Reading the Bible Differently

Sermon by John Leonard on Mar 5, 2017

Luke 24:36-47

Thank you! I am so glad to be back at First Presbyterian Church, Jackson. I was actually here for four years – 1973 to 1977 while I was at Belhaven College. And I want to thank you, First Presbyterian Church, for the mark that you left in my life. You see, it was at this church worshiping every Sunday, sitting right about there, four rows back, that I faithfully heard the preaching and teaching of Don Patterson. You know you can’t sit under Don Patterson without having your missions vision focused and clarified and energized. But most importantly, I attended the Missions Conferences. And do you know what I learned about? I learned about Faith Promise. I learned about sacrificial giving. And for the first time in my life I took a risk and made a pledge as a college student. And I figured if I worked all summer, I’d be able to keep that pledge. Well halfway through the summer I got sick; I was sick for half the summer. And I said, “Well how am I going to make my pledge being sick?” And miraculously, through some circumstances, I came across some money and the money that was given to me, as you know, was how much? The exact about of money that I had pledged for the Faith Promise here at First Presbyterian Church. And so thank you so much for the mark that you left on me and the hundreds of other people who have been through here and have been blessed by you and the ministry of this church. So thank you so much.

Now this morning I want to ask the question, “Why do you read the Bible? Why do you come to church?” For many of us, it’s because there is something wrong in our life and we’re looking to the Bible to correct that problem. We hope that the principles in God’s Word will improve our marriage, that if you’re a husband, “It will help my wife;” if you’re a wife, it will help your husband. If you’re a parent, that it will help your children. That if you’re a young person, it will help your parents. Or you’re here because, you know, you’ve been trying to live the dream but that dream has turned into a nightmare and you want to find a “How do I live a full and contented and happy life?” And so you come to the Bible and you look for the principles that will guide and direct your life. But I want to tell you that when we come to the Bible as a self-help book to improve our life, it’s happiness, give us success and give us a full life, we do great harm to ourselves.

Now it is true that if we believe God’s Word we will be changed; our life will be full. But these are secondary and not the primary purpose that our heavenly Father has revealed His Word to us. You see, when you read the Bible looking for your own personal happiness, you are living a self-centered life. And all that life is, is another manifestation of our rebellion against God. So you could be here this morning in absolute rebellion against God trying to apply His principles to your life. Why? Because you just want God to serve you and make your life better. The problem with that is the end result is a religiosity without Christ’s righteousness, a spirituality that is, at best, carnal, the product of our own efforts and not the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. And you say, “Well who would ever do that?” Well the Pharisees would do that, wouldn’t they? And those were the people that Christ was hardest on.

Now it’s not exactly our fault that we read the Bible this way because in far too many churches, not this one, when the Bible is preached it’s taught as a book of principles – a self-help kind of book that if you apply these principles to your life, you’ll be changed. You’ll hear sermons like, “Five Principles for a Better Marriage,” “Six Ways to Raise Spiritually Healthy Children,” “Seven Lessons for Financial Success,” “Four Lessons on Leadership from the Life of David.” Now it is true that the Bible contains many principles, but the main purpose of the Bible is not the application of those principles. So if you think the Bible is about you, I’ve got some very bad news – it’s not! The Bible tells us another story.

And so this morning, I hope to teach you how to read the Bible differently. I hope to give you a whole new perspective from which you can understand the Scripture. I want you to be able to see that there is a theme that you must always bear in mind when you go about interpreting God’s Word. And what is that theme? What is that perspective? It is a missiological perspective. And you’re probably thinking, “Of course John, you’d say that; you’re a missionary! And all you’re doing is reading into the text the very thing that you want to get out of the text!” But of all the approaches to the Scripture that I’m most opposed to, it’s that one – that we read the Bible in such a way that we get out of it exactly what we want to. The approach, this missiological approach, is just not my approach. This missiological approach is just not the approach of First Pres. Jackson. The missiological approach is not just the approach of the PCA or of the reformed faith. This missiological approach, like all of our reformed theology, comes from the Scriptures itself because we have a great doctrine that tells us how we interpret Scripture. We interpret Scripture with Scripture. And how do we come to understand all of Scripture? By learning from our Lord how He Himself taught us to read God’s Word.

