Monday, October 19, 2020

The One Year Bible- October 19th

I have always been a fan of the morning prayer service known as Matins. This service has a rich tradition in the Church. This service is filled with singing, prayer and other music. Growing up Lutheran I have seen many versions of this service. But regardless of what hymnal it comes out of the words are very powerful and have great meaning for me. We will read one of the central passages used in Matins this week. Let’s use these words as our focus today.

                       

 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
   let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
   let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
   and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
   the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
   and his hands formed the dry land.

 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
   let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God,
   and we are the people of his pasture,
   and the sheep of his hand.--
Psalm 95:1-7 ESV

 

Seth’s Thoughts

 

The Old Testament
As we keep plugging away at Jeremiah, I saw some great glimpses of gospel this week. Here are a few that hit me:

 

“Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.  I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first.  I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.”  Jeremiah 33:6-8

 

“For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the LORD.” Jeremiah 33:11b

 

And then a great Messianic promise: “In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: 'The LORD is our righteousness.”  Jeremiah 33:15-16

 

We have come to the point in the story where there is more narrative than prophetic. Many historic details are filled in and give us a better picture of some of the events that took place right before the exile. We don’t usually get many of these stories in Sunday School. I had forgotten that Jeremiah gets thrown into a mud pit and almost dies. And that the king burned up the scroll that was written almost in spite of the message it contained. Eventually we see the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple itself. It was a sad day in the life of the people. I put quite a few frowning faces in the margin of my Bible this week. Another bit of the story that I forgot about was that of those who were left in the country and not taken into exile. I found it very interesting that the Lord promised protection for these people through Jeremiah as long as they stayed in the land. But, like what seems to happen again and again, the people do not listen and head to Egypt for what they think is “safety”. Their self-centeredness was their destruction.

 

Most of the rest of our readings this week were pronouncements of judgments on the surrounding countries. The Lord will finally punish all the other countries for their unbelief. It is sometimes hard for us to read about all this destruction, but we need to remember that God has every right to punish us for our sins. We need to have a good grasp on this so we can see that the gift of Jesus Christ is so amazing. We are not treated as we deserve. We have been given a wonderful gift in Jesus…you see, I told you this book was Christ centered.

 

The New Testament
As a pastor I really feel that Paul is talking to me through the words of 1 and 2 Timothy. But just because you are not a “pastor”, does not mean you cannot benefit greatly from these two letters of Paul. I kind of see these letters as letters of encouragement, sort of like Paul is the coach and Timothy is the player. Paul can’t do the work for him but he can give him some great advice. One of the most famous phrases of encouragement comes from 1 Timothy 4, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”  What awesome encouragement! Paul goes on to say, “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”  Paul also reminds us all, “You can’t take it with you.” We need to learn to be content where God has placed us. In 2 Timothy 2 Paul makes a connection to the Old Testament. He writes, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel”   (2 Timothy 2:8 ESV). This is a flashback to the good old Davidic covenant that we have seen in Jeremiah recently. Once again it all comes back to a story about Christ. I love all the “trustworthy sayings” in these letters. The one on the unity we have with Christ gives me great comfort and hope. “If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;  if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.”  (2 Timothy 2:11-13 ESV) There are some big passages in 2 Timothy for us in our Theology. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV) This passage forms the basis for our belief in Scripture. We believe that the Bible is the only rule and norm of faith. It comes from God, and is useful for all sorts of things regarding our faith. It gets us ready to respond to God in good works as well. This is one of those passages that should be committed to memory!!! The end of 2 Timothy shows us some of the humanity of Paul. He is stuck in Rome, under arrest, and many of his followers have left him. Only Luke remains. Paul asks for Timothy to come to visit with him. It shows us that Paul not only cares for his good friend and partner in ministry but he misses him terribly and desires his companionship. I hope you have good friends like this; I have been blessed with many of them.

