Elder's Prayer - January 13, 2019
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ… and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
We are sinners, trapped and dead in our sin, following our own passions, our own desires, doing what we want to do, without any thought toward God. We are heading toward wrath, punishment, destruction.
But God is not like us. He does not sin. He is not dead. He is not a slave to his passions or desires. And he gives thought to those who don’t know him. In fact, God loves those who don’t know him.
And this love isn’t simply something that he feels toward us, though he certainly feels merciful and patient and kind toward us. This love of God’s leads him to action for our benefit. He sends his son to die on a cross, carrying our sin, in order to make us alive with him. The life that God has he shares with us through Christ.
God, you are eternal, unchanging, you are forever holy. You are wise, kind, generous, gracious, patient. You alone are worthy of our praise.
Before you saved us, our hearts were far from you. Our thoughts were not like your thoughts, our desires were not like your desires, our passions controlling us, driving us far away from you. Our words condemning us, full of hate and pride and envy and bitterness. We were wretched and hopeless, objects of your righteous wrath against sin.
Yet you acted toward us in love. From your throne, you know and see our hearts and still you chose to love us.
You love us by giving us your word. With it, you help us to know that you are God, you help us see our sin, to recognize our need to be delivered from the punishment that it deserves.
You love us by making promises to us. You made promises to Adam and Noah and Moses and David that you have kept and will keep, including the promise to send someone to deliver us from the penalty of our sin.
You love us by sending that deliverer, your only son. You sent him in the form of a man to live a life of obedience to your word, then to die on a cross as our substitute. Then you raised him from the dead, showing us that your love can overcome even death.
You love us by giving us your spirit to be with us and to guide us and to help us understand your word and to unite us as one body and to serve as your guarantee that you will always keep us as your own children, that you will always show your love toward us.
Your love is steadfast. Your love is unchanging. Your love is great.