Elder's Prayer - April 15, 2018
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
As we sing those words, “Immovable our hope remains”, do you know the hope of which we are singing? What gives you hope through adversity, through the mundane grind of the day to day? What gives you hope in the face of tragedy, or even in the face of death?
I received a phone call from a patient a couple of weeks ago. His wife, Diane, also a patient of mine, had broken a tooth. Diane was diagnosed with leukemia some months ago, she’s decided not to pursue treatment, and she’s opted to live out her remaining days under hospice care in her living room. The tooth that she’d broken was very sharp, and with every move she’d make it was cutting the side of her tongue. It was very painful, so I told her husband that I’d be over that evening after work to see what I could do. I brought a Dremel tool, a couple of dental instruments, and there in her living room with her husband, her daughter, and a flashlight I worked to smooth that broken molar until she was comfortable again.
Now, of course, there was an ulterior motive to my visit to her home... Yes, I wanted to make her comfortable, but I also wanted to speak truth to this woman through the words of Scripture, if only one last time. And so I read to her. I read to her of Jesus’ death, of his resurrection, and of our being raised with him to eternal life if we have repented of sin and believed in him as our Savior. I read to her of the fading away of our bodies in this life and the process of the sanctification of our souls. And I read to her of the new body believers will one day receive when we reach glory. When I finished reading she closed her eyes, she folded her hands, she smiled contentedly and she said with a wistful sigh, “I don’t know how anyone can go through life without Jesus”. I don’t know how anyone can go through life without Jesus… And I share her sentiment! How can anyone go through life without Jesus?!
We have no hope, but that Jesus justified us with his death and resurrection. And he did so particularly. Have you ever wondered why you weren’t born in pre-colonial America where there was no hope of access to the knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus? Or why you weren’t born in bombed out Syria or Northern Iraq where you would have had little chance of hearing of the saving grace of Jesus? Or why hearing of salvation in Jesus alone produced repentance and belief in you, and yet the same response is not seen in others around you who have heard the same message? Jesus justified you. And he did so particularly! And that gives us hope.
We have hope because Jesus sanctifies us, ever making us more like him. Patiently, day to day, moment to moment, we are being transformed into the same image of Christ from one degree of glory to another. He began the good work in you and he will perform it until he returns.
We have hope because Jesus will one day glorify us - our bodies and our minds - and we will be in his glorified presence for eternity. Our glorification will be to dwell in his glorified presence! And our presence will be glory for him, and his glory will be our own glorious reward.
"Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved." (Philippians 3:20-4:1)
What gives you hope? The better question is, who gives you hope? It is the person of Jesus alone who gives hope. Things, places, and people can briefly produce distraction, but hope for eternity only comes from the eternal Savior, Jesus Christ. Do you know him upon whom eternal hope hinges?
Lord, this human mouth, and every mouth sitting before me this morning falls short of capability to articulate your worth, your glory, and praise for the salvation you so graciously and persistently move us to receive. We, who once were dead in our trespasses and sins, you made alive, and you made us your children. You are rich in mercy, you love with great affection, and you make us alive - are making us alive in Christ even now! We are saved by undeserved grace! And you have raised us up to sit in heavenly places because of Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages you might show the immeasurable riches of your grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Our salvation is not our own doing, it is a gift from God, not a result of works so that we may not be proud or brag as we are so sinfully prone. We are your workmanship, made by you! Created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has already prepared, that we should walk in them. Graciously aid us to continue to worship you in song, in prayer, in giving, and in studying your Word. Graciously grant us a deeper understanding of who you are, and our own humble position. And make us submissive to each other and to the truth of your word. In Jesus’ name, Amen