31 Mar 2024

Truly This Was The Son of God [Matthew 27:45-56]


The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the confirmation from God that Jesus successfully paid for our sins, and defeated death through His death. So how did Jesus die? And what did His death accomplish? 1. Painful Death. He suffered immeasurably- at the hands of man and most of all, at the hands of God the Father. His greatest agony was being forsaken by the Father at the cross. 2. Powerful Death. He did not die in a whimper. God attended to His death with 2 powerful and supernatural phenomena- the tearing of the temple veil and the resurrection of saints with the breaking of the tombs. God is saying, "Pay attention!" 3. Purposeful Death. Jesus' death opened a Path of Reconciliation, and offered the Promise of Resurrection. So, we see His forsakenness leads us to forgiveness. He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. In Him, we can be given eternal life. This message is a message of hope for both seekers and believers.

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We're celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is, I think, the most important day of human history because this is the day God declares His Son to be victorious over sin, death, and hell.

Uh, not too long ago, last year, my son Matthias has just finished his exams, final year exams, and so my wife booked a restaurant to celebrate uh with him. We booked a nice Japanese restaurant. He has never been there before. We talked about it and he was all hyped, all excited to enjoy the dining experience.

When we got there, we realized that it was a small restaurant with very limited number of seats, and there was already a queue of people lining up. And so I started to count how many seats within and how many people outside. And I realized quite soon enough, if you add the four of us, there will not be enough seats. So I feared the worst and I asked my wife, hey, was the booking kind of confirmed? She said, yah, I sent in my credit card details and so on. Should be confirmed.

Well, we waited for a while, then the server came out, checking one by one, our names and whether we are part of the list, and when they came to us, she said, no, I don't have your names on our list. But, but my wife said, I, I booked, I gave the credit card details. Then he asked, did you receive a confirmation email from us? To which she said, no, I don't think so, but I sent my credit card details. But we didn't send you the confirmation, means the payment didn't go through. And so on and so forth.

And I could see my sons get crestfallen. They look so disappointed, they look so upset. And he was, I guess, upset that, hey, all the expectations were built up, but hey, no dinner. And so the server said, I'm sorry, there's nothing really we can do because it's a small place. Maybe you want to try the restaurant beside.

Well, Resurrection Sunday is that confirmation that payment is received. Resurrection Sunday is that confirmation Jesus paid it all, it is finished. How do we know? Jesus is risen from the dead. What did Jesus do? How did He pay? What exactly did He pay for?

Today I'd like us to just look at Matthew chapter 27 and have a simple look at the final days of Jesus and how that resurrection proves what He did is indeed successful. So very simply, I'd like us to take us through three simple observations in this text.

1. Painful Death

Number one, I'd like us to see that the death of Jesus Christ was an extremely painful one. It was an excruciating death because He cried out, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? It is obviously a shout of anguish and pain.

Jesus, the night before He died, had just been through a mock trial. It's a mock trial because it was a kangaroo court. They were not there to find justice. They were there to find an excuse just to eliminate Jesus. And after that night, whole night of that kangaroo court, Jesus was scourged and beaten and crucified.

Now those three words we can easily just zoom past and not really understand what He had to go through. But something, this is something maybe a lot of you are familiar with already, I understand that, but maybe there are some who may not know that as yet. So let me just try, in a very quick fashion, explain the sufferings of Christ on, on the cross.

He was first scourged. The word scourge means to whip, and when we think about a whip, we think about a long leather whip. But in those days, they used a cat of nine tails, many strands of leather, at the end of which are tied metal balls and bone fragments. The victim would be stripped of his clothes and tied to a stick so that he would receive the maximal pain when the soldier stands behind him and swings that cat of nine tails over his body.

The cat of nine tails would cause wounds and scars and, and the stripping of.., of of the skin and flesh in such a fashion because the metal balls would pulverize the flesh and the met.. and the bone fragments would strip the skin and the flesh off, as the soldier pulls the cat of nine tails after it has swung it on the body. This will repeat many times over upon the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So after scourging, the man would be left, Jesus would be left in great pain, in a kind of a dehydrated or shocked position because He would have lost quite a lot of blood. The Bible then tells us, after the scourging, they brought Jesus to the governor's headquarters where there was gathered a whole battalion. A battalion is about 500 people.

