Working Together with God

Zach Fulginiti, Speaker

2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2 | October 14 - Sunday Morning,

Sunday Morning,
October 14
Working Together with God | 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2
Zach Fulginiti, Speaker

Well, good morning. It’s a great privilege to be here with you all, and also to serve on staff here at the church as the director of our college ministry. For those that aren’t familiar with the college ministry of this church, Campus Outreach is a reformed campus ministry underneath the authority of Christ Covenant session of elders and we serve on seven different campuses regionally, at Wingate University, UNC Charlotte, Davidson College, High Point University, UNC Greensboro, North Carolina A&T, and Elon University, in addition to our local ministry here at Christ Covenant Church.

And our team is passionate about sharing Christ with college students, and helping Christians grow in their faith. So if you or a loved one knows of a student at one of these colleges or universities, feel free to contact me. We would love to reach out and see if we can help that student grow in their walk with God.

Now as we turn to God’s Word, would you pray with me one more time.

Heavenly Father, as we look to the Scriptures, we acknowledge that we need Your help. We need You to come and feed us and to guide us and to give us the bread of life. We need you to soften our hearts, Lord, and we need you to help us apply what we learn. We ask, Father, that you would glorify Christ through the preaching of Your Word. And it’s in His name we pray. Amen.

Friends, whether or not you realize it, this morning you have been given a tremendous gift. This morning there are billions and billions of men and women across planet earth who will not receive the gift that you have right here and right now. It’s a gift more precious than gold. What’s that gift? Well, friends, we get to hear from the living God this morning. We get to hear what the infinite and the almighty God says to us. We get to fellowship with His people. We get to sing songs of praise to our Redeemer. Friends, if you are in Christ this morning, you have been given the greatest gift the world could ever imagine. And what we need to realize is that this a gift that not everyone is given. Billions and billions of people across the world have absolutely no access to the Word of God. And we do. All of us in this room.

So this morning I want to ask a question in light of that. In light of this gift, what are we to do with it? What are we to do with this precious gift that God has given us? Mainly the ability to hear from Him. How are we stewarding it? And this morning, I want us to look at how the Apostle Paul stewarded this gift.

So if you have your Bibles, please turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 5, beginning in verse 11. If you are visiting with us for the first time, let me extend Bernie’s welcome to you, a warm welcome from Christ Covenant Church, and invite you back next week and the week after as Pastor Kevin has been walking us through the gospel of John, seeing the life of Christ lived out in front of us. It’s a great opportunity if you’re here exploring who Jesus Christ is, to learn about His life and what He taught in the Scriptures.

But this morning we’re going to turn our attention to 2 Corinthians, page 969 in your pew Bibles. A bit of context for the book as we jump in. 2 Corinthians is actually the fourth and final letter that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. We only have two of these letters, but in these letters we see that this was a church and this was a group of people that the Apostle Paul cared very deeply about. Paul loved these people, and yet his relationship with them was extremely complicated. The Corinthians were a worldly church that Paul was constantly calling back to repentance in Christ. And he spent a great deal of time and energy helping the Corinthians.

One of the major themes of this letter was the Corinthians were assessing Paul’s ministry. Was Paul’s ministry valid or not? The Corinthian church had believed that maybe Paul had suffered a bit too much to be an apostle. So Paul spends the first seven chapters of 2 Corinthians commending both his life and his ministry to the church in Corinth. And what we have today in those seven chapters gives us a beautiful picture of what gospel ministry should look like. In other words, it gives us a picture as to how Paul answered the question I posed earlier. What was Paul doing with the gift that he received on the road to Damascus? Here he shares that in 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 11 on down to chapter 2, 6, verse 2. Read with me:

“Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we care beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

It’s clear from reading these verses in Paul’s life that his response to the gift of God was to share this gift with others. Paul didn’t keep this gift for himself. Very clearly, he said “I am going to share this gift with those who don’t know it.” That’s what we see in the text. Paul giving his life so that others may know Christ.

