God, we come before you grateful. We praise you for your creation and your placement of us here to sing today of your greatness. We are eager, God, to join in the chorus of saints who have leapt to praise you as you called us to through David’s words in Psalms. We sing today, as he did, to praise you in the heavens as we behold you, to whom nothing can compare. Indeed, let everything that has breath praise the Lord! And we know that all who draw breath do so thanks to you. So we praise you for the beauty of your creation, for the majesty of our universe, for the glories of this earth. And we praise you for creating us—for creating us in your image, for sending us as your image bearers into the world. We have the privilege of being characters in the story you are writing.
It is a beautiful story, one we also give thanks for. We thank you that while we were still sinners, you sent your Son to die for us that we might be saved. Thank you for the cross and its saving power. We praise you for your unconditional love. And it was with that in mind that, just a few moments ago, we came before you to confess corporately. We have recognized our self-righteousness and lack of humility, and we cried out to you. But this was not in despair! For you have sent a mediator, who acts on our behalf in the form of Christ. Through Him, you do not treat us as our sins deserve, but imbue us with His righteousness, who was spotless and blameless. We thank you for this forgiveness, this mercy, this grace. Renew our hearts, O God, with this truth. How great you are, God. May you act in our hearts to show us more of you, and through this, see ever more clearly the magnitude of this beautiful story, for victory is won! The end is secured, and you are the high King who reigns supreme.
We call on you God to sustain us as we move through the week ahead. Enrich us through your truth. We know you are faithful, having called us to fellowship with your Son. And let that truth ring in our mind rather than those things of this world that so often distract us. May this truth lighten our loads and soothe our soul. Calm our hearts and minds this morning. Make our hearts fill with peace, with a peace that surpasses all understanding. May our lives shine as examples to those around us who are weighted down and burdened by the things of this world. You promise an easy yoke and a light burden. But in our hurry we labor and add to our burden as we look only to ourselves. May we turn to your yoke, for you are gentle and provide us rest. You are faithful to us. You chose us, though we were weak, and made us strong. May we be faithful to you.
We appeal to you, God, to bring unity to our church family, to our community groups, and to the families within our church. Mend the divisions amongst us. There are those of us gathered here this morning who are hurting due to harsh words inflicted on us, not by strangers, but by family and friends. So often we quarrel instead of being united. Don’t let us empty the cross of its power. We are forgiven, so let us not hesitate in forgiving. May we be quick to forgive and slow to anger. Can you, even this morning, bring us humbly and graciously to a place where we seek to pacify and not incite? May we mend our rifts and bridge our divides. Let us remember your grace and mercy to us, and offer our own freely to others.
But God, we thank you for this community we live in through which we can bear burdens together, lean on each other, and offer each other grace and love. In worshipping together corporately, we remind each other of your truths, and you knit us together as members of your family. Thank you for bringing each of these people together here today and together as a body. May we sharpen each other, comfort each other, and pour ourselves out for each other. We pray for each member of this body, that today you would help them to grow in your character. And today, we are especially thankful for bringing a new member into the body. We give you thanks today for the adoption of P into the W family and the Restoration family. May you be surrounding their family with protection in this season, and give them safe travels back here when they are able to come.
Today we also pray for the broader community we live in. We pray that you would bring peace and prosperity to Washington, DC. May our local and federal leaders govern well, and may you grant them wisdom as they make decisions for this city and country. We pray that the members of this congregation would continue to influence these leaders for good, and that we would offer winsome truth. We pray that through our lives that those around us would be influenced to seek out the Gospel, to hear afresh the good news that you offer for the redemption of our hearts. May our communities and our cities be transformed by our presence day by day and person by person.
We as well pray for leaders around the globe in other countries. We pray for France as today they cast votes to elect a new leader. May their new president recognize you and may this election bring renewed focus on you. We also pray for the upcoming British elections on June 8, just announced this week, and the German elections in September, may they too bring about your movement in the world, as over the course of less than a year four of the most powerful countries in the world will have elected leaders. We do pray that these elections would bring results that cause your Word to move ever further, but we also recognize that you reign supreme no matter what. May we not put our hope in our earthly leaders, but in you alone.
