I invite you to turn yet again with me to the book of Philippians, Philippians chapter 1. And today I want us to begin looking at verses 3 and following, Philippians chapter 1, verses 3 and following. The title of this message is “A Pastor's Heart.” I want to begin by reading the text as we always do, and set the passage before us that will be the focus of our careful study. The apostle Paul as he is writing to the Philippians, writes this by way of introduction in this wonderful letter:
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
I can certainly relate to what Paul is saying and feeling in these verses as he writes to the Philippians, because Paul was, in essence, the founding pastor of the church in Philippi. There is always a special bond that exists in the heart of any pastor toward the church that is birthed under his ministry. It is as though a founding pastor was in the delivery room when the church was being delivered by God and brought to life and brought into this world. It is an experience that such a pastor will never forget. The pastor in an already existing church is to care, in a sense, for someone else’s child. But to pastor a new church plant is to care for your own baby, for your own offspring. And there is a world of difference. There is a lifelong relationship of deep love that always exists between a founding pastor and the people in that church, because he was there and a part of the processes through which that church came into being. So consequently, such a birthing pastor always carries with him that church in his heart. It has a very special place within him.
Needless to say, this is what I feel for this church. The greatest joy of my ministry has been the privileged experience of being in the birthing room, in that warehouse, over eleven years ago. And for me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can never be replicated, no matter where I go, no matter what I will ever do the rest of my life. I have said that every pastor needs to plant at least one church in his life. This church has been that for me. A special bond will always exist in the depths of my heart for you. This is the closest I will ever know what it is to be a mother. (My wife is out of town today!) It is the closest I will ever know what it is to give birth to a baby and that bonding experience as you hold that baby in the hospital, and the two just become one, and the two are welded together and fused together. That is what I feel for this church. And wherever the Lord will take me in the future, and I do not entirely know where that will be, I will carry you in my heart.
This is exactly what Paul felt for the Philippians. Though he was only there a relatively short period of time, it wasn’t the length of time, it was the depth of the experience as the church was birthed under his preaching the gospel. Paul came to Philippi on his second missionary journey. You can read about that in Acts 16. And he proclaimed Christ. And souls were won. And the saved were baptized. And a church was just spontaneously, by the sovereign hand of God, birthed. This was the first church to ever be established in Europe. And a special bond of affection was established in Paul’s heart for this church. Paul would plant other churches, but there was something about his relationship to the church at Philippi that was just always rising to the surface of his mind and his heart. He was always very close to them. And not only did he minister to them, but they ministered to him. And on three different occasions, they would send gifts to Paul to support him, to just continue their upholding of the apostle. No other church of which we know ministered to Paul like the church at Philippi ministered to Paul. Ten years later, after the birth of the church and 800 miles away as he sits in Rome, Paul writes this letter. And though they are 800 miles removed, and they are ten years distanced from that birthing experience, it is as though he is sitting with them, and the church was birthed that very day.
As we look at these verses, in verses 3 through 8, and I am not certain how far we will work our way through these verses, this is a very tender passage. It is just full of affection and love that Paul expresses for the church there at Philippi. Paul wrote thirteen letters, not all to churches. In all of the letters to churches, except for the church in Galatia, he begins with an opening section like this where he gives thanks for them. But in no other letter to another church does it just drip with such love and affection. This church at Philippi remained very close in his heart. So, as we look at this, I want to give you several hallmarks of a pastor’s heart. And I trust that this will be true in my life toward you for wherever the Lord will send me, and I trust it will be true in your life towards me through the years.
I pray that this will be true of every father who shepherds his own family. I pray it will be true of every elder who oversees the work of God here after I leave. I pray it will will be true of every fellowship group leader, and every equipping hour teacher, and every Bible teacher in our church, that this kind of heart affection for those to whom we minister, that this will always be a gold standard for what we would strive to experience. But to extend this, this is really a template, an overlay, for every believer, for every woman, every mother, every grandmother, every widow. This should be true in every one of our lives. Paul does say to the Corinthians, “Imitate me. Follow me, as I imitate the Lord, and as I follow the Lord.” And so, this is yet another example of what should really be a pattern for each one of us, that we would live like the greatest Christian who ever lived, the apostle Paul.
