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Third Last Sunday Of The Church Year 

Option One: Rev. Kelly Bedard

"Declining and Shining Stars"
Daniel 12:1-3

A. A Time of Distress
    1. For those who sleep through life and elude God
    2. For them, everlasting shame and contempt

B. A Time of Deliverance
    1. For those who are awakened by God and lead others to Him
    2. For them, everlasting glory and content(ment)

Notes:
1. Michael = "who is like God"; one of, the chief, or the first archangel who is described as the one who stands in time of conflict for the children of Israel
2. Note that the after-life (hell's side) is described in verse 2 not as physical death but, instead, as everlasting shame and contempt, the former (physical death) seeming more desirable
3. "Life everlasting" (verse 2): per the Concordia Self-Study Bible, the only occurrence of this phrase in the entire Old Testament
4. "Shine" = to admonish, warn, teach, shine, send out light, be light, be shining
5. "Stars" = of Messiah, youth, numerous progeny, personification, God's omniscience (figuratively).

Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

Option 2: Rev. Wayne Dobratz

"The End Of The World 
In Light Of The Cross"

Mark 13:1-13

Introduction: Today's text is set during Jesus' last week of ministry. The disciples are in awe of the Temple building which were were white and strong, FIFTY feet long, Twenty-Four feet wide, and Sixteen feet thick." If this account can be relied on, well might the disciples be struck with wonder at such a superb edifice, and formed by such immense stones! (Adam Clarke's Commentary). Jesus answers a "small talk" observation by the disciples about the glory of the Temple buildings by teaching about the end of the world. He tells us about: 

THE END OF THE WORLD IN LIGHT OF THE CROSS

1) No triumph for false Christs
   A. They claim to finish what Jesus left undone, despite verses such as John 4:34, John 17:1-4 & John 19:30.
   B. They claim to have additional revelation from God beyond the Bible as in 2 Thess. 2:1-12, Matt. 24:5 & 24; 
   C. Others will "take away" from what God has revealed, as in Rev. 22:18-19. Jesus warns of the futility of this in Matt. 5:18 & Lk. 21:33. See also Josh. 23:6, 2 Chron. 36:16, Isa. 30:9, Hos. 4:6, Mk. 7:9

2) No success for ungodly nations--Text vv. 5-8
   A. False religion often leads to war--such as the Jihad (holy war) Moslems have declared against America.
   B. Ethnic and racial tensions were common in the Roman Empire as described in Daniel 2:33-34; 40-43
   C. The Kingdom of Christ will triumph, as the Lord told Daniel in Dan. 2:44. See also Lk. 1:32-33, Rev. 11:17 & Rev. 17:14.

3) No victory for the unbelieving--Text, vv.12-13
   A. Religious tension will supercede even blood relations, v. 12. Cult members still practice "shunning" of those who have departed from the "brotherhood."
   B. A final Judgment awaits, separating God's people from those who will be condemned, O.T. Lesson (Dan. 12:2b).
   C. Persecution was awaiting them, (9-12) but they triumphed in faith, but "He who stands firm to the end will be saved" (v.13) See also Gal. 6:9, Heb. 12:1, James 1:12, I Pet. 1:13, Rev. 3:11.

Matthew Henry aptly summarizes the lessons on this text:
See how little Christ values outward pomp, where there is not real purity of heart. He looks with pity upon the ruin of precious souls, and weeps over them, but we do not find him look with pity upon the ruin of a fine house. Let us then be reminded how needful it is for us to have a more lasting abode in heaven, and to be prepared for it by the influences of the Holy Spirit, sought in the earnest use of all the means of grace.

Our Lord Jesus, in reply to the disciples' question, does not so much satisfy their curiosity as direct their consciences. When many are deceived, we should thereby be awakened to look to ourselves. And the disciples of Christ, if it be not their own fault, may enjoy holy security and peace of mind, when all around is in disorder. But they must take heed that they are not drawn away from Christ and their duty to him, by the sufferings they will meet with for his sake. They shall be hated of all men: trouble enough! 

Yet the work they were called to should be carried on and prosper. Though they may be crushed and borne down, the gospel cannot be. The salvation promised is more than deliverance from evil, it is everlasting blessedness. 

Outline by E.H. Wendland in Sermon Studies on the Gospels, Series B, Northwestern Publishing House, 1987. Notes and parallel passages cited are by the author unless otherwise indicated.

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.


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