And it’s my hope this morning to bring to your attention three things in this text that should characterize our response to the Gospel as well. First, we see Paul’s motivation for the mission. Second, we see God’s means of the mission. And finally we see the immediacy, or the urgency, of the mission. Motivation, means, immediacy.

First we’ll looks at Paul’s motivation for the mission. Look back with me at verse 11: “Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.” Here we see Paul’s evangelistic heart to persuade others to Jesus Christ, and Paul is very clear about his motivation. He is motivated by fear. It’s what causes him to try and persuade others to see Christ as Lord and savior.

So what does Paul mean by this? What is this fear that Paul is describing? Is this like a fear of heights? A fear of spiders? Not exactly. Not exactly. Certainly this fear communicates a sense of reverence and awe that we might expect. Think back to Exodus chapter 3, Moses encounters Yahweh in the burning bush. There is certainly awe and wonder in Moses as he stands and encounters the living God, removing his sandals, bowing to him in worship. Certainly reverence and awe.

But I also think that we’ve tempered down the idea of the fear of the Lord to make it more manageable. Something easier to swallow.

Friends, you know what I think the word “fear” means? I think it means fear. I think Moses was afraid of God as he met Him in the burning bush. And I think Paul was afraid of God as he met Him on the road to Damascus. We don’t like to say that, do we? “I’m afraid of God.” We don’t like the idea of a god we’re afraid of. We like a god who is kind. We like a god who is compassionate, who doesn’t judge anyone, who is meek and mild and only full of love no matter what the circumstances are. We don’t like the idea of being afraid of God.

So what was Paul afraid of? He says very clearly he was afraid. Look at verse 10 just prior to verse 11. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

You want to talk about something to be afraid of? How about the judgment seat of Christ? Where everything you have done will be laid before the King of Kings? He’s talking about the judgment seat of Christ. Of course he’s fearful. God is going to judge the world, Paul says, and this should give us all a healthy dose of fear.

Friends, I have to ask the question. Where is the fear of God today in the world? Where is the fear of God today in the 21st century? We don’t fear God. Where is the fear of God in our churches? Where is the fear of God in our homes? Where is the fear of God in our own hearts?

One commentator writes “our God is so small and our sense of self is so large. We fear God so little that we seldom sense the seriousness of our sin, and we sense the seriousness of our sin so little because we seldom fear God.”

Brothers and sisters, the Apostle Paul was motivated by a right understanding of who God was. He saw His character, he saw His holiness, he saw His purity, he saw His righteousness, he saw His judgment seat, and he was rightfully afraid. But while he wasn’t afraid for his own life here in 2 Corinthians, he was afraid in Acts chapter 9. You see Paul wasn’t afraid here in 2 Corinthians for his own life because he knew the outcome of where he would stand before the judgment seat. No, Paul here was afraid for others. He was afraid of others meeting Christ, the living God, at the judgment seat apart from Christ because the Scriptures repeatedly remind us God is a judge and He is just and He is righteous.

Acts chapter 10, verse 42: “And He commanded us to preach to people, to testify that He is the one appointed by God to be the judge of the living and the dead.”

Matthew chapter 25, verse 31: “From the words of Christ Himself, when the Son of Man comes again in glory and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

Paul’s fear was that others would meet Christ for the first time at the judgment seat and it motivated him to share Christ with them, so that that would not be the case.

But it wasn’t his only motivation. He was also motivated by love. Paul was also motivated by love. Look at verse 14, chapter 5: “For the love of Christ controls us.” If the fear of the Lord causes Paul to try and persuade others, it’s the love of Christ that controls him.

The Greek word for control is sunexo, sunexo. It means to hold together, to constrain, to compress.

So here is Paul. He’s held together, he’s constrained, he is compressed by the love of God so much so that without it his life would fall apart.

