“To the church of God that is in Corinth” (1 Cor. 1:2). “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). “To the saints who are in Ephesus” (Ephesians 1:1). To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae” (Colossians 1:2). When Paul wrote many of his letters he was addressing the Church of the city. All the exhortations and commands to love one another, forgive one another, honor one another were directed to all the believers of the city and not to just small local expressions of the body of Christ. Today we are praying that we can recapture our identity as the Church of our city.
Your Church can impact your community in two strategic ways. First, you can model a Christlike lifestyle, allowing the light of Jesus to shine. Second, you can display genuine love toward one another. Jesus identified love as the key characteristic that would set apart His followers to a watching world.
God has entrusted His people, the Church, with the honor of being active participants in His Mission of Redemption. We have the privilege of sharing Christ’s message of eternal life and being used as instruments of transformation and blessing. The last thing that Satan wants is for God’s people to be motivated by love and mobilized to boldly share the Gospel and make disciples. Let’s ask God to unleash the awesome potential of the church!
The Church, as the Body of Christ, is to be a unified manifestation of Jesus to the world. The Apostle Paul asks the question, “Is Christ divided?” (1 Cor. 1:13). Since Christ cannot be divided and the Church is Christ’s Body – the unity of the Church is to be a powerful witness to the truth of the gospel. “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). No wonder Satan invests so much diabolical energy in creating factions and divisions among God’s people. Let’s pray for the unity of the Church.
Many groups, denominations, and faith organizations are compromising fundamental biblical truth. Erosion doesn’t happen all at once … but rather a little at a time. Today we want to pray that our churches remain a bold and gracious witness to the sound doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The health and vitality of our local churches greatly depends on the the dear men and women who provide servant leadership to our church family. Because of the importance of their role they are frequently the targets of spiritual opposition. We can have a crucial role of supporting and encouraging our church leaders by praying for them and their families. Let’s take a moment and do that right now!
Because of what Jesus has done on our behalf, we can approach the throne of God with boldness.
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Nearly one thousand years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6). Jesus died in our place, taking the punishment for all our lust, all our greed, all our hostility … all our iniquities.
The Bible doesn’t pull any punches. In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul writes openly and honestly regarding the human struggle (and yes, the Christian struggle) to do what is right, yet consistently doing the very thing we know is wrong. “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15). We’ve all been there … are there! Paul answers this dilemma by revealing that “in Christ” there is no condemnation before a holy God. Those who have trusted Jesus have been given His righteousness. Christians live in the constant reality of being clothed in the righteousness of Jesus. Its not that Christians don’t sin – we do! Its that Christ’s righteousness completely fulfills God’s holy demands on our behalf even when we falter and fail. That is amazing grace!
The Apostle John assures us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). God the Father is acting justly and righteously when He forgives us all our sin because someone else has suffered the penalty and paid the price for our transgressions … Jesus.