Sisters and brothers,
Happy Monday to all! As we worshiped yesterday by the singing of praises, reading of the Word, sharing the Lord’s Supper, and hearing God’s Word taught and proclaimed, we remembered the extreme price paid for us to be saved. There are many who ask why Christians believe that Jesus is the only way. Could there not be another way for people to be saved? This is a good question, one that Jesus Himself asked in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” He intensely prayed essentially this same prayer three times. The answer that came was that it was not possible for people to be saved in any other way than His bloody death on the cross. People could not be forgiven and know God except by the cross. People could not escape an eternity exposed to God’s wrath against sin except by the cross. In the cross, Jesus completely and fully absorbed the wrath of God against us because of our sinful rebellion. Now because of the cross we can be justly forgiven and know, love, serve, worship, and glorify Almighty God. Salvation is ours for the taking if we will turn from sin by believing in Jesus.
I am sure many of you thought of family and friends who have not yet believed in Jesus as you listened to the sermon from Luke about Lazarus and the rich man. You are burdened for them and concerned for them and want them to believe. Remember this: God loves them more than you do and He wants them to believe and be saved. Do not be discouraged because they have not yet believed. Pray for them because God is working in their lives to bring them to faith. Even if they seem far from God, even if they seem uninterested in the gospel, God’s Spirit can move in their lives and show them their need for Jesus. He answers the prayers of His children so keep praying for those family and friends.
Speaking of prayer, I wanted to encourage some of you to come to the prayer time we have on Sunday evenings. We meet at 6:00 PM and share a few minutes about concerns, then we spend the majority of the next hour praying for those concerns and other things that God brings to our minds. Sometimes there are some longer periods of silence as we all silently pray together. No one is asked to pray aloud. You can pray silently with us without uttering a sound. Praying for almost an hour may seem like a long period of time, but truly the hours seems to pass very quickly. Sometimes it has been hard for me to want to go to prayer. I have wanted to watch the end of a Packer game from time to time to be real honest with you. However, there has never been a time after I went that I regretted going and praying with my brothers and sisters at East Madison. Join us and give it a chance and see what you think. No one can come every week so don’t feel bad if you have to miss from time to time. For the next couple of weeks, we will especially be praying for David Juhlin and Hoyt Lovelace and the other men who are going with him on this mission trip across the world.
We will have a pot luck dinner after worship next Sunday, February 19. Bring enough food for your family and a little extra for our guests.
Love being your pastor!
Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church