FOCUS: Jesus is the King
FOCUS: Godliness With Contentment
FOCUS: Honoring Authority
FOCUS: Values for the Family of God
FOCUS: Protecting the Church
FOCUS: The Mission and Message of the Church
FOCUS: Church Leadership
Focus: Men and Women in the Local Church
Focus: Sinners and Saints Like Us
Focus: Sound Doctrine
What is your response to the chaos in the world? In our new series, FOCUS: A Study in 1 Timothy, Bruce Kendrick teaches through 1 Timothy 1:12-20, showing us that God’s mercy and grace make us new, motivate us to worship, and move us to fight faithfully.
Good morning, Watermark! How are we? We're awake. We're alive. We're at it. Man, I love to worship with you all. We're going to be in 1 Timothy, verses 12 through 20, so go ahead and turn your Bibles there. My name is Bruce Kendrick. I'm the director of Life Initiatives here at Watermark. That means I have the very best job on staff because I get to oversee our efforts with vulnerable children and families who are in our community.
I help to restore moms who have had their kids removed into foster care and are going, "Hey, I want to parent my child. I just need help." We get to wrap around those moms and dads and help restore those families. Then for those of you who have opened your homes and given of yourselves through foster care or adoption, I get to be involved in that.
I also oversee our ministries to women and men with unexpected pregnancies and past abortions. I get to help lead the charge with this great group of people who are intent on ending abortion, not 100 years from now, but tomorrow, that we'd be a part of bringing salt and light into our community.
So they asked me to start by sharing a picture of my family with you, which is just absolutely dangerous and the wrong move, but when you're told to do things, sometimes you just do it. Here's a picture of the family. We have nine kids, so anytime you ask somebody to get up on stage and introduce the family, it's like, "We could be here until 1 if you want me to go through all nine of them."
Five are adopted and four are biological. My wife and I both have red hair, so you can guess who the biological ones are. I'm just trying to keep recessive dominant here. That's all right. You'll catch up. Some of you, the genetic jokes just don't click initially.
I want to start by just asking the question with a little bit of levity, "Have we lost our minds?" It has just been chaos, right? Man, news from this weekend with the Notorious RBG passing away, the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just sort of adds to it. I want to ask, what do you see when you look around? How is your heart doing? How are you responding?
Have you just lost your mind in this whole thing, because 2020 just came in here and just did not have any sense, did it? 2021 had better get its act together because this has been nuts. I didn't know murder hornets were a thing, but we got them. I don't want to go through this more than I have to, but I'm going to say it now.
I'm going to say it a few more times just so I can meet the quota of the number of times we're allowed to say COVID in any given conversation. So just to get it out of the way, COVID, COVID, COVID, pandemic, COVID, pandemic, and one more COVID. Great. We don't have to talk about it again.
I get that it's serious, but every conversation that I've been in since March has involved that word. Personally, it could take a rest for at least the next 30 minutes. Obviously, politics and partisan journalism is sort of at an all-time high as we continue to get spun up in that. Then, are any parents or students in the room? Yeah.
Hey, can we just collectively agree to pull the guy into a room, whoever came up with synchronous and asynchronous learning, and give him a solid throat punch? Oh, learning is great, right? Remote learning. But why? I can't even spell asynchronous much less pronounce it. So here's the thing. I think in the midst of all that's going on, there are some of us who aren't just losing our minds. We're losing our faith as well.
What's troubling about that for me is I see some of us just put blinders on and go, "You know what, Bruce? I don't want to change the status quo. I need things to keep moving forward the way they were because I had my life managed. I had my sin managed. Now it feels like my anxiety is spinning up. I didn't really have to trust the Lord that much before because I could manage all this stuff, but now it feels like maybe God is not as in control as I thought he was."
Spoiler alert: he is still in control. Then there are some of us who started social distancing back in March or whenever, and that's now turned into social isolation. We have a better relationship with our phone than we have with any other human being on the planet. Friends, when I think about this year, and when I think about all of these different things that are going on in the world, the thing that God impresses upon me most is not chaos but opportunity.
