Scripture presents two seemingly irreconcilable truths: (1) we can be confident of our salvation
in Christ and (2) we can reject our faith and fall away. Therefore, Paul’s encouragement in
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 is to stand firm and hold onto the truth of Scripture. Let’s examine these truths we hold onto. Why should we stand firm?
The thought of secret power conjures up images of espionage, intrigue, and shadowy conniving. But when Paul warns the Thessalonians about a secret power, he's not referring to James Bond. He lays out for us a mystery that we can't completely unravel, but what we can know of it is immensely helpful. Let's be humble enough to admit we can't know everything but eager enough to learn what we can. We’re glad you’re with us to anticipate “the splendor” of Jesus' return. If you’re new, we’d love to welcome you, make you feel at home, or answer whatever questions we can. A good place to start might be by introducing yourself to one of our pastors or to email Pastor Clinton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To marvel at something is so much more than just to admire it. It's more than just being impressed. To marvel at something is to have that thing radically exceed the expectations of your mind and your heart —whether it's the way someone treats you or a view you never expected. Or Judgment Day? Really? Yes, let the Holy Spirit, through words he gave the apostle Paul, tell you things that can move you to marvel at Judgment Day. That’s what we do. We call it worship and we’re glad you joined us for it today.
Ask the people around church to tell you their favorite Bible doctrine and what do you think you'll hear? Heaven? Forgiveness? Prayer? Baptism? Here's one I don't think you'd hear: Judgment Day and fire from heaven. Nope, that's not going to make it into anyone's top ten list of favorite Bible doctrines. But still, Judgement Day isn't just a doctrine to be tolerated. It's a Bible doctrine full of good news and grace. We are concluding a study of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Today we’re asking the Spirit to give us good news . . . even about Judgement Day. Who knows? It might become your favorite Bible doctrine. Or not.
What do you think about when you're not doing anything else? Where does your mind go? God has given us so much in this world; there's no shortage of options. We don't have to go so far as to say that where our minds go is what we worship, but we can safely say when we come into the presence of God in his Word and sacrament, he pulls us away from our love and affection for those things and puts them on the living God. That's worship. We are here to experience what we are meant to be. And we’re glad you’re with us. If we can serve you in any way, please let us know and may God bless your worship today.