How to be saved and how to react if you are

Text: Luke 17:11-19 Time: 17/07/13 Place: Childs Hill Baptist
This evening I want us to look at the brief story of Jesus and the 10 lepers, that’s lepers not leopards. I remember reading a story about a little boy who thought it was 10 leopards! No, 10 lepers it is.
The Bible uses the word leprosy for various serious skin diseases. It is not entirely sure whether the word was used in exactly the same way as we use it. Leprosy, as you know is a horrible and debilitating illness, which in its different forms leads to various levels of disfigurement. Today it is more often known as Hansen’s disease and can be healed relatively easily through a course of medication – provided the patient is willing to keep up the tablets. Sometimes when the disease is quite advanced a person will have serious problems in being rehabilitated.
In Jesus’s day there was no cure for leprosy and lepers were obliged to live apart from society, on their own. It was a wretched thing for a person to get leprosy, therefore. It meant the end of regular contact with family and friends and society in general and a bleak future with practically no hope of recovery. Whenever we read about it, it reminds us of our own wretched state by nature. This story of Jesus miraculously healing a group of lepers reminds us first of all then that despite these facts there is hope for all who will come to him in faith.
1. Remember your wretched state by nature and how to be saved
1. By nature we are all in a wretched state. That's the first thing to take in. These lepers give us a striking picture of sin.
1 Diseased. Riddled with disease. By nature we are systemically diseased. We are riddled with sin. It is something that we are born with. Sin manifests itself in different ways in different people – some are more disfigured than others - but the truth is that we all suffer from it. It begins subtly but there is no permanent way of stopping its daily advance. In the end it leads to death. At the very heart of our souls something has gone seriously wrong and there is no known cure for it. Oh, there are things designed to produce relief. Some claim they can cure you through various rules and regimes but the truth is that the heart is desperately wicked and beyond cure. Our situation is hopeless by nature. Do you realise that?
2 Cast out. Cut off from God. As I have said lepers were outcasts. They were not allowed to live in society once they contracted this terrible disease for fear of contaminating others. Now because in this world we all have leprosy that sense of being an outcast is not always there. We need to remember, however, that as large as the world is it is nothing so much as a great leper colony where we are living out a wretched existence but for the grace of God. This is a fallen world, a world cut off by nature from the presence of God. We have no right to heaven, no right to come into the presence of God. This is one of the reasons for the sense of alienation that people often feel. Are remembering that fact?
3 Far off. Far from Christ. At the beginning of the story we read how these lepers stood at a distance from Jesus. They knew they had no right to approach anyone, least of all Jesus. Again that is our position, in one sense. What right have we to draw near to God? What right have we to come to Jesus? None at all in ourselves. However, and this is the amazing thing. We can draw near to Jesus today and we can ask him, as these people did, to have pity on us and to rescue us and to save us from sin.
These things are true not just of some of us but of all of us. We know that nine of these men were Jews and one was a Samaritan. However, they all had leprosy. There was no difference. And so whatever differences there may be among us, we are all united by this – we are all wretched sinners.
2. The only one who can save us is Jesus Christ. This is the second thing we need to underline. As I have said, leprosy was incurable at this time and these men knew that their situation was hopeless. However, somehow they had heard about Jesus’s power to heal and so when they encountered him they saw their only opportunity and cried out for mercy. We are told that at this point (11) Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, but at that point was travelling along the border between Samaria and Galilee. Jesus was headed for the cross. It is by his death that he has won an atonement for sin. It is because of that death that your sin and mine can be taken away. He was at this moment on the border between Samaria and Galilee. Jesus is often found on the borders – at the margins of life. He is seldom centre stage. He can be found at the edges of life.
We too need to see that Jesus is our only hope. Because of his death on the cross there can be forgiveness for all who come to him. Are you aware of the burden of sin? Do you have a sense of its misery, its power over you, the way it is spoiling everything in your life? There is no way to be rid of sin in the ordinary way. Jesus Christ is the only one who can deliver you. He alone can save you. There is no point looking in any other direction. Jesus alone can save. Come to him then, come to the margins and find him.
3. Cry out loudly to the Lord and seek his pity. We read (13) that these men called out in a loud voice, Jesus, Master, have pity on us! These men knew how wretched they were and so when Jesus came by they cried earnestly and loudly. They were determined not to miss this opportunity. They acknowledged Jesus as their Master and they pleaded for him to show pity. That is how to go to Jesus. If you know how bad things really are then you will cry earnestly for forgiveness. Look to him for mercy!
4. How to be saved. And so what did Jesus do? There are really three things. They show us how he deals with all who come to him in faith.
1 He sees us, so take comfort. Jesus could have ignored these men, I suppose. He could have looked the other way or passed by on the other side. He doesn’t, however, he sees them. He sees us too. He sees you and he sees me. He knows our need. He understands.
2 He commands us so obey. It is (14) When he saw them, then that he said, Go, show yourselves to the priests. What is this about? Well, some of you will remember those OT laws that explain how anyone with signs of leprosy is to go and show himself to the priest. It is the OT priest who is able to pronounce a man clean or unclean. Jesus planned to cleanse these men and so they need to go to the priest and be pronounced clean. No doubt it would have crossed their minds that this was going to happen but they still had to obey. We too are under an obligation to obey. Whatever Jesus says we must do. He calls upon us to repent and to trust in him. This we must do. Are we doing it?
3 He cleanses from sin so be glad. It then says And as they went, they were cleansed. It is in the path of obedience that Christ meets us and saves us. Jesus did not say to these men ‘If you obey me I will cleanse you’ nor does he say today 'if you do this I will save you'. No, in both cases he says ‘Do this’ and as it is done so he cleanses and saves. Here is reason to be glad then – Jesus can cleanse and he does cleanse as we obey. Obey him, therefore, and be sure of salvation.
