Luke 3:16                 Jehovah Our Redeemer                           5/3/2009         ßà   

 

 

 

#1.       Baptism of the Holy Ghost (Luke 3:16, Eph 4:5, Rom 8:9, Eph 2:3, 1:4, Luke 10:20)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Burning Bush (Ex 3:1-8, Heb 3:17-19, Deut 5:15, Matt 28:2, John 10:30)

 

 

 

·        God Called to Him Out of the Midst of the Bush (Luke 6:44, Ex 3:7-8, Gal 3:13, Isa 53:10, 1Pet 2:24)

 

 

 

#3.       Nebuchadnezzar’s Furnace (Dan 3:21-27, Luke 3:16, Heb 5:7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4.       If Christ Is Not God (Isa 9:6-7, John 10:30, 1Tim 3:16, Matt 5:48, Prov 21:4, Rom 8:8)

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Luke, Luke 3:15 (2X). Since we are now done with our overview of the Gospel of Matthew, I would like us to focus on one aspect of salvation that I had only superficially stressed. Last week I spoke about water baptism, and about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We have also seen that we can enter into heaven without having been baptized in water, but we cannot enter into heaven without having been baptized by the Holy Spirit. When we search the NT we actually find 13 kinds of baptism, and yet God says in Eph 4:5 that there is only one baptism. Here in Luke 3:15-18 John the Baptist preaches about “Three Baptisms”.

Lu 3:15-18 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

What do we see here? We see here in verse 16 three Baptisms: One baptism with water, one baptism with the Holy Ghost, and one baptism with fire. What does this mean? We can only sort this out when we realize that the word “baptism”, or the verb “to baptize”, does not mean “to dip” as is being taught in many churches, but it means “to wash”. The Lord Jesus said in Luke 12:50, “I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” The Lord Jesus referred here to the cross. He had a washing to be washed with. He was laden with our sins, and He could not go back to heaven until all our sins were washed away by paying the full penalty that was due to them. Yes, the Lord Jesus had to endure the full penalty for our sins, or else the righteousness of God would not be satisfied. But what do we see here in Luke 3:16? John said in Luke 3:3, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance”. But John could not give repentance to anyone he baptized, for repentance is a gift from God, and God does not wait for an outward act of man to give repentance and salvation. God saves whom He will and when He will, and God gives repentance to whom He will and when He will, according to the good pleasure of His will. And so, the outward act of washing with water is only a sign of the washing of sins that hopefully has occurred already in the individual who undergoes a water baptism. This outward sign is given to everyone who externally belongs to the house of God, the church, according to 1Tim 3:15. We would like this sign to be limited to only those who are truly saved, but we do not know who is truly saved. We can only teach them, but it is God who does the saving. Definitely we should not attach any magic powers to the ceremony of baptism with water, for then we have created a works gospel, which is an abomination to God. But can you see that this water baptism that John performed was offensive to the Jewish mind? Never before did God command people to be baptized. And when the Pharisees heard that this baptism was a sign for the washing away of their sins, they totally rejected the idea, for they were convinced that they did not need any washing away of sins. Perhaps the common people were in need of washing of their sins, but the common people were stupid and ignorant of their heritage as children of Abraham. And so you see that one reason why God instructed John to baptize with water was to repel the Jews and attract the Gentiles.

#1.       Baptism of the Holy Ghost (Luke 3:16, Eph 4:5, Rom 8:9, Eph 2:3, 1:4, Luke 10:20)

Secondly, John said in Luke 3:16, “Christ shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost”. In Eph 4:5 God says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism”. We like to agree with One Lord, and One Faith. But is there only One Baptism? We read about 13 different baptisms in the Bible. But God does not lie. There is only one baptism that is a valid washing away of our sins, and water baptism is not that one, for it is only a shadow of the real thing. The real washing away of our sins occurs in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is God, and God is 100% successful in anything He does. When are we baptized by the Holy Spirit? When we are “Born Again”, or when we are “born from above”, at that moment we are baptized, or washed from our sins, by the Holy Spirit. But when this was we do not know exactly. Only God knows when this moment in time was. But definitely, if we are saved then our souls also have been washed by the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of God has taken up residence in our soul, for God says in Rom 8:9, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”. And so, the teaching that there is a “second blessing” in our salvation is the sign of a false gospel. Furthermore we read that “Christ shall baptize us with the Holy Ghost”. It means that Christ bestows all the grace unto our salvation. The payment of our sins by Christ on the cross guarantees that the Holy Spirit shall, at some point in our life, make us “born from above”, and apply the payment of Christ to us so that our sins are washed away. Before this moment in time we are still burdened by our sins and under the wrath of God, for God says in Eph 2:3, that “we all were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”. This then is the meaning of “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost”. But now we see another baptism in Luke 3:16.

