Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
First Sunday In
Option #1: "An Apostle's Joyful Prayer"
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.
I. Joy in God’s grace--vv9-10; 1 Thess 2:19; Ps 68:3
II. A prayer for increasing love--v12; 1 Thess 4:9-10; Phil 1:9; 2 Thess 1:3
III. A prayer for preparedness
A. Blameless in God’s sight--v13; 1 Thess 5:23; 1 Cor 1:8; Jude 1:24-25
B. Holiness of life--v13; 1 John 3:24; Rom 12:1; 1 Cor 1:2; Eph 1:4, Col 1:22, 3:12
Holman Bible Dictionary: Holiness in Christians was attained through the cross and is to be preserved in clean and moral living. Thus "holy" defines the godness of God. It also defines places where God is present. For the holy God to be present among His people, special holy places were set apart where God and people could safely come together. The tabernacle and Temple fulfilled this purpose. Special restrictions on access were established for the safety of the worshipers. Rules of sacrifice and cleanliness helped them prepare for this contact. Jesus gave His blood and His body for the remission of sins. Faith in Christ is portrayed as acceptance of His full atonement for sin
The Holy Spirit is the agent of holiness for the church and its leaders. He keeps the church pure (Acts 5:1-11). He promotes holiness in its members (1 Cor 6:19; 1 Thess 4:7). Christians are called to holy living (1 Cor 1:2; 3:17). They are saints who lead godly, righteous lives. Being sanctified, or made holy, is a work of the Holy Spirit on the basis of Christ’s atonement that calls for obedient submission from those who have been saved. Christians are holy because of their calling in Christ, because of His atonement for their sins, and because of the continual ministrations of the Holy Spirit. They are holy inasmuch as they receive and submit to these saving and sanctifying agents.
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The Message for Children
These days before Christmas can become so busy that we don’t see what is going on around us. Next time you go to a shopping mall you will find people performing a service that some shoppers don’t have time to do. I’m referring to the people who do gift wrapping. Some of them may be there to raise some money for their church or maybe to go on a trip.
In the hurry of shopping for that right gift, don’t miss two important things about Christmas:
1) Jesus came here gift wrapped in our flesh so that he could be our Savior from sin. He was placed in a manger so that shepherds could worship him as the Savior sent from heaven.
2) When you have a gift wrapped to be given away, they will ask you to fill out a tag with the name of the person who is to receive the gift.
God sent his Son gift wrapped to be our Savior. When we worship Jesus as our Savior, we present ourselves to him as a gift, the gift of our lives. (Have a volunteer write the first name of each child on a gift tag to be placed on each child’s shirt/blouse, dress.) Paul tells us in today’s Bible reading that we are to be holy. That means that just as you bought that gift for one special person, we are to be a special gift to God for our whole life. Your name tag tells God and all who see you that you are HOLY for Jesus’ sake and that you are presenting him with the gift of your life.
Make this Christmas extra special. Gift the gift that keeps on giving. Give God the gift of your life.
Option 2: "The Right(eous) Stuff!"
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
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This page was revised on: Sunday, December 10, 2006 04:49:13 AM