Pictures are powerful teaching tools. In this message, we look at two pictures that help us understand the new life that God wants to give to every single person. And at the end of the message, we hear the testimonies of six people from Gospel City who followed Jesus through the waters of Baptism on Sunday, June 13, 2021.
I absolutely loved playing with Lego as a kid, I love building something from scratch using the instruction manual that came with the kit. If you know anything about Lego instructions that, you know, they have pictures in them, lots and lots of pictures. They have pictures of what you need to see at each stage of the construction process you're in. Now, there are some words in the manual to describe what you're doing, but there is only the minimum amount of words that you would need to help you move from one stage of the building project to the next, the pictures and the instruction manual or what help you understand where you are, what you are doing and what step comes next.
Can you imagine Lego instructions that had no pictures in them? What kid would build Lego if there were only words to describe each one of the dozens of unique pieces and intricate steps to follow? Imagine, for example, the first step in your Lego building adventure had no pictures, but only words instead. And it said in writing step one, take the green piece that is a quarter inch long and an eight inch tall and connect the front end of that piece on top of the long gray piece that is two inches long and an eight inch tall.
Now, you could get the job done with written instructions like that, but why would anyone write instructions like that if they could give you a picture like this? Instead, a picture of the green piece being fastened to the gray piece. Do this. When you look at a picture, you can see clearly how everything is supposed to fit together. Now, if you're an adult that played with Lego as a kid, the skills you learned growing up come in really handy whenever you attempt to build grown up Lego, which is what I call any furniture that comes from IKEA.
IKEA furniture is notoriously, notoriously difficult to put together. And guess what? IKEA instructions have pictures. Can you imagine trying to put IKEA furniture together without pictures in the manual? Good pictures, help us understand what's going on. Good pictures not only help us understand how to build Lego and IKEA projects, good pretty good pictures can help us understand life and how it works. I'm going to show you two such pictures in our time together in this message.
The first picture we're going to look at is found on your outline, on your message outline. You'll see a diagram that has three circles in it. This is the first picture I want to show you. This picture has a highly creative and original name. It's simply called Three Circles. I'm going to walk you through this picture of the three circles. I'm going to get you to write some words in each of the circles as we go. When we're done, you can have a basic illustration that will help describe for you how life works.
This picture will show us what our main problem is in the world today, and it will show us what the solution is to now. Some of you watching already know what the solution is. You already have received this solution in your life and you're already living in light of it, if that's you. This picture is going to be a good reminder for you of what you already have. But don't tune out because you can use this picture of the three circles as a tool to help people in your life.
See what the solution is to their problems, to. But on the other hand, you might be watching this message and you've never heard of or received the solution to life's problems. If that's you, then you will have that opportunity after I finish explaining this picture to you. OK, let's go. Let's walk through this first picture of the three circles. Let's set the stage. We live in a broken world, surrounded by broken lives, broken relationships, broken systems, this brokenness is seen in suffering, violence, poverty, pain and death all around us.
This brokenness leads us to search for a way to make life work. In contrast to this brokenness, we also see beauty and purpose and evidence of design all around us. The Bible tells us that God originally planned the world that worked perfectly, where everything and everyone fit together in harmony. God made each of us with a purpose to worship him and walk with him and enjoy him and God designed this world that we live in and his design was very good.
So here's your first filling, and it's the first thing I'm going to get you to write on your picture inside the top left circle. Right. The words God's design. God's design. The Bible says in Genesis, chapter one, verse thirty one, and God saw everything that he had made and behold, it was very good and there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day, and then saw 19. Verse one says The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
And believe it or not, life works when we live according to God's design, but life doesn't work when we ignore God and his original design for our lives and all of us do this, we selfishly insist on doing things in our life, in our own way, every single one of us. And the Bible calls this sin. We all sin and distort the original design. You can see the word sin on your picture of the three circles is on the top of the arrow, connecting the top two circles.
The consequence of our sin is separation from God, not only in this life, but for all of eternity. The Bible says in Romans chapter three, verse twenty three, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and Romans six twenty three, it says, for the wages of sin is death. It said that leads to a place of brokenness. We see this brokenness all around us and we see this brokenness in our very own lives as well.
How many times and everyday conversations do people engage you about their problems or challenges? It's amazing how often people share their heartaches regarding their marriages, children, finances, addictions, depressions, you name it. People are hurting and they need hope. People are hurting because people are broken. Your next fill in, go ahead and write the word brokenness inside the second circle, the one on the top right hand side. Brokenness. When we realize life is not working, we begin to look for a way out.