Thirdly, John said, “He shall baptize you with fire”. What fire was God speaking about in Luke 3:16? When we find the word “fire” in the Bible, most of the time it refers to Hell. How is Christ going to wash us in Hell? We have to remember two things: First of all, we must remember that those of us who are truly saved were IN Christ already before the foundation of the world. God says in Eph 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us IN Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love”. It does not mean that our souls were in Christ before the foundation of the world, for our souls could not be in existence before the soul of Adam was made in the Garden of Eden. No, our souls were made at the time of our conception in our mother’s womb. What then was IN Christ before the foundation of the world? Our names were IN Christ, for the Lord Jesus said in Luke 10:20, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven”. And so, since Christ is our representative in the Spirit, the Bible teaches that we were in Christ when He was nailed to the cross, and we were in Christ when He died, and we were in Christ when He was buried, and we were in Christ when He rose from the tomb, and we were in Christ when He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 6:4 (2X).We must remember that Christ had to pay the full penalty for our sins to satisfy the righteousness of God. What is the full penalty for our sins if we would have to pay it? It is to suffer for an eternity in Hell. And so, the suffering of Christ was the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for each one of my sins, and for all the sins of all those whom He came to save. When did the Lord Jesus Christ endure this suffering? It began on Thursday night when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, and it ended on Friday afternoon, on April 3 in the year AD 33, at about 3 O’clock. And therefore, when He suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, we were in Him, and we came out of Hell with Him and in Him. This was how He washed us in the fires of Hell. Praise God for arranging these conditions, for God shall never send anyone to Hell again who has been there already. God summarized all these things in Rom  6:4-7, where we read,

Ro 6:4-7  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.     For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.      Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.            For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Please turn again to the Gospel according to Luke, Luke 3:17 (2X). We have here the parable of the thrashing floor. The thrashing floor is not the world, as some people imagine, but it represents the OT church. God represents the elect by the wheat, and the chaff represents those Jews who remain in their sins, because they remain in unbelief. The chaff occupied a great part of the thrashing floor and it is sifted out by the fan in the hand of Christ. Now this is how Christ creates the new Kingdom of Israel. The preaching of the Word of God is the fan, the winnowing fan, controlled by Christ, to blow out the chaff. The title of “people of God” has filled the Jews with pride. But God tells them that it is foolish to be proud of this title, for they will soon be blown out, like chaff from the thrashing floor. The state of the OT church was corrupt, for it was covered with chaff that was proclaiming false gospels. But soon Christ will thoroughly purge His thrashing floor and gather His wheat into the barn. And Christ will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. Here again the fire represents Hell, and it burns unquenchable, which means it burns forever. The chaff is not incinerated, but the chaff will burn in unquenchable fire. The unsaved shall burn in Hell in unquenchable fire, but those who have been saved have their sins already washed when Christ endured the penalty on behalf of our sins, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. There are many proofs in the Bible that Christ indeed bore that penalty. There are many proofs in the Bible of this fact. Please turn to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 3:1 (2X).

#2.       The Burning Bush (Ex 3:1-8, Heb 3:17-19, Deut 5:15, Matt 28:2, John 10:30)

In the Prophecy of Exodus God symbolically redeemed His people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt, also known as the house of bondage, also known as representing the kingdom of Satan. We have to say that God symbolically redeemed His people out of Egypt, for this event was only a picture to show us the love of God and His dedication to save His elect people from the clutches of Satan. Historically most of the children of Israel were not saved, for we read in Heb 3:17-19,

Heb 3:17-19  But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

And so, we see that most of them died in their sins; they died as unbelievers. And thus the rest that God defines here in this chapter is the rest we have in Christ, for God has given us faith that the atoning work of Christ shall cover all our sins. And thus God has given us the story of Exodus as a picture of our salvation, but it was not a picture of salvation for the children of Israel. Before we were saved we were slaves in the house of bondage; we were slaves in the kingdom of Satan, for this is where we were born. Symbolically we were in the land of Egypt, and we were by nature children of the wrath of God, even as others who will never be saved. The Lord our God brought us out of there through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm (Deut 5:15), which refers to the mighty hand of God’s providence and the stretched out arm of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the story of Exodus the Lord our God acted out His role as our Redeemer. Now watch how God makes His appearance to Moses. We read in Ex 3:1-6,

Ex 3:1-6 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the Angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

Moses was on Mount Horeb, and there he saw a bush in a flame of fire, but the bush was not consumed. Verse 2 says that the Angel of the LORD appeared unto him as a bush that was in a flame of fire. But verse 4 says that God called unto Him out of the midst of the bush. And thus the Angel of the LORD is just another name for God. However, at the moment that the Lord Jesus Christ arose from the tomb, His soul must have returned from heaven and entered His body again, so that He could appear alive to the soldiers, and scare the wits out of them. We read in Matt 28:2, “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the Angel of the LORD descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” By this God let us know that the Angel of the LORD is the same person as the Lord Jesus Christ. And that the Lord Jesus Christ is God is abundantly evident, for the Lord Jesus said in John 10:30, “I and the Father are One.”

