Sermon – August 23, 2020
2 Thessalonians 1:1-2 – The Gathered of God (mp3)
We often speak of the need to read both broadly and deeply in the Bible. Reading widely takes in large portions of Scripture at a time. Doing so gives you a good understanding of the layout and structure of Scripture; its big patterns and major ideas. But we also need depth. This means looking closely at texts, taking in and thinking through every blessed word saved for us by the Spirit, they we may understand not only the forest, but also the trees. Today, we come to what might look like a meager introduction – but don’t be fooled! From it we can glean much about who we are, and the God we serve!
1. The church
The word used here for church, the Greek word ekklesia, means a gathering of people for a specific purpose. We are to be gathered together, physically, as the church and to be so gathered for a specific purpose. We are here to worship God, to hear from him so that we might repent and live rightly before him. Let us strive to keep this purpose at the forefront of our meeting together, and keep our meeting together at the forefront of our purpose as a church.
2. God the Father
Once we realize that we have been gathered, and that by God, we find ourselves in the middle of a great and important thread in Scripture: that God will gather his people from the far corners of the earth to himself. We have this great privilege, not because of our lineage or good works, but solely because of the wonder of Christ’s death on our behalf. Let us remember this in faith and humility, and go continually before the Lord in prayer for our Father longs to hear our prayers!
3. The Lord Jesus Christ
The titular “Lord” which so often proceeds Jesus’ name does double duty for us. First, it speaks to us of his deity. The use of Lord is a call back to the very name of God, his personal revealed name given to the Israelites. It is no less a mark of divinity than the use of the title “God.” But, secondly, it also speaks to his reign over the world as a man. The early church called Jesus “Lord” as a political reality. They stood against the government of Rome in this, upholding Jesus above all men. Let us strive for this today, not arguing and believing like people of the world, but seeking a different political reality than either Republicans or Democrats can give.