“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it. ‘
1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24
1 Thessalonians 5: 12-24
Henny Youngman, an English-American comedian, was often called the ‘King of One Liners:’ “I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places;” “If at first you don't succeed... so much for skydiving.” Perhaps Jimmy Carr has now taken that mantel. Today’s full reading though blows them out the water for one liners. Just look how many there are: acknowledge those who work hard among you; live in peace with each other; warn those who are idle and disruptive; encourage the disheartened; help the weak; be patient with everyone; make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong; always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else; rejoice always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; do not quench the Spirit; do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good; and reject every kind of evil.
The temptation when reading such noble instructions is to feel woefully inadequate and to almost give up before trying to follow them. Wonderfully next comes truth and hope; it is God who sanctifies us, enables us to live this way and prepares us for Christ’s coming (vs. 23-24). This promise is concluded by the ultimate one liner, “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” Absolute certainty, great grace and our essential hope.
When we read backwards from this awesome truth, we see the process of sanctification detailed. God calls us and sanctifies us within our inner most being (vs. 23-24); He gives us His Spirit to enable us to live this new life and His truth to follow (vs. 19-23); we are part of Jesus Christ’s Body, the Church, with the gifts of prayer and praise (vs. 16-18); we are given His peace and live within the Body under the leadership He places, each member of the body with ministries and roles. Through this process we see a golden thread of obedience that is required of us coming from our faith in the Lord and our love for Him.
Comedians may be the kings of humorous ‘one liners’ but as Christ’s Body He clearly calls us to be the Royal Priesthood of His ‘one liners’ that we are to live out in His Spirit. As we celebrate Advent, remembering Christ’s incarnation and anticipating His return these are incredible directions for us to follow as God delivers His work of Grace in each of us. What a beacon of the light the Church could be if indeed we reflected these truths….and we can because the One who calls us is faithful, and He will do it!
To Ponder: Meditate on all these ‘one liners,’ which does the Holy Spirit highlight to you? In His power and Grace live by that one liner this day. Consider following a different ‘one liner’ each day of the week ahead and see what difference the Lord makes!
Pray: Saviour eternal, life of the world unfailing, light everlasting and our true redemption. Taking our humanity in your loving freedom, you rescued our lost earth and filled the world with joy. By your first advent justify us, by your second, set us free: that when the great light dawns and you come as judge of all, we may be robed in immortality and ready, Lord, to follow in your footsteps blest, wherever they may lead. Amen
Salus Aeterna – Saviour Eternal
Praise: Counting every Blessings by Rend Collective
Rejoice by Chris Tomlin
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.