Monday, May 26, 2008

When faith doesn't make sense

Joshua 5:13 – 6:16, 20

When faith doesn’t make sense.


Bill Cosby: “Okay, Joshua, let me be sure that I’ve got this straight. You say that for six days we’ll walk around the city of Jericho carrying the ark of the covenant (the Canaanites want to know what’s in that box), saying absolutely nothing, with seven of our priest blowing the ram’s horn trumpets? Then we go back to camp to sleep every night. Then on the seventh day we walk around seven times silently? Then all at once, when the trumpets start blowing, we all start shouting, and those double, twenty-five foot high walls are going to fall down? Come on, Joshua, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

 

I.         What Joshua learned:

 

            A.        God is not on “our” side.


“Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies? [14] "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell face-down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?” [Joshua 5:13 – 14]

 

                        1.         We like to think in terms of “sides.” (“Who’s side are you on?” “Pick a side right now!” etc...)

 

                                    a.         Current “war on terrorism”

 

                                                1.)       One pastor publically curses America by wishing God’s damnation upon it...

 

                                                2.)       Other’s will declare America to be blessed by God... God’s on “our side.”

 

                                    b.         “If God is for us, who can be against us?” [Romans 8:31b]

 

                                                1.)       It is a comforting thought... image... to think of ourselves as invincible because God is on “our side.”

 

                                                2.)       However, this is not the same as the exchange between God and Joshua.

 

                        2.         Joshua does not, when he challenges the man, recognize God.

 

                                    a.         Joshua is out scouting... planning the attack, when he meets a soldier with a drawn sword.

 

                                    b.         Joshua’s question is meant to clarify what he needs to do at that point.

 

                        3.         God’s answer is to turn the question around.

 

                                    a.         You see the real question is not if God is on “our side” it is are we on God’s side.

 

                                                1.)       Are we going to submit to God, allow God to take charge?

 

                                                2.)       Are we going to resist God, not allow God to take charge?

 

                                    b.         Reality check: there is no “our side.”

 

            B.        Consistent waiting is the key to faith.

 

                        1.         The first issue is “duty.”

 

                                    a.         Israel had just renewed a broken covenant and celebrated Passover.

 

                                                1.)       They were not going to allow the sins of the past generation to rule them.

 

                                                2.)       “We may then expect the discoveries of the divine grace when we are found in the way of our duty and are diligent and sincere in our attendance on holy ordinances.” (Matthew Henry)

 

                                    b.         Joshua is doing what it is expected.

 

                                                1.)       He was near Jericho... thinking? Praying? Planning? Observing? Mapping?

 

                                                2.)       It is in this warrior mode, that God appears to him. Remember Joshua had been commanded to be “strong and courageous.” [see Joshua 1:6, 7, 9] That’s exactly what Joshua was...

 

                        2.         The plans were spiritual not military.

 

                                    a.         Remember the spies that discouraged the people 40 years ago?


“But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. [27] You grumbled in your tents and said, "The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. [28] Where can we go? Our brothers have made us lose heart. They say, `The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.” [Deuteronomy 1:26 – 28]

 

                                    b.         God wants to demonstrate that walls are not a problem... lack of faith is the real problem

 

                                                1.)       God has to undo the image of the damage planted by the past generation into this one...

 

                                                2.)       The image of the walls falling was to be a picture that with God, we are not to lose heart... regardless how hard this looks.

 

II.       God’s ways are not our ways!


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. [9] "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” [Isaiah 55:8 – 9]

 

            A.        Basic fact, God is God.

 

                        1.         When we make God to act like us, we have created a false god. God’s “weakest” action is way above our strongest ones.

 

                        2.         When we make God to think like us, we have created a false god. God’s “dumbest” thoughts are way wiser than our best and smartest ones.


“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.” [1 Corinthians 1:25]

 

            B.        God’s “foolishness” is our power!

 

                        1.         Imagine providing salvation by sacrificial death? Jesus did that on the cross.

 

                                    a.         Think about how smart it was to die for people, the vast majority would, and still do, reject and mock that sacrificial death.

