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Worry and Worship: Ten Characteristics of God

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 13, 2020 5:00 am

Worry and Worship: Ten Characteristics of God

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 13, 2020 5:00 am

This Christmas season, Pastor Curtis invites us to see God through the eyes of Mary. Mary lived in the middle of a confusing, worrisome situation—and yet she left singing. If we saw God the way Mary did, we would sing, too. And because of Christmas, we can.

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Merry Christmas Summit family for those you that are still in the giftgiving shopping phase of Christmas on a pass along to you. Quite frankly, probably the best gift giving advice I've ever received venture simply to remember that a gift is one of the best ways you can tell somebody and show them how much you love them because it's like this tangible thing that they can look at and you can say this is how many dollars I love you Worth heart. Not so for Michael Scott to me to you. Okay, last weekend custody, kicked off her Christmas season by dropping us in Luke chapter 2 this morning were actually to go back one chapter 2 Luke chapter 1, so if you have your Bible, go ahead and pull that out printed on rib you gotta do to be and Luke chapter 1, and we are actually going to read a part of the Christmas story that I imagine most of us have skipped right over.

See most of us know about the angel coming to Mary and how he prophesied that she was going to be pregnant and then usually we jump straight to the birth of baby Jesus in the manger and anyone that's ever been pregnant knows that it just anyhow happens and then there's this whole nine months in between, but anybody can testify, the know there's a whole lot happens in there and maybe it's just how my mind reads the Bible when I read the Bible I just I got some strange questions about questions like Mary you're pregnant with you know the Savior of the universe or did Mary have like morning sickness that you get cramps that you not find like a comfortable position to sleep in with Joseph up getting her water like every 20 seconds because last Wednesday cold enough or too cold or whatever. None of this is ever happened in my life. By the way, so I just digressed white myself in trouble gets anyways. I want to drop us right here in the middle of Luke chapter 1 and show you something incredible about Mary right here in between the prophecy and her pregnancy, and so are you making your way there still Luke chapter 1 kids looked up mortgage notes out, whereas you question how many of you would categorize yourself for the person you're sitting with as a warrior as a worrier or somebody that's prone to worry okay some you didn't even hear me ask the question because since the second service started there something you have been worrying about. I others of you. You're like well I don't know I'm I'm I'm not a worrier. We don't think I am know you're worried about whether you're a worrier and all you're doing is just proving my point right now doesn't mean you're your middle name is worry if you are not worrying you would not know what to do with your self okay. We worry about all sorts of things we worry about our health. Right now we worry about our jobs. We worry about our relationships. We worry about our kids.

We worry about our finances.

The list goes on and on and on right this very moment we said the word Christmas a bunch and now you have been reminded of somebody you have forgotten to get a gift for and so now you are worried about what you get that person listen if there were ever someone in the history of mankind, who had cause to worry. It was Mary mother of Jesus. And so there's a few things I think we know about her, but I just want to remind you how just to get to know her a little bit and in some reasons your story.

First, she is pregnant with the Savior of the universe again.

We know this part. The angel comes along. He's like a Mary. And be pregnant it can be got and she's like, hey, I know you're an angel and that sounds fantastic. I love being pregnant without love kids.

However, again urinating not understand the I'm a virgin and discover the stand she sees. I will like Holy Spirit to come upon you. Yada yada yada. You can be pregnant.

She's like okay I guess that makes sense and he's like and and and minor detail small detail may be important for you to know Mary as a teenager, but you can be pregnant with God.

So don't mess it up.

Mary so she got this to be worried about. She's pregnant with the Savior of the world number two with this pregnancy is probably coming a bad reputation because she's not just pregnant but she is pregnant out of wedlock surmise like I mean, sure, she she's engaged to that guy she's betrothed to Joseph within a lived together, which means she's pregnant, it probably would with him with me.

She's probably running around on him so she has her reputation to be worried about last week.

Pastor JD showed us that that that she was poor so one more thing to worry about her finances should even have enough enough money to offer the land that the sacrifice officer.

