You Are Invited To The Dinner (Pentecost 3)

Grapes

You Are Invited To The Dinner


Idon’t belong here. When I was a new pastor and conducted my first wedding service, those were the words I told myself. I had challenges with the details—what side the groom stands on and which side the bride is on. Who comes in first and last—those sorts of problems. And then, if I felt out of place in the wedding service, what happened after made the situation even worse. There was the wedding reception. And at the wedding reception they had a place setting for each guest. And when I sat down I saw, not one, not two, but instead four forks. Why in the world would you need four forks? Sometimes you can have the right music, the right setting, the right food, and yet you still feel out of place. And if that was how I felt, then what Jesus was going through in these words must have been so very much worse. Here Jesus was, a middle class to lower class carpenter. And he was invited to a banquet. But there was no one there to tell him to use the forks from the outside in. No, He was alone. And he was there so that others could look down on him, not listen to him. And yet, instead of saying, “I don’t belong here,’” he sets aside the time to preach out and reach out to the guests at the banquet. In Luke 14, we read: 15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” 16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’” (Luke 14:15–20 NIV11-GKE)


The opening verse gives us all the context we need to understand the parable that Jesus speaks. The rich, smug people there at this banquet were sure that they were going to be there in heaven at the feast in heaven. And Jesus makes them question their smug assumptions. And so, he tells them a story. There’s a master of a household who has a fancy dinner. He sends out the first round of messengers to invite people—his closest friends and associates to his feast. They agree. Then, he sends out another round of messengers at the hour of the feast.1 But then, one by one, each of them makes excuses. And what is fascinating about these excuses is that all of them are valid excuses. One guy just bought a field and another buys a pair of oxen. They have to check them out. How could the master of the house object? Everybody has to work. The third guy just got married. Who could object to that? But what’s the problem? It’s the matter of priorities. It’s the matter of making sneaky excuses to get out of important invitations and conversations that God wants us to have. The first commandment comes before all the other commandments.


In these words there is an invitation to the dinner in heaven. And there are no excuses. How important this is for unbelievers to hear. I’ve been a pastor long enough to hear the excuses. I invite my neighbor to come to church, and what does he say? “I have to work on the weekends. I think we’d both agree it’s important to provide for our family.” I invite a friend to church and she says, “I’m spending the weekend with my husband. And I think we’d both agree keeping our marriage strong is important.” Finally, at the end of the day, they’ve made so many excuses that the first commandment is squeezed out. But Jesus lets his hosts know that there are no excuses.


There are no excuses for unbelievers. But also, there are no excuses for us too. Sunday after Sunday you have an invitation to an amazing banquet and dinner in the Lord’s Supper. You have an invitation to receive the forgiveness of sins and lift your head up to the wedding feast of the kingdom of God. But the question each of us needs to ask is: “Am I making excuses?” Am I placing the duties in my life or the gifts God has given to me in my life above God himself? And this is usually where the questions start: “Pastor, is it ok for me to have a cabin by a lake?” “How many weeks can I be away at that cabin?” “If I put my kids in sports, how many Sundays can I miss before I get a phone call from the pastor and elders?” Simply put, this is not a question I can answer. What I can give you is an attitude from God’s word to understand. Ask yourself: “Am I doing this to appreciate this gift and then get back to the better gift of God’s word in worship?’” Or is it simply, “I am using this gift to get away from the Lord’s Supper and from remembering that this wedding banquet of heaven could come to me at any time?’” If the second is the case, if we go through our lives making use of God’s good gifts to get away from the better, greater gifts of worship, and the invitation to heaven we have in the Lord’s Supper, then Jesus says to you the same as he does to the smug, rich people here: There are no excuses. You have an invitation to a dinner. There are no excuses to that dinner when we put other gifts above that dinner. But the parable continues: 21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ 22 “ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ 23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ”” (Luke 14:21–24 NIV11-GKE)


Parables usually have a plot twist. It was not out of the realm of possibility that when upper-class people, when they were invited to a banquet, would that excuse themselves—even the second invitation. But what happens next would have been shocking to them. The master of the house sends his servant out and invites the people hanging out in the streets and market place in town. That was shocking because rich people didn’t spend too much time in the market place. After all, they had servants to do that for them. But even worse, how shocking and shameful it must have been to hear about the master of the house sending his servants out to the hedge-ways and highways. That’s where the “icky” people are. The beggars and poor and crippled are there.


And realize my dear friends in Christ, who are the blind, crippled, and poor in this parable? It’s us. We are blind because of our sin. We are crippled because of our sin, not able to know who Jesus is and come to him. We are poor, not having even a dime that could help take away our sins. But that’s precisely the point. You have a dinner invitation. And if our attitude is to make excuses to avoid that banquet, then there are no excuses that are valid. But notice the point of these words: There are also no exclusions. The rich, the poor; the healthy, the crippled—they are all invited. And if they are all invited, that means you and I are invited too.


