Sermons & Sunday Schools

The Imperative Virtues of the Christian Race, Part 1

Full Transcript:

Alright, let’s take our Bibles and turn to Hebrews 13. We’re finally at the last chapter of this book. It has been a great book. I started out saying that it is theologically on par with the book of Romans. If you have followed along, you have definitely learned some theology. And chapter 13 finally gets to the practical part.

When you look at Romans 12, it begins to get very practical after all that theology. God always lays the theological and theoretical foundation first before practicing anything properly so that we know what and why and for whom we are practicing it for.

So far we have seen that Jesus Christ is the final Word of God the Father. He is the final Revelation and He is greater than the universe because He has created it. He is greater than the angels and Moses and Abraham. He is greater than death itself, which He defeats ultimately. He holds victory over Satan. He has established a future with a Kingdom. Jesus Christ has the final word of everything and the plan of salvation.

If someone rejects Christ, they have no hope for a future with God. But if they trust and follow Christ, they have a bright and hopeful future, which is quite encouraging for anyone who knows the Word of God.

So when we get to Hebrews 13, we are going to be looking at the imperative virtues of the Christian race. In other words, this is what God wants us to do and how He wants us to be. We know all this theology now and have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but we have to see how things will change in our lives.

The last time we were in the book of Hebrews, we were in verse 28 of chapter 12. It says there:

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken.

This indicates that we already have received a Kingdom from God. When we received that Kingdom, we were exhorted in two general titles. The first one is that we are to live in expressible thankfulness. If you notice what it says in the rest of that verse in Hebrews 12:28, it says:

Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.

It doesn’t just say to speak things we are thankful for, but to also show that we are thankful before God, people, and the church. This is what happens when someone really gets converted. All the impediments of worship gets removed. The Christian is cleansed in their conscience of their guilt, defilement which is caused by their own sin and transmitted sin of Adam. Finally when they are cleansed of all that by the sacrificial death and blood of Christ they are freed up for the first time in their lives.

For the first time in your life as a new Christian, you are given by God the ability to be genuinely thankful for everything and the opportunity to put it all on display. People who are stuck in an ungodly generation, are actually unthankful.

On the other hand no matter how bad it gets for Christians, we ought to be thankful and we ought to show it in our circumstances even if they have totally gone south and nothing goes as planned. God’s providential despite all that, he has made no mistakes in our lives even if things don’t seem to be going our way. A second thing that Hebrews 12:28 tells us is that we are genuinely able to serve our great God and Savior given the right attitude.

The ground for acceptable worship is living your life in the true light of the essential character of God, and that is that God is a consuming fire. I mentioned last time that God is holy. His holy character remains unchanged under the new covenant, so when people say to you that the God of the Old Testament is different than the God of the New testament, the answer is no.

The God of Zion is the God of Sinai. He is still a consuming fire and will hold people responsible for their sins. The wrath of God still abides upon men in condemnation because they love darkness rather than light. Of course He is a God of mercy and love too.

Those are the two things that come together when we become believers. We have to keep in mind that God is a consuming fire but also a God of consuming love too. That is what we are going to be growing in our Christian life, we are going to be understanding God’s love demonstrated towards us.

We must worship with reverence and awe before God. As we do that and grow in our ever expanding knowledge of God’s revelation through His only begotten God, spoken to you and me through the Word of God. Because of this ever growing knowledge, our faith begins to increase and we learn how to trust God. We learn to walk by Him in faith and to believe everything He says is true.

Even with all that, there is still one thing that we need as we are growing. That is endurance. Maybe we need endurance here than any other place in our Christian lives. This next section in Hebrews 13 talks about relationships, which is endurance with other people. That’s always tough. People are not easy to get along with.

God wants us to endure in these relationships, not give up on other people. In fact, this comes back from Hebrews 10:36 where it says:

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

In the present tense, we all have this great essential need that is to endure. So listening to the One who speaks from Heaven, and heeding what is said by God Himself will develop in us a God-like character. But if we don’t listen, which is the warning throughout Hebrews, then you will not become like Him nor will you know what He wants you to do or know. All of these things are designed by God to help us become strong in the faith.

So you will not live by faith if you are not growing and listening and doing what God says already. And as a consequence, you will not please the Lord. The goal of theology is for us to please God. We believers need endurance so we can practice our faith, especially in our relationships with other people. We believers are not to think that we live in a vacuum. In fact far from it, we are now part of the body of Christ which is called the Church.

The church is the gathered assembly from darkness to light that meet together and that means that the church and all of us are responsible to attend to what I call, our social duties as Christians. We should all be careful not to become slack in our social responsibilities, but to be diligent to offer up sacrifices that are well pleasing to God in our relationships.

