So we're going to do a short little message that we're calling the pumpkin parable this morning. And it's really not so much like a parable. It's really more like a pumpkin illustration, but I needed a P for the alliteration to make it sound good. So y'all can give me a little extend a little grace. I mean, this is the church of grace, right? And so we're gonna call it the pumpkin parable this morning. And so so that's what I have underneath here. Do you guys carve pumpkins at your house anybody carved pumpkins on during this time of year a few of your we carve pumpkins every now and then. And my wife likes to make everything a competition. And we post it on social media sometimes and, and get people to vote on them. And she always wins. So I don't I don't like playing that game any more really. But but she carved this pumpkin here. And here's a little face on it. And here's what we're going to do this morning, we are going to say that this pumpkin right here represents you. So turn to your neighbor and say, hey, that's you. You're You're a little orange today. You don't really have any arms. You don't really have any legs or anything. But this is what we're going with today. This represents you, right? And here's what I know to be true about you based on what Scripture says about you. Scripture says that you were born with sin in your life. Matter of fact, the apostle Paul in Romans chapter three verses nine through 12 says this For we have already made the charge that all are under the power of since they all are under the power of sin. Verse 10, as it is written, There is no one righteous say no one righteous, not even one there is no one who understands they no one understands there is no one who seeks God all have turned away say all have turned away. They have together become worthless, there is no one who does good, not even one. Each and every single one of us are full of this power of sin in our lives. And so if I were to, if I were to take the top off of you and look inside of your heart, the first thing I would do is say you stink Yeah, but that's what sin does. Sin steeks. Right. And so here's what I know to be true about you and your heart is you have all this yucky stuff in you this, this power of sin that is living inside of you probably should have rolled my sleeves up a little bit on that right maybe I still have time to do that before this gets too bad this morning. But but this is what is on the inside of us we have this power of, of sin, the sin nature that we have and, and with this sin nature and this power of sin, it it produces sins. The sin power that lives on us produces sins that gets manifested in our life. And so sometimes the power of sin produces the sin of, of lying, right and it comes out of us or sometimes it produces the sin of, of gossip maybe and it gets manifested through us sometimes it may be the sin of, of lust through our eyes or the sin of of looking at somebody else's paper and cheating on something to get ahead. But either way, there's all this yucky power of, of sin living in us. And it man is set fest itself through through sins through different sins that get produced through our lives. And the other thing about this is not just that this is a problem that this is in you and it produces all this yucky, nasty stuff that we don't like to see in our lives. But the other thing that's true about this is the Bible says you're spiritually dead. This sin leaves you spiritually dead because you're separated from God, can you imagine God being in the presence of that yucky power of sin, of course not a holding in a perfect God can't be in the presence of that. So here's what we know that the apostle Paul teaches us also in Rome and says, Therefore, just as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned, turn to your neighbor and say you're dead. I mean, that's what the Bible teaches is that you are spiritually dead, you're separated from God, you're spiritually dead, and there's nothing that you can do about it. Now, here's the thing, we always focus a lot of times, sometimes even in church and out in the world about you trying to make yourself into a better you, I sure wish I could make myself into the best version of myself. And we focus a lot of times on the externals, a lot of time, it's on behavior and the things that we say the things that we're achieving, and and we're, we're performing in but all of those things are, are external, do you see how trying to focus on the the 10 steps to make you a better, you really isn't going to do anything about the problem that you have on the inside, right? You can look really clean on the outside, but still be full of the power of sin on the inside. This is what Jesus said, in the gospels, we know to the Pharisees and referring to them even as whitewashed tombs sometimes. And so this is the bad news that Scripture tells us you're born with the power of sin in you, it produces the sins, these yucky things that come out, leaves you spiritually dead, if you're dead on the inside, then there's no life there feels like you're empty, you're missing something. And a lot of times, you're going to be looking for the stuff out in the world that can fill the hole that you since there is on the inside from being dead from missing life. Because of that. And so a lot of times we try to fill it with money, we try to fill it with video games, we try to fill it with with work and achievement or something that we do in sports or at school. And, and the thing about all of those things is they may feel like they they fill us for a little while on the inside. But what happens to all the new stuff that we get it eventually becomes what? Old stuff, right, and then you have to get more new stuff to fill the hole even more. And so all the stuff we look for out in the world just provides temporary satisfaction and fulfillment and never really, ultimately satisfies never fully fulfills us in that way. And so this is the bad news. This is the condition that we all find ourselves in. The good news is that Jesus came to fix our sin problem. We even see this right off the bat in the gospels when the writers are telling us about Jesus in the book of Matthew and his opening chapter where he's telling us about how Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit was gonna give birth to Jesus and Joseph her, her fiance was kind of freaking out about this ride and