You see, God doesn’t what Paul or us to be exclusively motivated by fear, though it’s a valid motivation. He compels us with His love.

Is Christ going to judge mankind for the sins he has committed? Yes, He is. He is righteous and He is just. But because of His great love, friends, He has also provided us a way out, a way of redemption, a way of salvation. What is this love that controls Paul? It’s the good news of the Gospel. It’s the news that yes, God is going to judge the world for its works, but there is One who never sinned, who never fell short, and He offers Himself to you today.

Friends, if you’re in this room and you have never heard of the love of Christ on the cross, let me invite you. Receive that gift today. Christ’s life for yours. Christ’s record for yours, before the judge. You can receive that gift today.

You know one of the great movie themes that Hollywood regularly employs is the theme of redemption, right? One person sacrificing his life for another. Whether it’s Samwise Gamgee carrying Frodo Baggins on his shoulders in The Lord of the Rings or one of my personal favorites, Man on Fire where Denzel Washington slowly walks across the bridge in order to trade his life for the young girl’s life, we love movies that highlight the great sacrifice and the great cost of one life given for another.

And yet as much as we are moved by cinema, by these films, there is no Hollywood script that can compare to the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for you. There’s nothing that can compare to that.

And this is the love that controls Paul. And brothers and sisters, it should control us, too. It should move us to love and cherish and treasure our Savior all the more. This is the Gospel. This is the love of Christ that controls Paul.

Friends, has this Gospel changed you? Does this Gospel control you? Does it control your thoughts? Does it control you emotions? Does it control your actions? As Christians, we should be so gripped, so moved, so captivated, that we should want to serve King Jesus not only out of a sense of duty, not only out of fear alone, but also out of love for Him.

You do not need to convince me to remain faithful to my wife and children simply because it is my duty. I love them. And I want to serve them. And it’s my joy to lay down my life for them.

And church, does the love of Christ control us in such a way that we are compelled to serve Him?

It did for Paul. Paul’s motivation, the fear of the Lord and the love of Christ, working hand in hand.

Second, we see God’s chosen means for the mission. God’s chosen means for the mission. In other words, what is the instrument in which Paul’s ministry and mission is going to take place? What’s the instrument? What’s going to empower this mission?

Look back with me at the text at verse 18: “All this is from God,” Paul writes, “who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

Paul is clear. The message is from God and the power is found in the message of the Gospel. This message has power to change lives. Paul didn’t trust in program. Paul didn’t trust in clever methods. Paul didn’t trust in anything other than the message of the Gospel. And neither should we as a church. You want to steward your life well, you want to use the gift that God has given you, well, make it about the message of the Gospel.

But look with me at the end of verse 19. Paul writes “entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.”

The power is in the message, but here’s what is shocking to me. God in His infinite wisdom has ordained it so that men are His method. God in His infinite wisdom has ordained that men and women are His method of delivery. God entrusts the message to us. God makes His appeal through us.

Friends, isn’t that remarkable? The same God who spoke into nothing and created the heavens and the earth. He could do the same thing to save souls, could He not? He could speak and regenerate hearts on the spot. Sometimes He does. He could come and speak into creation, into mankind, and regenerate the hearts and minds of men and women everywhere without using us. But that’s not typically how He chooses to work. Instead He has chosen to use men as His method for His message. He uses men as His method for His message.

And Paul knew this. We see this in Romans 10, verse 14: “How will they call on Him in whom they have not believed, and how were they to believe in Him in whom they have never heard? And how were they to hear without someone preaching?”

How will they call Him? How will they believe in Him? There’s the message. But how are they to hear without someone telling them? There’s the method: Men and women.

Friends, God’s chosen plan for bringing about salvation in the lives of men and women is you. It’s me. God wants to use you. He wants to use you on your kid’s soccer team. He wants to use you in your office, or in your workplace, with clients, with friends at work, colleagues. He wants to use you in your neighborhood, or your apartment complex. He wants to use you, and me.

