Thank you for all the testimonies. Father Ed’s father’s funeral will be tomorrow at 9 a.m. in Irvine, so please show your support if you can’t make it tomorrow, but if you are available, some of us will be there at 9 a.m. in Irvine. You can ask for directions late
I’m thankful for God sustaining the O’s through what must have been such a terrifying experience. They’ve gone through a number of them with their children, but I see God sustaining their faith and strengthening them. And look at the kids. They’re doing so well. So praise God we don’t take for granted that we have life and that we are healthy and we give thanksgiving.
And thanksgiving for Jim and his heart for his uncle, Mr. Shee, just his willingness and obedience to be the hands and feet of Jesus to go there. And God already prepared a nurse out of all the nurses. I don’t know how many Christian nurses there are. Maybe there’s not many. And then on top of it, a Mandarin speaking Christian nurse in the same facility. It’s amazing. So God, He is He gives us so many chances. He gives us so many chances. So thanksgiving for the graciousness of the Lord.
I will read just a few verses and then we’ll pray. Jeremiah 7:1-3, 1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house and proclaim there this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all of you men of Judah, who enter these gates to worship the Lord.’ 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.’ (Jeremiah 7:1-3)
Let’s pray. Father, thank you for bringing us to this place where we can worship You. We can gather as the people of God and exalt the name of Jesus. We pray for your blessings upon Pastor Max, his wife, Amy, his children, the First Baptist Church Culver City, brothers and sisters. Thank you for their hospitality, their generosity, their kindness toward us.
Thank you, Lord, ultimately for You. You opened the door after months and months of search. I was looking in the wrong place, but Lord, You gave us one option in Culver City, and it turns out this is the one. Lord, we’re here now and we sense that this clearly was Your answer to all of our prayers since early this year. Thank you, Lord, for Your faithfulness. We praise You. We praise You. You’re so good to us.
Father, we pray that now we would prepare ourselves for whatever You have for us in this place. We don’t know how long we’ll be here, but whatever You have in store, we want to prepare ourselves for this next season. We also want to prepare ourselves for what’s happening in our world. It’s getting more and more difficult as a Christ follower. So, Father, we pray that You prepare us for the days and the years ahead. Be with us in this time. I surrender this time to You. Speak now, Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Who has lived in Culver City or worshiped here in Culver City? Please raise your hand. So, one, two, three, four, five. Yes. Yeah, there’s, I think, our family, I think the Kims, I think the Parks, a number of families who are connected to this church. We have a history here in Culver City.
Jackie and I, we got married in the year 2000. We went to the mission field. It was not planned. We were just joining a summer mission trip. I was supposed to be just for two weeks, and then God kept us there for three and a half years.
And while on the mission field, God rekindled my heart to serve the Lord. I think I received a call to pastor at some point when I was a college senior, 1996, and then got married, had some spiritual, some dark years, some difficulty where the calling kind of got a little cold. And I wasn’t sure if I was going to actually do it. And then God rekindled it.
After years on the mission field, just didn’t see the hand of God for the first year, two years, and then for the third year, when God kind of cleaned house a bit, and we got to see people come to faith, people that we had been pouring into and sowing seeds with their broken English, and my very limited Japanese, but mainly speaking very, very slow English, just many, many times. This is before we had kids. So we were just available and would draw gospel presentations on napkins over a meal to these Tokyo University and other college students throughout the Tokyo area.
And then God began saving them, and dozens came to faith. And if you know Japan, it’s a very difficult mission field. And while there, God rekindled my call to serve the Lord, began seminary remotely in Gordon-Conwell in Boston.
And then God came here, and while there, came here 2004 early and arrived in Culver City. We were one of the first families there. We were helping. There was a new church that was going to be planted in Culver City. That’s when I went to seminary. 2006 graduated. 2007 helped plant a church in Pasadena with the parks and other families. And Brother Abraham was supposed to be the pastor, and I was supposed to plant the church out of that place. And then God moved Brother Abraham in a different direction, and I inherited the church there in Pasadena. Fast forward, you know, we did church for a few years, two plus years in Torrance, and unexpectedly, now we’re back in Culver City. This was not planned, and so I wonder what the Lord has. But just bringing me back to this place is bringing back some memories, because I remember how I was as a newlywed, 2004, only got only was married for four years, and got ordained 2010. Didn’t really know what I was doing, but at the time I thought I knew what I was doing to get ordained.