As we confessed, God, we remember that, while we are more wicked and sinful than we dare imagine, we are more loved and accepted than we ever dare hope. Thanks be to God, who through Christ Jesus, drew us to him. He who loves and accepts us as we are. Who offers us righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Thanks be to you, that our hope is secure. We offer these confessions, these praises and thanks, these petitions and intercessions; we pray all these things in the matchless name of your Son, Jesus. Amen
Joey sits down to talk with our deaconesses of hospitality, Whitney. Listen in and learn more about her life, how she came to faith, what she enjoys doing, etc. As our church grows and changes, we hope these “Get to Know…” podcasts will serve as a way for your to learn more about fellow church members.
Triune God – Father, Son and Spirit – all glory and power be unto your name. Majestic Lord, your glory is shining. Marveling, we honor and fear you above all gods. Glorious and mighty, you’re awesome in beauty. Author and giver of life, we worship you. Redeemer and sustainer, we adore you. Father, we praise you for sending your eternal Son Jesus to rescue us and satisfy our souls forever. Holy Spirit, we praise you for opening they taste buds of our souls that we might feast upon the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ.
Jesus, we praise you. Your name is above every name. At your name “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
We praise you Lord Jesus. On the cross you trampled over death by death. Bearing the wrath of all our sin, you suffered our anguish, and our pardon to win. Death could not hold you. See the stone is rolled way, behold the empty tomb, hallelujah God be praised, Jesus is risen from the grave! Jesus, you are risen, you are risen, indeed!
Lord God Almighty, as we marvel at your splendor, we are humbled by our sin. We confess our selfish motives to exalt our name, not yours. We confess vain conceit seeking to get others to honor us and notice us. We confess finding more joy or hope in a job title than in you. We confess bitterness and resent toward those who have wronged us. We repent, O Lord, forgive us our sin. We confess being harsh with our spouse and impatient with our children. We confess greed gripping our hearts and indulging in romantic immorality physically and virtually. We confess anger toward our roommates and coworkers. We confess lying to protect our reputation. We repent, O Lord, forgive us our sin.
And this Easter morning, we repent of our sins resting assured of our pardon from guilt and peace with you that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Our debt is paid, it is paid in full. By the precious blood that Jesus shed. We praise you that there is now no condemnation for those who are trusting in Christ Jesus. Your grace is lavished on us .You are no longer a distant judge, but devoted Father in Heaven. We are not just freed from sin, but adopted into your family. We rejoice remembering who we are and Whose we are.
We pray for those of us here this morning who are hurting. Holy Spirit, take the balm of the gospel and ever-so tenderly apply it to broken hearts and give us words to comfort one another. We pray for those here this morning who are wandering from the faith. Lord Jesus, magnify yourself and bring the wayward back to the path of pleasure, to the delight of doing your will with your people. We pray for those among us who have suffered abuse or been taken advantage of and violated in some way. God of mercy, bring words and thoughts of hope this morning. We pray for those of us who are hiding sin or feel trapped in guilt. Gracious Lord, bring light and freedom and repentance. We pray for those of us who are tired and weary. Everlasting God, renew strength and holy ambition. We pray for those of us who are excited and encouraged and joyfully following Jesus. Father, give us even greater delight in our obedience of loving you and serving others.
Thank you Lord for this church body. We praise you for the many ways our members care for one another, physically and spiritually. Give us the humility to consider each other more significant than ourselves. Give us the meekness to look not only to our own interest, but also to the needs, desires, wants, wishes and interest of our fellow church members. For the glory of your name, use this church to advance the gospel to those who are not trusting in Christ Jesus for eternal life. Holy Spirit, give us a deep, unwavering confidence in Christ that we might speak boldly of him to our friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and classmates. Give us the wisdom to share the gospel in way that shows the beauty and joy and delight found in a relationship with Jesus. We pray for those here this morning who are not trusting in Christ alone for salvation. Right now, O Lord, right now give the gift of faith that one, two, ten people here this morning would turn from their rebellion and trust in the sin-paying death and heaven-purchasing resurrection of Jesus.