I. A Thankful Heart (Phil. 1:3)
As we walk through this text, I want you to note first, A Thankful Heart. As Paul reflects upon his relationship with the Philippians, he begins by expressing to them how grateful to God he is for them. In verse 3, note his thankful heart. He says, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” This is intensely positive as he begins by, in essence, saying, “I am so deeply grateful to God for you.” This verb “thank” is in the present tense, which could read, “I am always and continually thankful to God for you.” When he says, “In all my remembrance of you,” what he is saying is, “I cannot get you out of my mind. I am always thinking about you. You are continually in my thoughts.” And Paul is saying whether he is in Ephesus, whether he is in Thessalonica, whether he is in Miletus, whether he is in Rome, no matter where he is, “I am constantly thinking about you. I can see your faces. I can see your devotion to Christ. I can see you when you came to faith in Christ.” Now, we often say today, “Out of sight, out of mind.” And there is some truth to that, but not in this case. Though the Philippians were out of Paul’s sight as he, as I’ve already said, is 800 miles away, nevertheless, they are definitely not out of Paul’s mind. The believers in Philippi were permanently etched with indelible ink in his mind, and in the most positive way as he says, “As I think of you, I just keep offering thanks to God for you.” No doubt he is thinking how responsive to the Lord they were, how eager they were to take in the word of God. He says, “I offer thanks in my every remembrance of you.”
This word “remembrance” is significant, “in all my remembrance of you,” because it has been a decade. It has been a while since this church was birthed. Ten years, ten long years have passed since he first was there. And you can follow it later when you get home. But what follows this encounter in Acts chapter 16, Paul goes to a lot of places. The grass was never growing under his feet. It was growing because his feet were moving out. But he went from here to Thessalonica. And then he went to Berea. And then he went to Athens. And then he went to Corinth, and he was in Corinth for 18 months. And then he went to Ephesus, and there he was for a considerable period of time. And after that he traveled to Greece, then to Troas, then to Miletus, then to Caesarea, then to Jerusalem, then to Caesarea again, then to Malta, then to Rome. I mean, Paul is all over preaching the gospel and ministering to people. And yet, from city to city to city and town to town to town and even from continent to continent, Paul nevertheless says, “Despite all of this, I cannot get you out of my mind.” And despite all of the other places to which he traveled, despite all of the other people he met, despite all of the other churches he founded, he never forgot the Philippians. Their hearts had been forged together, welded together, in this common commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. And they have not been replaced in Paul’s heart by another church. They remained very dear and precious to him. And he says, ten years later, “I thank my God in my every remembrance of you.”
Notice he says, “In all my remembrance of you,” good times and bad times, mountaintop times and times in the valley. No church is perfect, and no church is without its difficulties. And Paul will continue to write to the Philippians and have to untie a lot of knots that have become gnarled together after his departure. And no doubt there were things like that already when he was there at the outset. But to put an umbrella over it all, “in all of my remembrance of you,” he says, “I am thankful to God.”
Now, please note that his thanks to God is rightly directed. It is directed to God. He recognizes by this that God is the one who has orchestrated all the good that took place in the birthing of the church at Philippi. It was not his work. It was not the Philippians’ work. It was ultimately what God did. And so therefore, thanks is given to God for the Philippians. The Philippians are what they are by the grace of God. And the church there is what it is by the work of God. I mean, that is very clear if you just look ahead to verse 6, for example, as Paul will reflect back to that beginning.
He says in verse 6:
6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
What thanks he could offer for that good work that God had begun in them when they were birthed into the kingdom.
I also want to draw your attention to that little personal pronoun “my.” “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” Do you see how personal this is? When he says, “my God,” that means he has a personal relationship with God. He knows God. He walks with God. There is a world of difference between talking about God and “my God.” There is a world of difference between talking about a wife and “my wife,” a vast difference. And so it is between God, and “my God.” And by that he is indicating what an intimate relationship that he has with God. Well, he uses that same pronoun to talk about his remembrance of the Philippians, “in all my remembrance of you.” How personal. How intimate. How deep is his remembrance of them as well. So, this is where it begins. This is where it starts, a thankful heart.
