Giving Thanks to God Psalm 136

His steadfast love endures forever

Psalm 136

Good Morning! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Christmas season has officially started! Go ahead and turn in your Bibles with me, we will be anchored in Psalm 136. If you do not have a Bible, or do not own one, please grab one from the back table as our gift to you.

Luke recounts a story in his Gospel about Jesus walking between Samaria and Galilee, on his way to Jerusalem. He came upon a group of 10 lepers. The lepers called out to him and asked for healing. Jesus cleansed them from their leprosy and sent them to the priest for their ceremonial cleansing. One of those lepers returned to Jesus and gave thanks to him for his healing and cleansing, a Samaritan. Luke then recounts Jesus exclaiming, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” ( Luke 11:17-18) He speaks as if expecting all ten to return thankful, not just the one.

One of the clearest messages from the Bible is that God deserves our thanks. Were all 10 lepers grateful for their healing? Sure, but only one was thankful, full of thanks, with thanks in one’s heart. We are going to see that we are to give thanks to the LORD for two reasons. First is Who he is. The second is what he has done for us.

So Who is God? Why is who he is a reason to worship him, to praise him and to give thanks to him? God has spent the entire Bible (and all of time before and since then) revealing himself to us. First, he created the universe, the world, the heavens and earth, and us. He is more awesome and powerful, more loving and merciful and good, the Most knowing and creative being that has ever been. He has spent the entire Old Testament doing mighty works, performing miracles, delivering and saving people, making himself known to the Jewish people and the nations around them. He saved nations, destroyed cities and had individuals turn to salt or swallowed by fish.

We also see that God instituted the sacrificial system in the Old Testament to make atonement for our sins. Sin requires blood and God allowed us to sacrifice animals in our place for the forgiveness of our sins. But those were not the only sacrifices, or offerings that were instituted. Leviticus 22:29 also makes reference to giving a sacrifice of Thanksgiving. Psalm 50, a psalm of Asaph tells us the same thing, saying in v 14: “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the most high.”

What’s really neat is that when we look at the Old testament sacrifice of thanks, is what is required in it. The sacrifice requires a blood offering of a lamb or goat with no blemish. It requires bread or crackers made with yeast and bread or crackers made without yeast.

These three pieces are symbolic in what they represent. A lamb without blemish is a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. His blood was sacrificed for us and poured out on the cross just like the lamb here.

The unleavened bread, or bread made without yeast is very specific as well. Yeast and leaven are associate with sin, and so bringing bread without yeast represents a life without sin, a life of holiness and purity. Again, who amongst us has lived this life? Only one man. Also a part of the unleavened bread was that it was mixed with oil, which is often times associated with the Holy Spirit.

One commentator brings it together this way,

So, all three persons of the trinity are represented in this offering:
(1) God the Father to whom the offering is given, (2) Jesus represented by the unleavened bread and (3) the Holy Spirit represented by the oil.”

The commentator continues on, bringing in the last piece of the sacrifice, again, saying,

Now there was one more part of the thank offering, I mentioned the sheep or goat, the unleavened bread, and then the third part of the offering was cakes of bread made with yeast or leaven. This represented the person offering it, that is the sinner… you and I. This is symbolically saying, God, you’ve done so much for me,
You’ve given me all that I have, and I not only thank you,
but I give myself to you. That’s what the offering,
of this leavened bread was really saying. So God set up this system in the OT so that people would be giving him thanks, on a regular basis, by sacrificing to him.”

God has so many attributes that make him worthy of our thanksgiving and our praise and our worship. Psalm 136, gives us 26 verses of things that God is and things that God has done that make him worthy of thanks, but it repeats the same thing in the second part of every verse. I want to read you the first 9 verses of Psalm 136 and Im reading out of the english Standard Version:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

Now as I said, this continues on for an additional 17 verses and each one repeats “his steadfast love endures forever.” The word here translated as steadfast love, is also translated “lovingkindness” in this psalm. The Hebrew word, “checed”

Now, I don’t actually know if I’m pronouncing it correctly, but that’s the word. In other passages, this is often translated mercy, kindness or goodness. One commentator explains the use of the word in this psalm this way: “The LORD’s loyal love, mentioned in each of the 26 refrains, is his covenant faithfulness to his Chosen People whom he loves.” Forever means forever. God’s love endures forever. Nothing can take it away, nothing can change it. It always was and always is. His steadfast love is part of who he is. This is based on his qualities, not ours. Just like the other things the psalmist lists in Psalm 136.

What I like about this psalm in particular, is that it so completely lists that many reasons to be thankful to God, and as I mentioned earlier, it splits it in to two categories, Who he is and what he has done. The first 9 verses, what we just read, are about who God is. HE is the God of gods and the Lord of lords. He is good and he alone does great wonders. And it starts talking about the wonders of his creation. Genesis 1:1 starts off everything, “In the beginning, God created…” The first words of the Bible. Out of nothing, nothing! God created the Heavens and the earth, the seas and the lands, the skies and the mountains, the animals, the birds and the fish. And he created man.

Have you ever created anything out of nothing?

There is a joke about that. A scientist thinks he has finally figured out how to replicate Gods miracles. He thinks he knows how to make man out of dust. Remember this is a joke. God doesn’t believe the scientist and says, Ok, prove it. The scientist begins to gather up a pile of dirt and dust. All of a sudden, God cries out, “no, no, you have to make your own pile of dust.”