And in 2011, 2010 was a transition year. And to come back to this place, it’s somewhat of a, God is asking me to just assess myself. I think I’ve changed in some ways. I think we’re doing church significantly different than what I started doing church and what I used to do church like. There’s been some radical shifts in our family and also our church family. But in terms of just me, where am I with the Lord? How has my walk been? Because it’s been 2004, it’s almost 20 years, and so it’s a good chance for me, and maybe for some families returning to Culver City. Maybe it’s a good chance to see where are we with the Lord?
And of course, next week is Pentecost. And so I asked the Lord a couple months ago, can you end this search? I’m getting a little tired, Lord. Can you just tell us where we should be? And I said, Lord, can you make sure we’re there before Pentecost? And God heard that prayer. We’re here one week before Pentecost. And I praise the Lord for that.
And so the first passage before we go to our main text is Matthew 9:14-17, 14 “Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?’ 15 And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.'” (Matthew 9:14-17)
And so you know with wine there’s fermentation, there are gases that are produced. And so if your wine skin is old and brittle, you put in new wine, it will expand and it will, it has lost its elasticity, the wine skin burst, you lose the wine skin and you lose the wine. And we’re asking for the new wine to be poured into us. And that requires a new vessel, a new wine skin.
Put another way is 2 Corinthians 5:16-17, “16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17) Therefore from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh, even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.
Now all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were pleading through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God for He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Amen. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
So one way to say it is we have become new wine skin or so that is the goal. We are reborn and we are recreated into this new wine skin, this new creature, this new creation and then the new wine the Spirit is poured in. And if that takes place, then fruit is born. I was wondering what to preach today and I was struggling with which text to bring and then I came to the early morning service in this place and the pastor brought Galatians 5. And so that is the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
So as I look back in my life and as you look back on your life, whether it’s 20 years or if it’s compared to last year or last month, is there change? Is there fruit? Because you know them by the fruit. Is there more joy? Is there more peace? Is there more love?
2 Corinthians 5:16 says we don’t regard people according to the flesh any longer because we’re a new creature. We have new eyes. We see people differently. Is that the case for you? When you see somebody who doesn’t know Christ and they cut you off on their freeway, do you get angry? Do you get triggered when somebody who doesn’t know Christ or maybe they know Christ but it’s just lip service, they’re just a churchgoer, they don’t know Christ the way that you do.
How do you react when their immaturity spills out? Do you still regard them the way you used to before you knew Christ? By judgment, by anger, by irritation? Or do you see them differently? The same way that Jesus, when God sent Jesus as an ambassador to reconcile the world to Himself, did Jesus look at us as sinners, as people who annoy Him, as people who are immature, as people who don’t see Him as we should?
Or did He see us through eyes of love? Did He have compassion? Did He show us mercy? That while enemies of God, He still died for us. (Romans 5:10) He showed us mercy, compassion, pity. We no longer regard people as objects of lust. They’re not objects anymore. They are lost. They are lost sisters, brothers in Christ. They dress immodestly because they don’t know who they are. Have we changed the way we look at people? I think this goes to the very heart of what salvation is. What it is to become a new wine skin with new wine, a new creature, a new creation.
Jeremiah says, “amend your ways and your deeds.” I think as we progress in our Christian journey, or at least if you just attend church faithfully and you hear the Word of God preach regularly, over time your deeds get cleaned up quite a bit. Maybe you used to curse and then you show up on Sunday and then you might slip a few here and there, but over time your language gets cleaned up. Maybe you used to get drunk. But you know better that you can’t show up on a Sunday hungover and so you clean up that act, that deed. The things that are blatant and obvious like drugs, alcohol, cursing, cigarettes, we know better now that we’ve put such deeds away.
But there’s so much in scripture that go far beyond the deeds. Like adultery is bad. Jesus says lust is the same. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in His heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28) You murder someone, yes you’ll pay the price, you’ll go to jail. But you have hatred in your heart. Why is that anger flaring up? Is that okay? Didn’t Jesus say it’s the same? “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
So we can control the deeds. We’re not going to, most of us won’t murder someone. But yet the anger that has this murderous intent in the heart, this unforgiveness, this judgment that comes out, this evaluation that we use to look at people and judge them because of their flesh. They are worse than me, they are less than me, I am better than them, I know better, they are so whatever. We assess. And we used to do that before we knew Christ, but did that part of us change?
The deeds got cleaned up, were not so blatant anymore, but the under the breath comments and even the thoughts, have they changed? Do we look at people differently, no longer in the flesh? Or do we assess, look at people, say things about them when they’re not looking behind their back? In our mind, not even spoken, but in our mind and our thoughts. Have we changed? Think back to the last time you were worshipping Culver City till now, have those things changed? If you’re a very self-controlled person and you hear decent sermons, maybe not the best sermons, but just decent, I think over time if you have a good, you’re a disciplined person, you and I can overcome quite a bit just through fleshly effort and just good, decent teaching. That you hear on a week out, week in, week out basis. We can change quite a bit in our deeds.