We tend to go in many directions trying different things to figuring it out on our own. That's what those squiggly lines coming out of the second circle represent. They represent all the different ways we try to fix our own brokenness. Can you think of any ways that people try to fix the brokenness in their lives on their own? Well, we turn to things like fun party, drugs, alcohol, sex, money, relationships, family material possessions, adventure, busyness comforts, food gambling, video games, anger control.
The list is long of the things that we go to in order to try to fill our lives, to fix our lives or just plain numb our lives. But do any of those things that I just listed, do any of those things actually fix our brokenness? They might give us temporary relief, they may get us temporary happiness, but doesn't last know if you're honest with yourself, you know that the fix is temporary at best. Those things we run to don't actually fix our brokenness.
Our pursuit of those things actually adds to our brokenness. Brokenness leads to a place of realizing the need for something greater. The Bible says in Romans one twenty five, they exchange the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served something created instead of the creator. And in Proverbs chapter 14, verse 12, the Bible says this. There is a way that seems right to a man, but his end is the way to death. At this point in the picture, we need a remedy.
We need some good news. And if you've been tracking with me so far, then you're ready for the gospel. And this is your next film, right? The word gospel inside the third circle. Right. The word gospel inside the third circle. What's the gospel? The Gospel. The good news about what God has done to fix us because of his love. God did not leave us in our brokenness. Jesus, God in human flesh came to us and lived perfectly according to God's design.
Jesus came to rescue us, to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. He took our sin and shame to the cross, paying the penalty of our sin by his death. Jesus was then raised from the dead to provide the only way for us to be rescued and restored to our relationship with God. The Bible says and John three 16 for God so loved the world that he gave his only son. Colossians Chapter To verse 14, the Bible says he erased the certificate of debt with his obligations that was against us and opposed to us and has taken out of the way by nailing it to the cross.
And in First Corinthians, Chapter 15 was three to four, the apostle Paul says this food delivered to you as of first importance. What I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures. Isn't this amazing news? This is the best news that you will ever hear. God made a way so that you don't have to pay for your own sins.
God made a way for you to be forgiven. Now, simply hearing this good news is not enough, though we must admit our sinful brokenness and stop trusting in ourselves, we don't have the power to escape this brokenness on our own. We need to be rescued. We must ask God to forgive us, turning from our sin to trust only in Jesus. This is what it means to repent and believe. You can see those two words on your three circles.
Pichler the words under the arrow that connects our brokenness to the Gospel. By believing we receive new life through Jesus and God turns our lives in a new direction, the Bible says in Mark 115 repent and believe the good news, the Ephesians chapter two verses eight to nine. It says four. You are saved by grace through faith. And this is not from yourselves. It's God's gift, not from work, so that no one can boast. And in Romans Chapter 10, Verse 8 nine, the Bible says if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you'll be saved.
And when God restores our relationship to him, we begin to discover meaning and purpose in a broken world. Now we can pursue God's design in all areas of our lives. Now we can pursue God's design for happiness and contentment. We can pursue his design for friendships and family and marriages and parenting, dating and singleness. We can pursue God's design for how we understand and express our sexuality. We can pursue God's design for how we handle money. We can pursue God's design for each and every area of our lives.
He made our life and he has a good design for how our lives are to be lived. And even when we fail, we understand God's pathway to be restored. The same good news of Jesus. God's spirit empowers us to recover his design and assures us of his presence in this life and for all of eternity. On your outline, you can see the words recover and pursue next to the last arrow that connects the gospel back to God's design. The Bible says Philippians, chapter two, verses 30, verse 13 for its God who's working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out his good purpose.
And Ephesians chapter two, verse 10, it says, For we are his creation created in Christ Jesus for Good Works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. This is the picture of the three circles, the question now is, what should you do? Like I said earlier, you may have already heard everything that I've shared with you in this picture of the three circles you may have been brought up in the church, you may have already read the Bible and are familiar with it.
You may already be a Christian. And if you are, then you've been given a good reminder in this message of the big picture of how life is supposed to work. But maybe you've never heard any of this stuff before, or maybe it's the first time in a long time that you've heard it, if that's you, now that you've heard this good news, God wants you to respond to him. You can talk to him using words like these, you could even say these words to God right now in the quiet of your heart, if you believe them to be true, you could pray something like this.
God, my life is broken and I recognize it's because of my sin. I need you. I believe what I've just heard here today, I believe that Christ came to live, die and was raised from the dead to rescue me from my son. Forgive me, God, I turn from my selfish ways and I put my trust in you. I know that Jesus is Lord of all, and I will follow him. Amen Amen. If you just prayed that simple prayer in your heart and you meant it, I want you to listen to what the Bible says.
Romans Chapter 10, verse nine. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. And Romans chapter 10, verse 13 for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. So what's next? Well, as you begin your new journey, the Bible teaches you how to pursue God. Remember, he has a design for healthy relationships, prayer.