Now we are made in Gods image, so we are born with the ability to create with the gifts and materials that he has given us, but we cannot create something out of nothing. God is greater than us and deserves our thanks, and our praise.

The next section of the Psalm takes us into some of the things he has done. In the specific context of the Psalm, they start looking back at God freeing the Israelites from Egypt and bringing them to the promised land. But towards the end, it also becomes more general so that it applies to us as well. v. 23-26 reads:

It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

The psalmist points out here that when we give thanks for what God has done for us, it’s not enough to just give thanks to him for the good things in our lives. The Bible makes it clear that we are to give thanks in all circumstances. Here in psalm 136, the psalmist is saying that they were in low estates.

They were down on their luck, nothing was going right. This would be where we start to wonder where God is. We wonder what possible reason we have to give him thanks. We have some of the moments and feelings that we talked about last week.

This is where chesed comes in. It is his ability to be faithful, not our ability to see or not see him working. But the psalmist points to Gods grace. First, specific grace that is given to his people. V 24 says that God rescued us from our foes. Second, he points to common grace. This is grace, love and gifts that are given to all people, He says in v 25 that God gives food to all flesh.

Jesus parallels this in the Sermon on the mount. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to be anxious, not to worry about what clothes we will where and what food we will eat. He says in v 26, “26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Jesus is not telling us not to plan, not to be prepared, but what he is telling us is not to doubt the love and the goodness of God. We will always have this common grace to be thankful for. Charles Spurgeon speaks of these times in our lives, saying:

Some of us think at times that we could cry “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” There are seasons when the brightness of our father’s smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never does really forsake us. It is only a seeming forsaking with us, but in Christ’ sake it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our fathers love; but the real turning away of Gods face from his son, who shall calculate how deep the agony which it caused him? In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief: in his case it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from Him for a season. O thou poor, distressed soul, who once lived in the sunshine of God’s face, but art now in darkness, remember that He has not really forsaken thee. God in the clouds is as much our God as when he shines forth in all the lustre of his grace.”

God wants us to see him in the good and the bad, and see that he is in control, that he is our creator King and he will continue to take care of us, no matter what. James tells us right at the beginning of his letter, in verse 2, “Count it all joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of various kinds.” God has a way of working things together for his glory, that we can’t always see now, and we may not ever see.

When we read the Bible, we have the advantage of seeing from 30,000 feet. What I mean by that is that we often get to see the big picture, how God uses different circumstances and brings them around to his will and his glory. Two narratives that come to mind in the Old Testament are that of Joseph and of Job.

In Genesis, Josephs brothers do not like him and are jealous of him being their father’s favorite. They sell him into slavery and he ends up in Egypt. He is faithful to God, becomes respected, ends up in jail on false charges, becomes respected again and ends up being the Pharaohs right hand man. He is the one who is essentially running the country.

When there is a huge famine in the area, Egypt is the only country with food and people are coming from all around to try to buy food. This includes Josephs old family. He reveals himself to them and moves his family down to Egypt. His brothers show regret and think that their will be retribution for what they did to Joseph. In Genesis 50:20-21, Joseph tells them:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[b] should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Joseph was able to look back and see why God had put him through all the trials that he was put through. He saw the bigger picture. Job was not so lucky. We, reading the Bible see the part in the beginning of Job where Satan and God are talking and God gives him permission to put him through many various trials. So Job was put through all this to prove that he would not turn against God when everything he has was taken from him. See, Jobs fear of the LORD, his worship of God, his giving thanks to him was not only based on what God had done to him and for him, but because of who God was. Job got through the trials and God restored all that he had and more. But during the entire time that God was revealing to Job who he was and talking with him, Job never found out why he went through all the trials he did.

So we can see in each of those stories what there is to give thanks for, what good has come of them, and who God is in them. We see them from high up in the air, putting the puzzle together and seeing it in totality. When things are happening to us, we don’t see it from up in the air, we are seeing it from the ground and we can’t always, or even often see the big picture.

But what we do have is Gods word, his promises. And his promise is that we go through the things we go through for a reason. Lets go back to James. He tells us to be thankful for the trials that we are put through, but he goes onto tell us why. Starting in v 3,

 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

When we give thanks to God during times of trials, our faith grows and we come to know God better, growing closer to him. Paul tells us that no matter what, God’s will will be done. That He is in control and that he has our best interest in mind. Our job is to worship him and to follow him, giving him thanks and praise. Paul tells us on Romans 8,

 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

The point of this passage is not just that God is good and will work everything to his will, which he will. But more than that it tells us a part of what his will is. That those of us that know him will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. That we will grow to be more like Jesus and that we will grow to be closer to God. That we will give thanks and worship and praise to he who is our creator King and is all good all the time.

Now let’s be clear. The bible is not saying and I am not saying that these times aren’t hard, that they arent difficult and that we shouldnt hurt. When Lazarus died, Jesus wept. His friend’s death hurt him and he mourned. What the Bible is saying is that when we know him, we can look at these circumstances and we can know that somehow, someway, someday, sometime, God will use this for his glory. Charles Finney said that, “A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidence of growth in grace and a thankful heart.”

This past Thursday, our nation celebrated Thanksgiving. Many Americans sit down as a family, tell each other what they are thankful for and spend time together. Many Americans do this only on this one day of the year. But I want to challenge us to something more. Each day, tell each other what you are thankful for. Each day, whoever you are spending your time with, family, friends coworkers, tell them what you are thankful for in your day, in your life, big and small. And let everyone know who you are thankful to.