We praise you Lord that we are not alone in this gospel work. We pray for Capitol Hill Baptist and 4th Presbyterian and All Nations DC. Use these churches to magnify Christ. Thank you for the faithful labors of Christ our Shepherd and Church of the Advent and The District Church. We pray for our brothers and sisters laboring among the Kurds in Northern Iraq. For the fame of Jesus among the Behdini, save men and women and start a Behdini church. Grant the Behdini Bible translators wisdom and diligence as they finished up that work. We pray for the 33,000 unreached Guhjali people in Tajikistan and the 3MM Darzi people in India. Get the gospel to the ends of the earth. Raise up people from this very church to go spread the gospel that all tongues, tribes and peoples might know the hope and life and joy that’s found in Jesus.
We praise you Lord that we worship this morning knowing the tomb is empty, that Jesus is reigning and he is returning. Birth in us a deep, unwavering hope in heaven. We come hungry this morning. Feed us. Fill our souls with rich food from your word that we might see and savor our humble exalted Savior, Jesus Christ in whose name we pray.
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.
Philippians 2:3 calls us to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Paul’s words here could not be any more counter-cultural. The sermons of the world bend our hearts to be consumed with self. We have to be students of what we read and watch; we need to pay attention to how these things aim to form, or rather deform, us – because they are trying to shape us and mold our desires.
Think about some of the popular slogans constantly buzzing around us: “Just do it.” “Why wait?” “Obey your thirst.” “Because Your Worth It.” “I’m Lovin’ It.” “No boundaries.” “Think Different.” “Expect More. Pay Less.” “Taste the feeling.” In other words, be selfish, instantly gratify yourself, and don’t conform to anything or anyone.
Questions to Evaluate Pride
Christian brothers and sisters, to help us evaluate our lives for selfish ambition and conceit, that we might root it out, here are a few questions?
- Do you often complain or grumble when things don’t meet your expectations?
- Are you consumed with what others think about you?
- Are you easily angered or irritated?
- Are you bitter at God because your life isn’t the way you hoped it would be?
- When someone disagrees with you or criticizes are you automatically defensive?
- Do you invite others to speak into your life?
- Do you compare yourself to others and think you are better?
- Do you minimize or intentionally cover up your sin and shortcomings?
- When was the last time the words you said, “I’m sorry, I sinned against you. Will you forgive me?”
- How’s your prayer life? If your life is prayerless, it’s a pretty good indicator that your soul is prideful.
The Cross Crushes Pride
The cross is the great intersection of pride and humility. It was our pride that killed Christ; it was Christ’s humility that saved us. Pride made redemption necessary; humility made redemption possible. Rightly understood the cross should absolutely crush any selfish ambition and conceit in us.
We were so rebellious, our sin so grievous, that it took the death of God’s eternal Son, Jesus Christ, to make payment for our sin and reconcile us back to God. From the shadow of the cross we realize that we are prideful and our pride drove the nails into the hands and feet of Christ.
Stop and think about that. It’s humbling.
But it should not be disheartening. Yes, you are more sinful than you dared to think. But, Christian brother and sister, you are more loved than you dared to dream. The cross reminds us that we are helpless, but it does not mean we are worthless.
From the shadow of the cross we realize Christ humbly and willingly gave his life. God lavishes his grace upon you and has set his affections upon you, Christian. And Jesus rose from the dead conquering death for us that we might be made new. It is with this new identity that we can pursue humility becoming like our humble God.
In verses 5-11 of Philippians 2, we see the greatest example of humility that’s ever taken place. The great condescension – an infinite cascade of humility. The eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ, worshiped by heavenly beings, comes in the fullness of flesh to be crucified by men. The root of Christian humility is the good news, the infinitely glorious news, that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again that I might be counted as a child of God the Father. “His humility became our salvation. His salvation is our humility.” 
When our eyes are opened up to this truth, we’re humbled. And God’s grace flows to those pursuing true humility: “This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2). “God delights in the humble” (Psalm 149:4). “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
Pride so fills up our hearts with self that there’s no room for God; it’s the humble heart that has enough room for God’s grace to fill it up. Like water that flows to the lowest point, so does God’s grace flow to those who are lowly. So the cross of Christ is both the pattern of humility and the power for humility.
 Andrew Murray, Humility (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2001), 17.
