3rd Sunday of End Time: Saints Triumphant November 15, 2020
Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 CW 3 Year Series-A 20:2224
Theme: How Glorious – The Reunion of All the Saints!
Did you watch the accounts of the terrible fires out west this summer? Tragic! It resulted in great losses – houses destroyed, families separated. A similar thing happened with the hurricanes this season. How sad! But every now and then you would see the happy account of a reunion of family members who had been separated from each other or from their pets for a time. Such touching, emotional scenes as people gleefully ran to greet and hug each other. Together again! Such pictures warm our hearts.
If you think that was heart-warming, then our text this morning will truly inspire you. Here the Holy Spirit guides Paul to portray in vivid detail a far grander and more glorious reunion that will take place at the end of time. It will surpass all others in bliss and ecstasy, in place and purpose.
This reunion will be ushered in by a trumpet call. The myriad of saints who believe in Christ as their Savior will be “caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” – somewhere between Paradise and this world. There a glorious reunion of all Christ’s saints will take place.
Are you concerned about believing loved ones who have already passed on? Are you concerned about yourself and how you will fit in? Do you wonder what it will be like to meet the Lord Jesus in person? Of these things He does not want us to be ignorant. So, through Paul, He educates us today concerning the wonders, the certainty, and the comfort of that reunion with all the saints. How glorious it will be!
I. Its wonders.
It will be marked by the sudden coming of our Lord in His majestic glory. All His angels will be with Him and a wondrous shout will be heard everywhere, a world-wide reveille: “Wake! Awake!” That call will penetrate the deepest tomb. A universal response will follow as all those “who are in their graves will hear Jesus’ voice and come out” (Jn.5:28f).
To those who believed in the Savior, a sudden, wondrous change will take place in their bodies. It will happen to the ones already dead, coming out of their tombs, as well as to those who are still alive and walking about on this planet. A simultaneous transformation. Paul wrote elsewhere, “The Lord Jesus Christ, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body” (Phlp.3:24).
What that will be like, I cannot say for sure. But, perfected in body and mind, rid of the old, sinful flesh, this whole bunch of redeemed Christians will be caught up with an irresistible force – lovingly carried off, whisked away from the destruction below. Not one by one, or a few at a time, but in one full swoop, the whole bunch together, as a group to meet the Lord in the air.
Oh, the wonders of this! How can we even begin to visualize these glories which far transcend anything that we know in the present? For now we know bodies that are overcome by sickness, hunger, and pain. We are like clay jars, easily marred. And one day in our near future this jar will break and be done here. But in that wondrous Day that is yet to come, the “mortal will put on immortality.” Our bodies will be changed in a flash, in the blink of an eye (1Co.15:52). Body and soul no longer touched by sin and sorrow, minds cleared of ignorance and error. Such a wonder when all the saints will meet together! It will far surpass any meeting that we in the church below now experience.
To meet face to face not only our loved ones who have already died in Christ, but to draw near to Paul, to talk with Peter and John, to converse with Moses and Elijah, to stand with Augustine and Luther, and to sit with Adam – what a wonder!
Yet more, to stand face to face with our Savior, to sit by our Friend’s side, to hear His gracious welcome: “Come, you are blessed by my Father; inherit the Kingdom prepared for you.” Won’t that be the height of it all!
II. Its certainty.
But can this really be? It’s so unbelievably wonderful – too wonderful for us! Or so we think. Such human thinking led the Holy Spirit to have Paul stress the certainty of it all.
We need such certainty because the devil wants to fill us with doubt. “Oh, it’s all just a fantasy, pure fantasy,” he tells us. And he strives to work that doubt within us through a world that does not accept the Word of God. Rather, this world places its lot in scientific facts, things that can be empirically tested and seen. After all, who has ever seen a dead, decomposed body rise from the grave? That just doesn’t happen – nor will it, the world sneers.
As if he knew that objection would arise, the apostle writes, “the Lord Jesus Christ who, by the power that enables Him to place all things under His control, will transform our bodies” (Phlp.3). He who is almighty not only can, but He will do this.
Still the world doubts and laughs. But how many things that were once thought impossible are now common – horseless carriages, wireless phones, tiny computer chips that store thousands upon thousands of bits of information, and so on. Who knows how many more wondrous things lie in our future for man to discover. If such things can be accomplished through finite man, things that he once laughed at, isn’t it foolish to say that the infinite Lord cannot do what man now sees as impossible?