It was Jay Adams who said, “The faith we are growing in should be the goal to the well pleasing walk with God.” And then he said this, “Unbelievers cannot please God even though they think they can.” There’s nothing an unbeliever can do to get God to smile to upon them, unless they come to faith in Christ Jesus.

So apart from Jesus Christ and His redeeming sacrifice, they are utterly unable to do anything to please God. So you and I need endurance because the Christian walk is a struggle. The Christian walk is a race and a battle. Therefore, we need endurance to maintain healthy relationships which will always be a challenge. Whether that relationship is between a husband or wife, parents and children, employee and employer, or anything else, especially those within the body of Christ.

God gathers together in the body a melting pot of cultures, ages, and backgrounds that come together in one place, and normally that would cause great strife and even war. But when we come to Christ and He is our common bond, then we have peace and in that peace and in the unity that the Spirit of God gives us, we develop relationships that we would never have had unless we came to Christ. I would have never met some people in my lifetime unless I came to Christ, because we would have nothing to talk about without Him.

So as we look at our text this morning, the first five verses of Hebrews 13 are sprinkled with something really interesting, imperatives. Now you don’t necessarily get this with the English, but in the Greek it is very powerful. Imperatives are commands, which are basically what you ought to be doing as a believer.

As a matter of fact, these things must be in your life as a Christian. Today I will be pointing to only two or three of the five imperative virtues while running the Christian race. I want to spend time on the first one because it is the crowning virtue and will always come first.

Here is the first imperative that we must cultivate as a body and as Christians. We must cultivate the virtue of constant love. Now do you really know what love is? Does anybody really know what love is? Or what it takes? Love is actually an action word. And here the author is considering those who are believers that we ought to cultivate this virtue of constant love. Look at what it says in Hebrews 13:1:

Let love of the brethren continue.

There is where he starts the practical part of theology. It tells us exactly who to love and how it should take place. The term continue can be replaced with words like remain, last, persist, live, or exist. Now this could be here for the very purpose of reminding people of the admonition against slipping into apostasy or going back to the old religious system of works, which was Judaism at the time.

People were giving up the action of loving the brethren because of the troubles and the things that have to be worked out between couples and groups of people. Theological and social things have to be worked out, knowledge and other things have to be worked out when we come together in Christ Jesus. So he’s saying to let love of the brethren continue, and to not let love stop. This is going to be the essential crowning virtue of all the believers.

As a matter of fact, the Word of God constantly reminds us that His infinite love for us is the source and the stimulus of the love we have for each other. God loves us not because we are worthy, not because He sees great possibilities in us, etc. God loves us although He knows full well our complete unworthiness and at best that our unrighteousness is as filthy rags. He loves us without the thought of advantage for there is nothing we can bring to Him who made all things.

He loves because it is His nature to love. He loves because He is love and God’s love is a love that costs something. In fact, it is an active love, which is revealed mostly and clearly in what Christ did on the cross. That is the ultimate demonstration of love, that Christ died for the ungodly. How much greater can you get than that. That is the action of love.

So we are all to maintain the constant evidences of brotherly love, especially showing how Christian brethren ought to get along within the community of the church. If anybody can look in amongst believers, they have to be able to witness that. That these people truly love each other even though they are so different.

Why do they love each other? Well the Word of God is literally riddled with passages of Scripture about love. I can’t go to everyone, I don’t have time for that. But I did want to look at a few.

Here’s one I want you to turn to. Keep going in Hebrews a few books ahead and look at 1 John 3:14, it says:

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.

There’s this back and forth between life and death. How do you know you are spiritually alive, because you love people that you wouldn’t have loved before because of Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ has demonstrated His love towards you even though you were not lovely at all because of your sin and the things you have offended God about. The emphasis is on the objects of love, not the kind of love. The primary objects of love are the fellow members of the body because we love the brethren.

The Greek word here is philadelphia. The word means specifically brotherly love from one Christian to another. It’s not the same as the word agape, but the source word is agape because it comes from 1 John 4:8 which talks about God as love.

When it is used for the practical outworking of love in the body, the word is philadelphia. The emphasis is the love for the fellowship and for each other. So Biblical love is always accompanied by acting in the best interests of others.

In fact you cannot love in a vacuum or alone, you have to love with other people present given their weaknesses, impediments, difficulties, and personality problems. Our first object of love must be the Lord Himself. The Christian faith is more than a code of rules, system of doctrines, or a set of practices. At its core, Christianity is a person, in fact three persons, which include the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is always the first object of our love, we cannot reverse that and say that we love people and then God. God’s love is the source for love for other people.

