We come to you this morning and praise you for the glorious gospel – the reason for our hope. This gospel is the glorious message of Christ humbling himself in order to lift us out of our ruined state:
- the king of kings became a servant,
- the infinitely rich one became poor,
- the one who knew no sin became sin for us,
- the blessed one became cursed,
- the author of life offered himself up and died.
Supreme in creative power, the sustainer of all things, God himself – Jesus voluntarily set aside manifest glory to become our substitute and savior. You didn’t have to do it, but you loved your people and endured unthinkable suffering in order to bring us to yourself. Only in heaven will we be able to understand the extent of your humility, how much you gave up for us.
You tell us that, as your people, our attitude should be the same as that of Christ. Yet we know this morning that we are far from being like him in many ways. We grasp at position and recognition and despise the unseen and humble paths that must be followed if we are to truly serve those around us. We expend ourselves pursuing material wealth whilst ignoring the poor and needy around us. We cling onto our life, forgetting that you told those who would follow you to deny self, take up their cross and follow you. Forgive us. Teach us to say with the hymn writer:
Forbid it Lord that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my Lord
My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride
May this Easter be a rich season of reflecting on Christ’s self giving humility and dedicating ourselves to following in his footsteps. In time with family and friends help us to be salt and light. May our conversation be full of grace and seasoned with salt. Please give many of us opportunities and courage to invite people to the Easter services – ask you would be opening hearts and drawing them to yourself.
We ask that our daily lives would be worthy of the gospel and win the respect of outsiders. As we work this week in offices/ our homes/ classrooms and lecture halls may we do so knowing that we serve the Lord not men. May we be marked by kindness, humility, patience and courage. Protect us from hypocrisy.
We ask for increasing unity and care for one another in our church. Show us ways we can serve fellow members in need. Help us to evaluate life decisions with the good of others in mind – not just those of our own immediate families.
As we contemplate Christ’s humility and sacrifice we pray for those who live in other lands for your sake. We pray for R and E in central Asia as they labor amongst a people group who are unreached. We pray that you would be giving them strength and wisdom as they serve in a difficult place. Help them to continue to acquire the local language – especially with the added challenges of having a new born baby. We also pray for the new testament to be completed this year and published in the local language. Help us to be willing to make personal sacrifices to labor with them and partner in this work for your glory.