Last Sunday we spent time rejoicing in the truths of Titus 3:1-8. If you happen to miss this sermon, you should listen to it. And wether you have already listened or not, let this excerpt from Tim Chester’s commentary Titus For You warm your soul toward our kind God:
How great is the kindness and love of God? Let’s finish by trying to measure it.
- There is nothing more that he could have given. He has given us himself. He has kindly and lovingly given us his Son (Titus 3:4). And he has graciously poured out on us his Spirit (v 6).
- There is nothing more he could have done. He has done everything. He has justified us, with no cost to us and at great cost to himself (v 7). He has given us new birth; he has renewed us (v 5). Every step of the way, he has provided for us. Everything that was needed and is needed, he has done and is doing.
- There is nothing more that he could have promised. He has promised us eternal life in a world reborn (1:2-3; 3:5-7). He saved us to become heirs, looking forward with certain hope to an eternity of spent enjoying everything that Christ deserves (v 7). This is” the hope of eternal life,” and it is promised by God, “who does not lie.” (1:2)
And to whom does he do all this? Those who were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved, living in malice and envy, hating and hated. It is nothing to do with our righteousness, since we have none. It is all to do with his mercy, which is unfathomable (3;4-5).
How are we to respond to the amazing kindness of God?….[W]e can identify four responses:
- Confidence: our salvation rests on what God has done, not on what we do.
- Humility: we have contributed nothing to our salvation.
- Praise: we thank the Father, Son and Spirit for all they have done for us.
- Love: we love God for his kindness to us.
How do you think of God? Kindness and love – rebirth and renewal. That’s the God of the Father, Spirit and Son – and we can live today, and will live eternally, to praise him.
(excerpted from Titus For You, pages 101-102)
Holy, triune God, we come to you this morning freshly aware of your majesty and greatness. We pause to consider who you are. You are faithful. You are sovereign. You are abounding in steadfast love. You are slow to anger. You are just. You are eternal. You are good. You are merciful. You are gracious. You are kind. We praise you for “the immeasurable greatness of your power toward us who believe according to the working of your great might that you worked in Christ when you raised him from the dead and seated him at your right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age, but also, in the age to come.” Bless the Lord, o my soul, we bless your holy name.
O great God, occupy our hearts; own it all and reign supreme. Help us to know your goodness. Help us to not just understand truths about you, but to enjoy you and find you beautiful and compelling and delicious. Great God Almighty, we ask that you’d help us not just say “No” to sin, but say “Yes” to you and your ways. We cry out with the Psalmist, “Oh you who love the Lord hate sin.”
Father, by the power of your Spirit, show us our sin that we might repent of it; help us to be more aware of our sin than our neighbors’ sin or our spouse’s sin or our children’s sin. We confess that we use our lips to curse and not bless. We confess that we quarrel and get selfishly angry. We confess that we follow sinful passions and pleasures. We confess our envy of others. We confess our hatred. We confess that we often just don’t like other people. Would you show your grace and mercy upon us? Would you grant us repentance?
And we praise you; we praise you that we are not saved by works done by us in righteousness, but according to your own mercy shown to us in the cross of Christ. We praise you that through the Holy Spirit we are washed clean and made pure in your sight. Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray for those here this morning that feel the weight of shame because of what they did this past week, or maybe they are haunted by memories from long ago. Would you show them the renewal and refreshing found in Christ? I pray for those who have been abused, who have been taken advantage of, who have been mistreated, show them the healing and mercy and hope found in Jesus. Holy Spirit, minister to those who are hurting and broken and burdened this morning.
Father, we pray that our church would adorn the doctrine of the gospel. By your Holy Spirit, cause Restoration Church to be a place filled with grace and mercy; a place where we take Jesus seriously and ourselves not so seriously; a place where we do not condemningly judge sin, but neither do we tolerate it; a place marked by selfless service, humble compassion, and eager gospel sharing; a place marked by gospel unity among all our diversity. I praise you for the many ways this marks our church and plead with you to pour out your abundant grace all the more.
