Elder's Prayer - June 24, 2018
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
What causes us to sometimes doubt God?
We live in a world that, according to the 24 hour news cycle, is increasingly perilous.
And we may certainly struggle in our personal lives with health issues or financial or relationship problems.
There is no doubt that life in this world can be challenging and it’s not my intention to make light of our earthly struggles. They can shake our faith in others, in ourselves and perhaps God.
We can easily lose sight of God’s eternal promises and instead focus excessively on ourselves and our earthly struggles.
But the Bible, from beginning to end affirms God’s faithfulness to those he has redeemed.
After describing his fleshly struggles in Romans 6 and 7, Paul, in Chapter 8, beautifully describes what God’s promises mean for Christians.
In verse 1 he says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Imagine that—despite all our sin—despite the sin in the world around us, as we live our lives and when we depart this earth, God, who is our creator and ultimate judge, has promised we need not fear his condemnation, and he assured that promise at the Cross.
The condemnation we deserve has been taken by Christ who died and was resurrected. He lives, so that we may live—counted righteous by his blood.
Later in chapter 8, beginning in V31 Paul says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”
The answer to that last question is no—as Paul goes on to say in V37—“in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As we go to the Lord in prayer, let’s turn our focus away from our earthly struggles and focus instead on the promises of God who has assured us of his love and eternal vision for us through his Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Father, you know each of our hearts. You know when and where we struggle with doubt and temptation that so often leads us to focus on ourselves, rather than you.
But you have revealed yourself to us through your word. You have given us the ability to love and understand you by your Holy Spirit. You have assured our eternity by the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord.
I pray for each of us as we face the struggles of life on this earth that we would increasingly set our minds on you.
May we increasingly live as Paul reminds the Philippian church when he instructs them to:
Rejoice in you always because you are at hand; and because of that, we need not be anxious about anything, but in everything—all that we do and think—by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving you want us to make our requests known to you and in doing so you promise we will find your peace—a peace which surpasses all understanding, by which you promise to guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
Lord guard our hearts. Enrich our minds with your promises; may we increasingly set our minds on you, and seek the things that are above and live in light of your goodness and mercy. We ask this in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.