 

                                    b.         We could think that the walls of man’s stubborn, rebellious hearts are to high and think for God’s love to get through...

 

                        2.         “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” [1 Corinthians 1:18]

 

                                    a.         And God uses preaching, of all things... foolish ways on top of foolish message.

 

                                    b.         “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” [1 Corinthians 1:23]

 

            C.        It’s all about who gets the glory.

 

                        1.         “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” [Exodus 15:11]

 

                                    a.         Fact is that only the Lord is worthy of glory...

 

                                    b.         When we make a grab at glory, we are in serious trouble.

 

                        2.         “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” [Psalm 19:1]

 

                                    a.         Even creation points to God’s glory.

 

                                    b.         Did you know that God knows how many stars they are, and what their names are? [see Psalm 147:7]

 

                        3.         “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” [Revelation 4:11]

 

                                    a.         Irony, this the “411” (phone number dialed for information) that everyone should know.

 

                                    b.         Only God is worthy of glory, honor, and power!

 

III.      What does it take today?

 

            A.        You must stand on holy ground.

 

                        1.         Holy ground is in the presence of God.

 

                                    a.         When God calls you, you have the opportunity to respond or resist.

 

                                    b.         When you respond to God, you are changed.


“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” [2 Corinthians 5:17]

 

                        2.         You must seek a life changing encounter with Jesus...

 

                                    a.         If God is calling you, then effort is required... because effort gives and creates value.

 

                                    b.         “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” [Matthew 6:33]

 

                                    c.         “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” [Matthew 7:7]

 

                                    d.         “God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:27]

 

                                    e.         “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” [Hebrews 11:6]

 

            B.        You must set aside fear, comfort, selfishness, and other like things as you carefully prepare and wait for God’s time and God’s work.

 

                        1.         Another way to say this is focus.

 

                                    a.         The plans God gave Joshua were to “try their faith, obedience and patience.” [Matthew Henry]

 

                                    b.         “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. [8] But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” [Romans 2:7 – 8]

 

                        2.         God could have taken the walls down on the first or second day.

 

                                    a.         Throughout the Bible there seems to be a heavy emphasis and value placed on constructive waiting. (Like the 10 days between Jesus leaving earth and the day of Pentecost. The 25 years Abraham waited for the promised child, Isaac. The 40 days Jesus spent in the desert between His baptism and His first sermon.)

 

                                    b.         Your timing must match God’s timing... “Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. [9] Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” [2 John 1:8 – 9]

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Church!

Acts 1:12 – 2:4, Acts 2:42 – 47

Happy Birthday Church!

 

I.          The basics:

 

            A.        [1:12 – 14] Prayer

 

                        1.         Because Jesus told them to “wait.”

 

                                    a.         They were obeying the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

                                    b.         “Waiting does not mean “doing nothing.”

                       

                        2.         Because prayer is the foundation.

 

(quote: “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” Unknown)

 

                                    a.         Before we do anything… pray!

 

                                    b.         Before anything happens… pray!

 

            B.         [1:15 – 20] Scripture

 

                        1.         Because Scripture is the foundation and sole authority.

 

                                    a.         “Scripture” is the “Word of God”

 

-         God reveals His will.

 

-         God reveals what He is going to do.

 

-         God reveals what He wants to accomplish.

 

-         God reveals what we are to do.

 

                                    b.         Scripture provides the foundation for what is about to happen.

 

                        2.         Because Scripture reminds us:

 

                                    a.         God has everything planned out.

 

-         God knew Judas’ actions.

 

                                                -     God did not determine Judas’ actions but gave us what would happen in Scripture.

 

                                    b.         How you understand prophecy (God’s foreknowledge or God’s preordination) will determine your view of God.  (God’s holy and loving interaction or God’s casual effect.)

 

            C.        [1:21 – 26] Business.

 

                        1.         There is an organizational necessity.

 

                                    a.         Choosing leadership, in dependence on God.

 

                                    b.         “Apostolic ministry” was an eye witness to Jesus’ life.  It was the idea of the accuracy of a primary source.  (Ended once all the eye witnesses died.)

