Advent 1 – Series C
December 2, 2018
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Be Ready for the Master’s Return
A new season, and yet a stern warning – Be ready, and prepare for Christ’s return by being found blameless in holiness.
Modern man seems to be primed and ready for a certain end - threatening to destroy itself; with weapons of mass destruction, the proliferation of atomic and nuclear reactors, and an explosion of population numbers. Can modern man take the return of Christ seriously? Today’s Epistle lesson addresses this entire issue of the Second Coming of Christ.
We cannot afford to be ignorant of this matter. The second Coming is significant for us as it helps us understand God’s ultimate control and victory over every evil power. History has a redemptive end in Jesus Christ. Paul helps us to be ready for the Master’s return.
I. Christ is returning again – Paul announces His coming as fact. V 13 “May He strengthen your hearts so you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones”.
A. Paul reminds us that the Lord will come with all of His holy angels. It has now been 2000 years since Christ first appeared. Many speculate that Christ has no intentions of returning any time soon. They argue “It’s been 2,000 years why the concern now, after so many years?” Such thinking should not distract us. The point of the matter should be quite clear to us. The Lord will return in glory with all of His holy angels. We need to be ready to greet Him when He returns in glory.
B. Therefore we need Him to strengthen us so that we may stand blameless when He appears in glory. To stand blameless before Him is impossible. By nature we are blind, dead and enemies of God. Our sins rise up against us to condemn us. How can we be assured that we will stand blameless before Him when He returns? It all boils down to two words; do and done. If there are things that we must do to be ready for Christ’s return our goose is cooked for none of us can reach the standard of perfection, which our Lord requires.
Instead, we stand on the word “done.” Christ cries from the cross moments before He died: “it is finished!” With that cry, Jesus our Lord and our redeemer fulfilled all of the requirements of the Law. It is done in Christ. He has the sufficiency to make us ready for His 2nd return.
Transition: It is certain that the Lord will return. When He returns He will find us blameless in Him. So what are the conditions necessary for His return?
II. Conditions in which Christians need to be ready.
A. Love for all v 12 – “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone as ours does for you”.
Again the difference between do and done is needed here. The Lord has predicted that prior to His return the love of many would grow cold.
Yet, Paul encourages us to have love for all and that it would increase. How can this be done? By ourselves we cannot do this. We cannot do what the Lord requires. Thus we must rely on what has already been done by Christ. Thus Paul tells us: May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other. There you have it! It has already been accomplished in Christ. It is the Lord Himself, which makes our love increase and overflow for each other. It is His love, which motivates us. It is His love, which flows in and through us. It is His love demonstrated to us, which we by His grace demonstrate to others.
B. It is God Himself, which increases our love. It is the Lord Himself who will declare us Blameless – V 13 “May He strengthen your hearts so you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones.” We stand blameless and spotless based on what Christ has accomplished for us. The hymn writer explains it this way:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus name.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand! In Christ it is done! In Christ we will be ready to stand!
 My Hope is Built on Nothing Less, The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO