“We are all beggars. This is true.” – – – Those are Martin Luther’s Last Words. With all his intellect, devotion to God, and courage to stand firmly sa kanyang convictions. And considering ang mga accomplishments niya, as a theologian, a professor, and a reformer. – – –
His last words are not filled with the bragging of all his works. Instead, it is an acknowledgement of his true standing before God, – – – a beggar, who’s eternally in need of God’s grace, he credited all the great deeds, not to himself, but to God and to God’s grace alone!
Last words – – – are really interesting, as Warren Weirsbe said, and I quote “Last words are a window that helps us to look into (a man’s) heart, or a measure, that helps us, evaluate his life.” Pinapakita ng mga huling habilin o mga huling salita kung ano ang importante sa isang tao;
kung ano ang pinaha-halagahan niya sa buhay.
In the same way, 2 Timothy are Paul’s last words before his death,
it shows us what is important to Paul, especially now as we approach his last command to his spiritual son. Today, we will see what he highly value in his life, as we look into – – – PAUL’S • ULTIMATE • CHARGE.
Our text this morning is 2 TIMOTHY 4:1–5, these are the words of God:
2 TIMOTHY 4:1–5
- I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
- preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
- 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,
- and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
- As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
(thanks be to God for the reading of His Word…)
We are now approaching the last chapter of the last letter of the Apostle Paul. Here we will see His last and solemn charge to his young protégé, Timothy. But before we get to that charge, it is important na ma-remind tayo at maintindihan natin kung saan nang-gagaling si Paul at kung bakit ito ang mga bagay na na-isulat niya para kay Timothy.
Maybe many of us already knew na karamihan sa mga letters na naisulat ni Paul, ay naisulat niya mula sa kulungan. Naka-ranas siya ng multiple imprisonments not because of any criminal offense, but only because of persecution for his faithful preaching of the gospel.
There are times na nakulong si Paul, kung saan maayos ang condition niya, so for example, ang una niyang imprisonement sa Rome ay house-arrest. Eventually, pina-laya din siya mula doon, ngunit siya ay
muling ikinulong dahil sa patuloy niyang pag-ppreach ng gospel, and this time, Paul’s imprisonment was not as convenient as the first.
He’s not anymore granted a house-arrest, instead he was thrown in a place called Mamertine Prison — isang underground prison sa ancient city of Rome. The Apostle Paul was secluded here for a couple of years before his execution. For years he’s inside this stone-cold dungeon with no windows, darkness surrounds him, and he has no sense of night and day — posible na naka-asa lang siya sa kandila o lampra para maka-kita, kung nais niya man magsulat o magbasa, additionaly, katabi ng prison na ito ay ang sewage system ng city of Rome. – – – At dito sa madilim, malamig, masikip, marumi at mabahong kulungan na ito na-isulat ni Apostle Paul ang 2 Timothy.
At this point of his life, the old apostle has accomplished a lot – – – nag-preach ng gospel for many years, nag-plant ng napakaraming churches, nag-train ng men for the ministry, etc. at kasama ng mga ministry na yan ay ang iba’t ibang uri ng paghihirap. – – –
Eh sana man lang nabigyan siya ng maayos na retirement, pero wala, after all those sacrifices in the ministry, he is now inside a disgusting dungeon, awaiting his execution.
Inspite of all those afflictions, ano ang nasa isip ng afflicted saint na ito? Since Paul is so consumed by the gospel – iniisip parin niya ang misyon na pinag-katiwala sa kanya ng Diyos, ang pag-laganap ng ebanghelyo. At hindi lang yun, iniisip niya rin ang pag-papasahan niya ng misyon, ang kanyang apprentice na si Timothy.
Si Timothy – – – na nakasama niya sa maraming taon ng missionary work, at naka-witness ng mga paghihirap niya. Ngayon, si Timothy ay isa nang Pastor sa Church in Ephesus, and we’ve seen in our previous sermons na maraming problema na kinkaharap si Timothy sa kanyang ministry.
Outside the church, there is persecution from unbelivers, and inside the church, meron namang various pressures from false-teachers and fake-believers.
Because of that, malaki ang probability na sobrang distracted at sobrang discouraged na ang young and timid pastor na si Timothy, and he’s possibly losing sight of what the Lord has called him to do.