Heavenly Father, blessed Son, eternal Spirit, we adore you as one Being, one Essence, one God in three distinct Persons, for bringing sinners to your knowledge and your kingdom. Father, you have loved us and sent Jesus to us. Jesus you have loved us and assumed our nature, you shed your own blood to wash away our sins, you gave righteousness to cover our unworthiness; Oh, Holy Spirit, you have loved us and entered our hearts, you implanted eternal life into us, and revealed to us the everlasting and ever satisfying glory of Christ to us. Three Persons and one God, we bless you and praise you for love so undeserved, so unspeakable, so wonderful, to save the lost and bring them with you to glory.
Forgive us for the ways we have sinned against you this past week. Forgive us for being so forgetful. You have been so much better to us than we deserve. You are faithful in your commitment to us through our union with Christ. And yet we quickly forget all the wonderful gifts you have already given us, and we feel angry or bitter when you won’t answer our prayers in the way or time in which we want you to. Instead of remembering your deliverance and running to you daily as our shield of refuge, the anchor of our souls, we prefer to remain in bondage to our idols, because we love our sins and it seems too hard to fight against them. We doubt your goodness and power many times each day and resent the race of obedience you call us to run. Father forgive us.
Forgive us for our anger. We have said things this week and done things towards co-workers, family members, friends, and spouses that are not becoming of the Gospel of Christ. Help us to see the root of this anger and the ways we are attempting to be god ourselves and have others bend to our will. Forgive us for the times we used our tongues to revile and slander when we felt as though we deserved to do speak harshly to others. Remind us of the power and the pattern of your Son who NEVER returned revile for revile, but instead entrusted to you who judges justly.
Father forgive us for the ways we were fearful this week. Fearful in speaking up for Christ…fearful to speak Christ to others…fearful with our finances, our jobs, our lives, our futures. Remind us that fear is no different than doubting your good purposes for us. You tell us that we have nothing to fear.
And you tell us that because of the Sufficiency of the Gospel! For we who have died to ourselves, our wills, our ambitions, and taken up yours, trusting in the sin atoning death of Christ for our sin and the life-imparting resurrection…we have been born again. You have wiped our slate clean. Though we sin, grace abounds all the more!
By the power of your Spirit and our faith in Christ, the Gospel slays sin at its root and therefore nullifies sin’s power over me. Your forgiveness liberates me from sin’s power because it liberates me from sin’s guilt. What a glorious consideration it is to consider we never have to do a moment’s labor to gain or maintain our justified status before you, Lord! We have been freed from the guilt of sin through our faith in Christ, and our enemies or THE enemy can do nothing to change that. Hallelujah!
So, with the burden of guilt off our backs we can now use our energy towards pursuing an everlasting gladness in your glory and the good of our neighbors in that gladness.
Give D and C, J, J and L, C, B, D and P, as well as R and S, give them generosity with this good news this week. Remind them that you have granted them NOT a spirit of fear but of power and that from you God!
Grant new believers to fill up the baptismal waters of our church this year. May we see 5, 10 people trust Christ for the first time. Do the same for the other Gospel-believing churches of our city. May we be on the front lines of watching the Gospel sweep through Washington, DC and change individual lives, change marriages, change entire families and communities for the exaltation of your Name!
Supply food for the hungry that need it. Bring food and water to the people of Haiti, Uganda, Djibouti, Somalia, and Ethiopia. May the hands that bring it be ambassadors of your Kingdom, God. And may they testify to the Bread of life…yes, may church plants rise up from the ashes of the poor and neglected of our world. And may they teach us all that if you have Christ you have everything you need.
Finally, Lord, in advance of the preaching of your word, we plead with you that you would make our joy complete as a church. Cause love to abound in us, more and more in 2017, with knowledge and all discernment so that we might approve what is excellent and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ Jesus. Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ to the praise and glory of you, Father.
We are simple, weak vessels, Lord. Standing at the fountain, begging you to fill us up that we may love and forgive as you have done for us because we believe that this is the Good Life. Ready us to receive you, the water of your word Father. Amen
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Yes, Father, hallowed be your name. Magnify the glory of your eternal Son, Jesus Christ, in this place this morning. Use us, Lord, to advance the gospel to our neighbors and to the nations. We praise you that you have provided so lavishly for us – from food to eat, clothes to wear, friendships to enjoy. You provide us with material riches and, even more, every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Holy Spirit, remind us of all that we have in Christ Jesus. We praise you, Holy Spirit, that you are our seal and our guarantee of our heavenly inheritance. Shape our deepest loves and longings to match what you, our great God loves; propel us by the beauty and brilliance of Jesus.
