Can You Handle The Truth?

Bible Book: John  18 : 28
Subject: Truth; Faith
Series: That You May Believe

This morning I would like us to begin with a little game of movie trivia. I’m going to cite a famous movie LINE and you try to guess which famous MOVIE it’s from. No need to shout your answer. Just share your guess with your neighbor. Ready? Here goes: “Bond, James Bond” (Sean Connery, Dr. No 1962) How many got that one right? How many weren’t ALIVE in 1962? Okay here’s one from an even older film: “Of all the gin joints in town, she walks into mine.” (Humphry Bogart, Casablanca 1942) Anyone do better that time? Okay this one should be much easier. Ready? Here’s the line: “I’ll be back.” (Arnold Scwartzenegger, The Terminator 1984) Everyone should get this next one right. “My momma always said ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna to get.’” (Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump 1994) Okay - one more. “You can’t handle the truth!” (Jack Nicolson, A Few Good Men 1992)

Now - I want you to think about that last movie line for a minute - because “not handling the truth” is a mind set that is very prevalent in our culture. I mean, more and more people tend to treat absolute truth like a hot potato. It’s not something people want to deal with because it’s not “politically correct” to do so. You could say that absolute truth has fallen on absolutely hard times. In fact, a survey done by the Barna Research group proves this. It says that three fourths of all people - teenagers on up - don’t think there is such a thing as absolute truth.

But this attitude is really nothing new. Mankind has been avoiding absolute truth since the very beginning. If you doubt me, get out the book of Genesis and read chapter 3. I bring this all up because a Roman leader in Jesus’ day embraced this truth-avoiding mind set and I’m referring to Pontius Pilate. Do you remember the conversation Pilate had with Jesus? Just hours before the cross our Lord stood before Pilate and told him that He had come into the world to testify to the TRUTH. Pilate’s response was in the form of a sarcastic question, namely: “What is truth?”

But Pilate’s words were more of a STATEMENT than a question. He didn’t even wait for a response because he was making fun of Jesus and His mission. He was inferring that it was FOOLISH and NAIVE to believe in such a thing as absolute truth. Of course, as Christ followers, we know Pilate was absolutely wrong. We build our lives on the conviction that absolute truth exists. We know it is FOOLISH and NAIVE to believe otherwise. I’m reminded of the man who heard his friend say, “There are two sides to every question.” The man replied, “Yes, there are two sides to every question...just like there are two sides to a sheet of flypaper, but it makes a difference to the fly which side he chooses.”

This morning we are studying John’s account of this conversation Jesus had with Pontius Pilate - and as we look at this text I want to point out three absolute truths that can be clearly seen in their verbal exchange - but first let me tell you a little about this man...this Roman procurator.

Historians tell us that Pilate was a native of Seville, Spain and that like many of his peers, as a young man he joined the legions of Germanicus in the wars on the Rhine. After peace had been secured, Pilate went to Rome to make his fortune. There he met and married Claudia Proculla, the granddaughter of the emperor Augustus - the same one who had demanded a census in the year of Jesus’ birth. I don’t know if there was any love in the marriage - but for an ambitious Roman like Pilate it was a wise political move because as the grand-daughter of the famous emperor, Claudia had connections with the highest levels of the Roman government. With connections like these Pilate developed a personal friendship with Lucius Sejanus, the de facto leader of Rome during Emperor Tiberius’ extended retirement on the isle of Capri. And, in 26 A.D. soon after rising to power Sejanus granted his friend one of the most coveted posts in the empire: Procurator of Judea - a post Pilate held until 37A.D.

Now - like his predecessors, normally Pilate resided in his comfortable palace on the Mediterranean coast in Caesarea but when Passover rolled around every year he always stayed in Jerusalem because the crowds were so large. You see, the procurator’s presence - not to mention his entourage and the Roman soldiers that came with him - helped maintain law and order on the streets of Jerusalem.

Now - I want you to note that there is a discrepancy between the way Pilate is depicted in history and the way he is depicted in the Bible.

In the gospels Pilate is uneasy. He seems to be afraid to displease the Jewish people - but, the Pilate of history was nothing like that. Far from it - he was an anti-Semitic Roman to the core. In fact, his actions show that he was an absolute wolf for Jewish blood. I mean, prior to the events in this text Pilate never made a single attempt to please the Jews - unless he was FORCED to do so. Listen to how Pilate is described in a letter from Agrippa to Caligula - the emperor after Tiberius - as recorded in the writings of Philo. Agrippa writes: “Pilate is unbending and recklessly hard. He is a man of notorious reputation, severe brutality, prejudice, savage violence, and murder.” Philo also said Pilate was, and I quote, “...a man of very inflexible disposition, and very merciless as well as very obstinate.” To me Pilate sounds like some cruel Nazi concentration camp commander - and these aspects of his character help explain the temporary change of heart we see in our text. I mean, Pilate cared nothing about public opinion EXCEPT when his neck was in the noose...and that’s where it was in our text.

