will do it gently.

And, finally, who will never give up. You just don’t give up. Bear one another’s burdens. And you fulfill the law of Christ. What is the law of Christ? It’s loving people, right? What’s love? Love isn’t an ooey-gooey feeling. Love is giving another person what they don’t deserve at great personal cost. That’s what Jesus did on the cross for all of us. And so He calls us to be like Him and to extend.

The need for this is personal and private and the result is life and healing.

Literally, the New American Standard is a little bit more literal translation says you will save his soul from death. And death certainly is separation, but I would ask, jot down a worthy passage. One rarely quoted is 1 Corinthians chapter 11, verses 28 to 30.

The debate in this passage, obviously, despite brothers among you, is this turning people back to God is this: Were they ever really Christians or not? And the text seems very clear that this is brothers. But it’s so strong, “turn a sinner,” a sinner is just someone who misses the mark. We are saints in our position, but we are loving sons and daughters who still sin.

And that passage that I gave you 1 Corinthians chapter 11 is an application of Hebrews chapter 12 and God, out of His great, great love, when I begin to stray and when you begin to wander and stray, God, out of His great, great love will discipline us like you do for your kids, right?

You don’t let your kids get near the road or put their hand on the stove and you go, “Well, you know. You only burned off two fingers. Do what you want.” Is that what you all do?

You love them enough. Why? You see behaviors or some of us have said to our kids, “You can’t date that person. You can’t run around with that group.” Why? Because show me your friends, I’ll show you your future. That’s a dead end. Bad deal. No.

And they scream and tell you, slam the door, “I don’t love you anymore. And I wish…” I have heard it all. But mine are all grown now. And all mine have come back and have said, “Thank you.” Because, see, a father or a mother who really loves their kids always disciplines them. Because, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful, yet those who have been trained by it,” training is a process, “ultimately it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

So God does that. So a lot of health issues. Not all, again, but a lot of health issues. A lot of circumstances. A lot of money issues. A lot of frustrations in relationships. When you are wandering away from God, here’s the deal, He is saying, I want your attention! Yo! I want your attention! And you say, “No.” Okay! Errrg! I want your attention! “No!” Okay! Errrg! I want your attention! I want your attention. I love you. I’m for you. You’re on a path. You’re going down. There’s a waterfall. You’re going to get hurt. You’re going to ruin your life. Errrg!

And if you read 1 Corinthians 11:28 to 30, you will find there are some people who are genuine believers who stiff-arm God and say to God, I am going to keep doing my own thing, and it says that some of them are sick and some of them are asleep. And the word for asleep is a New Testament word that is a technical word for a believer who has died and gone to heaven.

Sometimes God will discipline a person and take them home prematurely if they are genuine followers and they continually will not listen. I don’t know about you, that is sobering. And so he says, “When you cause a fellow brother or sister to return, you save them from death.”

And in this passage, I think it’s a literal death. A separation from God, but just literally.

I think the application is very powerful for you and for me personally. But I want to suggest that there is a bigger and corporate application. I read this just this week. It’s a study by Duke University and the University College London, very recent, 2015.

And it reveals that although there has been a decline in religion around the world, the U.S. has been supposedly not having the same trends. Ninety-four percent of Americans born before 1935 claim to have a religious affiliation. Only seventy-one percent of those born after 1975 claim to have a religious affiliation.

Now listen to this. Only forty-five percent of adults eighteen to thirty say they have no doubt that God exists. And nearly seventy percent of sixty-five years or older say the same thing.

The study basically puts it this way: The decline that we have in a turning away from religion and God is generational. None of these declines are happening fast, but the signs are unmistakable. David Voas, the social scientist with the University College London and co-author of this study said, “It has become clear that American religiosity has been declining for decades and the decline is driven by the same dynamic – generation differences – that has driven the religious decline all across the developed world.”

Parents: Many of you in this room have kids who have wandered from the faith. In fact, as I have been talking, your mind has gone there probably more than anyplace else. What we know is that children who don’t wander from the faith have three characteristics. And by the way, even though these three characteristics may be true, they can still wander from the faith.

This is not about fault or blame. This is about research and reality. The earlier a child takes responsibility for their faith and begins to have some kind of devotional life on their own, apart from their parents, the probability of them staying with the faith is very high.

Second issue is they see their parents living out their faith, not simply by religious activities, a la going to church or a class, but where those priorities and values are practiced at home. Genuine prayer, tough decisions, the Bible and God’s Word and communication where the Christ on weekends is the same Christ throughout the week in the family system.

And the third is children who begin serving and getting involved where they actually serve in church ministry or outside church ministry where they are giving a life away to others, those are the three primary characteristics.

Of that group, about ninety percent of them continue to walk with the Lord after their teen years.

The essence is kids don’t own a faith when you come to church, make that a little compartment of your life, drop them off at the greatest, coolest, best children or youth ministry and what has happened is all their time in church there was a place and a person who gave substance to their faith. This is the place and there was a person, either a youth pastor, someone here, a network. When they go away, either to a trade school or to college, that person and place are removed and what you have is their faith is attacked, they don’t know the Bible, they haven’t owned their faith, the temptations morally are like never before in the history of our country, and so it’s like, I’m done.

The biggest group that has wandered from the faith are our own children. We have to address that. The way to address that, first and foremost, is by asking ourselves, Okay, is there a log, right? Is there maybe a log in our eye?

Do we need to own some stuff? Do we need to turn around? Do we need to become people who they would emulate in terms of our commitment to Christ? Our priorities? Our values? How we spend our money? How we spend our time? Get it?

And then I think we have the very difficult job of reconnecting with our young adult children and beginning a journey and a dialogue of talking to them and where we have blown it, just own it and say, “You know something? Your growing up years, I wish I would have done this, but I didn’t. Now let’s talk about what makes a living faith and what do you believe and why. And let’s just make this a topic of our conversation. I’m not going to pressure, I’m not going to push. But I just want you to know how much I love you, honey. Son, I want you to know how much I love you.”

What does God want you to do with your kids? Where do you need to go?

As you turn to the back page, I want to summarize, because there is a word to those who are wandering. And there are three things that tend to be excuses. One is: I’ll come home later. If you are wandering, come back this moment, this day. You have a heavenly Father, Luke 15, who has been looking and waiting and searching and whose arms are open.

Second, I am too far gone. Romans 5:20 says, “Where sin abounds, grace super abounds.” And what that Scripture means is that if you have dropped yourself in a twenty-foot hole and you are looking up and going, This is impossible, God says, I will drop a twenty-one foot rope. And if you have dropped in a hole, you go, You have no idea, man! You have no idea what I have done. In fact, I could go to jail and on and on and on. I’m in a hundred and fifty-foot hole. And God says, I get it. Here’s a hundred and fifty-one-foot rope. Hang on and I will pull you up. You have never, ever, ever gone too far unless you are willing to turn, ask for forgiveness, and let Him help you.

And third, God could never accept me now. Somehow this shame…and He says, “Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool.” You never were good enough, I was never good enough, no one will ever be good enough. Christ has made us good enough. His death on the cross paid for your sin – past, present, and future. And He wants to wash and forgive you and me.