·        God Called to Him Out of the Midst of the Bush(Luke 6:44,Ex 3:7-8,Gal 3:13,Isa 53:10,1Pet 2:24)

Now, the Hebrew word for the bush that was burning literally means a prickly bush, like a bramble bush. But according to Luke 6:44 a bramble bush is a cursed bush. And thus, Christ appeared to Moses as a cursed bush that was burning in a flame. Of course the bush was not consumed, for Christ is from everlasting to everlasting. But why did the Lord Jesus Christ make His appearance this way? We must connect His appearance to the words He spoke. And what was the message that He brought? We read in Ex 3:7-8 the purpose of His appearance:

Ex 3:7-8  And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;  And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

He came as the Redeemer of His people. How did the Lord Jesus come as our Redeemer? He came as God’s suffering servant, hanging on a cross, bearing the curse of the law for our sins. God says in Ga

Gal 3:13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

And while He was hanging on the cross He suffered in His soul the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Now we can understand why He appeared to Moses as a cursed bush that was burning in a flame of fire The Lord Jesus Christ showed us in this scene, in no uncertain terms, that He had to endure in His soul the torments of Hell in order to be our Redeemer. And that is why we also read in Isa 53:10,

Isa 53:10 ¶  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand

Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin”. Instead of a “sin offering” we should read here a “guilt offering”, for that is what the Hebrew text says. Our sins remain until we have become born from above, but the guilt for our sins was wiped away when the Lord Jesus died on the cross. There are many verses which seem to indicate that the Lord Jesus suffered in His body only. God is not a liar. God will not give two contradicting passages in the Bible. For example, we read in 1Pet 2:24,

1Pe 2:24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

In this verse God lets us know that the Lord Jesus had to pay the full price in the human side of His personality. Not one sliver of the penalty could be paid by God the Son, for man has sinned, and thus man had to pay the payment that was due. Please turn now to the Prophecy of Daniel, Dan 3:21 (2X).

#3.       Nebuchadnezzar’s Furnace (Dan 3:21-27, Luke 3:16, Heb 5:7)

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had destroyed Jerusalem, and had brought a contingent of Jews to Babylon. Just this act alone qualified him to be a picture of Satan. Among his captives were three young men who were given the Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Then the king made an image of gold which was 90 feet high and the king demanded that all his subjects must worship this image. But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to do that. Then the king was furious and commanded that these three men must be thrown in the fiery furnace. Whenever we see a fiery furnace in the Bible, we know hat it represents Hell. And so we read in Dan 3:21-27,

Da 3:21-27  Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

Even the smell of fire had not touched their coats or their hair. This was an amazing miracle. But look who was with them! The Lord Jesus Christ was with them, and He appeared to Nebuchadnezzar as the Son of God. Why did Nebuchadnezzar recognize Him? It was because at one time Satan was in heaven and Satan recognized the Son of God. But look now at these three men: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were unjustly cast into a furnace that was a representation of Hell. But God did not allow them to be cast into Hell, for these three men belonged to God’s elect. And thus God sent the Lord Jesus Christ who took the burden of the suffering for the sins of these three men, and caused them to feel no pain. God showed us the principle that salvation is free. We do not have to endure the payment for our sins, for salvation is free. But Christ did suffer for the guilt of our sins the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. And His sufferings must be the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for only then is the righteousness of God satisfied. It is in this way that we can see the reality of Luke 3:16, when He washed the guilt of our sins away when He made us reside in Him during His crucifixion, and during His death, and His burial and His resurrection. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 5:7 (2X). We do not know how much is equivalent to an eternity in Hell, for we are not able to work with such great numbers. But God is able to do that, and thus we can leave it in God’s hand to determine what is equivalent to an eternity in Hell for Christ. We only know that it is super terrible. So terrible, in fact, that the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane pleaded with the Father if this cup of the wrath of God could pass from Him. No, that was not possible. Then the Lord Jesus had another request, which was granted. We read in Heb 5:7,

Heb 5:7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

What was the death that the Lord Jesus feared? It was not physical death, for this He had to go through, but it was the spiritual death, also known as the Second Death in the Lake of Fire. Christ pleaded with the Father that His Father would not leave His soul in Hell, and this request was granted.