That as Christians, as people who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and who have the truth and the richness of the gospel, that we would turn around and go, "Huh. Hey, God. Thanks. Man, there are a whole year's worth of topics that could introduce the gospel in a conversation." God is like, "Yeah, pick one! Pick any of them!"
Yet we're at risk of shipwrecking our faith, as we'll see Paul is going to talk about in 1 Timothy. Paul was acquainted with that reality of what it was to have the boat basically fall apart from underneath your feet and be wading in the sea, looking around at all the other bodies wading in the sea, panicked, looking at each other.
So Paul writes the Pastoral Epistle of 1 Timothy just after he gets out of the house arrest, which he had been under for two years in the city of Rome where he had appealed to Caesar that he might share the gospel. On his way to Rome, he gets shipwrecked onto the island of Malta. It's Acts 27.
There are those of us who are at risk of shipwrecking our faith and missing our purpose in Christ to speak mercy and grace in our homes, in our marriages, in our communities, and in our workplaces, and students, in your school. It feels like God has just teed us up for gospel conversations, and we have the blinders on.
So as I mentioned, we're in this Pastoral Epistle, and you are at our weekly pastors' conference. In the event that you didn't understand how this worked, you don't pay me or a band to come and entertain you for 30 or 45 minutes. If we're honest, there are much better ways for you to be entertained, but we don't do ministry to you. We don't do ministry for you. We don't even do ministry through you. We do ministry with you.
You're a pastor, a minister of reconciliation, and an ambassador of Christ for your home and your neighborhood and your community and your workplace and everywhere that you go. What an incredible opportunity we have. Paul is just going to unpack some things for Timothy and remind him, as he is working with the church there at Ephesus. They have kind of lost their way as they've had some false teaching come in, as Leventhal mentioned last week. There were some mythology and some genealogies that got mixed into the gospel.
Paul is just going to remind Timothy, and he reminds us, that God's mercy and grace makes us new. It motivates us to worship him. It moves us to fight faithfully. So let's take a look at 1 Timothy, starting in verse 12. I'll just read through the whole passage together, and come back and unpack it.
"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme."
I think the first thing that Paul is going to tell us here is mercy and grace make us new. Mercy and grace make us new. In verse 13, he says, "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man…" Paul is not just trying to make a point and maybe exaggerating his sin a little bit. Paul stood over men while they were murdered.
So if you have that on your list, okay. But Paul is saying, "Look, I'm not just exaggerating this." He stood over Stephen while he was being stoned. Stephen cried out in Acts. Stephen says, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Saul stood over Stephen and said, "Yeah, no. We know exactly what we're doing. We're murdering you."
Paul had previously, in the letter, sat here and kind of made this hierarchy of sinners. Right? So I don't want to give you some idea that I don't think it's theologically true. It says all sin is equal, even though all sin separates us from God. But he says, "…I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man…" He goes on to say, "I was the worst of sinners."
Now when you adopt a child from foster care, you get a box that looks a lot like this. In this box is basically all the notes and assessments from doctors. Some of it is information that you get about the child's family. But they hand it to you as a prospective adoptive parent and allow you to go through all of their information, making sure that you know what you're getting when you're adopting that child.
It is so that you can read through really what is none of the good stuff, if we're honest. Like I never got a, "Hey, this is when this child first started to walk or read. This was their first word." But I got lots of, "This child has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder." Or, "This child has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder." Despite the fact that they're under the age of 10.
So you get to go through it and decide, "Do I want this?" I think what Paul is doing here is he is unpacking some of his own sin, knowing that none of it is hidden from God. That as it's set before God, God goes, "Yeah, I take all of it. I take all of it." It's odd for me to stand up in front of you and share and preach and teach and talk about the goodness of God because honestly, I know what my box entails.
