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06 Jun 2021

The First Funeral [Genesis 23]

Overview

The Bible is honest about death. Death is a painful consequence of man’s sin. But because of God and His gospel, Christians can face death with a very different mindset today. In this account of the first funeral in the Bible, we see that a funeral can be sad, but it is also sweet to those who are of the faith. And more than that, it can even be a statement (of faith). So, instead of wallowing in sorrow like the world when we face death, the Christian looks to the gospel promises and rejoices even in the midst of that sorrow. May our funerals, and especially our lives, be testimonies of faith in God’s promises.


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Now let me switch your attention to Genesis chapter 23. This is a chapter I would dare say very few, if any, would hear a sermon preached from. Nevertheless, because it is the Word of God, it is worthy of our study, of our attention and I pray that the Holy Spirit will be our teacher once again.

Let me start with a story. John was dying in the hospital, he was very sick and he called for his pastor. His pastor came and stood beside him in the hospital bed. And when the pastor got beside him, John began to be very agitated for an unknown reason.

He reached out to a pen and a paper by his bedside table, he grabbed it, and he started to scribble some things into that paper, and he handed that note to the pastor. But just as the pastor was holding that note, John struggled for his last breath, gave it up, and he passed away.

The pastor had no time to read what was in that note, he simply folded it and placed it into his jacket. Now, a couple of days later, it was the funeral service. And the pastor was preaching a sermon. And just as he was nearing the end of the sermon, he was reminded that John had passed him a note, which is slotted in his pocket and he was wearing the exact same jacket that day.

So he took out that note and he said to the congregation gathered, before John passed away, he handed me a note, I had no time to read it. But knowing the kind of man John is, I'm sure he has a message of encouragement and inspiration for all of us.

So he unfolded that note, and began to read, Pastor, please move, you're stepping on my oxygen tube. Huh, I don't think that's a great way to die. But every body dies, unless Jesus comes before that, every one of us faces the reality of death.

And you know, the Bible speaks about death very openly, very honestly. And the chapter before us today is a chapter about dying. And indeed, this is about a kind of burial, a kind of funeral before us.

So this morning, we're going to look in this passage, I would call "The First Funeral". Now we are told here in Genesis 23, that Sarah lived up to 127 years old before she passed away, and then we read the rest of the account of how Abraham would secure a burial site for her in the land of the Hittites.

There are some lessons I'd like to share with you here. First two lessons are very short, very sharp, that I hope will be dealt with concisely, the last point will be a longer elaboration and explanation, because they will also be more applications for us to consider.

So that will be the way I would space out our thinking today and maybe that will be the way you can space out your attention, alright.

[1] A Sad Funeral

So the first thing I like us to note in this chapter, is that this was if you could see it on the screen, a sad funeral. This was a sad funeral, why do I say that? Because we read in this passage, I think in verse 3, that Abraham wept and mourned for Sarah. He wept for her, he cried for her.

Now you could very much understand why, they had lived together, been husband and wife for decades, they were together in the Ur of the Chaldees, they moved out into the promised land. They were nomadic, they moved around for a long while and it is not a surprise that Abraham and Sarah love each other.

And it is always sad when someone passes away. There's a sense of loss and there is deep pain and there is deep sorrow. So we see that this was a sad funeral. Now there are some people who are so spiritual that they think that at funerals, Christians should never mourn or Christians should never be sad, because we hope in God.

It is true that we hope in God, it is true that we have joy in God. But it is also true that when someone passes away, it is very painful, and there is a rightful place for mourning. We see not only that Abraham would mourn, but we will learn later on that the children of Jacob would mourn when Jacob passes away, and that the nation of Israel would mourn when Moses passes away, and that David would mourn when his son passes away.

So there is a appropriate place for mourning, because someone dear has passed. There's a sense of loss and we are reminded about the curse that God has inflicted upon this sinful world.

So I don't suppose it is a Biblical or balanced approach to be overly stoic about death. It is indeed natural to mourn, it is indeed important to mourn and if I may say, it is necessary to mourn. So Abraham wept and mourned for his wife. It's a sad funeral.

[2] A Sweet Funeral

But I also want to balance it with a reminder that this is probably also a sweet funeral. See Abraham was not someone who mourn as if it is the ultimate end to Sarah's life and it will be the last time he will ever see her. I don't think that's in Abraham's mind at all.