That is the first part of the story then. But there is more. There is the story of how one of the lepers, and he a Samaritan, comes back and says thank you. Now just on the face of it there is a lesson there about thankfulness. But I think there is more. Surely there is a lesson for believers here on how to live, now that we have been saved by grace.
2. Remember to be grateful now if you have been saved
1. Here is an example to follow.
1 Come to the Lord. We are told that of these 10 men (15) One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back. It seems that as these men went on their way they were healed. The nine simply carried on to find the priest. One of them, however, was so thankful to the Lord for what he had done that he went straight back to him to thank him. If you are a Christian, if you are repenting from sin and trusting in Christ then surely you have an obligation daily to come to Christ. There is never any excuse for neglecting him.
2 Give him praise. This man came we are told praising God in a loud voice. No surprise there. What a deliverance he had experienced. What a change! And it was all due to this one man, to Jesus. Shouldn’t we have the same attitude too? What reason we have to give praise to God.
3 Humble yourself before him. 16a He threw himself at Jesus’ feet. When did you last do the same? He knew that he owed everything to Jesus. He was therefore willing to humble himself before the Lord. Isn’t that the attitude that we ought to show to the one who has shown us such loving kindness?
4 Give him thanks. This is the most obvious thing and thanked him. Christ had given him life. He had delivered him from disease and misery and separation. Imagine how thankful he was. The same sort of thankfulness ought to be typical of the true believer. What good things God has given us. How kind and how compassionate he has been. What mercies we have known. We ought to be thankful every day and yet how often we are not. How often we fail to give thanks.
2. Hear this rebuke to the many. Listen to these words of rebuke then (17, 18) Jesus asked, Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no-one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? (Remember he was a Samaritan). Nine tenths of those lepers did not come back to give thanks and the one who did was the one who was perhaps least instructed in the way of righteousness. Perhaps it is the same today. How many believers are as prompt and as thorough as they ought to be in giving thanks. It may be that those who are most thankful are those who we would least expect. Perhaps it is not the ministers and the missionaries, not those who have grown up in Christian homes but those from the outside. They seem to be very ordinary Christians in many ways but they are thankful people. Oh how thankful they are to God. How they praise him! We do not know who the most thankful are but God knows. He sees. What about us who believe? How thankful are we? Thanksgiving ought to seep into every part of our lives.
3. Hear this encouragement for the few. The final thing to notice is what Jesus says to this unnamed individual, this good Samaritan. 19 Then he said to him
1 Rise. Rise. There is a word to lift him up. It is right that we humble ourselves before God when we think of all that he has done for us. It is also right that we rise with confidence too when we know our thanks and praise have been received.
2 Go. And go. We must also go. We cannot spend every moment in prayer. There are things to be done, lives to be lived. There ought to be regular coming to Jesus to give him thanks but also regular going out in his name and strength.
3 See that salvation is by faith. Your faith has made you well. Jesus wanted this man to see the importance of faith. Whether it was true in the same way of the others or not it was certainly true of this man that it was his faith in Jesus that had led to his healing. If you are a true Christian then it must be by faith. It is because you trust in Jesus that your sins have been forgiven. It is very important then that you go in faith. It is by faith that you have been saved – in faith you must go on, looking only to Jesus in all things.

The believer's relationship with hs brothers and his Lord

Text: Luke 17:1-10 Time: 31/07/13 Place: Childs Hill Baptist
When a person becomes a Christian everything changes, including his relationships.
Firstly, his relationship with God is changed. Secondly, his relationship changes with all his fellow believers.
We could put it this way – there is a radical change on both the vertical and horizontal planes. If we really are Christians then there will be both an observable change in our relations with our fellow Christians here below and what is in some ways less observable – a change in our relationship with God above.
I want us to explore these two aspects of the life of the believer as they are developed in Luke 17:1-10.
One difficulty with the material in this part of Luke is knowing quite why one part follows another. Various suggestions are made as to why the material in Chapter 17 follows the material in Chapter 16. None of these seem particularly convincing. Perhaps we simply have to accept that we do not know quite why Luke has placed this material where he has. Verses 1-10 hang together pretty well, however, and I think we can see easily enough how it connects. Let’s look at these verses together then. I want to say three things to you.
1. Consider your relationship with your brother below and the attitude this demands
In verses 1-4 we are in the horizontal realm, the realm below. Here we are dealing with two aspects of the relationship between a believer and his brother, his fellow believer. We are speaking to believers then, those who profess to trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation and so here we want to issue two warnings in this area.
1. Beware of being the cause of your brother’s sin.
1 Recognise the inevitability of sin. 1 Jesus said to his disciples: Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, …. That’s the place to begin in all of this – sin is inevitable. It is bound to come. This immediately rules out all ideas of sinful perfection on earth, of some sort of paradise where no-one sins. Life in this fallen world is not like this. People sin on the streets and in their homes. If you lock them in prison they will sin there too. It is no good either setting up monasteries or nunneries because they sin there too. The Pope sins. People of every religion sin. Muslims sin, Hindus sin, Buddhists sin. All of them. Unbelievers sin but so do believers. Ministers sin, elders and deacons sin, theological students sin, missionaries sin. People of all ages – babies, children, adults, the elderly. All sin. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor people are they still sin. It doesn’t matter how educated or ill-educated they are, they sin. It doesn’t matter what they invent, people will find ways of using it to sin. It is not a nice thought but it is true. I sin, you(s) sin, he sins, she sins. We sin, you(p) sin, they sin. Do not be surprised at the fact that believers sin therefore.
