Ephesians 6:11-24
Ephesians 6:11-24
July 10, 2022 |
Sunday Morning
Ephesians 6:11-24
John C. Majors |
Ephesians 6:11-24
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Well, good morning Valley View. I’m uh, I’m hesitant to start into my message. I just feel like that was a pretty significant time of, of worship, of singing. Connecting. It feels abrupt to go right into some intro into Ephesians. So can we just pray together for a minute, for another minute? In fact, why don’t you just pray where you are for a minute, maybe pray with some people around you. Just pray that we would continue, just continue in a spirit of being aware of his presence, being overwhelmed with his presence, submitting to the Holy Spirit. Just pray, just- you can pray out loud. You can pray quietly, but let’s just pray for a minute. As you pray, just ask for God to help you submit to him. As I think through the book of Ephesians, ask him to- pray that you would- ask him to give you the wisdom to walk in your true identity of who you are in him. That’s chapter one, you are in him. Pray for that. Pray to know that. Pray for victory in the spiritual battle. Pray for the courage to stand firm.

Lord, we ask that we would just be aware of you here with us today. We know you’re with us. You promise you are always with us. You’ll never leave us or forsake us even to the end of the age, help us to realize that, to walk in that reality. Thank you for your word that guides us. Thank you that we’re not left to just guess and make it up as we go. Help us to faithfully represent, to accurately handle, the word of truth today. We love you Jesus. Amen.

All right. Let’s turn to the book of Ephesians. This is going to be our last message in the series on Ephesians. We’ve been working through Ephesians since February. Now, I know some of you thought “We didn’t know that the book of Ephesians could be so long. I thought it was just a few pages in my Bible.” Well, let me tell you, maybe I can work up to the great preacher Martin Lloyd Jones. Have you heard of Martin Lloyd Jones, the Welsh preacher? He went through the book of Ephesians in 248 sermons, okay, in the armor of God, which is what we’re covering today. Part two of the Armor of God, he spent 68 messages alone. So maybe next time I’ll work up to that. We’ll see if I can go a little more deeply, but Ephesians chapter six, we’re gonna wrap up the book in the second half of Ephesians. And the theme of this section that we’re looking at has been battle, spiritual battle.

We put on the armor of God for spiritual warfare. We prepare for spiritual warfare. And I know probably most everyone here, if you’re like me, when you think of battle, when you think of warfare, you think of chess, right? The game of chess? Doesn’t everyone? So I, I didn’t do well in football. So you would think, I, I didn’t even make it on the chess team in high school. Should have been. Instead. I did, um, target rifle, shooting practice. Here’s why I should have been on the chess team as well: ‘cause both allow you to eat chips during practice. To me, that’s a win. That’s a great sport. I can eat chips. I can probably sneak in some reading too. That’s a great sport for me, but chess -here’s the thing about chess. I like chess. And when I’ve taught my kids to play it, I’ve taught ’em one, one key tactic after you learn the basics, and that’s that if someone is putting you on the defensive, someone’s attacked you and now you’re scrambling, wondering “What am I gonna do? I’m about to lose a piece.” You can either retreat or you can look for another place on the board where you can attack them, put them under pressure, get that attention off of where they’ve been attacking you, divert attention. And you know, it’s a popular phrase that you’ve probably heard sometimes, “the best defense is a good offense.” Sometimes, if you’re under attack, to turn on the offense is one of the best ways to counter that attack. As we wrap up the book of Ephesians, Paul’s gonna make that case today that sometimes the best defense as you’re putting on spiritual armor, as you’re thinking about how do we stand firm,… sometimes the best defense is a good offense and he’s gonna point us to what that offense is. And so let’s look at the book of Ephesians and start by just reminding us what the theme of this section that we’re unpacking is, because he gave us one command. Look back at verse 13: “therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand firm, stand, therefore”- setting all this section up with a theme of stand. How do we stand firm?

