“All honor and power to him forever! Amen.”
Candle Lighter: “At just the right time…”
Response: “…Christ will be revealed from heaven.”
Scripture: I Timothy 6:11-16
11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. 13 And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 15 For,
At just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. 16 He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen.
Reader: The word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
Have you noticed how often Paul refers to the Lord’s return? As we wrote all last week, the beginning of advent draws our attention to the Second Coming. In some ways we can be very much like the people Paul was writing to. We hear about the Lord’s return, but in some ways it seems very far off, surely not in our lifetime. This thinking is natural since it’s been a couple of thousand years since the Lord walked around in Israel. But then, God’s “time” is not like ours. He was 2,000 years in fulfilling part of his promise to Abraham. Our human tendency is to kind of forget about the Parousia and focus on today and tomorrow and what we’ll do next week. Yet Paul urges Timothy to stay alert, live a godly life, and persevere in the course God has planned for him. Do not get pushed off course. Give no one an opportunity to find fault with you. Live a godly testimony so you may not cause those around you to stumble. Jesus before Pilate is our model. Rest assured God is on his own time schedule and at just the right time “Christ will be revealed from heaven!” Can you imagine how the world will respond? Read again the description. “He lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will.” (v.16) Take a moment now and stop and reflect on what you just read. Do not rush on… Our Lord came to earth as a newborn baby boy and through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension returns as the King of kings. And because of his great sacrifice, we can live with him forever. Never let the Christmas story stop with a sweet baby in a manger. He became a child that we might become the children of God…forever.
Music: “Away in a Manger” Home Free
Lord of all being, there is one thing that deserves my greatest care, that calls forth my ardent desires, that is, that I may answer the great end for which I am made―to glorify thee who hast given me being, and to do all the good I can for my fellow men; verily life is not worth having if it be not improved for this noble purpose. Yet, Lord, how little is this the thought of mankind, of my own heart! Most men seem to live for themselves, without much or any regard for thy glory, or for the good of others; they earnestly desire and eagerly pursue the riches, honors, pleasures of this life, as if they supposed that wealth greatness, merriment, could make their immortal souls happy; but, alas, what false delusive dreams are these! Too often they are my own dreams. And how miserable ere long will those be that sleep in them, for all our happiness consists in loving thee, and being holy as thou art holy. O may I never fall into tempers and vanities, the sensuality and folly of the present world! It is a place of inexpressible sorrow, a vast empty nothingness; time is a moment, a vapour, and all its enjoyments are empty bubbles, fleeting blasts of wind, from which nothing satisfactory can be derived; give me grace always to keep in covenant with thee, and to reject as delusion a great name here or hereafter, together with all sinful pleasures or profits. Help me to know continually that there can be no true happiness, no fulfilling of thy purpose for me, apart from a life lived in and for the Son of thy love. Amen.
―The Valley of Vision, p.13
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