I want you to know I have a thankful heart for you, and what you have come to mean to me, and the way you have loved me, and supported me, and encouraged me, and been so receptive to the ministry of the word of God. And I am certain that ten years from now, when I am 800 miles away, or wherever the Lord will take me, I will thank God in all my remembrance of you.
II. A Joyful Spirit (Phil. 1:4)
Second, I want you to see A Joyful Spirit. Paul is filled with joy over the Philippians. Notice in verse 4, “always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all.” It is one thing to remember people. It is something else to be filled with joy as you remember them, and to have joy for them. I can think of a lot of people in my past who have not been a source of joy to me. But to have joy for the people who have meant so much to you is a very special thing. That is what Paul says to the Philippians, “always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all.”
Note the word “always”. It speaks of the frequency of his prayer, as prayers in intercession. No matter where he goes, he is always continuing to pray for them. And is that not one of the blessings of intercessory prayer, that we can be anywhere on the earth, and yet be there in spirit in our hearts and meet at the throne of grace, and to intercede on behalf of those whom you love and who bring you so much joy? And that is what Paul is saying here. And the prayers that he offers, he is offering them and it is sacrificial language, as though he is bringing a sweet smelling aroma before the altar of God that is ascending upward.
The word “prayer” here is a unique word for prayer that speaks of requests, petitions, and specifics that he is asking for them. So, this is not just a sentimental experience in Paul’s heart, but there are very specific requests that he is making of them, for them, before God. And you may ask what is he praying for the Philippians? Well, he will tell us in verses 9 through 11. Let us just take a moment for a second and look at verses 9 through 11.
This past week I had a number of people come up to me at the Shepherds’ Conferences and say, “How can I pray for you?” “How can I pray for you?” And I said, “Just take Paul’s prison prayer in Philippians 1, verses 9 through 11, and pray that for me.” And this is what Paul was praying for the Philippians. This is what every wife ought to pray for her husband. This is what every husband ought to pray for his wife. This is what all parents ought to pray for their children. Verse 9, “And this I pray.” So, now he tells them what he is praying for them. It is a very personal, intimate thing for Paul to open up like this. “That your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.” We will talk about that later. Verse 10, “so that you may approve the things that are excellent.” In other words, “If you had to choose between good, better, and best, I don't want you to settle just for what is good in your life, nor even what is better. I want you to have the best in your spiritual life. I want you to approve those things that are excellent.”
“In order to be sincere.” That means without any false mixture. “And blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness.” And that refers to the outward conduct and the outward acts that arise out of a sincere and blameless character, which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. It is a very spiritual prayer that Paul is praying. And no doubt Paul would pray for physical needs as he would be made aware of on the road and receive, perhaps, a report from someone. But Paul prayed for transcendent, spiritual, lofty things for the Philippians that deal with their spiritual life. So, that is what he is praying for them.
But notice how he is praying. We saw the “when,” always. We just saw the “what.” Notice the “how” in verse 4. “Always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all.” It is with joy. It is as if as he thinks about the Philippians, his heart just lights up, and joy just floods his soul as he thinks of them. Joy will be the constant theme throughout this epistle. You know that. This is the epistle of joy. Fourteen times in just these four chapters, Paul will speak of joy. And with each mention of joy, as we walk through the book of Philippians, it increases our understanding of how joy comes. Joy is gladness in God. It is gladness in God that overflows into jubilation for other believers.
