Epiphany Sunday

We All Begin Far From God, But We Are Brought Near By The Blood Of Jesus

Dan Franklin
Jan 1, 2023    36m
Have you ever felt like you are far from God? You are not alone; this message of salvation reminds us that we all begin life far from God and can only be brought near to Him by the blood of Jesus. Jesus was sent to be the Savior of the whole world, and he shed His blood to buy our salvation from sin. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] Good morning. Happy New Year. I just want to say, yeah, it's great. Anybody? I didn't know how full 9:00 would be today, I wasn't sure if some normal 9:00 people would show up at 10:30 because we do want to celebrate the new year, but we also enjoy being together.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:37] Here's something that I just want to say from the beginning as we get ready to get into this. The theme, you've already heard it in both the passages that were read. you heard Phil talk about it at the beginning, and we kind of focused in on it during the prayer time we already had, we're talking about the idea that Jesus came as a savior for the whole world. That's the theme of the Magi, the idea that from the very beginning of Jesus' story, we have these foreigners that come and find Jesus and that the message of Jesus is going to go out to all nations.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:08] But here's what I want to say, just to couch what we're going to talk about. I believe God has a purpose for each of us being here, and for some of you, here's a deal, for some of you that the emphasis on what you're meant to focus in on today is going to be more, that the enemy wants you to believe that Jesus came to save people, but maybe not you. Jesus came to save people, but maybe not everybody, because either you've done something or there's something about yourself, or you just feel like you're not very special or very important. And really the thing that the Holy Spirit wants to do in your heart today is to convince you Jesus came as a savior for the whole world, yes, even you, you're included in that. And for some of you, there might be a slightly different emphasis that that the Holy Spirit wants to bring on your heart, and that's that there might be some person or some group or just somebody else that you need a Holy Spirit reminder of, yes, them too. Jesus came as a savior of the whole world, and that is meant to bring us great rest and joy in and of ourselves, and it's meant to remind us of the mission that we have to spread the light of Jesus, near and far.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:21] So we're going to go through, we're really going to end up just focusing on one verse, on the last verse that Matt just read for us, Ephesians chapter two, verse thirteen. If you have a Bible, you can turn there right now. In fact, it'll be great if you have a Bible or if you're using your phone as a Bible, because we'll talk about the verses right before that and even earlier in Ephesians, also. We're going to focus on this one verse, Ephesians chapter two, verse thirteen, which says this, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ." We're just going to go through this verse by focusing on what I think are the three big elements of this verse. You once were far away; you've been brought near by the blood of Christ. So we're just going to look at this verse and see +those three elements in it.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:12] We'll start with the first one, the first element is the whole idea of being far away, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away." And so let's just pause and ask the question, who is he talking to? Some of you know this, we heard it read earlier. In fact, I'll put the verses right before this up here, Paul tells us who he's talking to in verses 11 and 12. He says, "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth ." So he's speaking specifically to Gentiles, he's speaking specifically to non-Jews. And again, this even ties it into this epiphany theme, the idea that there were promises given to the people of Israel. But Paul is now talking to Gentiles, saying, all right, for all of you non-Jews. And he says non-Jews, Gentiles by birth, and are called uncircumcised by those who call themselves the circumcision, which is done in the body by human hands.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:08] And so some of you know circumcision is always a super comfortable subject for us to talk about in church. Some of you know that circumcision for males was sort of the signal of belonging in the nation of Israel, it was a way that they signaled that they trusted in God, that they were going to obey his law, and that they were true believers in the one true God. And so he says you were uncircumcised, you were outside of this, although he gives a little bit of a clue, he talks about this as the circumcision which is done in the body by human hands. So here's the clue that he's giving, he's giving a clue that there's a deeper spiritual reality that physical circumcision was always meant to point to, that it wasn't just an outward cleanliness, that it was meant to point to an inward cleanliness.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:52] So he's addressing the Gentiles and he says, alright, you guys were Gentiles, you guys were uncircumcised. In verse 12, he says, "Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ." Now, in some ways you can say before Jesus showed up, everybody was separate from Christ. But what he's talking specifically about is, hey, the Jews had these prophecies, they had these promises from Micah and from Isaiah and from all the prophets about a messiah, about an anointed one who would come. What he was saying is, you Gentiles, you weren't thinking about that, you weren't aware of that.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:23] And then he goes on even further, he says, "Excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise." He says you guys weren't aware of the covenant God had made with Abraham, or the Covenant he made with the nation through Moses, or the Covenant that had been made with David, those weren't figures on your minds. You are distant from the nation of Israel with all these promises and all of God's Word.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:45] And then finally he says, "Without hope and without God in the world." He is saying, for you Gentiles, for you non-Jews, which presumably in this room most of us fall into that category. There are probably some of us in here that have some Jewish ethnicity, but for most of us we're like, well, that's us, we're the non-Jews, we are the Gentiles. And this is the description, he's saying you are the ones who once were far off, you once were distant from all of these promises, and you once weren't included. But here's what I want you to know, we could look at this and we could say, well, I guess what Paul is saying is the Gentiles were far away, but the Jews automatically were just near. But if we go back to the beginning of Ephesians two, we find out that's not what Paul is saying at all. Ephesians two, one through three, "As for you...". And again he's speaking to the Ephesians, so mostly Gentiles, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient."

