Elder's Prayer - May 5, 2019
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday
Not only should that song enliven our spirits, because, at least in my estimation, it is a great tune, but more importantly, we should be enlivened because it speaks to the assurance we have in Christ.
The song reminds us that our sovereign God directs all the paths of our lives, all our ways, all our circumstances are known to him, and therefore (v3) we do not fear the final night - for death, as the song says - will be the door to life.
I think we can all agree that in this life, things don’t always go as we plan or prefer. But, as we are reminded in Proverbs 19, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but the purpose of the Lord will stand" - What is that purpose?
Romans 8 tells us that God uses all the circumstances - all the ways of our lives for good so that we may be increasingly conformed to the image of his Son.
In verse 30 We are told that those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Paul goes on to ask a series of rhetorical questions: 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?
For those who are in Christ, the answer is nothing can separate us from the love of God. God's love is everlasting. It is eternal.
His provision is gracious and sufficient and sealed by the death and resurrection of Christ.
He holds tightly to those he has redeemed, even if it does not seem that way to us at times.
We see this throughout both the old and new Testaments. We can look back and see God’s providential hand in the paths of the lives of the forefathers and as we examine our own lives, we see too that some of the things we did not desire or anticipate - all our ways - are used by God to cause us to increasingly love and obey him - that we may be conformed to the image of his Son - as we move toward our promised eternal home, reconciled to God, through Christ Jesus, forever.
Father, as we navigate the challenging waters of this world, may we never lose sight of the fact that you are God, and we are not.
Your ways are not our ways, your thoughts, not ours.
Your thoughts and your ways are infinitely higher than ours and for that we are grateful.
We are grateful that we are not reconciled to you by our own feeble efforts, but by the redeeming work of our Lord, Jesus Christ, your only Son, whom you sent to die on our behalf; and not only that but also to be raised from death to eternal life.
It is by your mercy and your Spirit, whom you poured out richly through Christ, that we are justified and become heirs to your promise of eternal life.
You keep us by your power and your provision, not our righteous deeds.
Lord, may we increasingly seek to understand your will and your desires and learn to think and respond biblically to the challenges we face, knowing ultimately - as the Apostle Paul says - these light momentary afflictions are preparing us for an eternal weight of glory that is beyond our current comprehension.
You are faithful. Help us to trust in you always, no matter what may come.
It is in Christ’s name we pray.