Gospel Combustion

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This Sunday we will conclude our Sermon on the Mount series at NCC by considering the bedrock on which we’re building our lives. It is also the day when we showcase the conclusions that we have reached in the Sharpening Our Focus initiative. It’s an exciting time! In light of this, I find myself praying according to the following prayer. It comes from the pen of Pastor Scotty Smith. Would you join me in this prayer?

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Ps. 51:12

Dear Lord Jesus, knowing you is a personal but not a private affair. I may come before you alone, but I cannot remain alone. As soon as I bring my longings and needs before you, you enlarge my heart and expand my gaze to see the faces and hear the cries of others. Such is the way of the gospel.

Your words to Peter in John 21 echo in the chambers of my meditation. “Do you love me? Then feed and care for my lambs.” When you feed any one of us, it’s always for the benefit of all of us.

Thus, as I cry out today for a fresh gospel renewal in my own heart, I ask the same for a bevy of family members, friends, and colleagues. Everybody is hungry and everybody needs bread. Every one of us is like King David, with stories of failure and fear, brokenness and weakness, heartache and heart need. The details of our stories differ, but each of us needs you just as much as the other.

Lord Jesus, for your glory and the reinvigoration of our hearts, please restore to us the joy of your salvation. It’s your salvation, because we could never save ourselves. Like Jonah, we humbly cry from within our own hard places, “Salvation comes from the LORD” (Jon. 2:9). Bring us back to the joyful, childlike love we had for you at first, Jesus (Rev. 2:4)—a love totally generated in response to the undeserved, unparalleled, unwavering love you have for us (1 John 4:19).

For your joy is our strength, Lord Jesus—strength for repenting, strength for obeying, strength for hoping, strength for serving others, and above all, strength for adoring you, for you alone are worthy of our hearts’ attention, affection, and allegiance.

The only sacrifice we cling to is yours, Lord Jesus. Only your cross—only the gospel enables us to offer up a contrite heart free of all condemnation, and a broken spirit free of all self-contempt. Send your Spirit and free us in this very moment. Grant us humility and hope. Bring much glory to yourself as you bring fresh mercies to us.

Open our eyes to see more of your beauty and nearness today, Lord Jesus. Open our ears that we might hear you rejoicing over us with singing and the affection of an impassioned Bridegroom. Open our mouths that we might offer you the worship and adoration of which you are so worthy. Together we cry out, with hearts primed with anticipation, “Hallelujah, what a salvation! Hallelujah, what a Savior!” So very Amen we pray, in your most holy and loving name.

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