Please turn to the Prophecy of Zechariah, Zech 13:8 (2X). You find Zechariah near the end of the OT just before Malachi. We have here a passage which has as its context the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. God says in Zech 13:7 “Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, smite the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered”, and so on. And then we read in Zech 13:8-9,

Zec 13:8-9  And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

The third part is that fraction of the church which normally is called the faithful church, the fraction of true believers, consisting of saints who have been elected from before the foundation of the world. God says of this fraction, “they shall call on my name, and I will hear them”. But what is the meaning of, “And I will bring the third part through the fire?” What fire is this? It cannot refer to physical suffering here on this earth, for it applies to every saint, to every one of the “One third part”, and some saints receive far less suffering than others do. This fire refers to the fire of Hell, which Christ has to go through, and which every saint goes through in the spiritual sense, for our names were placed in God the Son before the foundation of the world. And so, this is another proof of the baptism by fire, spoken of in Luke 3:16, that the Lord Jesus had to suffer when He was crucified and He took us with Him through Hell and out of Hell again. And so, since we have already been through Hell with Him, and in Him, God will not require that we must go through Hell again. But this principle also tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ did not atone for the sins of everyone in the whole world, for we can see clearly that not everyone is going to heaven. It is only the “One third part” that is made eligible to go into heaven. Let us now consider the question:

#4.       If Christ Is Not God (Isa 9:6-7, John 10:30, 1Tim 3:16, Matt 5:48, Prov 21:4, Rom 8:8)

  There are many who deny that the Lord Jesus Christ is God. But the Bible is very clear that God the

Son and the man Christ Jesus were united about 2000 years ago into one person, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning this event of the incarnation God told us in Isa 9:6-7,

Isa 9:6-7  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Unmistakably we read here that this child is “The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” The Lord Jesus told us in John 10:30, “I and the Father are One”. And God tells us in 1Tim 3:16

1Tim 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

You see, “God was manifest in the flesh”. If we understand English, then we cannot escape the fact that the Bible declares that Jesus Christ is God.

But those people who do not believe that Jesus Christ is God have no Savior. How do we arrive at that? We must first come to an understanding of SIN. What is sin? Sin is a transgression of the Law of God. And God demands perfection, for the Lord Jesus said in Matt 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Therefore anything we do, which is not done as perfectly and righteous as when God would have done it, is sin. Our whole life is filled with sins, millions of them. God says in Prov 21:4, “Even the plowing of the wicked is sin.” When an unsaved man plows his field, it is sin. God says in Rom 8:8, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Anyone who is still unsaved is still in the flesh. And thus, from all these examples we see that any sin is an insult to God. Therefore the penalty for sin is very great. But since man has sinned, only man can make the payment for sin, either by himself, or by someone who will make the payment for him. The payment is equivalent to an eternity in Hell. But if we look for a Savior, for someone who can make the payment in our place, then it must be someone who has never sinned, for if this person would have one sin on his conscience, then he first would have to atone for his own sin, which means that it will take him an eternity in Hell to atone for his own sin. Consequently, if we look for a Savior we look for someone who is not only human but Divine. Next we look for a person who will not collapse under the heavy load of paying for so many sins, for even one human being has accumulated millions of sins. And so, if Christ was not fully man He would not qualify to be our Redeemer. And if Christ was not fully God He would be consumed under the heavy load of sins He must atone for. And so, only if Christ was fully man and fully God at the same time would He qualify to be our Redeemer.

Please turn to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 43:11 (2X). The context speaks of a declaration from God

that He is the only God there is, and that He can be the only Savior there is. God says in verse 10, “You are My witnesses, says the Lord, that you may understand that either before Me or after Me there was no god formed. Therefore we now read in Isa 43:11,

Isa 43:11,   “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”

The word LORD all four in capital letters means Jehovah. In other words, Jehovah is our Savior. Please turn now in the NT, to the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 4:12 (2X). Throughout the NT the Lord Jesus Christ is called the only Savior there is. For example, we read here in Acts 4:12

Ac 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Now, God does not make two statements that will contradict one another. If the OT declares that Jehovah is the only Savior there is, and the NT declares that Jesus Christ is the only Savior there is, then is it not crystal clear that Christ is Jehovah? And indeed this is the case. Since both the OT and the NT are writings from God which were written by holy men of old, we are obligated to harmonize these statements, for they were written by only one Author.

More precisely we must say that God the Father is Jehovah, God the Son is Jehovah, and God the Holy Spirit is Jehovah, and yet there is only one God. Moreover, we must also say that the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father, and yet there is only one God. This is the mystery of Godliness, which we believe because it is in the Bible.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.