See, just like forgiving others and praying, having a thankful heart towards God has an actual effect on us. A few of the many benefits of having a thankful heart towards God include It honors Him, It refocuses our attention, It releases us from anxiety (Phil. 4:6-7), It refreshes our relationship with Him, It reinforces our faith, and It protects us from attacks and temptations from the enemy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke on the importance of biblical thanksgiving, saying:

“The way out of spiritual trial leads through thanksgiving.  . . . When thanksgiving fails, all else fails.  If there is something in our lives that we cannot include in thanksgiving, the Devil has found an open gate.  .

Giving thanks to God, having a thankful heart and mind towards him are vital for our well-being, for our growth and for our worship and right understanding of God. I think that thanksgiving to God is very similar to prayer to God. He wants to hear us pray for the big things. My old Pastor used to teach about how our prayers tend to not be very big, compared to Gods immeasurable greatness and power. But we also know that God loves us individually as singular people. And he wants to hear our prayers, not matter what they are, no matter how small they seem to us.

See, most of us fall into one of to categories. Either we believe that God is big enough powerful enough, to have the ability to create everything in existence, the entire cosmos, but does he really love and care about little old me enough to care about and do anything with my prayers? Or we go the other way, God loves me and cares about me, wants to hear about my wants and my problems, but he is not really going to do anything about it. Intellectually we may know that he is both, but viscerally, we have a hard time with that and tend to lean one way or the other.

He is both big enough to warrant thanks for life, salvation, this world. And he is also personal enough to warrant thanks for fried chicken, my kids and wife, for a heating system, for padded pews and chairs.

It matters to God. It should matter to us. It matters to the point that Revelation shows us in Ch 7 that the angels are on their faces before the throne of God and in v 12, : saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

The most important reason for us on a personal level, to give thanks to God is what we saw earlier in the quote by Charles Spurgeon. Our sins needed to be dealt with. We turned our back on God, we disobeyed his directions and found our selves separated from him. Because he wanted to restore that relationship, God sent Jesus Christ to take our punishment. We see that God had to forsake Jesus, to turn away from him, so that Jesus would feel that separation from God. We see the agony and the utter torment that cause jesus on the Cross. That was supposed to be us. Instead Jesus took it so we didn’t have to. Doesnt that deserve Thanks?

We look back at the story I opened with and Jesus healing the ten lepers. Do we want to be the one who came back or the ones who didn’t? I found a poem of giving thanks to God that I want to read to as we finish up.

When times are lean with nought to share
When love is hard to find
Where cold nights reign with cupboards bare
Then God is on the mind
But who gives praise when life is grand
When God has seen us through
Who’ve learned in truth to understand
That God remembers too
How oft we fail to thank the Lord
For all His kindness done
Through love He’ll turn His vengeful sword
In Christ His faithful Son
Give thanks to God for large and small
Give thanks for life on earth
From deep within or not at all
Give praise for all you’re worth

Worthy is God of all our praise
For all His wondrous deeds
Who serve The Truth in all their ways
May find they have no needs
Yet still the nations live in stress
Where harvest brings defeat
They need to turn so God can bless
With food for all to eat
Yet those who have can ill afford
With belly’s full to sit
We need to pray through Christ our Lord
We need to do our bit
For things can change as times before
When God held back the rain
For who can tell if sin once more
Won’t change our times again

Lets Pray

O Lord, Accept our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things.

Genesis 15:1-6 God reassures and comforts

Genesis 15:1-6

God Reassures Abram

Good Morning. Lets flip on over in our Bibles to Genesis chapter 15, as we take a short, temporary break from Romans. As we look at a snapshot from the life of Abram, I see things which I think are very relevant to us in this day, especially now. As always, if you do not have a Bible with you, or if you do not own a Bible, please take one from the back table as our gift to you.
And so, as a starting point, what do we know about Abram up to this point is the story of Genesis, up through chapter 15?
Well, we know that God chose him. We know that Abram had great faith and trust in God, most of the time. We know that Abram had epic moments of failure, where he leaned on his own plans, his own understandings and did not trust in God and his promises. We know that he and his wife, Sarai, were an older couple who were passed child-bearing years and were barren. We know that God promised to make a great nation of him in spite of his lack of a child.
And we know that Abram just saw, in chapter 14, that when he listened to God and his plans and acted on Gods instructions, that he was blessed. In Chapter 14 Abram takes an army of 318 trained men, and defeated an incredible coalition of 4 kings who took Abrams nephew Lot. Abram followed God and acted on his faith, trusting completely that he and the 318 men could take theses 4 armies.
They did, and in a clear and decisive manner and brought Lot back to Sodom, where he was living. He then worshiped God with a high priest, the King of Salem, Melchizedek. And what we are going to see here this morning is that even in the good times, we still have a need for questions to be answered, to be reassured, to have God answer our questions and, ultimately, to be allowed to question.
We are going to look at Genesis 15, verses 1-6. It’s a few short verses, but it is packed dense with meaning and message and application and truth. I highly encourage you to follow along in your Bible as we read this few verses. So, Genesis 15:1-6 and I’m reading out of the English Standard Version:
Gods Word says:
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue[a] childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son[b] shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

