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Showing posts with label Salvation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salvation. Show all posts

Monday, February 6, 2023

Jesus Saves Us From Sin. Amen!

Introduction
The Bible is the Word of God and contains everything necessary and sufficient for our salvation. Today, want to talk about sin and salvation because the Bible says sin and salvation are two basic elements of the Christian faith.  The Bible teaches that Jesus saves us from sin.  



Ephesians 2:8-9
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Explanation
The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Christians living in Ephesus—an important Greek settlement in what is now modern day Turkey.  Paul started out life as a Pharisee whose goal was to earn salvation by obeying the letter of God Law perfectly.  But Jesus appeared to Paul from heaven and Paul became a Christian.  As a Christian, Paul realized that there was no hope of salvation through living a strict, sinless life because no one can do it.  It is only by grace you are saved when you believe in Jesus.

And so Paul writes to the Ephesians: “God saved you by his grace when you believed.”
We see three words in that statement we must understand:  Saved.  Grace.  Believed.

First there is the word saved.  I think everyone understands the concept of being saved.  If you are trapped in a burning building and a firefighter rescues you, you might say, “You saved my life!”  In that instance, you might feel tremendous gratitude to the firefighter that risked their life to save yours.

But what does it mean when Paul says, “God saved you?” Do you feel like you need to be saved?  The Bible says we should.

Romans 1:20-23
In Romans 1:20-23 Paul wrote: “…ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God…  …but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused…  And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.  So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired.

We chose to worship idols and false gods instead of God.  We may not bow down to a golden statue, but we are so prone to give our primary focus to other things when we should focus on God first.  Anytime we serve something or give our resources to something or seek fulfillment from something or try to find security in something when we out to seek these from God we are worshiping an idol or false god.  And we do it all the time.  It's is a sad reality of our fallen human nature.

And so, Romans says, "God abandoned [us] to do whatever shameful things [our] hearts desired."  And this is indeed what we see in our world.  Even animals understand sexual identity, but humans have abandoned the natural order of things.  What should be common sense has become ridiculous to us.  We think we can redefine male and female and God's design for human intimacy.  And people think they are heroic and wise when they follow these crazy ideas.  But who is really wise?  God or people?

Sin Infects All Humanity
Throughout history, there have been self-righteous people who believe everyone else but them is guilty.  Paul started out life that way.  He thought because his was a Jew who strictly follow the Law, he was safe.  But Jesus knocked him on his butt and made him realize he was a fool and a sinner as much as anyone else.  And God tells us this in the Bible.

Romans 3:10-18, 23
“No one is righteous—not even one.  11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God.  12 All have turned away; all have become useless.  No one does good, not a single one.”  13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.  Their tongues are filled with lies.”  “Snake venom drips from their lips.”  14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”  15 “They rush to commit murder.  16 Destruction and misery always follow them.  17 They don’t know where to find peace.”18 “They have no fear of God at all.” 

And Romans 3:23 sums it all up: “23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

Wow!  That's pretty harsh!  No one likes a preacher to tell them how sinful they are, but it's the only way to help people see how desperately we need Jesus to save us.  Unless you're facing some terrible crisis, you may not feel like you need to be saved.  Romans helps open our spiritual eyes to see that (figuratively) the walls are on fire around us and we're trapped and Jesus is our only hope!

The Truth of the Human condition according to The Word of God is pretty dark.  And when we are tempted to excuse ourselves, the news from around the world condemns us.  How many times have you heard the most awful stories of human depravity?  We hear the stories of the awful things people do—often people we thought were good, admirable people—and then we find out despicable things they've done when they thought no one was watching.

And if we try to say, “Well, I’m not like that!”  A small voice in our own conscious convicts us.  "Yes you are."  If we’re honest, we know there is darkness in us too. Even if we haven’t acted upon it, there is evil in our hearts.  And God’s standards are holiness and perfection.  He made us perfect.  But we are far from perfect now.  And so we know God’s Word is true in Romans 3:23.  “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

That's the bad news.  But grace is the good news we find in Romans 6:23.

Romans 6:23
23 
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is why we need to be saved.  We have all sinned.  We all deserve death.  And that’s where Grace comes in.  Grace is God’s free gift of divine help, even though we don’t deserve it.  We deserve death, but instead, God gives us the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.   

Eternal life is more than just living forever.  You see, if you live forever in a broken world where there is still evil and darkness and suffering, well that's no blessing; that's a curse.  The eternal life we have in Jesus is absolute fulfillment.   It’s what we’re made for.  In Genesis, eternal life is described as the Garden of Eden that's a paradise where everything was good to eat and where Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony with each other and God.  They were completely naked but felt no shame or vulnerability.  They had nothing to hide and felt completely safe.