 

                        2.         Business can be a neglected item.

 

                                    a.         We see it as “human.”  (Subject to sinful behavior and attitudes.)

 

                                    b.         It can become “personal.”  (Wanting to be “in charge.”)

 

                                    c.         It can be “political.”  (Making it corrupt in principle.)

 

            D.        [2:1 – 4] Filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

                        1.         After everything else was in order…

 

                        2.         Some expect the Holy Spirit to be an overriding cure for problems when they do not want to do the work of preparing for the Holy Spirit.

 

The reason for this is so it is clear who gets the glory.

 

(Ill. Joshua and Israel marching around Jericho for seven days….)

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

Proverbs 31:10 – 31

Mothers are the CORE of life


Why are rubies so precious? A ruby is one of nature’s paradoxes. It shouldn’t exist. The chemical that makes the ruby the beautiful red also prevents the crystal from forming and then works to destroy the crystal. Every natural ruby is flawed because of this . . . Rubies over three carats are almost unheard of, and will command higher values at auctions than even diamonds. The lesson is:


***** What creates the beauty CAN destroy it. *****


WANTED: Mom


JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.


RESPONSIBILITIES: Must provide on-the-site training in basic life skills, such as nose blowing. Must have strong skills in negotiating, conflict resolution and crisis management. Ability to suture flesh wounds a plus. Also, must be able to drive motor vehicles safely under loud and adverse conditions while simultaneously practicing above-mentioned skills in conflict resolution. Must be able to withstand criticism, such as "You don't know anything." Must be willing to be hated at least temporarily, until someone needs money to go shopping. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Also, must have a highly energetic entrepreneurial spirit, because fund-raiser will be your middle name. Must have a diverse knowledge base, so as to answer questions such as "What makes the wind move?" on the fly. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.


ADVANCEMENT/PROMOTION POSSIBILITIES: None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.


PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.


WAGES AND COMPENSATION: You pay them, offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.


BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurances, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered, job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life.


Every mother here this morning knows that mothering brings more joy and love and fulfillment than seem possible. [Adapted by Leonard Sweet]


***** Men make their mark by what they do, women leave their mark by whom they are. *****


"Making the decision to have a child-it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." --Elizabeth Stone

 

I.         Women provide Comfort through generosity.


“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” [Proverbs 31:20]

 

            A.        Generosity comes from seeing a need.

 

                        1.         The word “poor” means “depressed in mind or circumstances.”

 

                        2.         The word “needy” generally refers to those who are destitute . . . often those who are oppressed or abused.

 

                        3.         Honestly . . . who typically champions the cause of the oppressed or abused?

 

            B.        The widow of Zarephath [1 Kings 17:7 – 16]

 

                        1.         Here was a single mom who was in deep need herself but was willing to be generous with the last of what she had.

 

                        2.         Willing to give the “last” to help someone else in need.

 

                        3.         Often those closest to the edge are more willing to help those on the edge.


(Ill.) The church in Peru is recovering from an earthquake. They heard that the people of Haiti are eating clay t have something in their stomach. The church in Peru took up a special offering to help feed people in Haiti.


(Ill.) My Mom would often help others who came to our door. Even though we were “poor” she would tell me, “help others without expecting a return and God will take care of you.”


“Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.” [Ecclesiastes 11:1]

 

II.        Women provide Optimism through persistence.


“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. [18] She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.” [Proverbs 31:17 – 18]

 

            A.        Optimism is the attitude and persistence is the behavior.

 

                        1.         The idea of working vigorously comes from a personal inner strength.

 

                        2.         The idea of “sees that her trading is profitable” is actually knowing that the work will pay off.

 

            B.        The Canaanite woman. [Matthew 15:21 – 28]

 

                        1.         The exchange between Jesus and this mom was to meant to dispel common misunderstandings. (Often seen in the plight of many women today.)

 

                                    a.         [v 23] She was “ignored.” “ Jesus did not answer a word.”