So, we started out by just sitting in theology, understanding who we are in Christ, in him, in him, in him. Next it was, how do we walk in him? If we know who we are, how do we live that out? Now, sometimes we’re called as mature believers to take a stand, to stand firm. How do we do that? Well, he says, you put on the armor of God. You put on the full armor of God and it’s no coincidence, I don’t think, that this section is a military themed section. ‘Cause you think about the flow of what we’ve been talking about. We’ve been talking about relationships where there’s this level of submission and authority. We talked about marriage, we talked about parenting, we talked about work and what is the ultimate representation of that? Wouldn’t it be the military? Can you imagine a place that isn’t more hierarchical, where submission and authority isn’t more directly played out? I mean it’s yes, sir. No, sir. We need immediate obedience, unquestioning obedience, ‘cause these are life and death situations. We don’t have time to debate. I think of a couple of submarine movies I’ve seen over the years and they kind of all come together, because it’s the same basic storyline. Submarine’s under attack and sinks and lots of people die. So it all kind of mixes together. But there’s this one scene in one of those movies where there’s a leak in the engine room and the commanding officer says to one of the guy go right now, take care of it. And they both know what that means. They both know that guy’s not coming back, but they both know that it is unquestioning. That he must go now without a doubt. And if he doesn’t the whole sub sinks. It does anyway. But he doesn’t know that. Unquestioning authority in this moment. Go. So this military metaphor sets us up for- listen, if you want victory in spiritual warfare, submit to God, come under his authority, follow him. James 4:7 is one verse we’ve talked about. That’s what it says. Real clearly. Submit to God, resist the devil, he’ll flee. You can have victory. You can experience victory. Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee. So it’s a powerful metaphor setting up the reality of how we enter into spiritual warfare.

Last week we looked at the first three elements, the first three pieces of armor. Let’s just re-cover those real quick. Verse 14: “stand, therefore having fastened on the belt of truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness, given by the gospel of peace.” So we had the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes for your feet, buckle your belt, zip up your Bulletproof vest, lace up your boots, get ready for warfare. This week we’re gonna look at these other three pieces of armor that follow on that. And then we’re gonna wrap up the whole passage, the whole book. We’re gonna do this in three ways: So, we’ll look at the three pieces of armor. Second, we’ll look at the power of the armor. What is the power underneath the armor? It’s not just about the armor. And then we’ll talk about the purpose of the armor, which will point to the whole purpose of the book. Everything Paul’s been driving at, we’ll wrap it all up and bring it all together.

But first let’s start with those three pieces of armor. What are the three pieces of armor we see here? Let’s look at verse 16: “in all circumstances, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” So we have the shield, the helmet, the sword. Let’s just take a glance at what each of these– what we can learn from each of these pieces of armor. First, the shield of faith. You know, in ancient times there were different types of shields. There were different words for different types of shields. This shield, actually the word for this shield is the same word that the word for door comes from because it was about the size of a door. It’s about four and a half feet tall, four feet tall, two and a half feet wide. It was usually covered in leather and canvas. Trimmed out, made of wood trimmed out in metal. And usually that fabric that was covering it was soaked in water. It was, it was meant to be wet because, and if you’ve seen the beginning of the movie Gladiator, you’ve seen those huge shields and the guys line up together. It, it really creates a wall of protection. And when the flaming arrows that are shot at them hit it, they’re- they’re wet. So they don’t catch fire. Large shield. It would’ve been the largest piece of equipment a soldier would’ve used and, and the most important in terms of coming to protect themselves. So what does that mean for us? What is a large shield of faith for us?