2 Understand the evil of causing sin and the need to watch yourself carefully
Jesus’s point, however, is that although we cannot prevent sin as such we can make sure that we are not the cause of sin. But woe to that person through whom they (the things that cause people to sin) come. In various ways, as people interact with one another, they have an effect on one another. It is vital that we not only do everything we can to make sure that we do not sin ourselves but that we take great care over the effect that we have on others and do nothing to cause them to sin. When a person sins he bears the responsibility for his sin, of course, but there are such things as contributing factors and we must not be the source of such.
Think about it. By what you say or do or in the attitudes you show how easily you can have a bad effect on fellow believers. It is not only what you do but what you fail to do too. If you are always bad tempered isn’t that likely to make others bad-tempered? If you are greedy won’t others see your example and copy? If you go to certain places you ought not to or let your eyes see things you shouldn't, isn’t there the danger that others will be influenced? Won’t the way you live on a Sunday have an impact on how others live? If you don’t come to the midweek meeting won’t others be tempted to think that they don’t need to come either? Surely that is obvious. Our effect will especially be on the weaker sort – those younger in age than us, those less well thought out, those who are younger in the faith.
We always need to be thinking not only – is this okay for me? - but also - what effect will this have on any others who know me? It may be okay for you to have a TV or a computer but what effect might that have on others? It may be okay for you to drink alcohol but what affect will it have on others? Perhaps you can stay up late on a Saturday night and be okay the next day; can others? Remember Paul’s word on this (1 Corinthians 8:13) Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
Look at the strong words Jesus uses here in verse 2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied round his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. That’s how serious it is – better to die than to be the cause of sin. Do we take this matter that seriously? We have to confess that we do not. We are altogether too self-centred and careless so often in these matters.
Now we may not like this line of reasoning. I for one find it very uncomfortable. It is tempting to try and tone it down a bit and make it a little easier. I’m thinking – well, here I am preaching against causing others to sin and may be I’m one of the worst offenders in this. A minister has a lot of influence and it may well be that I am the cause of many sins in this congregation. We need to think long and hard about these things – all of us I’m sure. So watch yourselves. These are Jesus’s solemn and searching words. Self-examination is necessary. Are we causing others to sin? We need clear consciences in this area.
2. Beware of failing to forgive your brother’s sin. Then in verse 3 Jesus moves on to another matter. Again we say two things.
1 Recognise the inevitability of sin. If your brother sins, says Jesus. We could put it ‘When your brother sins’. As we have established very clearly there is no-one who does not sin. Scripture is clear about that. Even believers sin. Now given that my brother is going to sin – sometimes against me – then it is surely wise for me to think through what I am going to do when I see a fellow-believer sin. This is what Jesus considers here. Do you know what to do when you see a fellow Christian sinning? You won’t find everything here but the basics are there.
2 Understand the ongoing duty to rebuke and to forgive sin
  • What should I do if I see a brother sin? Jesus says rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. So there are two duties here
    • Rebuke him. He needs to be admonished. His wrongs need to be pointed out. Proverbs 27:5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. It is not an option to turn a blind eye, to pretend it didn’t happen. We have a duty to confront them about the matter. Now obviously there is a measure of discernment here as to what you approach them about. If we spoke to one another about every single sin where would we be? Clearly Jesus has in mind persistent, serious sin not petty every day things. We must take sin seriously and be willing to speak against it to our brothers in Christ. We may get a good response, we may not, but we have to speak up.
    • If he repents, forgive him. If the man repents, if he turns from his sin at your rebuke then it is your duty to forgive him. You may say, what if he doesn’t repent? The Bible does answer that question (see Matthew 18 a chapter with some parallels to this) but for the moment Christ simply concentrates on what happens if he does repent. Jesus is not dealing here either with how we deal with unbelievers. If a believer sins and then repents then he is to be forgiven. That is why we don’t have to chase up every little sin. We assume that the believer repents from these. It is only when a sin persists that there is to be a rebuke and then forgiveness on repentance.
  • How often should I allow him to repent and still forgive? This is another question that is bound to arise in our minds. Jesus is very radical. He says (4) If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, I repent, forgive him. I once heard a preacher picture it like this. Say a fellow Christian hits you for some reason – sock! You must rebuke him and if he repents (sorry he says, etc) then you must forgive him. Now say an hour later he comes back and hits you again – sock! You must rebuke him and if he repents you must forgive him again. Even if it goes on happening time after time, every time he repents you must forgive him. Sock! Sock! Sock! Seven here is not an exact number but a complete number. No matter how many times …. Yes, you may wish to question the sincerity of the man’s repentance but if he says he is repenting then you must forgive him – no matter how many times it may happen.
So if you thought the last section was a tall order, what about this? It really does give pause for serious thought. We need somehow to be able, on the one hand, to avoid causing our brother to fall into sin and, on the other, to be able to forgive them when they do sin. Both watchfulness and love are vital.
That leads us then to our second main point.
2. Consider the connection between your brother below and your Lord above, how these connect and the attitude this demands
Now there are various ways to react to this difficult teaching.
  • You could ignore it, try and push it out of your mind. Please don’t do that.
  • You could say ‘well this looks a tough task but I can do it.’ That is not a good approach You will either end up very discouraged or puffed up with false pride because you think you are doing what Jesus says. No our response needs to be more like that of the disciples. On hearing this (5) The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith! And so I ask you
    • Do you sense a need for more faith? Like the apostles here, have you seen that these demands cannot be ignored and that there is no way humanly speaking that they can be achieved. This is a spiritual matter, a matter of faith. It is as we grow nearer to God that we are going to be more watchful and more caring with regard to our brothers. The vertical and the horizontal are intimately linked. When you read hard verses like these, as the thumbscrew gets tighter so you should be seeing more your need for God’s help. The tighter the squeeze at the sides the higher your thoughts should rise.