Dan Franklin: [00:06:55] And now pay attention to what he does in verse three, "All of us." Well, wait a second, Paul is a Jew, and the apostles are Jews. Suddenly he changed it, he says, "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we...". "Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.". Paul says it's not just you, it's all of us. Every single human being was once far away, whether they grew up in the nation of Israel, attended all the festivals, kept the Sabbath, were circumcised, went through all of that, knew the law and knew the scriptures, all of us at one time were far away. And so all of us this morning, some of you, you grow up going to church, you grew up with Christian parents, you may have became a believer when you were really young, and you just grew up sort of always with this sense, you never rebelled hardcore against Jesus or against the church or against God in any way. And you kind of have this sense, you might be tempted to have this sense, of like I was born near. You were not born near; you were born far away. Every human being starts distant from God. We all begin far away, and we have to be brought near by the blood of Jesus. Once you were far away, but now you've been brought near.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:33] And here's what I want us just to reflect on for a minute. We all started far away, but I bet most of us didn't get far away by deciding we wanted to get far away from God. Some people do, some people are like I'm running from God, you're pulling a Jonah from the Old Testament. You're just like, I want to get as far away from God as I can. But most of us don't set out and say I'm going to get as far away from God as I can. It happens instead in the way that Paul describes in Ephesians chapter two, verse two, when he talks about just going along with the world, just going with the flow, we end up far away.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:11] This last summer, our two oldest sons, Matt and Jack, went on Go Team Honduras and while they were gone, I took my youngest son David to the beach, just the two of us, a couple of beach buddies, and we went boogie boarding. And by the way, this isn't super important to the story, but he absolutely wore me out while we were out there. We went out for a little while and I was like, that's good, that was fun. We got back to all of our stuff and he was like, when are we going again? I was lightheaded the whole drive home, I'm just thankful we made it. But anyway, here's what happened, so we were at the beach, we set up our towels and we set up our food all right next to lifeguard Tower four. So if you know Huntington Beach, it's like the pier is here, lifeguard tower two, lifeguard tower four, and it just goes by twos all that way. So we went out on the water, we were having a great time, and suddenly we looked up and we were no longer across from lifeguard tower four, we were across from lifeguard tower eight, and then we were across from lifeguard tower ten, twelve, and fourteen. When we got to sixteen, I said, here's what we're going to do, we're going to get out of the water, we're going to walk all the way back, and then we're going to relaunch from our initial spot. Now, because David doesn't like me and wanted to exhaust me, we went into the water three separate times and each time we started off at four and we ended up at sixteen before I said, this is too far. Now, hopefully you all are getting where this is going. Did we decide to get far away from where we started? We didn't. But the flow took us there because we simply were being led along by the flow.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:56] Some of you are not believers, and you might be thinking, all right, well, I never set out to decide to get far from God. Some of you are believers, but honestly, as you look at it, you're here January 1st and you're sort of like, I'm far from God. And you didn't try, you didn't decide that you wanted to make that happen, but suddenly it's happened because you've just gone along with the world and maybe you've started just sort of adopting some of the slogans of the world. Like, I got to just love myself and put myself first, a great formula for becoming far from God by becoming totally narcissistic. Maybe you decided, hey, you know, whatever I need to do to get ahead, and you've ended up far from God. Maybe you've decided I only live once, which, by the way, if you read the Bible is not true, and you've ended up far from God because you just bought into the slogans of the world and self-indulgence that I've got to get mine now. And hey, if this isn't working out, I'm out of here. So hey, if she's not working out, let's go ahead and get a divorce. If this isn't working out, let me go ahead and quit this. You've ended up far from God just by going with the flow and going along with the way that the world is leading you.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:08] Some of you in here right now feel far away, and what I want to say is you may in some sense be far away, but this passage starts by talking about people who are far away and then leads into something beautiful. Because the first element is being far away, the second element is being brought near, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near." Now I want you to really focus on what's actually said there, he doesn't say you who once were far away, came near. He says you who are far away were brought near, this is a passive verb. It doesn't say you brought yourselves near, it says you were brought near, which means the primary person acting here is God. We are really good at getting far away from God, and God is really good at bringing near those who have gotten far away from him.