Interestingly, if you look at Proverbs chapter 30, verse five, this is a helpful verse that I think of all the time, but you know, there’s plenty of armor imagery all throughout the Old Testament. If you find Psalms, that’s kind of in the middle of the Old Testament, kind of in the middle of your Bible, Proverbs chapter 30, this is a place where a shield is mentioned. There are a number of places where God is spoken of as a shield; not only him, but his word. Look at verse five, Proverbs 30 verse five: “every word of God proves true. He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” He’s a shield of those, to those, who take refuge in him. He is a protective covering to those who take refuge in him. He is a shield over us and it says he is the shield of faith. Put on the shield of faith. There’s a couple different ways to take that word faith. I think we often think of the faith, our belief system, but here it’s more of the action of faith. It’s more of the confidence knowing that God is gonna show up. So let that confidence in him, that shield of covering, knowing that he’s gonna show up, be a protection when attacks come. I can think back to a season I went through. This would’ve been in 2005 when I first started in seminary and some really debilitating sickness came over me and doctors couldn’t figure it out. At first, I couldn’t sleep at all. Then I couldn’t sleep enough. The world was always swirling. Couldn’t focus. That season I got through, it came again in another wave a few years later. And then again, a few years later. Still could never quite figure out exactly what was going on. But each of those waves, here was the narrative in my mind. Here’s what I kept coming back to. “Lord, I don’t know why you’re allowing this. I don’t like it at all. Neither does my family. My wife sure doesn’t. Puts extra strain on her. But here’s what I know. You’re- you’re using this. I’m trusting that you’re using this. I don’t know how, I have no idea. I wouldn’t choose this, but you’re good. You’re sovereign. I believe in you. I know you’re gonna work it for good. What are you gonna do through this Lord? How are you gonna use this to shape me and grow me?” That’s the shield of faith. You’re coming up under him and saying,” I’m submitting to you. Even through this awful thing I wouldn’t choose.” And I know I could go around to person after person of stuff you’ve encountered that’s way worse than that. And we’ve got a choice in that moment. What are we gonna believe? Will we come under the shield of faith? Part of the reason we need to do that is because the mind is a powerful thing. You know, the mind tends to believe, tends to believe whatever you tell it, uh, truth or lie. And so if you go around telling yourself, “Man, I’m the dumbest person ever”- well, first of all, let me just assure you, you are not. There are dumber people. I’ve met them. I promise, you’re not. It’s- it’s not true. But if you tell yourself that over and over again, guess what? You’ll believe it. And you might actually become… No, but you’ll believe it. Your mind will be convinced of it. And so if in that moment, when hard times hit – and by the way, the whole point of this passage is they will. Your problems don’t go away just because you follow Jesus. In fact, more might come. They will, of that you can be assured. Why else would he be saying, “Get ready for the battle?” Problems will come in that moment we pause and we say, “Lord, I have confidence in you.” In fact, I love the quote I’ve read before by Paul Tripp. He says, biblical hope, this biblical definition of hope, is a confident expectation of a guaranteed result, a confident expectation of a guaranteed result. We wanna come under that shield of faith.

Second here was the helmet of salvation. Take the helmet of salvation. This currently is the favored piece of armor in our home. Helmets are very popular in our home right now. In fact, likely saved our son’s life two months ago. Why is the helmet so critical? What is the importance of the helmet? It protects your brain. I mean, without the brain, there’s nothing else is working. That’s the center of everything functioning in your life. And what is the helmet of salvation? Why call it the helmet of salvation? Well, the word we’ve been using is dependent. In 2022, we wanna be hungry and dependent as a church. So we wanna put on the helmet of salvation, which means dependence on Christ. We’re not dependent on ourselves. We’re dependent on him in all that we do. In every effort we make to proclaim the word of God. This goes back to, what we said in Ephesians chapter one. In fact, if you marked up your Bible, I mean, if you like to, I hope you did chapter one. If you just marked those phrases, you can look back now and see “in him.” It’s like 11 times in him, in Christ, in him, in him. If you want to be more dependent on Christ, saturate your mind, soak your mind in that reality. Here’s who I am. When you’re tempted to think “I’m the dumbest person ever,” no, “here’s who I am in Christ.” Or whatever lie that gets shot at you. “Here’s who I am in him.” Put on that helmet of salvation.

Next is the sword of the Spirit. Verse 17, take the helmet of salvation. Take the sword of the Spirit. Just like there are different words for different types of shields, there are different words for different types of swords. This would’ve been more of like a dagger, something you would use at very close range, more like a pistol versus a rifle. This would be more the pistol equivalent of a sword, the small short sword, close combat, close range. And it says the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. Now I don’t know about you, but a verse I immediately thought of was Hebrews 4:12. Hebrews 4:12 is one of the memory verses we’ve had as a church. You may have memorized that as you were thinking about it, the word of God is living and active. So here we have the word of God living and active. Again, equated to sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The word of God is seen as a sword in Hebrews 4:12. What’s interesting though here is, this is a different word for word in this verse than the word for word in Hebrews 4:12. And when we think of that word of God, we also often think of the Bible. We would think of the actual printed words of God. This word tends- they can often be used interchangeably, but it tends to point toward the utterance of his word, the proclamation of his word. In fact, for us, we would think of it as gospel proclamation, which points to “the best defense is a good offense.” We want to-to be on the defense. Let’s proclaim the gospel. Let’s tell others about Christ, make the world known, help the world know who he is and what he’s done.