Let us take just a moment to think about this joy. First of all, all joy comes from the Lord, true joy. Happiness can come from our happenstance. We have talked about that. Happiness can come from the world, and we thank the Lord for common grace blessings that come to us, things that make us happy. But true joy runs far deeper and is not dependent upon our happenstance. It is dependent upon our relationship with the Lord. Now let me just take you to two verses. In Philippians 3 verse 1, Paul writes, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” All true joy is in the Lord. It comes from the Lord. He is both the source and the object. As we put our trust in Him and look to Him as the object of our faith, He becomes the source of this joy in our lives. And we can say there is no genuine joy until we first come to know God. A new believer has extraordinary joy as the weight of sin is lifted, and he or she feels clean on the inside for the very first time, and the jubilation of just realizing that my eternity now is settled, and heaven is my future home, and Jesus Christ is my Lord and master, and the explosion of joy that takes place. He will say the same in chapter 4, verse 4, when he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” All joy is in the Lord.
And then, second, all joy is in the advancement of the Lord’s gospel. As the word of God goes forth, it just causes our hearts to leap with joy on the inside of us. One, just to hear the truth, and then, two, to see it progress in the world and into the lives of people. Back in chapter 1 and verse 18, Philippians 1, verse 18, Paul talks about this joy that he has in seeing the gospel advance, for the word of God to go forward. And so, he says in verse 18:
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.
Paul had to make a very determinative decision to rejoice because there were other preachers in the city of Rome who were maligning him and slandering him. They were envious of Paul, envious of his gifts, envious of his apostleship, envious of his authority. And as Paul is in jail and confined in prison, the other preachers in Rome were licking their chops and trying to step into the spotlight themselves. And they were putting Paul down throughout the city of Rome. And he had to live with living under the shadow of their mockery, of their sarcasm, of their belittling of Paul. And it was a real acid test for Paul in his heart whether he would be discouraged and despondent by this. And Paul rose above these tiny little bit players on the stage of life, and he says, “No. The gospel is going forward through these men. They are speaking the truth, despite their having impure motives. I will rejoice that the word of God is going forward,” because Paul cared more about the name of Christ than his own name. He cared more about the advancement of the kingdom of God than anything associated with himself. And so, that is the reference there. Paul was a man who was full of joy.
Now, he also understood that his joy could be enlarged as other believers would act in a manner worthy of their calling. That is the way it is with any pastor. Any pastor is grieved at the carnality of people. And he rejoices when he sees them loving the Lord and bearing fruit in their lives. And so, in chapter 2, verse 2, Paul talks about the enlargement of his joy. And in this sense, other people do have an effect upon his joy. In chapter 2, verse 2, he says, “Make my joy complete.” In other words, “I have some joy; make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”
He is saying, “As you humble yourself one to another, as you show love one to another, you are making my joy richer and fuller.” In fact, there is a reciprocal ministry of joy that Paul says we have with one another. You can share your joy with me, and I can share my joy with you. And we can feed off of each other and leverage our joy one with another. In chapter 2, and verse 17 and 18, Paul speaks of him sharing his joy with them, and he speaks of them sharing their joy with him. He says in chapter 2, verse 17:
17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
One of the great things about Christian fellowship is that we can share our joy with one another, and minister to one another, and cause our joy to be enlarged one with another. And Paul is saying it is happening, and he is not even in Philippi. He just has them in his mind and in his heart, but their joy continues to redound to him.
And then on the last day in chapter 4, verse 1, as he thinks of that time when Christ returns, and when he will stand before the Lord, and they will stand with him before the Lord, and they will stand together once again as a church before the throne of God, what an incredible thought that is. He says in Philippians 4, verse 1, “Therefore, my beloved brethren.” And that word “beloved” bears a comment. That is an intensified word for “a loved one.” “Beloved” means, “deeply loved;” not just a loved one, but a beloved one. “My beloved brethren, whom I long to see.” Notice what he calls them, how he identifies them, “my joy and crown.” “You are my joy,” he says, “and you are my crown. And one day when we stand before the throne of God, just to see you be crowned by the Lord Jesus Christ for your faithfulness in serving Him,” Paul is saying, “That is the only crown I desire, is to see you crowned,” because he knows he will not have labored in vain. If Paul receives a crown and they do not, he will have felt as if he had dropped the baton in the race, and fumbled the exchange, and it would have been for naught. And to see them receive a crown one day will be the greatest joy in his heart. That is why Paul says what he says in chapter 1, verse 4, “always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all.”
