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Sovereign of the Storm

Tom Pennington • Mark 4:35-41

  • 2016-09-18 AM
  • Sermons


This morning I want us to turn, in our preparation for the Lord's table, to something from the life of Christ. Turn with me to Mark chapter 4. Lord-willing, next week, we will return to our study of the epistle to the Romans, but today I want us to look at Christ, as we prepare for the Lord's table, I want us to see Him again. I miss this opportunity, even though I love Romans, and so from time to time on communion Sundays, this is what we're going to do. And I love this passage that we come to this morning. Sheila and I have often joked that I am imminently qualified to start a natural disaster ministry. I have been in many of them, growing up in Mobile and now living in Dallas, I have survived countless thunderstorms. My family and I, when I was growing up, have weathered several hurricanes. We have gathered in our storm closet as a tornado passed nearby, and when I lived in LA, we had a hundred-foot wall of fire that was pressing down and came within a quarter-mile of our home, we were on the verge of evacuation, and of course we rode out the 1994 Northridge earthquake, just ten miles from the epicenter. Those were not only exciting and exhilarating experiences, they were also profound experiences in my life. Because in every case, I was left awestruck by what was really the mere fringes of the power of Jesus Christ. That's exactly the experience that the disciples had one evening on the Sea of Galilee, and it's what I want us to study together this morning. Let me read it for you, Mark chapter 4, beginning in verse 35. "On that day, when evening came, Jesus said to the twelve, 'Let us go over to the other side.' Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, 'Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?' And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Hush, be still.' And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, 'Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?' They became very much afraid and said to one another, 'Who, then, is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?'". This story occurs in 3 of the 4 gospels, here in Mark, as well as in Matthew chapter 8 and in Luke 8. It's an important event from the life of Christ because Jesus carefully constructed it in order to teach the Twelve and us some really important lessons. First of all, a lesson about who He is. that He is, in fact, the Lord of creation, the sovereign of all things also to teach us a lesson about the storms, metaphorically speaking, the storms of this life. JC Ryle said, "the key lesson we learn from this story is that following Christ doesn't mean that we won't have sorrows and trials in this life. And also to teach us about trusting him in the midst of those storms." This is one of the most loved stories from the life of Jesus, and its message, or really its messages, there are several of them, are compelling. Now this morning, as we think about it, I want us in this account to see five foundational principles about Jesus' sovereignty over the storm. And there are a couple of storms going on here, and I want you to see that these are, in fact, in the text. First of all, you see Jesus sovereignty over the literal storm that impacted the weather on the Sea of Galilee. And of course in light of that all storms. But I think also, and perhaps more importantly, you see Jesus' sovereignty over the personal storms of life that impacted the disciples that day. It was both at the same time, they found themselves in the middle of a trial as well as in the middle of a literal storm. And there are lessons here about both. So let's look at these lessons together. First of all, the first foundational principle we see in this text is that when we find ourselves in the storm, it is always by Jesus' design. We see this in verses 35 to 37, notice verse 35 "On that day", this is part of a long, grueling day for Jesus that began all the way back in chapter 3, verse 20. It is the longest day of ministry recorded for us in scripture. When you put the synoptic accounts together, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, on that one day, Jesus began His day by healing a demon possessed man. And out of that healing, He was accused by the Pharisees of being in league with Satan himself. It was a major turn in the approach of the Pharisees. In addition to that, He went into one of the homes there in Capernaum and He was teaching and the crowds were all around Him, packed into this house, and His family shows up, especially His brothers who thought He had gone insane, And they were there to take him back to Nazareth. Jesus then later left that house where He was teaching and He went out and got in a boat just offshore of the sea of Galilee. And He taught the crowds, Matthew 13, the kingdom parables, some of the most important and potent teaching in the ministry of Jesus. And then He took his disciples privately into a home and explained many of those parables to them. It was still on that same long, grueling day that, verse 35 says, "on that day when evening came". Now, in Jewish reckoning, there were two evenings, technically. The first evening began at three and lasted till sunset. The second evening began