And so you might be saying, “Where is that, John?” Well, turn with me to Luke chapter 24, verse 36 to 48. Now in this passage, Jesus has risen from the dead, He has appeared to His disciples in the upper room. They don’t quite know what this is. Is He a ghost? A phantom? He shows them His wounds; He asks them for something to eat. In their confusion, He says, “Let me explain things to you.” And He says this, starting in verse 44:

 

“’Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their eyes to understand the Scriptures. He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’”

Now the traditional way of understanding this passage is that Jesus basically took them through a kind of a proof-texting of the Old Testament where He showed them the verses that prophesied about His coming. This approach to understanding the Bible this way is often called the crimson thread of Scripture. It comes from that story about Rahab, the harlot, who was to hang a crimson thread in her window. And when you talk about the crimson thread of interpretation it’s that like of prophecies throughout the Bible that talks about Jesus. So it is suggested that Jesus would have done something like this. He’d have turned to Genesis chapter 3 with His disciples and said, “Look, I’m the promised child of Eve who will be bruised by the serpent but will crush his head. I am the one who is prophesied in Micah chapter 5 to be born in Bethlehem. I was He who was promised to be born of a virgin in Isaiah chapter 7. I was from the tribe of Judah, promised in Genesis 49. I’m the King to sit on David’s throne from Isaiah chapter 9. You knew that I would be rejected, crucified between criminals, and buried among the rich from Isaiah chapter 53; that I would be a sacrifice offered on behalf of my people. You would know that if you read Micah chapter 4 that I am the one who is to be preceded by Elijah, that I’d be called the King, the Son of the Most-High, in Psalm chapter 2. That I would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek in Psalm 110. That I would be betrayed in Psalm 41. That the Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced in Psalm 22. And I would be forsaken and I would suffer a horrible crucifixion, all prophesied from that psalm. That from Psalm 34 it’d be prophesied that the soldiers would not break my legs but they would pierce my side.” And then in Psalm 16, He would show them that He is the Messiah who would be raised from the dead.

The Warp and Woof of All of Scripture

And so if we read Scripture like this, yes, Christ might be a crimson thread that runs through Scripture that occasionally breaks out into the warp and woof of the tapestry, but that’s not what Jesus is saying. He’s saying, “I am the warp and woof of all of Scripture! That this whole thing is about Me.” Turn with me again to our text. Look at verse 45. It says, “Then He opened their minds to understand Scripture.” You see, Jesus didn’t just point out an occasional verse to them and what that meant; He gave them a whole new way of reading this book, of understanding this book. And I would imagine that most of us here, at some time in our lives, when we like Paul who were once blind and those blinders fell off by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, when we had read the Book before that we said, “What is this Book about?” But once Christ had become real in our hearts, it all made sense. Did that ever happen to any of you? Did that happen in your own life when you came to know Christ?

The History of Redemption

Well, what Christ is teaching His disciples is that there are not a few prophecies about His coming, but He taught them to read the Bible in an entirely different way. He said He’s teaching us that all of Scripture has one central point; that every passage, all of them, speak of His person and His work. And so the Bible is not a book of many different stories. It’s a message of one story. Now theologians call this story the history of redemption. It’s the story of what God is doing in the world. So that everything from Genesis to Revelation points us to God, His plan, and calls us as His people to trust in Christ and to join Him in this work. Now, this changes the way we read and understand Scripture, doesn’t it? It does it the very same way that a good mystery novel does. If you’ve read a great mystery novel what makes it great is you have no idea who the perpetrator is until the very last chapter. You know you’re thinking, “Who did this?” And then when you read that last chapter you say, “I should have known!” And the whole book takes on a different perspective, doesn’t it? And you say, “I’m going to read the book again!” And when you read the book again, you begin to see that there were evidence and clues and clear themes throughout all the book that should have made it absolutely clear who and what this mystery was about.