the angel appears to him. And in verse 21, the angel says, Hey, Mary, she will she referring to Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. And here's why He even tells you why. Because he will save his people from their sins. This is what Jesus was born into the world for not to teach us about how to be better at externally doing moral, moral things. Right? I mean, Jesus wouldn't have had to come to have done that we had the law, right? Jesus came because of our sin problem and to save us from our sins because we couldn't do anything about that yucky stuff inside of us. The question, of course, is how, how was Jesus going to save us from our sins? Well, if I asked you, most of you would say, Well, yeah, it was through the cross. But a lot of times, I don't know if we really understand what was going on at the cross at that particular time. Paul illuminates what was really kind of happening during that time, and so does Peter the apostle Paul in second Corinthians chapter five says God made him referring to Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us say God made Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us us. This is what the Bible teaches. He also Peter says he himself, bore our sins in his body, bore his sins in our body on the cross so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. And so let's, let's say that this container right here, represents Jesus. So do you see any of the yucky stuff in side of this container? You don't see it right? Why? Because it says God made Him who had no sin. Right? So Jesus was born into this world without any sin. And because he didn't have any sin to pay for himself, the Bible says that he could take on our sin and be the one who pays the penalty for all of them. And so that's what happens. It says that Jesus took our sins bore your sins, on the cross, Jesus took all of your lying in all of your gossip, and he took all of your cheating, and all of your lust, and he took all of your sins and the sins of the entire world and he bore them on to himself. Can you imagine? The weight this just represents your sin that I took out of you. Jesus took on your sin, the person sin sitting next to you, on your left, and on your right in front of you, and behind you. And of every one in the entire world, past, present, and future. Can you imagine the weight of that he who had no sin became sin. For you, and for me. And so this is what happens. Jesus took all of those things onto himself. And you know, one of the things that that communicates before we even go on is how much do you think that Jesus has to love you and value you? If he was willing to take that onto himself from you? He didn't even do that. He wasn't responsible for this lying, or this cheating, or this lust? Or this gossip? Or this anger? How much? How much do you think he has to love you and value you to take this on? Some days, we wake up and we don't feel very loved. We don't feel very lovable. Sometimes you fail in life and you don't feel like you are worthy of being loved. Sometimes other people tell you that, that you are a failure that you don't matter, that you don't deserve to be loved. Sometimes we're pretty good at convincing ourselves of that sometimes the world tells us sometimes it's family and all the above. And I guess what I'm trying to say is when you wake up, or you have those moments throughout the day in your life, I want you to remember that picture right there. That no matter if anybody else really loves you or not, no matter whether you really love yourself, Jesus loves you. And he finds you extremely valuable, or else he wouldn't have been willing to take on your sin and go through what it is that he went through on the cross for you. Now Jesus, of course, took that sin, and He died on the cross for that sin. And He was raised from the dead three days later defeating the power of sin and death for forever. He did away with all of that sin and He ascended back to heaven and having finished the work that he came to do. Remember, Matthew said that he was born into this world to save his people from his sins where he had finished the work of what it would require to save His people from their sins, and ascended back to heaven. And now we're told that scripture offers us that forgiveness that He purchased as a gift to us that we simply have to receive into our lives by faith. You guys know Ephesians 289 Where it says For it is by grace you have been saved through faith right? Grace that you've been saved through faith, it is a gift. And so when you recognize that you are a sinner, and that your sin separates you from him, and that you can't do anything to make yourself into a better you and that only Jesus can do that, and you say yes to him by putting your faith and trust in Him, then you recognize all of that stuff gets applied to you. And now you are completely clean on the inside. All of this stuff's been taken out of you, and now you are clean. Revelation one five says to him, referring to Jesus, who loved us, and washes us or washed us from our sins, in his own blood. Riley diamond got baptized a little bit earlier in the service at the very beginning. And baptism is a great picture of that. Right? The moment that Riley said yes to Jesus, all of our sins were washed away. And so this baptism is a picture of, of her sins having been washed completely away. And so sometimes we like to still think that all of that yucky stuff at the core of our being is in there. And because we sometimes still mess up but but this says that Jesus has washed us of our sins in his blood. Think about this, when Jesus took all of this sin upon himself, how many of your sins were still in the future? All of them, right? You hadn't even been born yet. That was 2000 years ago. So if Jesus took all of them at that time, knowing everything that was that you were going to do, they've all been paid for. They're all taken away, you are completely forgiven. Look at your neighbor and say, You are forgiven. If you have received Jesus Christ, you are clean, your sins are gone. As far as the east is from the west, he remembers them no more say that's good news. It's really good news right? Now, that's only half of the solution, though, because we did say that there were two problems. We said there was this power of sin living in you that manifest itself through sins and this yucky stuff. And Jesus took care of