You see, because of his obstinate merciless character, at the time of Jesus’ trial, Pilate was in essence “on report.” He was under investigation by Rome. The emperor had ordered surveillance on this man because of all the negative reports about the way he ruled the people of that part of the empire.

Let me share some of Pilate’s prejudicial and brutal blunders that would have contributed to his being in the “hot seat” with the emperor when Jesus was brought before him.

The first occurred during Pilate’s first visit to Jerusalem as a brand new governor.

Now - as I said - when the governor or procurator came to the city he always came with a detachment of soldiers and these soldiers had their standards and on the top of each standard was a little metallic bust of the reigning Emperor. Remember - the Emperor was a “god” to his subjects and so to the Jew that little bust on the standards was a graven image. In their minds it was blatant idolatry. Knowing this, to keep the peace, all previous Roman procurators had wisely removed those images from the standards before entering Jerusalem, but Pilate stubbornly refused to do so. Well, the Jews asked him to remove them but he was adamant. Pilate refused to pander to the superstitions of the Jews. When his business was done in Jerusalem, he went back to Caesarea and the angry Jews followed him. In fact, they dogged his footsteps for five days. They were humble, but determined in their requests that he apologize for disrespecting their laws.

Finally he told them to meet him in the amphitheater to resolve the issue. When they came he surrounded them with armed soldiers, and informed them that if they did not stop their requests, they would be killed right there and then. In response the stubborn Jews bared their necks, daring the soldiers to strike - and not even Pilate could massacre defenseless men so he was beaten and had to give in. He agreed to remove the images from the standards. That is how Pilate BEGAN his governorship.

Pilate’s second blunder centered on his attempts to solve a problem. You see, the Jerusalem water supply was inadequate and Pilate decided he would show the Jews how amazing Roman engineers and builders were by constructing an aqueduct to rectify things. Perhaps he thought this would correct his bad start and repair his damaged public image. But aqueducts were expensive - so to fund this project, Pilate raided the temple treasury. It would be kind of like the Governor of Maryland taking funds from our church’s account to pay for the ICC. Now - who knows - Pilate may have done this with the help of the often hypocritical religious leaders because water was of great benefit to the Temple...since it needed a great deal of water for cleansing with its continual sacrifices. But the people resented his use of these sacred funds and they rioted and surged through the streets. Well, to remind them who was boss Pilate had his soldiers dress in plain clothes and mingle among the demonstrators while carrying concealed weapons. At Pilate’s signal the soldiers attacked the mob and many Jews were clubbed or stabbed to death. Once again Pilate angered his subjects - and another negative report was sent to the Emperor in Rome.

A third blunder happened because of a decorating fax paus. Perhaps to get on Tiberius’ good side after his prior “administrative mistakes” - Pilate had golden shields made to hang in the palace in Jerusalem. The shields were inscribed with the name of Tiberius and were devoted to the honor and memory of the emperor. Now - remember - to the Romans the emperor was a god. So here was the name of a strange god inscribed and displayed for reverence in the holy city. Once again the people were enraged. Everyone asked Pilate to remove them and true to form he refused. The Jews went over his head and reported the matter to Tiberius and he ordered Pilate to remove them.

History records one last disastrous event that happened after Jesus had been the year 35AD. That year there was a revolt in Samaria - not a very serious one, but Pilate crushed it with a sadistic ferocity and numerous executions. Now, the Samaritans had always been regarded as loyal citizens of Rome, so, the legate of Syria intervened and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back because Tiberius ordered Pilate back to Rome. But while he was on the way Tiberius died and so far as we know, Pilate never came to judgement. Tradition says that he was eventually banished to Gaul by Caligula where Pilate suffered what sounds like an emotional or mental break down and committed suicide.

So this is the man who is stood before Jesus that day - a proud man - a man who was skeptical of anyone who believed in truth. For Pilate, you made you own truth. Might made right. What the procurator said was truth - in spite of the facts. Take your Bibles now and turn to John 18:28-19:16. Follow along as we read this famous conversation between Pilate and our Lord, Who we know is “the way, the TRUTH, and the life.”.

28 - Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.

29 - So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this Man?”