Yes, he is sad, but at the same time, I think he's also glad, he's also thankful. He's also filled with hope, because one day they will be together again, maybe not as, and definitely not as husband and wife, but they will see each other again.

Why do you say that? Well, that's the essence of the Christian message. The Christian message tells us that whilst there is death, and the passing away of life here on Earth, we know that death is not a full stop. For those who believe in Jesus Christ, death is merely a comma, that will usher us, that will transition us into an even more glorious and joyous life forever more. And I think Abraham and Sarah being people of faith, totally understood that.

Now, it's not so much here in Genesis 23. But we read in Hebrews 11, for example, that Abraham and Sarah, they died in faith. In other words, they died with a belief in God, what did they believe in God about, they believed that God will give them a better city, a better place, a heavenly city. And I think Abraham definitely knew it. That's why I think this would be both a sad and also a sweet funeral. Sad that someone passes away, but glad as well, that God is their Savior. And I think like I've said, this is the Christian message.

Now I realize that in the many old hymns we sing in church, a lot of them deal with the reality of death. You know, the old hymns are organized in 3, 4, 5 stanzas. And it is almost always true that those with have longer stanzas or many stanzas, they would include a stanza about dying, because that's the reality of life and that's the power of the Gospel. It helps us to be able to face death with joy and hope and not let us be devastated or be despairing as we face it.

So therefore, we read of many, or we sing of many hymns, that talks about dying. And for example, we have this whole song or hymn, In The Sweet By & By, it says, We shall sing on that beautiful shore, the melodious songs of the blessed and our spirits shall, sorrow, no more, not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

That's a song that we often sing. It talks about the eternal bliss of those who are in Jesus Christ and who passes away. So like Paul the apostle, he could say, I'm hard pressed between the two. He says, I do not know whether it's better to live or to die. Because if I live, I could serve you, I could share with you the Gospel. But it's also good to die because I want to depart and be with Christ. To Paul dying is not scary. It is not something terrible, it is an ushering, a transition into being with the presence of God with Christ, of eternal bliss.

Let me tell you a story. A husband and wife, they live in northern China. Very, very cold during the winter months, and they decided to take a holiday to escape the cold in sunny Singapore.

But because they were very busy people, they couldn't organize their shedule. So the husband would fly into Singapore, a day earlier. When he got to Singapore, he decided to email his wife and tell her about what's happening here and how things have been prepared for her arrival the next day.

So he wrote an email, but in his haste, he sent the email addressed wrongly. Instead of typing Jane in the email, he typed Jan just missed out and E. So this email was wrongly addressed to Jan and this Jan happened to be a widow. Her husband has just passed away. Of course, they do not know one another, but it's the wrong email. But her husband had just passed away sadly and she was looking through her emails, expecting people to encourage her and to console her.

And when she saw this email pop up in her, on her computer screen, she read it. And she immediately collapsed on the floor. Her son heard that thud on the floor, ran into the room, saw her on the floor, saw the computer screen and began to read this message, what message was this, that caused his mother to collapse like this.

So these are the words he read, To my loving wife, from your departed husband, subject I've arrived. I've just arrived and have been checked in. I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then. Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was, PS, sure is hot down there, down here.

Now, I'm not sure if you totally get the joke, but you can always watch this segment after this live stream is over. But I want to guarantee you that for those who believe in Jesus Christ, you will not say Oh, it's so hot in hell, because Jesus paid it all.

This is the wonderful message of the Christian Gospel, that God sent His Son Jesus Christ, to go to the cross, to die and to bear away the sins of those who would believe upon Him, so that God will not deal with you as a wrathful Judge, but as a loving Father. And so because of the finished work of Christ, you will not need to be judged in hell forevermore.

Instead, because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, you will enjoy God's eternal blessings upon you, not because of who you are, not because of what you have done, but all because God is love and He sent His Son Jesus Christ, to be the Lamb sacrificed to save you from your sins.

Now, Abraham, I think, understood that salvation is through God's promised Savior. And because of his faith, he knows that the passing away of Sarah and eventually of himself will not be an ultimate, final and eventual disappearance, but it will be simply an ushering, a transition into a glorious eternity, into the heavenly city.