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:19] Now, here's the deal, this isn't going to be a super deep dive into this, but I just want to acknowledge something that that the wording in this passage even brings up for us. It brings up sort of that question that we deal with in the Bible where we're like, all right, how much of my actions is me and how much of it is God? Like, did I choose God, or did God choose me? Is my salvation because I chose to put my faith in Jesus or because God chose to save me? We get into words like election and predestination, some of you are super uncomfortable with these words, but they're in the Bible and we're not sure exactly how all of this works. And what I want to say is, this isn't going to be a deep dive where we are going to go through every passage and try to figure out the mechanism of all of this. Human beings, not just Christians, but human beings, have always been trying to sort this out. How much of where I've ended up right now is because of me, and how much of where I've ended up is because of elements outside of myself.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:13] But here's what I do want us to focus on, what Paul is saying here, and I think that this is consistent with the overall teaching of Scripture, is that our salvation, us coming near to God, has much more to do with what God did than with what we did. And in case you're looking at this and you're like, this is something that just Paul made up. Like, this is something that just shows up in Paul's letters, let me show you a couple of things that Jesus himself said. So this is in John chapter six, this is the bread of life passage, where Jesus talks about himself being the bread of life, here's what he says in John 6:37, "All those the Father gives me." Did you hear that word in there? "All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away." Now, this is great news, if you come to Jesus, he's not going to say, hey, you're not elect, you're not supposed to be here. You weren't chosen, you're not supposed to be here. That never happens, if you come to Jesus, you're never turned away.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:15] But listen to what he says seven verses later in verse forty-four, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." You don't come to the Father unless the Father draws you, you don't come to Jesus unless the Father draws you. Now, I want to say again, some of you are totally comfortable with this, you're like there is a mystery in the Bible, and this is okay. Some of you are uncomfortable, you're like, where is this going? Let me tell you, first of all, let me tell you in advance the reason why this is important is because as we're going to see later on, this shows how deep God's love is, that he brought us near.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:58] But let me just, there's no perfect illustration for this, but let me just give you an illustration of maybe how we can understand what is being talked about here with us being brought near. So how many of you, if you're a parent or if you're a grandparent, how many of you have taught a kid to read or to spell, or have you been involved in some way? All right, if you're a kid, this might not be long in your distant past, it might be something that you're doing right now. But here, let me just kind of walk through what it's like from the parent's perspective when you're teaching a child to read or to spell. So you're there and you're like, all right, buddy, we're going to work on spelling and we're going to start real simple, we're going to start with the word cat. A simple word, we're just going to work on this together, we're going to sound it out, and you're going to learn how to spell cat. And so let's do this, what letter do you think cat starts? What letter do you think, cat, cat, what letter do you think comes first in cat, in cat? K? No, no, good guess, and I get how you got there, K does make that same sound, but there's another letter that makes that sound. So what do you think is the first letter and cat? Not K, but cat? What do you think is the first letter? X? No, no, not X, X kind of makes a hiss sound, it's not quite there, it's another letter. Do you know what letter? No. Do you know what, all right? A, B... C? Yes, C, good job. All right, C is the first letter in cat. All right, let's figure out what comes next. Now, now, now, remember, in every word, there's at least one. At least one vowel, there's at least one... Vowel. Yes, vowels, good job. Do you remember the five vowels? No. Okay, all right, here are the five vowels, A, E, I, O, U, and so one of those five letters is the letter that comes next. A, E, I, so which one do you think? Do you think it's Aaaaa, E, I, O our U? Which one do you think it's Aaaaa, E, I, O, or U? Which one do you think comes next? A? Yes, A, good job. Good job. We're almost there. All right, so what do we have so far? K? No, no, no, not, K, remember, not K. Yeah, yeah, C, A, good, good, C, A, now just one more letter. We just need one more letter to spell cat, catttt. One