30 - “If He were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed Him over to you.”

31 - Pilate said, “Take Him yourselves and judge Him by your own law.” “But we have no right to execute anyone,” the Jews objected.

32 - This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death He was going to die would be fulfilled.

33 - Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 - “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about Me?”

35 - “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was Your people and Your chief priests who handed You over to Me. What is it You have done?”

36 - Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, My servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jews. But now My kingdom is from another place.”

37 - “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a King. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.”

38 - “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against Him.

39 - But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the King of the Jews?’”

40 - They shouted back, “No, not Him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion.

19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged.

2 - The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head. They clothed Him in a purple robe

3 - and went up to Him again and again, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him in the face.

4 - Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing Him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against Him.”

5 - When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the Man!”

6 - As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw Him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take Him and crucify Him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against Him.”

7 - The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law He must die, because He claimed to be the Son of God.”

8 - When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid,

9 - and he went back inside the palace. “Where do You come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.

10 - “Do You refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t You realize I have power either to free You or to crucify You?”

11 - Jesus answered, “You would have no power over Me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed Me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12 - From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this Man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13 - When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha).

14 - It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. “Here is your King,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 - But they shouted, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

16 - Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.

Now - to remind you what has gone on - up until this point our Lord has endured three illegal trials. He has been judged by Annas, the former high priest, then Caiaphas, the current high priest, then the Sanhedrin or council of Jewish elders, and now after having been abused and beaten, He is dragged before the Roman procurator.

Understanding that he is on thin ice here - and needs to avoid any further complaints to Rome if he wants to keep his job - Pilate tries to avoid dealing with Jesus at all. Matthew tells us that another reason Pilate wanted to wash his hands of Jesus as soon as possible is because of his wife. Claudia sent a note to her husband saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” (Matthew 27:19) So, for these reasons, Pilate told the Jews to judge Jesus according to their own law. But they pushed back saying that Jesus deserved execution - something they were not permitted to do under Roman law. John reminds us that this was another fulfillment of prophecy because it determined the way Jesus was to die. Deuteronomy 21:23 said that, “Anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse.” and that describe’s Jesus’ position when He hung on the cross and bore our sins. Psalm 22 prescribed this form of death for the Messiah in detail - hundreds of years earlier - long before the Romans even invented it. Listen to verses16 and following, “They have pierced My hands and My feet. I can count all My bones; people stare and gloat over Me. They divide My garments among them and cast lots for My clothing.”`

Well, after conversing with Jesus about His identity and mission, Pilate learned that Jesus was a Galilean and that gave him an idea. He reasoned that since Jesus was from that region - legally His fate should be determined by King Herod and so he sent Jesus off to his fifth trial. But that didn’t work. Herod just mocked Jesus and sent Him back to Pilate for our Lord’s sixth - and final trial. This time Pilate tried once again to avoid dealing with the TRUTH - aka Jesus. He reminded the Jews of a custom to release a prisoner at Passover. He chose the vilest one he had, Barabbas - thinking surely the people would choose to release the Galilean over a criminal...but it didn’t work. They chose Jesus.

Now - I think Jesus must have made an impression on Pilate. Why else would he have tried to keep Him from the cross? Why not just give in to the Jews he was trying to please? Well at this point, in one last ditch attempt to avoid executing Jesus, Pilate had Him flogged - hoping that would satisfy the mob - but it did not. They demanded Jesus be crucified. Matthew tells us that, at this point, Pilate took water and washed his hands in front of the multitude saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood. See to that yourselves.” And all the people answered and said, ‘His blood be on us and our children.’” (Matthew 29) I have to stop and point out the irony in these words. First, Pilate was no more innocent of Jesus’ blood that are you or I or any sinner. As 1st John 2:1-2 says, “Jesus Christ, the Righteous One is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” And then, what the Jews said next was ABSOLUTELY TRUE. Jesus’ blood WAS on them and their children! Well, at this point John tells us that, “Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified.” (John 19:16)

Okay - what absolute truth can we see in this text? I want to point out three facts that are indeed ABSOLUTELY TRUE.

(1) First, it is absolutely true that religion without relationship is a worthless FACADE.

You see, the purpose of our religion - is to bring us into relationship with God - and if that doesn’t happen it is like confederate currency - it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. It’s fake...false. In fact, a relation-less religion only leads people further FROM God - further into sin.

