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TRANSCRIPTION | Sunday, April 17, 2022 | NAILED IT

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want to share from John chapter eight this morning. While you're turning to that particular passage of text, I will just you know, if you've heard me preach very often or had the chance to hang out at all pretty quickly, you figure out that I really like basketball and it's a major part of our family. And I grew up a UK fan, like a huge UK fan.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

In fact, I think my Grandpa Gilbert would have disowned a member of the family if they had not been a UK fan. I remember one pivotal moment in my son as he was being raised about five or six years old. He expressed that he was going to be a Duke Blue Devils fan and I explained to him no, he wouldn't And so then I guess he thought he would be cute. He decided that he might root for Louisville I said, That's worse than Duke. And he had a conversion experience and today he bleeds blue.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I don't think he even remembers that and that's right. I beat it out of you. That's why the Lord will take your sins as far away as the east is from the west. You know, one of my favorite experiences as a UK fan as a kid was a night when UK was playing LSU in Baton Rouge and start in the second half.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

were down by over 31 points, and my whole family went to bed except for me. I believed And the next morning we went to the breakfast table and I was with my mom and my dad. I was so excited to let them know that we came back we won. At that time, it was the greatest comeback in the history of college basketball. 31 points. You know, people just love a comeback. Story. Some of the things that are most memorable and memorable in life are comeback stories. In fact, if you've ever really been blessed by somebody testimony you were, in effect, blessed by their comeback story.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want to show you a comeback story, John, chapter eight, verse one. And they said that Jesus teacher, this woman was called an adultery, the very act. Now, Moses in the law, he commanded that such should be stoned. What do you say? This they said testing Jesus that they might find something to accuse him of, but Jesus stooped down with the woman wrote on the ground with his finger as though he did not even hear their accusations.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so when they continued to him, he raised up and he said, he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone. And again, he stooped down and he wrote on the ground and then those who heard it being convicted in their conscience went out one by one, beginning with the oldest, even to the last. And Jesus was left alone.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And the woman standing in the midst. And when Jesus had raised himself up and saw no one but the woman, he said, woman there. Where are your accusers now? Has no one condemned you? And she said, No one, Lord and Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more. Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

What you see right there is a comeback. There is a woman that is down for the count. Her life is about to be ended. Until Jesus gets involved. And after Jesus gets involved, not only are her accusers taken away, but she experiences a level of restoration in her life. It's a comeback story. Father, I ask you to help me to preach, help me to teach me to share your word in Jesus name in this church, said Amen.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I'll tell you one other thing about me, because I realize, you know, some of us may be getting to meet for the very first time. It may be your first time ever being in the three trees and I'm not even sure this really affects anything. But I'd just like for you to know, I'm not only really like basketball, I really like food.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

No, I mean, I really like food. I like food so much that this morning it caused me quite an issue. You know, it's Easter Sunday, so sometimes for Easter Sunday, you you buy a new shirt like Tony Hart. Lisa bought that for him, trying to make him look good today.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Few few weeks ago, I bought a shirt for Easter a few weeks ago this morning, I put it on. It wouldn't button I like food. A major part of my issue with food is this thing called fried chicken.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

See, my Grandma Bryant, she believes she could fix the whole world's problems with fried chicken. And any time there was some kind of a bad day, she'd said shoot down at the table and she would fix fried chicken. From my first experience with that as a child, I have since been on a search for the world's greatest fried chicken.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

At this point, my grandma still went and but I've been known to take a trip an hour or 2 hours off course just because I saw a billboard that said World's greatest fried chicken. More often than not, I've been let down. But one thing I have noticed as I've traveled and I've had the chance now to go to 11 or 12 countries, get to preach and serve in mission work.