Isaiah 11:6 says: “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.”  Revelation 21:4 says God will “wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

Those who reject God’s free gift of grace will be cast into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  But those who accept God’s gracious salvation through Jesus Christ will have eternal life.

And that’s where the third word comes in—Believe.

Romans 10:9
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Believe in Jesus Christ.
Believe that He is Lord and don’t hide it.  
Declare it openly.  Live out your belief.
Believe that God raised Jesus from the dead.
Believe it, not just as an idea, but as the Truth that guides your whole life—everything you do.

Declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.  And you will be saved.

Let me pray for you.
“Lord, I pray for everyone reading this today. 
Lord I pray You will guide them to search their hearts right now.
Lord I ask You to show everyone they desperately need to be saved.
We are all in danger of death—spiritual death, eternal death.
Help us to see how much You love us—unconditionally, completely, perfectly.
Help us all to see that You want to save us, and will save us if we believe.
Help everyone today to claim Jesus as our Lord—
to declare in everyway possible to the world that Jesus is our Lord.
Help us to truly believe in our hearts that You raised Jesus from the dead
and that You will raise us to eternal life because of our faith in Him.
Thank You, Lord, for saving us today. Amen.”

Monday, November 28, 2022

Choose Your True Identity

Introduction
It's the time of year when many people put out Christmas decorations.  Christmas decorations often have deep symbolic meaning--whether they are traditional meanings or meanings specific to your family.  Do you have any ornaments that hold special meanings for you?  Maybe it's something your child or grandchild made for you and your cherish.  Often we forget the traditional meanings of ornaments like stars and lights and angels and only choose to decorate with them because we like the way they look.  It might be helpful to recall why we use those special symbols at Christmas and what they have to do with the original Christmas story or traditions that grew over the last 2000 years since Jesus was born.

Each of us as individuals have a purpose too, but sometimes we forget why God made us.  This series of blogs in meant to rediscovery our purpose as Methodist Christians.  Last week, we learned about God’s prevenient grace that works to help us before we are even know about Him or have any thoughts about God.  

Grace is God’s undeserved, unearned divine help. Prevenient grace is the divine assistance of God that works ahead on our behalf before we even think about God.  Today, I want to talk about God's justifying grace.

Ephesians 2:8-10
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.


Justifying Grace
This passage says you are saved by grace when you believe.  We need to be saved, because we have all sinned and turned away from God.  We don't deserve to exist because we've denied our reason for existing.  But God is gracious.  He doesn't turn away from us even though we've turned away from Him.  Instead, He works to save us.  His saving grace becomes active in our lives when we believe.

Now, the belief that activates God's saving grace is not just an intellectual agreement.  It's active belief.  You can believe your mother-in-laws Thanksgiving turkey is safe to eat, but your don't really believe unless you're willing to eat it!  The kind of belief in Christ that saves us is a belief that causes us to listen to, obey, and follow Christ.

All Christians believe in God’s grace.  Methodism has a distinctively wholistic approach to grace.  We believe God's grace helps us before we are aware of Him.  But we also believe that you can't coast along on God's prevenient grace forever.  At some point, you must make a personal choice to turn away from your sin to God in order to experience God's saving grace. (There is also another grace to that helps us after we make our choice and saved, but we'll get to that in a later blog post.)

·       When you put your trust in Jesus, you are justified.  To be justified means your wrong actions are excused.  I once shot my little sister in the foot with a BB gun when we were kids.  My actions were not justified, even though she was being a pest.  But there may be other times you could think of when wrong actions could justified.  Suppose you were being attacked by a murderer and your life was in danger.  You might be justified to kill that murderer in self defense.

There is no justification for turning away from God though.  We were made by God for a loving relationship with Him.  It's why we exist.  But people have turned away form God and abandoned their reason for being.  There is no justification for it.  Isaiah 29:16 says, "He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”?"  And Isaiah 53:6 says, "All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all."

Methodists teach the justifying grace of God.  Justifying Grace is the undeserved divine assistance of God makes us innocent.  God prevenient grace works to draw you to Him.  Gives you the wisdom to see you need God and enables you to choose God.  But you still have to choose.  When you choose, God justifies you with His justifying grace.

