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Our Father in Heaven, Thou hast led us to the cross where we have cast off our burdens of guilt and sin and we have seen them vanish. Mountains of our guilt are cast into the sea and have sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Our sins have been removed far from us as far as the east is from the west. From the greatest of them to the smallest of them, all of our sins have been washed by the blood of Christ. There is no sin too small that it does not deserve damnation. There is no sin too great that it cannot be forgiven. Whether we have sinned in secret, whether we have sinned in our thoughts only, or whether we have sinned publicly and have alienated our husbands and wives, our children, and even the church, there is no sin beyond the reach of the blood of Christ. The greatest sinner who commits the greatest sin can be made as white as snow. The greatest hypocrite who has privately toyed with sin for a multitude of years can be made as white as snow.
We are as white as snow because the blood of Jesus runs red. We are clean because Jesus died as one accounted as unclean. We are free because Jesus made himself a slave. We live because Jesus died. We are joyful because Jesus was made sad. We are alive because Jesus went to the grave. Lord, we have no hope but Jesus. We have nothing worthy to give to You to purchase our forgiveness. We are nothing, but Jesus is everything. We are empty, but He is full of grace. Lord, we thank You for Your mercy and love. We thank You that you sent Your only begotten Son that whosover believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Lord, help us to be reminded that You love us like a Father on earth loves his own son. How much do men love their children? What will a man do for his son? A father will be present to watch his son succeed, and the father will rejoice. A father will be there when his son fails and a father will weep. A father will do all in his power to see that his sons are protected from the evils of the world. And to think that God the Father loves us even more than an earthly father loves his own children?
Lord, give us leaders who can discern the times. Give us leaders both in the Church and in the other areas of life who understand biblical law. We reap what we sow. The time of reaping may be delayed, but it surely comes as surely as God is a God of justice. Men cannot ignore the laws of God and escape.
The way of the transgressor is hard. Sin brings shame, even in a world that denies shame. Sin hurts even in a world who denies sin. Entertainment presents us with the world where there are no consequences of sin. Leaders cheat on their wives and expect to continue as leaders. What a sham? What a fraud? What a pretense? Where is the Church when men need forgiveness? Where is the Church when a marriage needs repaired? The media tries and convicts men, and yet it is the media that prides itself in lawlessness. What a contradiction! What fools we are!
Lord, restore unto us integrity. Yes, integrity is hard to maintain when our own pride and our own possessions are at stake. Yet Lord, give us men whose integrity and dignity is worth more than popularity. Lord, we need men on earth to follow. We need men on earth in whom we can see the work of Jesus Christ. Lord, If we cannot find the work of the Spirit in men on earth, then are we to believe it is real? Are we to believe in the power of the gospel? Has God failed? Let it never be. Let the thought perish. God has a purpose in all things. All of God's elect will be saved. Not one will be lost. Some of them will sin and endure the cost of shame. But repentance is real and as necessary as faith. Where we see the work of God, we will see repentance. Repentance guarantees our forgiveness too. Yet the man who repents will throw dust and ashes upon himself and he will become as nothing. When a man becomes nothing, then he is ready to be healed and brought back into the fold of Christ. He is ready for restoration. Anything less will not be acceptable.
Lord, we come in dust and ashes. We may not have sinned in public, but we know our sins in private. We know our tendencies to sin. We know the power of temptation. We know the wide scope of the nature of sin. Lord, we are nothing. Revive us again. Restore unto us the joy of our salvation.
Lord, grant to us the blessings of all the benefits of Christ here this morning. Let us leave with a song in our hearts. Let us find joy even in the midst of our suffering. We are poor and yet we are rich. We weep and yet we rejoice. We are forgiven and yet we need forgiveness. We are a peculiar people. Accept us in Christ's Name we pray. Amen.