I know what's in there. I know what it would look like if somebody followed me around from the point that I was born, or even before I was born, and walked around with my parents to look at their inefficiencies and their shortcomings and their sinfulness. Then walked up to God and went, "Are you sure you want this guy?"
Because I was the kid in high school who though sarcasm was a great way to up my way in the pecking order. Then I'd turn around, and I'd berate the kids whose feelings were hurt and be like, "Don't be so soft." As if feelings were somehow a weakness. I was the guy who was exposed to pornography from the third grade, who spent much of his lifetime lusting after women and just continuing to pursue that behind the scenes.
All at the same time, showing up at church on Sunday and going to camp and telling everybody, "Hey, gosh, it is a slap in the face when we sin against God." Two days later, getting home from camp and being like, "Let's go back to looking at porn again." I was that guy. I was once that guy. I was the father who berated his kids, who was impatient, who would give them five things to do in a matter of seconds then when they didn't complete it all, get really upset. I was once that man.
I just want to ask, "Before Christ, who are you?" Because in verse 14, Paul says, "The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." That word abundantly only shows up once in the entire Bible. Commentaries say they think that Paul coined this word. It's the Greek word hyperpleonazō. It conveys this image of a cup on a table that is just poured into. As the cup begins to overflow, there's no one to say, "Enough," but it just continues to pour.
It's in the aorist verb tense. For those of us who aren't English professors, the aorist verb tense means that it's a present, active, and incomplete verb. That means it just keeps going. So it just continues to pour. The water just keeps coming up over the cup and onto the table, and then onto the floor. It fills the room.
That's what grace does in our lives when God makes us new. It is abundant and overflowing. We experience it so that we can't hold it in. It was a few years ago that we were hosting an event at Frank Buck Zoo. Anybody? Frank Buck Zoo up in Gainesville? It's a tiny little zoo. We took a bunch of foster and adoptive families there.
Families showed up, and we got to do like a cool show and tell with some of their animals and feed giraffes and all kinds of fun stuff. Then afterwards, we went across the street to this park, and we had snacks, drinks, games, and hot dogs. At the end, I was standing at this table that still had hot dogs like falling off the edges. We're trying to hold it on.
This little boy came up to me, and he said, "Hey, can I have more?" I was like, "Yeah, sure. We have plenty." He took more hot dogs back, and went back and sat down. I didn't think of it again. The next day, I got an email from his mom. She said, "He came back to our table and said, 'I got to have seconds! I got to have seconds, Mom!'"
What's crazy about that is not only that he had never had seconds before. He had never known what it was to have enough. What's crazy about that is I said, "Hey kid, you could've come back and gotten thirds and fourths and fifths." Not only was the table overflowing, I had a whole cooler of hot dogs wrapped in foil that were still warm.
Most of us will come in, and we'll take our two hot dogs. We'll take a seat, and go, "That's good," not realizing the abundant grace and mercy of our God who just says, "But where sin increased, grace increased all the more…" Friends, you can't out-sin God's grace. If you can, you're thinking of the wrong grace.
God just goes, "I lavish it on you because I love you." Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." While we were still sinners, while our box is still filling up, Christ dies for us. God's mercy and grace make us new. It's a mercy and grace that overflows.
Verse 15: "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst." I entered my freshman year in high school a scrawny 5'11" kid. I loved playing basketball, and got to play basketball. This was at Frisco High School when Frisco was still just one high school.
There was no mall, not much of anything else. The tollway didn't make its way out there or anything. There was a guy who was a senior named Craig. Craig could dunk, which I'd only seen that on TV and when I put a trampoline down in front of my basketball goal and jumped off of it and dunked. That's how I thought you dunked: you got a trampoline out.
Craig could actually dunk. Craig was a senior, so I had a lot of fun playing against Craig and learning from him and whatnot. They asked Craig to leave some parting wisdom in our yearbook that year. Craig's parting wisdom to the underclassmen was this. "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." Genius. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. That's the main thing!