Having settled on love for God, we are led to a compelling love for the body and for other people. This is love for the family of God, and for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are family because of Christ. Scripture says that this is crucial for the believer. It is not a take it or leave it proposition, but it is a virtue which gives the gathered assembly power.

Love is powerful. In fact it is as powerful as sound doctrine. Sound doctrine and love for the brethren are the most powerful things we have. They go together because they are the visible demonstration of the gospel. If you are a Christian and believe in the gospel of Christ, then you need to show it. The love part is where you show people.

Let’s go over to Romans 12, I want you to see the last chapters here where the author talks about the righteousness of God in salvation and all the difficult things he spoke of throughout the book by application. Look specifically at verse 5:

So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Secondly, we are to be devoted to one another as it says in Romans 12:10:

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.

It continues on in Romans 12:12-13, 15 says:

Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Here Paul is talking about what it means to flesh out love among the brethren in different and ways as all are growing in Christ. So spiritual fellowship is not a luxury but a necessity for vital and healthy growth among believers. Some ask me if as Christians we are to keep the commandments.

But what do the commandments have to do with love? I would say to them no we do not. In fact, we are called to live by a higher standard, which is called the law of Christ. Just like when the Lord said, “You have heard it said not to murder… but I say if you are angry with your brother that is sin.”

See the Lord is the Lord of the law and supersedes it and is higher than it. It is not murder anymore but anger in your heart. It is not adultery but now lust in your heart. The standard is higher for a believer, and that has everything to do with love.

Look at over at Romans 13. Jesus calls us to a higher standard in relationship to the commandments. This begins to answer the question of how shall we begin to love as God loves. Look at Romans 13:8 which says:

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Instead of committing adultery, you are to persevere the sacredness of the marriage bond as a church to believe in and uphold and honor and help people in their marriages. You as a believer are called to complete fidelity in marriage. This is one way that we love.

We love our wives and husbands in marriage which is the seventh commandment. Another way we love is found in the next part of the verse. By God’s definition, hatred is as much murder as the unlawful taking of another’s life. Instead we are supposed to help our brother and sister in Christ to keep alive and to keep well. You as a believer are to be truthful, kind, tenderhearted and forgiving to your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Just as jealousy, hatred, and the like indicates that a person is of the world and not of the family of God, in contrast love, self-sacrifice is there it indicates that such a one has passed out of this world and into the family of God. This has everything to do with the law.

Another way to love is to show that you do not steal, to help protect the property of another. We don’t steal or manipulate a person’s possessions which is showing that another person’s property is just as important as my own. In addition, not coveting or wanting what your neighbor has, you are to rejoice with how God has blessed your neighbor. We shouldn’t begrudge when someone has more than we do, but we should rejoice in the fact that the Lord has blessed and given those things to them. This is showing love.

The last part of Romans 13:9 talks about love being the fulfillment of the law. When we become Christians we keep the law absolutely. We have the Spirit of the law, which is Christ in us, and we live it out with real life. If you love Jesus Christ, it would follow by a natural inference that you would also love God’s offspring and children.

The question here comes down to loving other brothers and sisters in Christ and the desire to fellowship and eat with them. This is the crowning imperative virtue in Hebrews. After all this theology, make sure it remains among you in the body. Anyone claiming to know God but failing to show to other believers what love is, it can only meant that that person is a deceiver.

When we are a church, we are to continually endeavor to display this virtue. No one is exempt from this that we are to manifest a character of Christ in and through us and no one has demonstrated this greater than our Lord.

Our Lord understood exactly what love is and what is needed to show and demonstrate it. His pure and tender heart made our needs His own. He loved us so warmly as to care with the deepest personal anxiety for our moral state, even though He knew full well the burden of our souls. He longed to save souls and I am so thankful that He did. He knew how sinful we were and the immeasurable greatness of human sin. So what did He do? He bore the fact of the weight of the sin of humanity and He took it upon Himself and died as a substitute sacrifice in our place. That is what the whole book of Hebrews is about. God showing the greatest action of love and then fleshing it out.

So here we have a very simple passage in Hebrews and I just want to look at it one more time. Hebrews 13:1:

Let love of the brethren continue.

Don’t let it fall by the wayside. Don’t let it drift away and make sure that you stick with it. That means that in every relationship and conflict we have, we are to show to the other person the love of Christ. Do you do that? Do you know how to do that?

