Devotion 449 – Thursday of Pentecost 26

Opening Prayer

Lord, speak to our heart, that we may watch and walk in the light before You. Amen.

Text: Second Timothy 4:1-8

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Devotion

Many, many heretics arise, and people always run after something new, that tickles the ears. All the more faithfully should the Lord’s true servants do their work, and with them all meek, sincere Christians. They constantly walk before the face of Him who soon will come to judge. They shall testify about Him not only when it is convenient for them, but when it is inconvenient. Not embittered over the terrible madness they see, but with Jesus’ gentleness they convince, rebuke, and exhort dearly-bought souls. They watch themselves and have tender eyes for their fellow believers. They bear the cross without murmuring and to the end they carry out the Lord’s call. Faithfulness, holy brethren, unchanging faithfulness, ever new zeal for Christ, fresh courage, immovable steadfastness to the truth and boldness in their confession to the end! “Fulfill your ministry.” Paul calls to you and points you to his own example, but he points also to the crown that awaits you.

Three things come to mind in the Apostle’s words about his being offered and his hope: 1) his example: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” he says (1Co 11:1). “Look at me that the Lord faithfully strengthens me to the end! Now it is blessed for me to be offered. It shall be like that for you, when your time comes soon!” 2) The old veterans who bear the banner pass over to the Church Triumphant, while the times get worse. And now we stand in their place. O let us take it with honor, hold faithfully together, lift up the banner of confession and soon be gathered with them in the ranks of the conquerors! 3) The crown is worth the struggle. The day of Triumph is coming when all the soldiers of the Lord who remain faithful to Him will receive the imperishable crown of glory.

So be strong then, by grace. Suffer evil as a good soldier of Christ, and rather strive, that you may be crowned!

Closing Prayer

Lord, waken us, and strengthen us with Your Spirit. Keep all Your people in true faithfulness and confidence to the end. Amen.

Hymn

When I’m awake, when I’m asleep,
Your holy death and Passion
May I in my remembrance keep,
Your wounds my hope’s foundation!
Grant that my ev’ry word and deed,
My thoughts, work to Your honor,
Be holy in Your sight indeed,
And not Your law dishonor.

Then I shall see Your face so clear,
O Christ, my joyful crowning,
When with Your angels You appear
At God’s last trumpet’s sounding;
Then we shall enter joyous rest,
In peace and joy amazing,
Perfect redemption with the blest
Who hymns of praise are raising.

Danish: Jeg beder dig L 113:2.6 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Durch Adams Fall (ELH 430); alternate hymn: I fall asleep in Jesus’ wounds ELH 530

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