- Romans 15:1-7 - “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." 4For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
First Prayer Request
Romans 15:6 speaks to the heart of why we exist. It speaks to the purpose of creation, and therefore it speaks to the ultimate goal of our prayers, to glorify God.
Some of you in this room may not be aware of this reality. Perhaps you have bought into the destructive lie that you are a random set of events and that you are no different morally or spiritually than the chair you sit in. If that describes you, then my goal is to, by the grace of God, to lift the veil from your eyes. For God does have a plan for you and you are not a cosmic accident, you are created to glorify God. The Bible is clear about this.
- Isaiah 43:7 – “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
- Romans 11:36 – “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
The Word of God is littered with verses pointing to this truth; that we exist for one singular, ultimate purpose, to glorify God; which leads us to my first prayer request for you today. It is a prayer that Jesus prayed himself in Matthew 6:9.
- Matthew 6:9 – “Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
Let us with one voice join Christ and pray that the God of the Universe would be hallowed, would be glorified, in your heart, in your home, in your job, in your community, in your school, in the State, in the Nation, in the World. Pray that God would move in the hearts of mankind and cause them to see the beauty of who He is.
Second Prayer Request
How does God go about answering that prayer? Is it something that He just does independently? To answer this question, I think we need to recognize first that giving God glory does not comes naturally.
- Romans 3:23 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Instead of mankind singing out in a singular chorus of the Glory of God we instead whistle our own tunes. We march to our own drum beat; therefore instead of unity we have chaos. We have the clashing of notes and the clashing of lives and the clashing of families and the clashing of political parties and the clashing of nations.
When we live independent of God, living our way, and not God’s way, we make a mess out of everything. We make a mess out of our lives, our families, our schools, our businesses, our states, our nations, our world. When we live for our glory and not God’s Glory it is like using a bike to sail the ocean. It is a recipe for failure. It is suicide. Not only do we make a mess out of this world, but God is not happy.
- Romans 1:18 – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
All of us will stand in judgment for our failure to give God the glory he deserves, and underneath the wrathful hand of God is not a good place to be. So how do we fix the glory problem? What is the answer? The answer is Jesus Christ.
This is the reason Jesus came to earth, to fix the glory problem. The Son of God came and lived the God-glorifying life that we could not live. He is the only one who has ever lived that was without sin. He was perfectly obedient, even to the point of death. The Son of God then laid down his life and absorbed the wrath of God for you and for me on the cross. He died in your place, and by believing this good news we receive forgiveness for our sins and eternal life. This is what we call the Gospel. And it is this gospel that the followers of Jesus must proclaim so as to open up the hearts of people. Listen to what Jesus says in Mark 16:15-16.
- Mark 16:15-16 – “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
The way that we call people to turn from a self-glorifying life to a God-glorifying life, is by proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the trumpet that calls people out of darkness and into light. The gospel is the way by which the Glory of God spreads through the hearts of man.
This leads me to my second prayer request. Once again it is a prayer request made by Jesus himself in Matthew 9:36.
- Matthew 9:36 – “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
Just as Jesus commanded us to do, let us with one voice pray that God would send out Gospel proclaiming laborers. Pray earnestly that God would stir the hearts of his disciples to have compassion on the lost sheep and run to them with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Third Prayer Request
Once again, how does God go about answering this prayer? How do laborers come about? Is it something that naturally happens within our churches? No, it does not. To be a laborer it takes strength, it takes endurance, it takes equipping. And these things come from soaking in the living and active Word of God. You can see this in our text for today.
- Romans 15:4 – “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Today in our homes and in our churches we have a crisis. The crisis is that we are biblically starving, and therefore we are too weak to be Gospel laborers. We are too weak to endure the trials and tribulations. We are ill-equipped and unprepared to give an answer for our faith in Jesus Christ. Instead of eating at the banquet of God’s Word, we rummage in trash cans of this world and eat garbage. Listen to 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4 – “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
I wonder, for America, if that time is now. When we walk into our churches is the world preached, or is the Word preached. Do we hire pastors to make us feel comfortable in our sin, or do we hire teachers that proclaim the piercing truth of God?
- 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
Which leads me to my third, and final prayer request. Once again, it is a prayer of Jesus himself in John 17:16-18. This is the prayer Jesus prayed the night he was arrested. It was a prayer for his laborers, the disciples.
- John 17:16-18 – “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. “
Let us with one voice pray that there would be a reformation in our hearts, in our homes, and in our Churches. Let us repent and turn back to the living Word of God. Let us saturate our lives with the sanctifying Word of God. So that we will be equipped to be sent to proclaim the Gospel and enlighten the hearts of the lost to see the beauty of Jesus Christ and therefore glorify God. Let us pray with one voice that the Glory of God would cover the earth like the waters cover the sea.