Put On the Belt of Truth | Ephesians 6:10-20
Brian Hedges | February 3, 2019
Turn in your Bibles this morning to Ephesians 6. While you’re turning there, let me tell you a story about the 1845 British expedition to the Northwest Passage in the Arctic. It was led by Captain John Franklin; there were two ships, the HMS Terror and the HMS Erebus, and they took 138 men to explore the Northwest Passage.
Unfortunately, they did not prepare adequately for this journey. They took a lot of things; not necessarily things they needed. There was a 1200-volume library. Somebody like me would have liked that, but it wasn’t feasible or conducive to a successful voyage. They took with them things like sterling silver place settings and cut glass wine goblets, fine dinnerware for the Navy soldiers to dine on, and so on. But they only had a 12-day supply of coal for the backup auxiliary engine. Once they got up into the icy waters, it wasn’t long before they were in weather conditions where water was freezing on the decks, eventually freezing up around the rudder of the ship, and they were stranded.
So some of the men set out to find help, but it was doomed from that point forward, as they were face with exposure to high winds and to subzero freezing temperatures. (If you happened to walk outside this last week on Wednesday or Thursday you’ll know something of what they experienced!) Unfortunately, and tragically, all 138 men died. It was a complete failed operation, and it was due to lack of preparation. They had not prepared for their mission adequately.
I think sometimes there are a lot of people who enter into the ranks of the church, into service, discipleship, profession of Jesus Christ, and they do so without adequate preparation. They do so without really counting the cost. Jesus actually warns about this in Luke 14. They don’t count the cost, they’re not thinking about what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, they’re not thinking about the journey ahead, the race that’s set before them, the battle that we have to fight. So, inadequately prepared, inadequately armed, they find themselves defeated, and oftentimes you can even find people who leave the faith, they become apostates, and they forsake Jesus Christ because they didn’t prepare.
In this series, which we’ve called “Dressing for Battle: Gospel Armor for the Fight of Faith,” we’re really talking about preparation. We’re talking about getting ourselves armed for the battle that is before us as soldiers of Jesus Christ. We’re looking at Ephesians 6:10-20. This is a ten-week series on just 11 verses of Scripture, because we’re really trying to look in detail at the armor of God. We’ve spent three weeks, really, in introduction, looking at the armor generally, looking at the battle, looking at the enemy that we have to fight; and today we begin looking in detail at the pieces of the armor, the various pieces of equipment. We’re going to take one piece each week for the next six weeks, and then a final message on Paul’s words about prayer in verses 18-20. Today we come to verse 14, which is all about the belt of truth, but I want to begin by just reading the passage in full once again to remind us of the whole context: Ephesians 6:10-20. You can follow along on the screen or in your own copy of God’s word.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
This is God’s word.
Every Sunday as I read those words, those last two verses especially, I’m thinking I hope you’ll pray that for me, that the Lord would open my mouth so that I’ll speak boldly as I ought to speak, and may he do that for all of us as we share the gospel with others.
This morning we’re looking at the belt of truth, verse 14, just the first half of the verse, and notice the command itself. He says, “Stand, therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth.” So the command here is to stand. He’s already said that several times, that we are to stand. He’s already told us to put on the whole armor of God; now he’s saying, "Stand...having fastened on the belt of truth.” So, the presupposition here is that it is only if we are clothed in the armor that we’re able to stand.
Actually, this language here of fastening on the belt of truth, it’s more literally, “girding up your loins with the truth.” Girding up your loins with the truth. Now, we don’t talk that way today. We don’t really use that language of girding up the loins, but that is how people talked in the ancient world, because of the way they dressed. They didn’t wear jeans and shirts like we wear today; they wore tunics or they wore robes. So, when they were preparing for a journey or for a battle or for any kind of active endeavor, they would gird up the skirts of those robes, and they would fasten a belt around them, and they called it girding up the loins.
So it became a common metaphor for preparation or for readiness. These robes, these tunics, would be girded up, fastened about the waist, and this is often used in Scripture to describe the readiness and the preparation that we’re to have.
So, a couple of examples would be, in Exodus 12, the Passover. You remember how the children of Israel were to eat the Passover with their loins girded, with sandals on their feet, and staff in their hands. They were eat it in haste, because they were to be ready for the journey. As soon as the Lord set them free, they were to be ready to begin their journey, their exodus out of Egypt.
Or, in 1 Peter 1:13, we read these words, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” That’s the ESV. Literally, it is, “Therefore, girding up the loins of your mind and being sober-minded, set your hope fully” on this gracing coming at the revelation of Christ.