God wants you to talk to him about everything that matters to you, search the local church is God's family to help you walk with him, get connected to a church if you're not already connected to one. Bible, the Bible reveals God's design, showing you how to pursue him, read the Bible every day. If you don't have a Bible and would like one, you can get one from your local church or you can reach out to us here at Gospel City Church and we will get a Bible into your hands and share.
Now that you've experienced this good news, tell others this is the three circles. This is the first picture for a new life that I wanted to share with you. And this picture leads seamlessly into the second picture I want to show you right now. And this is the final fill in on your outline, picture number two. This baptism picture number two is baptism. When a person believes the good news of the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they get baptized.
Baptism is the very next step for a person who repent of their sin and trust in Jesus. They get baptized primarily because Jesus tells them to get baptized. Listen to these words Jesus gave to his disciples when he met them after his resurrection. Matthew twenty eight verse is 18 to 20. And Jesus came and said to them, all the authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I've commanded you and behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.
Jesus commands his followers to get baptized when they make the decision to follow him. So that's what we do. Baptism is a powerful picture. Baptism is a picture of a historical reality and a spiritual reality, both of which have already taken place. What historical reality does baptism paint for us? Well, think about what happens when a person gets baptized, they go down under the water, then they come up out of the water. And what's that?
A picture of or baptism as a picture of Jesus dead body being buried in a tomb. And it's a picture of Jesus resurrected body coming to life again. Dead and buried and then alive forevermore, whenever a person gets baptized, they are displaying a picture of a historical event for everyone to see. But baptism is not just a picture of a historical reality, baptism is a picture of a personal spiritual reality that has taken place in the life of the person who's being baptized.
I want everyone to leave here with a crystal clear understanding of what baptism doesn't do, the physical waters of baptism do not wash away anyone's sin. Physical water cannot clean the spiritual sin from anyone's heart. No, a person is totally washed and totally cleansed from their sin. The moment they place their faith in Jesus, the moment they believe the finished work of the Cross of Christ is applied to the repentant sinners life. Belief in Jesus washes our sins away.
Taking a quick bath cannot take anyone's sins away. But baptism is a picture of a personal spiritual reality that has already happened in a person's life, the very moment they became a Christian. Listen to what the Bible says about baptism. In his letter to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul says this in Romans Chapter six verses one to 11. What shall we say then, are we to continue and send that Gracemere bound by no means, how can we who died to sin, still live in it?
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried, therefore, with him by baptism, into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin for one who has died has been set free from sin.
Now, if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again. Death no longer has dominion over him for the death he died. He died to sin once for all. But the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead and alive to God in Christ Jesus. This is the spiritual reality that baptism pictures for us, those who have repented and believe the gospel have had their old life united with and buried with Jesus in his death.
His death is our death. Our old life is gone. And now we've been raised to new life with him. The resurrection life of Jesus is our resurrection life, we've been united with him in this new life that he has made available to us. This is the picture of baptism, our old US dead and buried, our new US alive in Jesus. And again, that spiritual death and resurrection happened to us the moment that we believed baptism is an outward display of that spiritual reality that has already happened in us.
Baptism is a powerful picture of new life. This is a huge, huge day for us at Gospel City Church because tonight, Sunday, June 13th, twenty twenty one, we're baptizing six people who are going to display this picture of what Jesus did for them will be baptizing them as part of our live in-person service on Sunday night. Because these baptisms are happening a couple of days after this message was recorded, we won't be able to show you their baptisms right now in this message.
But that doesn't mean I can't share with you the incredible testimonies of the people who are getting baptized. With their permission, I'm going to spend the next few minutes putting their testimonies on the screen and reading them for you. They will be sharing these testimonies live right before they get into the water to get baptized. May Jesus bless you as you hear these personal stories of his goodness in these people's lives. Hello, my name is Des, before I became a Christian, I had no peace when I prayed now that I'm a Christian, when I think about the future and when I pray, I do have peace.
Family played a big part in me becoming a Christian, being closer to family that are Christian, help, support and guide me to show me more about Jesus and they help me make this amazing decision to turn my life over to follow Christ. Since I've become a Christian, I've come to see that Jesus is always with me throughout my day watching me and I know he's always protecting me. I want to learn more about Jesus and the Bible. I've learned about how our world ways, rules and beliefs have come to be.
And it is mind blowing. Amazing. And I cannot wait to learn more about life through God's word. I want to be baptized because I want to be obedient to Jesus and follow in his footsteps. He told us to become baptized and make disciples. And this is my first step to following his command. I would like to share my favorite Bible verse with you. It's found in Proverbs. Chapter three, verse five, it says. Trust God with all your heart, you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment.
