Tag Archives: serve

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 27

 

Track 1: Choose this Day Whom You  Will Serve

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
Psalm 78:1-7
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

Joshua was preparing the children of Israel tog cross the Jordan river. He pressed upon them the importance of obeying the commandments of God:

“Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”   (Joshua 24:14-15)

.Would Israel worship God and serve him alone? The psalmist celebrated that God had served them faithfully:

That which we have heard and known,
and what our forefathers have told us,
we will not hide from their children.We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord,
and the wonderful works he has done.

He gave his decrees to Jacob
and established a law for Israel,
which he commanded them to teach their children;

That the generations to come might know,
and the children yet unborn;
that they in their turn might tell it to their children;

So that they might put their trust in God,
and not forget the deeds of God,
but keep his commandments;   (Psalm 78:3-7)

The children of Israel responded to Joshua

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”   (Joshua 24:16-18)

Jesus told a parable about those who aid that they were committed to God and his kingdom:

Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”   (Matthew 25:1-13)

As we can learn from the parable, not everyone who declared their commitment were prepared to go the distance. Joshua warned Israel about being faithful to God:

But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!” Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” The people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and him we will obey.”   (Joshua 24:19-24)

Joshu challenged Israel. Today, God is challenging us: Are we willing to go the distance with him? The race is not a sprint. It is a marathon. Will we be like the five wise bridesmaids or the five foolish? Are we awake or are we asleep? We live in a day when most people are asleep, even Christians. Time is running short. We do not know the day or the hour when the Lord Jesus will return. It is a dangerous thing to follow the world and its culture. There may not be time for us to repent.

Many believers, however, think that the time of reckoning ha been delayed. The second coming is soe time in the future, but not today. The day of the Lord could very well be for us today. We have no guarantee that we will live tomorrow. The Apostle Paul wrote:

For he says,

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!   (2 Corinthians 6:2)

God has been faithful to us. Are we faithful, to him?

 

 

Track 2: The Day of the Lord.

Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16
or 
Amos 5:18-24
Wisdom of Solomon 6:17-20
or 
Psalm 70
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

The day of the Lord is coming. Do we understand what that means? Are we prepared? God spoke through the Prophet Amos:

Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord:

Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why do you want the day of the Lord?

It is darkness, not light;
as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear;

or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
and was bitten by a snake.

Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it?   (Amos 5:18-20)

The day of the Lord is either a day of judgement or a day of liberation. The Apostle Paul wrote:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.   (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

We live in difficult times. Christians are under persecution. Paul is encouraging us to support one another. We are running a marathon and not a sprint. Jesus illustrated this in the parable of the ten bridesmaids:

Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”   (Matthew 25:1-13)

God is challenging us: Are we willing to go the distance with him? The race is not a sprint. It is a marathon. Will we be like the five wise bridesmaids or the five foolish? Are we awake or are we asleep? We live in a day when most people are asleep, even Christians. Time is running short. We do not know the day or the hour when the Lord Jesus will return. It is a dangerous thing to follow the world and its culture. There may not be time for us to repent.

Many believers, however, think that the time of reckoning ha been delayed. The second coming is some time in the future, but not today. The day of the Lord could very well be for us today. We have no guarantee that we will live tomorrow. The Apostle Paul wrote:

For he says,

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!   (2 Corinthians 6:2)

God has been faithful to us. Are we faithful, to him?

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