Grace Upon Grace

  |   Sep 2, 2018

If you have your Bibles, go ahead and grab those. We'll be in John, chapter 1. We'll finish today the prologue of John's gospel, which is the first 18 verses. If you're wondering how long we'll be in this book if it has taken us three weeks to get through 18 verses, I promise you it'll kick up. Next weekend we're going to look at John the Baptist's ministry. The week after that we will look at Jesus calling his disciples.

That is especially encouraging to my own soul, watching who Jesus hand-selects to be a part of this world-changing mission. It's not exactly who you think it's going to be. I mean, you know who they are, but when we look at a little bit of their background, you'll see, "Really? These guys?" That's always encouraging to me. Then we'll be off and running into chapter 2.

Let me frame today like this. When I was in my undergrad… I don't need to say it that way; it's the only degree I have, but for a second it just felt good to say it. I'll just leave it at that. We had to read a book by a man named Stephen Covey called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It's a best seller globally. How many of you have read that book? You can look around. A lot of people have read this book.

How many of you bought it, read a little bit of it, and then it just kind of sat on your bookshelf? Look at this. Some honesty at church. One of the few places you would expect it. There you go. I'm so proud of you. This is a place you smile and you read every word. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey writes about a kind of mindset that would set you up for success and a kind of mindset that would ensure your failure.

How he teased those out, not from the Bible…he's not a Christian…just as a studier of humanity and what actually works, is he wrote about a scarcity mentality versus an abundance mentality, or a mentality that says, "There's not enough for everybody, so I'd better get mine," and a mentality that says, "There's so much that everyone should be celebrated and we shouldn't look at others as our enemies."

I know this is the 12:30. You're the godliest we have, so I know you have not experienced this personally, but surely you've seen someone who received a compliment, and you know people who have heard other people get a compliment and then take it themselves as their own failures. If somebody said, "Man, you sounded so good today in worship," and they told that to a friend of yours and you were standing there, you would translate that, "Well, I guess I can't sing."

Or you're working on a project at work and the boss comes in and says, "Johnson." Assume your name is not Johnson. "Great job on that project," and you were on that project too. You interpret that to, "I'm worthless, and I'm going to get fired." That's a scarcity mindset. An abundance mindset would go, "Good job, Johnson. That's awesome. I'm on that team. We won that." Let me let Covey define it like this:

"The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit—even with those who help in the production. They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people… The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity."

From a non-Christian looking at business and saying that this way of seeing the world is one of the things that leads to highly successful people, but the scarcity mindset is one of those things that rots out from under us the possibility of success, what I want to do is take it out of the domain of business and just humanity and roll it up to the divine, and I want to do that because I think our culture disciples us in a scarcity mentality.

I think you and I are being discipled by the world we live in that other people are a threat and we'd better get ours and we'd better get what we deserve, and if anybody else succeeds, that must mean we have lost because they have succeeded. It's bad enough on a human plane, but if you roll a scarcity mentality up to how we view, think about, interact with, or consider the God of the universe, you get even bigger problems than that.

If you come to God with a scarcity mentality, you twist his character, you belittle his grace, and you put a weight on your shoulders that you will never, with all your type-A drive, be able to carry. It will crush you. If I could just simplify my message before I preach it, I want you at the end of the day today to understand and grasp just how full of grace and truth Jesus is, that he is an inexhaustible well, so we can never come to God with a scarcity mindset, because God cannot run out of God. Let's look at this together. John, chapter 1, starting in verse 14:

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, 'This was he of whom I said, "He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me."') For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known."

Let's start with those first couple of phrases. Look there in verse 14 again. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…" We've done a lot of work these last three weeks on what the Word is, who the Word is. If you'll think back to all we've said about the Word, this little sentence is mind-bending. Here's what we've already learned about the Word. The Word has always been. The Word of God, the Son of God, God himself, is coeternal with God the Father. He has always been.