 

Bits and Pieces

 

The Old Testament

We will finish up Jeremiah this week and move on to the book of Lamentations followed by the book of Ezekiel. Here are the vital stats for the books:

 

LAMENTATIONS

PURPOSE: To teach people that to disobey God is to invite disaster, and to show that God suffers when His people suffer.

AUTHOR: Most likely Jeremiah

DATE WRITTEN: Soon after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

SETTING: Jerusalem had been destroyed by Babylon and her people killed, tortured, or taken captive.

KEY VERSE: “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city.” (2:11)

LAW THEMES: The Lord pours out His anger against the kingdom of Judah; Judah finds no comfort; she cries, mourns, weeps, and laments the siege and exile.

GOSPEL THEMES:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; great is His faithfulness; wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord; he has redeemed you.

KEY PEOPLE: Jeremiah, the people of Jerusalem

KEY PLACE: Jerusalem

SPECIAL FEATURES: Three strands of Hebrew thought meet in Lamentations—prophecy, ritual, and wisdom. Lamentations is written in the rhythm and style of ancient Jewish funeral songs or chants. It contains five poems corresponding to the five chapters.

 

EZEKIEL

PURPOSE: To announce God’s judgment on Israel and other nations and to foretell the eventual salvation of God’s people

AUTHOR: Ezekiel—the son of Buzi, a Zadokite priest

TO WHOM WRITTEN: The Jews in captivity, in Babylonia, and God’s people everywhere

DATE WRITTEN: Approx. 571 B.C.

SETTING: Ezekiel was a younger contemporary of Jeremiah. While Jeremiah ministered to the people still in Judah, Ezekiel prophesied to those already exiled in Babylonia after the defeat of Jehoichin.

KEY VERSES: “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all you idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (36:24-26)

LAW THEMES: Death and God’s wrath come to Israel by the sword; Israel has not walked in God’s statutes; in anger, God withdraws His glory and blessings; idolatry as spiritual adultery; defilement; exile; famine and pestilence.

GOSPEL THEMES: God keeps His covenant; new hearts; gift of the Spirit; the Good Shepherd; cleansing; restore the fortunes; God’s glory returns; the new temple.

KEY PEOPLE: Ezekiel, Israel’s leaders, Ezekiel’s wife, Nebuchadnezzar, “the prince”

KEY PLACES: Jerusalem, Babylon, and Egypt


The New Testament

Here are the vital stats for the next three books we will read in the New Testament:

 

TITUS

PURPOSE: To advise Titus in his responsibility of supervising the churches in the island of Crete

AUTHOR: Paul

TO WHOM WRITTEN: Titus, a Greek, probably converted to Christ through Paul’s ministry (he had become Paul’s special representative to the island of Crete), and to all believers everywhere.

DATE WRITTEN: About A.D. 64, around the same time 1 Timothy was written; probably from Macedonia when Paul traveled between his Roman imprisonments.

SETTING: Paul sent Titus to organize and oversee the churches on Crete. This letter tells Titus how to do this job.

KEY VERSE: “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I direct you” (1:5)

LAW THEMES: Be above reproach; rebuke; the pure and the defiled; submissiveness; devotion to good works.

GOSPEL THEMES: Election; soundness; God’s grace; redemption; washing and renewal; justification.

KEY PEOPLE: Paul, Titus

KEY PLACES: Crete, Nicopolis

SPECIAL FEATURES: Titus is very similar to 1 Timothy with its instructions to church leaders.

 

PHILEMON

PURPOSE: To convince Philemon to forgive his runaway slave, Onesimus, and to accept him as a brother in the faith.

AUTHOR: Paul

TO WHOM WRITTEN: Philemon, who was probably a wealthy member of the Colossian church, and all believers.

DATE WRITTEN: About A.D. 60, during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, at about the same time Ephesians and Colossians were written.

SETTING: Slavery was common in the Roman Empire and evidently some Christians had slaves. Paul does not condemn the institution of slavery in his writings, but he makes a radical statement by calling this slave Philemon’s brother in Christ.

KEY VERSES: “Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord (verses 15-16)

LAW THEMES: Usefulness; imprisonment; service; debt; partnership

GOSPEL THEMES: Comfort/refreshment; reconciliation; forgiveness.

KEY PEOPLE: Paul, Philemon, Onesimus

KEY PLACES: Colosse, Rome

SPECIAL FEATURES: This is a private, personal letter to a friend.

 

HEBREWS

PURPOSE: To present the sufficiency and superiority of Christ

AUTHOR: Paul, Luke, Barnabas, Apollos, Silas, Philip, Pricilla, and others have been suggested because the name of the author is not given in the Biblical text itself. Whoever it was speaks of Timothy as “brother” (13:23)

TO WHOM WRITTEN: Hebrew Christians (perhaps second-generation Christians) who may have been considering a return to Judaism, perhaps because of immaturity, stemming from a lack of understanding of Biblical truths; and all believers in Christ.

DATE WRITTEN: Probably before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70, because the religious sacrifices and ceremonies are referred to in the book, but no mention is made of the temples destruction

SETTING: These Jewish Christians were probably undergoing fierce persecution, socially and physically, both from Jews and from Romans. Christ had not yet returned to establish his kingdom, and the people needed to be reassured that Christianity was true and that Jesus was the Messiah.

KEY VERSE: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (1:3)

LAW THEMES: Retribution for disobedience; slavery to death and the devil; and unbelieving heart; rebellion; obligation to sacrifice; repentance from dead works; crucifying Jesus again; the living God’s vengeance; struggle against sin; discipline; obedience to leaders.

GOSPEL THEMES: God spoke through Jesus; purification for sins; inheriting salvation; our High Priest and Mediator; sanctification; God’s promises; Melchizedek; sprinkled and washed; assurance of faith; the founder and perfecter of our faith; the great Shepherd.

KEY PEOPLE: Old Testament men and women of faith (see chapter 11)

SPECIAL FEATURES: Although Hebrews is called a “letter” (13:22), it has the form and content of a sermon.

 

Monday, October 12, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of October 11, 2020

 

 



 

Link to Worship Video for 10/11/20 – HERE

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:

http://www.bethanylutheran.org/worship-service-resources/

*Direct link to Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/466692696

 

 

Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 10/11/20 – HERE

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:

http://216716c740411890a61b-baadebb03584b8c460640ee327586b9d.r93.cf2.rackcdn.com/uploaded/s/0e11049531_1602342597_sunday-bulletin--october-11-2020.pdf

 

 

Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 10/11/20 – HERE

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:

http://www.bethanylutheran.org/bible-discovery-resources/

 

 

V     V     V

 

Sermon Message:

Keeping the Primary Thing the Primary Thing

 

Text: Philippians 3:4b-12

 

Fill in the blank: In order to even think about attending, or becoming a member of, a church, it has to ___________________.

 

On Wednesday of this past week, I was driving through the neighborhood of The Gathering and I saw a group of guys hanging out in front of the convenience store located at 10th and Myrtle. Because I’ve walked the neighborhood countless times, I decided to park my car and go say hello, masked of course. As I approached the group of guys, I saw one gentleman, they call him Snake, standing against the wall enjoying an adult beverage in the warm afternoon sun. Snake is a character. He loves to laugh and joke around, some might call him the life of the party. It seems that everyone knows Snake and Snake knows everyone. I hadn’t seen Snake in several months and so we started talking. About two minutes into our conversation, Snake looked at me and said, “I need you to come with me and meet my wife. I’ve told her about you and your church, but I don’t think she believes me.” So, Snake and I turned the corner, and headed down the alley to his apartment. When we get to his apartment, he walks in, introduces me to his wife, and says, “This is the pastor I wanted you to meet. We need to go to his church! He told me I ain’t got to get dressed up and I can just wear what I got on. I don’t have to wear my hard shoes and suit.” You see, somewhere down the line, Snake got the impression that you have to act or dress a certain way before you can belong, or even attend, a church. To put it another way, he learned that it was more important that you fit in with everyone else than it was what you actually believed in, or even wanted to learn about, Jesus. It’s sad that anyone would think that, but, to be honest, many times, without even knowing that, churches give that impression. We may not mean to give the impression, but sometimes we do so unknowingly. As a result, we come off as saying, either by words or actions that a person needs to belong, to be like us and/or do what we do, before they can become a part of our community, regardless of what they believe about Jesus.

