Friday, October 5, 2018

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There's this unforgettable drive above the Hudson River; in fact, the highway just kind of hangs out on Storm King Mountain. (I love that name.) It's a few miles north of New York City and as you look down on the Hudson River you get this incredible view. Now every time I've been able to catch a glance down there at this view of the Hudson, I've been fascinated with this castle. It sits right in the middle of the river on an island. It's kind of like a Robin Hood type of castle. Well, some years ago my wife and I got to take a cruise along the Hudson River and I could take an extended look at that castle. We went right past it, and our tour guide said, "That's Bannerman Castle." Mr. Bannerman, apparently, was an arms dealer for many, many years, and over many decades there are a lot of very interesting stories about people coming and going for weapons all through the wars and all kinds of things. Then in the 1960's there was a large explosion there on the island. What about the castle? Well, I was surprised to learn the truth about that castle.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Hollow on the Inside."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 23, beginning at verse 25. But first, I have to tell you that Bannerman Castle according to the tour guide, though it's very impressive on the outside, is now hollow on the inside. Okay, now listen to what Jesus says about human Bannerman Castles. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish but inside they are full of greed and self indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the cup and dish, then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."

Look at this. Jesus says there are people that look great on the outside, religious on the outside, but they've got big problems on the inside. This could be you. I mean it could be true of a marriage, it could be true of a church, an organization, a leader, you and me. 

You know we live in a world where image and appearance are everything. You know we work on our fitness, and our hair, and our wardrobe, making good comments, making good impressions, looking like we have it all together, but then maybe there's another you. When you're alone, when you're thinking honestly, can you feel that emptiness inside...that hollowness? You can't explain it but you can't deny it! And beneath the image you know the darkness, you know the sin. You know the struggle that's in there. Like one young woman said, "There's a darkness inside me that scares me." Well, eventually it's all going to collapse.

Mickey Mantle said before his death, "I filled my emptiness with alcohol." Listen to what Jesus said in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness." Jesus is saying, "Invite me into that inner darkness; invite me into that emptiness. I can fill it." He said later in this chapter in Matthew 23, "How often I have longed to gather your children together, but you were not willing."

Jesus says that he has been knocking on the door of your life. Why don't you give the emptiness and the darkness to the One who already knows all about you, who sees past the image, who can forgive that sin, who can clean out that darkness, and who can let you go free from it? Let it bring you not to depression, but to the cross of Jesus where he died knowing the sin inside of you and wanting to forgive you and set you free. You need to clean it up, not cover it up. Say, "Lord, I need a Savior, no more trusting in me. It's all in your hands; I'm all in your hands now from this day on, Jesus." 

Look, our website is there for a crossroads moment like this in your life; literally, a road that goes to the cross. I hope you'll go there and see from God's Word what you need to know to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. It's

Jesus builds people from the inside out. So, open the door of that empty castle and let Jesus in. He'll make you strong inside and you can finally be done with that hollow spot in your heart.