Kaya naman sumulat si apostle Paul sa kanya to encourage him to be strong in the Lord and endure suffering, and also, para i-redirect ang focus niya sa calling na ibinigay sa kanya ng Panginoon.
Paul’s Last Words
So, if you are in the place of the apostle Paul, – – – you’re suffering and you know you’ll be dead soon, and you also know that your young apprentice, na siyang pag-papasahan mo ng mission, is facing multiple trials, – – – if you are in the sandals of Paul, what are the last words that you will give to Timothy?
– – – What you will say or write at that point, will reveal what is important to you, what you value, what you prize. As we will see, Paul will not give value on his comfort, or on his popularity. What he wants to make sure is that the gospel will continue to advance even after his death.
And the apostle knew that God’s primary tool to advance his gospel is by the faithful preaching of the word of God: not by entertaining music and big productions, not by church growth plans, nor by celebrities’ life- testimonies, nor anything else in human invention.
Not saying that those things are inately sinful, but I’m just saying, those are not the primary means that the Lord chose to bring about the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of the saints, that is why, preaching the word was Paul’s last charge for Timothy.
Paul knew that in order for us to see God’s true work through the gospel, we must obey and esteem his chosen means in accomplishing His mission. That is why he highly regarded preaching, or we can say Paul ‘prized’ preaching.
And we must adapt the apostle’s heart towards the preaching of the word, and that is our message for this morning, we must… Prize God’s primary means for gospel-propagation, and that is the preaching of His word.
(We must) Prize God’s primary means for gospel-propagation: (and that is) the preaching of His word.
Dapat nating pahalagahan, ang pangunahing paraan, ng Panginoon, para sa pagpapalaganap, ng Ebanghelyo – at ito ay ang pangangaral ng Kanyang salita.
Going back to our text, what are the truths found in those verses that we must consider in order to reinforce our prizing of the preaching of the Word?
We see at the outset of our text that Paul charged Timothy “in the presence of God and Jesus Christ”, this means that ultimately Timothy will give an account of his preaching ministry not just to Paul, but to God and Christ, the Judge of the living and the dead. We’ll unpack more of that on our first point: The Judge’s evaluating Eyes.
We also see in verses 3 and 4 that Paul saw that people won’t be able to endure the faithful preaching of the Word of God, and their ears will itch for false teachings. In spite of the negative reactions, Paul still urges Timothy to continue in the faithful preaching of the Word, and we’ll expound more on that on our second point: The Intolerant’s itching ears.
Let us consider the first point:
HOMILETICAL POINT 1:
The Judge’s Evaluating Eyes
NOTE 1: Paul charged Timothy to preach the word, in the presence of God and Christ.
In verses 2 and 5 makikita natin na merong sampung utos na ibinigay si Paul kay Timothy, but we need to understand na yung unang utos ay yung main charge, that is to Preach the Word, and the other 9, ay ang mga supporting commands under the over-arching charge.
Let us now disect the essence of the main charge: “Preach the Word.” – – – Timothy is very familiar with the concept of the original greek word, for the word “Preaching.” It means to publicly proclaim the royal message like an Imperial Herald. – – –
Imperial Heralds are the official spokesmen of an emperor or a king. We need to see that in their times wala pang social media, where it is so easy to make public announcements. Since wala pa silang ganung technology, their way of announcing important matters is through the Imperial Heralds.
Carrying with them the message from the king, these Heralds would go to the ‘town-squares’ where people are gathered, and with a loud voice they will proclaim, formally, seriously, and authoritatively, the message of the king, walang dag-dag, walang bawas. Pag-katapos ng trabaho nila, babalik sila sa hari upang mag bigay ng account kung nai-proklama ba nila ng tama at malinaw ang mensahe.
It was also said from a commentary that, quote “The herald may not even have liked the message he was to proclaim, or the people may not have wanted to hear it, and thus the temptation for the herald, may have been to change the message, to soften the blow, to spin the text, all of which would have resulted in the herald losing his head!” unquote.