So we start out at some point after the battles, after the worship and experience with Melchizedek, sometime after chapter 14. My guess is that it is shortly after the events of Chapter 14. And what we see is that God speaks to Abram, he comes to him and he encourages him, reassures him, reminds him and comforts him.
Now, why would Abram need this at a time when he had just had such a successful victory following the LORD and such an amazing time of worship with Melchizedek. This should have been the time when Abram was flying highest. He should have zero doubts, no questions, he should feel never closer to God than at that moment up to that point in his life.
And yet…..
And yet, I bet that each and every one of us here can testify to a time like this. Things are going well in our life, more specifically, in our relationship with God. We are doing what we know he wants us to do. We are praying. We are reading. We are giving. We are walking with him and being faithful.
But something is off. Questions pop up. Doubts are raised. We feel far away from him. We wonder IF. Or we wonder WHY. Things just aren’t quite settled like they are supposed to be. The enemy loves to take this opportunity to attack and attack hard.
For Abram, it seems to be that his question or doubt, not sure which, seems to be along these lines. God is proving him self faithful and trustworthy. He is keeping his promises. He is blessing me and my family and protecting us and just being God. But, why is he not keeping this one specific promise. This one promise has not yet been fulfilled. Why? Why is God not keeping this one promise?
The promise Abram is talking about goes back to Genesis 12, where God tells Abram, in verse 2, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great.” This was a great promise. It was a promise that God and God alone could keep, could bring about. But it was a promise that seemed to need to be fulfilled a certain way.
In order for Abram to become a great nation, someone needed to take it over and keep his name going after he would pass on. That meant that Abram needed an heir. Without an heir, whoever took over for him would stake out his own claim, put his own name on it. But if Abram had an heir, his name would continue on.
So Abram is wondering, maybe worrying. “God said he was going to do this. He said he was going to make my name great, but I have no son to continue on my name. I have seen God keep all his other promises, and prove himself over and over, but I’m not seeing it in this.”
And this would happen occasionally in those days. A couple has no child, so who would inherit their possessions after they die? Often times in those days, one of their slaves or servants would become like a son. He would be adopted into the family and he would become the heir. Somebody needed to be an heir and take possession of their stuff.
And that’s what we see here. God appears to Abram and reassures him, responds to his wondering, saying, “I am your protection and I am your reward. I am faithful, I have been faithful and I will continue to be faithful.”
Abram responds, saying, “I don’t even have a son, I need to have my servant, Eliezer of Damascus be my heir.” He is saying, what we often say to God. “I don’t understand and I don’t see you working in this situation. I know what you said, but I don’t see it. This is the only way I can see this promise coming true.”
Lets be clear here. Abram is not sinning here. He is not doing anything wrong. What he is doing is he is being open and honest with God about his struggles. So often we are afraid to be honest with God. We worry that we are going to be ungrateful and demanding of him. We worry that we wont continue to be faithful to be honest with him and what our worries and questions are. Often, we will even worry that others will question our faith or our love for God if we are honest with our questions and struggles.
God calls us to come to him. Adam and Eve, in the Garden it says that they were naked and unashamed. The reference here is not only towards their marriage relationship with each other. But it also has to do with, I think firstly, their relationship with God. Adam and Eve were completely open and transparent with God. They hid nothing from him, had literally a perfect relationship with him. After the fall, the first thing they did was realized they were naked and cover themselves with a fig leaf.
When we look at the passage in Genesis 3, it’s about more than physical nakedness. It’s about our relationship with God, and us putting up barriers between us and him and hiding things from him that we never hid from him before. Our relationship with him was now fractured.
We don’t come to him, we are not honest with him and we question and doubt. but one of the things that God is showing us here is that if we are faithful, if we follow him, if we come to him with honest questions, honest wonderings, he will not hold it against us.
Now his response wont be like they are to Abram right here. Here, he answers Abrams questions. But Gods Word tells us he doesn’t respond in that way anymore. Hebrews 1:1&2: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He has already given us all the promises, all the assurances, all the reassurances, and all the response we need.
Here, He reiterates his promise to Abram and clarifies it as well. He tells him that it will not just be any heir that keeps Abram’s name going, that allows his name to be great, but that God will give him a son. A literal, physical born son.
And his descendants, he says, will be as numerous as the stars in the sky, which while there is a literal number to that, we will never be able to count that high or accurately.
But know that sometimes, God’s answer isn’t always so… well, it’s not always what we are looking for. Looking at Job, he questions why God was letting him go through the things he was going through and Gods answer to him was essentially, “I’m God, that’s why.”
And here is the key, Job accepted that answer. Abram believed God. That’s what is important to this story if we are to try to see how it works in our lives today. It’s not wrong to ask God questions, to be honest about your struggles and doubts. But, when we know Gods answers, or when he hasn’t revealed them to us, you need to respond in faith.
Verse 6 is one of the key verses in all the Bible. I don’t think I’m overstating that either. Abram believed God. And what God was promising was not easy to believe. Remember what we know about Abram and Sarai. They were old and they were barren. They had no children and they were past the age where it was possible for them to have one.
There was no earthly, worldly reason for Abram to believe God. But he did. And God credited it to him as righteousness. And that’s good news because Abram had no righteousness of his own. Just like we don’t have any righteousness of our own. All of our righteousness, piled up on each other are as filthy rags to God. Abram’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. This statement and what it means is so important that Paul devotes an entire chapter of Romans, Romans chapter 4, to this verse, which we looked at a number of months ago.
When we wrongly understand this, it is not a good thing. And it’s not a thing of little matter. Hear this. Abram did not earn his righteousness by believing God. That would put Abrams salvation entirely in his own hands. It would take his salvation out of Gods hands. Abram, and each and every one of us, has no righteousness. We don’t have it, we can’t earn it and we cannot be given righteousness of our own.
Well then, what righteousness is credited to Abram, whose righteousness is credited to us? I’m glad you asked. It is called the doctrine of Imputed Righteousness. I know, big words. But what they mean is both complicated to explain in some ways, but very simple in other ways.
There are actually two parts to it. First, look at 2 Corinthians 5:21. Paul writes:
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The work of Jesus Christ on the cross is part one. Even though it happened in our linear thinking and experience, long after Gods promise to Abram and Abrams belief in God. God works outside of time. He is at the same time in the past, present and future, all at the same time. His plan from before the world began was for Jesus Christ, the Son of God, himself God, to be born as a human,live a perfect life and die on the cross.
For our specific discussion, one of the most important parts there is that he lived a sinless life. He had no sin. So what happened? God imputed our sins on to Jesus there on the cross.
Jesus sacrificed and paid the price for sins that he never committed. He did it for the sins that we committed. Romans 3:21 & 22, Paul again writes:
 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