 

                                    b.         [v 23] She was pressured to be quiet. “So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

 

                                    c.         [v 26] She was “insulted.” “He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.”


 

                        2.         She “knew” that Jesus would help her (optimism) so she kept asking (persistence).

 

                                    a.         This was a lesson the disciples needed to learn. Their culture did not value either a foreigner (someone who was not like them . . . the Hebrew word for “gentile” and “dog” were very similar) or a women (whom the disciples saw as a distraction to their own purposes . . . they were on vacation).

 

                                    b.         This woman who was not like them, did not share their religious heritage, came to the point of belief... she believed Jesus could help her.

 

                                    c.         This woman became an example of faith. While the disciples were always struggling with their faith, Jesus said about the woman, “you have great faith.” [See Matthew 15:28]


(Ill.) One winter day, I decided to demonstrate my superior snow ball talents. I packed the meanies, nastiest, hardest snowball and threw it with precision accuracy and my chosen victim. Unfortunately when I threw the snowball, my new class ring . . . that I dearly and sincerely loved . . . went flying with the snowball.


Mom’s calm response was, “God will help you find it. That’s what God is good at, finding lost things.” [See Luke 15] What she didn’t tell me was that every day, after I walked home, she would ask me if I had found the ring. Since the route was also the walk to the Post Office, she did it to dad as well . . . Months came and went, every day she asked me and she asked dad if we found the ring like she expected to hear us say “yes.”


One day in frustration, because no boy or man likes to be reminded of his stupidity or failure . . . I told her to stop asking. She calmly said. “I prayed and God said you would have your ring back.” She stopped asking me if I found my ring but she didn’t stop asking dad . . . One day, on the way home from the Post Office, dad “happened” to look down and see the gleam of . . . my ring.


I never wore my “treasured” ring after that because it wasn’t the ring I wanted anymore. It was mom’s prayers.

 

III.       Women provide Real faith through boldness.


“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” [Proverbs 31:26]

 

            A.        Real faith is the attitude and boldness is the action.

 

                        1.         The idea of “speaks” is to “open wide” or “let loose.” (Ok, so there are some negative images attached to this . . . but the idea is that speaking is skillful, or “with wisdom.”)

 

                        2.         The idea of “faithful instruction” implies “goodness, kindness, faithfulness.”

 

                        3.         It takes courage (boldness) to speak up when all the men are “spouting off” like a bunch of idiots. Let’s face it, when we talk without thinking we are displaying our ignorance. When our women talk they are giving us “a piece of their mind.” Literally, they are giving us themselves.

 

            B.        Hannah [1 Samuel 1:10 – 17]

 

                        1.         Hannah risked looking bad in front of others. In fact Eli thought she was drunk (and everything that implied) . . . “Do not take your servant for a wicked woman . . . ” [1 Samuel 1:16a]

 

                        2.         She was pouring her heart out to God.

 

                                    a.         “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.” [1 Samuel 1:10]

 

                                    b.         “... I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” [1 Samuel 1:16b] (“Anguish” is the word that means “contemplation” and “grief” can carry the weight of anger.)

 

                        3.         The point was that nothing short of divine intervention would console her crushed soul.


(Ill.) I learned that when mom prayed, there was no used arguing the point. Dad never got that . . . When I was ordained my dad tearfully confessed, “The reason I did not want you to go into the ministry was that I did not want you to do to your family what I did to mine.” Mom on the other hand said, “This is the answer to many years of prayer.”

 

IV.      Women provide Energy and Enthusiasm through originality.


“She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” [v 12]


“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” [v 16]

 

            A.        Energy and enthusiasm are the attitudes and originality is the behavior.

 

                        1.         The idea of brings in verse 12 means “to treat” or “to ripen.”

 

                                    a.         Does it not seem that women use a lot of energy on civilizing the men and children? (E.g., dishes, curtains, clothing that matches . . . )

 

                                    b.         If the goal is “to ripen” then it is the same work the Holy Spirit does in making “the fruit of the Spirit.” Maybe women are the main force God uses to help bring those qualities into our lives?