So, it’s all about preparation. This girding up the loins with a belt that Paul has in mind isn’t so much a belt as you would think of today, like a thin strip of leather; it was, rather, a leather apron. It would have been something that covered much of the body, and it was the foundation piece to the armor. It wasn’t armor itself, but it was the foundational garment on which all of the other armor was placed. It was foundational in the sense that it gave support to the rest of the armor, and, in girding up the loins it provided freedom and mobility, so that when someone got into battle they would not be entangled in the robes. Maybe even Paul has this language, this metaphor, in mind when he tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2 to be a “good soldier of Jesus Christ,” and he says that “no soldier is entangled with civilian affairs, but his mind is rather to please the one who has enlisted him.”
So that’s the metaphor that we’re thinking of here. We’re thinking of the foundational garment beneath all of these armor, the one that provided support and the one that provided mobility for the soldier. Paul tells us that we are to gird up the loins of our mind with truth.
So what does he mean by that? I want to suggest three ways into understanding what it means to put on the belt of truth, to gird up our loins with the truth.
I. The Word of Truth
The first one is this: we gird up the loins of our minds with the word of truth. So now we’re thinking about truth objectively considered, okay, the truth of God’s word. I think this is right for us to apply it in this way because of Ephesians 1:13, where you have the first use of the word “truth,” same word, in this letter to the Ephesians.
So in chapter 1:13 Paul says, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” So right there he’s referring to the word of truth. The truth is the truth that comes to us through the word, and it really is another name for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, the gospel comes to us through the written and revealed word of God, the word of truth.
(1) I would suggest to you that in the same way that the apron provided support and stability for the soldier, in that same way the word of God, the word of truth, provides strength and stability for us. You remember how the apostle John says in 1 John 2 (I think I quoted this a few weeks ago) - he says, “I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” We get strength through the word of God, the word of God abiding within us, dwelling within us. When we have the truth of God’s word operating in our lives, it gives us strength, it gives us stability.
You remember how the psalmist said, “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” I remember someone said many years ago that if you find someone whose Bible is falling apart, their life probably isn’t falling apart, because the Bible, God’s word, it gives us strength, it gives us stability. It strengthens us, it supports us for the battle.
(2) Not only that, it gives us freedom and mobility. So the words of Jesus in John 8:30-21; he says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Freedom that comes from the word of God. That’s where we get freedom in our lives to run the race that’s set before us and to fight the battle that is before us.
Now, I know that probably at least half of us, when we woke up this morning, we thought not only that today is the Lord’s day, it’s Sunday, we thought that it is another special Sunday. Its Super Bowl Sunday, right? So some of you are wondering (I’ve already been asked the question in the last few days), “Are you going to use a football illustration on Super Bowl Sunday?” Some of you are wondering if Brian even has football illustrations, because I’m not a huge football fan.
I’ll tell you what I do like about football: I do like coaches. So, I’ve been admirer of Tom Landry and I’ve stories I’ve heard about Vince Lombardi. This is Vince Lombardi on the screen. He was a great head coach for the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s. They had lost the NFL championship I believe it was in 1960, and then the next summer, July of ’61, Lombardi faces his 38 guys on the team and decides it’s time to take them back to fundamentals, back to basics.
This is what he did. He walked into the locker room and he held up that pigskin ball and he says, “Gentlemen, this is a football. Am I going too fast for you?” He was taking them back to basics. And it proved to be very effective, for during the ’60s they went on to win five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls. I didn’t write those dates down - I think it was ’67 and ’68. Maybe it was ’66 and ’67. He was a really good coach because he took people back to the basics.
I want to say to you this morning, ladies and gentlemen, this is a Bible. Am I going too fast for you? We have to get back to basics! We need the word of God! We need the word of truth working in our lives, dwelling in our hearts and in our minds, filling us and forming us in order to give us strength and stability, in order to give us freedom and mobility.
If you’re finding yourselves tripped up in your Christian life, I guarantee that at least one of the reasons why you’re tripping up is because of a lack of application of the word of God. I’ve been there many times myself, many times when I’ve recognized that I’ve tripped up, that I have begun to depart in my heart or I’ve backslidden in some way or I’ve sinned in some way, and I can always see that at least part of the problem has been a lack of application of the word, a lack of time in the word, a lack of meditation on the word. We have to go back to basics, go back to the fundamentals. The word of truth: that’s what it means to fasten on the belt of truth, to gird up the loins of your mind with the truth. So the truth of God’s word objectively considered. That’s first.
II. A Heart of Truth
Now, here’s the second way for us to think about fastening on the belt of truth: not only the word of truth, but also a heart of truth. A heart of truth.