And as if that isn’t encouraging enough: to know that we have a place at the dinner in heaven, what gives us even more joy is to know how we have that place. Who of us, if we were at that very same banquet would have been able to put up with their pride? Who of us has used the good gifts God has given to us perfectly, not forgetting the first commandment? Jesus does all of this for us, in our place.


You have an invitation to a dinner in heaven. There are no excuses. And there are no exceptions. Amen.



1 “ⲧⲏⲱⲣⲁⲧⲟⲩⲇⲓⲡⲛⲟⲩ” (Luke 14:17 GNT-ALEX)

See What Does Not Change (Pentecost 2)

Moses and the Prophets

See What Does Not Change


He just doesn’t change. There was a newly-married couple. They had spent weeks walking through a pre-marriage counseling class with their pastor. And they weren’t even married for a year and they were back in counseling class. And the brand-new wife told the pastor those words: “He just doesn’t change.’” She had expected that when they got married he would change—he would be less of a slob, he would take her out to eat every week instead of coming home and hiding away from people. There were all these ways she thought that he would change. But, as the pastor told her, the problem is that marriage is not magic. Getting married doesn’t change who you are. You still have the same personalities as you had before you were married. In our lives there are areas that we expect to change. But they don’t. In God’s word this morning we learn the same lesson. And so, this morning, with the Holy Spirit’s invitation, see what does not change. In Luke 16, we read: 19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.” (Luke 16:19–22 NIV11-GKE)


Look in these words at what does not change. We see a man who is thrown at the gate of a rich man.1 He is perpetually poor. And he is perpetually alone and in bad health. The situation is so bad that dogs come over and lick his sores. After reading these words dozens of times over the years, I’m not sure if that’s good news or bad news. Are the stray dogs taking advantage and licking his wounds while he’s trying ot fall asleep. Or, as dogs seemingly only can, they are having pity on him and licking his sores because they care for them? Either way it shows how perpetually pitiful his life is.


Now, before we move on, it’s important to realize that there might come a time when, instead of talking about Lazarus, Jesus could speaking about you. You are not guaranteed to have the same health and wealth you have now. And, should the Lord see fit to give you a pitiful existence like Lazarus here, you might pray to have the situation change. And he might. But, in his own good wisdom, he might not. He might keep your status just the way it is.


I remember a lady in my last congregation who got polio as a child. And for eight decades she dealt with the effects of that polio. She had a hard life. And as time went on it didn’t get easier. And I remember visiting her in her closing years seeing her condition slowly get worse. And there was always the temptation that surely God could make her earthly status change. Surely he could change her health and make her life better here. But he didn’t. He didn’t for her. He didn’t for Lazarus here in this part of God’s word. And maybe, just maybe, there might come a time when the Lord brings hardship and tragedy into your life and then doesn’t change it.


You expect it to change, but it doesn’t. That’s the reality that these words bring to our attention. But there’s real good news that follows. Lazarus dies and is carried to Abraham’s arms. One of the most favorite and most beautiful names for believers in the Old Testament was to be called, a “child of Abraham.” And through faith in his Lord, that’s what Lazarus was. His earthly status did not change. But look at what else did not change: His heavenly status did not change. He was a child of Abraham. And when he died, he was carried to Abraham’s side.


Should there come a time when the Lord strips away your health and wealth, and then doesn’t change your earthly status, these are the words that will give you hope and confidence. For even if you earthly status doesn’t change, know that you heavenly status hasn’t changed either. Through the gift of faith, through the waters of baptism, you are a child of God. That does not change. But there is more in these words that does not change: 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’” (Luke 16:23–24 NIV11-GKE)


The status that Lazarus had did not change. But see here that the rich man’s attitude did not change. There he was in hell, being tortured because he refused to repent; he refused to humble himself; he refused to be kind to Lazarus; he refused to believe in the Lord. And now there he is in hell—and what has changed? Nothing has changed.


