Our Father in Heaven, help us to worship Thee aright. Be pleased with us as we come into Thy presence. We cannot see You. You have chosen not to respond to us audibly. You are in some way shrouded in secret and we cannot cast our eyes upon You. There are thousands of guesses as to what You are like, and what You desire of us. The world is full of opinions. The world is full of religions. The world is full of churches. Every man seems to know what is right in his own eyes. Maybe it's just part of having the American spirit? Maybe, it's pride on the part of those who have never known the depths of hardship? It's all very confusing. Lord. All we have is Thy word. When the final call comes to us and we leave this world in death, we will know more, but for now all we have is the Holy Scriptures.
Lord, we have bet our lives on Thy word. You have challenged us to trust in Thy word, and we have responded. That is one reason why we are here today. We are not playing church. We are not adding an hour of religion onto a week of living for ourselves. We have sacrificed everything. We have jumped into the pond and we are not able to swim. We have left everything. We have pledged ourselves to be faithful to Thee even though we face ridicule, persecution, and death. That is part of the covenant. Did the preachers forget to tell us that? Did the evangelist avoid that? How could we miss something so important? If we are not ready to die for Thee, then we are not ready to live for Thee. If we are not able to see the heinous character of our sins, then we are not ready to claim the imputed righteousness of Christ. We are not worthy to be called Christian.
Our fathers in the faith were many, chained in prisons dark. In spite of dungeon, fire and sword, they kept their pledge. They were faithful unto death. We admire their faith, and yet, when we were baptized, we committed ourselves to the same fate. Lord, have we made promises in ignorance? Have we bitten off more than we can chew? Lord, having set our faces to the plough, are we ready to turn back? Are there those here this morning who enlisted in Your army without knowledge of what You require? Are there those here this morning who did not realize that they were entering into warfare?
Lord, being steadfast is hard. Being patient is hard. Being faithful is hard. Fighting sin is hard. Maintaining faith when life hits us hard is very difficult. There is so much that is difficult for us, that we sometimes doubt that we have what it takes to finish the course and remain faithful to the end.
Yet, Lord, we have read in Thy word, that our salvation is grace from beginning to end. It is by grace that we are saved. It is by grace that we shall persevere to the end. It is by grace that we can stand before the judgment seat of God, spotless and blameless in Jesus Christ.
Whatever the world may say, whatever the religions of the world may teach, whatever is popular in the modern church, we know that apart from grace from beginning to end, we would have no hope. Without grace, we would live in distress.
So, Lord, as we come into Thy presence this morning, we know it is right and proper to ask for grace. We know that Thy word encourages us to seek Thee, pleading for Thy mercy. Be merciful unto us O Lord, or we die. Be gracious unto us O Lord, or we live without hope.
Surely, as you healed the man without sight, as you raised Lazarus from the dead, and as you stopped the bleeding of the woman who touched Your garment, surely O Lord, Thou wilt be gracious and merciful unto us. In our hour of need we will cry out to Thee, and the word tells us that You will hear us and answer our prayer. Surely, Lord, Thou wilt not reject the downcast, the hurting, the suffering, and the sick. Surely, Lord to those with bloody heads bowed to the ground, Thou wilt notice their cry and be gracious unto them.
Thus, we come into Thy presence this morning. We come empty. We come thirsty. We come afraid of the damage we have done in the past and afraid of the judgment of God in the future. We come unsure, doubting, and hopeless. We come hungry and thirsty. Feed us Lord and give us drink that we shall need water no more. Fill us with Thy Holy Spirit as we set our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ. We ask all these things in Christ's name. Amen