Jesus in the Old Testament

And so that’s what we find in the Bible. That as clear and as evident as Jesus is on every page of the Book, it’s not until He came and revealed how it all fits together that it truly, truly makes sense to all of us. In the same way, Jesus is teaching us that the Bible is not a book of many different stories. Yes, there are stories of Abraham and Noah and Abraham and Joseph and Moses and Joshua and the Judges, Saul and David, but all of these stories point to the one story of Jesus Christ. There are prophets, priests, and kings found throughout the Old Testament, but all those stories who us how they failed and that we need a true Prophet, a true Priest, and a true King and that is only found in Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is the story of God’s people Israel. They are at one place called “His son.” But they failed. And so this nation of Israel points to the one true child of Abraham, the true seed, the true covenant-keeping Son, Jesus, who became everything Israel was not. The law described in detail the sacrificial system, how the temple was to be built; all the religious system points to one person, one sacrifice, one Savior. They all point to Jesus Christ.

Jesus says that the Old Testament law is prophetic. Look with me at Matthew chapter 5 verse 18. Jesus says, “Not one jot or tittle shall pass away from the law until all has been fulfilled.” And so every law in the Old Testament, all 613 of those laws were to point us to Jesus Christ. Yes, they showed us that God is a holy God and they warned us that as unholy people we cannot approach Him in our own righteousness. It showed us that we need a righteousness that comes from Christ and is now his own. It showed us that we need a Lamb of God who takes away the world of sin that fills our hearts. All the laws in the Old Testament, then, point us to Jesus Christ.

But notice Jesus didn’t stop there. Look at verse 44 in our text. He says that “From the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms, everything must be fulfilled.” Now, this is the Jewish division of the Old Testament. You know we divide our New Testament up in the gospels and the epistles. In the Old Testament, the Jews divided up their Old Testament in the law, the prophets, and the writings. And Jesus is saying that “All of these three parts of Scripture spoke of Me. All of them pointed to Me.” It isn’t a few verses in the prophets that speak about Jesus; it’s the entire message of the prophets. It’s not Isaiah chapter 53 that just reveals Jesus to us; it’s from the beginning to the end of that prophecy. It’s not one psalm, like Psalm 22, that shows us about the crucifixion, but every psalm that points us to Jesus who is both the singer and the one sung about in the Psalms. The Proverbs is not a book about human wisdom and if we apply it to our lives we’ll live happier and better lives. No, it introduces us to the wisdom of God, the logos through which God made the heavens and the earth. And Paul tells us that all the treasures of wisdom and glory are found in Jesus Christ. Ecclesiastes is not just a book that tells us of the vanity of life without Christ. It points us to Him and says that life only makes sense when He is our Lord. And then the book of Solomon, the Song of Solomon is more than a book about the beauty of love between a husband and a wife. It speaks about our divine Husband, Jesus Christ, and it tells us how much He loves us as His bride, the Church.

So that all of these things, in every way, in all of Scripture, point us to Jesus Christ. Again, this isn’t my opinion. Listen to Martin Luther. He said, “The function of all interpretation is to find Christ. Christ is the heart of the Bible.” Calvin said, “Christ is the end and soul of the law. Whoever then desires to make great proficiency in Scripture ought always to keep this in mind.” Ed Clowney said, “He who preaches the Word must preach Christ.” The great truth and purpose of the Bible is to point us to Jesus Christ. Now, this approach to the reading of the Scriptures is called the Christological principle of interpretation. Let me repeat that. It’s called the Christological principle of interpretation. That is, in every passage, in every verse, in every story, you are to find Christ and how that part of the story points us to what God is doing to prepare us to receive the Messiah and accept that message from Him. You have not preached a Christian message from anywhere in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, if it does not take you to the cross and if it does not take you to Christ. And that’s how Jesus taught us to read the Scripture.