more letter to spell catttt. What do you think is the last letter? D? No, I get it again, that would be CAD, that's not quite right. So what letter do you think is the last letter in Cat? In Catttt? What do you think? Can I have a hint? Yes, you can, Catttt. What do you think is the last letter and cat? T? Yes, you got it, you got it, cat? That is the word. And then the kid goes, I did it. Did he do it? Well, yes, he had a lot of help, a lot of prodding, a lot of guidance, a lot of hints, a lot that was going on to get him to the point that he came up with those three letters. And here's what I want us to be able to embrace with all humility, there was a point in time where you chose Jesus. And I'm not trying to undercut that, I think biblical language backs that up, take up your cross and follow him, put your faith in him, that there was a point where you chose Jesus. But what we're often blind to is just how much went on behind the scenes to get us to that point. All of the things that God ordered, and all of the things that he did, and all the other Christians that he had you meet, and all the ways that he sort of put a stirring in your heart and worked through the Holy Spirit, put you in the right place at the right time. Yes, you did choose Jesus, but the reason that you are now near, you were far away, the reason that you are now near is that you were brought near, and you were brought near because that's how badly God wants you near. If we take this in, we can realize the beauty of this. We're so scared of this idea, we're just like, I don't know, election predestination. Once again, I'm not trying to sort out every element of it, but what I am trying to say is the beauty of this idea that we were brought near is that it shows how badly God wants us near, that He went out and he did it for us. You once were far off and now you've been brought near.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:19] And by the way, just so you see that this doesn't undercut that we're still meant to act. Look at what James says in James chapter four, verse eight, "Come near to God and he will come near to you." We're never meant to respond to this idea by saying, well, well, can I even choose God now? No, come near to God and he will come near to you. But now that somewhere in the back of your mind that if you are drawing near to God, it is because He and his deep grace has done work to even give you the capacity or the desire to draw near to him because that's how badly he wants you. We once were far off, but now we've been brought near.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:00] And then finally, just one final element of this, we've been brought near by the blood of Christ. We're brought near by the great sacrifice of Jesus. Were brought near not just because we made an action to make our lives better, but were brought near because Jesus, the eternal Son of God, took on flesh on that first Christmas and then died on a cross to pay the penalty for all of our sins. To be brought here means that all of our sins are forgiven, we're adopted fully into the family of God, we have an inheritance in heaven, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we have been brought near, but the way that we've been brought near is by the blood of Christ.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:47] Now once again, before saying anything else, let me just say, this once again is something that brings up the universality of this, Jesus is the savior of the whole world. Jews and Gentiles are only saved by the blood of Christ. Old and young are only saved by the blood of Christ. Rich and poor, male and female, all of us are only saved by the blood of Christ. Which, as an aside, means there should never be any glory or shame in our ethnicity or our background. If there's a certain country and you're like, this is the country that I come from, or this is the color of my skin, or is this the language that I grew up speaking, that's a part of who God has made you to be, that's a part of your self-understanding and your identity, but it's not a core part of who you are. Because at the core of who you are is a sinner who is far off, saved by grace and by the blood of Christ. Which means that there's no pride and there's no shame no matter how we grew up, no matter the color of our skin, or no matter the ethnicity, we're brought near by the blood of Christ.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:59] And I think that there are two, it happens almost simultaneously if it happens, right, there are two ways that we respond to this idea that the way that we were brought nearer was by the sacrificial death of Jesus. And the first way we respond is this, we respond with humiliated brokenness. There is something absolutely appropriate of us recognizing that we were so lost that it took the death of the Son of God to bring us back, and that's humiliating. Because we're not just looking at it and saying, yeah, I needed a little bit of help, a little bit of coaching, a little bit of guidance to get back on track. Nope, you needed the death of the Son of God to bring you back. That's how lost we were. And again, if you're here and you're not a believer in Jesus, that is the only way to go from far away to being brought near. We dramatically, especially in the US, we dramatically underestimate just how dark our sin is because a lot of us are separated from actual acts of