January 24, 2016
Pastor Paul Gilbert
Do You Have the Grace of God?
Ok, open your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 6. If you are a guest, you need to know that we walk through books of the Bible here. We preach through books of the Bible. We’ve been working our way through 2 Corinthians here now for a number of months and we will continue through to the end of the school year. If you are a guest, we’d love to capture your visit. There is a big area outside with a sign that says “GUESTS”. Stop there. We have a gift we would love to give you. Again, the Connect Breakfast that Pastor Dave mentioned is happening next Sunday, first service, in Gallery 14. It is a great chance to find out more about church. Now, enough of that and into God’s word.
2 Corinthians 6:1-13, let me read this for us then we will dive in.
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. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
We have spoken freely to you,a Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.
Lets pray. Lord, this is a heavy passage. It is a hopeful passage, but it is a heavy passage. We can’t get to hope until we go through heavy so I pray that you would give us the grace to hear it and absorb it and receive it. As we are hearing the hard words of your Word, help us to recognize they are your gracious words. They are your life-giving words. They are your words full of hope. So Lord, give us ears to hear as we dive into your word this morning. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Let me ask you have you ever put your heart, mind and soul into something. I mean, just laid it on the line? You labored, you powered your way through, you invested your time, money, energy, but it all came for naught? Ever had one of those times? Well, a couple stories.
Three college students a number of years ago from the University of Tennessee (as you hear this story, it will not surprise you where these men grew up, ok?) Three students from the University of Tennessee decided to road trip to Gainesville, the armpit of the south, for the UT/Florida game. They made their plans, they secured their accommodations, they packed their bags. It is only 10-12 hours from Knoxville to Gainesville on 75, a day trip, but of course, when you are in college and you are road tripping, you have to have at least four or five days for these things, everybody understands this, right? These guys headed out and they were loaded for bear. Is this going to be the year the Vols beat the Gators in the sewer? So they made it all the way to hog-town the day before the game, flags flying, only to realize the game had been cancelled. See, this was the week after 9/11 and everyone in the country knew that every sporting event in the country had been cancelled except these three geniuses. They had no idea and when the paper interviewed them (they obviously didn’t read the newspaper and even if they wanted to read the newspaper they couldn’t because they, undoubtedly, couldn’t read) they said, we just listened to music all the way down for five days and listened to cds and we didn’t know what was going on. So they got up and they went to the stadium to find out it was cancelled and there was this picture of them on the cover of USA Today or something, and there are these three guys, sitting in the swamp, all alone on a Saturday. Leave it to UT students to pull something like that, right? Twelve hours of driving, gas, food, all that. All for naught. All in vain.
As inconvenient as that was, this is a true heartbreaker. A man named Hiroo Onoda served in the Japanese army in World War 2. He was assigned to the Philippines in a reconnaissance unit, which means guerilla warfare. He was living in the jungle, doing reconnaissance missions, trying to disrupt the backlines of communication among the American forces and he was there, and the war ended in August of 1945, but apparently, this soldier didn’t get the word. He continues to hide out. He continues to be and hiding behind the scenes. Finally, the Japanese government realizes, we got a problem. Dude still thinks we are at war! So they went over to the Philippines, they drop the leaflets that say, “Hey! Come on Home! You’re mission is accomplished!” and all that sort of stuff. He didn’t believe it. He thought it was Allied propaganda so he just goes deeper into hiding. Living in the jungle, doing what he had been doing for, wait for it, how much longer? 30 years. 30 years! He went dark, incognito, until finally, the Japanese government found his commanding officer from 30 years before who was now, interestingly, a book seller. This commanding officer flew to the Philippines to track this man down and said “You are relived of your duties. Job well done. You can go home.” 30 years. Now, heart felt and well intentioned as it was, his sacrifice was all for naught. We would say it was in vain.
