Preparing for Worship // May 29, 2016

Preparing for Worship // May 29, 2016

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In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings there is a moment when two of the main characters, Frodo and Sam are tempted to despair. Their mission is to sneak into the enemy’s land and destroy the one ring in the fire of Mount Doom. As they approach the enemy’s land, they begin to feel overwhelmed by the burden of their task, and this leads them into a discussion about the stories that they grew up with; stories of heroes and villains, of good and evil. In the face of these difficult circumstances, Sam has this to say, “And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs… I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on.”

Just as Frodo and Sam were tempted to give up because of their physical struggle, we are often tempted to give up in the face of our spiritual struggle. In the Christian life, we have many chances to turn around. For some the struggle is in the face of outright persecution, like many of our brothers and sisters around the world, but for many of us it is when doing the right thing and proclaiming the name of our Savior become difficult or unpopular. Regardless of our particular circumstances, we are all faced with situations when it would be easier to follow the Beast rather than Christ.

So why do we continue to follow Christ? What reasons do we have for persevering when the Christian life gets difficult? We have the promise of rest, not in this life, but in the life to come. In this life, we may face difficulty after difficulty. Our story on this side of eternity may not end the way we want it to. You may not get that dream job; you may not marry the person of your dreams; and your family relationships may continue to be strained. But thanks be to God that our hope as believers does not rest in the things of this life. Our hope as believers rests in Christ’s Second Coming, when He will usher in His kingdom, free of evil and pain. Those who persevere, or as Sam puts it, “those as just went on,” they are the ones who will experience the rest of Christ.

THE WORD

Scripture: Revelation 14:1-13
Sermon: Following Jesus = Hopeful Future

SONGS

Rejoice the Lord is King (arr. Traditional)
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We Will Dance (David Ruis)
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On Jordan’s Stormy Banks
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All Things New (arr. Red Mountain Music)
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Song of Preparation: Spread Thy Wings (arr. Red Mountain Music)
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Song of Response: The Sands of Time Are Sinking (arr. Indelible Grace)
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