Here's Paul just telling Timothy, "Hey, look. In the midst of all the false teaching that's going on, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." It's not to say that Jesus didn't do a whole lot else. Because he sits down in Luke. He opens the scrolls of Isaiah, and he says, "Look, I've come "…to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind…" "
But in the midst of everything else that's going on around, Paul goes, "Don't forget to keep the main thing the main thing." Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners like me and like you. In Mark 10:45, Jesus says, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Now I've been on staff here not quite three years. When we have new staff come in, when we have new leaders come in, we typically ask, "Hey, we want to know what questions you have. We don't want to just keep doing the same things we've always done. Whenever you ask why we do them, we just say, 'Well, that's the way we've always done them, so that's why we do them.' But we want to make sure that we're continually thoughtful about what Scripture says and how it directs us so that we might lead the church well."
So I got to sit down in front of our staff at our retreat. They just said, "Bruce, what do you think of Watermark?" Honestly, I didn't know you very well, but I had a really cynical, critical spirit. Does anybody resonate? Is that in your box? The cynical, critical spirit? I was good at it, too. I just went, "Look, here it is. I think Watermark seems like a really wealthy, white church full of people who love Jesus but just don't need him that much."
What probably should've been a bunch of people like, "Well, it's been nice knowing you…" Instead, there was just this return to lots of smiles as my friends started to share their stories of salvation. My friend who was like, "I was in a gang, and Christ redeemed me." Another friend said, "I was an adulterer, and God restored my marriage."
There was another guy who said, "I used to do drugs in our church parking lot before re:gen." And now he has a key to every room in the building. That's nuts! I just went, "That's not how church operates elsewhere! Just so you know. I've been around the country. That's not how church operates.
Church operates in more of like a, 'Hey, we all come in and we shake hands. We sit down and we stand up. We sing songs and we sit back down again. We listen to the message, and we walk up to the pastor afterwards and we go, "That was a great passage. Thank you so much." Then we go and eat our lunch.' We're just going through the line. We're getting our two hot dogs and we're done. That's all we needed."
There are people who come here, and you may be one of them… If you're not, I pray for you. People who recognize how sinful we are and just hope for the abundant grace and mercy of God. It leads us to worship him. So I asked some more friends as I was preparing for this. I was like, "Hey, I want to hear more of your story."
Just FYI, if you come up to me afterwards, don't say, "Thank you for the message." Tell me your story of salvation, what God has done in your life. But I asked some of my friends. Some of them had these real crazy stories. I was like, "That's crazy. You are crazy!" Then some of them were like, "Yeah, God redeemed me when I was 10."
I was like, "That's crazy that a holy God would wait 10 years of your sinfulness piling up to redeem you." Man, what a patient God. I had one friend who really resonated. His name is Ethan. He helps lead Frontlines. Ethan said, "Man, when I thought of Christians, I thought of bigots. I thought of homophobes and hypocrites, especially during election season. I thought of Republicans." "All right. What did God do in your life?"
He said God started to turn him through some guys who he played sports with. He summarizes his testimony that he shared with me with a quote from a guy named Jonathan Edwards. Edwards said, "You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary." You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.
God goes, "Yeah, I'll take that. I'll take all of it." Verse 16: "But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life." His immense patience. That word patience…
It's apparently a preaching faux pax for you to do more than one Greek word in a message, so I won't give you the Greek. But here's the definition of that word patience: a state of remaining tranquil while awaiting an outcome. That means God is never surprised. Like you didn't sleep with your boyfriend last night and then come to church, and God would be like, "You're here? No way!"
You didn't yell at your kids this morning and be like, "God, let's just turn the bus around and go back home. You can't yell at your kids and then go to worship." God is not surprised. He remains tranquil while waiting on an outcome. The other definition is a state of bearing up under provocation, which means we've poked the bear.