that. But the other thing that we said, was that your other problem was that you were what? You were dead. Two people at least were listening at that time, apparently. All right. So remind your neighbor say you were dead. Alright, this was a problem. So what was Jesus going to do? To be able to solve that problem? He took care of the sin, it's gone, you're You're forgiven. You're clean on the inside now. But Ben said anything about not being still dead? Right? Well, here's what we know about Jesus and how he took care of that problem. We talked about this verse last week, John, and the opening lines of his gospel talking about Jesus says, In Him was life, and that life was the light of all man, kind. So let's say now that this candle represents Jesus. And everybody say Jesus is the life and the light of the world. This is who Jesus is In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. Now, here's the deal in John chapter 10, a little bit further in the same gospel that I just read from Jesus even says, I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. Alright, so Matthew tells us that he was born into this world to save us from our sins. And Jesus also announces that one of the other reasons I've come is so that they may have life, right? Now, here's the other thing that we know about Jesus already read to you that John tells us that In him was life. Jesus also said in the book of John chapter 11, I am the resurrection and the life everybody say Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He also said in John 14, six, I'm the way the truth on the life. Everybody say Jesus is the way Jesus is the truth, that Jesus says the life right, so John tells us that In him was life and that light, or life was the light of all mankind. Jesus stands up and says, I am the resurrection and the life I am the Way the Truth and the Life and I've come so that I may give them life. So what was he trying to say? He was trying to say that He came to give us himself right. him to put his life in light inside of us the Apostle Paul when right Think about this after the cross, and Galatians 220 says, I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The moment that we say yes to Jesus, not only are we completely forgiven, not only are we made clean, but he's made that the reason he did that was to make an acceptable living environment for him to put himself into, for him to come dwell in now in this moment. And so you have the life and the light of the world living in you. Now you are no longer spiritually dead. But in Christ, you had been made spiritually alive, look at your neighbor and say, Hey, you're alive. The apostle Paul says in Second Corinthians 517, therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come, the old has gone, the new is here, if you have put your faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, you are not who you once were. You are different. Now, you are forgiven, you are clean. You have the life and light of the world living in you. Now, if we could dim or turn all the lights down, Jerry, Ralph, could we go ahead and get all the lights down, here's what I want you to see is that we still live in this dark world, Satan is known as the prince of darkness, right. And so, so this is the picture, I want you to get that, that Jesus gave his life for you. To put his life in you, to live his life through you, so that a lost and dying world could see the light in the life living in you and through you and be drawn to it in half hope. And so this power of sin that lived in you, which produced sins, which manifested itself through sinful behavior, now the life of Christ lives in you, you have a new nature in him, and with his life in his life, something else gets manifested through you something else gets produced through you things like love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness, and gentleness, and self control. So I want you to get that image in your head this morning that if you have said yes to Jesus, if you've said yes to Jesus, this is who you are now. And this is what he is doing in you and through you. Now, if you're here today and you haven't said yes to Jesus. And I don't want you to mistake what it is that I'm saying here. What the truth, the reality of the situation, really is. That this is not who you are, if you haven't said yes to Jesus, you don't have to do anything. You can't follow the 10 steps to become the Life in the Light of the world to have your sins removed. It's it's only through Jesus, right. And so the truth is, if you've never had a moment where you've said yes to Jesus than then this is what's still true about you. I wish it wasn't that way. But it's what's true of all of us. It was true of me at one time, it was true of every single person in this room. But at some point in time, for a lot of us who were here this morning or watching online. Jesus illuminated the truth and showed pulled back the curtain and showed us what was really going on. And how there was really nothing that we could do about the situation that we were in and explained and revealed to us that we needed Jesus. And then he's available to us as a gift, his forgiveness and His life. But we have to take a step, a step of receiving it. I can try to give you a gift all day long. But until you reach out and you take the gift and you actually receive it, it's not yours. The good news is is though even though this is true about you right now, in this moment, no matter who you are, where you've been what it is that you've been, you've done, Jesus has taken all of this to the cross. He's he's died for it. It's been taken care of and it can be applied to you. If you'll just receive it this morning. You can be made clean you can be forgiven. You can have his light and light put in you and you can walk out of here different This morning. And so no matter how young you are, no matter how old you are, if you've never said yes to Jesus, it's not too late or too early to do so today. So that you can walk out of here changed, different, completely free and forgiving, filled with a Life in the Light of the world. And eternal salvation. So if that's you in this moment, or you're watching online in this moment, and you're ready to say yes to Him, you're ready to receive His forgiveness in his life. I want to give the opportunity to do that right now. Let's close our eyes and Let's all bow our heads.