That, in a sense, I think, is Paul’s central concern in this passage. The church in Corinth was Paul’s baby. We all know this. He planted this church. He lived there eighteen months. Blood, sweat and tears. Four letters. Multiple visits. Prayers, tears, sent emissaries, helpers, messengers. But Paul is at a point with the church at Corinth where there is the very real possibility that all of that labor and all of that ministry and all of that spiritual work is about to be for naught. It is about to go up in smoke. Paul’s ministry was being discredited by these “super-apostles”. He had labored. He had built something, and he left and these super apostles came in and they began telling lies about him and distortions and putting down his ministry. As so often happens, it is painful, and you have to pull the knife out of your back. The Corinthians followed these super-apostles and they began believing their false teaching and their false gospel to such an extent, Paul says, that they were in danger of receiving the grace of God in vain. All for naught.
The greatest tragedy that we can experience in our human lives is not showing up for a game that isn’t going to happen, and it isn’t even spending 30 years in a jungle for a cause that no longer exists, as tragic as those things are. Four Oaks, listen to me. The greatest tragedy that we can experience in this life, is that we would taste the blessings of God, we would be exposed to His Word, that we would hear the gospel, that we would be in fellowship, we might even be in church, we might even be a leader in the church, but yet, fall away because our hearts had remained impervious to the gospel. Our hearts had remained hardened against the love of Christ and maybe everything in our life externally may say something different, but in our heart of hearts the love of God, the truth of Christ, the good news of Jesus had failed to take root. It had failed to change us. Because of that, we just walked away. In a sense, that is Paul’s concern for the church in Corinth, and, I would maintain, that is God’s concern for us today.
Here is where we are going in our few minutes here together. I want to ask and answer three questions that I think emerge from the text about this idea. I prayed, and I’ve already told you this, this is going to be a heavy sermon. It is going to be hopeful, but you have to go through heavy to get to hopeful. Here are the three questions we want to ask. 1) What do we mean exactly that we can receive the grace of God in vain? What does that even mean? That sounds scary. That sounds like lose your salvation territory. What does that mean? 2) What gift has God given us to protect our souls from that kind of spiritual tragedy? In other words, how does God keep us in his grace? 3) How do we apply and put into operation, this gift? How do we put that into motion?
Those are our three questions. Everybody with it? Got it? Even if you don’t got it, just says “Got it”. I will pretend that you got it.
Number one. What does it mean to receive the grace of God in vain? Guys if you have been with us in 2 Corinthians, you know enough of Paul by now to know that Paul does not tip toe around anything does he? If you are a single guy, Paul is kind of like your grandmother. Here is what I mean. You are a single guy and you go to Grandma’s house for lunch. Before you even get out of your car, before you even step into her kitchen she peppers you with questions, right? It is always about “Who are you dating”, “Why aren’t you dating?”, “If you are dating, why aren’t you marrying?”, If you are married, why aren’t you having kids?” That is Paul. Paul has no guile. Paul does not beat around the bush, he gets right to the heart of it and here is his heart and here is his central concern, not just in this text, but I would say it is his central concern in this book. It is why he has written this book. It is why he goes to such great lengths to defend his ministry, not for his own sake, but because of their souls. So here is his central concern, we find it in verse 1, Paul says “We appeal to you to not receive the grace of God in vain.” That is his concern and if it is a concern of Paul’s, it needs to be a concern of ours. This word vain means empty or hollow or without effect. To do something without no tangible result or anything t show for it. Literally in the Greek it means “to come away from something empty handed” So, is it too late to use some Christmas illustrations? Even if it is, guess what? I’m doing it. I’m going there.
Polar Express, that kid, and I don’t mean the annoying kid. The nerd, that kid is awesome, not that kid. The main character kid, he gets Santa’s bell, and where does he tuck away Santa’s bell? Parents, you know this answer. My kids know the answer, they are just too embarrassed to say it. He tucks it in his robe. His little bathrobe in his little pocket. He gets home, and what does he realize? It’s gone. There is a hole in his pocket. We would absolutely say he is empty handed. He has nothing to show for this trip to the North Pole and meeting Santa. That is Paul’s deep burden here. That after being exposed to the grace of God, the teaching of God’s Word, the benefits of his blessing, the graces of being in his community, that the Corinthian church is in danger of walking away empty handed.