So there, they spat on Him. I think they would have a field day doing it. Everyone had an opportunity to laugh at this Jew who the Romans hate anyway. They spat on Him. They took a reed and struck Him on the head, mocking Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! Can you imagine the mockery, the shaming that is all taking place in that headquarters? And they all struck Him with their hands. Five hundred strong soldiers striking Jesus. Where? Probably the head, the face.

Can you imagine His face at this time? The whip with all the metal balls and bone fragments, catching on all the protuberances, being ripped off as the soldier pulls that cat of nine tails, buffeted by five hundred strong soldiers. Then, they led Him away to be crucified.

When we think about crucifixion, we just think about someone hanging on a cross. But really, it's an extremely difficult, painful process to be crucified. The cross is laid on the ground and the man to be crucified would then be put on that cross. The soldiers would come and drive big, thick nails through the wrists of the criminals.

Right in the middle of the wrist is this nerve called the median nerve. It's a big nerve. It innervates uh, this thumb and two of your fingers here. And this nerve is severed as the nail is driven through the, the wrist. I've just gone to, I've just been to the dentist some days back, and when the dentist does something to your teeth, you always feel a bit uh huh huh... Because all your tiny little nerves are agitated. But this is a big, thick nerve.

When the nails go through, you can imagine that shock that goes through the man. It is not uncommon for crucified criminals to have dislocations of joints as they jolt because of the great pain. After the nails were driven through the, the wrists, a nail would also be driven through the feet. And when this man is secure at the cross, the soldiers would hoist him up and leave him suspending in midair just upon these three points.

You must understand that when a man is crucified, he needs to breathe, especially after the scourging when he has lost so much blood, lost that oxygen-carrying capacity, all the more he needs to breathe. But it's not easy to breathe with your ribcage fixed. So you've got to lift yourself up in order to breathe.

But it's very difficult to lift yourself up because it is painful to do so on these three points and with dislocated joints, possibly. But he has no choice. He has to breathe. So at the expense of great, excruciating pain, he lifts himself up, catches that breath, and because of great pain, he succumbs to it and lets go until the next cycle for breathing takes place again.

So over and over again, a cyclical series of agony, choosing between breathlessness and great pain, Jesus hung on that cross. No wonder the psalmist, I think, writing prophetically in Psalm 22, about the sufferings of Jesus Christ, even though it was hundreds of years before Jesus was born, could say, I am poured out like water. I'm dehydrated. I'm dry. And all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax.

If you speak to a cardiologist today, he would tell you that a heart attack patient typically describes his heart attack in these two ways. One, an elephant is sitting on my chest, it's very heavy. Two, it feels very hot inside. It's not that the temperature is rising, but that you're having a heart attack. Your nerves are firing and telling you something is going wrong. My heart is like wax because he's having a heart attack. There's insufficient oxygenation to the heart muscles because he's bleeding. He's entering into pre-shock.

The psalmist goes on to say, my strength is dried up like a potsherd and my tongue sticks to my jaws. Very bizarre. Until you realise it's about Jesus and His sufferings on the cross. He goes on to say in verse 17, they have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me.
It's bizarre also to read Psalm 129 where it says, the plowers ploughed upon my back. The farmers are farming on my back. What kind of description is this, is this? It makes no sense whatsoever until we understand that hundreds of years before the crucifixion, they were already talking about the crucifixion and how the scourges caused those furrows upon the back.

Isaiah, he says, as many were astonished at you. His, Jesus' appearance was so marred. Can you not understand that Mel Gibson, though he tried very hard, to give you a pitiful picture at the passion of the Christ, could never really replicate this because, I I suppose, they could not capture how that face would be so marred. After the battalion would have a go at Jesus, and after all the cat-of-nine-tails would do onto the face, He was more marred, beyond, so marred beyond human semblance.

However, if you thought that those were the ultimate sufferings of Jesus, you would have been mistaken, because in those three hours as Jesus was crucified on the cross, we didn't hear Him agonize and cry out like He did after this. So from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in broad daylight, everyone could see Jesus hanging on the cross, and He was not uttering a word of agony as yet.

But from 12 p.m., which is the sixth hour, they count that from 6 a.m. onwards, so the sixth hour is 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., there was a darkness, a supernatural darkness, as it were, shrouding the whole land. It is as if God is saying, for the first three hours, and really the hours before that, you can do whatever you want with My Son. Inflict your greatest pain. The Roman crucifixion is man's ultimate, I think at that point of time, invention to inflict maximum pain for the longest time without you dying. So you have a go at my Son.