 

This was the battle that Paul was facing in Philippi. After Paul planted the church, and then continued on his missionary journey, a group of individuals, called Judaizers, came along and tried to infiltrate the church. The Judaizers were a group that said, in order to truly believe in Jesus, these Gentile Christians need to take on Jewish religious and social practices. Basically, the Judaizers taught that in order to follow Jesus, to be in His good graces, these Gentile Christians needed to assimilate into the Jewish way of life. These individuals were more concerned with these new Christians belonging to something, and doing the “right” things, than they were them believing in Jesus.

 

Our text today was Paul’s response to what was going on in the Philippian church. Paul wrote to the church, and I’m paraphrasing here, “The person writing you this letter did all he could to belong. I jumped through all the hoops, went through all the classes, knew the way to do things and did it perfectly; but when I truly met Jesus, and experienced His true grace and mercy, everything changed. After my encounter with Jesus, I realized that all that stuff I did to fit in, to belong, didn’t matter and even pales in comparison to knowing Christ, or more importantly being known by Christ. So, as I go out and preach about Jesus, I’m going to focus on Jesus and His death and resurrection. That’s the main thing! That’s the only thing that matters!”

 

Those things that Paul once considered valuable, fitting in with the religious group and doing the right things, he suddenly considered worthless compared to knowing Christ and experiencing Christ’s love, forgiveness, and new life that was given freely through faith. Paul would much rather know Christ, or more specifically be known by Christ. Knowing that Christ gave up everything to suffer death on the cross, so that you and I might be reconciled with the Father, was a game changer for Paul. Realizing that God considered Christ, His own Son, as rubbish as Christ hung on the cross in order for us to have a relationship with Him, meant that Paul was willing to give up all his accolades and needing to “do things by the book.” It was because he knew he didn’t need to jump through hoops to have God’s approval that was given to him freely through Christ Jesus.

 

Now, this did not mean Paul no longer obeyed God, quite the contrary, but his motivation to obey God changed from doing things to please God to doing things because God was pleased with him through Christ Jesus. Paul switched from looking at God as the supreme overlord who is looking to smite him anytime he get out of line, to realizing that He is a loving Father who cared for him and wanted the best for him. Because Paul knew and experienced this, he wanted to share it with everyone he came in contact with! He didn’t want to burden them with do’s and don’ts, he wanted them to experience God’s grace and mercy; and Paul was willing to do whatever it took so that others might know Jesus, regardless of whether it made him comfortable or not. He kept the primary thing the primary thing!

 

That’s why he writes in 1 Corinthians 9, and I’m reading from The Message version again… Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

 

So, can I ask, how did you filled in the blank? “In order to even think about attending, or becoming a member of, a church, it has to ___________________.”

 

Did you answer, something to effect of… “It has to purely preach the Gospel and rightly administer the Sacraments” or, to put it plainly (and not in so much Lutheran-ese), it has to be all about Jesus in what it says and does?

 

Well, that would be the right answer. Here’s the deal, if you said that it has to have traditional worship, contemporary worship, a phenomenal choir, an awesome Children or Youth ministries, dynamic preachers, evening worship, morning worship, or any number of other things that people often want in a church; then, to be honest, you’ve kind of switched the primary thing for something (though not inherently bad) that is not the primary thing. The things I listed are simply ways we use to communicate the primary thing, Jesus, to others.