We see an example of this in the behavior of the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ day. At the beginning of our text we read that when they brought Jesus to Pilate they stopped short of entering the Praetorium lest they defile themselves and not be able to eat the Passover. Now - think of that. These men were guilty of false accusations, brutality, prejudice, and illegal proceedings - all of which had ALREADY defiled them but their religion blinded them to that fact. Their FAKE religion turned them in to FAKE people - hypocrites who thought they were staying pure enough to eat the Passover while turning the innocent Passover Lamb Himself over to be crucified.

We see more of their hypocrisy at the END of our text when they said to Pilate, “We have no king but Caesar.” With this statement, in essence they were bowing to the same Caesar whose image was on those shields and standards...the Caesar-god whose image they had complained about. So you can see that their faith was a facade. It wasn’t real.

In an episode of the History Channel’s reality show about a Las Vegas pawn shop, a man brought in a violin and asked for an appraisal. According to the man's story, he had recently purchased a piece of property that included a house and a barn. Shortly after his purchase, while inspecting the barn, he opened an old chest and discovered the violin safely tucked inside. As he dusted off the near-perfect instrument, he found the word “Stradivarius” clearly inscribed on the violin. The man was hoping the “Stradivarius” was worth millions of dollars. However, after the pawn store owners examined the violin and then also had it appraised by an expert, they told the man it wasn’t a genuine Stradivarius. Instead, it was a cheap imitation produced in the early part of the 1900’s, worth around five or six hundred dollars. The appraiser concluded by telling the crestfallen violin owner, “Just because something has a label doesn’t mean it’s real.”

Religion for religion sake - religion gives you nothing more than a LABEL - religion that doesn’t lead the practitioner to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ is an empty religion - that produces empty people. It’s worthless. That is absolutely true.

And while we are on the subject - can you “handle” this first truth? I mean, how REAL is your religion? How deep is your relationship with God? How often do you talk to Him? How often do you listen? Do you study His living Word? Do you try live by it? Remember - God hates false religion - religion that is nothing but a sham - a front. He values - TREASURES a heart that genuinely yearns to know Him and please Him. Do you remember the words of Psalm 51? King David writes,“God - You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices You love are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

(2) Here’s a second absolute truth we see in this text: Jesus was INNOCENT.

Even Pilate realized this. Not once - not twice - but THREE TIMES, he publically declared Jesus to be innocent of any crime and undeserving of the cross. But, unwilling to risk a riot that would cost him the loss of his position, he gave Christ over to death. And of course innocence was nothing new for Jesus. I mean, He was always absolutely sinless. He never sinned in thought, word, or deed. Jesus was tempted in every way that we are...but He never yielded...not even once. As I reminded you a few weeks back,

When He was a little boy, Jesus never sassed His mother.
He never lied to Joseph about where He’d been.
He never cheated on a test in Synagogue school.
As an adult, He kept the Law of God perfectly.

His record was spotless! In fact, once He even asked His enemies, “Which of you accuses Me of sin?”and none of them could. So it is absolutely true that Jesus went to Calvary absolutely innocent. He died for the sins of the world as God’s blameless Lamb. But of course, that is what makes the Gospel such good news. You see, we are NOT innocent. Every moment of every day each of us fall short of God’s holy standard. We deserve punishment - and our punishment is what Jesus bore on the cross. Because He was absolutely innocent - He was able to die in our place. Because He had no sin debt - He could pay for ours. And that’s what He did. He died so that we could be forgiven. He died so that we could live.

Charles Swindoll writes, “Jesus endured six unjust trials. He was sentenced to an unjust death - but from those acts of injustice, the justice of God was satisfied. As men poured out their wrath upon Christ at His trials and His death, God’s wrath against sin was completely released upon Christ at the Cross.”

The truth is you and I should have hung on that Cross. We deserved what Christ didn’t.

And the first person to experience this was a terrorist named Barabbas - who was probably the ringleader of the other two insurrectionists who where crucified with Jesus that day. Now - I want us to try and literally put ourselves in Barabbas’ shoes for a moment. Try to imagine what it would have been like for him on that horrible day. He was no doubt held in a prison cell in the Antonio fortress far enough away that he wouldn’t have been able to hear Jesus’ conversation with Pilate. But he COULD have heard the ravings of the crowd. So the first thing he would have heard that day was his name as the people shouted, “BARABBAS! BARABBAS! GIVE US BARABBAS!” And the next thing he heard would have chilled him to the bone. He heard the throng scream out, “CRUCIFY HIM!” and he thought that he was surely on the way to a Roman cross. But surprisingly that’s not what happened. The jailer who opened his cell didn’t march him to his death. Instead he set him free. Imagine how he felt! I don’t know about you but I can’t help but wonder what happened to Barabbas. Did he leave his life of terrorism and crime? Or - did he go back to it? What did he do - how did he respond - when he learned that Jesus had literally died in his place? And, as you wonder - understand this: if there is anyone we can identify with in this text, it is Barabbas...because like him, Jesus died in our place. As I pondered this point this week my mind kept replaying the lyrics to an old Philip Landgrave song. They go like this:

Calvary had never had on ME its full effect -
until I met the Master face to face.
Golgotha’s story I had heard but to my soul’s neglect.
I had never seen MYSELF at that dread place.

