“And now the word of the Lord”
Candle Lighter: “You are looking forward…”
Response: “…to the coming of God’s Son from heaven.”
Scripture: I Thessalonians 1:8-10
8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, 9 for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.
Reader: The word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
What do you think most people are concerned with today? What are they thinking about? What will occupy most of your time this Tuesday? It is always a challenge for me to make some time to think about the bigger picture. That is why every day starts out with some time with the Scriptures and talking with the Lord. I find listening to the Lord is harder than talking to the Lord! In this passage, Paul commends the people in the church at Thessalonica for their growing faith. I’d like to make a few observations about some of the words and ideas he mentions. Like those Greeks, our challenge is to turn from the idols of our culture to serve the “living and true” God. Turning is a repentance word. Turning involves a complete change in pattern or habit. Turning means going the opposite direction. Turning means putting down the phone and having a conversation and looking the other person in the face. But turning is even more; it is, in this case, a complete change in the direction of the will, a re-orientation of life. The word, living, here has to do with being active, it is not just being alive. Truth has to do with genuine as opposed to false. We worship a real God. that might seem like a dumb thing to say, but contrast it to 100 years from now. Which is more real, your cell phone, your house, your job or God? We end this section of Scripture with the central advent theme, the return of the Lord. The return of the Lord is the most frequently mentioned doctrine in the New Testament occurring on the average of once every thirteen verses. We are to watch and wait for this great day. As G.G. Findlay has written, think of wait as a “sustained expectation.” Notice also the “rescued us” is actually has a deeper meaning. Think of it as a continual, timeless present. And that deliverance is from the wrath (terrors) of the coming judgment. There is much to say and much misunderstood about the wrath of God, but we need to stop for today! Let us wait for the Lord’s return today with sustained expectation. He’s coming back!
Music: Joy to the World George Fox University
O Lord have mercy upon us when thou comest. Have mercy upon our failure, our failure to reckon with judgment, our easy acceptance of forgiveness, our lack of a sense of urgency, our proneness to make tomorrow the day of repentance and renewal. Almighty God, have mercy upon us, reckon not our offences against us but pardon our transgressions for thy name’s sake. O Lord, keep us awake and alert, watching for your kingdom. Make us strong in faith, so we may welcome your Son when he comes, and joyfully give him praise with you, and the Holy Spirit, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
— Prayers for Sunday Service, p.66
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