The Mission of the Church

But here’s my problem! Almost everyone I know stops right there and says, “Yes, there is a great Christological principle. All of Scripture must point us to Jesus Christ.” But that is not all of what Jesus said in this passage about what all of Scripture taught. He goes on to say that “Everywhere that the Scripture teaches about Me, it also teaches about God’s mission for the world.” Verse 47 – see, that passage doesn’t stop at verse 46. It continues. It says, “and that repentance and faith, that repentance and the forgiveness of sin should be proclaimed in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem.” So what is Jesus saying? He’s saying that the mission of the church, for you to go out and make disciples of all nations, has been proclaimed and preached throughout the entire Bible.” Now you might be thinking, “Well if that were true, then why didn’t the Jews understand that?” And I would suggest to you that the Jews did understand that and Jesus cursed them for it. He said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees! You traverse” – what? “The land and sea, trying to make a disciple, but when you do, you make the twice the son of the devil as yourself.” They understood that everywhere in the Old Testament it points them to Jesus. Jesus teaches that not only His life, ministry, death and resurrection are taught all in Scripture, but also that all in Scripture we are taught to take this message to the world.

A Missiological Perspective

Do you know what this means? It means that the Great Commission verses are not just an add-on to the end of the ministry of Jesus Christ. It’s not that Jesus, before He left, He thought, “You know, there was something else I wanted to say. What was it? I can’t quite remember. Something about the world; it’s not that important. Oh yeah, this is what it is – Go and make disciples of all nations.” You see, that’s the capstone of everything Jesus taught in Matthew chapter 5. And when we understand this, we see that the mission of the church isn’t simply just quoting the five Great Commission passages found in Matthew 28 or Mark 15 “to make disciples of all creatures” or Luke 24, “to preach this Gospel in Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth.” Or in John 20:21, “As the Father sent me, so send I you.” Or in Acts 1:8, “You are witnesses of these things. Go and make disciples of all nations.” No, it’s taught everywhere and all places. They are, then, the central application of everything that was taught in all of Scripture and throughout the entire ministry of Jesus Christ. This means that we must read our Bible from a missiological perspective because this is the way that Jesus taught us to read the Scriptures.

Now it should be enough. I could end the sermon here and say, “Go and do likewise.” But let me give you another reason why we must read the Bible missiologically. The greatest missionary in the New Testament after our Lord Jesus Christ was who? The apostle Paul. And the greatest missionary treatise in the Bible is the book of Romans. Now what’s fascinating to me about Paul is that why was he so committed to taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth? Now you might answer that question by saying, “Well he was so committed to taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth because the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus, he was blinded, and he said, ‘You’re going to be My witness to the Gentiles.’” But that’s not why he was so committed to missions. That had something to do with it. He was so committed to missions because of all of those early followers of Jesus Christ he was the only one who had a formal, theological, and Biblical education. He was a Bible scholar. And when Jesus opened his blind eyes for the first time, he understood what all of Scripture was all about – that it pointed to Jesus Christ – and it thrust him out into all the world.

Romans 15

How do we know that? Well, because he tells us so. Turn with me to Romans chapter 15. We said that Romans was the most, the greatest book that Paul wrote that we have in the New Testament. What was Paul’s purpose in writing this book? Well, it was to convince the church in Rome to join him in taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Romans is not a systematic theology of what you need to know; Romans is a theology of missions – what we need to do. And why does Paul write this book? Well in verse 24 he says, “I write this book hoping to see you in passing as I go to Spain that I may be helped by you on this journey.” The book of Romans is much like these reports that we’ve had today by these missionaries who said, “This is what I’m doing. This is why I’m doing it and this is why you should join me.” And so what is the great testimony, what of the authoritative witness that Paul uses to convince other people that they must join him in taking this Gospel to the ends of the earth? It isn’t that fact that God appeared to him in a vision and He said, “Go be a missionary.” No, the authoritative witness is that he takes the people to the Scriptures.

Missions to the Nations

Look at verse 9 in chapter 15. He says, “As it is written, therefore I praise you among the Gentiles and sing to your name.” Verse 10, “And again it says, Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” Verse 11, “And again, praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” Verse 12, “And again Isaiah said, The Root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles. In him will the Gentiles hope.” Now here’s what’s most-fascinating about these four verses! Guess what part of the Old Testament they come from? They come from the three major divisions of the Old Testament – the law, verse 10 comes from Deuteronomy; Samuel and Isaiah are verse 9 and verse 12, the prophets. And then verse 11 comes from the psalms. This is not a haphazard kind of handling of God’s Word by Paul. This is an intently systematic approach to saying to us that, “I’m so committed to missions because everywhere in God’s Word it takes us and calls us to be missions to the nations!”