Yet the world continues to scoff. Even some within the present day church reject it, just as many rejected the truth that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior in His day. Still, amidst their rejection “He was delivered over to death for our sin and raised again to life for our justification” (Ro.4:25). Without Him and faith in Him and His resurrection, one cannot be saved. These are matters of faith in the Word of God; they are not matters of human reason. And so that we might be certain of it, God repeats it over and over again, to make us sure of this glorious reunion. This is no dream. It will take place. The Lord’s certainty is in all of it.
III. Its comfort.
When one understands the certainty of which the Lord speaks over and over again, that person will experience its comfort. It’s a comfort that we Christians get to share with one another. In fact, we are told to share it. Paul writes, “Therefore, encourage each other with these words. Not just share, but encourage, lift one another up in talking about it.
That’s what the early Christians did. They needed it. Even Paul needed it. You’ve read of his trials haven’t you – emprisoned, tortured, beaten? Indeed, how many of those early Christians were flogged and stoned, burned at the stake, and thrown to the lions? But they would not deny their Savior. What do you think it was that sustained them on their way? Was it not the certainty of redemption and the surety of their glorious reunion with Him and all believers above? There would come a time when they would all be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. That was their comfort in the midst of earthly distress.
Even now in many corners of our world, faithful Christians are suffering for Jesus’ name’s sake – missionaries and members alike living in distant, hostile lands. Yet they persist in proclaiming and living the Word. What enables them to stay on? Is it not the wonders and certainty of that glorious reunion? It’s their comfort.
And what, dear Christian friend, enables you to go on amidst the tragedies, the disappointments, and the ridicule of our times? Where shall we go to find comfort and strength to bear us up?
You go to Jesus for He alone has the words of eternal life (Jn.6:8). And those words include this culminating promise of a glorious reunion with all Christ’s saints.
Our departed loved ones who passed this life in Christ no longer wait for it to happen like we do. Their souls live it even now and await the time their bodies will join them again….and we with them. “How wonderful that will be!” sighs every Christian heart. “Oh, that it might happen today!” God grant us its wonder, certainty, and comfort in faith; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
You can also find us on facebook
The Third Sunday of End Time: Saints Triumphant November 15, 2020
“Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut… Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:10,13
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“How lovely is Your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the LORD. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they are ever praising You. O LORD almighty, blessed are they who trust in You.” (Psalm 84).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Saints Keep Watch. Jesus’ last words in the Bible are a promise: “Yes, I am coming soon.” What does He mean by “soon”?
What is “soon” to you may not be “soon” to me. And to the eternal Lord who measures thousands of years already gone by as a fraction in time, “soon” has a different perspective. So, how soon is “soon”?
In one sense it really doesn’t matter because each of our lives in this world is relatively short. Some of those who founded our congregation 29 years ago and who came the years in-between are now gone. One’s time of grace in this world is relatively short. So, like those saints who have gone before us, we want to be found ready for the Savior’s return.
To that end we pray: Almighty God and Savior, You have set the final day and hour when we shall be delivered from this world of sin and death. Keep us watchful for the coming of Your Son that we may sit with Him and all Your holy ones at the marriage feast in heaven; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 52:1-6
As we concentrate on the affairs of every-day life, we can forget to live each day as if it were the last. That was also a danger for God’s people in Isaiah’s day as they were taken into captivity in a foreign land. So God encouraged them to “wake up” and trust His promises to them.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Jesus is coming again. What will take place at His coming? God does not want His saints on earth to be ignorant of such matters, because ignorance will bring harm to our faith. He wants us to encourage each other with the truth.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus’ Parable of the Ten Virgins calls us to a state of constant vigilance. Since the hour of His second coming is not known, we are to keep watch, prepared in faith, ready to receive Him at His return lest we lose out forever.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
Out of deep love for the truth of God’s Word and precious souls, we follow the practice of Close Communion in our congregation. This has been the practice of Christians for centuries and reflects the Bible’s teaching on unity of faith in the reception of the Supper (1 Cor.10:17). It does not judge a person’s heart but anticipates agreement in that which God says. Since we do not wish to put anyone in the position of declaring such agreement with us before study in the Word is possible, we ask that only those who are communicant members of this or another Wisconsin Synod or ELS congregation come to receive the Sacrament.
The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder “I hope the Last Day will not be long delayed. The darkness grows thicker around us and godly servants of the Most High become even more rare. Impiety and licentiousness are rampant throughout the world and we live like pigs, like wild beasts, devoid of all reason. But a voice will soon be heard thundering forth: ‘Behold, the Bridegroom comes!’ God will not be able to bear this wicked world much longer, but will come with that dreadful day and chastise the scorners of His Word. But the righteous in Christ will ascend upwards into heaven and there live everlastingly.” — Martin Luther
Outline of Our Worship
Remembrance of Our Friends Fallen Asleep in Jesus’ Name
Opening Hymn: #551 st.1-3, 7-8
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Hymn Response: #206
Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #215
Sermon: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 How Glorious – The Reunion of All the Saints!
