Worship Helps for End Time 2 - Last Judgment

Artwork: Last Judgment
Artist: Michelangelo
Date: 1475-1564
Location: Sistine Chapel

Worship Theme: In the end of the world, Jesus will come back in glory to judge both the living and the dead. Those who believe in him receive a verdict of “not-guilty.” Those who do not believe stand condemned to the eternal suffering of hell.

Old Testament: Malachi 4:1 "Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. 3 Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things," says the LORD Almighty.

1. What will happen to every evildoer on Judgment Day?

2. Those who revere God’s name will not suffer the punishment mentioned in verse one. Instead, they will receive healing from the “sun of righteousness.” What is that “sun of righteousness”?

Epistle: Hebrews 9:24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

3. The letter to the Hebrews shows how Jesus is superior to every aspect of the Jewish religion. How is Jesus superior to the Old Testament priests and sacrifices?

4. What happens to a person when he or she dies? (See 9:27.)

Gospel: John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out-- those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

5. What right has God the Father entrusted to his Son?

6. What if someone says he or she believes in God, but thinks Jesus is only a man or a god less than God. Is that person still okay?

7. Already in Jesus’ day, sinners were coming to life spiritually. What other day does Jesus predict?


Answers:
1. Every evildoer will be punished in fire forever. Eternal separation from God is often pictured in the Bible as fire and burning―a fitting picture for hell’s unending torments.

2. John the Baptist’s father Zechariah calls Jesus the “rising sun” from heaven in Luke 1:78-79. This "rising sun” whose wings (rays) grant healing is our Savior and Lord, Jesus.

3. Jesus is superior since he did not enter an earthly tabernacle (or temple) but rather heaven itself. He did not need to offer sacrifices over and over again like the priests of the Old Testament. The sacrifice Jesus offered on the cross paid for sin once and for all. No other sacrifice needs to be made.

4. When a person dies, his or her body goes back to the ground and that person faces God’s judgment.

5. God the Father entrusts his Son with the job of judging the world in righteousness. In the end, Jesus will come back with his holy angels to judge the living and the dead. As verse 24 says, whoever believes in Jesus and the one who sent him (God the Father) will be found innocent and given eternal life.

6. No, that person is not okay. Whoever does not honor the Son as much as he or she honors the Father does not honor the Father who sent the Son.

7. Jesus says a day is coming when he will raise all the dead. Then will come the judgment with only two sentences―eternal innocence or eternal condemnation. (Don’t be confused by 5:29. Trials and sentencing hearings need evidence. Good works are the evidence for faith in Jesus. Evil works are the evidence of unbelief. Your good works cannot save you. But that does not mean they are unimportant, either to God or to your neighbor.)


Putting your faith into action
The Last Judgment is something unbelievers don’t like to discuss very much. It promises to shake the very foundation of their lives as all that “stuff” in which they have placed their trust will be destroyed in the fire. Considering this, the temptation is to “eat, drink, and be merry” because tomorrow everything could be destroyed. Praise the Lord for compelling us, his people, to “revere” his name. The “stuff” of this world is not something in which we place our trust. Instead we are to manage it during our life to God’s glory. May the way we manage our “stuff” reveal people as joyful and carefree as a calf leaping in the spring, since we are awaiting our joyful entrance into heaven.


A reading from the Book of Concord for End Time 2
27] If now you are asked, What do you believe in the Second Article of Jesus Christ? answer briefly: I believe that Jesus Christ, true Son of God, has become my Lord. But what is it to become Lord? It is this, that He has redeemed me from sin, from the devil, from death, and all evil. For before I had no Lord nor King, but was captive under the power of the devil, condemned to death, enmeshed in sin and blindness.

28] For when we had been created by God the Father, and had received from Him all manner of good, the devil came and led us into disobedience, sin, death, and all evil, so that we fell under His wrath and displeasure and were doomed to eternal damnation, as we had merited and deserved. 29] There was no counsel, help, or comfort until this only and eternal Son of God in His unfathomable goodness had compassion upon our misery and wretchedness, and came from heaven to help us. 30] Those tyrants and jailers, then, are all expelled now, and in their place has come Jesus Christ, Lord of life, righteousness, every blessing, and salvation, and has delivered us poor lost men from the jaws of hell, has won us, made us free, and brought us again into the favor and grace of the Father, and has taken us as His own property under His shelter and protection, that He may govern us by His righteousness, wisdom, power, life, and blessedness.


31] Let this, then, be the sum of this article that the little word Lord signifies simply as much as Redeemer, i.e., He who has brought us from Satan to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and who preserves us in the same. But all the points which follow in order in this article serve no other end than to explain and express this redemption, how and whereby it was accomplished, that is, how much it cost Him, and what He spent and risked that He might win us and bring us under His dominion, namely, that He became man, conceived and born without [any stain of] sin, of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, that He might overcome sin; moreover, that He suffered, died and was buried, that He might make satisfaction for me and pay what I owe, not with silver nor gold, but with His own precious blood. And all this, in order to become my Lord; for He did none of these for Himself, nor had He any need of it. And after that He rose again from the dead, swallowed up and devoured death, and finally ascended into heaven and assumed the government at the Father's right hand, so that the devil and all powers must be subject to Him and lie at His feet, until finally, at the last day, He will completely part and separate us from the wicked world, the devil, death, sin, etc. – Large Catechism, Apostles’ Creed, Article II, paragraphs 27-31

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