Let us always pray for one another. Let me represent you before the throne of grace and pray for the ongoing ministries and success of this church. Let me be faithful to continue to pray for you and to do great good on your behalf as I would intercede with God and represent this church as an intercessor in prayer. And may you pray for me that God will hold me up and enable me to do whatever it is that He calls me to do.
III. A Gospel Focus (Phil. 1:5)
Let us look at one more. As we look at verse 5, as we begin to work our way into this, third, he had A Gospel Focus. Every true pastor has to have a gospel focus, or else the church becomes a glorified country club. Otherwise, the church becomes just a social club, just a gathering together for horizontal activities. The gospel has to always be at the hub, at the center, and be a part of every aspect of the church. And Paul, as he remembers the Philippians, he remembers what a gospel-centered time it was. And so, he says in verse 5, “In view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” He just thanks God. “You are just such a gospel people. From the moment you believe the gospel, uninterrupted until now, you are all about the gospel. You are all about spreading the gospel. You are all about giving so that the gospel can go forward. You are all about living the gospel.”
And he says in verse 5, “In view of your participation in the gospel.” That word “participation” is a Greek word. It is one of the few that will ring in your ears, koinonia. It is translated most other places, “fellowship”. And the word here, koinonia, is also used for “communion.” It means, “to share something in common with another person.” In other words, it is a joint venture, and you share in common with someone else the same enterprise. The word is used in the Gospel of Luke, for example, for Peter and Andrew and James and John as they were in the fishing business together. They were business partners. That was their boat together. Those were their nets together. When they went out and caught fish, those were their fish together. They were not sorting them out. “That is Peter’s fish. That is Andrew’s fish,” and just dividing it up. No, they were all in this together. They were partners. And that is the very word that is used here for participation in the gospel. Did not the Lord call these very same disciples to be fishers of men? “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And we have entered into a far grander enterprise, if you will; God's work, God's business, if you will. And when we come to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, we enter into a partnership together. We are in this together. It is not a Lone Ranger Christianity. It is elbows and elbows locked together as we are in the ship pushing off from the shore, out into the waters of the world, casting our nets together, drawing those nets, trying to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is a joint venture together in the gospel.
Evangelism, though we often share it one-on-one, and rightly so, Jesus did, nevertheless, it is still a team sport. It is still a joint venture. We need one another as we carry out the work of witnessing and bearing testimony for the Lord. And there are some people that the Lord has placed in your life that you can reach, that I can never reach. And there are some people who can connect with you that are kind of turned off by me. But you have a bridge, and you have an entrée to them. And we all have to find our place and recognize our unique contribution to the cause of evangelism. But it is a participation together in the gospel. And that is what Paul is referring to here in verse 5, “in view of your participation in the gospel.”
I want to tell you, there is no greater business in the world than the business of the gospel. And I do not mean that in a crass, worldly sense. I mean that metaphorically as we do business for God in this world, as we share the gospel of Jesus Christ. And notice, it is in the gospel. I think it is also fair to say because this word “participation” is translated elsewhere “fellowship.” There is no fellowship that anyone has outside the gospel. You may have a relationship with someone. But if they are not a believer, there is no true fellowship. All fellowship is in the gospel. Do you see that in in verse 5? “In view of your participation in the gospel.” That means in view of your fellowship with me, and with one another in the gospel. You have to be a believer in the gospel to be connected at the deepest level with other believers, to be connected at any level with other believers.
That is why only two believers should marry, because you can never have fellowship except a man and a woman both believe in Jesus Christ. And every once in a while I still hear someone say to me, “When I was married, the pastor never shared with me that we both had to be believers.” For whatever little effect or influence I could have at this moment, I just want everyone in this house to hear me say, “You should only marry another Christian.” And that is not an elitist statement. That is just God’s wisdom and God’s design. And if you marry someone who is an unbeliever, you will never have fellowship with that person. You are going to be stuck at the friendship level at best, and that is going to run thin at some point. It is only in the Lord. And so, for those of you here today who are college students, those of you here today who are single, those of you who are teenagers, hear your pastor say, “You must marry only in the Lord; for that other person to be a believer in Jesus Christ.” That is at the heart of what Paul is saying here. It has been well said that if you marry an unbeliever, that unbeliever, you have God as your Father, that unbeliever has the devil as their father. John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and the lust of him you shall do. You then will have the devil for a father-in-law. You really have married into something!