As I said before, I thought I was a pretty loving person before I became a believer. But when I started studying the Scriptures I thought that I didn’t even know what love was. Everything that I thought was love was really just selfishness. I always thought about what I could get out of it even if it wasn’t packaged in those exact words or thoughts. But that was the end result.

Sacrificial love is not getting anything out of the situation. I owe love to the brethren because of what Christ has done for me. There is a second imperative here in Hebrews 13:2. We must not forget to display the virtue of unusual hospitality. Look at what it says in the verse:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Who is the author talking about here in that first part of the verse? He is talking to the church about other believers that they don’t know personally that God brings across their path. The imperative is not to neglect to show, which is an action, hospitality to strangers. We should not go on being unmindful of hospitality.

Well back then there was a greater need for this kind of hospitality because there were no hotels, motels, or public resting places. Christians had to be ready to accommodate traveling Christians that they had not known previously. They had to be ready to show the difference that Christ had made in their lives by a willingness to provide a place to stay and food so that the strangers could rest and nourish their bodies. This also includes fellowship so they can have a good spiritual well-being when meeting together.

So this is what the Bible tells us that we must not forget of anybody God brings across our path. In 1 Peter 4:9:

Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

I’m glad he included that because usually when a stranger shows up in your life it is usually at the wrong time because you have a hundred and one things to do. You have these pressing needs and there is that steady knock on your door asking for help.

Well I was studying this passage of Scripture and I got to the second part of it in verse 2, which again says:

For by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

I just got done studying, at about one thirty in the afternoon, and it was a pretty tiring day. I closed my Bible, and my stomach was a little bit hungry. And as I left the back office, there was a car with Florida plates. There was a woman who stood there and came in the doorway and I knew right away when I saw her that she wanted something. She really had a need. I had her come inside and we talked about her situation for a few minutes. She began to cry and tell me her horrific story.

Of course as a pastor when I hear things like this, I’m calculating what’s true and what’s not true. She began to tell me her story and it was truly horrific. She had a grandchild that she had sent up here to North Jersey and she had not heard from her in 22 days. She had a grand baby who was raped and she sent her up here for protection and she lost contact so she came up here to find her. She had very few leads.

I, of course, want to interject the gospel to see where she is at spiritually. So I begin to tell her about Christ and she told me how she came to know Christ as her Savior. She was raped as a little girl and both her stepfather and mother abused her physically. So she was sent off to her grandmother who was a godly woman who went to church every week. And this woman said that every week she heard the Word of God being preached. She learned about the Bible from her grandmother and she loved it. But when she turned 18, she left.

The woman said she lived how she thought was right but ended up wrecking her life even more. She went back to her grandmother who set her straight and that is when she came to know Christ as her Lord and Savior. Ever since then she has put Christ first in everything she has done.

So she came up here to look for her granddaughter knowing she would have to ask people for things and for help. She went to several other churches and they told her to come here. I don’t know if I was happy or sad about that but you know what, she had already cried an ocean of tears by then and I just got done studying this passage of Scripture. She was clearly a believer, she was a stranger I had never met before, and she clearly had a need.

I said to myself that I wasn’t gonna let her grovel or say one more thing. I told her that we would give her 3 days in a hotel, fill her tank up with gas, and send her on her way. She was praising the Lord for all that. And He was definitely in that situation. Whether she was an angel or not, I don’t know. She went on her way and was blessed by you all because of your giving. It’s because of your generosity when we do ask for gifts to help people, you are all there. As a matter of fact, we have to tell you to stop giving! That’s good!

Because then I am freed up when someone does come along to help them. We can at least show them a little bit about the love of Christ that God’s taught us. Then those people can go away blessed and knowing that God took care of their needs through us. That’s what this is about. And God really taught me a lesson this week.

I was thinking to myself whether this was a coincidence after studying this exact passage in the Bible. I did not even get out of the door before being put in this situation. The Lord gave me something to see if I really believed it.

I was struggling in the flesh with hunger and I was tempted to just let the lady drive along. But I couldn’t do that ultimately and I’m so glad God didn’t let me do that. There are no coincidences, there’s only God who is providentially working and testing what we really believe. He is testing us on the practical level, not on the theological or theoretical levels.

The practical is always going to cost something. Time, money, and your own pleasure of doing the next thing you were planning to do. But I guarantee you when you put into practice what the Word of God says, the blessings are overwhelming to know that God was really able to use us to supply a simple need to a person I’ve never met before and probably will never see again in my life.

If you look deeper into this passage of Scripture, it is not a promise that if you help someone that person could have been an angel. What this is saying is that historically, people have entertained real angels and found out about it later on. In fact to remind you about what this is, look back at Genesis 18. Abraham was in his tent and showed hospitality to the strangers who came to his tent on one hot day. Verses 1-9 in this passage say:

Now the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by. “Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they said, “So do, as you have said.” So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes.” Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf and gave it to the servant, and he hurried to prepare it. He took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate. Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.”