God, imputed our sins on to Jesus Christ on the cross. He then imputed HIS righteousness, his very own righteousness onto us. But, just in case you misunderstand what I’m saying, not all who live, not all who are born, receive Gods righteousness. There is a specific way, a specific method that God uses to impute his own righteousness onto us. It is through faith. It is through faith alone. Faith, which itself, according to Paul in the letter to Ephesians, is a gift from God. It is through this faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe that Gods righteousness is given, or as said here, credited.
Abram had faith, he believed what God was telling him. In the face of a lifetime of reasons not to belief, a life time of experience that says, “Your not going to have a kid. You haven’t had one yet and now you are too old.” In the face of all this, God says, “Trust me. I will give you a son.” And Abram believed the LORD, and God credited it to him as righteousness.
I know this can get confusing, SO I want to share an example that John Piper gives on how this plays out by giving an analogy from his life.
He says:
Here’s a very imperfect analogy. But I will risk it in the hope of greater understanding. Suppose I say to Barnabas, my sixteen-year-old son, “Clean up your room before you go to school. You must have a clean room, or you won’t be able to go watch the game tonight.” Well, suppose he plans poorly and leaves for school without cleaning the room. And suppose I discover the messy room and clean it. His afternoon fills up and he gets home just before it’s time to leave for the game and realizes what he has done and feels terrible. He apologizes and humbly accepts the consequences.
To which I say, “Barnabas, I am going to credit your apology and submission as a clean room. I said, ‘You must have a clean room, or you won’t be able to go watch the game tonight. Your room is clean. So you can go to the game.” What I mean when I say, “I credit your apology as a clean room,” is not that the apology is the clean room. Nor that he really cleaned his room. I cleaned it. It was pure grace. All I mean is that, in my way of reckoning – in my grace – his apology connects him with the promise given for a clean room. The clean room is his clean room. I credit it to him. Or, I credit his apology as a clean room. You can say it either way. And Paul said it both ways: “Faith is credited as righteousness,” and “God credits righteousness to us through faith.”
So when God says, this morning, to those who believe in Christ, “I credit your faith as righteousness,” he does not mean that your faith is righteousness. He means that your faith connects you to God’s righteousness.

It is only through this righteousness that we are not sentenced to eternal punishment and torment. It is only though this righteousness that we are able to stand before God and have anything to say. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:20:
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

But When we become believers in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross, when we are imputed with His righteousness, God doesn’t look at us and see us anymore. By that I mean, he doesn’t see you and me as the sinners that we are, that we were, that we were born as. Instead, he sees us through the lens of Christ’s blood, Christ’s righteousness. That’s what allows us to be adopted into his family. That is what allows us to be heirs to his kingdom and be given eternal life with Him.
This is one of the rewards that Abram is promised of God in Verse 1. Now, there are a couple of other rewards, rewards that Abram would be more in tune with that God is referring to as well. His son, his heir is one and if you continue reading Genesis, you see how big of a deal that is.
But the grand scheme, big picture thing that God is referring to when he says that Abram’s reward will be very great. He is rewarding Abram with himself. He is giving Abram his righteousness. Abram is getting the opportunity to exercise faith, belief, trust. And through that God has chosen to give him his righteousness.
When we believe in him, when we exercise faith, when we put our complete trust in Jesus Christ, God has promised to give us his righteousness. So my question to, are you covered in His righteousness? Are you promised a great reward? Eternal life? There is no other way. No other door leads to eternal life in paradise. Not all who live are getting in. I want you to get in. I love you and I want you to enjoy eternal life, but it’s not going to happen unless you exercise faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.
Now, to those of you who are covered in his righteousness, the Christian life is not one to “Set it and Forget it.” It is one of constant growth and trials and periods of feeling closer to God and feeling further from him. Peaks and valleys. The Psalms are filled with songs where David is begging, literally begging God to make him presence felt to Him. This is David we are talking about! And he has times where he can’t feel God close to him.
So you are going to go through those times too. That doesn’t mean your faith is weak, or you are a “lesser Christian,” or there is something wrong. What matters is how you deal with these valleys, these periods of life. Abram went to God, was honest with his questions, listened for and heard Gods response. And he trusted in that response. Job was going through incredible hardships and questioned why God was letting this happen! Today we ask, why God, why?
Why are these fires happening? Why did entire towns get wiped off the map? Why is this country allowing untold millions of unborn babies to die, without being given the chance to live their lives? Why are so many rejecting your Word and your promises? Why are you letting this company take away my job? Why are you letting me go through this health issue? Why are my friends and family letting me down? Why are my friends and family dying?
And it’s not just the questions like that, that we have. It’s also the ups and downs of life itself. As I mentioned earlier, there are times where we know in our heads and our hearts that God is faithful and true and he is without us to the end of the ages. But we don’t feel him. Many of Davids Psalms are asking God why it feels as if he is not there with him. David knew nothing could keep God from him or separate him from God, but that doesn’t always mean we feel his presence. And that can be tough.
Do you all know the story of Horatio Spafford? He wrote the hymn, It is Well. It is a heartbreaking story. He and his wife lost a son at the age of 2. He was financially ruined in the Great Chicago Fire, and then, sending his family ahead of him to Europe while getting their affairs in order, the ship they were traveling on sank and his three daughters drown at sea. His wife survived and while he was going over to meet up with her, as he was passing near where his daughters drowned, he wrote It Is Well.
Tim Chaffey of Answers in Genesis writes about the Hymn:
How could Spafford possibly proclaim “It is well with my soul” in light of the numerous tragedies he endured, including the loss of his young son to scarlet fever? The song reveals at least two reasons. First, he knew that all of his sins had been “nailed to the cross.” Second, look closely at the final line. It begins with two short words (“Even so”) quoted from the final passage of the Bible. He longed for Christ’s return because he was convinced that he would dwell with His Creator and would be reunited with his precious children.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
“Even so,” it is well with my soul