at sunset and lasted till dark. We don't know which is intended here, but clearly it's late in the day, sometime after 3:00 PM and before dark and probably on the later side, because of all that's transpired. Verse 35, He said to them "Let us go over to the other side." meaning, the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Now, we call this body of water, the Sea of Galilee. It's a bit of a misnomer, It's actually a freshwater lake. It's fed by rainfall, of course, but it's also fed by the Jordan river, which enters it at the north and flows out of it at the south. And in addition, on the northern side, there are some freshwater Springs that feed the lake. Its name in the Old Testament and in modern Hebrew is not the Sea of Galilee, but rather, Kinneret. The Hebrew word kinneret simply means harp, because if you look at the Sea of Galilee on a map, it is in the shape of an ancient harp. It's 13 miles long, from top to bottom, and 7 miles wide at its widest point. The rabbis said, "God created the Seven Seas, yet He has chosen this one as His special delight.". This lake still figures prominently in the modern nation of Israel. In fact, it is its main water reservoir, the modern nation of Israel gets almost half of its freshwater from the Sea of Galilee. Now, you'll notice that Jesus has been teaching in Capernaum. Capernaum was a city on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. And He told the Twelve that he wanted them to leave Capernaum, and He wanted them to travel by boat to the Southeast corner of the Lake. We know that because in chapter five, they arrive at the country of the Gerasenes, which was in the Southeast corner. That's a trip of about 12 to 13 at the most 14 miles. It's a long trip in a small boat. Now, Matthew tells us something very important to the story, because Matthew says Jesus gave orders to depart to the other side. In other words, this wasn't a suggestion. Jesus had something specific in mind. He commanded them to get in the boat and let's go across to the other side. Now, Jesus didn't explain, at least not in the text of scripture, why they needed to go to the other side, perhaps it was because Jesus needed the rest. I mean, this has been a very long, very hard, grueling day in the life and ministry of Jesus. And of course, as soon as they're on the lake, he apparently falls asleep in the boat. He may have wanted to leave that area where he had taught all day, to leave the people, to think about the ramifications of all He'd taught, let them meditate on it and ruminate on it rather than just be borne along by the excitement of the next event. He may have had in mind, a specific ministry that He wanted to perform down in the Southeast corner. You'll remember in chapter five, He heals the two demoniacs, particularly one of them has mentioned, the demoniac of Gadara and that man becomes the first New Testament missionary to the Gentiles. So it may be that that was in His mind. But regardless of all of that, I think certainly we can say that Jesus, as He often did, was setting up these circumstances to test and to strengthen the disciples' faith. Verse 36, "Leaving the crow, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was, and other boats were with Him." Jesus obviously had initiated the trip, He had ordered them to take the trip, but Jesus was not a fisherman by trade. He didn't own His own boat. However, several of His disciples were fishermen by trade and did own a boat. And so here it says that they took Jesus along with them in the boat. The expression "just as He was" probably simply means that they didn't make any preparation. They'd expected, after a long day teaching in Capernaum, they'd spend the night there, that was Jesus' headquarters. But instead, Jesus orders an impromptu trip, and there was no time to prepare, just get in the boat, let's go. Now verse 36 also says "other boats were with Him." You say, 'what importance does that bear in the story?' There's none that we can see. And so likely this is just one of those eye witness details that those who were there see. Remember Mark wasn't there, but he's getting this record from whom? From Peter. And so you just see the reality of the fact that these were real historical events and as Peter's recollecting them to Mark, he remembers, you know, 'there were other boats that left with us', and he doesn't tell us what happened to them, but they were there as well. Verse 37, "And there arose a fierce Gale of wind." Literally the Greek text says "a great storm of wind". The Septuagint uses this same word for storm in Job 38, one of a whirlwind, of a hurricane, of a tornado. Matthew calls what happened to the boat on the lake "a shaking". In other words, it's as if the entire lake was shaken as if with an earthquake by the storm and the wind of this particular event. Now, you shouldn't be surprised by reading this because of its geography Lake Kinneret, or the sea of Galilee, is especially susceptible to violent storms. First of all, it is 685 feet below sea level. It is the second lowest lake on earth. Only the Dead Sea is lower, and of course it's salt, not fresh. Another feature of the Lake that adds to its volatility is how shallow it is. It's only, at its deepest point, about 160 feet deep. And surrounding the Lake on three sides are high mountains, on