What I mean by this is truth more subjectively considered; I mean, truth in the mind, truth in the heart as a characteristic. So you might think of it in these terms; let me give you a couple of verses, this also from Ephesians, first of all.
In Ephesians 4:24, Paul reminds the believers there that when they came to Christ they were taught “to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Again, he’s using that same word, or a form of that same word, “truth” as a description of what happened to their hearts when they came to Christ. Their hearts were created anew in truth and righteousness and in holiness. God gave them true hearts.
Or in Ephesians 5:9, Paul is saying that we are to walk not in darkness, but walk “as children of light,” and he says, “The fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.”
Or do you remember the prayer of David in Psalm 51:6, where he says to the Lord, “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being”? “Truth in the inward being.”
It’s not just having truth objectively in the Bible, but it’s also having such a deep application of that that we begin to have true hearts, that our hearts are true. I think we can flesh that out in two ways.
Well, one more text, and I think this clinches this as being one of the reasons this is the right way to read this passage, Isaiah 11:5. I mentioned last week that the language of the armor comes from the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 59 I quoted last week), but also from Isaiah 11:5, and it’s a description of the Messiah. He’s called a “stem from the root of Jesse,” and he’s this one who’s clothed with the sevenfold Spirit of God, the spirit of wisdom and might and so on. Jesus applied this passage to himself. And then in Isaiah 11:5 it says, “Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness [or truth, or truthfulness] the belt of his loins.”
That’s considering truth as this inward quality, truthfulness. So I think it’s right, then, for us to apply it that way ourselves as well. I think we can break this down, then, into two different ways.
(1) It means, first of all, sincerity versus hypocrisy. To have a true heart means to have a sincere heart. To have a true heart means that we are genuine, it means that we are authentic, it means that we are the real deal, that we really are who we say we are. We’re not hypocrites, we are sincere. We are single-minded. We are focused on really giving our lives and all of our lives to the Lord.
I love the words of Joshua. I think he is a great example of this, a great model of this. In Joshua 24:14 he says, “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”
Remember how Jesus says that we are to have a single mind, to serve with a single eye. Paul talks about serving in sincerity. He talks about how his message was not “yes” and “no,” his message was not given with any kind of false motives. He had one singular ambition, one sincere desire, and that was to know Christ, to please Christ, and to make him known. That should be the heart of the Christian. The heart of the Christian should be a sincere heart, not a hypocritical heart.
(2) And then secondly, having a heart of truth means integrity versus duplicity. Integrity versus duplicity. James, in his letter, warns about the double-minded man; literally, the “two-souled” man. The double-minded man, the double-hearted man, who is “unstable in all his ways.”
Any of you guys remember — I think this is sixth or seventh grade math — do you remember the difference between an integer and a fraction? A fraction is a part of a number, right? Point five, one half, one fourth, one third. You remember what an integer is? It’s a whole number!
Integrity is a whole heart, alright? That’s what it means. It means a heart that is integrated. It’s whole. It’s complete. It’s put together. So part of what we have to ask ourselves is, “Do I have a whole heart for the Lord? Is my whole mind and heart and will devoted to him?”
Warren Wiersbe has said that some Christians, instead of being like the man who built his house on the rock, he said some Christians are building duplexes, half of it on the rock, half of it on the sand. Serving God and the world, serving two masters. And Jesus says nobody “can serve two masters”; he’ll either “love the one and hate the other,” or he’ll “cling to the one and despise the other.”
How do you know if you have a whole heart? Let me suggest some tests. These are tests I think we find right in the Scriptures.
(i) Think about your spiritual disciplines. Jesus does this in Matthew 6. Think about your spiritual disciplines, your acts of personal piety towards the Lord. Do you pray more in secret than you do in public, more in private than you do in public? Do you pray in secret? Do you have that time, what Jesus describes as time in the closet? The secret place, where you are seeking God and you are seeking God in private. Not just praying in small group, not just praying at meals, not just praying in front of your family, but do you pray in private and pray more in private than you do in public? That’s a test.
Jesus says that those who make a show of their prayers are doing it in order to be seen by men, and he says they have the reward, but when you pray to your Father in secret, you have your reward from your Father, because you’re seeking him.
So think about your disciplines. Think about your prayer life. Or think about fasting. Do you ever fast? And when you fast, do you make sure everybody in your family and everybody else knows about it? Then you lose the reward, Jesus says.
Or think about your devotional life, your Bible reading. Are you able to spend time in the word and write some thoughts in a journal without making an Instagram post of it? You know what I’m saying.
John Owen one time said that our solitude, our times alone, are either “the best of our times or they are the worst of our times.”