Lord, we praise you for the wave of church planting happening in our city. We pray for Create Church and Triumph Church and Grace Capital City and Pillar DC and The District Church and Renovation Church and Good Hope Church of God and Waterfront Church and Grace Mosaic and All Nations DC and Anacostia River Church. For the glory of your name, for the fame of Jesus Christ multiply disciples through these churches. Keep them faithful to Christ and cause them to boldly herald the glorious grace of the gospel. Help our church be a blessing to those who labor alongside of us in this city.
We pray for our enemies this morning. We pray that you’d bless those who have wronged us. For friends and family members who we are not reconciled with, would you grant us the opportunity to seek that reconciliation? Give us the humility to seek forgiveness where needed and the gospel-eagerness to offer forgiveness when asked. We pray for those who desire to harm and murder your image bearers. Bring the leaders of ISIS and Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda to faith in Jesus. If your grace and mercy saved us, it can save them. For the glory of your name, richly pour out your saving grace on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Ahmed Direye. Bring Ibrahim al-Asiri and Abu Omar al-Shishani to repentance and faith in Jesus. In your sovereign grace, use these men to not harm people, but to bring about their good. However you choose to work Lord, restrain the evil these groups are able to bring about.
Father, we pray for the spread of the gospel around the globe. Use R & E to bring Behdini Kurds to faith in Jesus. Use the thousands of workers through the International Mission Board to reach the unreached with the gospel. Raise up men and women from this congregation to take the gospel to hard places. Hallow your name Lord God. Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Use the rest of our time here this morning to behold Christ in all his sufficient goodness. Cause the affections of our heart to be warmed by gospel truth. Help us worship you and you alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(An Update From Hector)
We (David and I) wanted to share a brief update on our time here with The Molero family and the body of IBM church.
We’ll start with praising God for His sovereignty and mighty reach. It’s easy to get caught in our DC worlds, and forget the amazing things God is doing in the world through different people. Iglesia Biblica Metropolitana (IBM) is very similar to RC; they love Jesus and think dearly of Scripture!
Everyone has been nothing but kind, welcoming, and loving to us! We’ve had the opportunity to meet the parents of Alejandro and Maribi, attend church services, sit at Systematic Theology classes, share meals with different church members, sit at elder’s meetings and membership initiation meetings, visit the Molero’s home, and much more. Don’t worry we also got some time at a beach in Puerto la Cruz called Playa Colorada, and took pics for you!
Overall, it’s been a great joy to see with our own eyes the Moleros at work. Praise God for they are a godly family well equipped in advancing the gospel among Hispanics (from Maribi modeling Titus 2:3-5, Alejandro modeling Titus 1:6-9; 2:1,2; 2:6-8, to their kids Benjamin and Rebeca modeling “children who believe and aren’t open to wildness and disobedience”)!
Please pray for the rest of our time here, for IBM church, and for the Moleros (they are very loved by the body here, and it’s evident that they have invested a lot of time and effort in building a Christ exalting church at IBM).
Love you all, and ciao (hasta luego in Venezuela)
We read that the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all the people. Though we deserved nothing, you have given us more than we can comprehend in Christ.
We were once:
· led astray
· slaves to various passions
· malicious and envious of others
· hating and being hated
But your goodness and loving kindness appeared and you saved us from all of this. Not by works done by us but according to your mercy. We have been justified by your grace. And in Christ we are heirs, sons and daughters who now anticipate the hope of eternal life.
Lord, despite all that you have done for us, we have failed to live the kind of life that is worthy of this high calling. Forgive us.
This week we have sinned through our actions not living up to our words. We have claimed to know you, but by our actions have denied you. We have slandered others and been double-tongued. We have been quick tempered and slow to entrust our circumstances to you. We have been greedy for unjust gain and have deceived others.
Help us and change us so that the profession of our lips is backed up by godly lives – whether in private or with each other, whether at work or in our leisure time.
We pray specifically today for our sister Ziada who is still in the hospital
We ask that you will bring great good out of this trial of sickness that she is going through. Heal her and restore her. We pray especially for her family members who have been meeting various of our members. We ask that they will see the body of Christ manifest in our care for our sister.
We pray that A’s visa will process soon and that he and his family will be able to move to be with us and the Spanish speaking community in Columbia Heights.