But from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., nobody knows what's happening, because the whole land was shrouded in darkness. It's as if God is saying, I'm going to deal with Jesus Christ right now. Though He's My Son, He's bearing the sins of the world, and He's going to suffer. At the end of the three hours, we read, Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani, which means, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

He did not say this in the earlier three hours. He said this only after the Father has dealt with Him. I can only imagine that the pain and agony and anguish He went through in the last three hours is way more than what He went through early on, though the first three hours of suffering were already beyond our human understanding.

That alienation from God, whom He loves, who loves Him, is what pains Jesus the most. So whilst we often remember the physical sufferings, we must understand the spiritual sufferings probably outweigh that. So we see that the sufferings of Jesus were immense. It was a painful death.

2. Powerful Death

But Jesus didn't die with a whimper. He died, and right after He died, there were supernatural, powerful phenomena that took place to tell us this was a powerful death. God made sure we see that this is not a weakling who died, but something powerful took place right after His crucifixion.

We see, for example, Matthew telling us, behold, the author here is saying, please pay attention. Look! Look at what happened. The temple veil is torn in two. Now you say, what's so special? My, my curtain at home will also tear. But you must understand this curtain, or this temple veil, is something quite special. This is a veil that separates the Most Holy Place, or the Holy of Holies, from the outer sanctum.

The Holy of Holies is where the Ark of the Covenant is, it's where the special, specific presence of God is symbolic. That's where, symbolically, you meet with God. And no one can come into that place except the great high priest. Only one guy in all the world can come into the presence, and only once a year, and only with sacrifice.

So this temple veil separates. This temple veil looks, or this temple would look something like this, an artist's impression during the time of Solomon, and this veil would separate the outer sanctum from the inner holy place. So this veil keeps man out of the Holy of Holies. And it is a massive structure.
This veil, this curtain, is big. It is said to be 18 meters tall. That's more than 10 times my height, 36 meters long. But it is about 10 centimeters thick. That's a lot. It's not your thin, those kind of a veil. It's, it's a thick piece of cloth. And it is said to require 300 people to hang up. So when the temple veil is ripped open, from top to bottom, it is a supernatural act. Because, try as you might, none of us would be able to easily rip a 10 centimeter thick piece of cloth, much less from the top, 18 meters high.

So God is saying, something big is happening. Pay attention. Besides that, we are told that the earth shook and the rocks were split. There was an earthquake, the rocks were split, the tombs were opened, and there was a resurrection from the dead of those who had fallen asleep. The word fallen or the phrase fallen asleep is a euphemism. It's a nice way of saying those who have died.

Now, I know that when we think about tombs opening up, you are thinking, you go to Chua Chu Kang. I'm, I'm told this is Qing Ming also. You go to Chua Chu Kang and then the tombs open means the ground just starts to shake, the, the grass starts to part, and then someone climbs out of it. That's probably your image because that is my image immediately, until we realize that the tombs in those days are not what we have in our cemeteries today.
The tombs in those days are holes that are dug or excavated into the sides of hills and mountains. That's where they keep the corpses and they roll a stone over the mouth of the entrance to keep the body safe. So when there was an earthquake and when the rocks split, you could imagine those are massive rocks that split. And the dead who are in Christ would rise and walk the streets once again.

Something amazing happened, that when Jesus died, the temple veil is torn in two from top to bottom. There was an earthquake, rocks were split, and the dead are raised, and God, I think, is saying, please pay attention. This is not yet another criminal who just lived a worthless life and died and is worthy to be forgotten. No. He is My Son. The curtain would split and the rocks would split because I want you to pay attention to His death.

3. Purposeful Death

So we finally come to the realisation that this is a purposeful death. What do you mean, purposeful death? Well, Jesus didn't die because He was worthy of death. He didn't die because He was a sinner. He died for something more, something far better. He did not die for His own sins.

Now that was very obvious, actually, to the people around. For example, the centurion. He could tell from what has happened. Perhaps, looking at Jesus and how He faced His death, looking at, hearing Jesus and what He said on the cross, looking at the supernatural phenomena of the curtain veil splitting and the rocks being part, he could say, certainly this man was innocent. He figured it out. He knew it.

