Scripture Reference: Matthew 1, Matthew 2
Jesus' FatherDr. Erwin W. Lutzer | December 16, 2007
Selected highlights from this sermon
Dreams can be powerful, mesmerizing, or just plain confusing. But God sometimes uses them as a means of communication. Joseph, Jesus’ legal father on Earth, had three dreams from God.
We can learn a great deal from Joseph’s experience—all the information He received was in keeping with the biblical message.
During this Christmas season we are emphasizing the family of Jesus. We talked about his genealogy, and last week we spoke about Mary, and today we come to His legal father, Joseph.
Joseph is the forgotten man of the Christmas story. Sometimes in pageants he barely shows, but actually he should be in the middle of it all. Now interestingly Joseph says nothing in the Christmas narratives. There are others who have things to say, including the shepherds, but Joseph is silent, but he is silently obedient. Today he’s going to teach us about dreams and also about God’s relationship to us, and how God works in our lives. He’s going to teach us about dreams and he’s going to teach us about real life.
First of all, a word about dreams, because Joseph had three of them as recorded in Scripture, and he obeyed them all. I’d like to know, and I’m not going to ask for a show of hands because I think you have to think about this question for a little bit, but it would be interesting to find out how many of you have had a dream that you really thought was guidance and direction from God. I don’t know about your dreams but mine are put together-they are bits and pieces of experience and ideas that are notable for their absurdity. You have no idea what I dream about, and how silly the dreams become, and yet at the same time I need to say that at least on one occasion God gave me a dream that I believe he allowed that was from him, ultimately to warn me.
It was back in about the mid-90s when we connected to America on Line. I’ll never forget it. We had Internet in the home. I remember that night dreaming a horrific dream about demonic spirits wanting to put me up against the wall, and they were telling me, “Now we can destroy you in your own home.” Wow. It was awful. I took that as a warning from God and whenever I’ve been tempted to say, “I wonder what pornography is like, or other things on the Internet,” I am always reminded that thanks to the Internet, though we thank God for it and all of its advantages, there are now means by which we can be destroyed in our own home. I take that dream as a gift from God, horrific though it was.
Many of my dreams, however, really don’t come to pass if I dream about the future. I remember in high school dreaming that my brother and my mother, who were on their way somewhere, were killed in a car accident. I saw it so vividly; that old 1957 Pontiac was so beat up. I knew exactly how the accident happened. I assumed that God was preparing me for bad news. It turns out not only was there no accident, but my brother is still living and my mother is 99, so my dreams don’t come to pass in terms of my predictive ability through dreams.
This past week I talked to the staff about dreams, and then later on I had the privilege of meeting with a number of pastors in the Chicago area, some of the best-known pastors in the Chicago area. We meet four times a year, and I introduced the subject and we talked about it for about an hour and fifteen minutes with great interest. One of the things I discovered is that a staff member on our staff here had a vivid dream about someone and some sin that this person was to avoid, and I’m being very general here, but she called the person the next day and said, “God warned me about what you’re going to do (or what you are tempted to do).” Interestingly a week later that person did not take the warning, but I believe that that was a dream that was a warning from God that was not heeded.
I discovered a pastor who said that in college he dreamed that he was in a church that was pure and white and everybody was walking around in white robes, but outside there were people who were dirty and muddy, and they weren’t allowed within the church because, after all, the church was too pure and holy for them, and muddy people don’t get into a church. Well, today, he’s ministering to the inner city, to some of the poorest of the poor in some of the most difficult areas, and he’s inviting the unwanted and the unwelcomed into his church. We hope that here at The Moody Church we are a church like that too. Ever welcome are the strangers and the poor it says outside, but later on when he came to Chicago and began his church he began to reflect, and thought, “You know, that’s what God is calling me to do–to reach the people that no one else wants, the muddy people.”
I also discovered a pastor who said that he was given some money for the church that came from the lottery. He didn’t know whether or not he should take it, and he decided not to, but in a dream it became clear that that’s not what he was to do. Now interestingly, when he turned it down, within three weeks, three times the amount of money came unexpectedly in other ways.