We’ve served as missionaries in- in Fiji for a season. Before we moved there, I had for a number of years traveled there to teach. And early on, I got to meet a guy who I’d heard abou. He serves kindly all over the south Pacific. His name’s Joe Fire. It’s a nickname, Joe Fire. And here’s the cool thing about the reason he’s called Joe Fire. He’s just on fire for the Lord. In fact, he makes it his mission. His goal is every day to share his faith with someone. Every single day. And he, no joke, sees hundreds and hundreds of people every year accept Christ. And so it was pretty exciting meeting him and, and also very intimidating. I mean, because, I’m immediately thinking I don’t, I don’t do that. You know, I -that’s a- man, that is a high standard, but here’s the cool part about Joe. He’s not, he’s not an intimidating person. He’s on fire for the Lord, but that burden to tell others about the gospel, it’s really softened him. It’s made him approachable. It’s made him humble. He’s not in your face. He just wants you to know Jesus. He just loves Jesus so much. And it’s softened him in a way that the offense, the offensive nature of being forthright with the gospel, has served as a protective layer for him. When it comes to spiritual warfare, beyond the offensive, share the sword of the Spirit, tell others about who Jesus is.

Now, here’s an important element to understand about the word of God, about the belt, the shield, the breast plate, all the armor of God. As I showed you in Proverbs, this isn’t the first place that the armor of God shows up in scripture. In fact, I wanna peek at a passage in Isaiah. It shows up in the old Testament in a number of different places. Shows up in extra biblical literature, a lot of different references, where the armor is shown to point to some of the dynamics of who God is, but look at Isaiah chapter 59 first. And if you have a church Bible, that’s on page 580. It’s on page 580. Isaiah’s- if you found Psalms and Proverbs, it’s just a little bit to the right of those. We’re gonna look at Isaiah 59 because this is a place that’s very similar to Ephesians six, in terms of the way the armor of God are presented. Look at verse 17, Isaiah 59. By the way, if you don’t have a Bible, we, we have free Bibles in the Connection Corner. Feel free to grab one of those. Any, any time- that’s a gift for you, but Isaiah 59 verse 17, it says, and look at the, look at the similarities here. He put on- what did he put on? Righteousness as a breastplate, a helmet of salvation. He put on garments of vengeance for clothing. He wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. Now notice the difference though, between Isaiah’s armor and the Ephesians armor. “According to their deeds, so he will repay. Wrath to his adversaries; repayment to his enemies. To the coastlands he will render repayment. So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west and his glory from the rising of the sun (verse 18).” There’s a big difference here in how the armor is utilized. In Isaiah God puts on the armor to bring judgment. In Ephesians we put on the armor for two reasons: for protection, protect us from the evil one, from the schemes of the devil, from the fiery darts. There’s protection, but also it’s for gospel proclamation. And the gospel we proclaim with the shoes of preparedness of the gospel of peace. Big contrast. So as you’re thinking about the armor of God, think of it in that reality.

So those are the three pieces of the armor of God wrapping up the section on the armor of God. But there’s an underlying reality about the pieces of the armor. The second thing we were gonna talk about is the power of the armor, or those are the pieces of the armor, but there’s an underlying reality to the power. What’s the power behind that armor? A sword doesn’t do anything by itself. None of that armor does anything by itself. So what’s the power behind that armor? Look back at Ephesians six because he tells us- look at verse 18, 19, 20- So after you’ve put on the armor, what’s the command? What’s the concluding command? Praying, praying “at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Also for me, Paul, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” In Little Rock, I worked out in a gym and there was a guy in there I’d often run into, Rick was his name. And he was a successful business owner. He had this company that would clean out the, all the vegetation around big power lines that run across the US. They’d worked all over the country, but he said he got a start with that-actually going back to Vietnam. He served in Vietnam. He was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, and he told me, you know, “the two things I always heard from guys when the battle heated up was,” he said, “the very first one was always mama. I want my mama. Where’s my mama?” And then the second was, “God. God help us. Where are you?”

