Sermons & Sunday Schools

The Let-Us Bowl of Scripture: Hold Fast Together

Full Transcript:

We will be continuing with Hebrews 10, a great book of the Word of God in the Bible. The title of my message is Holding Fast Together. We have just moved through a large doctrinal section, and now we come to this practical outworking of doctrine, which is called the Lettuce Bowl of Scripture. It links doctrine with deeds. Up until this point, Hebrews insists on correct teaching.

The exhortation, in this part of the Bible, is on consistent behavior that comes from correct teaching. Doctrine always comes before there could be proper practice, which has the right manner, motive, and reasons as to why you do something. In other words, the teaching of Scripture not only needs to be received by us, but also appropriated by us.

As mentioned, Hebrews 10 is broken into two parts: encouragement and warning. It gives appropriate responses to the proceeding nine and a half chapters. Believers are exhorted and encouraged to action. Reason being that they possess something new, and they are new. They have received the Holy Spirit of God, they have received the Gospel, and they are changed. God transformed their lives, and they’re no longer what they used to be. Because of that, they are now desirous to do something about what God has already been working in them. Now, they have something in their possession that they did not have before.

The great and grand truth: based on that one-time sacrifice of Jesus Christ and when someone comes to faith in Christ, God forgets their sins, He forgets all their violations of His law, and He drives sin away, not only covers sin. Therefore, it will never come up against them again. Hebrews 10:18:

Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

By Christ’s full and final expiation of all sin for all time, believers are made right before a holy and just God, and now have continual access to their God. This is all based on doctrine, which gives us the basis to have confidence. Everything we embrace in Christ is to be worked out in our life. That objective truth enables us to enter God’s presence with confidence, which in turn informs our feelings enabling us to feel assured of the realities of our faith. Then, it causes us not to waver, remain faithful in Christ, and to live the next day in Christ. In turn, that gives us evidence that we are truly members of God’s household and visible church on earth. When we press-on based on the church of the Word of God, then it works out.

Before the holidays, I mentioned two things that must accompany our approach to God. First, followers of Jesus Christ are to enter God’s holy place with confidence. True believers already have confidence and are exhorted to go directly into the presence of God. The last two messages included a challenge for prayer. Going into the presence of God has everything to do with Christians praying together, which is an expression of the Christian’s lifestyle of faith. There is no greater way to express faith than by prayer and depending on God together as a body.

Second, followers of Jesus Christ are to draw near with sincerity. Drawing near with sincerity includes coming to God with an honest and open heart and being an open book before God. God knows everything going on in your life, so there is no sense in hiding anything from Him. You cannot do that, so don’t even convince yourself that it can be done. Everything you do is in front of the eyes of God no matter when or where. Therefore, when you come to God in prayer, come with an honest and cleansed heart.

Remember, your heart is already cleansed, but we are to confess our sins so that the cleansing process of the blood of Christ and the affectional power of the Cross continues daily. We need the Cross every day. Even though we have been eternally saved, we need the Cross every single day. Another way of us depending on God is asking for Him to cleanse the sin in our life and for victory over sin.

In that way, we grow in our confidence to come before God, not coming to Him afraid. We’re coming with reverence, but not afraid. Now, God is our Father. The relationship has changed from being our judge to our Father. Therefore, we have a family relationship to God, and now we are in Christ, which gives us great confidence.

Coupled with an understanding that we are to regularly draw near to God with a cleansed and honest heart, real believers actively show their confidence in what and in whom they believe by two things. First, by entering in, Hebrews 10:19:

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus

Secondly, by drawing near, Hebrews 10:22:

let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Dipping back in to the “Lettuce Bowl,” we will examine several other vital practices to the Christian life style of faith. This is a lifestyle of faith, which is building up to Hebrews 11, the chapter on faith. When we get to Hebrews 11, we will find that their lives were in such despair, yet the lived by faith. They obtained the promise and held onto the promise. Though, they knew they would not have the fullness of the promise until they died and went into the presence of God. By faith, they held it because they knew God was true and could not lie.