We are going to find out in a couple of weeks what a lot of that was about. See, the Corinthian church, on many levels, while they professed Christ with their mouth, fundamentally, there was nothing in their lives, for some of them, that really changed. They talked a good game and thought of themselves as spiritual, but they were flirting with sin and cozying up to idols. In fact, look what Paul says. I think we will get to this in next week or in two weeks. 2 Corinthians [6:15b-16a]
“What portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God”
In other words, hey, this profession of Christ its some sort of status symbol, but it fundamentally doesn’t make any claim on my life. It doesn’t make any claim on what I do. There is nothing really to distinguish what I was doing before to what I am doing now. You see, it is possible, for someone to make a profession of faith, and to get baptized, and to be a part of a church, maybe even be a leader of the church and yet demonstrate (listen closely) by their hardened heart and their refusal to repent, that they may in fact have never understood and embraced the gospel at all.
Now, going back to last week, we aren’t talking about losing your salvation. That isn’t what we are talking about here. We are talking about people who may have never been saved to begin with. Maybe their life showed fruit for a season. Maybe they benefitted from being a part of the community. Maybe they knew verses. Maybe they sat in churches just like this, but somewhere along the way their hearts grew hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. That is who Paul is talking to right now. It says he appeals to them. Look back to verse 1. “We appeal to you.” That word appeal can kind of sound like stuffy or academic or sterile like “I’m going to make a petition! I make a petition Corinthian church that you be better!” No no no. The word appeal means to entreat or to make an emotional plea. If you are still reading from the King James Version, God bless you, what does it say? “I beseech you” I am pleading with you. This is why, at the end of this letter 2 Corinthians 13: 5, here is what Paul says, “Test yourselves to see that you are in the faith” Ask yourselves Corinthian church. We don’t want you to receive the grace of God in vain."
Dr. John Piper used to pastor Bethlehem Baptist Church and now he is 70 years old. Is that even feasible and possible? But, it is true. He tells this story of a missionary that Bethlehem Baptist supported that was on the field and it was a woman who was caught up in an illicit affair. So caught up that she refused to hear anything else. She sort of steeled her resolve and hardened her heart and thought “This is what I’m going to do! I’m going to leave my family. I’m going to leave my husband. I’m going to be with this other person.” So, she left. She came stateside. She agreed she was going to meet with Dr. Piper and as they kind of unpacked this situation and John Piper is narrating this, John Piper really felt compelled to tell her “You know, I can’t make an ultimate judgment of your heart” And, by the way, Paul isn’t making an ultimate judgment of their hearts. I’m not making ultimate judgment of your hearts, but that is not the point. He said “I’m not making an ultimate judgment, but I’ve got to warn you. I can’t give you any assurance of your salvation if you were to persist in a hardened heart with a fist raised toward God.” He wasn’t telling her that she could lose her salvation. Here is what he was saying that by your hardened heart and your imperviousness to the gospel, you might be indicating something about the true nature of your heart, so be warned! Be careful!
He says she was incredibly offended and could not believe that someone would speak to her this way. After all, she had her grace card, right? I’m loved and forgiven and I can do what I want to do! Yet, she looked back on that time, because she later turned and repented and she said the singular moment that was the most impactful for her, what do you think it was? It was that moment because he had warned her that she was about to receive the grace of God in vain. In fact, that warning was a grace. Four Oaks, I mean this in the most gracious and loving and pastoral way possible, are any of us in here in danger of receiving the grace of God in vain?
Students, let me say something to you, whether you are a high school student, middle school student, college age student. Maybe you are doing the whole I’m going to do my own thing at this point in my life. I’ve got lots of freedoms and things I want to enjoy. Plenty of time for God later in my life after I’ve done what I want to do. That was me, by the way. For those of you who are familiar with my testimony, I was born and bred in the church, profession of faith, the catechisms, scripture memory, the sword drills, and you know, I was lost as lost could be. Deceived, but lost. My heart had grown hardened because of the deceitfulness of sin and in his grace. God saved me my sophomore year of college when I was truly exposed to my need for his grace.