She offered to turtledoves or she has finances to be worried about. And last but not least her marriage is up in the air when they got married really young back then, so, so, Mary Scully, 14, 15, 16 years old when she gets engaged in the labs the woman when she gets engaged she hops on Pinterest. She's she dreaming up this amazing wedding she scrapbook and she's name in the future give names to do nice things like not Mary Mary's busy trying to contents her fianc but she is not been running around on him just to get him to come back so that she would have to live forever lonely in a time where a woman would've been seen as damaged goods and she would've had very little way of providing for herself, so Mary has her marriage and her future to be worried about here. Luke chapter 1, we are introduced to a poor pregnant teenage virgin with a bad reputation and a marriage that's up in the air who is been entrusted with the Savior of the universe. You understand and Mary situation here. If anyone in the history of ever has just cause to worry.

It is Mary. She wins the prize to get most of you know that that an angel appeared to Mary. But right after the angel appears to her what happened to. She runs down to her cousin Elizabeth house.

Elizabeth is pregnant with this guy that we come to know as John the Baptist of John the Baptist and Elizabeth's tummy and the second Elizabeth sees Mary walk in John knowing who she is actually jumps in Elizabeth's tummy. So John's like Old Testament OG height man I this is who John is and then Mary what happens next is so crazy because Mary just bursts into a song that now you think of her situation that Mary would break down sobbing because of her situation, but instead she breaks out singing about her Savior. And so to pick up in Luke chapter 1 beginning in verse 46 and when we do this one away at all of our locations when we stand in honor of the reading of the word of God stands, you may have Artie read it at your campus but never get too much Bible I meant stick to that I can go wrong will chapter 1 beginning in verse 46 Mrs. Mary song and Mary said my soul magnifies the Lord in my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed, for he is mighty he was mighty as done great things for me, and holy is his name and his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He's brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate is filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.I pray this morning the words of my mouth the meditations of my heart will be acceptable in your sight oh Lord my God, my rock and my Redeemer and all God's people said amen and amen. Fry came over this morning I asked my two-year-old I thought I said hey that is going to preach the Bible this morning and said why Michael cattle time between at the exit. We pray for daddy and she said okay.

She said dear God, thank you for today. Thank you for the beef last night which they got and she said it helped that he preach payment and she said okay. Got your good so been anointed by my two-year-old. The prayers so out of the mouth of babes can be a great sermon that's all I know Mary sings what was it that caused Mary Ann can help us to worship instead of worry what caused Mary to sing in the midst of her situation.

I think it would help if I frame this whole thing went with kind of two ideas. I believe I know this is oversimplified but I think there are two fundamental approaches that we can take the life one were to call it a bottom up approach bottom not bottoms up approach, that's a whole different lifestyle whole different sermon. Okay, but a bottom up approach the bottom up approach starts with you. It starts with your feelings and your emotions and your experiences and your circumstances and then you project goes on to God.

So when things are really good in your life. You believe that God is really good when things are not going so good in your life. You believe that that's a reflection of God and therefore God doesn't seem so good anymore and the problem with this approach is that it just keeps you on this constant emotional and spiritual roller coaster like whatever you're feeling. That day, again, is the emotion that you project onto God. So it makes God feel like he's kinda wishy-washy like you changing every day you don't really know what to expect from him. The other approach and the approach that I hope we can leave here with today is what will call a top down approach top-down approach top down approach starts with God. This approach assumes that God is who he says he is.

According to the Bible the Bible which reveals God's character, his nature and his attributes in the Bible tells us dating all the way back to Genesis 1. That God is good, but God is always altogether good that he made everything good that the plan that he is working out and has been working out since eternity past, will continue to work out until the day he comes back is good. This approach believes that God does not change that God is the same yesterday today and forever more. So what I believe is that Mary lived with a top down approach that even though she is probably illiterate due to her life circumstances.

Most likely, what is happiness. She's been going to the synagogue and heard the Scriptures taught and she has taken the Scripture. She has committed them to mind and heart and now she's going to live her life top-down.