We pray for justice and prosperity in our city. Thank you for those who serve as DC government employees in many spheres. We pray that those in leadership roles would see themselves as accountable ultimately to you – and in so do everything in their power to make this city a place where those who hard work are rewarded and corruption and injustice is exposed.
We pray for the many thousands of refugees displaced because of the war in Syria and the activity of Isis. Please stir compassion in each of us that results in concrete acts of mercy. Give world leaders and relief agencies wisdom how to best respond to this crisis. As winter approaches we pray that basic necessities will be available to all those in need. We thank you that you are close to the broken hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit.
For ourselves, protect us as a church from the subtle influence of false teachers. Help Nathan as he opens your word to us in a few minutes. Give us discernment as a body since we you have warned us that there will be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Keep us from being seduced by fine sounding arguments. Help us hold onto the truth of the gospel.
Thank you God for your Word which teaches us, rebukes us, corrects us, and trains us in righteousness. We’re grateful for this church, and for the elders who love your Word and faithfully feed it to us. Thank you for men like R.C., J.B., D.K., H.T., K.M., and D.N., who during the men’s retreat this weekend helped us recognize that often times our greatest sin isn’t what we do, but what we often fail to do. In your mercy, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, and through His life you showed your compassion, grace, and abounding love toward us. Jesus willingly carried our burdens and sins in the cross freeing us from the temptations of this world. In His resurrection, Christ restored the bond that sin once destroyed, and by your grace today we can say we are your children! Sweet Father, in Christ we pray that you’d forgive us for consistently failing to follow your will and obeying your commands. Through the Spirit, we pray that you’ll give us the strength, the gentleness, and the confidence needed to speak up, to act on, and to respond to circumstances according to your will.
Father, in the name of Jesus, we praise you for the work you are doing here at Restoration Church. Fill us with your Spirit that we might increasingly look like Jesus; conform us to his image we pray. We praise you for Restoration Kids; we praise you for the members who serve in various ways each week; we praise you for the ability to lift our voice in praise to you; we praise you that we get to freely gather here each week. Your blessing and favor are upon us, Lord, and we praise your great and holy name.
We pray the Behdini Kurds. Save men and women from this unreached people group and start a church that your name might be hallowed. We pray for our petition for a visa for Alejandro and his family to be approved. Lord, help us start a Spanish-speaking church in Columbia Heights. We pray each one of us would be delighting in the supremacy of Jesus Christ and making disciples that do the same. Use us Lord; use us to advance your gospel and see many people come to faith and be built up in their faith.
Father, your word tells us to pray for those who are in charge over us. This morning we pray for our employers and our bosses. Give us the grace to respect them and serve them, not only when they are nice toward us, but at all times. We pray for our government leaders. Give President Obama wisdom and a sense of God-honoring justice. We also pray for congress and state and local elected officials. We pray that you would also give them wisdom and a sense of God-honoring justice. Use these officials for the good of your image bearers.
This morning we pray for our brothers and sisters worshipping at All Nations DC. Encourage pastor Wright Wall this morning. Build that church Lord for the glory of your name. And we also pray for Washington International Church. Give pastor David and the whole congregation an unquenchable love for Christ and a deep desire to serve each other.
Father, we pray for those here this morning who are struggling. Some are struggling with the guilt of sin they did this past week, or are under the burden of freshly remembering sins from long ago; others are overwhelmed by sins committed against them and the memories of such violating acts. Would you remind them of the hope of Christ? That in him, all our sins are washed clean; that our shame melts under the cross of Christ and that because he rose from the grave we can have new life defined not by what we do or by what’s been done to us, but by Christ Jesus and his purity.
We pray for those here struggling with discontentment and discouragement. Fill them with your Spirit and bring them rest and joy and hope as you minister to their soul this morning. Use those here that are presently encouraged and hopeful to minister to those who are a bit downcast. In the name of Jesus, use the webs of relationships here this morning to care for your people and point us to Christ.
This morning Father, we pray for our brother Nathan as he preaches for us. As we open your Word, show us your glory; show us how we can serve one another and build up the body of Christ. Grant Nathan clarity and passion and faithfulness to feed us from your word that we might be satisfied in Christ. It’s in his name we pray. Amen.