    • Do you see the need to have the right faith? What Jesus says in response is very encouraging. The disciples are aware of how poor their faith is, how small, how meagre. But Jesus says – don’t worry how small your faith is, how little of it there is. As long as it is the right sort of faith then you will be okay. 6 He replied, If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you. 
Now here is something that can really help us in all sorts of ways. When confronted by something clearly beyond us we must not panic and be fearful at the poverty of our faith. Rather, we must seek the Lord and ask him to give us the sort of faith we need – Holy Spirit-given faith – even the smallest amount of faith like that is powerful indeed. Think of washing up. If you’ve got one of the cheap brands there you know that they can be rather thin and you keep putting more and more in to try and make it sudsy. If you’ve got Fairy Liquid or something like that, however, it’s much more concentrated and it goes much further. Perhaps we would solve some of our problems if we could only see that what we need is not so much more faith as better faith, faith that more truly looks to the Lord and to the Lord alone. Certainly, if we are going to make any progress at all in this matter of not causing sin and of rebuking and forgiving then we need to look above to the Lord. Are we? That leads us to our final point
3. Consider your relationship with the Lord above and the attitude this demands
To help his disciples and us with this point Jesus gives a brief parable of sorts to help us understand our relationship to the Lord. This is not everything that can be said about this matter. The New Testament much more often pictures our relationship as a Father/son one. However, it is also a master/servant one.
1. Understand the nature of a master and servant relationship. Let’s concentrate just on the picture first.
1 The duty they have. 7 Suppose one of you had a servant ploughing or looking after the sheep. The apostles were not rich men really but some of them might have had servants just as sometimes many of us employ people to do things for us sometimes perhaps – cleaning windows, doing decorating or building work, bringing your shopping or your newspaper, etc. Here the job would be ploughing a field or looking after sheep. A certain duty is specified.
2 The honour and thanks they deserve. Jesus goes on Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, Come along now and sit down to eat? Well no. He is much more likely to say the opposite. 8 Would he not rather say, Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink? Or what about this? 9 Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? Now I know that because of the impact the gospel has made our culture is a little different but still when the window cleaner or the paper boy has finished his round you would be unlikely to invite him in and give him a meal as a reward. When someone serves you in a shop I’m sure you’re polite but you don’t think to yourself ‘I must buy a thank you card and post it to them’!
You see the picture then.
2. Appreciate the insight this gives into our relationship with the Lord
1 The duty we have. Jesus begins (10) So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, …. Imagine you do manage by faith to live as we have been describing – always avoiding offence, never leading anyone into sin; always rebuking and then forgiving an doing all the other things that make up the Christian life. Now, of course, the truth is that we never do keep up all our duties. We are always failing at some point or other. However, we must aim for perfection. Anyway, suppose we did do all our duty – how should we feel?
2 The honour and thanks we deserve. So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do should say, We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty. That is the attitude of faith. The moment we begin to think ‘Hey I’ve achieved something, I’ve earned something’ then we know we have gone astray. Paul quoting Job 41 asks (Romans 11:35) Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? Now, of course, this is only part of the story. We know that at the end there will be a well done good and faithful servant for every faithful believer. However, this is clearly on the basis of grace not simply of what we have done. So we say remember God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Salvation is not a matter of what we do. It cannot be earned. Nevertheless if we truly do belong to the Lord above it will profoundly affect the relationship we have with our brothers below and how we serve the Lord above.

Learn the Shepherd Psalm

Text: Psalm 23 Time: 24/05/15 Place: Childs Hill Baptist
I'd like us to look today at the best known Psalm in the Bible, Psalm 23. In fact I'd like to do more than that. I'd like to encourage you to learn it if you never have before and I'd like to encourage you to use it to pray with. It is more of a confession than a prayer. These are statements rather than prayers - The LORD is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul and so on. They can easily be turned into prayers, however, “Thank you LORD for being my shepherd. I praise you that lack nothing. You are the one who makes me lie down in green pastures and who leads me beside quiet waters. Continue to refresh my soul and guide me along the right paths for your name's sake. Even when I walk through the darkest valley help me not to fear evil, but to remember and know that you are with me. May your rod and your staff be a comfort me.” And so on.
The psalm is A psalm of David. Half the 150 psalms are ascribed to him and we rightly think of him as the main author though not the one who gave the book its final form – 150 psalms divided into five books. David himself we know was a shepherd so when we read him saying The LORD is my shepherd it has a particular resonance. I listened someone speaking last week on the nineteenth century Baptist missionary to Burma, Adoniram Judson. He mentioned that Judson wrote to his future father-in-law before leaving America asking for his daughter's hand in marriage. Judson wrote “I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world”. That's how it was in those days. Imagine! The speaker said he sympathised in particular as he is the father of three girls. So when David says The LORD is my shepherd it has a weight. Further, the word shepherd was often used for kings and other leaders. In 2 Samuel 5:2 the people remind Jesus of how the LORD said to David You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.
This opening sentence really anchors the whole psalm, The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. The rest of the psalm can then be divided into three major parts. So let's say
1. Is the LORD your Shepherd?
When you see The LORD in capitals, remember it says Lord because that was what the Jews used to say when they came to God's own special name. They did it so often that we no longer know how to say God's name properly. It is something like Yahweh. What David wrote then is not really The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing but Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack nothing. “The true God who has revealed himself by name, he is my shepherd and so I can and do lack nothing at all.”
Dale Ralph Davis suggests there are three things there.
1. Intimacy. The use of the covenant name means that David is talking in very intimate terms and is saying both that he knows God by name and that God knows him as a shepherd knows his sheep. There is an intimate relationship, what we call today a personal relationship. In the Bible we are all encouraged to be in a personal relationship with God. This is possible because the Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, the Good Shepherd, has come into this world to make it possible.
