Sermon for 25th Sunday After Pentecost – 11-14-2021

Daniel 12:1-3; 1st Samuel 1:4-20; Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 10-25; Mark 13:1-8

Our scripture reading from Daniel is about the Great Tribulation. This will be a time of unparalleled trouble is predicted. Fulfillment of such an announcement can be found within history, such as the the atrocities inflicted by Antiochus in the second century BC or by the Roman army in 70 AD. The more distant reference is like that of Jesus in Mark, which we will talk about in a short while., where end time tribulation announcements merged with the more immediate one about Jerusalem’s destruction. God’s people are not protected from distress but are delivered in the midst of it. God’s true people will be those whose names are in the book if life. The ultimate fulfillment will be in eh coming of the messianic kingdom and its triumph.

To sleep in the dust is an idiom for death. Throughout most of he Old Testament, death was viewed as the end of life, although a few hints of life beyond death were spoken of. This particular passage clearly reveals that both the wicked and the good have a continued existence after death. In that existence the ultimate justice of God will be fully evident. Michael the great prince will arise; there will be a time of distress, but this will be when the book of life is delivered. Some will be in the book of life, some will not, but it is not enough to stop leading others into faith with Christ, for there is no minimum or maximum. We are to lead those we meet to a lasting relationship with our Savior and we must maintain our focus.

God works His grace in our lives in mysterious ways. He prepared leader in Israel’s great moment of crisis by working in the life of a barren woman. He graciously hear Hannah’s prayer and came to the aid of the anguished woman. In His grace God has the power to direct circumstances in our lives to accomplish His purposes. We may not always understand our current state as did Hannah, but we always trust God to work out what is best for us and His people a a whole.

In Hebrews we learn that there is no longer a need for sin sacrifices, because Jesus paid the price for all of our past, present, and future sins, once and for all. Followers of Christ have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior and also God the Father. Once this is accomplished, we must seek to share the message of salvation to everyone we encounter, and do it with enthusiasm as if it was the first time. It is an honor for us to accept the responsibility to do this, and it is just as important, as when we announced to the world around us, that Jesus Christ is Lord and that we follow Him and only Him. We must also include our Lord in our personal and our corporate worship. Remember, we do not watch worship, we participate in it.

This brings to Mark’s Gospel, which echoes Daniel’s reading somewhat. Mark’s great tribulation is always referred to as the “Little Apocalypse, whereas Revelations is, of course, the fullest apocalyptic book of the New Testament. The point of departure was the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The topic, however, seems to enlarge until Jerusalem’s destruction is only a prefiguring of end time tribulation. It is this light that signs of the end are given: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, calling, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such thing must happen, but he end if still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There ill be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”

It you read the newspapers, turn on your TV, or your cellphone, you will hear all of these taking place, but how about the first one? How would you know if it was Jesus calling out to you saying, ‘I am he,’? Watch out that no one deceived you? These two come to mind first and they should. If you keep your Bible on a table to others to see, you will be deceived. If you don’t pick up that Bible or any other Bible, and join in Bible study or several Bible studies either in church or your neighborhoods, you will not know what to look for and deception is. I have been known to take bulletins with each Sunday’s scriptures and place them in hospital emergency room, doctor’s offices, and several other locations. Rarely are any left when I bring in the next weeks bulletins, so someone is reading them. Sometimes when dropping them off, someone will me a question about them, and that opens the door to tell them about my church, our congregation and about our Lord Jesus.

I also attend weekly meetings with an accountability group that I have been for several years at a local cafe or restaurant, and everyone around us know what we are do and often ask what we are do this for, which again, opens the door for sharing the good news of salvation. These are just some of the things I do, maybe you are doing something else. I’d love to hear what you are doing. This point is that we come to worship on Sunday mornings, but we have a need to study in-depth the Word that God inspired prophets to write down, which formed the Bible. We are meant to study and understand it . God loves it when he sees us studying His Word, and even more, when we share it with others. Amen!

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