the North side, about 30 miles away, is Mount Hermon. Mount Herman is at 9,200 feet above sea level. To the West, toward the Mediterranean, are the cliffs of Arbel, which rise high above the lake. And then on the East of the lake towards the Arabian desert are steep, dry mountains that rise 2,000 feet higher than the sea of Galilee, we know them today as the Golan Heights. So picture this Lake then like a little saucer of water in this big bowl. And cut through the mountains and cliffs on the East and West are deep ravines. You can see what happens, the sun comes out, and it can be very hot in the summer in Galilee, below sea level as it is. And the sun heats the lake and that hot air rises. And as the hot air rises, the cooler air from the surrounding mountains rushes down through those steep ravines. And as it rushes down to the lake surface, it picks up speed. And when that cool, dry rushing air collides with the hot moist air lying on the surface of the shallow lake, violent storms are created. Todd Bolen, who's a professor at the Master's University, lived for many years in Israel. He's put together a really helpful little study of the geography of the land, and he writes this, "The peaceful calm of the sea of Galilee can quickly become transformed by a violent storm. Winds funnel through the Eastwest-aligned Galilee hill country and stir up the waters quickly. More violent are the winds that come off the hills of the Golan Heights to the East. Trapped in the basin, the winds can be deadly to fishermen. A storm in March of 1992 sent waves, 10 feet high crashing into downtown Tiberius and causing significant damage.". This is the kind of storm Jesus and his disciples encountered that day. It was the storm of the century. Several of these men, you remember, were seasoned fishermen. They had grown up on this lake. They had fished this lake countless times before they knew it like the back of their hand. They had been there for storms before, but verse 40 tells us, in this storm, they were terrified. They were afraid. Verse 37 explains what was happening, the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. It was in 1986 that archeologists in Israel unearthed from the shore of the Sea of Galilee buried in the mud, a first century boat. From those remnants, they built a model of a first century boat, the kind that our Lord was often on. It was about 27 feet long, eight feet wide and four and a half feet deep. It's the kind of boat that could have easily held the 13 men, Jesus plus the disciples that were on it on this occasion. It was propelled by two long oars primarily, they would use the wind some as well, but it was propelled by two long oars. And there were four rowers, two on each oar obviously on each side of the boat. That's the kind of boat that Jesus and his disciples were in. Now this kind of boat was made primarily for fishing, and so the sides were understandably low. Most of the time, the sea of Galilee is pretty calm, it could even be just quiet. So it wasn't designed for this kind of storm. We read that the waves were breaking over the boat so much that it was beginning to fill. Matthew says the boat was covered with the waves. Luke says they began to be swamped and to be in danger. Now, what I want you to see here is that the disciples found themselves in a storm, both a literal storm, but also metaphorically a storm, a personal trial in their lives. It was both at the same time. And they were there by divine design. They were caught in a raging violent storm, and at that very moment, they were exactly where Jesus wanted them to be. He had ordered them to be there. Now you can immediately see the application for us, when we find ourselves in the middle of life's storms, we often conclude we must've taken a wrong turn somewhere. Surely this can't be God's purpose, but understand that our Lord's will often takes us not around the storm, but into the storm and through the storm. Listen, if you find yourself in the middle of one of life's violent storms right now, understand, it is not an accident. It is by our Lord's design. He puts you in that storm just as truly as he put the Twelve in the storm in which they found them. Now there's a second principle that we can learn from the story, and that is when we're in the storm, we often don't sense God's care and presence. Verse 38, "Jesus Himself was in the stern asleep on the cushion". All three synoptic gospels that mentioned the story, all mentioned that Jesus was asleep. By the way, this is the only time the gospels say Jesus slept. Of course we know he slept, He was fully human. He slept every night like you and I do, except for just a few nights in His life, when we're told that He stayed awake to pray. But most of the time He slept, He took naps. He was often fatigued and because of the crush of ministry. And so here we find Jesus after such a long, difficult day, asleep. Luke implies that Jesus went to sleep soon after they left the land. Again, if you think of that century boat in the stern, there was a paneled area, it's where the steersman sat. And usually, there was a cushion there and the cushion was typically made of leather. Jesus was asleep, apparently there on that leather cushion on which the steersman normally sat. His sleeping in the midst of this storm tells us just