Well, what do you say about these dreams? I have a nephew in heaven who was killed at the age of fifteen, riding along in a car with a young woman in the back seat memorizing scripture. They were on their way to a Bible quiz. In the front seat (not on the passenger seat) was a young woman, a young mother, who was kind of a captain of the quiz team, and a young man driving. They hit a stretch of ice, and a truck hit them. The driver walked away, but all three of the others were killed. Well, my nephew’s name was Dallas, and his sister went through a great time of mourning because her brother was dead-she was maybe four or five years old at that time–and then God gave her a dream, and in the dream she could see Dallas being taken from the coffin all the way to heaven, and so she knew that she didn’t have to cry for him anymore. I think that that was a gift of God to a little child that says, “Okay, your brother is all right. He’s here with me.”
Well, all of that by way of introduction because Joseph had three dreams. Now, Joseph and his dreams are recorded in Matthew chapter one and chapter two and we’ll go over them hurriedly and then Joseph will teach us about dreams, but he will also be teaching us about real life.
In order to understand the first dream, you must realize that in those days when you were betrothed–that’s a good word we don’t use too often–it meant more than our engagement today. Today you can be engaged and then you can break off the engagement. Some of you young women can take that fish and throw him back into the lake, which sometimes is a good thing to do, and it just is the breaking up of a relationship. The engagement is broken.
In those days when you were betrothed it was so serious and so final that the only way that you could break that relationship was through divorce. Now there was no sexual relationship during that time, but it was a certain commitment, and that’s what Joseph and Mary had, and then Joseph discovers that Mary is pregnant. Maybe she told him. Maybe Mary’s father told him the story, and now as a young man he has to handle this surprise pregnancy, and what does he do?
So, he’s thinking to himself, “I don’t want to make a spectacle of her. I am going to divorce her privately and just move on I guess,” and it’s in that context dream number one takes place. The angel of the Lord comes, it says in verse 20 of chapter one of Matthew. It appeared to him in a dream saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill the scripture.” (Isaiah 7:14, “A virgin will conceive.”)
Notice what the dream was. It was an angel of the Lord saying, “Joseph, go ahead and marry Mary. Accept her as your wife. Name the child Jesus, and here’s the agenda for the child. He shall save his people from their sins.” This is a great Christmas verse.
You know what the real astounding thing is about all of this is that God would entrust the Messiah to a teenage girl and a young man who is not prepared to be the father of the Messiah. God says to this plain couple, unknown, unhonored, “You have the privilege of bearing the one who will save his people from their sins.” It’s absolutely astounding.
Well, that’s dream number one, and we hurry on to dream number two. You remember the wise men came to Bethlehem, and by the way, though they came to Bethlehem, they did not come to the manger. If you get a Christmas card with the wise men coming to the manger with a little blow-dried donkey standing off in the corner, you know that that is an unscriptural card. It is the shepherds that came to the manger. When Jesus is born Mary and Joseph stay in Bethlehem for a while–for maybe at least a year or two, and so when the wise men come from afar they come and they come to the house, it says, and they, of course, worship him and they leave gifts.
All right, because they don’t go back to Herod, and Herod, you remember, was deeply threatened because of Jesus. He was scared of a baby, which is interesting in itself. The Bible says that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Now we are in chapter 2 verse 13: “When they (that is, the wise men) had departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child to destroy him.’”
After the previous dream it says that Joseph did as he was told. Here it says, “He arose and took the child and his mother by night.” What an obedient man, but I find this remarkable. Jesus has a very remarkable birth but God does not do miracles to keep Him alive and to keep Him safe. When Joseph and Mary leave to go, what are we talking about? We’re talking about 60 to 80 miles. You have in your mind, I am sure, a map of Israel: there’s Jerusalem, and south of that is Bethlehem. Then they go to Hebron, to the Gaza Strip and on their way to Egypt following a caravan trail–60 to 80 miles depending on how far they went into the land of Egypt. There are no miracles, no stars, no angel, nothing but hard work and sweat and difficulty, being with a baby that’s perhaps one year old, perhaps nearly two, and finding their way all the way down to Egypt, and using the gold and the frankincense and the myrrh along the way to sustain them and to keep them in Egypt because they’re going to be there a couple of years.