Now, it might be fair to ask “Well, Zach, do you know me? I’m really not that special?” Well, neither am I. Ask the people who know me, ask my family. I’m not that articulate. You might be saying “I haven’t been to seminary.” You might be saying “God wants to use me? Are you sure?” I believe He does.

Now this is a question I’ve asked myself many times before: Why does God want to use me? On one hand, the answer to that question we may never know, but on the other hand, as I’ve searched the Scriptures and searched my own mind and prayer, the only answer to that question that I’ve found is that it must be for my good and for my joy. God doesn’t need me, so why would He want to use me? He must want to do something in me. He must want to give me joy.

I know that most people don’t equate evangelism with joy in our churches today. But friends, if you had this chance to sit down with one of our Campus Outreach staff members and talk about their opportunities to share their faith, you would hear joy. Go ask one of our Campus Outreach staff members Tennant Brastow about the joy he received from sharing Christ with football players up at Davidson College, because several weeks ago a young man named Jaylin received the gift of salvation for the first time as Tennant sat down with him to share the message of the Gospel, and he believed. Go ask one of our staff members Gavin Billings about the joy he received as an Elon football player named Cortez, a wide receiver, took a copy of a book called “Who is Jesus?” after a recent Bible study. Or ask one of our staff members at Highpoint University, Luke Wilson, what it’s like to walk into a Sigma Nu fraternity chapter meeting and the very next day forty-one members showed up for a Bible study.

Brothers and sisters, you’re telling me there’s no joy in that? You’re telling me there’s no good for us in that? It’s for our joy that God allows us to be engaged in the ministry of reconciliation and friends you can be involved, too. This can’t just be for pastors and ordained, full-time ministers. It can’t be because I don’t know your next door neighbor. I don’t know the people you work with. I don’t know your colleagues at work. The pastors here don’t know the people that you know.

You don’t have to go on a college campus. You don’t have to sign up to be an overseas missionary to be a messenger.

Friends, I want to ask you one question: Who is one person, just one person, that you could begin to engage spiritually and relationally? Who is one person in your sphere of influence, wherever it is, that God may be calling you to engage in an intentional fashion? Is there a person that God wants to use you as a messenger to?

Here’s what I consider to be the glorious part of this: You don’t have to do it alone. Look back at chapter 6, verse 1. Paul starts off “working together with Him.” Working together with Him. In this mission, we get to do it with God and with each other. There’s no one that needs to embark on this endeavor alone.

Working together is just one word in the Greek: It’s sunergeo. Clearly where we get the word synergy from. It’s a word that describes both oneness and hard work. It’s composed of two Greek words: Sun, meaning together, and ergon, meaning hard work or laboring. In the Greek, sunergeo doesn’t just mean things working well together, but it’s an active, striving, and working together with.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always pictured the Apostle Paul as a type of spiritual Rambo, just going from city to city alone, isolated by himself, preaching, teaching, establishing churches, all by himself, as a one-man wrecking crew. But what we see in the Scriptures is that’s never true in Paul’s life in his ministry. He was always working together with others. Paul’s ministry was one of sunergeo.

Sunergeo can also be used as a noun, meaning fellow worker, or co-laborer. And if you notice, Paul ends his letters in Romans, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon with clear references to his team around him, his fellow workers, men and women like Priscilla and Aquila, Timothy, Mark, Luke, Epaphroditus, and other men and women that we frankly know very little about. Paul was never on mission in isolation. He was always working together with his team. And they were on mission together because a team can always accomplish more than an individual.