When the battle heats up, we should turn to prayer. Prayer is gonna be the undergirding force behind the armor. In fact, it’s interesting. He doesn’t give prayer a piece of armor label like he does with all these other elements. It’s- it stands alone. It kind of undergirds. It stands beneath all the other armor. If you, and you can even imagine, you’ve seen the scenes, everyone gears up for the game and they stop and pray. You get dressed up for battle, pause and pray. You get ready for the big event. Let’s stop and pray. Pray is going- prayer is gonna undergird everything. He gives three ways to pray here. Look back at verse 18: “praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert and with all perseverance.” So pray in the Spirit, meaning don’t pray in your own strength. Pray in a way that acknowledges that God is at the center of all, that we are completely dependent on him. Second, keep alert, keep watch. Be mindful. Jesus criticized the disciples in the garden. “Couldn’t you stay awake just to pray for me in my most desperate hour?” “No, we really couldn’t.” Keep alert. Keep watchful, be on guard, be aware. Where are there prayer needs? What are things that we can be praying for? And then lastly, he says, persevere. In fact, the way he starts this whole section with verse 18, “praying at all times,” reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “pray at all times, pray without ceasing.” I did a study on that word and that word, it doesn’t mean that you’re- all you ever do is pray, that you never stop praying. It’s more like used in battle where when the attacks come, you’re ready to repulse the wave over and over again. The battle comes and you’re there. You’re ready. You continue to pray. You stay in the battle over and over again. You regather, you come again, over and over again, praying at all times. Persevere. Stay in it. And I know as I say that, I know there’s things that some of you have prayed for for years, for decades. Some of you stopped praying years ago for something you just know, I’ve not seen God do anything in this yet. Persevere. Keep at it. Keep praying. Just when you think that he can’t possibly move, he might. Keep praying. Pray in the Spirit. Persevere. Keep on the alert. Prayer is gonna undergird all the pieces of armor, and prayer is ultimately the power of the armor, the power behind the armor.

So we have the pieces of the armor, the power of the armor. Now, you gotta keep in mind that armor has a deeper purpose. What is the purpose behind the armor? In fact, what is the mission behind the armor? Because you know, if you’ve joined the military because you think it looks cool to see a Navy Seal, all dressed up in all their gear– that is not gonna carry you through the hard times. That’s why half the guys who try to be a Navy Seal drop out in the first week. “Hey, the picture was really cool. This isn’t as cool as the picture seems. This is way harder. It’s not worth the picture to go through this.” That’s because there’s a mission behind the armor. It’s not just about getting dressed up in cool gear. I thought that football was about putting on cool shoulder pads and a helmet. And then the mission hit me full force, like an Angus bull, and kept going. I didn’t even, they didn’t pause it. It wasn’t cool anymore. It wasn’t worth it. What is the mission, the purpose behind the armor.? Paul’s gonna show us here. In fact, what has he asked them to pray for? Look at verse 19 and 20 again. “Pray for me. Pray that words may be given to me in the opening of my mouth. Boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains that I may declare it boldly as I ought to speak.” We can’t miss this. The mission behind the armor, at the end of the day the thing that is driving us forward, is what Paul is asking for here. It’s missions. It’s to proclaim the gospel to the nations, to the world. He is wrapping up the book of Ephesians asking for prayer. “Pray for me. I’m going out places you can’t go. Pray for me. Pray that when I go there, God would give me favor. Pray that I would speak boldly.”