how tired Jesus was. He was physically and emotionally exhausted. It had been one of the longest, most grueling days of His life. Have you ever had one of those days where it starts early and it runs to late, and it is crushing with all of the things that come from every direction, problems arise, things to deal with life seems to have no end to the uncertainties that can bring, and you finish that day and fall into bed, exhausted. Listen, Jesus understands. He too had days like that, this was one of them. His sleeping also shows us not only his fatigue, but I think it shows us His tranquil faith in the Father. As the storm rages he's asleep. He's not worried, He's not in fear. Verse 38 says "the disciples woke him and said to him 'teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?'" Literally they asked Jesus, 'is it not a care to you?'. It seemed to them that Jesus was letting them face this storm alone without His help. Have you ever felt that way? The disciples did. We all have. And because of that, they were tempted to think that Jesus didn't care. Give the disciples a little credit, having exhausted their own resources as fishermen, they turn to Jesus, a carpenter, to help. That means that they had some idea and understanding of who He was. It's going to grow in this very incident, but they knew He was able to help them, He wasn't exercising any concern, they thought. Now what I want you to catch is that because of the storm and because Jesus was permitting it and because He wasn't helping them in it, their first response was to doubt his concern, His care. 'Do you not care about what we're going through?' Listen, when the storms come, our first response like theirs is to try to use our own knowledge and resources first. That's what they did, they're fishermen. 'We deal with this', 'I got this covered', 'I just need to plan this out', 'I can handle this'. And then when we've exhausted our own resources and knowledge, but we're still in the middle of the storm. When the doctor says, 'I don't know what's wrong with you. I don't really have anything else to do to help', or any number of other responses in the middle of the storm. What are we tempted to do? We're tempted to question that our Lord really cares for us. We don't feel His presence at that moment and we don't see His help, and so we're tempted to doubt one of three things, either His wisdom in where He's put us, His love and concern for us, or His power to do anything about it. That's what we're tempted to do. But I don't want you to miss the key point here: as they were concerned, as they were afraid, as they were worried, as they were even accusing Jesus of not caring, where was Jesus? He was in the boat. Just like with them, so with us, Jesus is always in the boat. He always is with us. He always cares. I love John 13:1, as Jesus contemplates His crucifixion that's coming, and all of the night's events of the Thursday night of the night of Passover. It says this, that "Jesus loved his own perfectly" or to the nth degree, or to the maximum. He still does. He did. When he was asleep on the stern, He does. When you find yourself in the storm, feeling alone, His love hasn't changed. In addition to that, think of the Father. I mean, after all, the eyes of the Father himself were fixed on that little boat bobbing on the surface of the Lake of Kinneret, there was nowhere in the universe the disciples could have been safer. Jesus was with them in the boat. I don't know what kind of storm, Christian, you find yourself in, but I want you to know it is by Christ's design. It's not an accident. He has you exactly where He wanted you. And regardless of how you may feel, regardless of what your emotions may be telling you, understand this, He cares for you. And He is involved in the circumstances of your storm as He was in theirs, and He's in the boat. To change metaphors the way David put it in Psalm 23:4 is he said, "even though I walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death", through the darkest Valley, "I don't fear any evil". Why? "for You are with me". Old Testament, New Testament, shepherd, boat, doesn't matter, Jesus is with you in the storm. Third principle, we learned about Jesus' sovereignty over the storm is that when we're in the storm, we must always remember that Jesus can easily calm it, in His time. Verse 39, "Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "hush, be still", that can be translated, "be quiet and be muzzled". Verse 39 says, "and the wind died down and it became perfectly calm". You know, I love our children's ministries. I love that we teach our children the Bible. I am not talking about flannelgraph here, I'm not speaking against flannelgraph, but I wish there were times that you had never been exposed to the story. I wish you'd never seen it on flannelgraph, I wish you'd never read it. I wish you were reading this for the first time and it really gripped you, what happens here. Do you understand that Jesus, with a mere word, with a verbal command, speaks and a violent storm just stops, in progress, immediately. Hurricane force winds become a dead calm, and the sea doesn't gradually calm down, as it does after a typical storm. Immediately after the words left Jesus' mouth that Lake, with its massive swells up to perhaps 10 feet high, suddenly turned