141109 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Theme: The Last Judgment Is A Source Of Encouragement

There is a reason why this Sunday is not a Friendship Sunday. Friendship Sunday was a couple months ago. That service included special Scripture readings and special music. I preached a sermon based on John 3:16 because in the clearest and simplest terms that verse tells us what God thinks of us (he loves us) and what he has done for us (he sent his one and only Son to save us).

The focus of the second Sunday in the season of End Time is a bit different. And I wouldn't be surprised if the designation for this Sunday gave a first-time visitor a negative impression. Imagine that you are talking to a friend and you want to invite that person to church and you say something like this: "This weekend we are observing Last Judgment Sunday. The pastor will be talking about fire and brimstone and judgment and eternal punishment. It's going to be great. You want to come?"

Last Judgment isn't a phrase that evokes warm and fuzzy feelings. There is an edge to it. There is a not so veiled threat behind it. Jesus the Judge is coming, and when you stand before him his judgment will last forever. Cue the thunder and lightning.

If this subject is less than pleasant to most people, then why do Christians talk about it? And why do we dedicate an entire Sunday to it? Skeptics might say that a day like today is a throwback to the Middle Ages when the church and its leaders conjured up images of fiery dungeons and unrelenting torture to scare the masses into submission.

But in our text for today the apostle Paul suggests that there is a different reason, a much more positive reason for Christians to observe Last Judgment Sunday. Paul's inspired words remind us that the Last Day will not be all doom and gloom. For everyone who trusts in Jesus, Judgment Day will a glorious day. Because of Jesus' first coming, we look forward to his second coming. Because of Jesus the Last Judgment doesn't fill our hearts with fear. Instead...

THE LAST JUDGMENT IS A SOURCE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

I. Because Jesus will return
II. Because we will be ready
III. Because we have been redeemed

Read more: 141109 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

141102 Psalm 46:1-11

Text: Psalm 46:1 – 11
Theme: Listen as the LORD Lifts His Voice!
1. He Comforts You with His Presence
2. He Assures You of His Victory

Did you listen to the news this week? More specifically, did you listen to what Pope Francis said about God and creation? This past Monday, the Pope told a group of scientists, "The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it...When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining God as a magician, with a magic wand able to make everything. But it is not so." Did you catch what the Pope is saying? He is saying that the almighty God is not able to "make everything"! This is in direct conflict with what we read in God's Word. In Hebrews chapter 11 we read, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." And in Exodus chapter 20 we are told, "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them."

Read more: 141102 Psalm 46:1-11

141026 Isaiah 5:1-7

Text: Isaiah 5:1-7
Theme: God Desires Growth In His Garden

For the past four months or so our church paraments have been green. Green signifies growth and serves as a reminder of the theme for the Sundays after Pentecost, spiritual growth in the life of a Christian. To coordinate with that color and to emphasize that theme, the background picture on the screen has been a tender shoot planted in dark, rich soil.

It's a nice picture, but there is something wrong with it. Did you notice? Can you guess? Even though we have had plenty of rain and plenty of sun since that image was first projected in June, it hasn't grown. It hasn't grown at all. And on a much more serious level the prophet Isaiah leveled the same complaint against the people of Israel.

Isaiah lived at a time when God's people were outwardly successful, but spiritually struggling. The Lord sent Isaiah to tell them that he was not happy. Actually, God was very angry and his patience was about to run out. It was Isaiah's job to warn the people that God's judgment was coming and coming soon. It was Isaiah's job to call God's people to repent of their sin and return to the Lord. It was Isaiah's unenviable task to tell rebellious people what they didn't want to hear.

To get God's message across, Isaiah told them a story about a man and his vineyard. He even put that story to music. And since Isaiah didn't give his song a title, I have come up with one of my own...

GOD DESIRES GROWTH IN HIS GARDEN

I. Verse 1: He plants the vineyard
II. Verse 2: He looks for a good crop
III. Verse 3: He judges the plant by its fruit

Read more: 141026 Isaiah 5:1-7

141019 Philippians 2:1-4

Text: Philippians 2:1 – 4
Theme: Serve the Savior with a Smile!
1. Rejoicing in His Love
2. Gladly Serving Others

"Service with a smile!" This is a phrase you hear quite often from those who work in service related jobs. Those who work in places such as restaurants or department stores are encouraged by their employers to smile as they serve the customers. Why? Smiling to the customer tells the customer that you are happy they have chosen your place of business. Smiling says to the customer, "I happy to have the opportunity to serve you in some way today." As members of Christ's Church, all of us have an opportunity to serve; to serve our Lord and those around us. This section of God's Word before us from Philippians chapter 2 encourages you and me today: "Serve the Savior with a Smile!" Serve the Savior with a smile as you rejoice in His love; Serve the Savior with a smile as you gladly serve others.

Read more: 141019 Philippians 2:1-4

More Articles...

  1. 141012 Matthew 20:1-16

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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