Worship Helps for End Time 3 - Saints Triumphant

Artwork: The Return and the Judgment
Artist: Fra Angelico

Worship Theme: Like children playing hide and seek, Jesus calls out to us through his Word, “Ready or not here I come!” Thanks be to God that through Jesus’ saving work on the cross, we have been made ready!  May his Spirit keep us in saving faith in him.

Old Testament: Daniel 12:1 "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people-- everyone whose name is found written in the book-- will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

1. A man dressed in linen, with a belt of finest gold around his waist (therefore, someone holy and royal (see 10:5) told Daniel about a book God has (12:1b).  What did he mean?

2. Describe the events of the last day.  (See 12:2)

3. What is the key difference between those whom God will save and those he will condemn?

Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

4. Why does Paul call the death of believers to “fall asleep”?

5. How can we be sure about what will happen? (See 4:15a)

6. Will we float with Jesus in clouds forever? (See 4:17)

Gospel: Mark 13:24 "But in those days, following that distress, "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' 26 "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

7. Right before Jesus reappears, should we expect things to be getting better and better or worse and worse?

8. How will we all be able to appear before Jesus?


Answers:
1. By that book, the man dressed in linen (who may have been the Son of God himself), meant God’s list of his chosen children.  God does not need a book to keep him from forgetting things.  He wants to comfort us.  What joy that God knows by name all whom he will save forever.

2. On the last day, those who sleep in the dust will awake.  That is, the dead will be raised.  Some will receive eternal life and others eternal condemnation from God, the Judge.

3. Those whom God saves are “those who are wise.”  They have received true wisdom: trust in Jesus as Savior (not trust in themselves).  That faith God credits to them as righteousness, so they are right in his sight.  That faith shows itself in the way they lead others to trust in God and live for him.

4. Paul calls death for believers “falling asleep” for it is nothing to fear.  Our bodies will rest.  On the last day God will wake us up to his glorious, eternal dawn.

5. We can be sure about what will happen on the last day because we have the Lord Jesus’ own word on it.  Paul, Jesus’ inspired apostle, has confirmed what Jesus said.

6. Paul does not say that we will float with Jesus forever.  He says that Jesus will snatch us up from the earth after the judgment.  Jesus will destroy this world, then make a new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:10-13), so Jesus may snatch us up from this earth to keep us from being burned up with it, then put us back down on it.  The main point is our relation to God, not our exact location with God.

7. We should expect things to get worse and worse. The sun will be darkened “Following that distress.”

8. All believers will stand before Jesus, since his angels will gather God’s chosen children from all around the world.


Putting your faith into action
What have you done with the time God has entrusted to you? Have you spent it wisely? Sometimes. Have you done good, or have you done what is evil? Our answer to those questions has to be, “Yes.” We have done plenty of evil things. Just look at the carnage sin has left in our wake after a week filled with missteps, mistakes, and misstatements. When the Son of Man comes to judge, what will he say about all the time we’ve spent doing what is evil? He will pronounce us forgiven, for his sake. He spent his time perfectly so that all our missteps, mistakes, and misstatements can be forgiven. We can spend our time wisely. Everything we do glorifies our Savior, who will call our bodies from the grave to live in glory forever.


A reading from the Book of Concord for Saints Triumphant
1] Of the Worship of Saints they teach that the memory of saints may be set before us, that we may follow their faith and good works, according to our calling, as the Emperor may follow the example of David in making war to drive away the Turk from his country. 2] For both are kings. But the Scripture teaches not the invocation of saints or to ask help of saints, since it sets before us the one Christ as the Mediator, Propitiation, High Priest, and Intercessor. 3] He is to be prayed to, and has promised that He will hear our prayer; and this worship He approves above all, to wit, that in all afflictions He be called upon, 1 John 2:14] If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, etc.

5] This is about the Sum of our Doctrine, in which, as can be seen, there is nothing that varies from the Scriptures, or from the Church Catholic, or from the Church of Rome as known from its writers. This being the case, they judge harshly who insist that our teachers be regarded as heretics. 6] There is, however, disagreement on certain abuses, which have crept into the Church without rightful authority. And even in these, if there were some difference, there should be proper lenity on the part of bishops to bear with us by reason of the Confession which we have now reviewed; because even the Canons are not so severe as to demand the same rites everywhere, neither, at any time, have the rites of all churches been the same; 7] although, among us, in large part, the ancient rites are diligently observed. 8] For it is a false and malicious charge that all the ceremonies, all the things instituted of old, are abolished in our churches. 9] But it has been a common complaint that some abuses were connected with the ordinary rites. These, inasmuch as they could not be approved with a good conscience, have been to some extent corrected. – Augsburg Confession, Article XXI, Of the Worship of the Saints (paragraphs 1-9)

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