 

This is the journey that the folks at The Gathering have been on for the past five years. We have come to realize that if we truly want to reach the community that God has placed us in with the Gospel, if we want to connect our neighbors to Jesus, we must recognize where we have been more concerned with people fitting in with our congregation than we have been with them meeting and growing in their faith in Jesus.

 

Sure, we all have our preferences of what we think a church should have on its menu of programs and ministries, but we have been coming to the realization, all be it slowly at times, that those are OUR preferences. They may not necessarily be the best way to proclaim the Gospel to the community in which God has us planted. We have had to ask ourselves, what are we willing to give up, to count as rubbish, so that others may come to know Christ and experience the love, forgiveness, and freedom as we have? We have been going through a process of building relationships with the people around us and learning how to read our community because we know that it is the first step in establishing relational trust. Building that kind of trust fosters a greater openness to a discussion of deeper, spiritual needs, and the ability to share about Christ. We have agreed to put everything on the table, except for Jesus, and, as we build relationship with our neighbors, to toss out those things that we find out are getting in the way of proclaiming the Gospel in our community and adding those things that will help.

 

Now, I have to admit, it has not been an easy journey, for others nor for me, and we have made a lot of mistakes along the way. There have been times where we took one step forward and three steps back.

 

Yet, it is one where we are learning to hold our doctrines and beliefs tightly but the way we express those beliefs, our practice, loosely. It has been a journey of learning to keep the primary thing, The Primary Thing, and that is JESUS.

 

Why are we doing this? Well, we are doing this so guys like Snake will feel like they have a place to go and discover who Jesus is and how much He loves them, has forgiven them, and wants to give them new life. We are doing this because we have come to realize that the community around us changed and we really hadn’t. We realized if we wanted to truly impact our community with the Gospel, we are going to have to count some things that we held as important, some of the ways that we had done, as rubbish.

 

So, let me ask you, what are we willing to give up, to count as rubbish, so that those around you where you live, learn, labor, or laugh may come to know Christ and experience the love, forgiveness, and freedom just as you and I have? Know that the answer to that question takes time, and it is a process. Know that you are going to get it wrong at time. Yet, also know that, even when you do get it wrong, you are still loved, forgiven, and made new in Christ Jesus. Know that you are still part of His family, and there is nothing that you can do to keep Him from loving you. Amen

 

- Pastor Kyle Blake

 

 

Worship Resources for Sunday, October 18th will be up on Bethany’s website by midday Saturday, October 17th.

 

The One Year Bible- October 12th

Today I want to encourage you to keep up the good work and remember that we are almost done with the book of Jeremiah.  After this book we have 14 more books to read in the Old Testament and 8 weeks to do it.  Needless to say the books will be coming fast and furious the last few weeks of the year.  We are in the home stretch, but stay strong.  On to the study…

 

 

Seth’s Thoughts

 

The Old Testament

I hope you have been enjoying digging through Jeremiah and finding the nuggets of grace. There were quite a few this week. We continue to see that even with the oncoming disaster, God has mercy and promises to save the remnant and bring them back. We also read some prophetic words about the Messiah as well, more on that later. There were a few other things that hit me this week and I would like to share. First of all there was mention of the Davidic covenant in a few places this week. We first met this covenant back in 2 Samuel chapter 7. God promised to David that, “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16 NIV). Now of course you remember that the earthly kings of Israel are long since gone. They were in their twilight in the time of Jeremiah. But this covenant had much more than just earthly meaning. Like many of God’s plans, they are much deeper and more amazing than we think. The true line of David would be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus was the one who was born of the house and line of David who now sits on the throne of the universe. This is a big deal! Jesus reigns at the right hand of God today!! Even when we think God does not fulfill his promises, we find out that not only is this not true but it is even better than we imagined. Speaking of Jesus, in my digging for nuggets this week I came across a passage in Jeremiah that speaks of the coming Messiah. Chapter 23:5-6 again mentions David’s line as well as a king who will, reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.” (Jeremiah 23:5 NIV). This person is called, “The LORD is our Righteousness.” This is most definitely a reference to Jesus as the Messiah.