Maaring ikamatay ng isang Imperial Herald kung meron man siyang babaguhin sa mensahe. Ganyan ka seryoso ang trabaho nila. In the same way, Paul commands Timothy to be an Official Herald, not for any human king or emperor, but for the King of kings and Lord of lords. He must preach, and he must preach not his own words, but the Word of God.
That’s how solemn and serious Paul’s ultimate charge for Timothy is.
Knowing the essence of preaching is already sobering, in addition to that, hinimay pa ni Paul in verses 2 and 5 yung iba pang aspeto ng main charge niya. The first 5 supporting commands are found in verse 2, and it emphasizes the readiness of the preacher, (he must be ready to preach, in season and out of season) and also the different components of preaching (which is reproof, rebuke, exhortation and teaching with patience).
While the last 4 supporting commands found in verse 5, gives focus sa character ng isang preacher, they must be sober-minded, enduring suffering, working evangelistically and the last supporting command is given to seal up all the previous commands – – – that Timothy as a preacher must fulfill his ministry, that basically means, to faithfully do the main charge and all the supporting commands found in verses 2 & 5.
Can you imagine how Timothy feels as he reads this charge from his imprisoned mentor? We can say that at this point he already feels the weight of his reponsibility.
To preach God’s word is a solemn duty – – – and there should be an equally solemn basis for Timothy or any other preacher in order for them to fulfill their ministry.
And we can see that solemn basis in verse 1, – – – It says there that, Paul solemnly charged Timothy, like someone who ‘testifies under oath’ in a courtroom, in the presence of a judge, – – – think of that level of seriousness. Only this time, the Judge is not a human judge but God and Christ himself, the Judge of the living and the dead.
Ibig sabihin nito, bawat salita na bibitawan ni Timothy sa kanyang mga preachings ay dadaan sa omniscient scrutiny ng mga mata ng Diyos at sa dulo ay huhusgahan siya, but not as a judgement for condemnation (of course hindi naka base sa preaching or any good works ni Timothy ang salvation or condemnation niya), so what kind of judgement is this?
It is a judgement of evaluation (susuriin ng Diyos kung nag preach ba si Timothy ayon sa paraan na nais ng Diyos). The Judges evaluating Eyes are watching the preaching of Timothy, at sa dulo mag-kaka-alaman kung ang kanya bang preaching ay naging pleasing ba sa harap ng Diyos.
Ganyan ka seryoso ang trabaho ng mga preachers. Preachers will give an account for every exposition, every note, point and challenge, every introduction and conclusion, every case and illustration, and yes, for every word and every motive, not to other human judge but to God and to Christ! – – – Preachers, do you see how serious and how dangerous your calling is?
POINT 1: The Lord evaluates our attitudes towards the preaching of His word.
Do you see that the Lord evaluates our attitude towards the preaching of His Word. Nakikita at sinusuri ng Panginoon ang saloobin natin ukol sa pangangaral ng kanyang salita.
Maybe you are thinking, anong attitude towards the Word ang pleasing sa Panginoon? Let us read from Isaiah 66:2 — “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” According to this verse, the pleasing attitude that men should have before God and His Word is – – – Humility, Contrition, and Trembling (that is reverence).
That must be our disposition before our majestic God, there should be no place for pride or indifference, before God and His word. Ang patunay na may mataas tayong pag-tingin sa Diyos at sa kanyang salita, ay ang pag- kakaroon ng kababaang loob sa harap Niya.
So – if the Lord will evaluate our hearts today, will he be pleased? Dear preachers, this is a solemn reminder for you and me, in our preparations and in the actual preaching, never forget that the Judge of the living and the dead is evaluating us!
And to those who do not preach, maybe you are thinking, oh this preaching is only for preachers, its not for me. Brothers and sisters and friends, the omniscient scrutiny of the Lord is not just limited to the preachers – – – since He knows all things, by implication, we can also say that the Lord looks at you right now, evaluating how you listen to the preaching of his Word.
Naka-ranas na ba kayo ng ma-evaluate? Sa school, nag-defend ka ng thesis, before the profs? Sa work, possibly may mga monthly or annual evaluations from the higher-ups? Or maybe sa mga businesses, may prominent-personalities na magbibigay ng ‘reviews’ sa products or services mo? If you think of it initially, nakakatakot ang mga situations na ito, but at the same time, knowing that you are being evaluated, gives you a sense of accountability, and because of that you give your best.