"Mothers reflect God's loving presence on earth."-- William R. Webb

 

                        2.         The idea of “considers” means “to plan.”

 

                                    a.         This is not a passive victim of whatever systemic bogeyman or evil someone can think up to get a paper or book published. This is someone who thinks through her business dealings with careful skill.

 

                                    b.         Creating something out of nothing (buying a field, planting a vineyard) can take some time . . . it takes years and lots of work to get a vineyard to the point where it consistently gives the best grapes.

 

            B.        Lydia [Acts 16:13 – 16]

 

                        1.         She was known for two things.

 

                                    a.         She was a dealer in purple cloth [see v 14]. Purple was extremely rare and expensive. It was reserved for the ultra rich, such as nobles.

 

                                    b.         She was a worshiper of God [see v 14]. This was not a passing or casual practice. One gets the impression she seriously considered her beliefs and actions.

 

                        2.         She became the first recorded convert in Europe. In other words, every church in Europe, and eventually North and South America, can trace itself back to her influence.

 

                                    a.         She was quick to respond when “the Lord opened her heart.”

 

                                    b.         She understood the good news that Jesus saves.

 

                                    c.         She was persuasive in getting her “household” (family) to join her in believing.


(Ill.) I was once at a critical point in my life. My dad sat me down and did what he does best. He preached several of his finest sermons, all in one sitting, in hopes of persuading me. After all that effort, I was still on the edge. Mom noticed. One day she stopped me on the way through the kitchen and said, “I’m praying for you.” I say this honestly, I would rather have gotten a whipping from dad that to have my mother hand me over in prayer to the Heavenly Father.


I still believe that the prayers of a godly woman can undo the stupid, silly, stubborn, selfish, and foolish behavior of any man, teenager, or child.


(Ill.) I remember one basketball game that was really rough. It was so rough that the ref had allowed a player on the other team to punch one of our players. I set a school record in picking up three fouls in the next minute. When the coach pulled me from the game, probably for elbowing the guy in the throat, my parents were sitting right behind our bench. Dad has his head in his hands, mom was yelling . . . “Coach, let him hit him again!”


Men, children . . . lets be honest with ourselves. We’ve gotten Comfort through generosity, Optimism through persistence, Real faith through boldness, Energy and Enthusiasm through originality. The very CORE of our lives came from our mothers.


What should we do?

 

            1.         “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” [Proverbs 31:28]

 

            2.         “Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” [Proverbs 31:31]

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Spirituality #5: Prayer part two

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- [2] for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” [1 Timothy 2:1 – 2]



Types of prayer:

 

1.         The “sinners prayer” – The most simple expression of faith.


            The thief on the cross: “Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” [Luke 23:43]


            The tax collector: “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” [Luke 18:13]


Communion Service: You who truly and earnestly repent of your sins, who live in love and peace with your neighbors, and who intend to live a new life, following the commands of God, and walking in His Holy ways, draw near with faith, and take this holy sacrament to your comfort; and, humbly kneeling, make your honest confession to Almighty God.

 

2.         The “Jesus prayer” – A basic cry of the heart for favor from God. (Relief from trouble.)


            The blind men: “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” [Matthew 9:27b] [Matthew 20:30,31]


            The Canaanite woman: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” [Matthew 15:22b]


            The father of the demon possessed boy: “Lord, have mercy on my son.” [Matthew 17:15a]


            Bartimaeus: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” [Mark 10:47b]


Communion Service: Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, maker of all things, judge of all men, we confess that we have sinned, and we are deeply grieved as we remember the wickedness of our past lives. We have sinned against You, Your holiness, and Your love, and we deserve only Your indignation and anger.


            We sincerely repent, and we are genuinely sorry for all wrong doing and every failure to do the things we should. Our hearts are grieved, and we acknowledge that we are hopeless without Your grace.


            Have mercy upon us.


            Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father, for the sake of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for us.


            Forgive us.


            Cleanse us.


            Give us strength to serve and please You in newness of life and to honor and praise Your name, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

3.         General prayer – “prayers” – [pros-yoo-khay'] most frequent and common word for prayer. Connected to worship. Regular habit earnestly expression.