And so here we have Joseph understanding that God’s purposes are not always easy. God could have made it easy. God could have made it very, very easy. What he could have simply done is to say that Jesus is going to be protected, Herod dies, whatever, but God says, “No.” He says, “You take the baby to Egypt and you escape and keep him well.”
Well, they do that, of course, and then we come to the third dream, but before I get to the third dream, let’s keep in mind that Herod, knowing that he had been tricked and deceived by the wise men who were supposed to come back and tell him where Jesus was and didn’t, became angry. And so he asked his soldiers to kill all of the male children two years of age and under in the environs of Bethlehem–to have them all massacred. Now scholars estimate that this was perhaps between 20 and 60 children based on the population of that time.
Imagine soldiers coming into a home and saying, “You have a little boy, and he fits the category. He’s two years of age or younger, and we’re going to kill him.” Herod hoped that in the process he’d kill Jesus. He did not know that Mary and Joseph had taken him to Egypt. Can you imagine that? These little children are really the first Christian martyrs. They died because of Jesus, and Jesus always causes division, as we shall see.
So now comes the third dream. Herod is dead. He killed others. By the way, Herod was really a piece of work. [laughter] If you’ve ever studied Herod, there is good evidence that they found his tomb recently in what is known as the Herodium. When you go to Jerusalem off in the distance you can see this flat mountain. That’s where he had a lot of his summer palaces, along with Masada, but anyway, it was always believed that he was buried there, and they believe that they found his burial–the place of his demise.
But when Herod died–now we’re into the third dream in verse 19–it says, “Behold an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying, ‘Rise, take this child and his mother. Go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.’” And so they leave and they come back.
Now let’s have a brief conversation with Joseph. Even though he doesn’t talk in the scripture he has a great deal to teach us, and the conversation is going to be about dreams and it’s also going to be about real life issues, and what he learned as a young man, needing to adopt and care for the Messiah.
First of all, we’d say to Joseph, “Joseph, how did you know that your dream was of God?” I think that he might answer this way, and I give these answers but also throw in some contemporary examples and issues as we go through this, because people ask about dreams. I think the first thing Joseph would say is this, that “These dreams were initiated by God. I wasn’t seeking them. I wasn’t thinking that I had to connect with an angel.”
In each of his dreams, by the way, an angel appeared and spoke. Talk about clarity, but he wasn’t seeking that, and I would say to you, and I would warn you: Don’t you ever seek angels. All those books on shelves that adorn bookstores today about angels–how you can connect with your inner angel and so forth–all those are occultic. Remember this: When you seek angels, the wrong angel might actually appear. If you are a Catholic, he might appear to you as Mary. If you are a Protestant, he might appear to you as Jesus. Well you say, “How do we know that that’s the case?” It’s because of the utterances, because of the revelations that are given with many examples of this in history. So don’t ever seek the dreams.
I think also that Joseph would say in regard to this, “If you don’t have one don’t think you are neglected by God or you are less spiritual.” Interestingly, sitting around with these pastors the other day, who have been so effectively used by God in different contexts and different ministries, there was one of them who said he has never had a dream. The others talked about, “Yeah, I think I had this dream from God,” and he said, “I’ve never had a dream from God. It’s been all just slugging hard work and trying to figure out how God is leading.” Well, that doesn’t mean he’s less important or less significant, so don’t look upon dreams as that which somehow sets you apart. Indeed, God can give dreams even to unconverted people, as in the Old Testament when Nebuchadnezzar had this awesome and amazing dream, and Daniel had the gift of interpretation. So Joseph would say, “Well I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t seeking it. I didn’t think I had it coming to me.”
The second thing that I know for sure Joseph would say is that if your dream is of God it has to be thoroughly Biblical. Now interestingly in his case, each of his dreams was a fulfillment of scripture. You can’t go wrong there, can you?
The first one, “Take Mary as your wife that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive.’” And the second one, “Go into Egypt and take the baby there so it might be fulfilled, ‘Out of Egypt have I called my son.’” God says, “Just like Israel came out of Egypt, I want my son also to come out of Egypt,” so it was fulfilling that quotation from Hosea. And then the other one “that he might be a Nazarene, so go live in Nazareth,” that is not a direct quotation from the Old Testament, by the way, but it captures the essence of Isaiah’s prophecy.