So regardless of her circumstance, she says who is God, what does the Bible have to say about him was a have to say about his plan and his purposes in my life and she says now I'm going to choose to live in light of that said this before here, but I believe that the single most effective means of bolstering our confidence in God and his character is by spending time in the word, because to some degree.

You can only trust God, insomuch as you know him and how much you know him is directly tied to how well you know his word in the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah would say like this and say this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. I have hope because I have things I can call to mind some Mary focuses on what she knows to be true about God and because of that she could not help but bust out and sing and is Ella Fitzgerald, the first lady of song reminded us. She said the only thing better than singing is more singing and so in Mary song I believe she identifies at least 10 characteristics of God. That should bolster our faith in God and lead us to deeper worship of God and hippies very quickly. I mean we can do entire sermon series on every single one of the doctors rapidfire, but what I hope you experience today. Like Mary, is that as theology, the study of God becomes biography personal at the study of God becomes personal that it culminates in doxology as praise to God as theology becomes biography that it would culminate in doxology I so the first characteristic of God to help us worship worship instead of worry is that God is Lord God is Lord verse one, verse by verse here. This is basic Bible study principles. Okay God is Lord. Verse 46 and Mary said my soul magnifies the Lord, not kids for my kids out okay what God being Lord means is that he's in charge. God is the boss. So Mary looks at her life and her future and her reputation and her family and her potential marriage and says you know what God is Lord he's in charge and I trust him. So I'm going to live top down and worship him instead of worry.

I do not said this before, but what makes this so hard is that God's purposes do not always come wrapped in our preferences don't know.

Ever notice how God doesn't seem to to check your calendar before making executive decisions about your life, because he is Lord he doesn't he doesn't have to.

But when I can rest in the fact that he is Lord and remember that he is good, then I can have peace because I'm reminded that everything that God does is good that his plans are good that his purposes for me are good. I'm reminded that God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Try the gods of Mary, I know you are planning a wedding. I know that's what what you thought your plans were but I'm busy planning to send the Savior of the world to change the world and such would encourage you today wherever you are, that whatever happens, I just don't want you let your plans and your preferences make you miss God's purpose in your life because I actually believe that today God wants to change some of your plans for the better so that can because for worry for some you control freaks because that means you don't know what's gonna happen with the plans going to be.

It does make sense to you, you would do things differently that can be cause for worship because God is Lord and he's in charge and he's good and he loves me. And great is his faithfulness to me and so on, to live in light of that, and I will praise him for and I will sing to him for someone God is Lord number two God is Savior got a Savior.

Verse 47 Mary says my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Now this was really interesting because throughout history.

There's been a whole lot of controversy around Mary and whether she was actually like this perfect and sinless human being wrap some grub and in denominations like that.

On the contrary, though. Mary not only recognizes her need for a Savior, but that very characteristic of God is one of the characteristics that lead her to worship because you see, just like you and me.

Mary is a sinner in need of a Savior again kids Savior is just a rescuer, a Savior is a deliverer Savior is a hero that when there's a problem that the hero, the Savior comes along and rescues you from that plight in the Bible God is the hero. God is the deliverer.

He's the rescuer. He has rescued us by sending himself as the Savior of the world in the form of his son, Mary, son and end this son of Mary's was going to be born without sin, yet would end up dying for Mary sin but would then rise for her salvation, and so Mary starts her song top-down by singing God is my Lord and my Savior. She doesn't start bottom up with all her complaints toward God sent God to God.

You know what, what's going on.

I mean that the dress isn't benefit and Joseph is kinda freaking out. My parents are trying to figure other than explain this to my grandmamma and when I go to the synagogue by myself with a baby it's not you look so good by the way I like in junior high. This seems like a bit much for me at this time in my life. And so what are you doing up. She starts with who God is. She says he's the Lord he's good.

He knows best.

He's my Savior.

He will get me through. She sings to him, number three, God is personal God is personal sin versus 40 and 49. She says for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed, for he who is mighty has done great things for me this one on all Austin might be my favorite. And it certainly one of the things that separates Christianity from other religions is the fact that our God church is personal. That means he pays attention to you. He knows you. He knows everything about you.

