“Never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.”
Candle Lighter: “Carry out the ministry…”
Response: “…God has given you.”
Scripture: II Timothy 1:8-10; 4:1-5
8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. 9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.
4 I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: 2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
Reader: The word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
As Paul is writing this letter to Timothy, he is nearing the end of his life. He fervently wants to impress upon his young man the significance and responsibility of following Christ. In the first section you read, that from before the beginning of time extending grace to us through Christ Jesus was in the heart of God. He urges Timothy (and us) to share this good news that the power of death has been broken and immortality in the presence of God is possible for all. Sometimes the truth of these words seem more like words expressing a wonderful idea than actual reality. We are a people so tuned to what we can see and hear in the actions of today, (meetings, appointments, reports, phone calls, etc.), that talk of immortality seems more like fantasy. But in the second portion of today’s reading, Paul underscores truth again with “in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead.” Notice the comma after the word Jesus. Take the descriptive phrase out and you have “In the presence of God and Christ Jesus, preach the word.” Then a series of instructive words follows: be prepared, patiently correct, rebuke, encourage, and teach. We are to do all of these things realizing we are in the presence of God as we are doing them. His presence is not fantasy in spite of the subtle lying voice that whispers otherwise! With those words in mind, Paul goes on to describe our culture today! How did he know!! At the core of our culture is a rejection of God’s truth. The Scriptures are viewed as a collection of words that need to be interpreted in light of today’s values. Rather than having the Scriptures speak truth to our day, people have opted to decide their own truth. Instead of the Word standing in judgment of us, we stand in judgment of the Word. In the midst of this world, Paul challenges Timothy do the work of telling others the Good News, the ministry God has given him. And again you are saying to yourself, “what does all of this have to do with advent?” Notice again, everything we have said above points to the end of time, the return of the Lord, and being prepared (all advent themes), but also for the importance of telling others the good news of the gospel. It is so important that we not view the nativity as simply “the birthday of Jesus.” There is SO MUCH MORE going on.
Music: “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” by Kin
Glory to God in the highest―the creative, living God by whose energy the world is constantly sustained.
Glory to the Son, the Word made flesh, who entered human life as a man and died for us, that we might rise with him to everlasting life.
Glory to God the life-giving Spirit, who makes known the wonder of the Father’s love, even to our hardened hearts.
Glory be to God the Trinity, our inspiration, our fulfilment and our destiny in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
― Prayers for Sunday Services, Scottish, p.36
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