The Word is God, is coeternal with the Father. The Word is the Creator of all things. He is the sustainer of all things. The Word of God is the one who shines light in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it. The Word is the light of men. It is the light of humankind. The hope of humankind is found in the Word, and the Word just put on flesh. That's mind-bending, that the creator of flesh then put it on, that coeternal emptied himself (Philippians 2) of that divine power and came as a baby. The Word in the womb. What do you do with that? The Word in the womb.

The phrase here dwelt among us is the same word we get the concept of tabernacle from. If you were here when we preached through the book of Exodus, the tabernacle was that place that sat at the middle of the Jewish encampment. It's where the presence and power of God would dwell, so the Jewish people could always look up and see the cloud or the fire, and they would know the presence of God was with them. Now John is saying, "Hey, the tabernacle is among us. The Word of God has put on flesh, and he is here."

I love the way Eugene Peterson translated this text. He says, "The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood." I just love that. The Word became flesh and moved onto our street. And he doesn't come by himself. He brings these truckloads of things with him. Look back at the text with me. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

When Jesus moves into our neighborhood, when the Word puts on flesh and moves onto our block, what comes with him is the fullness of grace and truth. This is a huge deal, because what John is arguing is that the gospel belongs to Jesus. What is the gospel? The gospel is that the light has shone in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.

If you were here for that week, the list of things Jesus conquers in his coming is stunning. Sin and death? Conquered. Satan and demons? Conquered. Secular powers? Conquered. Empty religious manipulation? Conquered. Your failures, my failures? Conquered. The light has shone in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. This is what we celebrate when the Word moves into the neighborhood, full of grace and truth.

Jesus alone is the owner of the gospel. Oftentimes, what I've tried to point to is that Jesus then, because he is coeternal with the Father who's the Creator and sustainer of all things, becomes an inexhaustible well, which is hard for us who have been discipled in a scarcity mentality. It's hard for us to believe that Jesus is an exhaustible well, because you know who's not? Anybody else we know.

Anything we've ever come in contact with reinforces the scarcity mentality. You can be a problem, but you can't be a problem forever. Right? You can get on your boss' nerves for a bit, but you're not going to get on his nerves for long. To try to wrap our minds around a God who is inexhaustible in his steadfast love is difficult for us. John knows this. Look at verse 16. "For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."

I don't know if you write in your Bible, highlight your Bible, whatever. I mark mine up. I always know what's me and what's him by whether or not it's in pen or pencil or highlighter. If you write in it, I want you to write in it, because I think later on, if you come back to this, these words will jump out, because they're meant to jump out. I want you to underline the word all in this "For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace," and I want you to underline or highlight that word fullness.

So, the word fullness and the word all. Highlight those, underline them, whatever you do to your Bible to make things jump out, because unfortunately, one of the lies many of us buy into is that the fullness of the gospel belongs to some kind of religious elite, some sort of gifted spiritual SEAL Team Six that drives out demons and saves every waitress or waiter they ever come across, and all of their neighbors are Christians, and all of their family members are Christians, and everybody sick gets healed by them. The fullness of the gospel belongs to them, and I'm just trying not to get drunk.

What this text says, what John is arguing is that all the fullness of the gospel belongs to all of those who are sons and daughters that the Word makes sons and daughters by faith alone and grace alone. What God calls us to, then, he provides for, but the primary provision God brings to us is not wealth, health, and power; it's grace. You have to spot and reject the insidious, ridiculous prosperity gospel that would lie to you and say, "Be a Christian so all your dreams will come true." No, no, no. Give your life to Christ, and you'll be sustained regardless.

God has not changed his mind. All of his disciples died broke and brutally. Was it 30 years ago that God was like, "You know, this isn't working. I'm going to switch up my whole philosophy. You're not going to need me at all. In fact, you're never going to have a bad day. You put a smile on your face, and here's a billion dollars. Don't worry about sickness, because you're never going to be sick. Go"? Jesus died on the cross. Peter was crucified upside down. John the apostle was boiled alive and survived it and got exiled to an island. Paul was beheaded. Do we need to keep going?