Some recommended Bible reading for you, I am not going to read it to you this morning, but Read Psalm 77. This one specifically deals with a man going through these times, this depression, and through it all, through this moment in life, he cant sleep, he can’t feel Gods promises there with him. He knows intellectually God, his promises and his attributes, but that knowledge in and of itself does not dismiss the depression. And he says in this psalm, in the Casey translation, I can’t see you, I can’t feel you, but even so, you frighten the things that frighten me. You will bring me through this and you will take care of me and my soul. And he ends the psalm, not cured, or healed or happy or out if his depression in any way. But he ends it, still in his circumstances, but leaning and trusting in the God who promised to take care of him, who promises to take care of us.
We all have these questions. Own it. Face up to it. Ask God your questions. We all have those moments, when we know in our heads, but we feel so far from him, or we can’t see how his plan is working through whats going on, or if we are going through a valley, missing the peace and exhilaration of the peaks. We all have them and they hit in different ways or with different feelings or emotions, but I bet you all know exactly what I’m talking about. And we can’t always know when they are going to hit.
But when you do, there are two things you need to do. Read his word, searching for an answer. He wont always give you the answer you want, and he wont always say it clearly. If we see something we don’t like, that disagrees with out expectation, especially in the bible, we have a tendency to just ignore it and overlook it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there and that he is not answering. Be willing to see whatever the answer is, not matter how unexpected it is.
Second, trust in his answer, whatever it is. Trust in it, accept it, lean on it, depend on it. Cling to it with everything you have. Whether he answers you like he did Abram and say, “your worried about this situation, I’m going to fix this situation the way you want it.” or whether its like Job where he says, “Im God, that’s why.”
Either way, God is God. And he loves us. He has promised us a great reward if we trust in him. Bank on that and accept that. Let it be credited to you as righteousness. Because, in the grand scheme, he promises us something very clearly. If we believe, if we have faith, and if he credits that to us as righteousness, we will have the greatest reward of all. We will receive him and we will enjoy that gift forever into eternity.
No matter what you are feeling. No matter what the circumstances, no matter what is going on in your life, in your heart, in your anything. When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever your lot, God has taught us to say, Even so, It is Well with our souls.

Lets Pray.

John 21 Full circle Cafe

Hi guys! This week, we have a special guest sermon by Pastor Nick Castillo. I do apologize for the audio quality, but if you are able to listen to the sermon, I exhort you to do so. Pastor Nick challenges us, made us laugh, reminisced and faithfully taught us from the text, John 21.




Romans 10:9-21 Salvation belongs to the LORD

Romans 10:9-21

Salvation Belongs to the LORD

Good Morning! Please turn with me in your Bibles to Romans chapter 10. We have seen Paul over the last couple of weeks, the last few chapters, and more generally, this whole letter to Romans, he is talking about salvation. Paul has been very clear about the need for salvation. We are all sinners and unable to save ourselves. We are all sinners and therefore separated from God. Paul has established the author of Salvation, Jesus Christ and he alone. Paul, as we saw last week has established the need for knowledge about salvation, calling those who refuse to acknowledge Christ as savior ones with Zeal not based off knowledge.

Today, in this section of scripture in romans chapter 10, Paul shows some of the mechanics of salvation, and again, emphasizes that those who are saved and secure in their salvation. And he is again establishing and emphasizing that salvation is for all, Jews and gentiles alike.

So with that, we will go ahead and read the text this morning. It’s a bit of a longer passage, as we will be reading verses 9-21, through the end of the chapter. You will likely recognize some of these verses, but as happens often in the Bible, when you recognize some verses, its likely you wont recognize others. So, I greatly encourage you to read along in your Bibles. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version. Romans 10, verses 9-21.

