Saturday

05 January 2008

"...while we wait..." (v.13)

Background

Someone once said that no sermon is worthy of the name unless it can answer the question "so what?"

Jesus has been called many different names - 'saviour', 'example', 'deliverer', 'sharer of suffering' and so on. Now the writer of the letter introduces us to another picture - that of Jesus: returning king.

Christians differ in their understanding of Christ's return and some discussions have shed far more heat than light! But that he will return to display his glory and bring lasting hope to all the New Testament is in no doubt.

So the two great festivals that go before and after Christmas - Advent and Epiphany (which begins tomorrow) - are reminders that one day Jesus will complete the picture he has begun.

But so what? "Well," says Paul, "if the name of Jesus and the hope of the return of Jesus have a special place in your life live in the light of that".

So he gives us two negatives and four positives - much the best balance as we sometimes have a longer list of don'ts than dos!

Renounce (make clear that you no longer have any part in)

  • Impiety (whatever is unlike God)
  • Worldly passions (whatever we could not show to God)

Practice

  • Self-control (balanced in using the gifts of God)
  • Uprightness (standing up for what is right before God)
  • Godliness (modelling lives on the Son of God)
  • Good deeds (enthusiastic in the work of God)

And it is God's grace undeserved, unlimited, unconditional (v.11) that makes it both necessary and possible!

 

To Ponder

What are you waiting for?

What does the 'so what?' of Christ's coming mean to you?

Why is God's grace amazing?

Bible notes author: Revd Leo Osborn

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