into a sheet of glass, a mirror in which you could see yourself. You really catch this in the Greek. In the Greek text, Mark says that the storm was a 'great storm', The Greek word is 'mega'. This was a 'meg storm'. And then he says the calm was a 'mega calm'. In one moment, the wind and the waves become exactly the opposite of what they had been the moment before. That's power, from a mega storm, to a mega calm in seconds. Jesus still controls all of creation. The literal winds and waves still obey His voice. He is still sovereign over the physical storms that race across the surface of this planet. I hope you understand that God controls our weather. I wish I had time to take you to texts like Job 37, and there you have a picture of God in the storm. Or Psalm 29, which is really a celebration of the thunderstorm. Or Psalm 135, where it describes God's intimate involvement in shaping the weather on this planet. Isaac Watts, in his classic hymn, captures this when he says "clouds arise and tempest blow by order from thy throne". But this story reminds us that it's not God, generically, that controls the weather. It is the Son who controls our weather. Shouldn't surprise us, I mean, after all, He made all things. John 1:3 says, "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being". Colossians 1:16, "For by Him, all things were created, both in the heavens and on Earth. All things that have been created through Him and for Him." He also sustains and directs all things. Colossians 1:17, "In Him, all things hold together." Hebrews 1:3, "He upholds all things by the word of His power". But not only does Jesus control the physical storms that occur in creation, He also controls the storms of trouble and trial that He sovereignly brings into our lives. You ever thought about this? Jesus could keep you from the storm, If He chose. He could stop the storm in a moment, If He chose or he can choose to sustain you and keep you in and through the storm, regardless, understand this. Our Lord doesn't always stop the storm, when we would like we can, like the disciples, reach a point in the storm where we feel like we are going down. 'Don't you care that we are perishing?'. He has his own reasons for leaving us in the storm longer than we think we can stand it. But Christian don't ever forget in the storm that your Lord could end it easily with a word if He chose to do so, when it's His time. The fourth principle about Jesus' power over the storm is, when we're in the storm, it is a test of our faith. Verse 40, "He said to them, 'why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?'". Jesus spoke to them directly, but still gently. Now remember they had just awakened Him with an accusation, 'You don't care about us'. Jesus never mentions it. I love that. It's like Psalm 103, "He knows our frame. He remembers that we're dust". He does, however, gently rebuke them. And what Jesus says in verse 40 is crucial to understand what's going on here, because Jesus' comments in verse 40 make it clear that this storm was not primarily about physical realities, although it certainly was a real storm, but about spiritual realities. It was a test of their faith and it was intended to strengthen their faith. Literally notice what he says to them, He says, 'why are you afraid?' in the original, 'Why are you cowardly? Do you still have no faith?' By the way, that doesn't mean they had no faith at all, they obviously had believed in Christ, they were his followers. Matthew says it this way. 'Why are you of little faith?' That's the point. You know what Jesus was saying to them and what he says to us, when we are afraid in the middle of life's storms? This is what Jesus would say. 'After all I've taught you about who I am, after all I've shown you of my power, do you still not completely trust me?'. Their fear showed a lack of faith in Jesus, in His power. And by the way, every time we are afraid in the middle of the storm, while it's human and understandable, at the same time it reflects a lack of confidence in Jesus and who He is. You see, when we find ourselves in the storm, it's always a test, a test of our faith. Do we really believe Jesus is in charge? Do we believe that He has put us in that storm by His own design? And do we believe that He can keep us through the storm or change our circumstances, if He chooses, with a word. That brings us to a fifth and final principle, when we're in the storm, we should fear Christ more than our circumstances. Verse 41, "they became very much afraid and said to one another, 'who then is this? That even the wind and the sea obey Him'", literally, 'they feared with a great fear'. It's a Hebrew way of saying it. Notice they had been afraid with the storm outside their boat, but they were very much afraid of the Lord in their boat. John MacArthur writes "The only thing more frightening than having the storm outside your boat is having God in your boat." The disciples still don't fully understand who Jesus is and the light of His blazing glory, but they do understand who He is, at least in some shadow sense. 'Who then is this?'