(ii) Or think about your holiness. Is your holiness holistic, or is there "a hole in your holiness" (to use the language of Kevin DeYoung)? Is it holistic; that is, are you to seeking to be holy in every aspect of your life? I think sometimes our tendency is, we’re focusing on the sins that trouble us the most. We’re focusing on the sins of commission, the things that we do that we know that they’re wrong and we feel convicted of those and we want to repent of those. But we’re not thinking about the things that God commands, that we’re not doing. We’re not thinking of sins of omission, we’re not thinking of sins of neglect. We’re dealing with the sins that really give us trouble, but we’re not dealing with every sin in the way that God wants us to.
(iii) Or here’s another test. Do you love God and love people? You remember how the apostle John says that you can’t love God and not love your neighbor. If you love God but you hate your neighbor, the love of God does not dwell within you. It’s loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and it’s loving our neighbor as ourselves. The two tables of the law, the Ten Commandments. The first table is loving God; the second table is loving your neighbor.
There are some people who ostensibly obey the first table of the law. They don’t really, but they do so in pretense. They’re all about the religious stuff. Never miss a day of worship, never miss a prayer meeting. You know, they’re always there. They’re very punctilious; they’re very specific and detailed about the vertical aspects, but then they’re yelling at their wives and children without any kind of repentance or apology and they’re neglecting the needs of people and they’re judgmental and they’re critical and they’re harsh. They’re really religious - they’re Pharisees! They’re concerned, they think, with the first table of the law, but not with the second.
And then, on the other hand, you have some people who are all about loving your neighbor. They’re all about loving your neighbor, they’re all about justice, social justice and those kinds of things (and we should be about social justice rightly defined). But they’re all about that, but completely neglecting the vertical. They’re not really loving God with heart, soul, mind, and strength. They’re not doing it for God. They’re really legalists, they’re moralists, because they’re not bringing those two things together. We have to bring them together, loving God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
I love the prayer of Psalm 86:11, and it’s a prayer that I am learning my need to pray more often. The prayer goes like this: "Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name."
Why is he saying that? Why “unite my heart to fear your name”? Because he recognizes that his heart is divided. He’s recognizing that his heart is in pieces. He’s recognizing that his heart is in fragments. There’s a piece over here, there’s a piece here given to Jesus, and there’s a piece here that’s given to the world, and there’s a piece here that’s all about selfish ambition, and there’s a piece that’s all about bodily appetites. His heart is divided, and he’s saying, “Lord, gather the parts of my heart and unite them, that I might fear your name.”
I’ve been reading this week the Puritan William Gurnall, who wrote this big, thick book, The Christian in Complete Armour. It’s like 1200 pages of double-column, fine-print exposition of the armor. You think I’m doing a long series! Ten weeks? I mean, I don’t even know how many sermons this guy preached on the armor of God. It’s one of the most detailed, heart-searching things I’ve ever read.
One of the things, a beautiful illustration, from Gurnall — he said that the Christian’s heart is like these scattered pieces of metal. It’s like a metal object that has been broken and splintered and fragmented and they’re lying on the floor, and he says what needs to happen is these pieces need to be gathered up and then melted once again in the furnace of God’s word, cast into a new mold, so that we have a united heart, we have a whole heart for the Lord. Have you recognized your need for that?
III. The Truth As It Is in Jesus
So, how does that happen? How do you get a whole heart? How do you get a true heart, a sincere heart, a heart of truth? The answer I think is found in our third and our last way of thinking about this text, and that is thinking of the truth as it is in Jesus.
I’m drawing that language from chapter 4:20-21, where Paul says, “But that is not the way you learned Christ.” He’s reminding them of the way they once lived. They used to live as the Gentiles, and he’s saying they’re no longer to live that way in the futility of their minds, with darkened hearts and understanding, and sensuality and greed, and all of these negative, sinful things. He says, “But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus.” Jesus is the core of truth. He is the centerpiece of truth. Jesus is the source and the substance of all truth, and he is the perfect living embodiment of truth and faithfulness.
(1) Objectively, when we’re thinking about the word of truth, Jesus is the source of the word of truth. It is the Spirit of Jesus that inspired the prophets of the Old Testament to write the word. There are a lot of people who want to pit Jesus in the New Testament against the Old Testament, as if we can do away with the old, we don’t need the old anymore now that we have the new.
Now, it is true that there is a distinction between the old covenant and the new covenant, but when you read the New Testament carefully you will see that over and again Jesus is quoting with approval as being spoken by God with divine authority the Old Testament. The book of Deuteronomy, the book of Isaiah, the book of Psalms, over and over and over again, Jesus is showing his reverence for the word of God in the Old Testament.