Years ago, these words struck home for me, because I had this idea in my brain that when an unbeliever dies that person will immediately see how wrong they were. They will see the torment they are enduring in hell and they will see the joy that they are missing out on in heaven and then they will repent. Their attitude will change. But what these words show us so very clearly is that they do not change. These words so powerfully show us that the only place for unbelievers when they die is hell—not because God doesn’t want them, but because they hate the Lord and despise those who follow him. Look at the rich man. There he is, nothing has changed. He ordered Lazarus around before they died. And now, after he dies, he is still trying to order Lazarus around. See what doesn’t change. Unbelievers don’t change when they reach hell. But there’s more: 25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”” (Luke 16:25–31 NIV11-GKE)


Look at the rich man in these words. His uneasiness turns to urgency. Then his urgency turns to desperation. He is stuck in hell being tortured. And that will not change. But maybe, just maybe, it might change for his brothers who are still on this earth. So he tells Father Abraham to command Lazarus to warn them. And Father Abraham says, “no, they have Moses and the prophets.” That’s a figure of speech. Today we might hear, “the Whitehouse issued a statement.” Nobody really thinks that a bunch of white bricks did much of anything. Instead what came out of the Whitehouse was a statement. The same is true here. Moses and the prophets are long-dead and in heaven. But what came from them still speaks today. It’s a way of speaking about God’s word. Abraham says that the brothers have God’s word. But then notice what the ignorant, arrogant rich man says. If someone rises from the dead, they will repent. Notice then what Father Abraham says, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded—not even if someone rises from the dead.


Notice the pure and powerful point God makes to us today: God’s method for creating and preserving faith does not change. “Wows” and wonders are not what work. Instead God’s word is the method he uses to create faith and preserve it. These words mean so very much to me. For in my early years as a pastor I thought that what made a church healthy was activities. I concluded that many programs made a healthy church. Then, later on, a wiser pastor told me that programs and activities are only good if they connect people to God’s word. That was my great temptation: to conclude that God needed to change his method, that it wasn’t enough to just simply listen to Moses and the Prophets.


How foolish I was. But also, how gracious our Lord was. For he gave me the same gift he has given all generations of believers: his unchanging word. And he has given to you the same, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Light shows and fog machines don’t bring people to repentance. Moses and the prophets do. “Wows”, wonders and spectacles do not create faith in people’s hearts. Instead, God’s humble word does. And you have God’s word here at Faith. And for that reason, our congregation here at Faith is healthy. For where God connects people to Christ through his word, there will be healthy people and a healthy congregation. Amen.



1 “ⲉⲃⲉⲃⲗⲏⲧⲟ” (Luke 16:20 GNT-ALEX)

The Confirmation of RayAnne Annala

RayAnne

Trust in the Lord with all your heart


Iwant 110%. Years ago, RayAnne, when I was your age, I was on a football team. And that’s what the coach told us. He wanted us to give 110% of our effort and energy on the field. And I remember thinking to myself, first of all, that’s just plain bad math. The most I could give is 100\%. But second, could I even really give 100% of my energy? This morning God’s word says the same to you, RayAnne. In the book of Proverbs, God’s words says to you, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding;” (Proverbs 3:5 CSB17)


So I want you to think for a moment, RayAnne and ponder this thought: How can you not just trust in the Lord, but also trust in him with all your heart? What follows in the rest of these words are answers to that question. If we ask, “how can I trust in the Lord with all my heart,” Your Lord says to you, “in all your ways know him,” (Proverbs 3:6 CSB17)


There’s a very simple but important point that God’s word makes here. How can you trust in the Lord, if you don’t know him? Think, for example, what we learned in the book of Genesis. Adam and Eve rebelled against God. And the result of this is that they did not trust him anymore. And they did not trust him because they did not know him.


Now, you, RayAnne, know the Lord. You were introduced to him as a tiny baby when you were baptized and God placed faith in your heart. You grew in that knowledge of him in your years of Sunday School, and when your parents brought you here to church to hear God’s word, and now, finally you know God even more after two years of confirmation class. But notice what God’s word says here. It does not say, “Know the Lord until you are 14 years old.” It says, “Continue to know him.”1(Proverbs 3:6 BHS-T)}} The only way we know about God is to continue learning about him in his word. And this is a lifelong task and joy for us.


And this becomes even more important when we see how deeply sin affects us in our every day life. When we were in catechism class and we got to Genesis 3 and Adam and Eve heard the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the day, what did they do? They hid. You cannot hide from God. And yet they tried. Sin makes us stupid. It was true then. And it’s true now. That’s why we are in God’s word, reading it at home, hearing it here in worship, and studying it in bible class. And so, let me give you an example from my life to show what this looks like. After my first year in college I sold stuff as a summer job—stuff that nobody needed, and nobody wanted. But I thought everything would work out fine for me. Why? Because God’s word says, “ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9 CSB17) I didn’t go home with any money that summer. Why? Just as sin made Adam and Eve stupid, so also, it made me stupid. That “ask, seek, knock” part of the bible had nothing to do physical blessings. Instead, it had to do with spiritual blessings. But I did not know the Lord because I did not study his word.