Thirdly, followers of Jesus Christ are to hold fast their confession. Hebrews 10:23:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Holding fast to our confession, with Jesus, comes with two responsibilities. First, to hold fast for ourselves. In this verse, he is talking in a plural way, not in the way that it is just you alone. He is talking in an assembling way where it is all about us, not you or me, but interestingly, it starts with you. The responsibility to hold fast starts with you and me, but first, individually. Proverbs 4:13:

Take hold of instruction; do not let go.
Guard her, for she is your life.

He is talking about wisdom. When you get wisdom, don’t let it go. Meaning, you could lose wisdom. In the sense that someone can take it from you, some event can remove it from you, or something can cause you to lay it down. Don’t do that but hold it fast and close to you. Usually, the things we hold fast and close to us are dear and important to us. Also, things we understand we don’t want to let it go. 1 Corinthians 15:2:

by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

Once you become a Christian, you hold fast to the Gospel the rest of your life, so that you may live in a way where you don’t believe in vain, you know what you believe, and that you are holding it fast every single day since you live it out every day. Every day, your faith is a reality. Holding fast gives this sense: if you believe in Christ, what He has done, and what He is doing on your behalf right now, then you would hold these convictions with endearment and not want to let them go.

These convictions are the most important thing in your life; in fact, you grow to the point where they are more important than anything. You can die with convictions like this, and you will go to the grave with these convictions. Again, what is interesting about the phrase, “let us hold fast our confession,” is that the Scripture uses it in a specific verbal mood.

In having to do with yourself first, the verbal mood is that of a subjunctive mood, which represents a verbal action. Often, it’s called the mood of probability. Since he is not giving a command, it is not an imperative. Do Christians really need a command for something they desire to already do? They don’t, and that’s why it doesn’t command. When you are real believer, you desire to do the things you’ve been talking about, and you don’t have to be commanded to do them.

Here, he is using it in an exhortative way where the whole body of believers are to be exhorted, which starts with the individuals. Individually, we are to take hold our confession of Christ for the sake of the rest of the believers. In other words, the way we live our life and the way we believe what we believe affects everyone else around us in the body. If we’re wavering and doubting all the time, then will it not affect everyone around you?

Hence, the subjunctive mood is used to urge someone to unite with the speaker, in a course of action upon which that speaker has already decided. Therefore, you decide to hold fast to your faith and the next person decides to hold fast to their faith based on what the Word of God is saying. The use of the subjunctive is an exhortation in the first-person plural, and the typical translation would be, “we should.” However, that is not the translation here. Here, the translation is “let us.” It is not, “we should do this,” it is more, “let us do this.”

I believe the difference is in the understanding of the value of what we have and what God has done for us in our salvation. We understand that so well that we are saying, individually to everyone else, let us do this as a body. God has already given us the desire, so let us do it. Its coupled with corporate unity to do it together. Why should an exhortation to hold fast to our initial confession of faith, in Christ, be given anyway to a group of people?

Pastor from England, Ramon Brown, said:

In a society like ours, where Christ is not loved, His standards are not honored, where God’s word is widely ignored, and the Christian faith often dismissed as either incredible or unattractive, believers must be firm. They must hold fast, unwaveringly in the confession of their hope. The world is trying to take it away from you.

In fact, that is the scheme of the devil. Once you become a believer, let us not abandon the precious hope that we have, or allow someone or something to rob us from it because these are all trying to get your faith. Don’t let anything induce you to abandon faith in Christ or what God has already given you.

Not worldliness where people will try to lure you to love something other than God. Not materialism, which will tempt you and ultimately get you to forget God because it makes people self-sufficient. Because they have everything, it makes people think that they don’t need God, which causes people to lay aside the most important convictions of their life. Also, not family, friends, peers, or social pressures. These may be factors of a shaky and questionable faith. Cynical voices around us, always testing doubt over the things God has said and done. It’s the old satanic twist from the garden: “has God really said that?” or “do you really know you are saved?”

