Month: December 2017
2 Thessalonians 1
11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,
12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
For a long time in my Christian life I really thought that part of its success was up to me. So I would read my Bible more, pray more, and serve more in a futile effort somehow get more of God. As Paul addressed the Thessalonians, and us, we have to notice that he is asking God, who counts us worthy of His calling, to fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power to the praise of glory of Jesus Christ.
Pay close attention here to the prime actor in this equation and why this is important. If I were able at any time in those years of personal effort to achieve the level I thought I could achieve, I would have patted myself on the back and given myself some of the glory for working so hard and so diligently to get where I got. Paul says that it is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that is to be glorified in me. Hmm, this indicates that whatever God accomplishes in me and through me is because He was the one working. I cannot nor must not absorb any of the glory of the work of Christ because I have never been able to improve on what He does. When His work is done through me I know that He was the one at work and that all praise for the success is to Him.
Then Paul lets us know that this work done through us to bring glory to Christ is done on behalf of the grace of God. My friends, we are saved by grace, we are kept by grace, and we do God’s work by grace. There is nothing special in me or in Bobbi that makes us uniquely gifted to do more of God’s work. God works through us with and according to His grace in us. If you are going to serve the Lord Jesus it will be Him at work in you and through you for His glory and according to His grace. No one will ever stand before God and get a pat on the back for their hard work. All of us, kneeling before God, will thank Him for His grace that working through us used our feeble human efforts to accomplish His eternal purposes.
Our youth Christmas party is tonight at my house at 6:00. Teens, bring a small gift to give (emphasis on small), bring some goodies to share, or bring $5 to help with the expenses. We have plenty to do and look forward to a fun evening together. Parents, we will be done around 9:00.
There is a rehearsal at church tomorrow morning at 10:00 for all who are participating in Sunday’s Christmas program. Plan to be here till noon.
If you know of a family in need, we do have some grocery gift cards available.
Sunday afternoon at 3:30 we will be gathering at Sunrise Assisted Living to sing Christmas songs with the residents there. Come and bring children. This is a great time to teach our kids to serve others. Those who live there are so appreciative of the gifts of our time and love.
Have a great day in the Lord,
In this final message on the five solas of Justification, we clearly see that there is no way for us to save ourselves. There is no way for us to share one bit of glory with the God of our salvation. Religion thrives on mankind helping God in achieving their adherents eternal standing. But God alone is capable of saving us from our sin so God alone will receive eternal glory for such wonderful justifying work.
2 Thessalonians 1
6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
There are times in life when we, according to the teachings of Jesus, have compassion on our enemies, at least on those who hate us, make fun of us, and even persecute us for our faith. Christ commands us to pray for them, love them and to do good to them. When we do what Jesus’ said and the God-haters continue to hate on us, we know that one day they too will stand before God and give account to Him. In today’s passage, Paul is giving insight to a persecuted church letting them know that those who are against them only have the upper hand in this life. God is not being defeated nor is His will being thwarted. In His time God will bring judgment upon the enemies of His people.
Struggles against those who hate the truth is nothing new. Satan has hated God and God’s people since the beginning of his rebellion. But God has a day coming, “when He comes in that Day” on which date God will be glorified in His saints and admired among all those who believe. This life is so temporary. When this life gets difficult, the world, the flesh, and the devil (our three enemies) want us to think more about this life than we should. I think that Paul was reminding the church that the day yet to come is coming and will be the answer to all of this life’s troubles.
Fear not, little flock; our Good Shepherd is watching over us and is coming in His time to redeem His people, His church. Be faithful until our Savior’s return, He is coming and He will make all things right in His time.
Two of our ladies, Nancy W and Kristin are having work done today and would appreciate your prayers for their health and well-being.
This Sunday is our Christmas service. The kids have a presentation for us which will bring us to a greater reminder of our Lord Jesus. I will bring a message on the glory of God in the incarnation of Christ.
Teens, we have a Christmas party at my house this Friday night. We will talk about this tonight at youth group.
Have a great day in the Lord,
2 Thessalonians 1:2–3
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,
As Paul watched those he had invested in grow in their faith, he rejoiced greatly. They had come to know the grace and peace of God in Christ and grew exceedingly in their faith. When it comes right down to it, every pastor longs for those he cares for to grow exceedingly in their faith. Infant faith is wonderful but mature adult faith is where we can live and do and see God do great things. So much of counseling is encouraging people to grow in their faith helping them to believe that God is in control and that He is trustworthy. So much of preaching and teaching is explaining more about God so that our faith in Him matures and deepens.
We often look to Job in times of trouble, but let’s look at Job before his troubles. He was a man who worshipped God and lived his life trusting God for all things. The troubles that came revealed who he was. So it is in each of our lives. When trouble comes the depth of our faith is revealed. Oh that we grow exceedingly in our faith in the good days so that like a prepared soldier, when the battle comes, we are prepared to stand in faith.