That's what Luke says, but in our text, Matthew would say, he was filled with awe, the centurion and all those who were with him. They were filled with awe when they saw those supernatural phenomena and said, truly, this was the Son of God. This is a Roman. He's not a Jew. He doesn't really know all the Jewish teachings and history, but he could see Jesus was innocent. He is the Son of God.

What about the Jews? What about the crowds? They were baying for His blood early on. What happened after they saw Jesus die and all these supernatural phenomena? The Bible tells us in Luke, the crowds, when they saw all that had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. What does that mean? They were contrite. They knew they were wrong.

Now, in Singapore today, when we do something wrong, we maybe do this. We hit our head, jialat lah, so stupid. But for them, they hit their breasts. That was contrition. Because even though they may not admit it, they knew they crucified the wrong guy. He was the Son of God.

So Jesus didn't die because He was worthy of death. Jesus died because of something else. What did He achieve? I think what He achieved is symbolically understood in the supernatural phenomena that took place. The Bible tells us again, behold, look, pay attention. Not just that this is something powerful, but I think there is a significance and a message behind it because God tells us that the curtain was torn in two in Matthew.

Now, Matthew doesn't go on to explain what this means, but later on, another author in the book of Hebrews would explain the significance here. He's saying that God split, by the way, it must be God, right? From top to bottom, it must be God who did it. God splitting the curtain is God saying that there is now no barrier for man to approach God because of Jesus Christ.

He said, the Hebrews author, Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places, remember the Holy of Holies, the specific, special, symbolic presence of God, now you can enter, why? Because of the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain.
So the Hebrews author is saying the splitting of the curtain is God saying, now you can have a way to enter the presence of God. This is opened up for us because Jesus shed His blood. He died, He gave His blood for the forgiveness, the washing of our sins. And it is through His flesh, through His sacrifice, if not for Jesus and what He has done, this curtain will not be parted. And there will be no way. But because He died for us, He shed His blood for us, there is now this new and living way, this ever available, effectual way for you and for me.

This veil, it's a interesting one. It's not just one plain veil. This temple veil has a requirement of having cherubims worked into it, sewn into it. You say what, what are cherubims, cherubims, angels? Not just for the veil during Moses' time at the tabernacle, but later on when they have a more permanent structure called the temple, the same instruction, the same requirement that there will be a cherubim or cherubims sewn or worked into it.

I think it may look, I have no idea what it looks like. An artist's impression may have, may be something like this where the cherubims are worked into the veil when it's parted, you would see the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.

Why cherubim? I think the cherubims are a throwback, a reminder that when Adam and Eve sinned against God, God evicted Adam and Eve and puts two cherubims with flaming swords to keep the entrance out of bounds to Adam and Eve. God is saying via the cherubims, you have sinned against Me, you are unclean, you cannot come back into My presence. The veil is a reminder of Eden. The veil is a reminder of the cherubims guarding the entrance, no entry, you are unclean.

I've had dogs my whole life, from young to when I'm having my own family, different kinds of dogs, but we, we realize that maybe dogs are not so suitable for us, they, they are not so easy to manage, not so clean, and so recently we got a cat, and his name is Whiskers. He's a cute little thing, and cats are cleaner, they are easier to manage, why? Because cats groom themselves, and cats, they do their business in a litter box, they will not go anywhere else. They're very clean in that sense.

And they are so clean that we are told actually that you don't need to bathe cats. They, they are so good at grooming themselves. Whiskers, he loves to be near our door, our bedroom door, because he always wants to get into our bedroom. But that's one place that is out of bounds to, to Whiskers.
Whiskers will lie on the floor, sometimes at night when we are sleeping he will be there. And sometimes when we open and close the door, he will go to the door and kind of hoping to open the door himself. But no matter how it is, my wife will never allow Whiskers into the bedroom. Yah, I know, Whiskers groom himself, yah I know, Whiskers go to the toilet properly, but Whiskers, compared to us, is still unclean. So the unclean thing cannot get into the clean bed. There's no way Whiskers can come in until he's absolutely clean.

You know you unclean thing, I unclean thing, we cannot get near the Holy God. No way. Only way we can get near is when we are cleansed. And what can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Jesus died so that this barrier, this no entry sign is removed and that man, sinful man, since Adam and Eve's days can now find a way back to God, it's the path of reconciliation. Jesus died to give us this path. Jesus died to fulfil what He said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.