Hello, my name is J.Y. My life before Jesus was full of sin, but I do not care or think about the consequences of my sinning, but Jesus called me out of that old life. I felt a call from God bringing me out of darkness. And with the help of my family, I was able to open my heart back up to God again. As soon as I opened my heart to God, I felt the infinite amount of love that God has always given me is an amazing feeling that I cannot describe, except that it's amazing and everyone should do it.
I want to be baptized because I want my life to be dedicated to God. I feel that being baptized is my wholehearted acceptance that Jesus is my savior. He died for my sins. And through my repentance and trust in him, I've been forgiven. My favorite part of the Bible is Matthew, Chapter six verses twenty four to twenty five, it says. No one can serve two masters, either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or about your body. What you will wear is not life more than food and the body more than clothes. Hello, my name is Dylan. Before I became a Christian, I was living in Constant and I was in a lot of misery while in the grip of my addiction. My addiction started off subtle and seemingly innocent. What started as partying with friends on the weekends turned into me being a full blown slave to opioids.
I got to the place where I was putting them before everyone and everything. The way I was living was unbearable, and I was also aware of the ever growing wickedness of the world and its disobedience to God. I called out for help and God answered me. He has given me a second chance. Jesus Christ, it's changed my life since I've become a Christian in ways that I couldn't have even imagined, I gave my life to him a year ago and God has given me my life back.
Not only has he given me it back, but he's given me a whole new one. He has freed me from the chains of addiction and has given me eternal life in a relationship with him. He has made me a new creation and now I'm able to bring his word to others. I want to be baptized today to publicly, publicly profess my faith in Jesus Christ and to take a deeper step in my relationship with him. The old me is washed away and I want God to continue to bring about the new life I now have in Jesus.
And I want to follow the command to get baptized. Found in Acts Chapter To verse. Thirty eight. I want to share my favorite Bible verse with you is Joshua. Chapter one, verse nine. And it says, Have I not commanded you be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid nor be dismayed for the Lord. Your God is with you wherever you go. Hello, my name is Lauchlan. I can't remember a time in my life where I wasn't a Christian, I was raised in a family that taught me about Jesus.
My whole life, I've believed in Jesus for as long as I can remember. Jesus is so real to me. I'm aware of his presence throughout the day and he is right beside me every day. There is one day I even felt Jesus hold me in his arms, which was such an incredible experience that no words could describe. I talk with them throughout every day and God speaks to me through his word, and he has grown my faith in him.
I want to be baptized today to proclaim to the world that I am his forever. I would like to share a couple of verses from the Bible with you, the first one is from Jeremiah, chapter twenty nine, verse 11, it says. I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. And the second Verse is, John, chapter 14, verse six, it says.
Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life no one comes to the father except through me. Hello, my name is Caleb. I don't remember anything in my life before I became a Christian, I was so young when I became one. My parents are Christians and I've been taught about God all my life because Jesus is in my life. I'm less selfish and I can turn to him for advice. I've become a better person because of him.
I want to be baptized today because I died with Jesus and I have been raised to life with him, to Jesus has washed my sins away. And I want to confess that I deserve to go to hell if it wasn't for Jesus who saved me. My favorite part of the Bible is Psalm twenty three, I'd like to read it for you, it says. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul, he leads me in paths of righteousness for his namesake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me, your rod and your staff. They comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Hello, my name is Luke. I don't remember a time in my life when I wasn't a Christian, I was very young when I became one. One of the ways my life has been impacted by Jesus is that he asks me to forgive other people, which helps me to live with a lot less anger and enjoy my relationships with people more. I want to be baptized today because Jesus told me to. My favorite verse in the Bible is Joshua.
Chapter one, verse nine, and it says this. Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Not be discouraged for the Lord. Your God will be with you wherever you go. Isn't it amazing to hear these real life stories of the way Jesus has changed real people's lives? Praise God, let's praise God for what he's done. Father, thank you. Thank you for your goodness that is seen in everything that you've made.
We can see the design, we can see the plans sometimes even faintly, but we can see it, Lord. And when you bring us back into a relationship with us, you you lay out a way for us to walk and to live and to know you in a way that we can experience fullness, we can experience the satisfaction, we can know what's true and right and good and live our lives accordingly to that. Lord, thank you for all those that you have saved and brought into your kingdom, brought into your family to know this peace and to and to be brought back into your original design and your original plans.
Thank you for all my brothers and sisters in Christ. But I also pray, Lord, for anyone watching this who doesn't know you yet. Lord, would you do that supernatural miracle that takes place in the depths of their heart? Would you speak to them, Lord, and draw them to yourself? Would you bring them to yourself in a saving way? Do that, Lord, save them. Even right now I pray these things, Lord, always for your greatest glory and for all of our deepest joy and satisfaction in Jesus name, we pray.