Following Jesus, it seems in the Bible, ends badly. So where are we getting this insidious, life-sucking, terrible idea? It's a lie. What you get is grace upon grace upon grace upon grace. What he calls you to he will provide for. This morning, I was walking around and just talking, and I talked to a man and his wife who are in the middle of a transition. They are now empty nesters. Going from three kids with all of these activities to just being his bride and him again, it has been a weird transition.

It's like, "Hey, baby. Remember me? I'm your husband. That's great. What are you doing Tuesday? Yeah, me either. We should do something." It has been this weird transition. Do you know what he can find in that transition? Grace. Then I met a mom of four boys, and this year they're trying homeschool. Just trying it. She used that word. "Yeah, we're trying homeschool," which leads me to believe it's not going well. "We're trying." Do you know what she can expect? Grace. She can expect grace, because what God calls us to he provides, and his provision is always his unmerited favor.

The same would be true not just if you're in a new season of life but if you're in the middle of a trial. If you're sick or someone you love is sick, here's what you can expect: God's grace, his unmerited favor. I believe God will supernaturally heal some. He will use the good, gracious gift of common grace to heal many, and others he'll simply sustain with his power. Whatever God calls you into he will sustain by his grace.

What about this one? This one is hard for us. What about your failures? Is there grace there? I love this text. The apostle Paul says, "Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…" I can freak out about this text. Remember a couple of weeks ago when we said one of the reasons you and I, regardless of background, regardless of nation of origin, should know there's a God out there is conscience. All human beings everywhere, unless they are mentally ill, sociopaths, have a conscience.

There's something in them that says, "This is right. This is wrong." Well, the Bible is saying when the law came it helped us understand what was wrong. When the law came, trespass increased, because we go, "Oh! That's what that is." Listen to this. "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." Let me tell you why that's amazing. It means that, as a son or daughter of God, we cannot out-sin the grace of God. That's crazy. Where sin seems like it's going to whip us, grace flies by it at the end and wins the race.

For me and for you, as children of God, grace has won our race. You don't have to worry about how this thing ends. "Does this thing end with me rejecting Christ?" If you belong to him, grace abounds all the more. Even in your own failures and shortcomings… I know some of you right now are like, "Close this loop, bro. Close this loop. You're going to let people do whatever they want." Okay. So, are we talking easy believism?

Are we talking about, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. I trust Jesus, and I know he's going to forgive me, so I'm not worried about much else"? Well, right after that verse, Paul says, "Shall we sin all the more so that grace may abound?" Then he says, "May it never be!" If you do some language work, you're hearing him say you don't believe if you live like that. You can say with your mouth that you believe, but if there's no, "I want to follow him. I want to love him. I want to obey his commands," then I would not consider myself a Christian.

If you're like, "Who are you to judge me?" I'm promising you I'm not judging you. Here's what I'm telling you: the Word of God would say if you have no desire to follow him, if you have no love in your heart for him… I'm not talking about whether or not you're walking in victory right now or really struggling. I'm saying if there's nothing in you that wants to follow him, wants to consider him, wants to submit your life to him, then I don't know what your definition of being a believer is.

This isn't easy believism. This is grace pays our bill, and as sons and daughters, we should be very confident that we get to keep coming to him because he delights in us. Why? Because there's grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace. So, if this is true, what are we to do with the law? What are we to do with all the "Thou shalts" and "Thou shalt nots" in Scripture? Because they're there. How can I say this in light of Jesus himself saying that none of the law will be removed; in fact, not a dot or a tittle will be removed?

What does it mean, then, if this is true, that we still are commanded to do and to not do? Well, one of the things I've tried to say enough that it captivates your imagination is that all of the commands of God in the Scripture are about inviting you into the deepest life possible. King David would say it this way: "The boundaries have fallen for me in pleasant places." It's such a beautiful way to think about the law of God. "The boundaries have fallen for me in pleasant places."

Here's how John handles the law. Look at verse 17. "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." Again, if you write in your Bible, go ahead and underline or circle the word for. "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." Why are we circling that for? Well, that for is attached to the sentence before it that says, "For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."