We've gotten into the lion's cage and treated it like a kitten. We've allowed our sin to be this little toy that we dabble in, not realizing that when it's full grown, it means death. And yet Paul writes in Romans 2:4, "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"
There are those of you who have thought, "Man, God is just holding this box over my head." Or if you're like me, you're just waiting for God to pull the chair out from under you just the second that you thought you could sit down and be secure. Yet God is kind and patient. So I'd be remiss if I didn't stop and pause right here, knowing that there's surely someone in the room who doesn't really know who Jesus is.
Maybe you've dabbled in religious ideas. Maybe you read Genesis 1 through 3, and you learned about the sin of Adam and Eve. Then you skipped over to some passages in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John about Jesus dying on a cross somewhere. Then maybe you read Revelation, but you're basically biblically illiterate and just going, "Yeah, I believe some of this stuff, but…"
Do you know Christ? Not about him, but do you know him? Do you know the eternal, immortal, invisible, one and only God whose mercy and grace compels us? Because it doesn't just make us new. It also motivates us to worship. So in verse 17, it's like Paul just went, "I don't think I can just continue writing and not pause and say," "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever."
He throws an amen on the end there because it's congregational assent. It's an opportunity for me and you to go, "Yeah, that's who our God is. The grace that overflows in me? I can't hold it back, and I don't want to." But there's this opportunity for us to worship God. "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever." And God's people said, "Amen."
If you don't know that, you may have just grabbed your two hot dogs, and moved on. You may still be carrying your box around. If the love and grace and mercy of God doesn't well up in you when you think about the eternal, immortal King, you may have settled for something less than what God has.
So God's mercy and grace make us new, and God's mercy and grace motivate us to worship, but they're also consequential. What I mean by that is God's mercy and grace moves us to fight faithfully. It's not just this ethereal head knowledge that we walk around with. Like, "Oh, that's a good idea. Jesus. Yes. Grace and mercy and forgiveness and love."
Those words have meaning. So church, we have to remember not just who we are but whose we are. That faith in good conscience is not just that collection of ideas, as Paul would say in verse 18. "Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith."
As you walked in, we had these Top 10 cards sitting out. You're welcome to grab one on the way out, if you didn't grab one on the way in. But I think they're just a really helpful tool to be reminded of the opportunity that we have to fight faithfully. That there are those we come in contact with, whether they're family members…
I know that for me, I have daughters and sons who still have not given their life to the Lord. Every once in a while, God will just prick my heart about that. I'll go, "Let's have that conversation again." One of my daughters has told me, "Dad, I just don't feel like I have it all together yet. I don't feel like I have it all together yet."
I said, "Hey sweetheart, God is not waiting on you to get it all together. In fact, you can't get it all together. You have this whole box of stuff that you're carrying around with you, and you need to know that God is pursuing you. God is chasing you down that you would know his abundant grace and his immense patience."
You may have some friends, family members, you may have people you work with, or a student you sit across from at school or just all on a screen if you're doing that whole asynchronous thing… I didn't mean to bring that back up. I know it's a wound. There is somebody who you have an opportunity to share the gospel with. Why do we share the gospel?
Because it is the hope of the world. You're not going to find it anywhere else. In fact, Jesus' disciples were following him along, and he turns around and he is like, "I'm not sure you all realize what's going on here. Because I think some of you think I came to establish a limited earthly kingdom, and that's not who I am."
So he tells them this. It's in the Bible. Read it. He says, "If anybody should follow after me, I want you to eat my flesh and drink my blood." I think some of his disciples were like, "Man, Jesus, we've seen you do some crazy things, but that is crazy." And they walk away. The Twelve are left. Jesus looks at Simon Peter. He says, "Are you all going to leave too?" Simon Peter says this, "Where else would we go?"