violence or separated from corruption that we can see really easily. The fact is, if we were put in a different situation, our sin would be much more obvious to us. So we respond with humiliated brokenness that that's how far gone we are, but then right after that, we respond with joyous rest. Because if you are saved by the blood of Jesus, that means there's nothing that you could do or nothing you should do to make this happen, that means that it is paid in full by the Son of God. You respond by saying, Oh my gosh, I didn't realize how far gone I was, it took the death of the Son of God, the blood of Jesus, to bring me in. Yep, that's right, and that's humbling, and then that's joyous because everything has been taken care of, it has been paid in full. We were far away, but we were brought near by the blood of Christ.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:03] I think this means at least two things for us on a practical level. This means, first of all, that regardless of what you've been through, or regardless of your background, you have access to the father through the blood of Jesus. Let's get real for a minute, some of you are here this morning and you fully expected to be here. You're just like it's a Sunday, I don't care if it's New Year's Day, I'm going to be here. Some of you I'm not going to ask for a show of hands, but some of you are here and you're kind of surprised that you're here right now. You're like, why am I here? Maybe this isn't even the church that you regularly attend. Maybe you're not a regular on Sundays and you're like, of all the Sundays, why am I here on this Sunday? But God has been doing something in you, God has been working in your heart, there's been a stirring. And maybe you're not a believer, but you're like, I just felt like I was supposed to be here. Or maybe you are a believer and you're like, I felt this stirring to draw near again. Maybe this is your New Year's resolution, and you've already completed it, you're like, go back to church. Day one, I'm here, I did it. Here's the deal. Some of you are here and you didn't even know that you were going to be here, but you're here because God has been stirring in your heart to actively receive that when Jesus came as the Savior for the whole world, he came for you. And it's time to put aside any kind of shame, any kind of embarrassment, any kind of just bemoaning about past failure or the unimportance that you feel in yourself, and to fully, joyfully receive that Jesus came as the savior for the whole world.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:44] And then I also think maybe some of you are here and there's a different message that you're meant to take from this. And the different message that you're meant to take from this is to embrace the idea that there are billions of people living right now apart from the light that Jesus came to bring, and that God loves them dearly, and he wants those who are far off to be brought near, and that means everyone. Yes, that means you're annoying uncle, who you just saw last week, who you don't like the way that he talks, you don't like his politics, you don't like his social things, you don't like all of those things. And you look at him and you're like, that guy is far away. So were you, you are far away, and you were brought near by the blood of Christ.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:32] Now, here's what I want to do, we're going to add a special element to the service in a couple of minutes. But here's what I want to do first, there is an opportunity for us to respond to the idea that God has brought us near, by us coming near to him. And there's no greater New Year's resolution, there's no greater thing to say, what do I want to do in 2023? I want to draw near to God.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:55] A couple of years ago, I was listening to a sermon and there was something in it that I almost hesitated in sharing it because it's haunting to me. H.B. Charles is the one who said it, I don't know if he came up with this or if you heard it from someone else, but the biblical reality that he brought out is that each of us are exactly as close to God as we want to be. God has brought us near, and we have all the nearness that we want. If we have any distance, it's because we are not choosing to draw near right now. So for some of you, it is time, and you're like, all right, it's time for something new, I need to get back into the Scriptures so that I'm experiencing God's Word. And there's a new Bible reading plan that starts today, that we're going through the Psalms, great place to start. Some of you might be saying, I need to get involved in a Bible study because I need to draw near. Or I need to have regular times a prayer because I need to draw near. I need to repent of this sin because I need to draw near. What I want to say also is if any of you are like I want to draw near, I don't know how to do that. We're going to have some of the pastors and elders on either side of the stage after the service is over, come and talk to somebody and they will walk through with you next steps of how you draw near.