But even underneath the deeds, even before the deeds is your way and my way, our ways. That must change first. That must change first. If you’re going the wrong way, of course you’re going to do wrong deeds. Like if you are going to Las Vegas and you’re doing something you should not be doing. Along the way you’re going to exit and probably do a bad thing and then get back on the road. I’m going to Las Vegas and on the way I’m going to take another break off the off-ramp and you’re going to do another bad thing because your whole life is bad. You’re going the wrong way.
But how can we be going the right way and still be doing the wrong things? Perhaps our ways have not been amended. To me this is what we’re talking about when we say repentance. Repentance, yes, it’s the deeds. And we say sorry. And we probably have certain sins that are besetting sins. That we say sorry again and again and again. But repentance is a change. So why haven’t these things changed? The deeds, maybe the blatant, overt deeds have changed. But the subtle ones haven’t changed. Why? Could it be that our ways have not been repented of?
Because if your ways are wrong, you might have some good days. But you’re going the wrong way. And there’s going to be many deeds that are wrong. So I began as we move into this season, I began praying to the Lord, amend my ways. If you find yourself in a cycle of repentance falling, repentance falling, maybe there’s something deeper. It’s like an old wineskin. You’re trying to put new wine in, but it just spills all over the place. You might have good days, but maybe you’re just trying through effort to become a better version of yourself.
When God says you have to become an entirely different creature altogether, born again, starting over. So maybe it’s time as we come back to Culver City to start over. To start over in terms of repenting of our ways. If you repent of your ways, the deeds will come. The fruit will come. The change will come. To me the ways are the desires, the motives, the thoughts underneath the deeds. It’s hidden things that we are not even aware of. We just know we’re committing certain sins. But what is the root of that sin? Is it bitterness? Is it unforgiveness? Is it some wound from our past? Is it idolatry? Is it because we’re consuming too much of the world? What is it? Is it my eyes are unclean and my ears are unclean? I’m letting things come in that shouldn’t?
We have to be able to locate the root problem of our deeds. Could it be that something of our way of life is wrong? Something about our way of thinking is wrong. The way of assessing people and looking at people is not like a new creature does. It is not a new creation seeing people differently. Maybe it’s just a little bit better version of you. So God is inviting us. Let’s amend our ways.
In Colossians 2, it speaks of rule keeping. And this is a trap that the Pharisees fell into. This is a trap that many church leaders fall into. We see sin. We want to stop the sin. So what do we do? We put a rule. And we have to do it at some level, especially for young children. It’s not like it’s a free for all at our home. There are some rules.
But when we’re dealing with adults and there are sins and if the pastor is tired of the certain sins, is He going to say, well, this is how we do church and you must not do these things because I’ve labeled them sinful. So everybody donate your TV at Goodwill and we’re not going to watch TV. We could say that to the pastor. But Colossians 2 clearly explains in verse 21, “21 Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish, which are not good. But Colossians 2 clearly explains in verse 21, “21 Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which are all which all concern things which perish with the using according to the commandments and doctrines of men. These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
It is quite possible to be in a very, very strict religious environment and on the surface the deeds are clean, but underneath the flesh is still being indulged and the fruit gets choked out. Because we are not dealing with our way of life, our way of thinking, our thought life, our motives, our desires, the root cause of why we do life and what we’re chasing, even though we don’t think we’re chasing it, the deep down ways God says you need to amend them.
Hebrews 12:14-17 says, “14 Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. 15 Looking carefully, lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”
Esau is a religious man. Esau is a sincere man. In fact, in this case after he fell and the birthright was taken away, the blessing was moved to his younger brother. He repented with tears diligently. And yet, Esau as a religious man either was never born again or he was born again at one time and he forfeited all the way. It doesn’t matter what your theology is, in the end he didn’t make it. He didn’t make it.
We all fall into sin. We all fall into sin. We fall into deeds we should not do. But if your way of life is wrong, it doesn’t matter how much you attend church, how many times you’ve cried, how many times you repented. Like Esau, you’re going the wrong direction. And we think it’s just he just fell that one time. How can God be this unmerciful? He just he just he was hungry. And he got deceived, some say.