So each was rooted in Scripture. Now your dream and mine, of course, would not be a fulfillment of Scripture, but make sure that it is thoroughly, totally consistent with Scripture, and if you wonder about it, then talk to somebody who could give you some guidance as to whether or not your dream is really consistent with Scripture.
You know Muslims are coming to Christ today by the thousands–by the thousands–because of dreams about Jesus. I’ve explained to you before, but I need to say it again because it fits so well here, that the dreams themselves do not convert the Muslims to Jesus, but they have dreams about Jesus that lead them to the Word of God. For example, a number of years ago I was up at Trinity Seminary in Deerfield and I met a young man who was converted from the Muslim religion and was studying for the ministry and now is back in the Middle East. I think he’s studying–or teaching, I should say–in Bethlehem. I said, “How did you get converted?” He said, “I was brought up in Jerusalem, and I was a Muslim and I was sleeping and I had this dream about Jesus and I was just paralyzed–just plastered against my bed. I couldn’t get up, and so I prayed and I said, ‘Jesus, if you give me the strength to get out of bed I’ll find out about you.’” Well, that’s how he was able to get out of bed, and then what happens? He finds a missionary who gives him a Bible and he reads the Bible and is converted.
On another occasion I had lunch with a man who goes to Baghdad frequently. He goes to Iraq–even during the war. He was telling me about all of the ways in which people are being converted there, and more people are being saved there than you and I know about or ever hear about, but he said that a woman met him at a corner in Baghdad and she said to him, “Are you an American?” and he said, “Yes.” She said, “Can you tell me about Jesus?” Well, how did she come to ask the question? She had a dream that she was to go to a certain corner in Baghdad and there she would meet an American, and he would tell her about who Jesus was. It was a dream from Jesus.
Well, you say, “Why doesn’t that happen in this country?” I have two comments. First of all, it does, and secondly, this country is different. You can go into a Wal-Mart and you can buy a Bible, but there are many of these countries where there is no Bible, and the thing about these dreams that is so wonderful is that they become the means to drive people to the Bible to find out about Jesus. You and I have a Bible so we really don’t need the dream, do we? We’ve got “a sure word of prophecy,” as the Bible says.
Now, of course, if you have a dream that isn’t consistent with Scripture, then you know that it’s either just pieced together by your own mind, or it may come from another source. For example, I checked the Internet last night to read about some dreams. One person said, “I was in this wonderful dream and Jesus came to me and he told me that all the different religions lead to the same place.” I’m sorry, but that dream is not from the Jesus of the Bible. That’s some other Jesus that the apostle Paul warns about. All dreams, if they are from God, must be consistent with the Scripture.
I read of another dream by a man who said, “I was in a store and Jesus was helping me there in the store and then suddenly Jesus walked away and I was following him, and then my girlfriend woke me up.” Am I going too fast for you today here? [laughter] Hey, my friend, if that dream was from God it would be a dream of repentance, it seems to me, for your lifestyle.
So don’t think that every time there’s a vision of Jesus that it all has to be interpreted and come out as if to say it is from God. It must be tested by Scripture.
Thirdly, I think Joseph would say this, and I think that this is very important. He would say, “The meaning (or the intention of the dream should become clear.” You know, Joseph, of course, had the advantage of just hearing God speak through the angel. It was the angel who said, “Joseph, don’t fear to take Mary as your wife,” and “Joseph go into Egypt,” and “Joseph, come out of Egypt.” That was a tremendous advantage because it wasn’t just images. It was a clear message.
Now if you find that you have dreamt a dream that is unclear and you think that it is somehow of God, that’s fine, but don’t obsess over it. If God wants to give you more light and more clarity, he is very capable of doing that. He knows your address. He knows where you live and he can get you more light if he wants it.
You know, if I were to communicate with one of my daughters, and I were to do it in codes, and then later on I’d blame her because she never understood the code, I don’t think so. If I communicated in codes and she wasn’t getting it, I’d help her get it if I wanted her to get the message. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out a mystery that is wrapped in an enigma. Don’t do that.