I remember when I was in primary school being told a story that comes from the 1850s and life on the American prairies. In a log cabin a little boy is dying of diphtheria. Because these people were so far from civilisation the only preacher they saw was a circuit riding preacher who would come every two months or so on his horse. He came to them one snowy March day and went in to see the sick little boy and talk with him. They talked about Psalm 23. The boy knew it but the preacher taught him to say it using his left hand to say The (thumb) LORD (first) is (second) my (third) Shepherd (fourth). He told him that the third finger of the left hand is where a woman puts her wedding ring and so it stands for love and that's where the “my” went. That was something the boy never forgot.
Are you in a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Is that relationship growing ever more intimate? If not, why not? Don't let anything get in the way of that!
2. Tenacity. The idea of having a god as your shepherd was apparently not an unusual one in the ancient near east. Other gods were proclaimed as shepherds too. David, however, is clear - The LORD is my shepherd. There is no other, there can be no other. If we go back to the story about the boy with his hand wrapped around his third finger, the end of the story tells how one night some time after the circuit riding preacher's visit the boy died and his parents found him the next morning with his hand wrapped around his finger. They didn't understand it but when the preacher came by again he explained and they saw that he had been holding on to Jesus as we all need to do.
Are you holding on to him? The circuit riding preacher was a Methodist I guess and he might have forgotten that Jesus was holding on to that boy too but we need to remember both his holding us where no-one can pluck us out of his hand and our calling to hold on to him. How does Paul put it in Galatians 4:9? You know God - or rather are known by God.
3. Sufficiency. Thirdly, there is that profound conclusion - The LORD is my shepherd, and so I lack nothing. If the Lord is your shepherd then what could you possibly lack? Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Do you see that? Without Christ you lose all. With him all things are yours. You lack no good thing. Is the LORD your Shepherd? If he is, you lack nothing you need.
2. Does he pasture you, lead you, refresh you and guide you?
In verses 2 and 3 David takes up this picture of the LORD as a Shepherd and runs with it. He speaks, mostly in Shepherd/Sheep terms of four things the LORD does for him and the reason why. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake. I don't think David is thinking of four distinct things the LORD does for him when he thinks of pasturing and leading and refreshing and guiding. Rather, I think he is calling to mind what he used to do as a shepherd and how the Lord does that for him.
As you know, sheep get fat eating good grass, good pasture.  I remember seeing a picture of sheep eating grass on a football pitch (F C Barcelona I think it was). They are good for keeping the grass nice and short. In Israel it wasn't always easy to find pasture but good shepherds knew where to find the grass they needed. They also need water to refresh them. They prefer quiet waters. Sheep can't always find such things for themselves. Indeed, as you know, they have a reputation for straying away. It is the Shepherd who guides them. Good shepherds keep their sheep in an orderly fashion, always provided for.
Now this is what the Lord Jesus does for the believer. He feeds us and he refreshes our souls. He guides us in the right paths. He shows us the way to go. By nature we stray. We wander off and get lost but he brings us back into the right paths and for his own glory he keeps us on track.
What a comfort it is to know that we have such a Shepherd who supplies all our needs and provides for us and leads us. He will bring us safe to heaven if we will simply trust in him. We can be confident in him.
3. Are you confident even in the darkest valley because he is there and comforting you?
Then in verse 4 we have one of the most famous parts of the Psalm - Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Again he is using shepherd imagery but with application to the every day life of human beings. Notice too how he has turned from third person to second person – from him to you. This leads into what he says about God being near.
Sometimes the shepherd would need to lead his sheep though dark overhanging valleys, through mountain passes where the cliffs rose high above the sheep on both sides and where the sun didn't shine very much. Animals are often instinctively fearful in such situations and become nervous.
There are things we have to face in this life that can also be thought of as dark valleys. Sometimes death and danger come very close. Someone very close to you – a mother, a father, a brother or sister, a child even – will die. You yourself may be at death's door, as we say, or you may know a setback – you lose your job or someone let's you down very badly – or you may suffer some sort of depression that just will not lift. The dark valley comes in various forms.
Now listen to what David says here about such times once again. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, he says – boldly, almost defiantly. $ The Anglo Welsh poet Dylan Thomas has more than one poem that rages at death and resolves not to be afraid – one repeats the phrase “And death shall have no dominion”. Another ends “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Another is called A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London”. What he never gives is a reason not to mourn, some proof that death shall not have dominion. David does not do that here. He says not just Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil. He is not merely whistling in the dark to give himself courage. No, he has reasons for confidence. For you he says are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
So first of all he is not afraid because his Shepherd is with him. If you go through the Old Testament you will find many references to God being with his people. While he is with them, they need not fear. In the story of Joseph we read how God was with him when he was sold as a slave down into Egypt (even Potiphar could see God was with him) and even in the prison. That is what made the difference. God does not promise us a life free of trouble even though some claim he does. He does promise to be with us in our troubles, however, and that counts for a lot.
There is also the shepherd's equipment. $ Every job has its own tools. I met a man last week who was a joiner or carpenter. Carpenters use saws and planes and chisels and such things. I also met an artist, a painter. They use brushes and mixing palettes and easels to put the canvas on. What about shepherds? Their staff or crook (as the end is usually crooked) is well known. Shepherds still use them today – usually still of wood but they can be made of light metal. They use them to walk with and to keep the sheep in line. Sometimes the hook is used on a horn to pull a sheep in line. Shepherds also carry weapons. Here a rod is mentioned. This is in case of attack by a wild animal – a bear or lion, say, or a wolf.
The Lord has his ways of keeping us in line and of defending us from the wolves and other marauders. Jesus tells us that the Good Shepherd even lays down his life for the sake of the sheep. That is what Christ has done – he has died in order to defeat our enemy Satan and set us free. He is now busy destroying all our enemies that we may escape hell and know the delights of heaven forever.