Other denominations also teach justification too, but John Wesley and early Methodists were at there at the very beginning, driving the Protestant Christian rediscovery of the essential need for people to be “Born Again.”  Jesus taught us the essential need to be born again.  He said in John 3:3, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  Unfortunately, Christians over the centuries grew complacent.  They were mist often born into Christian families in Christian communities and went to church all their lives.  Most people never knew a time in their lives when they weren't thought of a "Christian".  

But John Welsey and the Methodist and other evangelical Christians rediscovered the truth of what Jesus said, "You must be born again".  Let me share what it means to be born again? You are born physically once.  God’s prevenient grace (often signified through infant baptism) works to mature you until you ecognize you need of God saving grace.  Eventually, you believe, you trust, and you declare your allegiance to Christ.  At that moment, you are justified and you are born again,  You become a new person (a new creation).  It may not be an immediate change, but it is a new birth.  And over time, you will grow from a new baby Christian to a more mature Christian if you cooperate with God's Holy Spirit and follow Christ.

Closing
Have you been born again? Here are some signs:

  1. Do you really believe and trust Jesus? If You’re born again, you really will believe in and trust Jesus Christ.
  2. Are you fruity? If you’re born again, you’ll start seeing the fruit of God’s Spirit growing in your life (Gal. 522-23) – “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
  3. Is your life changing for the better? If you are born again, you’ll start to change for the better. You’ll no longer want to live in sin. You’ll want to do the right thing even is you still often fail. And when you sin, it will bother you.
  4. Do you love your neighbor as yourself? You will start to love your neighbor. (And remember, love is not a feeling. It’s a doing…)
Jesus said, “You cannot see the Kingdom of God unless you are born again.”  Have you really been born again?  I challenge you to examine your heart about this matter right now.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Remember Who You Are

Introduction
I love all my children.  It’s fascinating to me to see picture of them all as babies and compare them to pictures of my me and my wife when we were babies.  Can you tell who is who? (left to right, top to bottom:  Kelly, Grace, Chris, Gavin, Abigail)

We had another child before Abigail was born—in between Grace and Abilgail.  Kelly was about 7 or 8 weeks pregnant.  We had already heard the heartbeat at a doctor’s visit.  We went for another doctor’s visit and were excitedly anticipating hearing the heartbeat again; but unfortunately, there was no heartbeat.  The baby had expired.  We never got to meet that child, but we do keep a picture ornament of the sonogram on our Christmas tree.  One day, when we go Home to be with the Lord, I believe that child will be there and we will get to meet it. 

I don’t know why things happen the way they do, but I trust God does.  One thing I know is that we really love Abigail (the last child we raised).  And we probably wouldn’t have had Abilgail if the little baby we lost had been born because we were planning to stop after three kids.

God knows it all and He has a plan and He even works tragedies out for our good when we love the Lord.  God knows us before we are even born.  And that’s what this message is about to day.  It’s about the prevenient grace of God that helps us, even before we realize it.

Jeremiah 1:4-8
The Lord gave me this message:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
    Before you were born I set you apart
    and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”

The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Grace
This passage is the call narrative of the prophet Jeremiah.  God called him to speak God’s Word to the people of Jerusalem, even as the Babylonians were gathering around their city, poised to destroy it and carry them off to captivity.  It was a tough appointment and Jeremiah didn’t feel qualified.  He was young and had “imposter’s syndrome”.  (Most people God calls for a special purpose don’t feel qualified.)

Jeremiah felt like God had chosen the wrong person.  “I think you got the wrong guy!  I’m not made for this!”  That’s a funny thing, when a creature tells it’s omniscient Creator they made a mistake.  God says, “It’s no mistake.  I made.  I designed you specifically for this task.  I gave you your own unique personality, your strengths and weaknesses, specifically for this purpose.  I didn’t make a mistake and I’m calling you to the task now.”

You have a purpose too.  God designed you for it.  And if you’re facing an identiy crisis, trying to remember who you are and why you are here, the best place to look for answers is the Creator who made you.

God tells us in His Word that He made us all.  And even though we turned away from Him and stayed from our purpose, God didn’t give up on us.  He sent His Son, Jesus, to atone for our sins and brings us back into a right relationship with Him—not because we deserve it, but because God is gracious and full of unconditional love.

I heard a joke this week.  A priest was talking to a group of kids about "being good" and going to heaven.  At the end of his talk, he asked, "Where do you want to go?"  "Heaven! Heaven!" Yelled Little Lisa.  "And what do you have to be to get there?" asked the priest.  "Dead!" Yelled Little Johnny.