So we see that this funeral was a sad funeral, but it is not pure sadness, and only sadness, but there will be a gladness and joy and hope in Abraham's heart that would be a sweet funeral.

[3] A Statement Funeral

But like I've said, first two points are short. The last one is where we elaborate further because I think the last point is really the thrust and emphasis of chapter 23. I would like to say to you that this funeral was also a statement funeral.

What do you mean by a statement funeral? Well, I mean, that this funeral was meant to give a statement, was meant to transmit a very important message. That's what we have to understand when we read chapter 23.

Let me try to explain it to you. The Japanese love their tuna. It's a precious commodity. It's getting more and more expensive, as the species gets more and more endangered, and they trade by a process called bidding, and there is fierce competition for the best tuna, especially in the beginning of the year in January. Every year in the beginning of the year, the first auction bidding auction for tuna, generally the prices go very, very high.

Now before the COVID pandemic in 2019, there was this man his name is Mr. Kimura. He is someone who bids for tuna, he owns a chain of restaurants. He put in the winning bid for a tuna, one fish. And the winning bid, as you could see on this picture, is I do not know how to read the Chinese or the Japanese on the right side, but I translated it and I found out that this tuna on this table in front of Mr. Kimura with the knife was bid for 3.1 million US dollar.

Now that's a whopping sum of money. You could buy a landed property here in Singapore, you could buy bungalows, beautiful houses all around the world. But Mr. Kimura bought a tuna for 3.1 US million US dollar. Now how much would you have to sell in order to recuperate this, not to earn not to gain, but to recuperate?

Well, for every slice of tuna, you know the sashimi you eat. For every slice of tuna, you would have to pay 2 to 3 hundred US dollars, for you to recuperate the amount of money. But Mr. Kimura did not sell that tuna. each slice for 2 to 3 hundred US dollar, he sold each slice for 2 to 3 US dollar.

You say, what a stupid business man, he bought a fish for 3.1 million, but he probably sold the fish for $30,000. Why did he make such a loss? Ah, you see, that amount of money spent on this fish, was not really for the flesh of this fish. But the large amount of money was meant to pay for an important message that he wants to send out.

He wants the whole of Japan, he wants the whole world to know, Mr. Kimura's chain of restaurants sells high quality tuna at affordable pricing. That's why he paid 3.1 million US dollar, not for the fish per se, but for the message he sends.

I think this is pretty much what's in the mind of Abraham, when he wanted to negotiate for a burial plot for Sarah and for the rest of his family. He was initiating a negotiation, a business proposition with Ephron. In this story in Genesis 23, he was asking for a property amongst the Hittites.

And this was an elaborate process, you would see that ultimately, Abraham would fork out 400 shekels of silver. Now this is a lot of money. I'm not exactly sure, no one is exactly sure how much it is worth. It's very difficult to give an estimation today. But I would say this is a very inflated price. Scholars generally agree, this is highly escalated.

You could see for comparison, 1,000 years later, David would buy a plot of land for the temple. And he would pay 50 shekels of silver for the temple land. Now, Abraham now has to pay 400 shekels for a burial plot. So basically, what the Bible is communicating to us, is that Abraham took great pains, and he paid a huge sum of money to buy this piece of land.

Now, he wanted this to be an indisputable sale. There was a long account of this process. By the way, you might think that, why did he have to pay if they were willing to give it to him for free? Scholars tell us that it is not that they were willing to give it to him for free. But it's the way they negotiate, that, that's the subtle hint to which they say, Well, if you really want this land, it will cost you this much. So this is an ancient way of doing business. Ultimately, after 18 verses of negotiation, Abraham would pay this price.

And it was done all in the public, it was all done in the open, in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city. In other words, this is the official business transaction where everybody does business in those days. And it was made over to Abraham, it was sold to Abraham.

It was an indisputable sale, at a high price, at a very high price. You say why? Because like Mr. Kimura, Mr. Abraham is making a statement of faith, he's communicating a message. It's not that the land is worth so much. But he wants to communicate a message. He wants to tell his descendants, his family and everyone that he believes God will fulfill His promise of giving him and his descendants the land of Canaan.