            Jesus’ example: “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. [16] But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. [Luke 5:15 – 16]


            The church’s example: “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” [Acts 2:42]


            In heaven: “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” [Revelation 5:8]


Communion Service: Our Father which art in heaven, hollowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for every. Amen.

 

4.         Intercessory – “intercessions” – [ent'-yook-sis] A technical term for approaching a king.             Official complaint or request. Generally a defense of someone else.


            Jesus’ example: “Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” [Luke 23:34]


            “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” [Luke 22:32]


            In heaven: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” [1 John 2:1]


            Moses’ example: “But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. "O LORD," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? . . . Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. . . . But now, please forgive their sin--but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” [Exodus 32:11, 14, 32]


            "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. [31] So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.” [Ezekiel 22:30 – 31]


Communion Service: O Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who with great mercy has promised forgiveness to all who turn to you with hearty repentance and true faith, have mercy upon us, pardon and deliver us from our sins, make us strong and faithful in all goodness, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.


            Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are opened, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love You, and worthily magnify Your holy name, through Christ our Lord. Amen

 

5.         Praise and Thanksgiving – “thanksgivings” – (lit. “to give freely”) [yoo-khar-is-tee'-ah]

            An expression of gratitude. A favor imposes the obligation of thanks.


            Jesus’ example: “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” [Luke 10:21]


            “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body.” [Mark 14:22]


            Paul instructed the church, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” [1 Thessalonians 5:17]


            “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” [Colossians 3:17]


            In heaven: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was,

  because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.” [Revelation 11:17]


Communion Service: It is always right and proper, and our moral duty, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty and Everlasting God. Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the inhabitants of heaven, we honor and adore Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying,


Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts!

Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory,

Gory be to Thee, O Lord, most high. Amen.


Glory be to the Father

And to the Son

And to the Holy Ghost:

As it was in the beginning,

Is now, and ever shall be,

World without end. Amen. Amen.

 

6.         Petition – “Requests” (KJV = supplications) – [deh'-ay-sis] a wanting, a need, then asking (“beg”) Specific prayers in concrete situations.


            Jesus’ example: During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” [Hebrews 5:7]


            Jesus’ example: “So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. [42] I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” [John 11:41 – 42] (Jesus could command the dead to live again but He could not command those who did not believe to believe!)


            The church’s example: “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” [Acts 12:5]


Communion Service: We do not come to this Your table, O merciful Lord, with self-confidence and pride, trusting in our own righteousness, but we trust in Your great and many mercies. We are not worthy to gather the crumbs from under Your table. But, You, O Lord, are unchanging in Your mercy, and Your nature is love; grant us, therefore, God of mercy, God of grace, so to eat at this Your table that we may receive in spirit and truth the body of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, and the merits of His shed blood, so that we may live and grow in His likeness, and, being washed and cleansed through His most precious blood, may we evermore live in Him and He in us. Amen.

 

7.         Justice – Deliverance or bring glory. Claim God’s faithfulness.


            David’s example: “Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.” [Psalm 3:7]


            Jesus’ example: “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” [John 17:5]


            In heaven: “They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood.” [Revelation 6:10]


Communion Service: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who gave in love Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption, who by His sacrifice, offered once for all, did provide a full, perfect, and sufficient atonement for the sins of the whole world, we come now to Your table in obedience to Your Son, Jesus Christ, who in His holy gospel commanded us to continue a perpetual memory of His precious death until He comes again, Hear us, O merciful Father, we humbly ask, and grant that we, receiving this bread and this cup, as He commanded and in the memory of His passion and death, may partake of His most blessed body and blood.


            In the night of His betrayal, Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.


            In like manner, after supper He took the cup; and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, Drink of this, all of you, for this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins; do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. Amen.


            The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you, preserve your soul and body unto everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed upon Him in your heart, by faith with thanksgiving.


            The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve your soul and body unto everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s blood was shed for you, and be thankful.


Benediction: May the peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord; and may the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but yours now and forever. Amen.


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