 

In Chapter 30 Jeremiah gives some practical advice to the people. In short, he says for the people to “Bloom where they are planted”, be that in Israel or in exile. He tells the people that the exile will last for 70 years so keep doing what God wants. Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." (Jeremiah 29:5-7 NIV). In this context comes one of the more famous passages from Jeremiah, For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). I hope I am not sacrificing any sacred cows in your world with my next statements. This passage was not written for us to use at graduations or for people who are going through hard times.  This passage has been pulled out of context so often many have forgotten what it really means. When we look at this verse we have to remember the original context in which it was written. This verse was written to give the people hope in a time of great despair. It was a message of grace in a time of punishment. We must remember that God was talking to a stubborn people who had consistently gone against his will. These people deserved to go into exile. Even in the midst of this, God gives grace and mercy. Now, that being said, can we apply this verse to our lives today? Sure! But don’t forget the original context and remember that we are not living in that same context today. It is a stretch to use only this verse and make major applications to us today.  If you plan on using this verse make sure you put it in context and then related it to the current situation. 

 

The other big thing in our readings this week is the idea in Chapter 33 about the New Covenant. Remember there was nothing really wrong with the old covenant. It simple, as Jesus summarizes it when he says, “Be perfect”. That’s all, no big deal!! (please sense the sarcasm in my tone.) The Old Covenant was not broken by God, but broken by man and the sinfulness that we bring to the table. We are incapable of following what God desires. This New Covenant was not to be sealed in the blood of animals but in the blood of Jesus Christ. This New Covenant would transcend space and time and even Abraham would live under the New Covenant (even though he never knew it, see the book of Romans)  I would like to spend more time on this but I fear that if I continue I will either confuse you or bore you with the details. If you have questions, please let me know.

 

The New Testament

I want to take a look at parts of three letters today.  There is no way to cover all of the material, so if you have any specific questions, please feel free to email me or use the comment section on this blog.

 

1 Thessalonians

At the beginning of the book, Paul and his companions try to validate their ministry. They do so relying on Jesus and their track record of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus. After getting on some firm ground and giving some positive encouragement, Paul gets to the point. He tells the Thessalonians what will happen when Jesus returns. It will not be some secret event. And all those who have already died in the faith will be raised back to life. It will be a wonderful time. In the mean time Paul has some advice, And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 NIV)

 

2 Thessalonians

The main thing to remember about this book is to not be idle in your journey of faith. We do not know when Jesus will return so we must keep working so as many people here the message as possible. Paul tells the people not to think that Jesus has already come and they somehow missed it. Paul mentions a character called “the man of lawlessness”. This person is often called the Antichrist. It is the work of the Devil in the world today. Paul says that he is at work right now in the world. He will win some battles but he will be destroyed by the power of Jesus. Paul gives a great word of hope in Chapter 2, So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 NIV). Great words to end on for this book.

 

1 Timothy

This is Paul’s instruction to young Timothy. There are some great instructions for all who serve in the church in this letter. Paul states his purpose right at the beginning, The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5 NIV) There are many “trustworthy sayings” in this letter that should not be ignored. They all read like little sermons for Timothy. One thing that has caused much confusion is the definitions of what an elder is and what a deacon is. They seem to be quite similar but Paul treats them as two different things. Theologians have spent countless hours trying to figure this one out and we don’t have time to get into all the details but in my humble opinion, both sets of requirements are useful for anyone who does work in the church. They are the standard that we should strive for, but we must remember that forgiveness must fit into this somehow, someway. More about this book next week...

