I used to be a dispensational pre-millenialist. I had the whole end-time chart figured out and would explain it to anyone who listened. Then I got tired of all the people saying Jesus was coming back at such-and-such a time and it never would happen. I also learned how to understand scripture, and so that changed how I viewed Revelation as well.
But it meant I had to learn anew how to live in the meantime because I had been so sure it didn’t matter; Jesus was about to come back.
The sermon last week drew from the parable of the bridesmaids in Matthew 25. Jesus’ parable reminds us that we need to be prepared when the bridegroom – Jesus – comes back. Part of that preparation, I believe, is to live life today as we will live life with God and Jesus in the new heavens and new earth. We celebrate today what we have faith in tomorrow. Live in the meantime how you will live in then-time.
Unfortunately instead of preparing for and celebrating the life we will live, we spend more time preparing for the worst which may never happen. We plan for hurricanes and tornados. We plan for death. But how often do we plan for life? How often do we plan for a party? How often do we plan to celebrate the future?
We also tend to celebrate the worries of the moment: the bills, the pain, the worries. So we celebrate by medicating, dulling our senses so that we find ourselves absent from the painful partying that life often forces us into. We avoid the pain of confronting ourselves so that we do not have release the comfortable, even if that hurts us and forces us to get by through medication.Continue Reading …
Paul finds himself trying to ward off the attacks of the Judaizers who are following him. In order to counter their claims that he is a greedy manipulator, he proclaims that the Thessalonians themselves are his apologia – evidence that he is a messenger of God with the message of God. Their transformed lives provide the apologetic for him. The life and the gospel that he invested in their lives has born fruit!
John Maxwell says, “You teach what you know; You reproduce what you are.” That’s the nature of the lectionary texts this week.
There are other angles that you can take as well. The structure of I Thess 2:1-8 is linked to 1 Thess 1:5-6, and it may be that 2:1-8 is an exposition of 1:5-6. It could be that Paul, in his encouragement to the people is also encouraging himself. He is being reminded of the transformation that is occurring.
We need to be taken back sometimes to points in time when God showed up. The Old Testament people would build altars as a reminder. Maybe we need to follow their lead so that we can plow through periods of doubt.
In this vodcast, David Phillips explores the underlying issues of pride from the lectionary texts for October 9, 2011.
The texts include:
Matthew 22: 1-14