What is growth in faith? Faith in God is a settled confidence that He is God and that as God He loves us, His created ones and that He, as God, is in full control of our lives. God has a plan for our eternal salvation as well as a plan for our temporal lives. God is preparing us throughout our lives for His purposes, which are for His glory. God then wants us to trust Him and His unique, well-devised plans for our lives. But what if those plans include sickness or pain, or misery, or loss, or separation? Trust God; keep your faith in Him. I pray that you will grow exceedingly in your faith.
The tension in America is high today. Allegations are swarming like bumble-bees and it is difficult to know what is politically motivated, what is guilt motivated, what is real and what is not. We need the wisdom of Solomon to be able to discern the right ones from the wrong ones and the righteous from the sinful. Whether you are at work or at school the political tension is intense. Pray for peace in the hearts of men and women who are so filled with anxiety. As a Christ-follower who enjoys His peace in my heart, I am grieved for the people so caught up with the anxiety of it all. Their very lives are in danger as well as their souls. Pray for the peace of Christ to be known in those so filled with sinful their anxiety.
Stef came home from school on Monday telling that everyone was grumpy. Her friends as well as other students were just negative all day. Pray for each of our teens who face this in their schools. They are surrounded by people in pain and are not always equipped to stand up in the joy of the Lord. Pray that they will know that equipping.
God gave strength on Sunday as I came not feeling well but brought the message on being justified to the glory of God alone. I do thank God for the strength He gave to do His work.
Rachel still has not had her baby. The labor comes and goes but this little girl is just not ready yet to face the world. Rachel appreciates all of our prayers and concerns.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 Thessalonians 5:26–28
26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.
27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
As Paul closes this letter he encourages brotherly love. The holy kiss was a genuine greeting, men kissed men on the cheeks and women kissed women on the cheeks. The fact that it was a holy kiss indicated that it was a genuine Christian greeting between brothers and sisters in Christ. We do handshakes or hugs and in the heartbeat of this thought our Christian greetings should ooze with genuine love and care for one another.
Then Paul admonishes them to read this letter to one another. In fact, he wants it to be read to them all. Over the last few months I have been reading this letter to you. Now, who can you read it to? Have you ever noticed the cleansing effect that reading of the Scriptures has to us? Just reading through books of the Bible cleanses us from frustrations, from hurry, from fear, from anxiety, from insecurities and more. The washing of the water of the Word is meant by God to cleanse the filthy and to quench the thirsty.
Finally, Paul’s salutation is simply this: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” In a sane spiritual moment, what more do we need besides the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ? When we know that the source of this grace is our precious Lord Jesus, the Anointed one of God, we then know that it is the grace that we need. For while justice may knock at the door Jesus sends grace to answer the door. When in our hearts we feel condemned the facts of God’s grace must overcome our wrong feelings. Oh how I long for all of you today to know the present grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in every thought, every action, every responsibility, and every reaction of your day. When we are that cognizant of the grace of the Lord we live in the peace that follows grace. Grace and peace be unto you.
I am looking forward to Sunday together. This is the final series in the Five Solas of Justification. This message will address the fact that we are justified to the glory of God alone. No human that ever lived, no matter how great a writer or how desperate a person could have designed and implemented God’s plan for our eternal salvation. This completed plan of redemption causes us to bring glory to God.
Next Sunday, the 17th, we will be going to do Christmas caroling at Sunrise Assisted Living in Naperville at 3:30 in the afternoon. All are invited as we gather with the residents there to lift up the name of Christ. If you have particular Christmas reading that you would like to do please let me know.
Have a great day in the Lord,
As we study the five solas of Justification we look today at the source of our knowledge of how man can be justified before God. While many religious books have been written only the Christian Scriptures point to justification by faith, through grace, as a result of the completed work of Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.
Who needs prayer? Paul did. Who was Paul? The man who wrote much of the New Testament, that’s who Paul was. He understood the mysteries of God like no one else, Peter tells us that. Paul heard the voice of God and followed it exactly. Paul started churches all over Eastern Europe and led people to Christ everywhere he went. Who was Paul? We go to his writings for every part of our Christian lives and our church function.
But what did Paul ask for? He didn’t ask for money. He didn’t ask for help. He asked for the one thing that really surprises us, Paul, the great Apostle, asked for prayer. I don’t think he asked for prayer because he has a cold or some physical or financial issue. Paul knew the level of the spiritual battle that he faced and he knew the value of the prayers of God’s people for the outcomes of those battles.
Whose spiritual battles do you pray for? We have an enemy who hates the work of God at every level. Our enemy is against all that we do for God. Therefore, he creates issues for all of us who are striving to live for Christ and do His work. So, whose spiritual battles do you pray for? If Paul asked for prayer, then so do I. Would you pray for me? Pray for our church services. Pray for one another as you go to work, to school, and struggle to live life. Brethren, pray for us.
Our adult Christmas party is this Saturday night. We forgot to mention the “white elephant” gift exchange. This is a lot of fun for the evening. If you failed to sign up, please let Sandy or Bobbi know that you are coming.
Have a great day in the Lord,