He knows the good and the bad. He knows the pretty in the ugly. He knows every thought you have ever had.

He knows everything you have ever done. He also knows everything that's ever been done to you and still knowing all that he still loves you. It's one of the reasons Mary sings so magnificently because the God of the universe knew who she was. God knew her. Her poor unimportant peasant woman from Nazareth but God chose her. She hand-picked her to be the mother of Jesus, and in that I think that Mary experienced what every human being wants to experience a sense of her dignity. She God is personal and respectful and he gives dignity to whom dignity has been taking from them to the point that he adopts and calls you his son or his daughter. This is what our God does church. This is what our God does high school or if you have had dignity taken away from you know that the God of the Bible is personal and he sent Jesus for you in order to give you dignity back. So if you've been humiliated or cheated on or your parents of said horrible things to you or maybe your father just completely left you and walked out on you or you been lied to arbitrator people of said devastating or denigrating or demoralizing things maybe been beaten or molested or abused. Whatever it is, if you had dignity taken away from you. God sees you. God knows you he notices you and in Christ, he chose you because he loves you and if you believe that about him have a different kind of peace you sleep differently.

Your goodness seen differently number four God is holy, verse 49, Mary says, and holy is his name. The holy holiness just means wholeness working to keep putting the hay on the very bottom where all the kids can get to okay holiness just means wholeness perfection. God is lacking nothing. He's perfect in every single way to the problems of living in this world is that we actually get used to sin and brokenness. We get used to the hatred and racism and immorality and idolatry and lies and deceit and drunkenness. But God, being holy is never going to get used to this thing in a way that only John Piper can and trying to describe God's holiness.

He says God is incomparable. There's nothing like him. Nobody like him. His holiness is his utterly unique divine essence. His holiness determines all that he is and does, and it is determined by nobody else. His holiness is what he is as God which no one else is or ever will be.

And so we can try to call it Majesty or his divinity or his greatness. But in the and Piper says our language simply runs out because in the word holy.

We have sailed to the world and of reverence and wonder and all, and there may yet be more to know of God.

But what that will be will be beyond words, and so were just left singing with the words we do have to Mary worships God because he is in a class all by himself, for he is holy.

Number five. God is merciful verse 50 and his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. At its most basic form, mercy is not getting what we deserve. See, God withholds from us justice this that we deserve as sinners and replaces it with grace. Getting something we don't deserve that his mercy kids again. This just means that God is the best it forgiving God's the best it forgiving that we keep messing up. We keep disobeying. We deserve to be punished. We deserve a timeout however you want to you want to say. Yet God just keeps on forgiving you see because he's holy.

He had to do something about our sin, because he is merciful, he wanted to do something about our sin within our next one because he's powerful he was actually able to do something about our sent December 6 God is powerful. Verse 51 God has shown strength with his arm.

He scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the mighty from their thrones. So yes, God is merciful, but he is also mighty he's he's sovereign but he's also strong. He's personal, but he is also powerful. Again, I think some of the best theology comes from our kids songs which says my God is so big so strong and so mighty there's nothing that my God can do.

So Mary looks at God and sees this loving, merciful, powerful father, for whom nothing is impossible and see when your God is all-powerful, then there's no problem in your life that can be all-consuming because now you have faith in the all-powerful one who has strength and Lordship and power over that potentially all-consuming situation he so big so strong he's so mighty there's nothing he can't do verse 51 says that his strong arm is reaching down into history and grabbing people and saving them and defending them and protecting them and securing them and embracing them and cherishing them because God is powerful. Mary knows that there is a God who is above her who was actually gone before her, who now lives with in her who was always for her so she burst into worship instead of worry because he's holy. Yes, he had to do something about our sin, but because he is merciful, he wanted to but it's because he's powerful that he's able to number seven.