So Paul here, look at verse 2 “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”
If you are sitting there and you’re like Pastor Paul, you have no idea. My heart is full of stuff. My life is full of stuff. I have raised the fist at God and I’m doing what I want to do and I’m going off doing what I want to do and my heart has been unchanged. Here is what Paul is saying that God says, there’s hope. There’s hope! Today. Today! Not tomorrow. Not when you have your quiet times. Not whenever you stop doing whatever it is that you’re doing. There is hope today. Today is the day of salvation. Turn to him. Confess your sins. Acknowledge where you have screwed up. Repent. Turn to Christ! Don’t receive the grace of God in vain. You might say, “Pastor Paul, you are trying to scare us.” You know what I would say? “Yup. Absolutely.” A holy scare. A gospel scare, ok? Not a worldly sorrow that leads to death, but a godly sorry that leads to repentance. That was just the first question. We’ve got two more.
Ok, second question. What gift has God given us and given you and given me to protect us from receiving his grace in vain? Does that make sense? That is the warning but God gives us grace that that will not happen. We are asking “How does that not happen?” What are the means of grace he has given us? A lot of times we think our fight to live in the grace of God is something that involves two principle players, us and God. Even now, as maybe this word is landing on your heart or maybe this word is convicting you of something and you’re like I’ve got to pull that together. I’ve got to do better this week. Whatever that thing is. Maybe you are someone who when things get hard you pray. (that is good, don’t stop that) When you are tempted you read God’s Word.(again, come on, do it) When you struggle you may get up and meditate on the promises of God or you may open up the prayer app on your iPhone. Awesome. Keep up doing all those things. However, it is a deception to think that there are only 2 principle players that God uses to sustain your spiritual life and to keep you from receiving his grace in vain. Again, look back at verse one. There is so much here. In verse one Paul says that me and my compadres, we are working together with God for your soul. That is an amazing thing if you think about it for a second. The word Paul uses is “Synergountes” in the Greek. It is obviously the word from which we get the word “synergy”, right? To work together, to cooperate in something. Paul is saying something really important and this is so crucial for us. The reality is that there are not two principle players in your spiritual life, and if there are, that is, can I gently say, that is a dangerous place to be. Paul says there are actually 3 players in your fight for faith. There is God, there is you, and there are the people that God synergizes with to bring care to your soul. When we think about that, the grace of God, which Paul does not want us to receive in vain, Paul says it comes in part through whom? Other people. There are so many profound ways.
The extent to which we cut ourselves off form meaningful Christian relationship and engagement, that is the extent that we cut ourselves off from God’s grace. You can’t have Christ without his people. You can’t have Christ without relationship. You can’t have Christ without his local church. There is a story, you may have heard of it. Chris McCandless made famous by the movie Into the Wild, was a 24 year old honors student graduate from a wealthy Virginia family. Chris McCandless had had enough of people telling him what to do and when to do it, where to go, what laws to obey, so he just cut ties with all of his family, donated his 24,000 in savings to charity and travelled westward. He decided he was going to go at it alone. No more shackles. No more responsibility. No more culture and capitalism and convention. He was ready to be free. His journey brought him to Alaska where he hiked alone up into the wilderness. He found an abandoned bus to live in and he survived about 100 days living off the land. When his body was found by authorities, he weighed 67 pounds. The Alaska State Coroners listed starvation as his official cause of death. I warn you, if you go online and google this, you will get the craziest of the crazies. This guy is like a folk legend. There is all sorts of controversy. Some think he’s awesome, he’s great, he just “did”, he was true to himself, then there are the people from Alaska and what do they think? He’s stupid, arrogant, spoiled. He starved to death! No, he was eating off the land and poisoned himself. All those controversies are completely irrelevant because they miss the point. They don’t get to the heart of why he left. The root of this young man’s flight and his death was simply this: he thought he was better alone. Whatever the reasons, he just thought he was better and in this, he was deceived because it led to his physical death.