We must hold fast of something that everyone is trying to take away, and God is giving it to you. Also, in this passage of Scripture, the real problem for them was suffering, affliction, and persecution. Hebrews 10:32-34:

But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.

These people were really under persecution. They had their home and what they worked so hard for taken from them because of their faith, yet they took it with joy. At this point, they are second guessing if they should have taken it with joy, or maybe this whole Christian thing isn’t something they want to give their whole life to. Those doubts come in, and that’s why we must hold fast.

We are going to have times of doubt and times where affliction and persecution may tempt you to grumble, complain, and despise God, and some to abandon Him altogether. Because of persecution, tribulation, or trial they leave the faith. Don’t abandon the faith for those things. Even if these things come in your life, hold fast and don’t abandon the faith for the unpredictable events of life. These may work out in a way that will test your faith, and it will cause your faith to shake a bit by being challenged.

Don’t ever be surprised by tests and trials of your faith. All our faith in Christ must be tested as to its genuineness, which is when you really know you are a believer. When you have gone through a trail, suffering, or persecution, and however it may have come to you either through family, friends, peers, work, or loss of something, and you are still holding fast to the truth. The smoke clears and you’re still standing.

In Hebrews 10:23, you will find the way we are to hold fast and the motive. The manner, in which you are to hold fast, is without wavering. It means to be firm, unmovable, and not leaning. In other words, never letting your confession bend like a sickly sunflower plant that droops down toward the ground instead of a brightly colored, vigorous plant strongly following the movements of the sun, which soaks up every needed ounce of strength to maintain its vivaciousness.

Illustrating a distinguishing characteristic of a sunflower and its flowering head that tracts the suns movement, which is called heliotropism. Thus, holding fast your confession of faith in Christ and all that He has said and done will keep you from drooping into coldness of heart, flipping into sin, and false doctrines. Christians should be heliotropic. Also, to keep carefully tracking with the Son, and as the Son teaches us, we move with Him. Therefore, our manner of holding fast must be without wavering.

Secondly, Hebrews 10:23 states the motive in which we are to hold fast, so the motive is the character of God. We understand and believe that God cannot lie or deny Himself. Today, making promises doesn’t seem to have the same weight as it once did. Usually, when a promise is made, a promise is only as good as the character and integrity of the person who makes the promise. Scripture often affirms the character of God. Numbers 23:19:

God is not a man, that He should lie

Titus 1:2:

in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago

If God’s character is not behind our salvation, we are all doomed. It’s God’s character that causes us to hold fast, and that is the motive that we have in our heart. Because God said He saved us in that manner, we know we are saved and believe this by faith. Therefore, we are walking in it every day. Remember, in Hebrews 6, God backed up His promise with an oath. God swore by the greatest authority in the universe Himself, putting His own integrity, reputation, and honor on the line to guarantee the fulfillment of what He had promised.

God didn’t need to make an oath since His word was good enough, yet God wanted to make sure that the doubt was cleared out in the minds of His children. When God makes promises, you can trust that, and you can die with that truth knowing that He will take care of everything. Hebrews 6:17-18:

In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.

Therefore, we have a hope. In Christ Jesus, we will live in the Kingdom of God with Him, which is the hope we have. In some ways, we are experiencing the Kingdom right now in the body of the church, and the worship of God that we are learning to do here. However, someday we are going to be with God and with a resurrected body. That’s the hope He laid in front of us, and if God said it, it will happen. It will happen just as it is said in the Word of God. You don’t have to read in between the lines, especially since there is nothing there but white spaces.