This is unusual hospitality and it is spontaneous as well. He quickly ran to get what he needed so these particular strangers could be fed. He finally figured out that one of them was the angel of the Lord because of what it says in verse 17:

The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?

And this is in the context of destroying Soddom and Gomorrah. This is a theophany, an appearance of the godhead with two other angels that came to Abraham. He probably didn’t realize that he was in fact ministering to angels, one being God Himself.

We see the same thing in Genesis 19. The angels come to Soddom and Lot asked them to spend the night with him. They finally entered his house to a prepared fest just for them. We know that in the end the angels’ jobs were to destroy the sinful cities. They caused the unsaved people to be struck blind and they poured out the wrath of God on Soddom and Gomorrah.

You may just be going about your day and life when God sends people to you who you have to figure out. Now this isn’t to say that if a person is not a believer you just send them away. It means that you just always have to treat people with the love of Christ. Because that will bring unbelievers in to hear the message with the action of the love of Christ.

One other passage is in Judges 13:1-4 and it is about Manoah, who was going to be the father of Samson. This is during the terrible time of the Judges and in Israel’s history. Evil came up in the sight of the Lord and He gave the Israelites into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. Look at what the passage says:

Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years. There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. “Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing.

Then in verses 11-14 it says:

Then Manoah arose and followed his wife, and when he came to the man he said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to the woman?” And he said, “I am.” Manoah said, “Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?” So the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Let the woman pay attention to all that I said. “She should not eat anything that comes from the vine nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; let her observe all that I commanded.”

Then notice what is says in verse 15-16:

Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.

Again here is a situation where God is speaking to people and is sending His angels before Him. This is an important message to deliver the people of Israel through the judges. Once Manoah realized that the angel of the Lord was speaking to Him, he reacted in a certain way in verse 21-24:

Now the angel of the Lord did not appear to Manoah or his wife again. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. So Manoah said to his wife, “We will surely die, for we have seen God.” 23But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time.” Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the Lord blessed him.

So again here is somebody that God sends angels into their path. They act with hospitality and kindness and with the love of God. They realize later that they have been entertaining the angels of God and even the Lord Himself.

So what is the practicality of this doctrine? Make sure you maintain constant love and never forget unusual hospitality. It seems kind of odd for God to conclude a book like Hebrews with such practical things.

But we need endurance in these areas because it is those relationships and interferences and people who walk into our lives who we know nothing about. God wants to see what we are going to do in these situations and what we believe. This is to see if the love of God is actually in our hearts. And it’s all our responsibilities to make sure we don’t respond in the wrong way. Then we need to recognize it and turn from that behavior and sin to do it the right way.

That’s what we are to do. Therefore here is the outworking of theology. Do you need a college degree or advanced education to show constant love or unusual hospitality? No. All you need is the love of Christ in your heart. You need the love of Christ to love that way and without doing it begrudgingly. That’s how we really how and adorn the gospel. I think we are going to have more opportunities to show Christ here than in any other situation.

Usually when people come across our paths, they do have needs. They are hurt and people have sinned against them and they just want to know that God is still alive and He is living through His people.

Alright so I’m going to stop there because we have the Lord’s Table. I’m going to pick it up next time with relationships and to show simple sympathy to those believers who are in distress or in prison. I warn you not to be absent! Because I will get to the passage of Scripture that warns us to keep the marriage bed in high esteem! We also may be content with what we possess on earth, now that is a crowning virtue.

Let me have a word of prayer and the men who are serving can come forward. Lord, this morning I realize in the Word of God that it is real, alive, and active. It is sharper than any two edged sword and it is the word that cuts deep into the recesses of our hearts and exposes and digs out our sinfulness. Lord, part of that is our unwillingness to love people. Our lack of keeping in mind how you use us to show hospitality. I pray that that would be something we would change in our lives. Make us ready for these things and help us plan for them every day. I pray that we would pray for You to send someone our way that we may be a blessing to them. I just ask You this morning as we partake of our Lord’s Table, that You would make us ready to receive the elements. We know that the Lord’s Table is the institution that You left here for us on this earth. It is the core of the gospel and Your death and shed blood are how we get right with You. We cannot forget that. Lord, let us never take it by habit so that we forget its significance. We want to be aware of what we are doing. Teach us every time to come in a worthy manner before You and to partake of the elements in an honoring way. I pray this in Christ’s Name, Amen.