. In Matthew, they say, "what kind of a man is this", Verse 41 "'that even the wind and the sea obey Him?". These men had seen Jesus' power over sickness and disease and over demons again and again and again. But here they see His power over the creation and they begin to see more clearly who He really is. As William Hendrickson writes, "People talk about the weather a lot to be sure, but it takes God to change the weather." It's Jesus who commands the elements of the weather with a result that even the wind obeys Him, and so does the sea. So understand here that the storm not only tested their faith, but it strengthened their faith in Jesus. And, oh by the way, the storms in your life are intended to accomplish the very same thing. James 1, "Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various trials", why? Verse 3, "Because the testing of your faith produces endurance." In other words, stronger faith in Christ. So what are the lessons from this story for us? Very briefly, there are three of them. Number one, Jesus Christ is utterly unique. He alone is the God-man. You see the ultimate point of this story is not about the disciples, it's about Jesus, "who then is this?", or as Matthew has it, "what kind of a man is this?". I mean, clearly He was a man. In this very story, Jesus is so exhausted that He stays asleep through a violent storm, His body being tossed back and forth by the waves, the cold spray of the water against His face and all the noise that accompanies that kind of storm. Clearly human. But a moment later He rebuked the wind and the waves and they were immediately quiet. Jesus was human, but He wasn't merely human. Only God has the power to command the wind and the sea. I wish I had time to take you back to the Old Testament and show you that, but the fact that Jesus spoke to the wind and the waves and that they immediately obeyed is unequivocal proof that He is also God. On the Lake that night, the disciples saw that Jesus is absolutely unique. He was utterly exhausted one moment and exercising the power of God the next. What they saw was the God-man, this story is intended to show you, again, who Jesus really is. If you're here this morning and you're not in Christ, listen, this is another invitation to you to turn from your rebellion against God, your Creator, and accept His Son, the only One who can save you just as He was the only one that could save them. Secondly, Jesus Christ is still sovereign over the physical creation. You don't need to fear physical danger. You don't need to fear disasters such as floods and famine and hurricanes and earthquakes and tornadoes and thunderstorms and dust storms. You don't need to live in fear of those things and you don't need to live in fear of the diseases from the natural world that can attack your body viruses and plagues and influenzas and bacteria and cancer and so forth. You don't need to live in fear of those things, your Lord is sovereign over everything. Christian, don't live in fear. Put your trust and confidence in the One who brings the storm, who can stop the storm, and who can keep you through the storm. Number three, life storms always come at Christ's command and you can choose to respond in two possible ways. You can respond in faith in Jesus' power over all your circumstances, or you can choose to respond in fear like the disciples did. But don't ever forget Christian that even the wind and the sea obey Him and that if He has you in the middle of the storm, He's with you in the boat. By the way, the only reason these things are so true and comforting for us is because of what our Lord did for us at the cross. We belong to Him. That's what we remember in the Lord's table. Take a moment and prepare your heart, as the men come. Our Father, we do come to you acknowledging that You are good and Your greatest goodness to us is Your Son. Oh Lord Jesus, we thank you, even as we have been reminded this morning, that You are the Sovereign of the Storm. We thank You that You rule over this planet, that You made it, You sustain it, You direct everything on it to Your intended purpose, that we don't have to live in fear. Comfort us, oh Lord, help us to have faith in You. Father, for those who are believers and find themselves in the middle of the storms of life, in the middle of trials and troubles and difficulties, even as this literal storm was for the apostles that night. Father, comfort them with these truths. Give them confidence in the knowledge that You are forever with them, that You, oh Lord Jesus are in the boat. That You never leave them. You never forsake them, whatever they may feel, You've promised and You're always true to Your word. Lord, I also pray for those here this morning who have never rightly acknowledged You for who You really are. May they turn from their rebellion against You as their Creator, as their rightful Lord and Sovereign, and may they bow their knee and repentance and faith in You today. Now, as we remember You Lord, in the way you gave us in the Lord's table, I pray that You would receive our worship and that You would forgive our sins. Lord, we even who know You, don't want to come to this remembrance clinging to sin in our lives, treasuring some sin, unwilling to let some sin go, and in so doing, demean Your sacrifice for sin, and eat and drink Your chastening upon us. So Father, we seek Your forgiveness, Lord Jesus, Spirit, we come asking that You would forgive us and that You would cleanse us and allow us to worship You in this way. We ask in Jesus' name, Amen.