It's a statement of faith, you see, it would have been so much easier for Abraham to say, well, Sarah and I, we came from Ur of the Chaldees and now that she dies, it's proper for us to bring her back to our homeland, bury her there, it's probably free in our homeland, we don't have to pay.

But no like Abraham, like Mr. Kimura, Abraham insisted on sending this statement of faith. We believe in God, God who promised us that He will give us the Land of Canaan. And even though at this point of time, we own nothing in Canaan, we have not even a foothold in Canaan, we believe God, and we will be buried in the land God has promised to us.

You see, this whole account is not teaching you about how to do a business deal, or how to negotiate a price, nothing like that. This is a passage, a chapter about faith, about believing in God and how that translates into how we want to communicate faith to all our descendants, and to everyone around. That's what Abraham is doing.

Now you say, did they really get this message? I mean, was this 400 shekels worth it? I believe so, because, when we read the rest of the book of Genesis, we read then that not only was Sarah buried here, but Isaac and Ishmael also knew that their father would want to be buried here, that their father wouldn't want to be buried back in Ur of the Chaldees. But by their bones, by the burial, they are communicating, we believe in God's promises, even if in our lifetime, we don't get to see it.

And then not only is Abraham buried in this cave, we read also that Jacob will be buried in this cave. Jacob was the one who said, I'm going to die, but there is this one wish, there's only this one thing I want you sons to do for me, and that is bury me with my brothers, with my fathers in the cave, that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite.

My dad, my grandfather, my mom, my grandmother, they're all buried there, because my whole family communicates this message, we believe in God, Jacob said he would want to be buried there.

The Bible also tells us that not only was Abraham and Sarah buried there, Isaac and Rebecca, and Leah were also buried there. And by the way, not just Jacob, but it also is mentioned about Joseph at the very end of Genesis 50. So it's very interesting, Genesis 50, ends with burial.

But it's not death and the end, but it's a message of life and faith, because Joseph also says, that you shall carry up my bones from here in Egypt, and go to the promised land. Every single one of them, from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob to Joseph, they were all communicating, we believe in God, we will be buried in the promised land.

And then we have this explicit statement in Hebrews 11. By faith, Joseph, at the end of his life made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones, he's already dead. But he says, even in my death, with my body and with my bones, I will want to communicate a message of faith.

So you see, the people of faith are concerned about the message of faith. And that's the essence of chapter 23. The people of faith are concerned about the message of faith, and they will be willing to communicate that message of faith, even if it costs them quite a bit.

Let me give you some examples in the New Testament, we read of disputes in the New Testament, we read of people arguing and fighting and maybe quarreling over something. But you know what the Bible has to say about that? The Bible says it is a shame, it is a shame, if any one of you has a grievance against another, that you will go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints. In other words, it's a shame in a sense for Christians to add their dirty laundry in the public.

I mean, why can't the two of you settle your problem with the church or in the church with the people of God, why must you go out into the world and shame, God's Name?

Well, even if you couldn't settle the issue, it is better for you to suffer wrong and be defrauded, rather than shame God's Name. You see, we must be concerned about our testimony. And if our testimony is going to be threatened or going to be ruined, we say no, I'm going to care about the message of faith, and I rather suffer wrong, I rather be defrauded, I rather be disadvantaged because I will protect the message and the testimony of faith by all means.

So the people of faith are concerned about their testimony, the people of faith are concerned about the message that they send.

Now, let me give you another application. This may not be so direct, but I think it is true. What about in a marriage situation? In a marriage situation, could you send a message of faith as well? I think so.

The Bible tells us wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the Word, they may be won without a word, by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

Now, let me first say that wives are to submit to their own husbands simply because, because God commands it so, because God tells you so. I think that should be reason enough. But the Bible besides that also gives you other reasons. For example, in Ephesians, chapter 5, we are told that the way the wife submits to the husband is meant to portray the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to meant to portray how the church should submit to the Lord Himself, that's another reason, it's meant to be a portrayal. But here in First Peter, there is an additional reason why wives, you should submit your own husbands, especially to unbelieving husbands, so that with the way you submit to him, you communicate the message of faith.

That you are someone who, who God has changed, who God lives in. And this message of faith may cost you. It's not easy to submit. But the people faith are concerned about the message of faith, they propagate.