You see, Paul is saying the very same thing that Jesus said. Paul is saying the very same thing that Jesus showed His disciples. He’s saying the central message of the Bible points us to Jesus and the application of that message is for us to take this Gospel to the world. Missions isn’t found in one part of the Bible; it’s found in every chapter of the Bible. Paul quotes from the law, the prophets, and the psalms because he is following the example of Christ. And let me show you how this might work its way out as we learn to reread our Bible. Let’s go back through the Scriptures and see how to reread it.

Isn’t it interesting how the Bible ends and begins? It begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth and it ends with the creation of the New Heavens and the New Earth. Now you would think that a Book that begins with the world and ends with the world is all about the world. And you’d be correct by making that decision. It begins in Genesis where God is looking for two people, Adam and Eve, in a garden, and it ends when He finds His people and gathers them from all the nations of the earth. And that heavenly Jerusalem in the middle of it is Central Park, a Garden of Eden, in which the tree of life dwells and we have access to. The temple itself and the religious system in the law showed Israel that they were to expect and include foreigners in their community. You see, Israel was not an ethnic group. Israel is not a band of people who said, “We are one people because we share the same blood.” No, Israel was a nation because they were committed to the same covenant and anyone who wanted to make that commitment to God could be part of that nation. And this is what the law teaches. It says that when aliens come to live among you, they have all the rights and privileges that you have and you’re to love them and treat them as a native born. And they’re to be engaged in all the religious activities of Israel.

The Church’s Mission in Religious Structures

But we also see this mission of the church involved in the religious structures. Think about the temple. The temple was made up of several courts. The smallest court in the temple was the holy of holies. Then you had the court of the Gentiles, the court of the men, the court of the women, and the court of the Gentiles. Did I say that? Are y’all listening! Listen, y’all should be happy because I’ve slowed down a lot! This morning I was racing through this! The holy of holies and the court of the Gentiles. Now what is the largest of those four courts? The court of the Gentiles. Does anyone know how large the court of the Gentiles was? Do any of y’all remember? How big? Very good! You were listening! Thirteen acres. Thirteen acres! Do you know how many people you can get in thirteen acres? Over 300,000 people. Now why would they build a court that could hold 300,000 people if they did not understand that God was going to call all the nations of the earth to Himself? You see, they believed it and made room for it!

You know we don’t believe much here at First Pres. because we don’t have thirteen acres to receive people! Well, maybe they’re not going to come! The Jews didn’t believe it either. What did they do with all that thirteen acres? “Gee, we’ve got all this open space. You know, we should fill it with money changers so our life would be easier.” Yeah, they used it as a shortcut across Jerusalem so they wouldn’t have to go around it. And what did Jesus say? “Why have you turned my house of prayer into a house of commerce? When the nations come here, there’s not going to be any place for them. You’re supposed to make a place for them.” So even the temple itself said the world is going to come and worship.

The Hymnbook of God’s People

The Psalms is the hymnbook of God’s people. And did you know that there are over 175 universal appeals in the psalms? That is, statements about calling the world to come and worship God with Israel. Now what’s so unusual about that – 175 appeals in the Psalms? What’s so unusual about that is that there are only 150 psalms! So that means several times in many of the psalms you get this continual reminder to bring the nations with you when you come to worship. If God gave us that to sing over and over again in our hymnal, you’d think we’d get the idea that maybe we should have brought someone with us this morning when we came to church. Here are some examples: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands.” As a young person when I’d say that psalm, I thought they were talking about the land. You know, the rocks. And it’s true. Jesus says, you know, “If the children don’t cry out, the rocks will cry out.” But He’s not talking about land crying out; He’s talking about the people of the land crying out. “Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with joyful singing.” Psalm 100 is a missionary psalm calling the world to join them. Psalm 96, “Sing to the Lord a new song. Sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name. Tell of his salvation day by day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous work among all peoples!” Now in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, that word, “declare,” is the Greek word that we get the English word, “evangelize” from. So you could translate verse 3 as, “Evangelize the nations.”

