The Lord’s Supper is a memorial to Christ’s sacrifice. It not only reminds us of what He has done, it also shows us how far we have drifted, and helps us understand that He can change us into what we were created to be.
(There were two periods of silence during the service that have been removed from this recording, one for technical issues and one for a time of reflection.)
As Jesus spoke with His disciples in the upper room, He prophesied His coming death. Beyond that, though, He said that the key to serving God was following His example. By following Him, our faith cannot be hidden, and will bear much fruit.
(There were some technical issues early in this recording; they resolve around 10 minutes in.)
Jesus came to save. As Paul wrote to Titus, the man he left to minister to the church in Crete, he expressed the immediate, ongoing, and future salvation brought by our Savior.
Bethlehem was a small town, especially when compared to Jerusalem, considered the capital of Israel. Yet, Micah prophesied that out of this small town, a King would come. The Messiah would come from Bethlehem, challenging the world’s view of greatness, privilege, leadership, and blessing.
The kingdom of Judah had earned God’s judgment, and Zephaniah had prophesied its coming. His last prophecy, though, was one of great joy, promising that there was a Coming One Who would forgive them, restore them, bring them victory, and bring them home. The prophecy wasn’t just for Judah; it will be fulfilled when Christ returns to reign over His creation.
The prophecy we read today was not quite the response that the original recipients thought they would receive; they questioned God’s justice (and, thus, His character). God’s response was that messengers were coming - yet, the messengers were not bringing a message that God’s people could do no wrong. Rather, the message is that God’s people will be refined and purified. While the world stands at the brink of judgment, God’s people will not be ultimately destroyed; the often-painful refining will lead to true peace.
(Due to a technical issue, this recording joins the message a few minutes in.)
Jeremiah, known as the “Weeping Prophet,” did not enjoy bringing prophecies of judgment, but the majority of the messages God gave him to proclaim were judgment on Israel for their sin. However, he did bring an encouraging Messianic prophecy, telling God’s people that their trouble and judgment would not go on forever. This prophecy brought a promise of hope in a time of despair, a promise of righteousness in a world of injustice, and a promise of salvation to a people in bondage.
When asked to list things for which they are thankful, many people say “salvation;” we hear it so much, we almost treat it as a given. However, the salvation that God provided for us is foundational. It is completely an act of God’s grace, that comes through faith, and should lead us to a meaningful life.
Life can be painful, and simply being a follower of Christ does not exempt us from that reality. What Scripture does teach us, though, is that there is purpose in our pain. It reminds us that all of us need comfort; that God is the One Who can provide it; that this comfort goes well beyond alleviating our personal pain; and that our pain more fully prepares us to minister to others experiencing that same pain.
In all but one of his letters, Paul told his audience that he thanked God for them. Being grateful for one another celebrates the love that true believers have for each other, and encourages both them and us as we move through our journey of faith together.
(Note: the audio on this recording is a bit scratchy; we’re working to indentify a fix)