Paul writes:

 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for

Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”

19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,

I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”

20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,

I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

So as we start to examine this passage of scripture, there are two questions that seem to jump out, maybe a third if you want to flow into chapter 11. And the two questions are slightly different, but close enough that we will look at both of them this week. The first question is, How is one saved? & the second is like it, put in the words of the Philippians jailer in Acts chapter 16, as he addressed Paul and Silas, What must I do to be saved?

Now, as we get into these questions, and look at the Bible for the answers that we are given by God, I want to acknowledge one of the resources that has been a big help for me in studying those questions. This book, From Death to Life: How Salvation Works, by Allen Nelson IV is a simple, clear, concise, and straight Biblical account of what the bible says and teaches about salvation. I highly recommend picking up this book and reading it through. Its simple enough for beginners and in-depth and thorough enough for serious bible students. But I want to be clear that this book was a big resource for me as I prepped this sermon.

Now, as we look at this passage, we see it broken down into a few different sections, but yet, it’s not able to pulled apart and separated. Normally I would read these sections separately, as we walk through the text, but this text is so interconnected that even if we address it in chunks, we cannot separate these sections from each other.

Now the first couple of verses we look at here, we see Paul show us a glimpse of the mechanics and continue to assure those who have been saved. Confess and believe. Believe and Confess. Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth. It sounds so simple. It sounds so easy. And in many ways, it really is.

But, with something so clear and so simple, humanity comes along, we come along and we skew it. We either make it more difficult, by adding conditions on to it. We say, you have to do this, you have to be circumcised, you have to celebrate the festivals, you have to use this Bible translation, you have to confess to a priest or pray to someone other than Jesus. Even things we are commanded to do, like being baptized, if we add them as necessary to salvation, we add to the gospel and we change the gospel.

Or we try to help God, we try to simplify the Gospel so that there is basically no distinction between followers of Christ and those who don’t. We make it easier to follow his teachings, changing the meaning of the text, raising up the letters in red while downplaying any of the other words in the gospel. We make it easier to come to church and not be confronted with sin, to come to church and not hear the Words of God, to come to church and not be accountable. We make it easier by saying all you need to do is raise your hand and say a prayer and your good.

In both cases we are saying that Gods word is not sufficient. His sovereignty is not complete. He needs our help to reach and to save the people around us. The truth is, as we have seen throughout Romans and especially in the last few chapters is the God is completely and totally the sole author if salvation. And here, he makes it clear how he provides salvation to us.

Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth,  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Jesus says simply repent and believe in the Gospel. Here we do have to define terms. This is where the knowledge we talked about last week comes in to play. This is where knowing the comprehensive and systematic themes and words of the Bible shows its importance.

What does it mean to believe? Remember some of the stats we mentioned last week? Over 90% if Americans claim to believe in God. That is actually a good start, but does not go near far enough. The author of Hebrews writes in 11:6, whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists. But that’s just a starting point. God exists. Paul says that EVERYONE knows that, though most of the suppress it, as he explains in Chapter 1 of Romans. James also shows how this is but a starting point, and not enough, as he writes in his letter, chapter 2, verse 19,  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

So, we see that belief that God exists is not enough. We must believe in our heart that Jesus is LORD. That he is God. He is the Son of God and he is God the Son, one-third of the trinity. This is a belief that is given free and clear, but a belief that demands something. This is not “easy believism.” I came across this quote a couple of days ago that I read a few years ago while in school. Gerald Sittser looks at the culture in America today and says this:

In modern American culture, we can be “spiritual” without actually believing in a particular faith tradition and belonging to a particular faith community, especially Christianity. This kind of fuzzy spirituality allows us to fashion a spiritual life that suits our immediate interests and consumer tastes. But such spirituality often lacks substance, integrity and discipline. It means everything and nothing at the same time; it is as vacuous as Hollywood’s definition of love.”

God tells us clearly here that this is not how it’s supposed to be. We are to have faith. Not a general, generic faith that doesn’t actually mean anything, But a saving faith in Jesus Christ, his godhood, his humanity, his life, his death, his resurrection. And this faith is not of our own, but a gift from god in and of itself as Paul writes in Ephesians 2. Now, some don’t like to here that. Paul writes in Romans 3 that none of us chase after God of our own volition. Jeremiah says that our hearts are deceitful above all things. Paul says here that it is only through this saving faith that we can be saved, and then I Ephesians 2 that our faith is not from ourselves, but a gift from God.

Some would argue that this means that we don’t do anything, we have no say in our salvation. They are both right and wrong. We don’t play any role in our salvation, not in initiating it, not in earning it, not even in accepting it, for as Jonah cries out, Salvation belongs to the LORD. Allen Nelson takes the biblical text and lays out 5 things that happen, that need to happen, that work together and all that in regards to salvation.

First, the Gospel is proclaimed. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. We cannot be saved, we cannot know what salvation is or how to be saved without hearing from God. And the way that God communicates with us is through his Word. Hebrews 1:1 & 2: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

No one can come to know God without hearing the Word, without the scriptures. Second, through hearing the word of God, God moves in us, he calls us. The Spirit quickens in us. However you want to say it, we talked last week about Jesus lifting the veil from our eyes. Ezekiel talks about changing our heart from one of stone to one of flesh. This happens inside of us, by God and has nothing to do with us. At this point, if God does this, if he calls us, we will end up responding.