Four Oaks, do you see here that this is a spiritual parable for our lives? Regardless of why you think it is better for you to be alone, there might be on one level good reasons: I’m embarrassed, I’m ashamed, No one would understand, I’ve been judged, I’ve been pushed aside, It is scandal, If anyone finds out I will lose my job or my marriage. Whatever it is, and I don’t know what those reasons are, they almost don’t matter. They matter, but when you get right down to the root of it, you have bought into the deception that you are just better alone. This is something I have to do deal with just me and God. Paul, if he were here, I firmly believe he would tell us, “Oh be careful, Christian! Be careful that you do not receive the grace of God in vain!”
Four Oaks, do you and I pursue Christian communities and Christian relationships as if our spiritual lives depended on it? Do we? Do you? Sometimes I have to confess, I don’t. But, guess what? They do. Our spiritual lives depend on it. Application 101, here is a basic question, do you have a venue right now outside of Sunday morning and the hour and twenty minutes that we spend together, where you have any type of significant, personal, Christian relationship and engagement? Husbands, talking one time a month with your wife about your quiet times does not count. That does not count at all. We have something that can help you. You might have heard of it. They are called fellowship groups. Fellowship groups are not the end all be all. They are not going to fix all your problems or eradicate all of your sins, but you know what I have found in all my time of nineteen years here at Four Oaks? Fellowship groups are not the only places that have meaningful Christian relationships, but it is rare, I have found, for someone who is not in a fellowship group, to have any other significant relationships in the body of Christ. It is rare. It’s rare. I think we have to come to terms with the fact that oftentimes, we don’t have anywhere near the urgency that Paul has when he says “today is the day”. Today is the day! We are working together with God for your soul. That grace comes to us through relationships. When you are a part of a fellowship group, its not about those two hours. It is about a template, a pattern, that it sets for the whole course of your life and relationships. You may say “Pastor Paul, I’m just not a small group person.” I know you! I really know you. You know what I would say? “Tough.” Get over your phobias and neuroses or whatever, ok? Guys, you need the body of Christ!
Maybe this pertains particularly to men and why we have hard time with all this. I was out sick this week and I’ve come to church this week and realized, either the whole fellowship group infected me or I infected our whole fellowship group. I think they infected me, but nonetheless, I am just sick. Sick, vomiting, it is terrible. I am one of those guys that when Susan says “You need to go to the doctor” I say “I’m ok. I don’t feel like it.” Now, just think about that. I’m ok. I don’t feel like it. Then she says “No. You really need to go to the doctor.” I say “I’m not going to go.” She says “Your going.” I say “I’m not going to go.” So finally, I went because I didn’t have the strength to fight anymore and so we decide we’re going. She gets me in the car, hauls me there, and the doctor comes in, “How are you doing?” I kid you not, I said “I’m fine.” It makes no sense. Logically, it does not. I actually said something like “I’m a little sick, meh, but I’m ok.” Susan is like “He threw up all the way over here.” It is interesting that once I told the doctor how I was feeling, they had this cool thing, have you heard of it? It’s called medicine. They gave me a shot of it and I was like WOW! THIS IS GREAT! My pride in not wanting to admit my need short-circuited the help that I should have gotten. This is a perfect parable for us in the church. We are too prideful to admit our need and let’s be honest, when we get in a fellowship or a men’s study and we start talking about our life and what is going on, it is just embarrassing, right? Its just humbling. We short-circuit God’s grace. Here is the paradox. We need God’s grace to keep us in God’s grace. We need God’s grace so that we will not receive his grace in vain. Third question and we are done. What kinds of relationships? What sort of relationships can we run towards here at Four Oaks that we may not receive his grace in vain. Look at verse 3 [and 4]. Paul says
“We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way”
