The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:7,
“What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”
Everything we have, Lord, is a gift: our health, our life, our salvation, our citizenship in the richest nation in the history of the world. We did nothing to earn these things. They are merely mercies to us of an everlasting kind Father.
So keep us from boasting, Lord, as if we earned our wealth. Instead, make us happy givers, filled with confidence that you alone will satisfy our every need and desire in Jesus.
Our Father in heaven, as the hymn says, we are not the source, but merely borrowers of life from you, dependent on your care for our every breath. We cannot escape your presence, because in every place in the Universe, you too are also present there.
And yet you beckon us to come – not fearfully, but boldly – into your presence. You have cleared every obstacle. You have torn the curtain of the Holy of Holies from top to bottom. Where angels feared to tread, now in Jesus Christ, we come without dread, unhindered, welcomed to behold your glory as beloved children of our heavenly Father.
Therefore, we sing of your greatness, your goodness, your glory, your compassion and mercy and affection for us.
So, Father, with hundreds of hearts together right now, we make our requests known to you.
Thank you for the journey you have taken us on these last three years as a church, for the lessons we are still learning – dependence on Christ alone as our Good Shepherd, valuing the eternal preciousness of every lamb in your blood-bought flock, breaking us with humiliation and contrition and lowliness which is the true place of your dwelling. Keep teaching us these lessons. We are slow learners.
Thank you for moving us to send out a team on April 2nd to Ireland to worship and usher in the presence of Jesus in a land that has grown cold to the gospel. You have established a long-term gospel partnership this last decade with brothers and sisters and churches in Northern Ireland that we might minister freely. Thank you, Father. Now please, provide the final portions of financial support for members of the team who still do not have all their costs raised.
Thank you for this new season in our church where you are turning our attention to our members. By your Spirit, you have uniquely and individually selected the members of our congregation, bestowing on them gifts for the building up of the body. Help us to identify and equip and nurture those gifts so that the bride at Redeemer Bible Church can function as you intended it. By your power, help us to love one another as our Fighter Verse says for today,
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Finally, Lord, as our brother Jason leads into Portraits of Christ in this current sermon series, help us to see your Son as He really is. Today in John 6, let us behold Jesus not as merely a Prophet who meets our physical needs and desires, but as King who demands all of our allegiance that He might satisfy us, quenching our eternal thirst, filling our eternal hunger, as He said,
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
And now Lord, as David the Psalmist said, “. . . help us give thanks, to you O Lord, among the peoples; . . . help us sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” (ESV)
In the Lord Jesus’ mighty name . . . and all the people said, “Amen.”