In this concept of grace upon grace, what we see, then, is that this idea of the law given through Moses is tied to grace. In John's mind, the law is a grace from God. The law is not anti-grace but the law is a form of grace, where God informs us by his law of right living that pleases him and is good for us. If we simplify the law down to the Ten Commandments… We talk about this a lot. The Ten Commandments. That's pretty easy stuff.

"Don't kill nobody." (That's a paraphrase.) "Don't take things that aren't yours." It's like you would talk to a child. "Don't worship things that aren't gods. Don't touch another man's or woman's spouse. Don't make accusations against God that he doesn't care for you and he doesn't provide for you." In fact, when I was in kindergarten we lived in the Bay Area, and somebody in the Bay Area thought 5-year-olds would understand the Ten Commandments because they hung on the wall. It might help to know I was on a military base. So, there's a little bashing of conservatism right there in the middle of what is not a bashing of conservatism.

We had the Ten Commandments on the wall. Adults thought, "Five-year-olds can get this. Put it on the wall. We'll kind of read through it and talk about it." You're not talking about really complex situational ethics. You have this grace, which is God letting us know, "This is how life works," and as a created being, where would we be if God did not lay before us "This way to life" and we were left to our own devices? Where would we be if we were left to figure it out?

In the book of Judges, when everything is descending into anarchy, one of the phrases used to describe what was going on around God's people is "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." That sentence was used to describe the anarchy and chaos of what happens when humankind takes that question into their own hands. The book of Judges is not a warm fuzzy book. It's one of judgment, desperation, despair, and deep brokenness.

God doesn't leave us to our own devices. He invites us into life. "This way to life." Even though we know and can see the boundaries, we can't seem to pass the test. There are 10 simple rules, and we can't seem to do it. Paul explains why that is, and then I want to put these two things together. In Romans 8:3-4 it says:

"For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

The reason you and I are unable to stay within those pleasant boundaries where life is found is because our flesh is weak. The text just says God has done in Christ what we could not do, weak as we are in the flesh, by putting on flesh and moving into the neighborhood with his truckload of grace and truth. That's good stuff.

The way this works is we become sons and daughters of God by belief. Not radical belief, not wholehearted belief, not fervent belief. We become sons and daughters of God by belief. "Sola fide" is what the Reformers would say. Faith alone. That's how we become sons and daughters of God. We're indwelt with the Holy Spirit that then gives us a hunger or desire to walk according to the precepts of the Lord, yet we still tend to fail. As we fail, what meets us? Grace. Grace keeps meeting us as we stumble forward, driven by the Holy Spirit, falling short because our flesh is weak.

But it's not just grace that he's full of; he's also full of truth. Here's an unfortunate thing I've seen over the years. You have people who love this grace idea, so everything is just grace. "Don't worry about it. Grace." Then you have people who are just like, "Truth." Their brow is a little bit more furrowed. Right now this sermon is bothering them a little bit. They need me to complete this loop. They need me to talk about the necessity of memorizing the book of Leviticus. (That's hyperbole. If you're more on this side of things, I love you. We need you.)

The interesting thing to note about this concept of Jesus being full of grace and truth is when Jesus comes full of grace and truth, that phrase truth isn't a reference to the sufficient Word of God. It's a reference to who he is. "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Let me tell you why that's such a big deal. By the way, Bruner does a great job of describing this. He says, "And Jesus' 'deep Truth' keeps reminding us of Jesus Christ himself who is faithfulness incarnate…"

Let me tell you why this piece in particular… The truth is Jesus. Truth is not the sufficient Word of God, although the sufficient Word of God is truth. Are you with me? I know it's a little, "Ah!" The reason it becomes important for us to get that Jesus is the Truth is if you don't get that, you will turn to your own power for transformation and you'll lose out on how you're actually transformed. You are not transformed because you memorize some Bible verses. You're transformed because you behold the beauty of Jesus.