What is Paul talking about? Here is the deal. Paul wanted to relate to the Corinthians in such a way that he got out of the way so they could wrestle with God and his truth and not with Paul. Does that make sense? It doesn’t do Paul any good or us any good to situate ourselves as the principle actor and character and star in our relationship with other people because people don’t ultimately need more of you. As awesome as I’m sure you are, they need more of God. Paul says I’m just the conduit. I am just the means. I just want to minister and serve so I want to do everything I can to remove any human obstacle because the gospel in God’s truth is offensive enough, right? I don’t want to get in the way of that. That is why he sort of unpacks all the different ways that he is relating to them and the people in his ministry. As Pastor Dave mentioned, we had our Elders retreat this weekend. Thank you guys for praying for us. Next Sunday we will do Vision Sunday where we will talk an update of what is going on in the life of the church, the forecast, and some of the things we’ve talked about as Elders. We talked about this issue. We really spurred and charged each other relationally to pursue these kinds of relationships. Men, once again, we need to hear this, because guys can get together and eat tacos and watch the AFC Championship and watch the Broncos try to stem the tide of the evil empire, The Pats, today. Guys can eat tacos, watch football, not say a word and what do we call that? Fellowship. That is hanging out and it is fun and bring your cold beverage, but that is not fellowship. Fellowship, the kinds of relationships that Paul is talking about, are ones that extend grace and that make Christ the main focus. When we strengthen each other’s hand in God when we remind each other of the promises of God. We are sharing something incredibly profound at the most basic level and that is Jesus. That is what Paul is talking about because what else would compel him to endure what he has endured? Look at verse [4 and} 5 for a second. He says we have endured and had great endurance through
“afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger”
And we think, my word Pastor Paul! You are asking a lot of us in these relationships. Guys, most of you wont’ have to do that or bear that for someone. You might, but most of you won’t. You know what? When we endure with people, when we are patient with them, when Susan and I think about people who have endured with us, who have journeyed with us, who have labored with us, who have been steadfast with us, they have ministered with the grace of Christ. That is what Paul is talking about.
Paul is trustworthy. Look at verse 6 where he kind of pours out this litany of character qualities. He says, we were pure and had
“purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7by truthful speech”
Once again, Paul is saying, I want to walk in integrity as much as I can. I don’t want to be a stumbling block in your spiritual life. He wanted to get out of the way so God could do his thing.
I want to say one more thing and then we will close. Are these the kinds of relationships that you and I are running hard after? Are they? Because I would maintain, and Paul would maintain, they are a means of grace that God gives us to keep us in his grace, so that we don’t receive his grace in vain, but here is one twist on that. Paul says something profound here in verse 11. These aren’t just the kind of relationships that we need to seek after, they are the kinds of people we need to be. Verse 11 he says
“We have spoken freely to you,a Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return… widen your hearts also.”
He is saying, Corinthians, this is a reciprocal process. Relationships with God’s people, please hear this Four Oaks, are not commodities meant to be consumed. They are not benefits we accrue as if we were shopping at Publix and dumping stuff in our cart and going along our way. Paul envisions life in the local church, life in community, life in relationships as something where we are extending the grace of God to one another by commending ourselves to the Lord and by working with him to sustain each other in grace. Are you engaged in that? You’re not just here because you need God’s grace through community, which you do and I do. You are here, have you thought about this, because others need that community as well. This local church needs you. That is why we talk so much about membership. Its not country club, its not voting privileges, its not legal entity, it is a spiritual reality where we commit to each other and to the Lord that we are going to do this stuff. We are going to worship together, pray together, be in community together, give together, serve together, and we need each other. We need each other in the bounds of this local church.
See, when we begin to view relationships in this way, we begin to understand that Paul was imitating Christ. This is the gospel on display. He pursued these Corinthians, he opened wide his heart, he beckoned to them, he pleaded to them. That is the position of Christ this morning. If you find yourself in a place where maybe your heart has grown hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, maybe you’re out of community. Maybe there are things going on in your life that no one knows about at all and if they did, you just fear the absolute worst. Christ beckons to us today. Turn to me. Come to me. All you who are heavy laden and weary in body and soul, I will give you rest. There is grace of God for the people of God today. When we come to the table, this is what we are doing. We are reminding ourselves to our commitment to Jesus and our commitment to one another. That is why Paul calls this a “koinónia” a fellowship. So today, I’m going to ask you, as our worship team comes back up, that you would ask God to move in your heart and not just prepare you to come to this table, but to speak to you through this word and how he is leading you or compelling you or convicting you or moving you forward to his grace through his people.