You may be going through the dark valley at the moment. If you are trusting in Christ he is with you.. You are not on your own. He will defend you. He will gently push you in the right direction. Don't be afraid. And if you are not in the dark valley, you will be some day. Keep these things in mind then.
4. Are you confident that the LORD will always provide for you?
Finally, verses 5 and 6 David says You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Once again we have pictures and ideas. There are five altogether. David says that the Lord prepares a table for him in the presence of his enemies. He has possibly dropped the sheep imagery here or better superseded it. A good shepherd will feed his sheep even when wild animals that may attack are near. David jacks things up and has God preparing the table in the midst of such dangers. It's not just that I can catch a bite to eat here and there, says David, no God prepares a feast for me. That is how it is for the one who trusts in Christ.
He says too that the Lord anoints his head with oil. Maybe the poor could not waste olive oil in that way but the rich could and David is rich because the Lord is his shepherd. Indeed his cup is not just full, it overflows. That is how it is for the person who puts his trust in Christ.
That is why I want to urge you to trust in Christ always.
And then there are the sheep dogs. Sheep dogs, you say, I see no sheep dogs. Their names are goodness and love and they belong to the Shepherd. David says of them that they will follow me or better pursue me all the days of my life. They are always there. If you are a Christian you cannot get away from God's goodness and his faithful love. Strangely, very strangely, we do sometimes. The devil convinces us that we might be better off somewhere else. It is crazy to think so.
The final line is and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. David anticipates not just a wonderful life but something beyond that – to be in God's house forever. The shepherd imagery is completely gone here. What shepherd would ever dream of taking a sheep home with him? But that is what the Lord does fro his sheep – for each and every one of them. He brings them safely home. What a future lies ahead for all who will simply trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust in him. He will never fail you or forsake you.

Seeing people as we ought to in Christ

Text 2 Corinthians 5:16 Date 27/05/15 Place Childs Baptist Church
It's half term this week so I thought we'd take a break from Philippians and look at a verse that has been on my mind, recently. I'm not quite sure why. The verse is in 2 Corinthians, in 2 Corinthians 5:16. Paul says So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
The verse is found in the first part of 2 Corinthians where Paul talks about his God given ministry of reconciliation. He talks first about the glory of this ministry (3:9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!) but then also of the frailty of those who minister it (4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.)
From 5:10 he begins to talk about the ministry itself and its message of reconciliation.
We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, he reminds us so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Knowing this, Paul seeks to persuade others of the truth in a very plain and straightforward way. Christ's love compels us, he says because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
This Christ perspective means that his whole outlook on life has been transformed. As he says in verse 17 if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Paul goes on to speak of how reconciliation to God is through Christ and what he has done on the cross and how We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
There are lots of interesting things here then but I want to just focus on this one verse, 5:16, So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
There are two things we can say from this verse
1. There are two ways of regarding Christ – no longer take a worldly point of view
In the second half of the verse, which is where we want to begin, Paul explains the first half. He says that we once regarded Christ in this way, from a worldly point of view but, he says, we do so no longer. A change came about in Paul's life it appears. There was BC (before Christ) and there was AD – after Jesus became his Lord. His experience on the road to Damascus was amazing and life changing in a unique way, of course, but every true Christian undergoes a similar sort of change. Let's talk about these two ways of regarding Christ then.
1. Consider regarding Christ according to the worldly point of view
We once regarded Christ in this way says Paul, from this worldly point of view – literally “after the flesh”. Whether Paul ever laid eyes on Jesus while he was on earth we do not know and we cannot know. The most we can say is that it was possible and that it is likely that Paul saw him in the distance or heard about him but never had a personal encounter before the Road to Damascus. Paul's point is more likely to be that when he thought of the Messiah in the past (he uses the word Christ not Jesus) he thought of him as a Jewish temporal Messiah, one who would overthrow the Romans and give Israel political supremacy. This was an entirely wrong way to think of Messiah. That is not what Jesus was like or what he came to do.
Today you have people, I suppose, who have pictures of what they think Jesus looked like. Some of them carry crucifixes and so on. We could describe it as knowing Christ from a worldly point of view. Similarly there are all these ideas of Jesus – Jesus the teacher of morals, Jesus the healer, Jesus the miracle worker, Jesus the best friend, Jesus the freedom fighter, Jesus the Socialist, Jesus the wise man, gentle Jesus meek and mild and so on and so on. What all these different ideas have in common is that, like the idea of Jesus as a political King of the Jews, these are all worldly points of view and they are wrong ways to think of Jesus.
2. Consider regarding Christ according to the spiritual point of view
No, we must come, as Paul had come, to see Christ as the Lord Jesus Christ the Messiah who is Lord and God and who is man and who died to save sinners from their sins and from everything else that stood against him. Verse 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. That is the way to understand Christ. He had no sin. He was perfect in every way. Yet God made him to be sin or to be a sin offering. He was put to death on the cross. He did that, says Paul to the Corinthians, for us. He died instead of us so that in him by trusting in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Is that how you think of Christ? That is how we ought to think of him – as our Saviour, as the one who sacrificed himself that all our sins may be forgiven. Once we accept that then it will affect the way we think of everything else. We will never think in the same way again, as is clear from this verse.
2. There are two ways of regarding other people – no longer take a worldly point of view
So that's the first thing – how we regard Christ. Now it is on the basis of this realisation that Paul says So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Just as there are two ways of regarding Christ so there are two ways of regarding everyone else; everyone we meet, everyone who exists. We either regard them from a worldly point of view or a spiritual one.
1. Consider regarding people according to the worldly point of view
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view says Paul. What does it mean to regard someone from a worldly point of view?
Many examples come to mind. When you see a person or meet them, it is very easy to fall into thinking of them in a worldly way.