I am the oldest of four brothers in my family. And at one time when I was growing up my father sat my brothers and I down. I was about 14 at the time, and of course as a 14-year-old, there’s only one thing going through your mind: What did I do? Why am I in trouble? What did I do to my brothers? He sat us down. Of course we thought we were in trouble. And he looked at us very intently, and he made a fist, and I thought “oh, man, I am in big trouble now. [laughter] What did I do this time?” And he said “if anyone messes with your mother, you four need to come together like a fist and put him in the ground.” And I said [laughter] “okay, all right. Am in in trouble? Okay.”

You know, we were all looking at each other like we weren’t expecting that. And though we were confused, we got his point. Together you are much more powerful than you are apart.

When you unite around a mission, when you unite around a team, you’re always more powerful than you are alone.

Friends, I know many of you don’t have the opportunity to stand up here and look at the congregation, but if you just look around, there’s a 1000, 1200, 1500 people, however many people in here. You don’t have to do it alone. Who can you be in sunergeo with?

But friends, we don’t want to just be in sunergeo with each other, we need to be in sunergeo with God. Look back at verse 1. Paul says “working together with” who? Working together with Him. Paul is working together with God. Chapter 6, verse 1 is a clear reference to chapter 5, verse 20 where Paul says “therefore we are ambassadors for Christ.”

One commentator notes “to be God’s fellow worker is therefore not to be God’s equal partner in the plan of salvation, but to be his dependent instrument through which the power of His grace and the promise of His forgiveness are illustrated and made known to us.”

We do not work with God, but God makes His appeal through us. The means of the mission is you, friends, working together with God and each other to share the message of the Gospel.

Finally, we see the immediacy of Paul’s mission. The immediacy, the urgency, of Paul’s mission. Remember, the gift that we’ve received, life with God, Paul tells us that there is an urgency to sharing this gift.

Look again at verse 1 in chapter 6: “Working together with Him, then we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

We’ve seen the entire context of 2 Corinthians 5:11 all the way to chapter 6, verse 2 is evangelism. It’s the ministry of reconciling lost men and women back to God. This was Paul’s life.

You look at verse 11 in chapter 5: “Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord we persuade others.”

Chapter 5, verse 14: “For the love of Christ controls us because we have concluded this: That One has died for all, therefore all have died and He died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him.”

Do you see that? If you’ve received this gift, you’re called to no longer live for yourself.

Chapter 5, verse 19: He’s entrusted to us the message of reconciliation.

Next verse, verse 20: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of God, be reconciled to Him.”

Chapter 6, verse 1: “We appeal to you.”

And at the end of this section, from 5:11 all the way down to 6:2, Paul ends it this way: “For He says in a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

He’s quoting Isaiah 49:8 which we read earlier, where the prophet Isaiah writes to a people who are in exile. He tells them that one day, one day, Israelites, a day of salvation will come and they will be returned to their homeland. He had spoken of a time when Christ was to be manifested in the flesh for all mankind to redeem, and here Paul is transferring this prophecy of Isaiah that was looking forward to the time when Christ would come to a time when Christ had already been revealed. There is a favorable time, there is a day of salvation, but it’s not in the future any longer. It’s now. Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

The world “behold” there is an interjection that should be telling us “Stop, pay attention, look what I’m saying here. It’s important.” And Paul uses this word twice to underscore the immediacy of the mission, the urgency of the mission. There is a time to receive the gospel of grace and that time is right now. Because today is the day of salvation, tomorrow is not the day of salvation. There is a now to faith, and there may not be a later.

For most of us here we need to remember that there is an urgency for the people in our communities who are outside Christ to respond now to the day of salvation, to place their faith in Jesus Christ now. This is certainly a message for people who have yet to receive Christ.

But I believe this is also a message for us, the potential messengers. Because while there is a favorable time to receive the Gospel, friends, there is also a favorable time to deliver the Gospel, and that time is now. This isn’t just an exhortation to receive the Gospel urgently. This an exhortation to share the Gospel urgently.