It is not a meaningless death, it is a purposeful death that the path is opened up for us. Again, the text tells us that there is the resurrection of the dead. The bodies of those who have fallen asleep were raised. And I think this crucifixion of Jesus is intimately, immediately related to the resurrection of the dead to show us and to point out to us that it is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ subsequently that gives us the resurrection of the new life.
Jesus died that we might live. You know, He said this, except a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone. But if it falls into the ground and dies, it brings forth much fruit. His death is going to result in the resurrection of life for many. And I think the New Testament authors absolutely understood the idea that Jesus gives new life. Because Paul, for example, would say in Romans 6:23, the wages of sin is death.

When we serve sin, we , we face judgment from God, we face alienation from God. We deserve to be punished. But God gives us a gift and the gift is through Jesus Christ our Lord. His sacrifice, His death, and with His death, He defeated death and gives us resurrection life. Eternal life. Knowledge of God, knowledge of His Son.

Paul says in Ephesians chapter 2, we were previously dead in our trespass. You say, where God die? I walk to church today, where God die? Well, this dead is obviously not referring to physical death, but spiritual death. Spiritual death is that, is that total inability to know God and to relate with God. We are ignorant of our sins. We are ignorant of who God is. We live according to the lusts and passions of the flesh. We are steeped in sin. We cannot please God. We will not serve God. That's what it means to be dead.

But with the finished work of Jesus Christ, we who were dead are now made alive together with Christ, in His resurrection, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us, those who believe in Him, real life. Knowing God. And not just mere existence in this world.

This resurrection life is not just these spiritual aspects, much precious as they are, but there is a future, I think, physical dimension, in that Paul says, when Christ, for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ, shall all be made alive. Now, when he's talking about this made alive, he's talking about the resurrection body. He's talking about the resurrection life. That when Jesus comes, those who are dead will be given this new glorified resurrection body. Jesus promises the resurrection life. He died to give us resurrection life. And He will come one day, and we will receive that resurrection life.

So, Matthew presents to us a painful death. My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? We realise that this is not dying in a whimper, but it is a powerful death. And we see that it is deeply significant because it is purposeful in showing us with the death and sacrifice of Jesus, there is a path of reconciliation, and there is the promise of resurrection.

So, for you today, I'm sure your friends did not invite you just to come to church. Their goal is not just that you come into this place. Their hope for you is that you will know Jesus. So that you may find your way back to God through Jesus, your Maker, your Creator through Jesus. So that you may realise the meaning and purpose of God's creation. That you may find that deep peace and joy, that freedom from guilt and shame and fear. As you come back home to God.

Their wish, their prayer for you is that you may find real life, eternal life, spiritual life, resurrection life. I pray today you will come to Christ. You will realise today that it is not what you do, or what you will do, because Jesus paid it all. The resurrection confirmed the payment is successful. And I pray one day you will join us in turning from sin, turning from your self-righteous works, and rely on the finished work of Jesus Christ, because He is the way, the truth, and the life.

I understand that there are brethren here, Christians here, so I want to just end off with a few applicatory thoughts as we consider this new way and this new life. I, I take cue from the Hebrew's author. He's the one who taught us, who taught us about the new way, the new and living way, through the curtain, through the death of Jesus. And he presses on with the application. He tells us, because now we have confidence, because of what Jesus has done, we can draw near to God. So let us do that.

Let us draw near, verse 22, with a true heart, in full assurance of faith. Drawing near is one of the favourite ideas of the Hebrew's author. He mentions it seven times in this book. Maybe the most common verse we are remembering is Hebrews 4, where he says you can draw near to God at the throne of grace. We can seek God at His throne.

Because some of us today may be living in sin. You are a Christian already, you are a believer, but somehow, along the way, you have fallen off from God, you are living in sin, you may be stuck today in some kind of covetousness, some kind of greed, some kind of pornography, some kind of bitterness, and you feel sorry, you feel lousy, you feel guilt and shame. And you are dragging yourself to church today because you say, at least on this day, I must come back.

The Hebrew's author says, you can draw near to God. Why? Because Jesus opened the way for us. It is not based on your deservedness. It is not based upon your performance. You can come to the throne of grace, not the throne of performance. You can come near to God, just as you are, and let His love and grace melt your heart, so that you may let go of sins in your life, repent of your sin, and get right with Him.