Perhaps the first thing you notice is their colour, whether their skin is darker than yours or lighter. May be it is their accent. Are they British or from overseas? Are they from London or elsewhere? We can think of them on racial or provincial lines.
You notice if it is a man or a woman, an adult or a child, an old person or a young person. Do you make certain assumptions at that point?
Do you take in whether this is a beautiful person, a handsome person? Perhaps you can't avoid seeing certain blemishes. Again, it is easy to make judgements.
Perhaps this person is in a wheelchair or has some other disability. Again, it is easy to make assumptions.
Do you notice what sort of hat is worn? A turban showing he is is a Sikh, a yarmulke or kippah that shows he is Jewish. Perhaps it is brimless and you wonder if this man is a Muslim. Perhaps the red in his beard gives it away. Or is there a red spot on the forehead suggesting Hinduism? We can think of people on religious lines.
May be you notice the cut of their clothes, their shoes. Is this a rich person or a poor person? Does their jewellery tell you how rich they are and does that influence your attitude?
I am not suggesting that it is possible always to ignore these things. Sometimes they just jump out at you. It is important, however, that when we find ourselves noticing such things that we do not fall into worldly ways of thinking. I'd like to get to know her, she looks nice. He's from my home town so I'll be nice to him. He's Muslim so I won't talk to him. She's a poor person, I'm not interested in her.
Every now and again a survey comes out telling us that people get ignored because they are overweight or elderly or unattractive. Such things no doubt do happen.
I am not suggesting that we try to ignore such factors but that we stop thinking in such simply worldly ways. Remember what James says in 2:1-4
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
2. Consider regarding people according to the spiritual point of view
So what should we think of people we encounter if we are not going to think of them from a worldly point of view? Clearly what Paul expects is that we see them as made in the image of God and more than that, being convinced that one died for all we therefore believe that all died all are sinners who by nature deserve God's wrath but who may be saved if they trust in Jesus Christ. That is the way to see people – as sinners but as potential recipients of the grace of God. What a transformation it would involve if we could always see everyone we meet and have that sort of attitude. When Jesus himself saw the crowds he saw them as sheep without a shepherd and he had compassion on them. We ought to be filled with compassion too.
Dale Ralph Davis has a nice story about how he and his wife and his children went over to a football field one evening and practised field goal kicks. He reckons that his wife, Barbara, to the amazement of his boys, proved to be very adept at field goal kicking. This was an aspect of their mother that they had never really contemplated before. According to Davis they never thought of her in quite the same way again.
Once we know Christ we should really never look at any human being in quite the same way again. We should see each one as a sinner and as perhaps one for whom Christ died that they might be forgiven. It doesn't come easily, at least not with everyone, but we can work at it. We must.

A man and a woman baptised - their story and you

Text Acts 16 Date 19/04/15 Place Childs Hill Baptist (Baptism)

We are going to baptise two young people tonight. In a short while they are going to say something about their story and then one by one I am going to go down into the water with them and I am going to immerse them in the water and then they are going to rise and step out. They are going to be symbolically washed clean. Symbolically, they are going to die as they sink and then rise again as they come up from under the water.

Now whenever there is a symbol or a symbolic action there is potential for misunderstanding and so without words we will not be entirely sure that everybody understands.

Take for example if I shake my head left and right. For most people that means “no”. There are parts of the world, however, where it means “yes” and nodding the head means “no”. To be absolutely sure then you need to say which you mean.

Or take two fingers. A man in a pub indicating to the barman he wants two beers may be understood. In a similar way George Bush Senior apparently ran into trouble in 1992 in Australia when he tried to make a sign for peace.
In this country people often wear red poppies in November to remember the war dead. In 2010 David Cameron wore one in China, however, and it caused offence as in the nineteenth century Britain defeated China in two opium wars (opium coming from poppies).
I really want you all to understand what this mean then when these two are baptised. The best way to do that is if we turn to Acts 16 in the New Testament. There we are told about two people who are baptised in the Macedonian city of Philippi, the first a business woman and the second a tough jailer, probably a retired Roman soldier.
1. Consider Lydia and her experience, that of these two young Christians and your own
We can say four things about Lydia from the text, things that are true to some extent of these two young people too.
1. This woman prayed and worshipped but was unconverted, as with these two and may be you
Luke, the writer of Acts, explains how Paul and his team travelled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. He says we stayed there several days. On the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. There were not enough Jewish men for a synagogue in Philippi but a group of women used to meet by the river to pray. We sat down says Luke and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira (back in the direction from where they had come) named Lydia, a dealer in expensive and much prized purple cloth. She was a worshipper of God. She was not Jewish but she had been attracted to the Jewish faith and regularly worshipped the true God. This all happened before she became a Christian.
Now our two young friends could tell you something similar about themselves. They have both been coming here pretty much all their lives. They have been used to coming here every Sunday to worship God and they come from homes where God is worshipped and where there is prayer. However, it is only in recent months that they have actually been converted themselves. You see, you can worship God and pray and yet not be converted. Conversion is a different thing.
Perhaps you pray and worship God. That's good. But it is not the same thing as conversion. The two must not be confused. We do not baptise people just because they pray of worship God. We try to baptise only the converted.
2. This woman's heart was opened by God to respond, as with these two and may be you
Let's think about Lydia's conversion then. How does Luke describe it? He says in verse 14 The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. As Paul spoke about the Lord Jesus Christ and the need to repent from sin and trust in him something happened. Her heart which had been closed to God began to open and she was able to respond to the message. The Lord worked within to enable Lydia to respond. That is how it is when someone is converted. It is secret and unseen, It is God's work, but it results in the person hearing the message of God and responding to it. That is what has happened to these two.
Has it happened to you? We pray that it will.