Now once you get an interpretation you can bounce it off of somebody but I have to tell you, and this is important to say, I don’t have the gift of interpretation of dreams. I’ve had people come to me and say, “Pastor, I dreamed this dream,” and they go on and on and on and then ask, “What do you think it means?” My dear friend, I love you but I have no idea what it means. None. As far as I know we don’t have a Daniel on staff who can interpret it for you.
Now, mind you, once you come up with an interpretation, you can bounce it off of somebody–but somebody who is wise. Do you remember that story about the farmer in Iowa? He was lying in the field one day and he was looking up in the clouds and he fell asleep, and in his dream the clouds came together. First of all, the letter “P” appeared, and then the letter “c” appeared. All the other clouds vanished; it was just “p c,” and he thought to himself, “What could that possibly mean? Clearly it’s from God. It must mean Preach Christ,” so he convinced his wife to sell the farm, and so forth, but he had no natural gifts. He had no church, he had nothing. A wise man heard his dream and said, “You know, I think you got the right initials but you got the wrong words. I think what God was saying to you was, ‘Plant corn.’” [laughter] So you can get some wisdom from that.
God has many ways to communicate. When he wanted to communicate to the wise men he used a star. When he wanted to communicate with Mary it was with the angel, and of course, when it was with Joseph, it was in a dream and with an angel, just to make sure that he got the message, and he got it clear.
Don’t be worried about unclear dreams. Read the Word, study the Word and pray, and if God is trying to guide you, He’s got all kinds of ways to do it.
Now if we talked to Joseph, I think he’d also give us some lessons about life. It would be wonderful to talk with him some time in heaven, as perhaps we will have the opportunity to do. In fact, I am sure, and you know what? Take as much time as you want. I mean when you are talking to Joseph if you want to spend six months with the guy, do it. We’ve got all of eternity, and that is a long time.
So, I think that Joseph would say this: “The most important things sometime happen to the most unimportant people.” The most IMPORTANT things, or maybe I could say it this way, the most extraordinary things often happen to very, very ordinary people. Joseph wasn’t walking around thinking to himself that he would like to be the legal father of the Messiah. I mean, just think about the task that is before him. By the way, have you ever thought of what it would have been like to raise Jesus? The Bible says that Jesus had both brothers and sisters. They would be half-brothers and half-sisters. We’re going to point this out next time. Whatever you do, don’t miss next week when we talk about his broader family, but I mean, just imagine. One of them is named Simon, the Bible says in the book of Mark. That was one of Jesus Christ’s half-brothers. You can imagine Joseph trying to administer discipline. He asks, “All right, who stole that cookie?” One of the children answers, “I think Jesus did. No, Dad, I guess he didn’t. Jesus just doesn’t do those things.” Can you imagine living with an elder brother who is the Messiah? He never sins?
Some of you say, “Well, I have a brother who thinks he doesn’t, but this is the real deal.” Now I’m not saying that Jesus cut every board in the carpenter shop to the right length, but there was no question but that morally and spiritually He did not sin, and Joseph has to raise this boy, and as he looks across the breakfast table, and they are eating their bagels, there’s no way that he can look into that boy’s face and notice his own image. Nobody ever said, “Oh Joseph, Jesus looks just like you,” and he’s going to adopt this boy and raise Him. He wasn’t equipped to do that, but like a friend of mine sometimes says, “Sometimes Jesus doesn’t call the equipped. Sometimes He equips the called,” and Jesus comes along to you and to me– very ordinary people–very ordinary. In fact, I shouldn’t really say this, but I will. One day there were some people lined up and they wanted me to autograph a book and things for them and my daughter said later, “Dad, why do people come and talk to you? You’re so ordinary,” and I thought, “Yeah, exactly.” You know we excel in ordinariness.
Jesus loves to take ordinary people and give them something very extraordinary to do. Oh, we’ll never be asked to raise Jesus, for sure, but think of the areas of ministry. Think of the gifting. Think of the calling of God upon your life, and how you fit into Moody Church. Today I was sitting beside a couple who have been coming here for six months. Where do they fit in? Where do you fit in? Where do we all fit in in terms of the scheme of God? You have no idea how God may use the words that you say to someone at Christmas and bring them to a concert or an Advent service. You have no idea how extraordinary that might sometimes be because we never get to see that which is the extraordinary–or seldom we do.