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Every country I've been to thus far has a Kentucky Fried Chicken There's been a couple of countries. That's the only thing that kept me alive. Fried chicken, you know, in Kentucky, we understand who this man is. Harlan. David Sanders. Colonel Sanders. What you may not know about Colonel Sanders is that he actually had quite a comeback story. You know, he started his career as a lawyer. It didn't go so well. So he became an insurance salesman. Just a few weeks or months into that, he actually got fired and some years passed and he finally mustered together enough finances to acquire a ferry boat company. And it was doing pretty well. But he took some of the investments from it and he put it into a lamp manufacturing company. That lamp manufacturing company failed so bad that it actually took the ferry boat company down with it financially, took him several more years, and he was finally kind of able to get back on his feet. And he acquired a hotel and a restaurant. The hotel was doing great. And then World War Two happened and people weren't traveling anymore.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so the hotel closed. He was able to barely hold on to the restaurant and it started to do great. And then they decided to build an interstate and it redirected the traffic from around Sanders Cafe in Corbin, Kentucky, and it nearly closed he began to think about how that he could have another comeback. And he had this secret recipe with 11 herbs and spices, and he decided that he was going to try to get people to franchise with him for access to this secret recipe.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

One problem, he proposed it to 1009 potential owners and they all said they weren't interested. 1009. He kept trying. Finally, somebody said yes, and then another said yes. And it ultimately became an international brand to the point that today it's valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. What you learn from looking at Colonel Sanders is that really nothing in life happens in regards to success or significance without a few comebacks.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I mean, I've discovered that the people in life that seem to accomplish the most are the people who are willing to acknowledge the need for a comeback on more than one occasion, you're going to get knocked down, you're going to get beat up. Something's going to go wrong. And in those moments, you have to make a decision to come back.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, the Bible from the book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation is filled with stories of comeback. The greatest prophet, perhaps in the entire Bible is a man named Elijah. And many people who know his story talk about the fact he called far down from heaven. He brought a national revival. He withstood 850 enemy prophets when he was there all by himself.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Those were the high points. But many of those things would never have been experienced without a comeback, because one of the darkest moments in Elijah's life is when he was wrestling with the whole horrible depression to the point that he was literally contemplated suicide. But there was a comeback maybe. Maybe one of the most significant leaders in the entire Bible is a man by the name of Moses.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Everybody talks the fact he led people across the Red Sea. He set a million people free from slavery. He was a man who performs signs and wonders through the hand of God. But you can't miss the fact that that followed a comeback because he spent 40 years on the backside of a wilderness running as an exiled murderer trying to escape prosecution.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

His life required a comeback. Talk about David. David goes down in history as one of the greatest kings in all of history, especially in the nation of Israel. But David was only able to stay in the palace after a comeback. You see, he fell in love with a woman that wasn't his wife. He committed the sin of adultery, and then he became complicit to this organized crime of murdering her husband.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

He had to experience a comeback when you go into the New Testament, there's maybe the greatest apostle of all, the disciple Simon Peter. I mean, history elevates him as one of the greatest preachers in human history and one of the greatest church builders in human history. And and yet, Simon Peter went through a time in his life where he denied that he even knew Jesus Christ I mean, he completely backslid in his heart out of fear and became a coward when he should have been the bravest.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The only way that we get to see Simon Peter become so great is after a comeback have you contemplated the fact that the reason that you are here today is because of a comeback?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You see, that's what Easter's all about, is a comeback. We're going to talk about it in just a minute. But the first thing I want to do is lay out the reality that I believe that Scripture shows us some principles regarding the comeback. And the first one I like to talk to you about is the fact that when it comes to a comeback from a biblical perspective, what we learn is that it's never too late for your comeback.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

It is never too late for your comeback. Jesus Christ is seen to be crucified on a cross. And Scripture tells us that there is a criminal, a thief, on his left hand and there is a criminal, a thief on his right hand. And it's Jesus. And the good news of his gospel and why his blood is being shed is being shared there is one criminal, one thief that rejects the saving knowledge of Jesus.
 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And the other one, though he says, I want to I want to receive what you're releasing. Jesus and Jesus says to this man on that cross, the equivalent to a deathbed today you will be with me in paradise. What it proves is it's never too late. For your comeback. You can be on your deathbed. And as long as there's still breath in your lungs, there's still a chance for a comeback.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

