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The Last Things

 Divine service theme for November, The Last Things

The final month of the church year begins with the divine service for the departed. The Bible text clearly shows that looking up to the cross, to the crucified and exalted Lord, is essential in order to be able to escape spiritual death. His painful death on the cross was not a defeat but a lifting up, signifying redemption for mankind. All those who were bitten by poisonous snakes during the trek through the wilderness and looked up to the brazen serpent were saved. In the same way, Jesus grants redemption to everyone who longs for it and looks up to Him (John 3: 14–15). By upholding our faith and professing the Lord we can help along that many will still feel and recognize the Lord’s love for mankind.

On the second and third Sunday in November we will examine the subject of the last things. Here we will focus on “our hope for the future” and “judgement”.

Those who have entered into life by believing in Jesus Christ can live a life whose future is filled with hope. In the same way that Christ was awakened from the dead through the Holy Spirit, believers are prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive the new body, the resurrection body. That is why Christians always focus on future and the fulfilment of the promise of Jesus. A person without hope cannot be a true Christian.

A true Christian will not fear the day of the Lord, the day of judgement, which the Bible text refers to on the last Sunday of the church year. Justified by faith, those who believe serve the Lord out of love and faith. This active love casts out fear (1 John 4: 18). This distinguishes them from the wicked.

On the last Sunday of November we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent, which marks the beginning of the new church year. The season of Advent this year falls under the theme series “Time of fulfilment”. The birth of Jesus is the fulfilment of all promises ever given in connection with the Redeemer. In Galatians 4: 4 it says: “But when the fulness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son.” With this, God’s plan of salvation was manifest to mankind. Something irreversible had dawned for all sinners, the time of grace! Not even the temptations of the evil one could stop the Saviour of the world from taking the road to victory over sin and death. Neither do we want to be held up from walking the way of faith and following Christ.

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