Let me give you another example, the Bible tells us to shine as lights in the world. The Bible tells us to be impacting the world, sending a message to the world, shining as lights, providing guidance to the world. You say how, well a very direct application is found in Philippians 2 when the Bible says do all things without grumbling or disputing so that you may shine as light in the world.

So it's very interesting, I recently was digging into Philippians 2 for a separate preaching session. And of course this is a passage that talks also about not grumbling and complaining and I, I realized that in Singapore, a lot of people love to complain. I mean, we all know that, it's almost our national pastime. But I went on to Facebook and I realized that there is this web page or this Facebook page called complain Singapore.

So all the people who love to complain will gather on this Facebook page and there are 120,000 people on this Facebook page, I just think people love to complain. We complain about everything, from the weather to COVID, to floods and everything we can find.

But you know something about the Christian, the Christian, the man or woman of faith is concerned about the message of faith, he brings to others. And the message he brings to others is seen in the way he lives, in the way he refrains from grumbling or disputing.

Yes, complaining is a national pastime, here in Singapore, but at the same time, it is a choice that the people of God can make, for the sake of God's testimony, for the sake of the message of faith, I want to send out, I, may and I will therefore refrain from grumbling or disputing that I may shine as lights.

It's wrong to complain in the first place, but it's also devastating to complain in front of others, because it ruins your testimony and the person of faith is mindful about that. So these are some examples of how I think we should guard our testimony.

Now let me then shift the focus on some, if I may say, controversial things. Please hear me out before you make too early an, a conclusion. Let me give you an example of tattoos. Is it right for Christians to tattoo? Now let me say this, the Bible does not explicitly forbid tattooing.

Ah pastor, you're wrong, the Bible says Leviticus 19, You shall not tattoo yourselves. Yes, I understand that there's a verse like this but I think if you look at it in the proper context, it will be in the context of pagan worship or even things like necromancy, so it's about the occult, it's about the dark arts, it's about satanic stuff, and I think that is the context to which tattooing and making cuts is forbidden.

Because if you don't see that context, then you would say, even piercing, a ear ring or ear hole for earring will be wrong you're making a cut on your body. Now we don't really refrained from or forbid women from having this piercing of the ears, so why should we say that tattoos are wrong.

So I don't think the Bible explicitly say that tattoos are wrong, but I would implore you to consider in things that are not so explicitly, explicitly mentioned, the principle of your testimony. What's the message you would send to the world with your tattoos.

Now I know tattoos in and of itself can be neutral. It depends on the picture, it depends on the words, it depends on the message, but overall, I think my point is not saying that it is absolutely sinful. Neither am I saying it's absolutely alright, I'm just saying, you've got to factor in the witness, the testimony, the message you're sending out with every thing you do, that's all. It's a message it's, it's something that wisdom requires.

Then, if I may say, I go on to the next subject, I've actually dealt with these things before in the black or white series in the book of Romans, many years ago, but I think for this application, it will be good for us to have a kind of refresher.

How about drinking? Now the Bible is clear, alcohol, in and of itself, drinking alcohol, in and of itself is not sin, I want to make that clear. Drunkenness is sin, sin, drinking to be drunk and drinking till you're drunk, that is sinful, but drinking alcohol, in and of itself is not sinful, but then again, I would also say, it does not mean then that it is something that we do without other considerations. I think we should also be mindful about testimony, what kind of message we sent.

Now again, I'm not saying that when you drink alcohol, you're always sending a negative message, how much you drink, where you drink, how you drink, I think those are factors to be considered, but at the end of the day, I'm just encouraging God's people to think, that in everything you say and in everything you do, you do send a message about the faith you believe in, and you have to be mindful.

How about funerals, is, especially non Christian funerals. Many of you asked this question, Pastor, can I go to this funeral, can I participate in that rite, can I hold this joss stick, can I do this and can I do that.

Now, we are very clear that the Bible tells us not to worship other gods, I don't think there's any Christian here who would doubt that. But many of you would also say, when I hold that joss stick or when I sit there or when I stand there, in my heart, I'm definitely not worshiping, I also understand that.