Listen, I've done my fair share of looking for alternatives and even found some that felt a little bit acceptable. But when I met Christ, I went, "Oh, this is altogether different. This isn't like the other things." So we share the gospel because it's good news. It's good news. If you're a friend who got brought in here, your friends who brought you are not trying to manipulate you. They just went, "Look, we're beggars who found bread and we're bringing other beggars in," as Martin Luther says.
We're watchmen on a tower who see the sword coming, and we go, "We know the way to safety!" As Ezekiel says, " [God] looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one."
Christians, pastors, that we would be courageous, that we would be moved to fight faithfully. Because you have to realize that there are going to be some people on this Top 10 list who you pray for, who you initiate conversations with, who you share your story with that then you turn around and you go, "Oh, they do not like this news. In fact, I feel like… Why are they calling me a bigot? Why are they calling me a hypocrite? Why are they saying I'm homophobic? I'm not homophobic."
So Paul tells Timothy in verse 20, "Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme." These are two guys who were in the church. This wasn't external battles. This was internal. Hymenaeus was a guy who likely was discipled up under Paul for the three years that he was in Ephesus.
Paul leaves, and Hymenaeus continues to mature and grow and starts to intermingle some of his pagan worship with Christianity. He eventually begins to teach that the resurrection has already happened. So as people are coming in wanting to hear the truth of the gospel and wanting to know that Jesus is coming back, Hymenaeus is going, "He has already come back. You missed it. There's no room for you. You should go away now."
Alexander, based on some of the stuff that I've interpreted, admittedly on my own a little bit, but he was a metal worker who does Paul great harm. According to some of the timing of when we think 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy were written, it's likely anyway that Alexander is the guy who turned around and turned Paul in to the Romans the second time where Paul is ultimately executed.
So recognize that there's going to be opposition. Yet we are to love our enemies. Romans 12:14, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." Paul says, "…I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme." Now I know that there are some moms in this room who are like, "Wait, you can do that?" Yeah, Welcome Desk. You can drop your husband and kids off. You just drop them off and you head out. We'll take care…
That's not how it works. But there is care and correction, right? There is church discipline that says, "Hey, you're not following the Lord as you ought." While we love our enemies, we don't appease false teachers. We don't water down the gospel. We don't tell you your sin is not that big of a deal, you can just keep carrying some of it along and managing some of it, and you don't have to set it all at the foot of the cross and surrender to him.
We don't yoke ourselves to unbelievers who encourage us to compromise a biblical worldview. God's grace and mercy move us to fight faithfully and motivate us to worship. They make us new through a grace and mercy that are overflowing. Jesus Christ came to save sinners like me and you.
How is that truth going to impact your week? What do you do with that this week? Is there somebody who God has brought into your life that you go, "Hey, I need to go share the gospel with them." Or is there somebody who is already in your life who you go, "I think I need to confront them. I think there is conflict here that I have been avoiding."
Or is there sin that's lingering in your own heart, and you're recognizing, "I don't know that I've really surrendered my life to Christ and really walked with him. I haven't understood that and experienced that abundance that you're talking about where I might say, "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." " Do you know that King? Would you pray with me?
God, I thank you for my friends who hear this word this morning and maybe have forgotten that they're pastors, that they're ministers of reconciliation. They are ambassadors of Christ who carry the gospel and the Holy Spirit with them. God, I pray that you would convict our hearts. I thank you that you are gracious and merciful.
That you're a Father who knows how to give good gifts to his kids. That you don't pile on shame, but you're patient with us. That it's your kindness that leads us to repentance. So for those who are maybe hearing this passage for the hundredth time, and it just hadn't ever snapped with them. It hadn't ever clicked or connected.
Father, I pray that they'd come forward here in a bit and have a conversation that we might share our stories of salvation. That we might even unpack some of what's in our box of our sinfulness and share how God has redeemed and restored us. Father, you're a good God. We love you, and we worship you now. We ask these things in the holy, powerful, able, majestic, wonderful, and glorious name of Jesus Christ, the name above all names, who is the King above all kings. Amen.