Ganyan ang response natin knowing na may mga ibang tao na nag- eevaluate sa atin. – – – Know that we are in a real-time evaluation right now, not by any human being but by God Himself! He observes how we regard the preaching of His Word.
CHALLENGE 1: Prize preaching by cultivating correct attitudes towards it.
Out of that truth, we encounter our first challenge, we are challenged to prize preaching by cultivating correct attitudes towards it. Isang paraan para pahalagahan ang preaching ay ang pag cultivate ng mga tamang saloobin ukol dito. Are we cultivating humility and other virtues towards preaching? How should these affect us as preachers and hearers?
If you are a preacher, how can we cultivate virtous attitudes? A: diligent preparation and humble dependence sa Lord. Kung may kababang loob ka before the Word of God, you will study diligently and prepare well so that you can make sure na hindi lang mensahe na galing sa sarili mo ang i- pe-preach mo kundi isang mensahe na galing talaga sa Diyos. At kapatid, hindi mo ma-sesecure yan if you’ll be lazy in preparation.
But at the same time, beware brethren, baka naman sa sobrang pag-hahanda natin, nandun nalang ang total dependence natin. Mali din na attitude yan towards preaching, isama natin sa pag-hahanda ang condition ng mga puso natin – if the Lord looks at our hearts, will He see a man that is totally dependent on Him, or a man who’s merely dependent on his own preparation and notes? Brothers, the Lord evaluates not just the content of our notes, but also the content of our hearts. – – –
To my brethren who hears gospel-centered, expository-preaching, week after week: do you appreciate it? do you have a humble attitude and response towards the preaching of the Word? or do we posses a proud attitude in the guise of being discerning?
Yes, kailangan natin paganahin ang discernment tuwing tayo ay nakikinig, suriin natin kung tama ba o mali yung mga sinasabi ng mga preachers, but may we do that, not to the extent where we’ve become so proud of our ability to discern truth from error, and yet fail to discern the point why we discern truth from error.
Bakit tayo binigyan ng abilidad ng Diyos to discern and know the truth? — So that we might know the truth about God, in order to intimately know God, and consequently, worship God, through joyful-praise and grateful- obedience. Is that our response in hearing the preached word?
The problem is, hindi parating tama ang attitudes natin towards the preaching of the Word. Ikaw ba yung preacher na tamad mag-prepare, or ikaw ba yung preacher na sobrang prepared ngunit hindi dumedepende sa Diyos? Ikaw ba itong hearer na proud sa ability mo to discern at nakalimutan mo na na sumamba at sumunod sa Diyos?
The Judge of the living and the dead knows you and me, and our sinful attitudes, and He commands us to confess and repent of these sins,
and be reminded, that there is forgiveness for all these sins, because the same Judge who evaluates you, brethren, is also the same Judge who laid down his life on the cross, paid the penalty of your sin, and when he rose again from the grave — our Judge became our justification, so that you’ll not anymore face his judgement of condemnation and you may have the strength and be ready for His judgement of evaluation. – – –
It was said that the golden age of preaching was at the time of the Puritans. Both puritan preachers and hearers esteemed the preaching of the word!
Puritan preachers highly prized the preaching, Dr. Joel Beeke commented on the puritan preachers and here’s what he said, quote, “The Puritans believe that a preacher should ascend to the pulpit, each time, as if it were the first time, and might will be his last time, praying that it might be the best sermon he ever preached.” Unquote.
And to capsulize their high view of preaching, who can forget the famous quote by Richard Baxter? Quote, “I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” Unqoute.
Hindi din mag-papahuli ang puritan congregation when it comes to esteeming preaching. It was said that in the hearing of the preached word, they would do all that they can to absorb as much truth as they can and if ever, they miss something that the preacher said, they believe that they must quickly ask God for forgiveness and bounce back in focusing to the preaching of God’s word.
Then they would bring their take-aways from the preaching, and thorughout the week, they will review it and talk about it and its applications, in their family worships and other fellowships.
These puritan preachers and hearers cultivated the primacy of preaching and the correct attitudes towards it. May we follow their example by God’s enabling grace.