God seldom allows any of us to know how much we are being used. Joseph would say, “Sometimes the most ordinary person is given an extraordinary responsibility and an extraordinary privilege,” so if you are ordinary today you qualify.
Secondly, I think that Joseph would say that one of the things he learned is that the son that he had to raise (from the legal standpoint of being his father) is always dividing people. You know, I mean here he is and he goes into Egypt, and what does Herod do? He kills these 20– maybe as many as 60–boys. He kills them all because of Jesus, and you know Mary and Joseph had to live with that. They knew that this massacre was because of their Son. What in the world is it with this child that should make Herod be so fearful and get him so rattled, and all Jerusalem with him? I mean, who in the world is afraid of a baby? But Herod was so insecure and so evil that he thought if someone was born King of the Jews he wanted to wipe Him out.
Interestingly, when Jesus was crucified, Pilate, who had his ear to the ground, and had a good sense of human nature, said that “it was for envy (actually) that they delivered him.” That’s what the Bible says. Pilate says that it was for envy. The thing about Jesus that irked people was that he had a following and was able to do some wonderful things that made other people look bad, and for that they wanted to rub him out, but Jesus always divides people.
He divides people today. You say, “Oh, no, no, no. He unifies people. At Christmas everybody is pro-Jesus. Everybody says He is wonderful.” Do you know why they say that? It’s because they’ve created in their minds an image of Jesus that does not really exist. They’ve created another Jesus–a Jesus who just loved people, who tolerated everything. It doesn’t matter what you believe. It doesn’t matter what you belong to. Jesus is just loving and accepting everybody. I’m sorry. That’s not the Jesus of the New Testament. He was loving, but He also divided people because He said, “Your eternal destiny is determined by your relationship with me.” I mean, imagine standing there and saying to the disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” and then Peter, of course, comes out and says, “You are the son of the living God.” And then Jesus had the nerve to say to people, “He who believes on me has everlasting life; he that doesn’t believe on me shall be damned.” That’s the Jesus that we worship, but that’s not the Jesus that the world in general worships or adores at Christmas. No, He’s a helpless little baby who touches everybody’s hearts.
Imagine that verse in 2 Thessalonians that says, “Someday he will come in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the glory of his power.” Wow. Just imagine that Jesus. No wonder it says in the gospel of John a number of times, “and there was a division among them.” Whenever confronted with Christ there was a division among them, and Joseph would say, “Yeah, my son was one who divided people.” You were either for him or you were against him, and so it is still today.
You may be here today as one whom Jesus has redeemed, but you also may be here today as one whom He has not redeemed because your relationship with Him is not personal. Your relationship with Him is a relationship that is based upon what you know and what you’ve admired, but you’ve never received Him as your redeemer and your savior. Could I end this message with the words of the angel to Joseph in the first dream? “He shall be called Jesus because he shall save his people from their sins.”
You come today to church as a sinner. By the way, those are the only kind of people we allow in here. If you’re not a sinner you don’t belong. Come and see us and we’ll find some other place for you. [applause] This is for sinners, and He came to redeem you and to save you–to forgive your sins, to reconcile you to God, but it isn’t indiscriminate to everybody. It’s given to those who believe and to those who say, “Jesus, be my savior–be my savior.
The child that Joseph and Mary raised was a baby, but is King of kings, Lord and lords, God of all gods, and in the end, everyone will worship Him as King and as God.
Would you join me as we pray?
Our Father, we ask in Jesus’ name that during this Christmas season you might help us to appreciate, to adore and to worship Jesus. Thank You for Joseph. Thank You for his silence, but thank You also for his obedience, as over and over again it says, “And he got up and he did what you told him.” Make us that willing to be obedient, and for those who have never trusted Christ as Savior, if they are here today and they’ve never believed on Him, would they do that right now.
And now I am speaking to you, my friend. You’ve never trusted Christ. Would you say right even where you are seated, or maybe you are watching on the Internet, or listening on the radio, would you say, “Lord Jesus, I receive you at this moment.”
Father, we are dependent on the Holy Spirit to do Your work, because we sure can’t, but we trust You. Redeem Your people. Save Your people from their sins. In Jesus’ name, Amen.