In addition to the Word of promise as a confirmation and legal guarantee, an oath was added to remove all doubt and argument from the mind of His children. God cannot renege on His promise. If He were to renege, He would deny His own character and God cannot do that. For example, Sarah believed God, and she had Isaac. In Isaac, all the promises of God come true. Hebrews 11:11:

By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

Considering the faithfulness of the One making the promise is the principle means of strengthened faith in the promise. God made the promise, and it strengthens our faith in that promise because of who made the promise. God will not change His mind or take a left turn on us. He will not and cannot because that is His character, and we must base our faith on that. We cannot see it all with our eyes yet, but we see it by faith.

Faith is holding to something, and we hold to the character of God and what He says. Because of God’s character, He must bring to pass the very things He has promised. This is how we can hold fast, but this starts individually. Then, it strengthens the whole body as you have a bunch of individuals in Christ holding fast to the confession they have in Jesus Christ, and the hope and promise that he made. That group of people becomes stronger as they work and minister together to do the work God wants them to do in the world.

We have a problem, and the problem is that we’re Americans. Americans have a real huge problem when it comes to the Christian faith. We are too individualistic. It’s not about us, but about me. It’s not about the world, but it’s about America. If you go into another part of the world, they see our arrogance in that kind of attitude.

In an interview with Chuck Colson, the head of Prison Fellowship, concerning the church as a community of believers said, “We live in a therapeutic age where everything is measured by ‘how much I get out of it,’” he continues, “the church ought to be measured by what we put into it for God and others, and we live in an era of ramped individualism. In a very individualistic culture, the whole idea of being part of a community is counter-cultural, and it fits perfectly in the ‘what’s in it for me’ narcissistic attitudes prevalent in the American Culture.”

You are to hold fast to your confession of Christ for the sake of the rest of the believers. You cannot live your Christian life alone, and God never intended that. It is impossible to do, and you will drop out so fast that you won’t know it hit you. The flesh, the world, and Satan are all against you. When you come into the body of believers, you have protection, the Word of God, and each other holding fast to your confession of faith. That is why the church becomes so vitally important, especially in persecution, affliction, and doubt. It is not for you individually, but for us corporately. Together, we grow strong as a body.

The second responsibility is to encourage others to the same thing we’re doing and to believe the same things we’re believing. We have a responsibility of mutual encouragement. Hebrews 10:24:

and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.

Again, there is “let us” consider. We must not forget, we are Christians not only for our own sake, but also for the sake of others. In this passage, the word “consider” means to be attentive to fix one’s eyes and mind upon the task of taking thought of others. Get out of yourself and look at the needs of others in the body.

Christians are exhorted to have a proper concern for other Christians and to be continuously attentive to the welfare of other believers, which is spiritually, morally, and physically. Then, we are to find suitable assistance to give them such as advice, word of caution, admonition, or some consolation that we can give them so that they don’t let go of their confession and continue strong in the faith.

Another strong word, in our passage, is “to stimulate” them. In other places, it is to incite them. When we use the word incite, it means that a person instigated something, and some translations say to poke, provoke, or stick them like you stick a horse to get it going.

Sometimes I’m having a good day, week, or year, and sometimes I’m not, but you are. I look like I’m going down for the count, you come alongside of me, and you stimulate me. You consider what I’m going through, and you stimulate me to do something in two areas: to love and to good works. Only the body could do this, and this is how God designed the body. We are to provoke and excite each other, so that our brothers and sisters, in Christ, would be encouraged to be involved with labors of love and good works.

In other words, love is the motive behind everything we do, and good deeds in the practice of the love. Doing good deeds adorns the gospel and glorifies the Father, who is in heaven. Titus 3:8:

This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

We are to stimulate others to practice their confession of Christ by working out what God has worked in them, which is done by good deeds. I have found that many people are confused about what exactly are good deeds. Remember, good deeds come after conversion, not before conversion. After conversion, I can love because I understand love that proceeds from the Cross of Christ and what Christ did for me. Now, I can love God, which in turn causes me to love people, which in turn causes me to do something about what I see people are going through. Therefore, there are some specific about good deeds that I will address.