God is generous God is generous. Verse 52 is brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate. 53. He has filled the hungry with good things known things we took a step back for second one think that's actually terrifying about this passage is that this passage represents people who feel so rich and felt so full and so satisfied with the things of this world, that they no longer are seeking after the Lord anymore versus 51 and 52 called in the proud in the mighty, the one that God springs down and around about you but I can't help but think of Jesus's words later in Lincoln and over in Matthew he says Jesus is woe to any of you think you have it all in this life. Woe to the rich because if you think you have it all with all your effort and 1/2 but blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

See Mary is certainly one who is of humble estate. Certainly one who is hungry but because God is generous, she can rejoice in her humility and her hunger and say God I know that you would exalt those of humble estate and you feel the hungry with good things yell in a world and in in in this country were we just want things to happen so quickly, so fast, some you at the beginning of mass my sermon you ordered some on Amazon and you're frustrated.

It ain't arrived at your front door yet want things to happen like this, but there's just something about hungering and thirsting and waiting, that is actually glorifying and sanctifying because it forces you to rely on God and we experience this actually in a good way to some some of you this morning are experiencing this hunger in a spiritual way. You truly, genuinely seeking after the Lord your you're doing the church thing your reading your Bible, your praying fervently, but it just doesn't seem like much is happening or changing in your life just doesn't seem like you're getting through to God not getting his attention. He's not doing anything about your situation.

Listen God is generous and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled so that you I don't want you I want you to let the desire to be further along rob you from your joy of knowing that Jesus is with you today.

I want you to remember who God is, I want you to remember that he's generous and that you will be filled number eight dollars just got is just verse 54 says he has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy and God being just shut up dad and blocks just means that he will come to make the wrong things right and make the dark things light it means that in God's kingdom the hungry will be fed the poor will be house the needy will be cared for the marginalized will be protected, and here's how I know that this anecdotally here's how I know how God cares about these things is the fact that God is about to change the course of human history were on the precipice of the most important three decades. Jesus being born in the history of mankind. All the promises all the prophecies, the rescue mission is about to begin and where do we find God on the eve of this happening here in Luke one when we find God we find him occupying himself with two obscure humble women whom the world would not have given a second glance to Elizabeth and Mary Elizabeth is old and barren.

Mary is a poor young virgin, and this is where goddess yet even in Mary situation. Mary need not worry, for she knows that God is just that God is the champion of the poor and the oppressed and the despised, that he's a personal and generous God, the God who is the lover of the lowly. The God who cares for the helpless, the humble and the hungry. Mary knows God is just so she believes that regardless of her search situation. He is going to come to make the wrong things right and make the dark things light. Number nine. The Lamb is playing here.

God is faithful God is faithful. Verse 54 says he has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy as he spoke to our fathers referencing the Old Testament to Abraham and to his offspring forever. Again Mary could've gone with her emotions. She could on your bottom up.

She succumbs had God, what are you doing with my life.

What in the world is happening, but instead Mary celebrates the God who has remembered her in the God who is faithful to his covenant because the promises that have been made to Abram Adam and Noah and Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob.

Jacob are now here in the fullness of time, as Scripture tells us cc all of us to place our faith in something so I want you to see God is faithful to all of us place our faith in something even worry, to a certain degree. Worry is just another version of faith because worry is just placing your faith in the worst case scenario.

Okay, worry unhelpfully asked the question what will happen if what will happen if nobody believes that I'm a virgin. What will happen if I have to raise this baby by myself. What what what what if the angel was wrong about all this. When the economy falls apart with I lose my job. What if I never ever get married with I do get married but I marry a jerk and it will happen if me and that jerk have little babies may come out in their little jerk babies and Aretha Melody my little jerk baby I'm reminded of the jerk husband that I married like what if what if what if. How about this. The I love your children, your children, not just what if God is faithful. What if God really is for you. What if God really is merciful and loving and kind. What if God really is faithful to do what he has said he was going to do because of God really is the faithful one, that the Bible says he is, and that's reason to worship instead of worry God is faithful. His last one, number 10 God is eternal God is eternal.

