Summary: A sermon for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, the second lesson Proper 24
23rd Sunday after Pentecost
"Faith, Hope, Love"
1:1* ¶ Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
2* We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers,
3* remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4* For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you;
5* for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
6* And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit;
7* so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
8* For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.
9* For they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God,
10* and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
"In the west during the torrential spring rains, the rivers frequently rise and flood the lowlands. There was a little girl who lived In the valley of one of these mighty rivers and one weekend "he was going with her parents to visit friends. As she was packing, she placed her dearest possession in her suitcase---a little rag doll. She had made it with her own hands and cared for it with a mother’s love. But her masher told her she could not bring it with her because it was too dirty, threadbare and falling apart. Reluctantly, she left it home.
Over the weekend, a sudden storm kilt the valley and the river reached over it banks and flooded all the homes The little girl stood on the hillside looking down into the flooded valley, all she could think of was her little rag doll. When she could return home she rushed into her room, and her worst fear was realized--the flood had washed away her little rag doll.
One day while she was in town, she happened to pass a salvage store where objects found in the muddy debris were sold to raise money for the flood victims To her surprise and overwhelming joy, there wee her little rag doll with a price tag on it---25 cent. She had not money of her own, she went back home and helped her mother clean up. She earned a few pennies, she also helped the neighbors and earned a few more pennies. Finally, she had her 25 cents. She rushed to the store and placed her little sacrifice on the counter and claimed her doll. AY she walked from the store clutching her treasure in her arms, she was heard to say, "I made you, I lost you, I bought you back and now your are really mine !!"!!!!"
This story speaks about God’s work, salvation. He made us, lost of us to sin, bought us back by the blood of his son and now we are really his. Salvation, God’s work.
But our second lesson this morning is about our work, faith. Faith believing in the work of salvation which God has done for us thorugh his son Jesus Christ.
Faith can be seen in the following:
A teenager was sitting in the pastor’s office saying,"Sometimes I don’t think I am a Christian. I don’t seem to have the same interest and excitement, or enthusiasm I once did. It isn’t easy for me to remember God, to come to church, and to pray. It is too easy to find excuses to stay away from church and then to make those excuses into reasons why I should stay away. Pastor, I know God hasn’t left me, but boy I sure feel as if I have left Him."
The pastor said, "Remember the time your father was away from home on those long business trips? Was it difficult for you to remember him?"
"Not a bit," the boy said, "I had letter from him and I kept thinking about him, and he sent me gifts in the mail so I would remember him ."
"Suppose," said the pastor, "there was no letters, no gifts and you never mentioned his name in conversation around the house. What then???"