But not only that, Jesus came on the scene speaking with authority himself. So Jesus will say things like this: “You have heard that it was said…” and he’s correcting a misapplication of the Old Testament, and then he says, “But I say unto you…”
Or, he will begin a statement in this way: he will say, “Truly, truly, I say unto you.” No rabbis talk like that. They would speak a word, and then they would end it by saying, “Amen.” Jesus says, “Amen, amen.” That’s what that word truly is. “Amen, amen, I say unto you.” He’s speaking with authority. Why? Because he is the source of truth!
Not only that, he is the substance of truth. You remember how Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.”
So the very heart of truth, the core of truth, the substance of truth is Jesus. You don’t get truth, even the word of truth, apart from Jesus. You can have Bible knowledge and not really know Christ! Paul is saying, “You’ve learned the truth as it is in Jesus,” with Jesus the centerpiece, with Jesus the focus, with Jesus the one who is personally teaching you by his Spirit as you gaze on his face, on every page of Scripture. We have to learn the truth in Jesus, and for us to put on the belt of truth is to put on Jesus. He is the armor. We put on Christ as we put on Christ as the truth.
(2) And then subjectively, Jesus is the perfect embodiment of sincerity and integrity, of a true heart. Nobody ever lived with as much integrity as Jesus. Nobody ever lived with a whole heart like Jesus did. Jesus loved God the Father with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and he loved his neighbor as himself. Jesus loved his enemies. He loved us to the very end! He loved us to the point of death. Jesus is the Messiah, he is the shoot from the stem of Jesse in Isaiah 11 who put on righteousness as a belt and truth as a belt. Nobody more single-minded, more sincere than Jesus, nobody who loved righteousness and hated iniquity as Jesus did.
I want you to know this morning, and I think all of us need to take this to heart, the only way for us to put on the belt of truth is to go to Jesus and to get it from Jesus. We get a new heart from Jesus. He’s the one who creates a heart in true righteousness and holiness.
So, whether it’s for the first time, if you’ve never come to Christ and you know the duplicity in your heart, you know the hypocrisy in your heart, you know the failure to love God and to love neighbors in your heart - if you know that and you’ve never come to Christ, then this morning you can bring your divided heart to him. You can’t remake it yourself, but you can cast the pieces at his feet and you can say, “Jesus, would you take these pieces, melt them together in the furnace of your word, and cast the mold anew? Make me a new person in Christ.”
Or, if you’re a Christian this morning but you recognize, as I have so many times, the division in your heart, you recognize that there are pieces that are not integrated, you could see that there are aspects of your life that are not congruent with your profession of faith in Christ - if you see that this morning, then bring those pieces to Christ this morning and ask him to make your heart whole.
Let’s make these words our prayer, and I’ll end with these, words of a wonderful old hymn:
“May the mind of Christ my Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By his love and pow’r controlling
All I do and say.
“May the word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through his power.
“May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.
“May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing:
This is victory.”
One more verse:
“May I run the race before me
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.”
Brothers and sisters, put your eyes on Christ. He is the truth, and he can give you a true heart. Let’s pray.
Gracious and merciful God, we acknowledge this morning the division and duplicity of our hearts. We acknowledge our great need for your mercy and your grace. Lord, there have been so many times where I have found my heart wandering, and by the grace of your Spirit you’ve shown me, you’ve awakened me to need for repentance and for grace and for wholeness, and this week has even been a soul-searching week as I’ve thought about this passage.
I pray that all of us this morning would search our hearts, examine ourselves, and that we would be honest, that we would bring to you the true condition of our hearts, and whatever needs to change, by your Spirit show us this morning, show us what needs to change, show us where we are not whole, show us where we are not true, show us where we have not applied the word to our lives or where we have not been devoted to Scripture, where we have neglected our Bibles. Then give us repentance, give us new hearts, give us true hearts. Create us anew by your Spirit.
Father, for any who don’t know Christ, would you right now give the gifts of faith and repentance, open eyes, new understanding, an irresistible drawing to Christ. Bring those who are lost into your kingdom.
As we come to the table this morning, would you help us come with both honesty as we examine ourselves and with outward-looking faith, so that we’re not looking to ourselves to be worthy (we’re not worthy), but we’re looking to Christ to be our worthiness, we’re looking to Christ and his finished work, trusting in it with all of our hearts, but then submitting ourselves to Christ and to the Spirit so that we do become more like him. Help us be surrendered in every way and yet have all of our confidence and all of our trust in Christ and in Christ alone. Meet with us now as we come to the table and continue with us by your Spirit in worship. We pray in Jesus’s name, Amen.