That man has spent his whole life making the wrong decision. He had become a Steeler and somebody that robbed and somebody that cheated to the point that human society said he should not breathe another breath, but with one cry under Jesus. He got his comeback. That would last for all of an eternity. And I came to tell somebody this morning, it's never too late for your comeback.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Maybe you've been believe in for somebody, somebody you really care about. And they've just not yet made that decision for Jesus Christ. Don't you give up releasing the grace of Jesus to them and sharing the good news because it's never too late as long as there's breath in their lungs. The second thing you learn from scripture about a comeback is that you're never too far away for a comeback bus.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Thing can make you feel far away from God, can it? You help me find somebody to talk to? Because apparently I'm with a bunch of holier than thou people this morning. Anybody ever messed up and made a mistake, just blown it miserably. Oh, I got one for you. You ever been on a path and you didn't realize how far it was taking you away from God?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And then one day you kind of kind of came to your senses and you were like, Whoa, how did I get here? What am I doing hanging out with these people? This addiction in this place? How did I get here?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, scripture tells us the story of a young man that got really, really far away. It's given in a parable format the way that Jesus told the stories. You see, there was a young man. He went to his daddy. He said, Daddy, I'd like to have my money It sounds like most teenagers And his dad, according to Hebraic custom, gives him his share of the inheritance.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And the young man, he takes his money and he just spins it like an idiot. And all the stuff that the world has to offer. And he's totally broke. And he's in such a bad situation. He can't afford a hotel room. He can't afford a meal at a restaurant. And he is literally with the hogs to the point that he's living off the husk from the corn that was fed to the hogs in order to have some kind of nutrition.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Finally, he shakes himself and he realizes, wait a second, it would be better to be a servant in my dad's house than to be a slave to the world. And so the Bible, it's such a powerful verse. The Bible literally says that he came to his senses. That's what happens when you wind up on the wrong path and you realize you're really far from the presence of God.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

At some point, you're going to have to come to your senses, and sometimes you have to lose a lot before you realize the need to come to your senses and change path and make a new decision in your life. But Scripture tells us that when this young man did this, that he started home after coming to his senses.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Luke 15. 20. It describes what the father did, it says, but while the young man was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. And he ran to his son and he threw his arms around him and he kissed him. It's exactly what heaven is going to do for you, if you will ever just come to your senses.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Because the reality is nobody can make the decision for you. You have to make the decision for yourself. There was a thief on each side of Jesus at the cross, and it is meant to imply how each of us bring our life to the cross. Some will receive it, some will reject it. But you make the decision. Nobody makes the decision for you but you.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And if you feel far from God and it's been a long time since you've since the nearness of God, it may be time to come to your senses. And set the stage for a comeback into the presence of God. So first two things. It's never too late for you. Come back and you're never too far away before you come back.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Third thing, you're never too far down for a comeback. I think there's a little bit different between being far away and being down. In fact, sometimes almost like I'd rather be far away than down I'm telling you, sin will not only make you feel far from God, it will get on top of you and beat on you. And condemn you. I mean, it's amazing to me how the enemy works because the Bible says that every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. So basically what that implies is that you have an enemy, the devil, and he wants to steal. He wants to kill you, he wants to destroy. And so the enemy will get over here and he will try to bait you in the sand.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

He puts up the billboard and draws you towards the gluttony of fried chicken. I can't get no help on Easter, man. Come on, I mean, he just drags you towards it. I mean, he baits you, but then you're drawn away, and you just you just like chasing after and then no sooner do you take a hold of that sand.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Then does the enemy start accusing you of you're a horrible person. You're never going to be a good person. All you do is make bad decisions. All you do is hurt the people who try to show you love. You're not even worth living. You should just take your life. I don't even know why you would try to go to church because everybody's going to look at you cross-eyed funny anyway, if you even did it like, that's how the enemy gets you down. And I just want to tell somebody it's never too late. You're never too far away and you are never too far down to understand what Jesus exemplifies in John Chapter eight. In John Chapter eight, this woman, she's been caught in the act of adultery.

Pastor Eric Gilbert

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

She has really messed up, and they've invaded this space and and they pull her out. And evidently she was missing was somebody that was fairly significant in society because they don't even bother him. They just leave him he's got enough clout to protect himself. But her, they're going to make a spectacle out of her, can make a mockery out of her.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

