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Ready for the Lord’s Return

“The book had all the makings of a bestseller. Adventure, drama, action, mystery, even a touch of horror; it was all there. Paul finished reading the final few pages, put the book down, and reflected on the author’s dramatized account of the events recorded in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. The Author had a gift for bringing the biblical ideas to life.

Kelly, a friend from the church, had recommended the book to Paul. She had told him the books was not only an excellent read—it had changed her life. With a new understanding of the way in which the end-times would unravel, Kelly again felt excited to be a Christian. She had explained to him how the book had enabled her to figure out the mysterious symbolism of Revelation. With this understanding, she was now able to see that the end-times scenario was unfolding right before her eyes!”[1]

So begins a chapter entitled, “The Millenniums Debate” from the book, Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. The name of that book which was read by Paul and recommended by Kelly was not mentioned in the book. But maybe it need not be. Many books and movies have been and are still being published and produced which have to do with the end-times, for such books and moves not only sell money—they peak our curiosity and interest levels, too. They “claim to give understanding of how the end-times will unravel.” They “dramatize the events of Revelation.” They might even move some to believe they are more “excited about being a Christian.” But such books are to be tested against the entirety of the Scriptures—not just one book or one section—rather all…

Mt24.36-44, Advent 1, 2010A.pdf

“The Death of Jesus Christ & The Coming Judgment”

It is peculiar that today’s Gospel reading from St. Luke seems so far removed from ‘The Last Day of the Church Year’. Where we would expect to hear of God’s Coming Judgment, of signs in heaven and growing tribulation on earth, and of Christ’s return in the clouds (Acts 1:9-11), instead we hear of Christ on Calvary’s cross, of women weeping after Him, of people mocking Him as He’s dying on the cross, and one of the two criminals crucified with Him saying, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom (Luke 23:42).

An account such as Jesus’ death and the events just before it do not seem to ‘fit in’ to this time of the church year. It seems like it would be better suited for Lent and Good Friday than today. However, taking a closer look at the text, we find that it is indeed fitting. And it is ‘fitting’ in this way: First, with regard to Jesus’ words to the women who were mourning and lamenting after Him as He is on His way to the cross and death. Second, concerning the proper way to be prepared for our Lord’s return. And third, with reference to Jesus’ words to the criminal on the cross, to whom He said, Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43).

Lk23.27-43, Pentecost26. Last Sunday of the Church Year, 2010C.pdf

“Your Redemption is Drawing Near”

In the Nicene Creed, Christians everywhere confess that the Jesus Christ “will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead.” This confession we confess because it is true according to the Holy Scriptures, as heard in today’s Gospel reading. The Lord Jesus will one day return, not in humility as before, being born of the virgin. When He comes again, He will come in glory. Every eye will see Him, the Bible says (Revelation 1:7).

This is good news indeed for all who long to be without sin, for all who desire God’s mercy in Jesus. But for all others, the day of Christ’s return will not be a welcome day. It will be a day of fear and dread. It will be a day of fear and dread because for those who in Christ do not believe, who ignore His calling now to repent and believe the Gospel, they will be called to account. For them, Christ’s return is not for their salvation. It is for their judgment. But for the Christian, for the one who calls upon the Name of the Lord, who seeks God’s favor through the obedience of His Son, Christ comes to bring them to Himself, to take home all who belong to Him…

Lk21.5-36, Pentecost 25, 2010C

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