Was it I who nailed Him to the cross? Was it I who pierced Him in the side?
Was it I for whom He bore such loss? Was it I who had Him crucified?

Yes - it was - for ME my Savior died.

Landgrave got it right - all Christ-followers can say those words. In fact say them with me: “It was for ME my Savior died.” He wouldn’t BE my Savior otherwise!

I have to point out something very interesting that I learned this week and it focuses on Barabbas’ NAME. It is an Aramaic name and can be divided into two parts, “Bar” and “Abbas.”

This may sound familiar because Jesus addressed Peter like this. He called him, “Simon Bar Jona” which means, “Simon, son of John.” We are not told Barabbas’ given name only his “last” name which literally means, “son of a father.” But some traditions say that his “first” name was “Yeshua” or as we pronounce it “Jesus.” You see, this was a popular name in that day. It’s another form of the name “Joshua” and lot’s of Jewish parents wanted to name their sons after this famous Jewish hero. This is why Pilate refers to Jesus as “Jesus Who is called Christ” - to distinguish Him from other men with that name. In fact, some of the most ancient manuscripts of Matthew’s gospel say that this was Barabbas’ first name. These manuscripts have Pilate saying, “Whom shall I release? Yeshua Barabbas or Yeshua Christ?” And it makes sense that people who copied the manuscripts over the years would leave this detail out. I mean, it feels almost blasphemous to have Jesus’ name associated with this hardened criminal.

In any case I think it is interesting to note that if the oldest manuscripts of Matthew’s gospel are correct, then Jesus, Son of THE Father died in the place of Jesus, son of A father. Thinking of it like that reminds me that Jesus, Son of THE Father, died in the place of Mark, son of A father. Jesus was just as much MY substitute as He was Barabbas.’ He bore my sins. He died my death. Like Barabbas I was dead in my trespasses and sins until Jesus’ crucified body released the blood of substitution. Like Barabbas I was condemned to die until Jesus took my place. It should have been ME on that cross. It should have been you. That is the absolute truth - and that leads me to point one more truth - and I hope you can handle it.

(3) ...because it is absolutely true that you cannot be NEUTRAL when it comes to Jesus Christ.

Pilate tried every trick in the book to avoid making a decision about Him Who is the embodiment of TRUTH - He tried to pass the decision on to the Jews and then to Herod but in the end he had to decide. I mean, Pilate said he washed his hands of Jesus - but he couldn’t do that anymore that we can. We all have to DECIDE one way or the other what we will do with Jesus. You can’t “wash your hands” of this one. It is impossible to be neutral about Jesus. We are either FOR Him or AGAINST Him. We either accept Him as Savior and Lord...or we reject Him. And that’s the way it is with Truth. Truth always demands a response.

Speaking of old song lyrics - to you remember the classic hymn written by Albert B. Simpson in 1905? Are these words familiar?

Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall, friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all;
Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call? What will you do with Jesus?

Jesus is standing on trial still, You can be false to Him if you will,
You can be faithful through good or ill: What will you do with Jesus?

Will you evade Him as Pilate tried? Or will you choose Him, whate’er betide?
Vainly you struggle from Him to hide: What will you do with Jesus?

What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be;
Someday your heart will be asking, “What will He do with me?”



Father God, As our minds consider this text - shine the light of it’s truth on our lives. Use truth to help us see...if our faith is true - or false. Help us to see that Jesus, the Innocent, died for us, the guilty. And, now, give us the courage to “handle” this truth. Tell us how we each need to respond. Speak to Christians present who need to deepen their walk with You. Convict us of our need to be more faithful in sharing the truth of the Gospel with others...especially during this Holy Week. And Father, speak to anyone present who does not know Jesus as Savior and Lord. In Your amazing grace and unconditional love, draw them to Yourself. Help them to see that they need to make a decision. I ask this in JESUS’ name...AMEN

As we stand and sing, we invite you to respond as God leads. Come and profess your faith in Jesus. Come and ask to join this church. Come to the altar and pray. But come as God leads.