We don't even know if she had time to get her clothes on. All we know is they drag around into the streets and there's a bunch of self-righteous, religious, farcical type zealots that gather around about her. And Scripture says they pick up a stone and all these men are surrounding her society is surrounding her, culture is surrounding her.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And they're announcing you're a worthless hypocrite. Who do you think you are trying to ruin that home, destroying that marriage? You don't deserve to live another day. We're going to kill you. We're going to take your life. You don't deserve breath. This woman is laid in the dirt. The sand undoubtedly weeping and embarrassed and shocked. And scripture says Jesus does something. He stoops down he comes to her level. He puts himself between her and the stone throwers.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You do understand he's more than willing to do the same thing for you, but you and in fact, like, maybe my favorite part of all of John Chapter eight is this as all these people were saying, all this stuff, and it says that Jesus didn't even hear what they were saying. That's what Jesus thinks about what everybody else is saying.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So you just go ahead and keep letting them run their mouth on Facebook. Sending you those ridiculous text messages and filling your voicemail with all those hateful things. And you just keep remembering that Jesus isn't even paying attention to what your accusers are saying because he knows they have aligned themselves with Satan and he intends to stoop down to your level and let you know that he can reach further down than you'll ever be able to reach up.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And there is no pit that you're seeing will dig that his grace is not willing to flood with the love of heaven come in your direction. He put himself between stop. But you know why they were trying to stone her in John eight, it says that they felt like they had the right to stone her because of the law of Moses. That's why they thought they had the right. That's that's important.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Because Hebrew people lived under the law. Moses and the law of Moses was based on Ten Commandments the way the Ten Commandments had been received. Was to remain. They Moses talked about him earlier. He went up onto a mountaintop to commune with God, and God had him to take to stone tablets. And then the Bible says that God with his own finger, wrote the Ten Commandments.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

From that point forward, anyone in Jewish custom that broke one of the Big Ten don't. They didn't love the Lord that God with all the heart of the man. And also be stole something the God any one of the Big Ten broken it was the equivalent to breaking something written with God's own finger.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Written in stone. So broken stone became the means for killing anyone who violated one of the Big Ten. Now, where this gets interesting is that when Jesus came on the scene, they the they asked him, which are the Big Ten is the greatest. And Jesus said something. He said, the greatest commandment is that you should love the Lord, that God with all the heart, all that matters. And. And the second is that you would love your neighbor as yourself. Why that's important is because the first four commandments were all about love and God. And the next six commandments are all about love. And people and the truth of it is that makes every single one of us a law breaker. Even if you're seated here today and you're like, why I haven't murdered anybody?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Now, but you have failed to love people in one way or another. At some point we got offended, we got bitter, we came up short. And all throughout our lives we have left a trail of broken stone because we didn't love God like he called for us to love him. We chose something over him at some point. Yeah, So the result is that we're all lawbreakers now, and the result is that we have an enemy, Satan, the accuser of the brother, who now stands with the stone waiting for that moment when we're going to be at the throne of God's judgment.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And he's going to point out, oh, all those places where we goofed up, we messed up the hurt, the habit, the hang up, got the best of us, and the enemy is going to be wrestling with accusations of why we should receive the stone of judgment. So thankfully, Jesus gave us this gem through the pen of Paul cautions chapter two verse 13, He has made us alive together with him. Somebody thank God for Easter.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And he's not just made you alive, but he has given forgiving you of your trespasses. He has wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, and he has taken it out of the way and he nailed it to the cross and he has dis arm the principalities and the powers, and he has made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You can't help but to envision Jesus Christ stooped down with this woman and they've all got their stones waiting to take their life. But Jesus made a public spectacle of them and he literally disarm them and said, Let you who's without saying, be the first to cast the stone. And Scripture says they all had to drop this stone and walk away but you need a picture of how Jesus took all of this to the next level through the events of the cross.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Because when Jesus went to the cross, he did not go empty handed when Jesus went to the cross, he had a tablet in each hand, prophetically speaking and all of the handwriting that is against us through the commands of God were that we would fail to have loved God and loved people. What Scripture says that He did is He nailed that handwriting that was against us to the cross And so now, every time I didn't love God, right?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And every time I chose something over God and every time I made the mistake of not worship and God and instead fallen prey to the idols of this world, he nailed it. He nailed your shortcoming. He nailed your lack of worship. He nailed your failure. He nailed it to the cross in every place where that you wished that you didn't have to put up with somebody and you didn't love them. Right. And you talk ugly about him, and you said something you shouldn't have said and you took something you shouldn't have took. He nailed it to the cross. He's taken all the handwriting and nailed it so that you and I can have victory. Come on, somebody you ought to say he nailed it. He nailed my lack of love. He nailed my failure. He nailed my saying. And because of that, the enemy has to drop the stones of the broken wall. And give me the promise of heaven. And eternity is more than one way that stone rolled away All right, we're going to play some music. And as they do so, I want I want you just to contemplate with me, like, have you have you been willing to allow God to facilitate your comeback?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Like, really seriously? Have you allowed God to facilitate your comeback? Or is the enemy telling you it's too late? I spoke with a man recently who was in his late seventies, and he had never experienced Jesus as Lord and savior and now reaching towards the twilight of life, he was like, I kind of feel like this is something I need to address, but it's just too late. I'm like, the devil's on the higher I don't care if you're in your nineties and this is the last church service you've ever been in your life, it is not too late it's not too late.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I'm too far away. I don't even remember the last time I was in a church building. It's a miracle I'm here today. You're right. It is. And God is up to something in your life. And you're not here by accident. He's trying to prove a point to you that you are not too far away for you. Come back somebody else.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You've been so down. You've been so out. Maybe it's been to the point of suicidal thoughts. Maybe it's not some of you, it's like you've just allowed any ministry or thing that God would want to do. Are you to just be paralyzed just too far down? How can you never get up from this? I'll never be able to be restored from this.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