Addtionally, there’s another way to highly regard preaching, and that is by guarding its primacy even if many will have a sinful dislike for it, and that leads us to our second point: The Intolerant’s Itching Ears.
HOMILETICAL POINT 2:
The Intolerant’s Itching Ears
NOTE 2: Paul charged Timothy to preach the word, regardless of its future rejection.
In verses 3 and 4, makikita natin ang isang futuristic insight on how the people will respond to Timothy’s preaching, take note brethren and friends that these are people inside and not outside the church! Paul said that this time will come, this season will come, remember when Paul said na dapat mag preach si Timothy in season and out of season?
Ang season na makikita natin in verses 3 and 4 is one of the examples of “out of season” because it describes a dangerous time where faithful, exegetical and gospel-centered preaching will be rejected and false- teaching will be promoted.
Here’s how the apostle Paul described the people who will reject faithful preaching: First they will “not endure sound teaching” that is to say, those who profess to be christians will become so intolerant of healthy or we can also say complete preaching. Maybe you are asking, bakit kaya hindi kakayanin ng mga tao ang preaching?
It is because a complete preaching will not just include uplifting encouragements and interesting doctrines, it will also include demanding reproofs and confrontational rebukes. And since we are sinners by nature, whenever napo-point out yung sin natin, we tend to sinfully respond by passively evading it or by actively rejecting it, instead of repenting of our sin.
Not just will these people reject faithful preaching, they will also desire to replace the faithful preachers with false teachers na sakto ang turo sa pang-lasa at pag-nanasa nila. Their ears will itch — will desire for a scratch, or more accurately will desire to be tickled, by the smooth deceptive words from the lips of a false teacher.
These people will accumulate false-teacher upon false-teacher, and with them deception upon deception will pile up, and little will these people know that they’ve already turned-away from the truth and now believes myths that are against the Scripture.
But inspite of all these negative reaction to the faithful preaching of the word, the charge of Paul to Timothy is remains the same. Actually, mas nag-bigay pa nga si Paul ng further supplements in verse 5 para hindi panghinaan ng loob si Timothy pag na encounter na niya ang mga bagay na ito.
Timothy must stand firm and focus on his call to preach the word, inspite of these storms and waves of hostility against it. He must not give in to the pressure of the people to change God’s message and even God’s chosen method to deliver the message, para lang ma-please niya ang mga tao. This really is a hard call.
Why preach if its not popular? It is because the Lord’s message and primary means for gospel-propagation don’t change along with the changing seasons. And that is the truth that we can see here:
POINT 2: The Lord’s primary means for gospel-propagation, doesn’t change along with the changing seasons.
Preaching, which is the Lord’s primary means for gospel-propagation, is not tossed-to and fro by the waves of what is popular in different eras. Have you tried to observe the different eras throughout the history?
Every era has their own trademark, from the music to the style of clothing, from their mindsets to their way of living. I mean, just compare the differences of living in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and so on… each decade or generation has its own signature.
Iba’t-ibang panahon, iba’t-iba ang gusto ng mga tao, at ang temptation para sa isang preacher ay sabayan ang alon ng pag-babago ng panahon, at ibahin ang mensahe o ang paraan na napili ng Diyos upang iparating ang mensahe niya. Wag sana tayong mahulog sa ganyang pagkakamali!
Let us firmly believe that our God who know all the seasons, who is not bound by time and who is perfect in wisdom – – – chose the preaching of the gospel, as his primary means to regenerate rebels and cleanse his church, and it remains, regardless of its popularity or unpopularity. Why will we change the message and the chosen method of our infinitely wise God? Are, our ways, higher than his? By no means!
CHALLENGE 2: Prize preaching by embracing it despite its unpopularity.
That truth confronts us today with the second challenge, we must prize preaching by embracing it despite its unpopularity. Iyan ang isa pang paraan para mapa-halagahan natin ang preaching ng gospel.
Let’s uphold it kung dumating man ang panahon na hindi na ito popular, or worse kung may persecution man na mangyari dahil sa pag-sunod natin dito, wag nating luwagan ang kapit natin sa preaching.