The Nicene Creed: pg.31
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer: pg.32
The Lord Blesses Us
Order of Holy Communion: Hymnal pages 33-35
(Visitors: Please read box inside about the practice of Holy Communion)
Distribution Hymn: #309
Thanksgiving & Blessing: Hymnal pages 36-37
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
End Time 3: Saints Triumphant
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
End Time 4: Christ the King
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Like children playing hide and seek, Jesus calls out to us through his Word, “Ready or not here I come!” Thanks be to God that in His love and through Jesus’ saving work on the cross, we have been made ready. When Jesus comes in the end, we will be raised and united with all those who have preceded us in the faith. Therefore, let us continue to be vigilant in the faith until that day comes.
The Epistle Lesson: 1Thessalonians 4:13-18 (answers are found on the back side)
- Who are those who had “fallen asleep”?
- Agree or Disagree. A Christian should never mourn the death of a fellow Christian.
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Dave Ballou; Greg Miller; Casey Milam & family; Felicia Nichols’ brother’s family and father; Bill Buchanan; Lois Wiese; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Jodi Milam recovering from knee replacement surgery; Jodi’s sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and other family hospitalized and at home with COVID 19.
Forward in Christ’s latest issue for November has arrived. There are copies for family and friends on the credenza in the narthex. Also, the next edition of Meditations daily devotions beginning the end of November will be found there.
Daily Devotions were written this week. You will find copies on the credenza in the narthex.
Up Coming Events Next Sunday after the worship service we will hold our annual Thanksgiving Potluck Brunch. Perhaps it will be a little different this year, but it was decided to go ahead with our normal custom. We hope you can join us. A sign-up sheet will be found in the fellowship hall for any items you might be able to bring. Thanksgiving Day service will be held at 10 am on Thursday, November 26.
Health Ordinance With Springfield and the Greene County Health Dept. extending the mask requirements until January, we will continue wearing masks in the worship service. You will find masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. Please, continue to watch your physical distancing, side to side and front to back. We are not passing the offering plate during the service at this time, but it will be found at the door upon leaving the sanctuary.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 13; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: 11; Midweek Bible Class: 4; Offering: $735.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
4th Sunday of End Time – Christ the King: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23-24; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Matthew 27:27-31
Answers to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:
- This is often used in the Bible to describe those who have died. It seems that there was some confusion in the Thessalonian congregation about those who had died. The Thessalonians were waiting for the imminent return of Jesus. They were worried that those who died before his coming would not receive the same salvation.
- As Christians we are comforted and encouraged by the fact that those who die in Christ will receive the reward that He won for them on the cross. We are consoled by the knowledge that we will see them again in heaven. A Christian will not despair like many in this world. Yet, death is separation. A Christian feels the loss. A Christian misses his loved ones. A Christian mourns. Jesus cried too when His friend Lazarus died. But we are comforted by the promises of our loving God.
This week I am praying for……
End Time 3: Saints Triumphant – Series A
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 52:1-6 – Freedom for Zion
1 Wake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O Zion. Put on your beautiful garments, Jerusalem, you holy city, for never again will the uncircumcised and the unclean enter you. 2Shake off the dust. Get up and take your seat, Jerusalem. Loosen the chains from your neck, you captive daughter of Zion. 3Yes, this is what the Lord says. You were sold for nothing, and you will be redeemed without money. 4Yes, this is what the Lord God says. In the beginning, my people went down to Egypt to stay there for a while. Later Assyria oppressed them without cause. 5Now what do I have here? declares the Lord. Indeed, my people have been taken away for nothing. Their rulers howl with mockery, declares the Lord. My name is continually despised all day. 6Therefore my people will know my name. So on that day they will know that I am the one—the one who is saying, “Here I am!”
Epistle Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – The Second Coming of Christ
13We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you do not grieve in the same way as the others, who have no hope. 14Indeed, if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, then in the same way we also believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.
15In fact, we tell you this by the word of the Lord: We who are alive and left until the coming of the Lord will certainly not go on ahead of those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then 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 always be with the Lord. 18Therefore, encourage one another with these words.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 25:1-13 – The Parable of the Ten Virgins
1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3When the foolish ones took their lamps, they did not take any oil with them; 4but the wise took oil in their containers with their lamps. 5While the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise answered, ‘No, there may not be enough for us and for you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10But while they were away buying oil, the bridegroom came. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut. 11Later, the other virgins also came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, let us in.’ 12But he answered, ‘Amen I tell you: I do not know you.’ 13Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project