So, this is the gospel focus that Paul had. Notice, he said, ‘From the first day until now.” The first day was in Acts 16 when Paul came to Philippi. Just to remind you of that first day. In verse 13, Luke writes:
13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were sup posing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. 14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household had been baptized (and the clear implication is they had believed, and then been baptized), she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
And it was in that very house that the church at Philippi was birthed. It was a work that God did when they first participated in the gospel, when they first bought into the gospel, when they first sold all that they had in order to buy this treasure that was hidden in a field, which is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the kingdom of God. In that first day until now, they remained gospel-centered, gospel-focused people. And Paul gave thanks to them that they were so.
I give thanks to God for you, that you have participated in the gospel with me, and with one another. I know what it is to pastor an unconverted church where there is no fellowship. I know what it is to try to minister to people who do not know the Lord. It is like trying to push a rope uphill. It is very hard to do. But to me, at the heart of the distinguishing quality of this church is that this is a church of people who have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord has opened your heart, and you know Him, and you cling to the gospel. And as God gives you opportunity, you share the gospel, and you talk about the gospel. And the gospel is so very important to you that if someone were to stand in this pulpit and at any time violate the gospel, you would rise up and throw such a person out. The gospel is that important to you. I thank God that at the heart of this church, there is a firm foundation in the one true saving gospel of Jesus Christ. We are not perfect, and there are still a lot of floors that need to be built up from the foundation, but we have the only true foundation that there is. And that foundation, 1 Corinthians 3:11, is Jesus Christ, our Lord.
I think we will stop at this point, and we will pick it up next Lord's Day. And really, the better verses are still yet to come. We have just started on the shallow end of the pool, and we are just wading out deeper and deeper and deeper. And the best is still yet to come.
I cannot close this message without concluding with telling you in very succinct fashion what the gospel is. It is the good news of Jesus Christ. The gospel could be stated in so many different ways from so many different verses, but what I want to say to you is very simply this: the gospel is found in the crucified Son of God who became sin for sinners, who was lifted up to die in the place of those who are unworthy and who deserve to perish forever in the flames of hell. God took our sins and transferred them to the Lord Jesus Christ. And upon that cross He bore our sins in His body upon the cross. And He became a curse for us. God poured out His wrath and punished His son upon the cross for our sins. And he suffered under the judgment of God. And upon that cross He poured out His blood, and that blood being the only atonement for sin, the only covering for sin. And there is power in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is power to wash away the sins of the chief of sinners, and to leave him or her as pure as the freshly fallen snow before God in a moment, in an instant. And if you would believe upon Jesus Christ, if you would commit your life to Christ, not to the baptistery, not to a church, not to a pastor, not to anything or anyone else, just to Jesus Christ. He is the only one who suffered upon that cross for you. Do not turn to anyone else. If you would believe upon Jesus Christ, and throw yourself upon His mercy, you would find that He has come just for you. And He would receive you. He would put His arms of forgiveness around you, and wrap you up in His arms of love. And you would become a new creature in Christ. And the old things would be passed away, and new things would instantly, immediately, come. He would clothe you with His perfect righteousness. There would be a place for you in heaven. And the moment you die, He would send for you, and you would be brought immediately into His presence. And as you would step into His presence, He would remove your sinful flesh, and you would stand faultless before His throne. And there you would bask in His glory forever and ever and ever. If you are under conviction of your sin right now, and know that you need to be saved, I urge you this moment, this second, to call upon the name of the Lord, and He will save you. He says, “Him who comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out.” You will have a warm reception with the Savior. He has come not for the righteous. He has come for the unrighteous. Tell Him what a sinner you are. Tell Him what a failure your life has been. Ask Him to forgive you. And He will forgive you fully, completely, forever, and you will be His. If you have never believed on Christ, do so this very moment.