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Do not be surprised

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Pastor David Ernst

Christ the King Sunday
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Nov 24, 2019 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We conclude the ecclesiastical year with this theme: He is seated to the right of God the Almighty Father and from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. In truth, since His resurrection and ascension, Jesus Christ is King of kings and rules the universe not only as the Son of God, but as the Son of David as well. This is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises.

We recognize Christ as King now, but for us the struggle continues until the whole world acknowledges it. Now is the time of God's mercy and the church has the mission of proclaiming this message of grace to the ends of the earth. In the end, when Christ will return in glory, everyone will recognize Him as Lord, but at that time not everyone will recognize Him as Savior.

“For you know perfectly well that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, that when they say: Peace and security, then sudden destruction will come upon them, like the pains of the woman who gives birth; And they won't escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness, so in that day you may be surprised as a thief. ”

Judgment Day will suddenly come upon Christians and non-believers alike. In the final judgment, there will not be the opportunity to repent and receive forgiveness of sins. But, the danger of judgment is not only for those who openly reject the gospel, but also for those who take God's mercy for granted. Christians should be vigilant, with open eyes, alert; They do not know when the last day will come, but will be fully awake at any sign of its arrival.

In the gospel (Matthew 25: 1-13), our Lord uses the example of the ten virgins. According to the custom of that time, the ten virgins were chosen to march festively with the groom and accompany him to the wedding party. Everyone took their lamps, small saucer-shaped containers with a lid; in the middle of which there was a small hole to pour the oil and to provide air; A peak jutted to the side and the wick came out through this. Such a lamp would not contain enough oil to burn overnight, so taking it to a prolonged wedding banquet without an additional oil supply was a strong example of irresponsibility.

The boyfriend was delayed, so the virgins, sitting in convenient places, began to nod, and finally all fell asleep, the wise with the foolish. There is a danger at all times that a false sense of security numbs the spiritual senses.

Saint Paul uses another metaphor, that of the soldiers on duty. The apostle makes a broad and general statement about all Christians, namely, that they are children of light and of the day. As converted saints, believers are partakers of salvation in Christ; now they are a light in the Lord; They know Jesus, their Savior.

"But we, who are of the day, be sober, clothed in the breastplate of faith and love, and hope of salvation, as a helmet."

With this thought, the apostle now connects his warning: now, then, do not sleep, like the rest, but be alert and sober. It will not help Christians to give in to sleepiness, to fall into the spiritual dream, in these last days of the world, which is the condition of the rest, of the great majority of people in the world, of all unbelievers. The constant attitude of Christians is that of vigilance, vigilance, alert sobriety, 1

The unbelievers, in their carelessness and waste, give themselves to the desires of the flesh, avoid all means of grace cannot discern the signs of the times, prefer their ignorance in the light of the Word of God in faith and life . We Christians, on the other hand, belong to the day, where the light of God's Word rules. In this world, we find the light of the Word where it is preached in its purity and the sacraments are administered according to the Lord's command. To maintain our alertness, we must meet frequently in the house of the Lord to hear the Word and receive forgiveness and nourishment of faith in the sacrament.

Above all the apostle now drives home with comforting security: because God did not predestine us for wrath, but for the gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He did not bring any man into existence just to choose him to eternal destruction. In this fact, believers are so sure that no consideration of human logic can shake their position in the matter. We Christians know that we have been appointed by God to obtain or acquire eternal salvation, not by our own works or merits, but through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In this truth, we have the peace which passes all understanding. Amen.

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