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Listen as Nathan and Joey offer additional thoughts on how to deal with pornography inside of marriage. If you desire further counsel, please reach out to one of the elders.

Gracious heavenly Father, we come to you this morning, resting and rejoicing in our all-sufficient, sin-bearing, death-defeating, live-giving, heaven-brining Savior, Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit bear witness with our spirit that we are adopted sons and daughters. Satisfy our souls this morning. By your tender mercies heal our wounds, feed our souls.

We pray for those here this morning who are downcast and weary. Encourage them with your word. Use the brothers and sisters around them to speak the truth in love and bring encouragement to their hearts. We pray for those who feel like they are losing the battle against a particular sin. Give them grace, Lord. Use this church family to honesty and vulnerably walk alongside each other as we all fight sin and struggles. We pray for those among us who have been taken advantage of physically or emotionally, those intimately violated. Bring the healing balm of the gospel to remind us we are clean, lavished, loved in Christ Jesus.

We pray for those of us who souls are parched, those of us whose spiritual life is bone dry. We know you and your word shouldn’t be boring and dull, but that’s what we feel. Holy Spirit, invigorate our hearts with truth, captivate us with the work and wonder of Jesus. Draw our gaze toward heaven that we might hope not just in better feelings, but a better world.

We thank you Lord for the many ways you are at work among us. We pray for those of us who are married that we might honor you with our words and sacrificial service to our spouse. We pray for Andrew and Esther – on this, their first day of marriage, we rejoice with them and ask your blessings upon them. Use all the marriages at Restoration Church to display the shape of the gospel. And use those of us who are unmarried to display the sufficiency of the gospel. We praise you for those of us who are unmarried and the many ways our brothers and sisters single-mindedly serve Christ and his church. Build them up and use them to build others up all the more. Father, keep us from idolizing marriage or idolizing singleness. Remind us they are both gifts from you and give us the grace to steward whatever season of life we are in for the exaltation of Christ, edification of the body and evangelization of those who are not Christians.

Father, we praise you for the 45 men that were at the retreat this past weekend. For the glory of your name, cause us to be men who develop and deepen honest, vulnerable, Jesus-exalting relationships with each other. Give us the grace to reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, seek the greater reward and remain humble. May every man and women at Restoration Church seek to see your face, O God. May we strive to live out Isaiah 66 – pursue humility, be contrite and tremble at your word, for these are the ones to whom you look.

Holy Lord, we are mindful of the brokenness of this world. We pray for those grieving the loss of loved ones from the Las Vegas shooting. We pray for the churches in Las Vegas as they minister to the hurting and hopeless. We pray for an end to senseless, evil, wicked mass shootings. We pray for an end to the evil of racism and social injustice. We pray for an end to elective abortion. We pray for an end to oppression of the impoverished and vulnerable. We pray for an end to the evil of terrorism.

Sovereign King, though we are weary of news of shootings, hurricanes, political unrest, volcanoes, terrorism and more, we do know that you are good. We know that apart from you, we have no good. We know that you have done everything necessary through Christ to reconcile us and the world back to yourself. Give us the grace to journey toward heaven with hope that transcends circumstances and news cycles. Birth in us, a deeply rooted, anchor of gospel joy as we navigate the brokenness of this world looking the to the world to come. Do this Lord, for the glory of your name and the gladness of our souls. Amen.

Listen as Nathan and Joey offer some initial thoughts on how to deal with pornography inside of marriage. If you desire further counsel, please reach out to one of the elders.

Gracious God, Loving Lord, Merciful Master, we worship you this morning. You are steadfast in faithfulness, slow to anger, gracious in giving, lavish in loving, all powerful and eternally good. Father, Son, and Spirit we rest in your amazing grace and goodness this morning. For the glory of your name and the gladness of our souls, exalt the person, work, worth, and wonder of Jesus Christ that our souls might be full. Holy Spirit, open the eyes of our hearts that we might behold the soul-satisfying beauty and brilliance of Jesus. Show us the hope to which we have been called. Give us glimpses of heaven, of eternal joy, that strengthens and sustains us even now.

Our Father in heaven, hallow your name, through Jesus by the power of the Spirit. Advance the gospel. Use this church to graciously, humbly, boldly speak of Christ crucified and resurrected. Grant us, Lord, for the fame of Jesus Christ, grant us opportunities to meaningfully share the gospel with those who believe and those who do not. Let us not be ashamed of the gospel, but eager to proclaim the excellencies of Christ – for this is the power of salvation for all who come to him by grace alone through faith alone.

We praise you for the faithful gospel witnesses here in DC. Bless Capitol Hill Baptist Church, GraceDC and Redeemer City Church. Grant favor to Grace Covenant, Redemption Hill, Waterfront Church, Mercy Hill, the District Church and Arabic Baptist Church. Use Temple Baptist and Washington International and Embassy Church to winsomely exalt Jesus.

Thank you, Lord, for the Treasuring Christ Together network. We praise you for the ways this network of churches seeks racial reconciliation and models compassionate care for the poor. Let us continue to learn from our brothers and sisters as we partner with them in fostering and planting health churches. We pray for Cities Church and Word of Grace in Minneapolis. Use the saints in these churches to make disciples that love you with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength and their neighbors as themselves.

We praise you that your glory and gospel are not limited to one geography or one people group. We rejoice that you are the God of all peoples, tribes, tongues and nations.

This morning we pray for the destruction in Puerto Rico. Grant wisdom to government officials and first responders. Lord, we plead that in your sovereign kindness, you’d get basic necessities to those that need them most. We pray for the families of H, N, T and P. Use even this tragedy to bring the good news of the gospel and hope of heaven to a hurting people.