Now, where do you find that beauty of Jesus? In the text. What we're doing today is gazing with the text at the beauty of the Word made flesh moving onto our street with truckloads of grace and truth, where we'll be met with grace upon grace upon grace. If this is hard for you, I'll use 1 Corinthians 15 as an example of how this plays itself out. If you were here when we did our series on the sign gifts of the Spirit this summer, the last week of the series, we pushed out of chapter 14 and into the first three verses in 1 Corinthians 15.

Here's what verse 1 says: "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received…" Past tense. "…in which you stand…" Present tense. "…and by which you are being saved…" Present ongoing tense. "…if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain."

The big question here is…What did they believe? What were they standing in that would keep them secure to the end? Well, they had to remember and believe what they were told first. Well, what were they told first? To simply believe in the finished work of Christ on the cross and in his resurrection. True transformation occurs not with white-knuckled discipline but gazing on the beauty of Jesus.

This is why time with Jesus, time in the Bible, prayer, and things like Encounter and a Home Group that have given themselves over to pray for one another and invite the presence of the Holy Spirit into their midst are so important, because to know him, see him, and experience him leads to transformation. You know this.

Here's what it's like to be a preacher. You study for a long time. You put it all together, and you have to think things like, "Contextually, how does this work in this place versus how does this work in this place? What are the application points?" You do all that, and then do you know what you can do? Nothing. You can say it. Because we're prone to not understand these things well (and I tend to be a good motivator), what ends up happening is you can be like, "Yes!"

Let's play a game. How many of you in our church or in some other church have sung and heard a word preached from the Scriptures, and you made some weird promises to yourself, like, "I'll never do that again" and "Moving forward from this day on, I'm going to be serious about…" How many of you have made those kinds of promises? Now watch this. Keep that hand up. We're all right. We'll just be Pentecostal for a moment. How many have a week or two later found that emotive response fade? Okay. How can there be more hands up than were just up? It doesn't even make sense.

Here's my point: motivation that appeals to your will doesn't lead to transformation; it leads to frustration or self-righteousness. We need the Spirit of God. We need to see Jesus. We need to be transformed from the inside out by gazing at his beauty and being transformed, according to 1 Corinthians, from one degree of glory to the next. Given over to progressive sanctification, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Now look at verse 18. "No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, [Jesus] has made him known." One of the consistent themes of the Old Testament is that man cannot see God without being evaporated. You don't want that. You don't want to see that. If you saw that… Think Indiana Jones when they opened up the ark of the covenant. I know I dated myself. I know if you're in your 30s and 40s you're like, "Yeah." If you're 12, you're like, "Wha…?" (You don't sound like that, but you get my drift.)

What we see in the Bible is that there's a real seriousness about being in the presence of God. Isaiah just has a vision of the throne room. He's not in there. He just has a vision of the throne room, and he sees the angels that encircle the throne of God, and he falls on the ground like a dead man and says, "Woe is me! For I am a man of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King." Well, no, he didn't see the King. He just saw a vision of the King.

Wherever it looks like someone might have seen God, there's this little caveat. Moses sees the hem of his garment, and that was enough to make Moses' face shine in such a way that he freaked out all of the Israelites and had to wear a veil over his face until the light got off of him, until the light wore off. Even in the tabernacle, where we read that Moses communed with the Lord face-to-face, like a man to a man, what we see is that the tabernacle is so filled with incense nobody sees anything in there.

Wherever it appears that a man is in the presence of God, there's a little caveat that says, "Yeah, kinda." Yet the longing to know what's behind and underneath ultimate reality remains in our hearts. If there's a creator God, what is he like? If there is an ultimate authority, how would he approach me? What would he think of my life? How would he operate in these spaces?

John says, "Do you want to see God? Look at Jesus." Even Jesus himself is going to argue this. In fact, this is such a big question that Philip… I can't wait to preach on the disciples. Like I said, the disciples give me so much encouragement. They just do. I mean, Philip. We'll talk about Philip in a couple of weeks. Philip sees Jesus doing all of these miraculous… I mean, he's raising the dead. He's telling storms to stop. He's feeding a city with a kid's Lunchable.

