Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, November 17. 1 Peter 4:7-11. 1) How does Peter tell his readers to live in light of the end of all things? 2) What does his to-do list include?
Tuesday. Revelation 3:1-6. 1) What advice does the “angel of the church of Sardis” give to his church? 2) What do you think “wake up” means?
Wednesday. Titus 2:1-14. 1) What does Paul tell Titus to teach? 2) How would this kind of life require consciousness and intentionality?
Thursday. 1 Peter 5:6-11. 1) How does Peter characterize Satan? 2) How does Peter tell his readers to live in light of that? 3) What would you tell someone who was dealing with temptation?
Friday. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. 1) What does it mean to “keep alert”? 2) How should the disciple of Jesus live? Hopefully or pessimistically?
Saturday. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Dear Father, Holy and righteous is your name. How we look forward to the day when the earth will be restored to its first glory. When Jesus will come in the air to signal the full defeat of every enemy of your glorious reign. Please help us to live as people who are ready for that at any moment. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending
by Charles Wesley, 1758
Lo! he comes with clouds descending,
once for favored sinners slain;
thousand, thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of his train.
God appears on earth to reign.
Ev’ry eye shall now behold him,
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at naught and sold him,
pierced, and nailed him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.
Ev’ry island, sea, and mountain,
heav’n and earth, shall flee away;
all who hate him must, confounded,
hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment, come away!
Now Redemption, long expected,
see in solemn pomp appear!
All his saints, by man rejected,
now shall meet him in the air.
See the day of God appear!
Yea, amen! let all adore thee,
high on thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the pow’r and glory,
claim the kingdom for thine own.
O come quickly, O come quickly;
alleluia! come, Lord, come.
Devotional Article of the Week:
Preparing for the Lord’s Second Coming
We are to continue to live good Christian lives every day as preparation for the Lord’s coming!
by David W. T. Brattston
Come, Lord! (Marana tha!) The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you (1 Corinthians 16:22-23).
How can we prepare for the Second Coming of Christ?
At first glance, preparing for the Lord’s coming appears difficult, if not impossible, because nobody knows the day or hour He will come (Matthew 24.32, 36-39; Matthew 25.13; Mark 13.32) and daily life will continue as usual until the last moment (Matthew 24.38-39). However, early Christianity provided a very practical answer:
We are to continue to live good Christian lives as preparation every day, whether we believe the Lord will return this afternoon or in the distant future.
In discussing the Second Coming, the great apostle exhorted Christians with these words:
You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming (2 Peter 3:11-12 NIV).
And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight (2 Peter 3:14 NLT).
We must not scoff at the prospect or likelihood of Jesus’ return (2 Peter 3:3). In all our preparation, we are to remain calm and level-headed, not becoming upset or alarmed (Matthew 24:6; Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:2).
A first-century Christian source outside the received Scriptures is the Didache — which may have been written before some of our existing New Testament documents — exhorts Christians to watch and be ready at all times.
Origen, a Bible scholar in the first half of the third century, found a symbolic and moral significance to the bells on the High Priest’s robe, which could always be heard while he served (Exodus 28.31-35). Origen saw this as a reminder that we are never to be silent about the End Times. We should always discuss and speak about them as we live in the last days. By remembering the coming of the Lord in this manner, we will never sin.
Origen also composed the first text of Christian systematic theology, titled On First Principles. In the chapter on the end of the world, he cautioned readers to treat the subject with care and caution, as a matter of discussion and further exploration among Christians, rather than as cut-and-dried dogmatism. Allowing no scope for intolerance or dogmatism, Origen would disapprove of religious groups in his — and most certainly in our day — that arrogantly claim they alone possess the only correct interpretation of Bible prophecies and teachings about the End Times to damn and exclude Christians that do not agree with them completely. There should be room for dialog when talking about the Second Coming, this respected Christian teacher warned.
Our best preparation for the Last Days is living upright, and pure Christian lives. We should spend the time allotted us in brotherly love and co-operation in good works. We should practice toleration in nonessentials while eagerly sharing the good news of Jesus with unbelievers. Also, we should warn one another when we encounter a false prophet or deceiver who would mislead us and them about the End Times, especially anyone who would discount the importance of Jesus’ return.
In short, we should follow Paul’s advice at the conclusion of one of his passages on the Second Coming:
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teaching we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thessalonians 2.15).
Paul sums it up well as he instructed his student minister, Titus, in what to do and teach in his own ministry:
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:11-14).