The Prophets

And what about the prophets? In the prophets, we see this great vision that God is going to call all the nations of the earth to worship Him on the holy mountain. Isaiah chapter 25 verses 6 and 7 it says, “On the mountain, the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich foods, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich foods full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. He will swallow up this mountain, the coverings that have cast over all people, the veil that has spread over all nations.” God is going to do this work. Psalm 19, verse 23 through 25, it says in those days there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria and the Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians will go to Syria. What will they be doing? Well, we keep reading in verse 24, “In that day, Israel will be a third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people and Assyria the work of my hands!’” And what He’s saying is, all the world is going to be worshiping. The problem with that is, God kept telling the Israelites to only build one temple. But now when all the nations are coming, thirteen acres will not be big enough. And so He says, “We’ve got to build more temples! We need one in Assyria to the east and we need one in Egypt in the west and we need one in the middle in Israel so that all the nations will come and worship!” Why? “Because the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea and they will worship their King.”

The Absolute Monotheism of the Old Testament

Another reason why missions is the central message of the Old Testament is the absolute monotheism of the Old Testament. You see, everywhere in the Old Testament we are reminded that God made the heavens and the earth, that all the gods of the peoples are idols. And when you know that, you only have one message for that nations. That is to turn from your false god and worship the true God, the God who made the heavens and the earth. The central message and purpose of Scripture it to point us to Christ and the simple application of that message is that having received Him and His grace, to take that message to every part of our world and into every corner of this world. The central purpose of the Scripture calls us to Christ and sends us out in the world to be missionaries. Because this is the central message of the Scriptures, it should be the central purpose of your life. It should be the central purpose of this church and it must be reflected in the way we live and act and how we spend our time, our talents, and our money. You see, you can’t say that you are aligned with God’s purposes if you’re reading the Bible as a book about you. Do you see how deadly that reading of the Scripture is when you understand God’s greater purpose?

The Central Message of the Bible

I began this message by warning you to be careful about making God’s Book a self-help book, using it to find self-fulfillment, contentment, and wholeness in your own life. But what we’ve found, when we understand that the central message of the Bible is missiological, we then understand how important everything in our life becomes. We understand that it’s important that we have a good marriage and that we apply those principles to our life because our marriage now has a purpose. That purpose is to extend the rule and reign of God through our marriage. We understand why it’s important to have strong Christian families because our families become missional; we become a home that is to be a light to the nations in the way we live and live as husband and wives and fathers and mothers and children. We become living examples of everything that the Gospel is supposed to be around us because the central message of the Bible is missiology, missiological, then missions must be the central purpose for which we live. And when we align ourselves with those purposes, you know what’s going to happen? No life is richer, no life is fuller, no life is more rewarding because you will not be living for yourself but you will discover the purpose for which you have been made. You will be fulfilling the plans and purposes of God in your life.

You might have come here this morning thinking, “Well, I guess it’s that time of the year when we are reminded about missions. It must be a little important since we consecrate a couple of Sundays a year to it.” But I hope you leave here thinking, “This is why we come here every week.” We’re committed to the central purpose of God in all of Scripture. We want our lives to reflect that purpose. We want the way we spend our money to reflect that purpose. We want to structure what this church is all about by this central purpose of the Bible. You see, the truth is, this book is only good news because it isn’t about you; it points us to a Savior and directs us out into all the world.

Let’s pray!

Our God and heavenly Father, we thank You for this new way of reading the Bible. Thank You for delivering us from reading the Bible as a message about ourselves. Would You help us to lift our eyes to that great vision of what You are doing so that we would get up out of our own way and out of our own problems and align our lives with Your purposes for our own? Please deliver us from our little vision and our worldly thinking so that we might live for You. We ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2017 First Presbyterian Church.

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