That’s a funny joke, but it’s an example of a wrong way of thinking.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” 

All Christian denominations believe people are saved by God’s grace alone.  It’s not by being good enough.  We cannot earn our way to salvation.  You are only saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  This is true Christianity.

Each Christian denomination emphasizes different facets of the Christian faith.  One of the distinctive emphases of the Methodist tradition is our focus on God’s grace.  Not only does God’s grace save you for Heaven, God’s grace helps you in this life.  You see, it’s not just about heaven.  God wants us to live for Him in this life too.  In the Methodist tradition, we see that God grace encompasses ever part of life and we really focus on that.

God’s grace is His undeserved, unearned, Divine help.  Jeremiah 1:5 reminds us God’s gracious help starts before we are even born.  “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.   Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

 

Prevenient Grace
And this kind of grace is what Methodists call Prevenient Grace—grace that helps us before we even know it.  Prevenient grace is the grace of God that Goes before.  Prevenient grace forms us, nurtures us, and pulls us toward God.  It seeks to reveal God to our developing consciousness and woos us to turn to God for a relationship of mutual love.

Infant Baptism
Infant Baptism is one of the signs of God’s Prevenient Grace for Methodists (and many other denominations). I didn’t grow up as a Methodist.  I only ever attended Baptist churches as a child.  My perspective was limited to that tradition.  Baptists have a unique view of baptism.  They are call “Baptist” for a reason, because when they formed their sect in the 1600s, they believed Christians should only be baptized after they were old enough to understand and believe in Jesus.  Thus, Baptists practice “believers baptism”, and reject infant baptism.

When I was a Baptist, I thought every Christian practiced believer’s baptism (except maybe some strange heretical cults).  I didn’t understand how anyone could think baptizing a baby made sense; I mean, a baby doesn’t understand and can’t believe.  What I didn’t understand, given my limited perspective, is that the vast majority of Christians have practiced infant baptism as opposed to believer’s baptism.  In fact, it was mostly the very first generation of Christians who were baptized as adults, because they were adults when they starting following Jesus.  However, their children were baptized as infants because those early Christians wanted their children to be part of the church from the very beginning of their little lives.  And from that second generation onward, for 2,000 years in al parts of the world, Christians have baptized their infants.  Infant baptism is the norm.  Believer’s baptism is the innovation that has only been a limited part of the Church’s experience for a few hundred years.

Infant Baptism is a sign of God’s Prevenient Grace.  Christians baptize in obedience to Christ’s command to “…go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Some Christian denominations consider baptism and ordinance (something done primarily out of obedience).  Baptism is a sacrament to Methodists, because we believe it is a sacred moment when God piurs out His grace upon the child, the family, and the Church.  God gives us His divine help so the child may grow up in the faith with everything they need to one day accept faith in Jesus Christ for themselves.  When they do, they confirm their faith and the Baptism is complete.

Infant baptism is real baptism.  It’ not a christening.  I often hear people where I live in the Bible Belt who are more familiar with believer’s baptism say, “I was only christened as a child.  Now I’m an adult and I want to be baptized.”  This is a misunderstanding of what happened to you as a child.  If water was placed on your head in a Christian church, you were baptized, not just Christened.  “Christening” is technically the part of the Baptism where the child is given their Christian name.  The pastor asks, “What is this child’s name?”  The parents say the name and that is the christening.  If water is placed on the child, the child was fully baptized.  There is no need to be baptized again once the child grows into an adult.  Do you not think that God did it right the first time?

You see, through sacramental infant baptism, we trust that God is acting.  God’s actions are not dependent on whether we are old enough or understand enough.  It’s not even dependent on whether the pastor does the ceremony correctly.  God is not limited by our mistakes orlack of understanding.  This grace, prevenient grace.  God does His sacred work in Baptism regardless of our understanding or ability.  And this is a good thing, because no one ever has enough understanding or ability to earn God’s grace.  Infant baptism is the perfect sign of this truth.

Remember Your Baptism
The goal should be that our children always grow up surrounded by and knowing the loving presence of God.  I often hear people apologize, “You know, I never remember a time when I didn’t know God.  I wish I had a more dramatic testimony to give.”  Don’t apologize that’s good!  And that’s what we want for our kids too, isn’t it?  Who ever says, “I hope my kids grow up and spend frty years of their life living as an absolute scoundrel until the Holy Spirit gets ahold of them, shakes them, and they fall on their knees and turn to Jesus and become a Christian.”  No one hopes that for their kids.  We want our kids to start out in the loving embrace of God’s grace, surrounded by a family and a church that loves them unconditionally, and raises them with every possible advantage until the ay they accept faith in Christ for themselves. 