Thats number three. We respond in faith and repentance. This is where we play a part in our salvation, even if we don’t have a say in it. Now, we may, and most of us did or will fight this, again, suppress it, resist it as best we can, for as long as we can. But, if God has called us we will respond. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

When we respond with repentance and faith, number 4 happens. God justifies us. He declares us righteous. This is where the death of Christ on the cross actually come in to play. Sin, of which we all commit, is treason against God. Sin, in any shape and size makes us instantly and completely unrighteous. In order to get back into a right relationship with him and in order to not be punished for the sins we committed, a punishment we so rightly deserve, we need to become righteous. But we can’t. We are completely, physically, emotionally, spiritually, 100% unable to make ourselves righteous. Not only that, but even if we could, we can’t undo the things that we already did to make our selves guilty, to make ourselves unrighteous.

But Jesus can and does. He lived a perfect and completely righteous life, so that he had no sin to make up for, no sin of his own to atone for. He died a death, a sacrifice for sin. The wages of sin are death, (Romans 3:23). God showed us and Adam and eve in Genesis 3 that sin requires death to cover it up. God shows in the Old Testament through the sacrificial system that blood and death are required to make up for sin. The animals that were sacrificed were a temporary measure and they could atone for sin that had not been committed yet. Jesus dies a death that was undeserved. The death of his perfect life, his blood shed was sufficient to cover all of our sins.

But, it didn’t stop there. Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. He didn’t stay dead. One of my favorite hymns is In Christ Alone. The third verse says

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

When we are justified, when we are saved by grace through faith, when we respond with repentance and faith, we are now his. We are no longer clothed in our own unrighteousness. We are no longer given the identity of sinner. But we are his and He is ours. We are clothed with Christs perfect righteousness. We are now called saints by God. We are his.

Of course we know, every single one of us should be able to testify and admit, that we don’t stop sinning. We will trip up. We will stumble. We will not achieve perfect righteousness of our own, not in this lifetime. Sin’s curse has lost its grip on us. But sins curse has not yet lost its grip on this world.

But number 5, after justification, comes sanctification. The sinner grows in Christ. We grow in Christ. We sin less. We read his Word. We love his church and his people. We show our love for him by obeying his commands, summed up in Love God with all your heart, mind, body and soul. And Love your neighbor as yourself.

In this part is what we talked about last week, growing in the wisdom and knowledge of God. Having a zeal for him, based on knowledge. Putting that knowledge into action and serving and loving our God.

But this section of scriptures also points out one very important aspect of what we are called to do. To share the good news of the Gospel, to share the share of Christ and his Word with those who don’t yet know Christ. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

Despite what we hear in the wording of that passage, we are not all called to be preachers, not in the sense that I am up here preaching. We are not all called to the office of pastor or elder. But we are all called to be able to help spread the Gospel.

There is no hope outside of Christ. There is no salvation outside the Word of God. God is clear in his Word that no actions, no abilities, no obedience can earn or merit or achieve or anything in regards to our salvation. Our best works are like filthy rags to him. However, after we know Christ, after we have been justified, as part of our sanctification, works will show our faith. And we are called to obey. One of his commands is to share this great news with everyone. We are to spread the Gospel to all people, tribes and nations, making disciples of all nations, teaching them what Christ commanded.

We do that without regard to what we view of as success. Our success is obedience. The results are in Gods hands. And Paul warns us that many will hear and not respond. Not all who hear will be saved, but rest assured, all who are saved will have heard. And we all, each and every one of us, has been disobedient and contrary. We have all committed this cosmic treason, as RC Sproul refers to it. And yet, God has held out his hands and gathered us in. Remember Romans chapter 8, verse 30? And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

And so, we praise and we glorify our almighty God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. And Paul tells us, here this morning in verses 11-13: “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

When we are his, and he is ours, we see the last verse on In Christ alone,

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

One other thing Jesus tells us to do is to remember, to celebrate in remembrance. Today, we remember and celebrate Christ’s death for us, that act on the cross, that act of pure love, grace and goodness. That perfect act of mercy. God holding out his hands to us, disobedient and contrary people.

We remember the sacrifice, the blood shed. We remember what that means to us, as those who have turned to follow Jesus Christ. It means that we have been declared righteous in his sight and we get to spend eternity with Jesus Christ and God the Father.

We often take this time somberly and soberly, because of what it cost Jesus, what he had to go through. We celebrate because Jesus is alive and we get to partake in eternal life with him if we chose to follow him.

Now, Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 11 some things about partaking in communion. First of all, this is for those that have made a commitment to Jesus. This is a celebration and remembrance for what he won, what he purchased when he paid the penalty for our sins and rose from the grave. If you have not made that commitment, out of respect, please pass the plate.

Paul also makes it clear that we need to be in the right state of mind, that we need to be honest with ourselves and with God and about our sins.

I greatly encourage you, as we are passing out the items for communion, take that time to talk to God. Make sure you are examining yourself and you are taking it for the right reasons. Again, please do not be afraid to pass the plate along. There will be no glances, no judgments. What is important is for each of us to make sure that we are in right standing with God.

Paul gives us a picture of Communion in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. In verses 23-25 he writes:

 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for[f] you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[g] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

So, what we are going to do here, is Mike and Jim are going to come up here. One will pray for the crackers, which symbolize the broken body of Jesus on the cross. They will pass them out and when we are finished we will take the cracker together as a church family.

Then, the other will pray for the juice, which symbolizes the blood of Christ, shed for the forgiveness of sins. They will pass them out and again, we will take it together as a church family.