You might be saying “I’ve shared, and it’s been rejected by some.” In fact, if we share the Gospel urgently, many will reject it. And not to sound harsh, friends, but their rejection of the Gospel is on them. It’s not on you and that shouldn’t keep us from sharing. We are called to deliver and share the good news, but we cannot force repentance. We’re called to be faithful.

Friends, have you ever considered this? Humanly speaking, what if, what if someone missed their day of salvation because the ambassador for the High King of heaven missed his appointment. What if we missed our appointment?

2 Corinthians 5:20 calls us to be ambassadors for the King of heaven, called to deliver the King’s message of good news of repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. That’s our job.

But what if the King had appointed a day of salvation and the message never got to them?

Fortunately, we know that doesn’t happen. God ordains all things, including our evangelism. From an earthly perspective, may it never be that we miss a divine appointment, a divine opportunity.

One commentator reminds us “our message is all that stands between heaven and hell.”

And the time for that message to be delivered, friends, is now. There may be no tomorrow. The only time that matters is now. Friends, we have the world’s greatest gift, an everlasting treasure, reconciliation between sinful mankind and the righteous King of Kings, and the treasure was bought with the King’s own blood. It’s a gift waiting to be received. But before it can be opened and enjoyed, friends, it must be delivered.

Will you take part in delivering it? I hope you will.

Three application questions for us to consider in closing. One, who? Considering this ministry of reconciliation, considering being a messenger for the King, thinking about the urgency, we just need to ask who first. Just spend seem time thinking about who God is calling you to be a messenger to. Who God is calling you to be an ambassador to. Is it a friend? Is it a coworker? Is it a family member? I don’t know. But who is God calling you to be a messenger to?

Second question. What? What? What do you need to do next to bump along them spiritually? What do you need to do next? Maybe it’s sharing the Gospel with them. Maybe you’re called to walk out the doors and call your brother and his sister in California and share Christ with them on the phone. Maybe that’s the case. But for most of us, that’s probably not the case. Maybe it’s just saying hello to someone that you’ve seen regularly at a coffee shop. Maybe it’s asking someone to watch your kids or to a play date. Maybe it’s asking someone to grab coffee with you. Maybe it’s just asking what their name is.

The next step for many of us is probably to engage people relationally and personally before we evangelize them spiritually. But what can you do next? What’s one thing that you can do next, in this ministry of reconciliation that God has called us to?

Third. How? How? I sit with you all in the pews most Sundays, and if you’re like me, if I were sitting hearing this message, I would be saying “how do I even start? How can I do this? This feels totally overwhelming to me. I don’t even know what I could say. I don’t know what I would do. I can’t do this.” And that’s okay. I understand. How? How are we going to do this? How are you going to do this?

Well, friends, why don’t you just commit to pray? You don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to say. I promise you you can pray. Pray for that individual that you thought of earlier every day. Pray for open doors. Pray that God would save them, even it wasn’t through you. Pray that God would move. If you don’t know what to do, friends, you can pray. You can pray along with me, you can pray for them.

But what if as a church we began to pray intentionally for God to move among lost men and women in our church? We didn’t have a strategy, we didn’t have a great program, but we said “God, we want to work with you. We want to be in sunergeo with you. We want to see men and women come to faith, to worship the true and living King. We are going to commit to pray.”

Brothers and sisters, we can all do that. For in Christ, we can do that. I want to encourage you. If you want to start somewhere, start by praying.

Who? Think of an individual or two that you could be used in.

What? What do you need to do next?

How? Why don’t you think about praying?

Would you pray with me? Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word. We thank You that You have given us the great privilege, the great blessing, the great opportunity to receive joy by working together with you and with each other. Father, even standing up here, it’s humbling to look around and see men and women in which the old has passed away and behold the new has come. Thank You, God, for saving us. Thank You for the gift that we have received in Christ. We pray as we consider who we might be a blessing to, we consider what we might need to do next, and we consider how we might do that, that you would lead us, God. That you guide us. That you would be with us and protect us and bless us and bless this church. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.