But there is also another principle about testimony and a message of faith. Again, I don't want to be prescriptive. I don't want to have this one stroke deals in every situation kind of approach. I'm saying that in various situations, especially in non Christian funerals, there'll be many, many different questions, I just want you to be mindful about this principle of the message of faith you send, with what you do and with what you do not do. It's not always easy, I understand that. But testimony is just one of the many factors, I trust you would consider.

Now, I know these are controversial issues, I've left you dangling, I just want to throw you a principle for you to think, and I hope by the Spirit of God, He will give you wisdom in all these decisions, but I would say, the message of faith can also be communicated in a very straightforward and direct way.

Let me bring this home in the way we worship at home now, right now. None of you listening online is with me in this auditorium, we are worshiping from home, WFH, Not work from home but worship from home. Can I say that whilst you may think, it doesn't matter how you worship because in your mind you're worshiping, it is important how you worship because everyone in the family is watching you as well.

In particular, parents, how you worship God, at home, sends a message to how your children perceive the value of God in your life. I've not been to your homes. I don't want to prejudge, I don't want to be judgmental, but I want to say, it is scary if I think we worship God in a very lackadaisical manner at home.

For example, as live stream is going on, as people are praying and singing, you are playing your computer at the same time, or you're shopping at the same time, or you're talking to your friends and laughing at the same time. I know that maybe you say, I can understand the message, I can still get it all, but what is the message that your family would get gather as a result of your actions.

What is the message they gather if some weeks you're online and some weeks you're not? What is the message they get if they do not see you worship in reverence, in joy, in hope, in holiness? I think that's a very relevant point.

In fact, what is the message your children get in how you approach the Lord's day, and how you live your life. See, the Bible tells us that we have to teach our children in every circumstance and opportunity we have.

In other words, the message of faith, it's not just something we teach with our lips, but it's also what we communicate with our lives. So, your children, your family, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbors will watch the way you live, the way you speak to people, the way you use your money. The way you spend your time, the way you treat one another, they are going to watch all that. The way you worship God will be seen in a way you deal with people and life in general.

So be mindful today, I think, the way Abraham ensured that even in this funeral, he communicates a message of faith is encouraging for us to think about how we need to communicate a message of faith in our lives.

So let me end with this. It's interesting, as I reflect upon chapter 23, it is a story of a death and a funeral, it's true, but actually, it is a story of faith and life.

Let me ask you today, are you fearful of death, are you scared of death? Well, this is the message of hope in the Bible, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die and pay for our sins on the cross, and He calls you, indeed He commands you, to turn from your sin and belief in His Son, that you might be saved.

And you know, I don't fear death. I think many of our church people, many followers of Jesus Christ, you don't fear death. Now, we are fearful of dying, the process of dying because it may be painful, but we are not afraid of death. We know it's not to, PS, it is hot down here, we know that it is to the eternal bliss with God forevermore. And it's all because of Jesus. I pray that in your life, whilst you can, you would turn from sin and believe in Jesus.

And then I want to ask you today, how do you live out your faith? We say in this church, we must drink in the Gospel, that we might live out the Gospel and give out the Gospel. It's so important for us to live our faith, so that then we can have the opportunity to give our faith.

I pray today, we will all look to Jesus, we all will die. But you know, someone died for you first, Jesus died for you. He is our Savior and He's risen to life. He's seated at the right hand of God and that's the great hope of every Christian, we will one day be united with Him forevermore. A story of death, but a message of life. That's the Gospel, and may God bless you.

Let's bow for a word of prayer together. Father, we thank You for this morning. We thank You that as Your children we do not need to fear death, but there is great comfort and hope and assurance, because Jesus lives today.

So I want to pray for some of my brethren who literally today are facing death, impending death. Comfort their hearts, grant strength, that like Abraham and Sarah, even in their dying, they will send out a powerful indisputable message of faith.

I want to pray for friends tuning in today that they will see and hear and understand the Good News of the Bible. God loves the world and gave His Son Jesus to save us from sin. May you turn many, to repent and believe in Jesus.

Father and I pray for the church that we today would be willing to lay down our preferences, and even suffer loss and sacrifice so that we may live out lives, communicating faith at all times. Help us to be that good testimony, to be that light You want us to be. May we drink in, that we might live out and give out the Gospel. Thank You for this time, bless Your people, we ask all this in Jesus Name. Amen. God bless.

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