One, the vessels of good deeds are cleansed vessels. 2 Timothy 2:21:

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

Also, the motive for good deeds is from Matthew 5:16:

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven

If you want to show people about the faith that you have in Christ, do something. From Matthew 5:16, the object of good deeds are people, but, in Scripture, those of the household of faith first; then, everyone else such as neighbors, strangers, relatives, or enemies. Because of Christ, we are to do good works to everyone.

The purpose of good deeds is to provide and meet needs. Titus 3:14:

Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.

Part of the fruit of a Christian is good deeds. The realm of good deeds are you and the church. In other words, Paul told the Ephesian Church in Ephesians 2:10:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The way God created you physically and gifted you spiritually is the realm in which you will use your good gifts, works, and deeds. The preparation of good deeds is the Scriptures. The Scriptures will completely outfit us for everything that God has for us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Also, there are two directions for good works: prayer corporately and baring fruit. Colossians 1:10:

so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God

As we learn doctrine and we are provoked to love in good works, it causes us to grow in Christ and increase in the knowledge of God. In increasing in the knowledge of God, we bare fruit of our conversion. The specifics of good works are everything that believers do out of the love for God and the building up of the church, which can mean our understanding of giving to the poor, the less fortunate, the sick, the weak, the widow, the elderly, the missionaries, and the young married man and woman in the church. Of course, to pray with them, and if need be, to invite them to Christ if you detect they don’t know the Lord.

Whatever they need, find out what it is and do good works before the Father, and He is glorified when you do so. The affirmation of good works simply shows that you have been changed by God, through Christ. James gives the argument in James 2:18:

But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

A Christian who is alive and has the Spirit of God has a desire to hold fast their faith. In doing so, it encourages the whole body. Then, they have eyes now to see the needs of the others in the body. Also, they have a desire to do good works, not out of a motive for getting something, but out of a motive for love. If we do it out of a motive for love to our Lord and Savior, we will never want anything in return. God has given us so much that we don’t deserve anything else. Therefore, we’re not looking for something because we’re giving something. We’re looking to glorify God, use our gifts so that we may grow, and looking to see the body flourish and become healthy.

Brethren, how is this mutual encouragement going to take place? Hebrews 10:25:

not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near

For the word assembling, he uses the word episunagoge, which means synagogue. Simply, synagogue meant a gathering of believers in one place, or an assembling together to meet. The Jews understood that synagogue was a common term used for religious buildings or places, where they would gather together with other Jews, to worship God and hear the reading of the Torah.

Remember, it starts with you, but when you hold fast to your faith, it has to do with the whole body and meeting together with other believers. Thinking like this is still very much alive. It is still possible for a person to think they can be a Christian yet abandon the habit of worshiping with God and His’s people, in God’s house, and on God’s day.

John Stein, a long-time pastor in the United Kingdom, wrote a recent book called, The Living Church Convictions of a Life Long Pastor, and said on the unchurch Christian:

I trust that none of my readers is an unchurch Christian. The New Testament knows nothing of such a person. For the church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God. That the gathering of believers is an essential to the encouragement of other believers.

Believe me, when you are not here, I’m saying, “where are they? Did they let go of the faith? What’s happening in their life?” However, when you’re here, I’m encouraged to see you every time. I may not tell you personally every day, but I’m encouraged when I see you. Hopefully, you’re encouraged when you see me.

While it is true, we can worship everywhere we go, and only in the gathered assembly I get to worship Him with you. Here, I get the Word of God read, taught, sung, recited, and prayed with you. Together, we partake of the Lords table, which reminds us of why we are here, the death of Christ and what He did on the cross. We never let go of this essential, vital truth, which is something we do together. The Lord’s table is not something you do privately and on your own. The Lord’s table is always a gathered assembly event, especially since we are all together proclaiming the death of Christ and that He is coming again.

Every Lord’s day, we celebrate His resurrection, not just during Easter time. Every Lord’s day, Christ is risen. I’m alive man! You’re alive in Christ! We have a hope, a destination, we’re going somewhere, and we’re going to do something while we are here on earth because we have the Spirit of God and the Word of God. This is what the church is, and the church makes a difference. You will know them by their love.