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:05] But what I want to do right now, is I want to allow us just a moment to draw near. So I'm going to invite you right now to bow your heads. And if you would, you don't have to do this, but what I'm going to invite you to do is just to put your hands in front of you, palms up like you're receiving. Whatever your hands would be like if you were about to receive a gift that someone was giving you, and to take in that God in his deep grace is giving you the gift of nearness to himself. And let's take a moment right now and in our hearts, joyfully receive that gift.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:06] Father, we're humbled when we think of how far away we were, that it took the blood of Jesus to bring us near. And Father, we're sorry, we wish that wasn't true, we wish that we had always been obedient children to you, but we come to you the only way that we can in honesty and say we were far away. Thank you for bringing us near through Jesus, thank you for working in our lives in ways that even now we're not even aware of to pave the way for us to know and love Jesus. And Father, I pray that this will be a year of us joyfully drawing near. I pray for anybody here who right now that is dealing with the doubts that are plagued by the doubts of the enemy that Jesus came from most people, but not for them. Father, please, by your Spirit, overcome that lie so that they can joyfully receive that you came as the Savior of the world. And Father, I pray that you overcome, any prejudice or any indifference or any hard-heartedness that we have that makes us look at certain other people and say, Jesus came for the whole world, but maybe not them. Give us hearts to see the light of Jesus spread near and far in us and through us. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:27] All right, here's what we're going to do next. I'm going to invite Loren Van Woudenberg, one of our elders, up to the stage. As we talked about what we wanted to do this Sunday as sort of an application point, if Jesus has come to light of the whole world and that light is meant to spread near and far, and we think of us being a part of spreading that light near, it's hard to think of anything nearer than the children God has given us as families and that God has given us as a church family. So what Loren is going to lead us in, is a time of praying over all of our kids in this church, but specifically those of you kids who are here, that the light of Jesus will spread in and through you. So, Loren, come on up.

Loren Van Woudenberg: [00:32:10] Is there anything more precious than our kids? Some of you will pray in proxy today, your kids aren't here. If you're comfortable, in a little bit, I'm going to ask you, I'm going to pray scripture. And when I'm reading Scripture, you don't need to do this, but if you're comfortable when I get to the prayer part of these scriptures, if you would raise your hands and bless them and do that, some of you will do that in proxy. I didn't know whether to call them students, kids, or what have you, but I'm just going to use the word kids even if you're college age, if you're college age, high school, junior high, elementary, pre preschool, would you stand up. If they're small, mom and dad, get them on top of the chair of doing that. I'll be careful, you're going to be up with them in just a second, in just a second. Good to have you, these are the greatest gifts and we're to be stewards of them. I'm not going to make them stand alone, family around them, just church family, would you stand up with them and be with them? And in a little bit, you're going to stretch your hands out and bless them. You're going to surround them with God's love.

Loren Van Woudenberg: [00:33:19] First of all, Colossians one, nine through twelve, "And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." Let's pray. Grandpas and grandmas, moms and dads in proxy over these people. Father, this is the cry of our hearts, would you fill these kids, these children with the knowledge of you? Lord, would they walk in a manner worthy of you? Would you increase in them the knowledge of you? Would you strengthen them with your mighty power?

Dan Franklin: [00:34:14] John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Let's pray over our kids, for God so loved you guys. God, would you walk with them? Would you let them know how much you love them? Would you just bless them so that they would know you in a personal way? Lord, I pray in the days ahead, even right now, in the weeks ahead, that they would respond to your love, and they would have everlasting life.

Loren Van Woudenberg: [00:34:52] One more Scripture, Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Let's pray and bless over them right now. We pray our kids would put their trust in you, Father, so that they would not be terrified or discouraged. May they know that you are with them always, and you are greater than anything they will ever face, give them courage and peace. God, you have given us as a church, as parents, as grandparents, these wonderful kids at LBF, they're on loan from you. We declare that no weapon formed against them shall prosper. We cancel every assignment of the enemy. We claim the blood of Jesus over them, that they will be eternally successful and eternally they will prosper. In the name of Jesus. You all said, amen.

Loren Van Woudenberg: [00:36:03] No, we're not done yet, we're going to bless them. I'm going to say a phrase and then you say this over our kids. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Let's give the Lord a hand. Bless our kids over this. Yes.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848