 

Bits and Pieces

 

The New Testament

We will finish up 1 Timothy and move on to 2 Timothy this week. Here are the vital stats on 2 Timothy:

 

PURPOSE: To give final instructions and encouragement to Timothy, pastor of the church at Ephesus

AUTHOR: Paul

TO WHOM WRITTEN: Timothy, and all Christians everywhere

DATE WRITTEN: About A.D. 66 or 67, from prison in Rome. After a year or two of freedom, Paul was arrested again and executed under Emperor Nero.

SETTING: Paul was virtually alone in prison; only Luke was with him. Paul wrote this letter to pass the torch to the new generation of church leaders. He also asked for visits from his friends and for his scrolls, especially the parchments—possible parts of the Old Testament or other Biblical manuscripts.

KEY VERSE: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2:15 NIV).

LAW THEMES: Judgment Day; suffering for the Gospel; charges and commands.

GOSPEL THEMES: The appearing of our Savior; sound words of the Gospel; the gift of the Spirit; the good deposit; rescue.

KEY PEOPLE: Paul, Timothy, Luke, Mark, and others.

KEY PLACES: Rome, Ephesus

SPECIAL FEATURES: Because this is Paul’s last letter, it reveals his heart and his priorities—sound doctrine, steadfast faith, confident endurance, and enduring love.

 

 

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of October 4, 2020

 

 



 

Link to Worship Video for 10/4/20 – HERE

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:

http://www.bethanylutheran.org/worship-service-resources/

*Direct link to Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/464295909

 

 

Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 10/4/20 – HERE

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:

http://216716c740411890a61b-baadebb03584b8c460640ee327586b9d.r93.cf2.rackcdn.com/uploaded/s/0e11008405_1601734540_sunday-bulletin--october-4-2020.pdf

 

 

Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 10/4/20 – HERE

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:

http://www.bethanylutheran.org/bible-discovery-resources/

 

 

V     V     V

 

Sermon Message: “In and Through”

Text: Philippians 2:13-18

 

This past Sunday we bid farewell and God’s speed to the McDaniel’s after 30 years of ministry here at Bethany.  Which makes St. Paul’s call to “grow through what we go through” all the more timely.  This week we heard him say to do so by “working out our salvation” (Philippians 2:12).

 

Working out one’s salvation is not a declaration that one must (nor even can) be saved by merits, efforts or actions.  The scriptures, including those that Paul authored, have made it crystal clear that salvation is a gift of God, wrought by, through and on account of His grace in Christ, whose work on our behalf, through faith in the same, saved sinners like us who cannot earn or deserve God’s salvation. 

 

Thus, “working out one’s salvationis a call to put faith into action, to practice what we preach/profess, to avoid faith atrophy. Through embracing the truth that God is at work in and through us (Philippians 2:13) to expand His kingdom and grant others that which we have received, His salvation, we shall find ourselves growing through that which we go through.

 

We give thanks to God for Carol & Gary and their family who have worked out their salvation among us at Bethany; for the manner in which they have put their faith into practice among us with dedication, boundless energy, passion, graciousness for God has worked in and through such and granted you and me and many others His blessing.

 

Sunday we collectively spoke to the McDaniel’s the words Carol has directed our choir to sing so often over the years, “In and through you, He is the light we have seen.”  He, Jesus, is the light we have seen, He is the light we do see, He is the light we shall continue to see at Bethany as here we continue to work out our salvation together and He continues to work “in and through” us.  Then we assured them that, “His is the song we have sung.”  His, Jesus’ song, is the song we have sung at Bethany, that we are still singing and that we shall continue to sing as we “work out our salvation” together here and the Lord continues to work “in and through” us and many join us in growing through what we are going through. 

- Pastor Kevin Kritzer

 

 

Worship Resources for Sunday, October 11th will be up on Bethany’s website by midday Saturday, October 10th.

 


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