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What Luther Says

Some Thoughts On The Last Sunday Of The Church Year

This is from a Lutheran Pastor who was commenting on this past Sunday, which was the last Sunday of the Church Year...

The Last Sunday in the Church Year. That final day of the Church’s calendar when we lean forward in anticipation of the One who comes again in glory to judge both the living and the dead. 
I dare say it’s very possible that if ever there was a day your pastor might be bold enough to preach things that bother the tepid and less-interested, it is today. “Go to church!” he might say. “Be fed by Word and Sacrament!” he may call earnestly. “It is by these Gospel means that you will be made ready.” And then he’ll add, “A day is coming when neither reasonable excuse nor deliberate rejection will be tolerated any longer.” Tapping his finger upon the edge of the pulpit and jeopardizing the comfort of your friendship, he may be so daring to say, “The culture’s mythology of a Lord who never judges will have run its futile course.” And then with a posture that reflects the strangest mixture of both human joy and sadness, the truth will be given. “Those who are ready will be welcomed into the marriage feast of heaven. Behind them, the door will shut—never to be opened again.” 
Go to church, folks. Listen to the preaching of both Law and Gospel. Divine love is being distributed there; one bit of love so kindly revealing a most desperate need, and the other a supernatural potency for knowing, believing, and confessing Christ—the Ruler of earth and heaven—the One who will return at an hour unknown and say, “Come, blessed of the Father, and receive the inheritance prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” or “Away from me, for I never knew you.” 
Go to church. By the power of the Holy Spirit, refill your vessel with oil. Trim your lamp. Be ready for the bridegroom. The day is surely drawing near.

Scripture readings for this day typically include Matthew 25:1-13, Isaiah 65:17-25, and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.

To put it another way, this is the week when we parishioners in the pews will hear the Pastor speak of such things as "wise" and "foolish virgins," the "wheat" and "tares" or the "sheep" and "goats" too. In short, it's the one week that directly addresses the reality of the true and false believers within Christ's Church.

Quite frankly, these are always some of the best sermons I hear all year. For instance, here are just a few from a few years ago to as recently as last week to demonstrate what I mean...

Sermon: The Last Sunday of the Church Year 
Oil For Your Lamps 
"The Sheep and the Goats" (Sermon on Matthew 25:31-46) 
Be Wise - Be Ready

And to think there was a time when I would grossly misinterpret such parables, passages, and readings to make it all about the so-called "Rapture" and not about Christ Jesus and my current standing before God.

However, I will say that all of this reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses that says, "Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28).

In a Lutheran layman's terms, "Let us pray to the Bridegroom for the grace to remain watchful and sober."

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 4 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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