Verse 54 God's help, to serve in Israel, in remembrance of his mercy as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever and ever listen. If God has been good. He will be good because God is the same yesterday today and forever more. Because God is eternal, it means he doesn't change so one of the extremely practical ways that we can choose to replace worry with worship is by looking at history again worry asked the question what will happen if history asked the question what do I know to be true about God and what he has done in the past and so when I picked this thing up, but when I pick up the words of life. What I see even in the midst of chaos is that there is this guy name Abraham and Abraham is really old and his wife was barren. They couldn't have a kid but God gave them Isaac and then came the nation of Israel with a bunch of promises for an eventual child that would be the Savior of the world and even though the people constantly disobeyed God, he remained merciful and generous and faithful to the promises that he gave them and they continued to come to pass. So just based off the Old Testament based off God's history.

I think he's good for all these things I think is good for the planet.

He's been working out for thousands and thousands and thousands of years.

I think based on this, that he is Lord that he's Savior that he's personal that he is holy is merciful is powerfully generous. He just is faithful that he is eternal. So I think is good for this and Mary says y'all that's my God in him to sing to him and I'm going to sing out him. Yes, I have no idea what's going to happen but I do know who God is and I'm going to sing because my Savior is worth it because my Savior is worth. But most importantly church we sing because God came to live with us in context.

I hope you actually see the Christmas story is actually it's pretty dark, shaky asked what could happen, but what prevents us from reading this story in despair is that name Emmanuelle God with us because it's knowing God is with us. That is the one thing that is the one characteristic above all else that will lead us to worship over worry about as you know I have. I have four kids. I was two or six and 4642 in new for me but notice to appear at that age they know they know monsters are real, they they know darkness can't hurt them. Yet every once in a while I miss it's pretty rare that their great supers. But every once in a while as a kid does this have like a bad nightmare or whatever they wake up in the middle the night. They're terrified they're worried about what's happening in the concrete and in the mom and dad's room and usually they wake got up.

We all know not what mama they went out up in a cry babe like you know whatever out about dream. It was helpful for me in that moment to get down on their level and to remind them that you know you know daddy you know daddy would never let anything bad happen to you right you know daddy loves you regular daddy stronger than anything that can come in your room right and they know those things help them is not me.

Just saying okay you know daddy strong, loving, kind, merciful, will let anything happen you go back to bed and go to sleep. No know it's good for them to know these characteristics about their daddy but what they want more than anything in that moment is for dad just to be with just being near them and this is exactly I think what happens to us is the main problem. Most of us have is not that we think God is weak or evil or out to get us. In fact, we agree that God is holy and powerful, and merciful. We do not doubt his goodness. But what we do. Doubt is his nearness doubt that he is here which all that is precisely the doubt that God came to attack at Christmas by sitting his son Jesus on Manuel to be God with us and that is more than anything else. That's the one detail that moves very price see Christmas is God's declaration that he is always with us, and that Summit church is the good news that should lead us to Rachel. If we saw God the way that Mary sees God. We would sing to us because of Christmas that we can switch approach you take the life bottom up approach has not been working for you constantly swayed by your feelings and your circumstances and your emotions or top-down approach, believing that God is who he says he is. According to the Bible believing that he is Lord and Savior and personal, and holy and merciful and powerful and generous and just and faithful and eternal. But most importantly that he is Emmanuelle God with us to do. I'm actually gonna pray here in just a moment, God's will leave you by yourself rushing to put all 10 of these characteristics up on the screen wherever you are in a put these things up and I just want you may maybe need to bow your head may maybe just need some time to yourself. Isolate the Holy Spirit move only give you a moment to allow the Holy Spirit. You and the Holy Spirit to just do some work I want you to focus whatever attribute of God. Maybe need to write one of these down. You need investigated further. Maybe need to ask an accountability partner somebody else later on. Maybe this is the word the characteristic you need to pray and ask God to reveal to you more about himself.

I don't know what it is like to let the Holy Spirit work with you on these 10 things minimal, but all the locations somebody will come and lead us to let's pray God, thank you for your word.

When we feast on it, would it fill us with great things would you open our eyes that we may continue to see the beauty and the majesty and the sufficiency of Jesus Christ our Savior and because of that would be a people who grow and worship and people who would sing with hearts like Mary to the God who is near us. Emmanuelle God with us that we pray we ask, we rejoice, we sing all these things in Jesus Christ name, amen and amen

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