Philip in this brazen way approaches Jesus and says, "Jesus, show us the Father. Nobody can see the Father lest they be lit up. I read where Moses' face… I want my face to glow. Show me the Father." Here's Jesus' response in John 14: "Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"?'"

If you want to know what God is like, if you want to know if this "grace upon grace" thing is real and true, you need only look at Jesus. That's why I'm excited about the gospel of John. Could his grace cover a woman who has been divorced five times and is currently exchanging sex for rent? Is there enough grace for that? What about prostitutes? Is there enough grace for that? What about self-righteous cowards? Is there enough grace for that? What about grace upon grace upon grace? What if you just keep being a self-righteous coward? Is there enough grace for you?

I can just keep asking these questions, because what we're going to see in time is there's grace upon grace. I want to remind you again that people tend to say no to this invitation into life, this life that is the light of man that has shone in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. They tend to not want to say yes to Jesus. First, because they think they're good enough not to need him. So I want to press again…that's not the currency God accepts.

I don't know if you've gotten out of the United States or gotten far enough away where they no longer take our money and you have to actually exchange money. There are places in the world that don't take the dollar. Well, in the one place you want to get, the currency is not your morality. In fact, Isaiah is pretty clear that on your best day…not on that day you struggled but that day you nailed it…your righteousness was as filthy rags.

If at your best that aroma to God in heaven is like filthy rags, what are you like when you're having a tough day? Yeah, that currency is not accepted. So people don't want to come because they think they're good enough, and they think they're good enough usually because they're comparing themselves to a herd of morons.

They're like, "Well, I'm better than that group and better than that guy, and certainly I'm better than Gene down in receivables." You have this weird, "I'm better than people" thing that happens. If that's your offering on that final day, "I'm not Gene in receivables," you're going to be terrified. You're betting your dadgum soul on your morality, and I'm here standing between the Johns going, "That currency isn't accepted by God."

Then on the same hand, for those of you who think with a scarcity mindset that there can't be enough grace for you, that there's not enough forgiveness for you, I just want to stand here and get you to turn your eyes on Jesus, who will be the author and perfecter of your faith, and remind you that you cannot out-sin his grace or Jesus would still be in the grave. Because Jesus is not in the grave, that means all can receive the fullness that is found in Jesus.

He has moved into the neighborhood. The invitation is on the table, so I extend it again. "'Come into union with the Word who made you, and you will come to Life!' 'You came from him; please come back to him.' 'You were made for him.' The result of this reunion will be more than human existence; it will be human 'Life.'" Let's pray.

Father, we thank you for grace upon grace upon grace upon grace. We're in this room today being saved by grace but also in this moment being sustained by that same grace, so we thank you and praise you for that. We thank you that there will be new mercy tomorrow morning and there will be more grace the day after that and more grace the day after that.

You're so full of grace that if we live to be 107 we will have not begun to wring out from your veins the grace and mercy necessary to save us fully, freely, and forever. It's marvelous news that you have not put the weight of salvation on us, and in our frailties and our shortcomings, in our highs and in our lows, the wave that will crash over us over and over and over again is the wave of your grace, your mercy, your empathy, your understanding.

Help our hearts. For achievers, this is hard for us. We want to do something. Let us do something. For those who have lived a hard life… We've done some really terrible things, and there's collateral damage around us, so it's hard to forgive ourselves, much less imagine that anybody else would forgive us. I just pray that you would, in the way that only you can, Spirit of God, fill this place. Break that lie open.

Expose that stronghold for what it is, just a demonic lie from hell. Your light has overcome that darkness, and that darkness will not overcome your light. I just pray as an example that whoever is in here today and that's where they are, my brothers, my sisters… The collateral damage around their lives is too great. They can't forgive themselves, much less accept forgiveness. I just pray you break through that today.

For our moral moms and dads, our moral singles, I just pray that you would break loose the nonsense that that's somehow the currency that on that final day you'll accept and you would grant to us in your mercy simple belief, inward transformation caused by gazing upon your beauty. Help us. We need you. It's for your beautiful name I pray, amen.