No, no, he didn’t get to see if he wanted the food more than the spiritual blessing. He was that kind of a person. He gladly gave it over. His younger brother Jacob valued spiritual blessing. He wanted it. So both of them on the surface, it seems like they’re very similar. Just one mistake, not big deal. But if you look under the surface, their way of life was so different. And we say, how can you judge him by that one act? God, that’s too much, because we’ve all fallen into a moment of flesh, indulging of the flesh. We all fall. But if that becomes your way of life, your pattern of life, then you’re going the wrong way. And there is possibly you will lose salvation. And the author of Hebrews explains it a little bit more. He says he’s a fornicator. He’s a sexually immoral person. All we see is that one act. But God sees the heart. God sees the thoughts. God sees the way of that Esau did his life. He evaluated people according to the flesh. Oh, I like that one. I’m going to go after her. That’s Esau’s way of life.
And so we can’t say, oh, it’s just one incident. No, it’s his way. It’s how he did life. So God is not overreacting to one fall. We all fall. But if your way of life is indulgence of the flesh, evaluating people according to the flesh, I just want what I want. It’s not just sexual immorality. It is evaluating people according to the flesh.
That is even, well, that person doesn’t know what they’re talking about. That person is uneducated. That person is unspiritual. I know better. That kind of evaluation. That’s not how Jesus looked at the world when we were all enemies of God. He didn’t look at us that way. Otherwise, He never would have died. He had different eyes. He had a different way about Him. We don’t look at just His sinless life. Like, why was He sinless? It was His way of life. He was humble and lowly of heart. He had compassion on the adulterous woman. When all the religious leaders want to throw stones, He is not that kind of a person. He’s the kind of person you slap Him and He turns the other cheek. He says, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34) He’s not easily triggered. He’s not easily irritated. He doesn’t lash out at people. He has total self-control. He embodies the fruit of the Spirit. He is a new, He is showing what the new creation looks like.
And you can look at Jesus and say, I’m going to try hard to match my deeds to His deeds. Good luck. You’re going to fail. But if you change in your ways, in your approach to life, and how you think about other people, how you view your life, that girl that people are lusting after, that girl is lost. You can see from God’s point of view that she doesn’t know she’s a daughter of God. She needs prayer.
You see people like that. That person who just annoyed you and said something they should not have said, and you’re tempted to be irritated. You say, well, that person must be having a bad day. That person is not abiding in Christ. If they know Jesus, they’re not abiding in Christ in this moment. They need some prayer.
How about if we responded to people and what they do to us and what they say and just how they are? What if we looked at them differently? I’m asking myself 20 years later, now that I’m a professional clergy, do I have a greater heart for people? Do I have more? Does it burden me that billions of people are going to hell? Does that strike a desire to just be on my face for people?
Or do I just go through my day because I have a different way about me? I have different concerns. That’s not my concern. For Jesus, that was His only concern. My Father’s business. I want to save as many people as I can. So first He was a sinless one. He showed us what a spirit-filled fruit-bearing person looks like. And now He invites us all. Let’s become like Him. Let’s follow in His footsteps.
Another way to assess ourselves, Mark 12, the two greatest commandments. Do I love the Lord today with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength greater than I did the last time I was here? Another way to evaluate yourself. Do I love my neighbor as myself more now than I did 20 years ago? Or have I become more uptight? Have I become more set in my way, which is not God’s ways? Do I look at people and they’re just a crowd? I’m not praying for them. They’re just in my way. Can they leave me alone? Can I have my peace?
Is that why God saved us? So that we turn a blinder to our neighbors. And we become that way because we have not loved God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We love our idols. We love our hobbies. We love other things. And so no wonder there’s no love for a neighbor.
I wonder, it says in Matthew 9, He says, 37 “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38) And I’ve asked the Lord to send me. And He hasn’t sent me. And my only conclusion is, okay, the workers are few and I must not be ready yet. I must not be ready. Because if I were ready, of course God would send me. Of course God would send me wherever the harvest is, wherever that person is that’s lost, He would send me to that person. Maybe it’s here. I’m not sure. Maybe we’re here to regroup. I’m not sure. Maybe the ministry is here on the other side of that door. I’m not sure. All I know is from God’s word, the harvest field is all around us. And I know there’s a few workers out there who are doing good work and amazing salvations are happening, healings and deliverance. Why hasn’t God sent us? Because He wants, clearly He wants more workers. He needs more workers. Could it be that I’m not ready yet?
Another way to assess yourself is just look at the fruit of the Spirit. It says, the acts of the flesh, verse 19, are obvious. “19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. And He says, I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
Doesn’t Jesus come to set us free? Then why can we locate some sins on this list? Why do we still struggle with some of these? When they should have been put to bed. Like we’ll stumble on occasion, but it becomes rarer and rarer. Because we’re growing in what it says in the verses following. “24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25)
And then the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in the verse earlier, “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Are we more loving today than we were the last time we were here? Are we more joyful today than the last time you were here? Are we more at peace? Is there more forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control?