Again, my son, well, one day, I was sleeping, and we heard the door open. Then we hear footsteps. Then we feel something heavy drop onto our bed. And we turn, and we realise it's our son, Matthias. If it is any other person, if it is any other guy, we will call the police. Wah, who are you? Come into my bed like that. But because he's my son, he can come anytime. He doesn't need to say, Daddy, can I make an appointment with you ah? 9pm ah, I come to your bed, I talk to you hoh. He can talk to us anytime. Your children come to you anytime. Why? Because they are your children.

We are God's children. Not because we are great. Not because we are good. But because we are graced, because of Jesus. And we can draw near to God, isn't it?

Oh, yesterday, not yesterday, two days ago, Good Friday, I was driving to the, the other church I was preaching at, and on the way there, I saw the traffic sign that says, heavy traffic, where ah? At Woodlands. I hope you are not someone who was driving there that day, because I read there were 518,000 people who crossed the causeway. It's the heaviest in history.

But when I saw that sign, wah, flashback, horror flashback, because I, I was reminded of our, our four-hour jam at the immigration checkpoint. Whoa, phobia, phobia. You know, when we were queuing there, again, I wish some VIP would be in the front, and he will see me, see us, come all the way and bring us to the front. I wish something like that would happen, so that he would open a new and living way for us. But there was none, huh. We stuck, we were stuck in a queue for a long, long while.

But today, you don't have the queue. Jesus has torn that curtain, and you and I can draw near. Sinner, sinful, just as we are, we can draw near. May we repent of our sins, may we draw near to God today. The Hebrew's author also tells us, because we can have this new and living way, we are to hold fast, hold tight. Don't give up. The, the Hebrew's audience were a people who were persecuted for their faith. They were a people who were in pain and suffering, and it is likely that they would give up on their faith if they were not encouraged. That's why the Hebrew's author wrote to them. Please don't give up. Please draw near to God. Please don't give up. Hang in there. Hold tight.

Maybe today you are going through suffering, and you are tempted to give up. It's a long battle with your sickness. It's a long struggle at home, and you want to let go. I hope you'll realize the way is open. Jesus is our High Priest. We can hang in there.

And finally, the Hebrew's author also goes on to say, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. So, I think what he is saying is, let your confidence in the Gospel, let your worship of God, be expressed in how you serve one another. Your worship of God is not selfish. It's not self-centered. It's not about me, myself, and I. Real godliness, real worship. Actually, you check the epistles. Generally, after the doctrinal part, there will be that applicatory part, that list of commands that the apostles urge his readers to do. It generally starts with the church. It starts with the people loving one another, serving one another, be united with one another. It's about the people, the community.

So, if we love God, if we know His love, and we want to worship Him, let this be what you do. Think about others. Think about others, and how to encourage, how to provoke, how to stir up one another to flourishing spiritual life, to love and to good works. Maybe today you're stagnating in your spiritual life. I pray the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ reminds you we serve a risen Saviour, and we serve Him by serving one another, encouraging one another, being community, and stirring and encouraging one another to love and to good works.

So much the more, all the more, as you see the day drawing near. Jesus is coming back. May we be faithful when He comes. Oh, at His first coming, He paid for all sins. At His Second Coming, He will judge those who do not follow Him and obey Him. May we be vigilant, therefore, in doing these things, in the light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

Father, we thank You. This is a glorious day because it is a confirmation, a reminder of the confirmation that Jesus paid it all. He is victorious, and so we thank You that the path of reconciliation is opened up, and there is a beautiful promise of the resurrection that is to come. I ask this morning, together with my brethren, that You'll be gracious to all who are gathered that they would see Jesus, turn from their sin, believe upon Him for everlasting life.
Soften our hearts, humble us in our sins, and show us Christ. Show us His beauty, His glory, His finished work. As we pray, dear Lord, hear us. Work in the hearts of our children, old-time attendees, newcomers, one and all, that they will look to the Lamb of God that takes away our sins. And Father, I pray for our church that we will be a people, though sinning, will repeatedly confess and approach the throne of grace.

Though a people struggling in pain and sufferings, we'll keep holding tight to the Gospel. Though a people who may sometimes stagnate, we'll fight to love You by loving one another and considering how we can stir one another up to love and good works. May we worship You with our lives. Thank You, He lives. And we know life is worth the living just because He lives. Bless Your people, we ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.


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