We love Christ, Christ loved us, and it is working out of our life in all kinds of ways. I get to greet you every Sunday, and you’re my family. In fact, when you become a Christian, the Christian family becomes closer than even your blood family. Hopefully, your blood family comes to know Christ; then, you’re tight. Romans 16:16:

Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

We don’t practice that like the day of the romans, but we do shake hands and give man hugs, which is the shoulder-to-shoulder, half hug. We have a common faith that we share, and we meet to worship our God and Savior. We get to hear the Word of God.

If you are not practicing the very things the Holy Spirit of God has given to sanctify you, then you are, by your actions, denying the very things you say that you are believing. If your believing leads in the other direction to what the Scriptures point, then isn’t that a clear denial of Scripture?

It shows that you don’t really believe what Jesus has done on the cross, that God is faithful to His promise, that center of God’s program is God’s gathered assembly, that the Spirit has been given to you with gifts to minister, in the body, to provoke one another to love in good works, and you’re not concerned or expecting the Lord’s coming that is drawing near every day. Another motivator for the body of Christ, is the coming of Christ.

The gathered assembly holds fast to their confession of faith. Together, they do this just like it says in Acts 2:42:

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

This is the admonition that we have. I love that hymn, The Church’s One Foundation:

Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly,
In love may dwell with Thee.

The church on earth becomes the church in heaven, which is our hope. Gabe had recently given me a book titled, Why We Love the Church, written by two young guys: Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. At the end of the book, they said:

If I can leave you with one thought, it is this: go to church. Don’t go for the coffee, the presentations, the music, the amenities. Don’t even go for the feelings you may or may not get when you go there. No offense, these feelings may not be trustworthy most of the time anyway. Go for the Gospel. Go for the preaching. Go to be near God’s word, and with God’s people. You know that’s God’s plan for you.

That’s how God sanctifies us. In fact, the church is about making you ready for heaven. We start here, imperfectly, but we end up there perfect. However, we must make our mark on the world. I pray, for you, that you would consider and bring to the top of your list the assembling of yourself together with believers. Let nothing prevent you from that happening, so you don’t slip into the passage of Scripture, in Hebrews 10:25.

In the end, if someone leaves the church and doesn’t come back or if they go from one church to another, it shows that they don’t understand much, or they weren’t a believer in the first place. Believers stick together through thick and thin and through persecution and affliction. Even in times of conflict with one another, they work it out. They stick together, and do not leave, which results them to grow and become effective for Christ. Let’s pray:

Lord, I Thank You. I Thank You, Lord, for the Word of God. As always, it does make things very clear, Lord. So, Lord, I pray that we would learn how to confidentially approach You, hold fast our faith, and corporately encourage each other to hold fast our faith. I pray, Lord, then we would provoke and insight each other to love into good work. Use us, Lord, for how You designed us. Use us, Lord, to accomplish Your will in this world. Use us as a church body to become strong and healthy, so we can do the outreach and evangelism. Lord, cause us to come together regularly as a gathered assembly to cast out the things that please You and make us strong. I pray, Lord, through all this, You may receive the glory and us someday into Your presence, where we drop off these bodies, get new ones, and enjoy eternity with our great God and Savior. I pray, Lord, that you would make us ready for the Lords table. In these elements we partake of, Lord, would again remind us that it was Christ who accomplished so great a salvation. Because of His shed blood, taking the penalty of sin upon His own body, and satisfying the justice of God, that we may come to you by faith, and be set free. Thank You, Lord, that we can enjoy these things as a gathered assembly. Lord, remove us from our individualistic, secure, and American mindset. Allow us to be more thinking about the other person, seeing what they need, and praying about them and for them. I pray, Lord Jesus, that You would free us more in this area than ever before this coming year. I Thank You, Lord, for all that You will do in our midst. I pray this, in Christ’s name, Amen.