The power behind the armor is prayer. And the purpose behind the armor is missions. And so when this comes back to our theme for this whole section, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. When we’re under spiritual attack, whether that’s you personally, or as a church, turn to gospel proclamation. Turn to missions, turn to going out. You know, one of the powerful parts of that is just getting the focus off yourself. I gotta tell you, the darkest times I’ve had in life is when I’m way too focused on myself. I’m just thinking way too much about me. In fact, one of the greatest movements in the history of the church is rooted in that reality. If you’ve heard of Martin Luther, if you’ve heard of Reformation Day, the Reformation, the Protestant Reformation, a group of believers protested a lot of things that were wrong in the church. It, it started with Martin Luther back in 1517, but here’s the crazy part about Martin Luther. He was, before when he was a young monk, he was neurotic confessing sin. He would spend hours with one of the other monks, just confessing every little slightest sin that could pos- he possibly (could) have done. And the guy was just dying. He was just wearing him out to listen to Martin talk about the most meaningless things. He even said to him at one point, “If you’re gonna waste my time, bring some real sins to the table,” which bring something worthwhile to talk about. And so he realized, “Here’s what we need to do. He’s got way too much idle time to just think about himself.” So what they did is they made him a teacher. They sent him to the theological college. “Go there and serve other people. Get your eyes off yourself, get your focus on others, pour into others.” Lo and behold, he wasn’t confessing sin for hours at a time anymore. It gave him perspective. He started to get his eyes off himself. He made it about the mission.

And so the best defense is a good offense. And that’s to be about proclaiming the gospel. And you know, I know that as a church, we’re not doing missions great yet. That’s just the reality. It is what it is. We can beat ourselves up. I could beat you up. You could beat me up. Uh, it just is what it is. It’s where we are right now. We’re gonna get there someday. We are. I’ve got a lot of burdens: spiritual mentoring, recovery ministry, missions. We’re gonna get there. But here’s, here’s my vision. One of my visions for missions is that every family here would have a missionary that you know personally, that you’ve adopted, that you’re giving to, that you’re pouring into, that you have a friendship with,that you know, that you get their letters and you can’t wait for the letters to come and celebrate. You can’t wait till they come through town every five or 10 years and have them in your home and for your kids to meet them and to pray for them. When you know them personally, it changes so much. I mean, we lived that way for years before coming to serve here. In fact, a number of you gave directly to our work in missions. The church broadly did as well. And I remember a time a guy said to me, “John, we- we’ve been praying for you for years. And I’ve been setting aside money because I need to redo my basement. I want my basement updated. That’s a great place for our family to hang out. But you sent a letter this week, just outlining some of your needs. And we’ve been praying for you as a family. And we care deeply about what God’s doing. And I couldn’t spend that money just making my basement a little nicer, knowing you had those needs.” And that’s the power of being connected, personally, with a missionary. That’s my hope as a church that we’ll get there and we will someday because a good defense is a good offense. We want to be about gospel proclamation. We wanna be about reaching those who aren’t gonna come here, who are in desperate need. So Paul wraps up the book of Ephesians, be on the offense, be on the offensive, proclaim the gospel, be dependent on prayer, and notice he wraps it all up the way he started it. Look at verse 22 and 23: “Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God, the father, and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Grace be with you all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” Same two words in the first two verses of Ephesians, grace and peace, grace and peace to you. Sit. Sit in who you are, walk. Who you are should affect the way you live, the way you walk. And then ultimately that will call us to stand firm in the truth. Stand firm in the truth. And my hope is as you’ve studied the book of Ephesians, and as you spend more time in it on your own, that this will give you the courage, the strength, the power, the hope to know who you are in Christ, to walk faithfully in him, with him, and stand firm in the truth. Let’s pray.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for your word that guides us. We desperately need your guidance. We need the hope that you are gonna work all things together. We don’t know what that means. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. We know we’ll come under attack. This passage makes it really clear. Help us to come under the shield of faith, to put on the helmet of salvation, to pray at all times, to be about proclaiming who you are to the world, to sharing your name to the world. Give us the courage to do that. Help us to walk in dependence. We love you, Lord. Amen.

And so as Andrew sings, why don’t you go ahead and stand. I’ll be down front. If there’s anything you wanna pray with, over. If you want me to pray with you, if you want one of the elders who will be down here to pray with you. Love to talk with you about what it means to join the church. If you don’t know Christ, what it would mean to know him and to walk with him, but Andrew’s gonna lead us in worship now.