Is gentleness your way? Is this your manner of life? Is this like you having a bad day is really, really out of character because your way, your normal who you are, the fruit, your normal daily being is this list of just gentle. You see it in this. We’re talking about the emotions, the emotional health. We’re talking about the speech and “from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)
We’re talking about what comes out of the heart, out of the mouth. We’re talking about the emotions that come out that maybe don’t even get expressed, but they’re there. We’re suppressing them. Why are they there? It might not every day come out as a fit of rage, but why is it even there? Why are we struggling? 20 years, 30 years later, why are we still struggling with this fit of rage that maybe only comes out once a year, but in moments you’re checking yourself. Why are we even, why do we even have to check ourselves? This is what I’m asking the Lord. What in my way is this pleasing to You, Lord? That I still have things on this list. I should be way past it, Lord. And this fruit should be so evident.
Matthew 7, it says in verse 13, 13 “Enter through the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it. 15 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves, 16 but their fruit, by their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:13-20)
So who are on the wide road of destruction? It is the vast majority of churchgoers, sadly. And how can we tell even now that we may be on that path? Jesus says the only way that you can tell is by the fruit.
And we might say, well, there’s a mixture here, Lord. I have good days. Of course, there’s bad days. We all have bad days. It says here clearly in God’s word, a good tree cannot. It is impossible for a good tree to bear bad fruit. And so I’m asking myself, why is there still bad fruit? Am I a bad tree, Lord? What went wrong? By now, there should be so much more fruit for Your glory, Father. What is wrong in my ways? Maybe the deeds are, for the most part, been cleaned up. But the thoughts, the attitudes, the motives, the quick judgments, the desires, something in my ways have not been repented of. And that’s the first thing the Lord asked us to repent of. Amend your ways.
And I want to end with Hebrews 12:28-29, 28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)
Let’s pray. Father, we don’t know why, exactly and fully, why You brought us to Culver City, why this particular place. But we know the first word You gave to us is to amend our ways. Forgive us, Lord. Forgive us for struggling to hold on to new wine and old wineskin. Forgive us for struggling with the same besetting sins, character flaws, and barrenness and fruitlessness. Forgive us for evaluating others according to the flesh. In lust, in pride, in envy, in idolatry, in annoyance, in irritation, in selfishness, in condemnation. Our ways are not right, Lord. Our ways are not right. No wonder the deeds are still there. Underlying the deeds are the ways.
God, You’re a consuming fire. We ask You humbly to meet with us. To burn away all the sin. All the coldness of heart. All the lovelessness that has caused us to grow cold. All the idolatry, the addictions, the flesh. Burn it up, Lord, in Your Presence. Make us into new creatures, new creation. Make us into a new wineskin that thirsts for new wine.
We know the harvest field is plentiful. And yet the workers are few. And for whatever reason, You have not sent us out yet. We understand why, Lord. We’re not equipped, we’re not qualified. Until we get our ways right. We pray that You forgive us and cleanse us. We plead the blood of Jesus. Over every person in this place, I pray that You clean up our eyes, our ears, our mouth, our heart, our soul, our emotions, our desires. Our perspective, how we view people. May everything change in Your fiery presence, Lord. Lord, we want to have a moment like Isaiah the prophet. He had, he recognized in Your Presence before prophesying he needed clean lips. “For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5) Forgive me for prophesying and preaching without clean lips, Lord. I pray that You clean me and all of us here. And our body, soul, spirit, mind, will emotion cover, cleanse and sanctify us by Your Blood. We repent. We lay prostrate in Your Presence, Lord. Burn it all up, Lord, all the sin.
Give us a new way of life, a new way of thinking. Renew our mind. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) Renew our perspective. Send us out as ambassadors for Christ, reconciling a lost world to their heavenly Father. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) Many people here, even in the church, don’t know You, don’t know their identity. So first we want to call our brothers and sisters home.
We want to make sure they’re on the narrow way of Jesus only. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) We pray that we would help them as best we can. Lord, we need to change first. We want to amend our ways and our deeds in Your Presence, Lord.
Thank you for Your Body that was broken for us and Your Blood shed. “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.'” (Luke 22:19-20) We pray that You meet us, have mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
After you prayed, Lord’s Supper is here. If the Lord allows you, please partake with us as we proclaim His death and His return.