Preparation for the Wedding Feast

2020-11-08 – Year A – Proper 27 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Amos 5:18-24; Psalm 70; Matthew 25:1-13

  • 1st Century Jewish Wedding Customs. The groom would process from his house to the house of the bride. The nuptials would take place at the bride’s house, then the entire group would joyfully process to the groom’s house for the celebration.
  • Often it would be nighttime when the groom arrived at the home of the bride, and the procession to the groom’s home would take place in darkness, requiring the light of torches.
    • The torches of that day could be used for hours, but they would need to be refilled with oil periodically.
  • “Jesus apparently wants to teach that spiritual preparedness may not be transferred from one individual to another.”
    • You can’t rely on the faith of your parents, or your spouse, or your friend, or your uncle or anyone else. Faith is something that you have to own for yourself.

Perseverance

  • When we put our faith in Jesus, it is a decision that changes our lives daily and forever.
    • Not like a life insurance policy that you choose once and file away
    • As Christians, we can’t make a decision to follow Christ and then tuck that away as a memory and live our lives as we did before. We need to continue to pursue Christ for the rest of our lives.
  • Hebrews 12:1-2
    • All Saint’s Day
    • Endurance and Perseverance
  • Military training exercises – Veteran’s Day this week – F-18s fly over our community on a daily basis. They are not up there to engage in combat, they are up there to practice and keep their skills sharp. They are also up there to learn new skills and grow as pilots.

Christian Maturity

  • Perseverance should produce growth. Hebrews 5:12-15
    • The author expects growth.
    • The author expects believers to be able to teach and pass on what they have learned.
    • We become able to digest solid spiritual food through “constant practice”
  • What does Christian maturity look like?
    • Lifeway Research Transformational Discipleship Project: “The intensive research revealed eight attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the lives of believers who are progressing in spiritual maturity: 1. Bible engagement 2. Obeying God and denying self 3. Serving God and others 4. Sharing Christ
      5. Exercising faith 6. Seeking God 7. Building relationships
      8. Unashamed (transparency)”
  • What kind of “constant practice” is required to resemble the mature believer described by Lifeway’s research?
    • Daniel Im, analyzing this research, noted that three practices “predicted a higher score across all eight discipleship attribute goals…1. Reading the Bible 2. Attending a worship service at your church 3. Attending small classes or groups…”
    • There are many other practices that contribute to Christian maturity (this researched identified 40!), but these three are a great place to start.
    • Notice that only one of the three is something we do on our own.
    • While we can’t transfer spiritual preparedness from one individual to another, it is important that we spiritually prepare together.
      • Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron

Commitment Sunday

  • In the month of October we focused together on how the Lord is our Shepherd and we are his flock.
  • At the conclusion of that series I sent you a letter with a commitment card enclosed. This is not just about communicating your intention to give in 2021, it is about all of us recommitting to one another.
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 – consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
  • Whether you decide to pledge or not, whether you are with us digitally or in-person,  I sincerely hope you will sign your name to the card and recommit to this flock to which Christ has called you.
    • We need each other, we need you!

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