“If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command” (1 Corinthians 14:37).

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Sunday morning I will be the Assisting Elder, and in addition to welcoming everyone to church, part of that service to the Lord will be offering a Prayer of Confession and an Assurance of Forgiveness, at the beginning of worship. Since the Spirit moved on my heart especially strong, I thought it would be good to share them here as well. I also want to take this opportunity to expand a little on other places I believe the Spirit led me this week, which I won’t have the opportunity to venture to on Sunday. I find it interesting, and by no means coincidental, the apostle Paul closing chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians with such a bold declaration: “If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command” (37).

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Prayer of Confession
(1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Timothy 4:3)

From 1 Corinthians 14:
“If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.”

From 2 Timothy 4:
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

Please bow your heads.

Heavenly Father, we pray to discern Your will from what our itching ears wish to hear. Soften our hearts, Holy Spirit, so that in the same way we allow You to encourage us, we allow You to convict us as well. Help us in our weakness Lord, for obedience follows repentance.

Let us now take a few moments for silent reflection and prayer.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness
(Psalm 103:12; 2 Timothy 2:24-26)

From Psalm 103:
“[A]s far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

From 2 Timothy 2:
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

You see, brothers and sisters, it is because we have been forgiven, it is because our many sins have been scattered as far as the east is from the west, that we must, in turn, be kind to everyone, not resentful, and patient, as our Heavenly Father has been patient with us. For in Jesus Christ alone our sins are forgiven! Let us share the peace we now have with God with each other, our neighbors, and the whole world!

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I encourage everyone to read Psalm 103, 1 Corinthians 14, 2 Timothy 2, and 2 Timothy 4 in their entireties. Pray and weigh carefully, in humility, what the Lord is speaking through His Word. Even if the truth is difficult to receive, the blessing of wisdom and peace will be well worth any fleeting carnal loss, as I have written about concerning my own life. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Whereas the law made certain class distinctions, to which the apostle Paul was referring here, we are now one Body, in Spirit, each one of us called by God according to His Word. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21); therefore, may the Body of Christ set aside such shortsighted human notions as the eye is greater than the ear, or the work assigned to the foot is greater than that assigned to the hand (1 Corinthians 12:15-20); all are indispensable in God’s plan. Should the knee covet the work God called the nose to do? Certainly not! (1 Corinthians 11; 1 Timothy 2; 2 Timothy 3; Titus 2).

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