And we pray for the political unrest in the Middle East. Lord, may peace abound in this region. Grant leaders in Kurdistan, Iraq, Turkey and Iran civility as they navigate century long disputes. Continue to give the K, F, and M families a great confidence in Christ and a peace that transcends all understanding. Use this tension and unrest to advance your gospel among Behdini Kurds. Let them see that true hope and happiness is not found in political liberation, but gospel freedom. For the glory of your name, Lord, continue using our church to bring encouragement to the workers on the ground in this area that they might be strengthen to continue faithfully proclaiming Christ in the midst of uncomfortable circumstances.

This morning, we also pray for our enemies. We pray for those who ridicule and mock us. Give us the grace to bless in the face of evil and not return revile for revile. We pray for those who think we are bigoted and unloving. Holy Spirit, give us words of grace and peace when we are insulted. And forgive us when we have acted with arrogance or pride. Forgive us for the times we have spoken truth without compassion, for the times we have desired to win an argument more than love your image bearers. Do not let our failures diminish what others think of Christ. Let us be a vivid display of the beauty and joy of Jesus.

We pray for those who persecute our brothers and sisters around the world. We pray for ISIS and the Taliban and Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations. Save these men and women. Turn these terrorists into trophies of grace. However you act, restrain the evil and wickedness these groups promote. Father, for the glory of your name, give the persecuted church strength to faithfully testify to Christ.

Encourage us with your word this morning. Pour your grace over us as we, molding us, not into the pattern of this world, but according to the world to come. We pray all of this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Now that we’ve discussed why pornography is wrong, listen to learn how we can fight against this pervasive sin. Below are some of the practical resources we mentioned in the conversation.

Resources

Father,

We praise you that you are kind to the ungrateful. You are merciful. You are kind to sinners like us.

Though you would have been entirely justified to simply leave humanity to reap the consequences of our rebellion and sin against you – you did not abandon us.

We so often hear from the world around us about all the good things we supposedly deserve. The truth is that above all we actually deserve your anger and judgement since we have ignored you  – our creator  – and lived as if we were at the center of the universe.

But from before time you had a plan to show us underserved kindness and mercy – through sending your Son to bear the judgement for our Sin. Your kindness and mercy is seen most clearly in the Cross  – where He who had no sin became sin for us. You didn’t have to do this, but in Love you chose to adopt us as your children. Through faith in Christ’s death for us, we experience your favor and love. It’s an amazing thing when we think about the ways we have rebelled against you – we are truely undeserving.

Lord we specifically confess that even as your people we are often ungrateful.

  • We know your amazing provision for us in Christ, yet we grumble and complain.

  • We believe the lie that the good life is the easy and comfortable life – and we complain when we encounter difficulty.

  • Like the Israelites in the desert, we forget the promises of the gospel and focus instead on all the temporal pleasures that we feel we are missing out on. Forgive us.

Help us Lord to see more clearly your abundant provision for us in Christ and be satisfied. Help us to see how rich we really are and to rejoice in Christ – in whom are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

And we also confess that our love is often weak and worldly:

  • We so often only love those who love us.

  • We think ill of our enemies, and our thoughts are full of scheming and hate.

  • This week we have responded in kind when we have been wronged.

  • We have spoken harshly to people.

  • We have gossiped.

  • Our priority has often been our own reputation rather than the good of others.

  • We have chosen to ignore the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

For all these things we repent and ask for your forgiveness.

We ask Father for help as a church to increasingly love one another as we have been loved in Christ. As our church changes with dear brothers and sisters moving away, and many new faces joining us, help us to labor to know one another deeply and to serve another. You came not to be served but to serve and to give your life as a ransom for many. May we adopt that same posture toward one another. Help us to develop habits of foregoing our own comforts for the sake of the good of others. The Apostle Paul saw his life being about others’ progress and joy in the faith – may we approach each day with the same attitude. Through your gospel may we see the eternal value of daily acts of love toward one another.

We therefore ask, Lord, that you would cause our church to be a display of the fact that we are your disciples. May we be known as a community of people who love one another and prefer the interests of others above our own.

We pray specifically for Campus Outreach on the AU campus and Fellowship of Christian Athletes in schools and colleges in NW DC. Help O and S, and H in these endeavors. Use these ministries to bring the gospel to those who have not heard it and also to encourage students who love you to serve their classmates.

This week has been especially full of suffering in our world, and we long for a new heavens and new earth where there will be no crying, pain, and death.

  • Help the people of Mexico following the earthquake. Aid rescuers. Comfort those who mourn.

  • Help those in the Caribbean who have been hit by Hurricane Maria. Provide for physical needs in the midst of extreme devastation. Help the families of those in our midst who have been affected – may they look to you.

  • We pray for wisdom for world leaders in their interactions with North Korea. Cause all action and words to flow from careful, well-reasoned thinking. Protect lives of millions in that region. May our president understand the weight of his responsibility to speak and act with caution and wisdom.

  • In all these things may your people hold out the word of life to a world that needs to know about Christ.

Lastly, we pray for Nathan as he comes and brings to us your word in a few minutes. Help him as he preaches and us as we listen. May we all be changed. We are confident that your word will not return void but will accomplish the purpose for which you send it.

In Christ’s name, Amen.

Why is pornography wrong? In this episode, that’s the question we begin to answer. Only after we understand why this particular sin is wrong will we be best positioned to fight against it.

Pornography is a pervasive problem. And we’re not just talking about the culture at large but also in the church, among men and women. Listen to this and the following three episodes to better understand the issue and how to fight against it.

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Making Disciples that Delight in the Supremacy of Jesus Christ