This morning we pray for those of us who are hurting. We pray for those who are wrestling with the shame and guilt of sin. Cleanse us in Christ Jesus we pray. Work true confession and godly repentance into the depths of our being that we might drag our sin form the darkness into the light, where it will die. We pray for those who are crippled by sin committed against them. Use the gospel, Lord, to remind us who we are and whose we are – we belong to you God, our gracious King who lavishes love upon us.
We pray for those struggling with unmet godly desires. Give grace and contentment to those who desire good things like a godly spouse or children. Give us the wisdom how to truly desire good things, but not be defined by our unfulfilled longings. Take our real emotions and give us understanding how to embrace our emotions but not let our emotions alone determine how we feel in light of the truth, who is Jesus Christ. For those who of us desire to have joy in Christ, but our souls are dry and weary, move in us, we ask. For the fame of Jesus Christ, plant the seeds of joy deep down in the fertile soil of our hearts, then Holy Spirit, bring forth growth as you point us to the Living Water of Jesus Christ.
This morning, as your blood-bought children, we confess before you our own sinfulness. We have doubted your power to protect us. We have pursued immorality through worthless media. We have fantasized about relationships in ways dishonorable to Christ and disrespectful to your image bearers. We repent, O Lord. Forgive us, we pray. We idolize sports letting them determine our joy or lack of it. We idolize fashion dressing in certain ways to gain the approval or acknowledgement of others. We have arrogantly judged fellow church members. We have impatiently disciplined our children. We confess misusing food, either in gluttonous overeating looking for ultimate comfort in a created thing, or under-eating finding our identity in something or someone other than Jesus. We repent, O Lord. Forgive us, we pray. Forgive our lack of faith; have mercy on our weakness. Grant that through the tears of repentance we may see more clearly the brightness and glories of the saving cross. Help us rest in Christ, who died and rose again that we might be made new, clothed in indelible robes of righteousness.
Grant us gospel unity. So unite us to Christ Jesus that we are deeply bound to each other. Give us the humility and self-control to put our personal preferences below gospel priority. Holy Spirit, fill us afresh that we live in a manner worthy of the gospel. Let us not be controlled by the fear of others. Remind us of our secure position in Jesus so that we are confident in him and speak boldly of him. Give us wise winsome words that fearlessly proclaim the one true gospel, the reality of heaven, the horrors of hell, and the daily hope found in Jesus.
We pray for those who oppose us. Give us the grace to wish good for those who mock us and ridicule us and slander us. Save our opponents that we might go from enemies to brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray for those who persecute our brothers and sisters for declaring the supremacy of Jesus Christ. We pray for the advancement of the gospel among ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Al-Shabaab, and Boko Haram. In scandalous grace, bring saving faith to the leaders and followers of these terrorist organizations. You saved us, and you can save them. Father, in your sovereign glory, turn these men and women from persecuting the church to planting gospel churches. We pray for the North Korean government leaders and tribal leaders in Somalia who savagely oppress those who speak of Christ. In your kindness, bring them to repentance, that they themselves would be willing to suffer for the gospel. Whatever you do Lord, in the name of Jesus, we plead that you would restrain the evil these groups & governments are able to accomplish.
We thank you that we labor alongside other faithful churches here in DC. Bless 4th Presbyterian and Redeemer Arlington and Del Ray Baptist. Advance the gospel through Waterfront Church and McLean Bible and All Nations DC. We also pray that you would continue to use DC127 and the Porch to bring the gospel to the marginalized. And we pray for our brother Nathan as he preached the word to us. Fill him with your Spirit. Give him a holy ambition and passionate zeal mixed with pastoral tenderness as he unfolds the banquet feast of your word that our hungry souls might be satisfied in Jesus Christ, who is the bread of life. Amen.
For the past year, our brother, Hector, was taking part in an internship at Restoration. We sat down with him to discuss what he did during this time and what he learned. Listen in to be encouraged at how your investment helps mature disciples that they might make disciples.