From time to time in a Methodist Church, you may have moments when we are asked to “Remember your Baptism.”  For some, that’s a challenge because you were infants when you were baptized; you can’t remember the ceremony.  That only reenforces the whole point.  Aren’t you thankful for your parents and the people of your church community who surrounded you with God’s love since before you could even remember it?  So remember them with loving fondness!  Remember what they promised on your behalf.  Remember that you are walking in their legacy and you have accepted their promises as your own.  We can remember them and be thankful.  We can remember God loved us before we even knew Him—before we were even formed in our mother’s womb—and be thankful. 

We can be thankful for the love of God that drew us toward Him throughout out our lives.  Some may not have had the benefit of a loving family or congregation. Some live a hard, hard life with every reason to stray away from God.  Yet these can be thankful for God’s prevenient grace too.  God has to work extra hard for those who were wounded or traumatized as a child.  But God never gives up, and His prevenient grace is always working to overcome the brokenness that blinds people to His love.  And even those who had it all and still turned their back on God, God does not abandon them either, even though they took their blessings for granted.  For God’s grace is great, greater even than our selfish sin

Have you ever been baptized?  If not, I encourage you to find a church where you can be baptized.  It is a beautiful sacrament and sign of God’s grace to you that you are part of God’s family, saved for eternal life with Him in glory. 

 

If you have been baptized, I encourage you today to remember your baptism and be thankful.  Here is a liturgy to help you remember:

 

THE BAPTISMAL COVENANT IV

This service is for use by a congregation when there are no candidates to be baptized, confirmed, or received into baptized or professing membership, especially on Easter, Pentecost, All Saints Day, and Baptism of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ:
Through the Sacrament of Baptism
we are initiated into Christ's holy Church.
We are incorporated into God's mighty acts of salvation
and given new birth through water and the Spirit.
All this is God's gift, offered to us without price.
Through the reaffirmation of our faith
we renew the covenant declared at our baptism,
acknowledge what God is doing for us,
and affirm our commitment to Christ's holy Church.

RENUNCIATION OF SIN AND PROFESSION OF FAITH

On behalf of the whole Church, I ask you:

Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness,
reject the evil powers of this world,
and repent of your sin?
I do.

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves?
I do.

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior,
put your whole trust in his grace,
and promise to serve him as your Lord,
in union with the Church which Christ has opened
to people of all ages, nations, and races?
I do.

According to the grace given to you,
will you remain faithful members of Christ's holy Church
and serve as Christ's representatives in the world?
I will.

Let us join together in professing the Christian faith

as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

Do you believe in God the Father?
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
[who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.]

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
[the holy catholic* church,                                
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.]

[*catholic means universal]
THANKSGIVING OVER THE WATER
The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray.

Eternal Father:
When nothing existed but chaos,
you swept across the dark waters
and brought forth light.
In the days of Noah
you saved those on the ark through water.
After the flood you set in the clouds a rainbow.
When you saw your people as slaves in Egypt,
you led them to freedom through the sea.
Their children you brought through the Jordan
to the land which you promised.

Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Tell of God's mercy each day.

In the fullness of time you sent Jesus,
nurtured in the water of a womb.
He was baptized by John and anointed by your Spirit.
He called his disciples
to share in the baptism of his death and resurrection
and to make disciples of all nations.

Declare Christ’s works to the nations,
his glory among all the people.

Pour out your Holy Spirit,

and by this gift of water call to our remembrance
the grace declared to us in our baptism.

For you have washed away our sins,
and you clothe us with righteousness throughout our lives,
that dying and rising with Christ
we may share in his final victory.

All praise to you, Eternal Father,
through your Son Jesus Christ,
who with you and the Holy Spirit
lives and reigns for ever. Amen.

REAFFIRMATION OF FAITH

When the congregation reaffirms the Baptismal Covenant, a deacon or pastor may invite the people to come to the water as the pastor says:

Remember your baptism and be thankful. Amen.

The Holy Spirit work within you,

that having been born through water and the Spirit,
you may live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Amen.

THANKSGIVING

Let us rejoice in the faithfulness of our covenant God.

We give thanks for all that God has already given us.
As members of the body of Christ
and in this congregation of The Methodist Church,
we will faithfully participate in the ministries of the Church
by our prayers, our presence, our gifts,
our service and our witness
that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

The God of all grace,

who has called us to eternal glory in Christ,
establish and strengthen you
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
that you may live in grace and peace.