3. This woman and others were baptised, as these two are going to be tonight; what about you?
We then read in verse 15 that she and the members of her household were baptised. Lydia was not married but people worked for her and they too had clearly heard the message as well and Hod had enabled them to respond and so they were all baptised. This is the norm in the New Testament. People hear the good news – that God will forgive all their sins if they trust in Jesus Christ – they are enabled to respond to the message by God an then they are baptised. There is nothing in the Bible about baptising babies or baptising anyone before they have responded.
All who respond get baptised. If you have heard the message and God is at work in your heart then I urge you to be baptised too.
4. This woman did good, as these two must also do and you
The final ting we read about Lydia is where Luke says she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." He says And she persuaded us. Almost here first act as a Christian was to do something to help these preachers who had come to her city. It was an act of kindness and concern. We don't know where they had lived before but Lydia was sure she could provide them with something better and so that is what she did. A true Christian will always do good of some sort or another.
Gwion and Courtney, tonight you are being baptised but now you need to find something to do to help God's people. You can't put up preachers in your home and there is no need at the moment but I am sure there are other things you can do and you must. So must all who are baptised.
In verses 16-24 Luke goes on to tell us the story of how Paul and his companion end up in jail in Philippi. The little group of Christians continued to meet week by week down by the river. One day on the way there Paul and the others were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future and who earned lots of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She made quite a nuisance of herself until one day Paul had had enough and he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" Immediately the spirit left which was good news for her but made her owners unhappy as their hope of making money was gone. Because of that they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, These men are Jews, anti-Semitism was alive and well in those days as it is now and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice. Philippi was a Roman colony and the Philippians were very proud of their Roman citizenship – something that Paul later uses to the new church's advantage. In verse 22 we read that The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
So by midnight that night there they were, hands and feet in shackles, stuck in a strange prison far from home and in the dark. But they weren't discouraged. In fact, they were singing hymns we learn. It is not long after this that we read about more conversions and baptisms too. So
2. Consider the jailer and his experience, that of these two young Christians and your own
1. This man was in despair, as these two have been and may be you
So (25) About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. No doubt they were learning from what was sung. The jailer was perhaps listening too at first. Then (26) Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. As far as he was concerned this was a disaster. Not only was there an earthquake but as far as he could see in the gloom all the prisoners were about to escape and he would be held responsible. There was nothing for it but to take his own life. Now he was in despair.
Now I don't suppose either of our two friends have come close to thinking of killing themselves but they know what it is to be tempted to despair. They know what it is to come under conviction of sin – to realise that you are a sinner and that unless God does something very dramatic there is no hope. Do you know what it is to be in that position? It is not easy to go through such a thing but it can be good for you. We certainly all need to come to an end of ourselves. We cannot solve our problems ourselves – any more than the jailer here.
2. This man wanted to know how to be saved, as these two did and may be you
Paul can see what the jailer is about to do and so he shouts out (28) Don't harm yourself! We are all here! The jailer then called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas and after bringing them out asked his famous question (30) Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Now what exactly he meant by this question is uncertain. No doubt he had heard Paul and Silas singing and realised that they were not in jail because they were criminals but for preaching their message about Jesus and the resurrection. He was also in the midst if an earthquake. He asked the very best question you can ask, though - what must I do to be saved? It's a question that these two began asking when they were still quite young. It's a question that you ought to be asking too. Have you ever asked it? What must I do to be saved from sin and death and hell?
3. This man was told to believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved, as were these two and now you
With that great question we have an even greater answer. 31 They replied, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household. The jailer knew Pal was in the prison for preaching about Jesus, who he said had died on a cross but had been raised to life. Now the man is told that all he has to do is to trust in this man Jesus who is God. And that is all these two have done and all you need to do too. Just trust in the Lord Jesus. Believe on him. If you do that, you will be saved.
4. This man and others were told other things from God's Word, as these two have been and now you
Of course, that is not all that they said. In verse 32 we read Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house (which probably refers to the other prisoners). We do not know exactly what they said any more than we do what was said to Lydia. When we read the rest of Acts and other parts of the New Testament we can make a good guess that Paul focused on Christ and his death and his resurrection and then on repentance (turning from sin) and faith in Jesus Christ, then living a life pleasing to God through him.
There are many things you need to know – God made you, only God can save you. He has revealed his will in the Bible. God will one day judge you. The only way to be sure of being safe on that day is to trust in Jesus Christ. Gwion and Courtney know these things. They have helped them to come to the point where they trust in Christ. You too must trust in Christ.
5. This man did good, as these two have and you must too
Verse 33 says that At that hour of the night gone midnight the jailer took them and washed their wounds. Previously he had not cared about them but now he does. Why? He has been converted. Before he is even baptised he has begun to do good, as is the case with these two I'm sure.
6. This man and others were baptised, as these two are going to be tonight; what about you?
Next it says then immediately he and all his household were baptised. Just as it was with Lydia so with them, so with all believers in the New Testament. That is how it should be with all believers.
Are you a believer? Then get baptised. It is a matter of obeying God. You say, I wouldn't want to have a big crowd like this watching me. Fine, we could do it quietly some other night with just a few present – we have done that. The issue is obedience. You say you are a Christian – then get baptised!
7. This man did good and was glad, as these two must also do and you too
The final verse I want to look at is verse 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God - he and his whole household. The man continued to good, like Lydia. We are not saved by doing good but if we really are saved then we will do good. Gwion and Courtney. We expect to see you doing good – more and more. This man was also filled with joy because he had come to believe in God. I am sure you are filled with joy tonight and if you look to Christ you will continue to be filled with joy. Joy is one of the blessings of those who trust in Christ.
I won't say more. I trust I have said enough to make clear what is going on tonight. Trust in Jesus Christ. He alone can save you.