Isa pang ibig sabihin niyan, ay ang pag reject natin sa anumang substitute sa preaching ng gospel. For example, so called modern churches today seems to highly regard other things or invent ways to quote-unquote “communicate the gospel”.
First, the confrontational nature of preaching is removed to accommodate more people, the talker is funny and fervent but he is not faithful to the Word.
This pseudo-preaching resembles more a ted talk or comedy show with bible verses. Also, the time for that “talk” is shortened, and more time is given to other human-inventions, like: concert-type performances, audio- visual presentations, group dynamics a.k.a small groups, and many more programs and techniques suited to the preferences of the people.
As if these human inventions can regenerate a dead soul and sanctify a struggling saint! – – – But you may say, oh we don’t do that, we are reformed, covenantal and confessional!
Oh dear brethren, we are not exempted from the temptation to replace the primacy of preaching. You may ask, how? – – – Are you thankful for the podcasts, online sermons and resources, articles, books, commentaries?
Amen, amen, amen. But you see brothers and sisters, those may be supplements but they are not replacements for the weekly preaching in the local church.
Be grateful and take advantage of this ocean of online resources that we enjoy, but never make it a substitute to God’s primary and common means for the sanctification of your soul: the preaching of His word, every Lord’s Day, in the local church.
And if you are one of our guests today, and your life is dominated by either passive indifference to the preaching of the gospel, and/or by the active rejection of it, if you love smooth talking false-teachers who tickle your ears, if you don’t want to be confronted about your sin, because you love your sin!
The Lord God commands you today to repent of your sins and believe in Christ’s perfect person and work, that you might be forgiven and respond
in true worship and obedience to Him! If you continually reject his pleas to repent and believe His gospel, after preaching upon preaching, and you die in that state – – – then you will face the Judge of the living and the dead, not for the judgment of evaluation, but for the judgment of condemnation!
But you see dear sinner, The Judge is so patient and compassionate towards you, and here again today, He lets you hear yet another preaching, that gives you another chance to repent and believe, so that you’ll escape the condemnation that you deserve!
Are you still apathetic and do you still reject this message in your heart? Maybe you are saying, sino ba ang gusto na ma-reprove at ma-rebuke? Who wants that? – – – Well, the true Christians want that, not because they romanticize hearing rebukes and corrections.
No, they want their sins to be pointed out, because the more we see our sins, the more we see God’s compassion, grace, and power to save!
And if you are not yet a Christian, we desire that you’ll know our God, come to Him today by responding in repentance and faith in Christ alone! May God use the preaching of his word, no matter how uncool or how unpopular it is, to save your soul!
Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones was one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century, it was said that he reclaimed the practice of expository preaching in an age where it is not popular. According to Dr. Steve Lawson, at the outset of the ministry of Lloyd Jones, he chose to preach at a church in South Wales. – – – It is a small dying church of 93 people who tries to attract worldly men by worldly means like drama performances, lotteries, and other fancy gimmicks.
Pag dating ni Lloyd Jones sa maliit na church na ito, napansin niya agad yung pulpit. Yung pulpito ay pwedeng ilipat-lipat ng pwesto, pwedeng alisin sa gitna ng stage, para kapag may mga performances ang drama ministry pwede silang makapagperform ng maluwag.
As a response to that foolishness, ito ang pinaka-unang ginawa ni Lloyd Jones, quote “The first thing (that) Lloyd Jones did was nail the pulpit to the floor, and then he fired the drama team.” At kasabay ng pag-kapit ng pulpito na yun sa gitna ng stage ay ang pag-balik ng centrality ng preaching sa church na iyon.
Itinigil nila lahat ng worldly attractions, and Lloyd Jones simply preached the Word of God faithfully, and in the next few years, this church of 93 people, grew to be hundreds upon hundreds. Martin Lloyd Jones had a great confidence to the word of God and to God’s primary means to build His church, the preaching of His word, he embraced it in spite of its unpopularity in his time, may God enable us to do the same!
May we seek to cultivate a high view of preaching, by embracing it despite its unpopularity, and also, by being mindful that our Lord evaluates our attitudes towards it. May the gospel of Christ propagate, in and through this church, through His primary and chosen means: the faithful preaching of the word of God. And may we as the church, respond in fervent worship, to the God of the Word. Let us pray.