People I'll never be able to forgive this. And Jesus loves you so much. That He gave his life so you wouldn't have to end by breaking the law, the law of God, not loving God right. Not loving people, right. Every single one of us are doing that's what the wages of sin are. Death from the wrath of God.

I thank God Jesus came and He has put himself between us and the stones of broken law.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

By hanging on a cross, He is taken in his hands. Any handwriting of the law that would prove us guilty, and by the shedding of his blood all that stuff that would be in the record books, it's washed away to the point that when the enemy tries to stand at the throne of judgment, and bring the books of hail and point out they did this at this date and this time, and this is why they don't deserve heaven.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And they did this at this date, at this time. And this is why they should be cast in the hail and when it's compared with the record books of heaven, it ain't gonna match the blood of Jesus has been applied not just to be religious for the sake of reverence. Would you just take a moment by head I'm going to ask you to close your eyes and the reason I'm asking you to do that is just to take a minute and just be reverent before the Lord some of you feel something.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You don't know how to explain it, but you feel it I've been in your shoes. I've felt it to it's the draw of God. It's God let you know that it's not too late. You're not too far away and you're not too far down I think the best way I've ever heard it described is one of the simplest ways I've ever heard it described.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

It's a little boy he went to school and he told all of his friends, I got saved. They said, How do you know you got saved? Do you see a vision he said, No. Well, do you hear the audible voice of God? He said, No. How do you know you got saved? He said, The only way I know how to describe it is it's like when you're down at Papa Pond and you can't see the fish and you can't hear the fish, but you can feel him tugging on your line that's exactly what's happening for many of you right now, is God is tugging on your line and he's offering you the opportunity for a comeback from the hurt, the habit, the hang up, come back from the sand, if that resonates with you. And you would say today I want to make the decision to serve Jesus Christ for the rest of my life, receive his grace, his love and his blood. I want to ask you just to put your hand in the air right now.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I'm not asking you to put your hand in the air so that a church can merely count it or so that I as a pastor can see it. I'm asking you to put that hand in the air as a sign of faith and testimony. Think of it like this. You're at the ocean and a riptide gets a hold of you and pulls you away.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You would throw your hands in the air and you would wave to the nearest lifeguard hoping to be saved. Right now you're waving towards heaven. You're waving towards Jesus. You're saying, Hey, Jesus, right here, right here. I want to be saved. Now, what I want to invite you to do is begin to pray in your own way. From a heart of surrender.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Just pour your heart out. Talk to God like you would talk to your very best friend. It's very possible that right now there's things that are sticking out in your heart where you've not loved God, you've not loved people someplace. There was failure in that in that vein, talk to God about it, confess it. Ask him that to stone get dropped ask him that there would be freedom as you pray.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want to pray for you. I want to pray with you. Holy Father, we come to you right now in the name of Jesus and we thank you for salvation. We're not worthy. We don't deserve it. But you have given us the opportunity. If we will receive what you have released. Jesus, we thank you for the cross of Calvary where the blood was shed.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

That Lord, give us the courage to live for you to put the whole world on notice that the old man, the old woman is dead, and that we're a new creature in Christ Jesus.

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