RayAnne, learn from my mistakes. Know the Lord. And the only way you can know the Lord is to be in God’s word, reading it at home, hearing it here in worship, and studying it in bible class. Then, when that is in place, what will happen? God’s word tells us: “and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:6 CSB17)


When we know the Lord, then we are able to trust in the Lord—yes, even with our whole heart. For the Lord makes all these promises in his word. And he keeps them all. And we make all these blundering mistakes, and yet, he still forgives us because of Jesus and watches over us.


So God’s word says to you, Trust in the \textsc{Lord with all your heart.} And that means knowing the Lord through his word. But there’s more: 7 Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8 This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones.” (Proverbs 3:7–8 CSB17)


Not only do we know the Lord, we also fear the Lord. Now, here is where we learn that we cannot trust the Lord with all our heart if we have the wrong relationship with the Lord. Again, to use a picture from your every day life. You have a different relationship with your Dad than with your friends at school. Your dad is not your BFF. Your dad will tell you when you’re on the right track. And when you’re on the wrong track—when you say or do something wrong, he will tell you. It’s like that but even more so with your God above. Our relationship with our God is based on fear. But notice that the way the bible uses that word is completely different than the way the world does. When the Lord gives us rules and laws, saying “Don’t do this’” we can trust him. Compare this with the rules at school. One of the problems I had with school when I was your age was that, for so much of the time, the rules didn’t seem to apply. They would put up a sign, “don’t walk on the grass.’” And then what happened? Everyone walked on the grass and nobody cared. It’s not like this with God. When he says something is wrong and dangerous to us, we can trust in him and rely on him.


And the same is true when it comes to forgiveness. When the Lord says to you, RayAnne, “you are forgiven,” you can trust in those words. Jesus obeyed all the ten commandments in your place so that you could rely on those words. Jesus died to pay for your sins so that you could rely on those words. Jesus rose from the grave and then rose into heaven so that you could rely on those words. And the result of all of this is fear. Yes, there’s real fear and terror because when God says that something is wrong, he means it. But there is also this joy, awe, and wonder, because when God says to you, RayAnne, “your sins are forgiven”, he means it and you can trust it. And you can trust it not just with a part of your heart. You can trust it with all your heart.


God’s word here is not like my gradeschool football coach giving us an impossible command with bad math. No, your Lord invites you to trust him with all your heart. We are unable to do this on our own. But the Holy Spirit has given us faith in him so that we know who he is and trust in him. And we do this all throughout our entire lives by knowing the Lord through his word. We do this by fearing the Lord with the right relationship with him. Amen.



1 ”דָעֵ֑הוּ“

The End of All Is Near (Easter 7)

Ascension

The End Of All Is Near


What if the last day were today? That question makes you think, doesn’t it? Would you take a different course of action? Would you take the day off from work? Martin Luther was once asked that question, “what would you do if today was your last day?” He said that he’d go out and plant a tree. You see, the point he was making was that if today were our last day, we don’t need to go out and perform some amazing, over-the-top, dramatic act. No, instead, we live our last day the same as all the rest: trusting that God has all the details of the universe in his safe hands. Last Thursday was Jesus’ Ascension. He is with his Father preparing a place for each of us. All the signs and all the prophecies are fulfilled. He could come back for Judgment day at any time. And so God’s word says to us: “The end of all things is near.” (1 Peter 4:7 NIV11-GKE) And what follows then after this is the answer to the question how should we live our lives if the end of all is near? So Peter answers our question: 7 Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:7–9 NIV11-GKE)


The end of all is near. So then, what should we do? Do we finish off a bucket list? Do we make a mark in the world so that our name will be remembered after us? Peter’s words are so clear and simple: love each other. Now, in these words, first we need to define our terms. I make it a point to not say in my sermons, “the Greek word here is this.” But here is the exception. If ever there’s a word worth memorizing, it’s this one. The word is “agápe.”1 This is the sort of love that looks for and does what is best for its object. You think of the love a mom has for her tiny toddler. Out of love for the child, she’ll pick the child up and play games with her and snuggle with her. But also, out of love for her, when that little toddler thinks it’s fun to pull the cat’s tail, that mom will say, “no!” And that might hurt the little toddler’s feelings. But it is what is best.


That’s the invitation that God’s word gives to us. Jesus has ascended. He could come back at any time. The end of all is near. So Peter invites us to love each other, doing for others what is best for them. But what’s the problem? Each of us has a sinful nature that does not want to do what is best for the other person. Instead, we want to do what is best for ourselves. I can speak to this. For there are days I spend my days listening to people in my church. And I get home. It’s been a long day for my wife or my girls. And all they want to do is have me listen to them—that’s it. But, all my listening energy is already used up. So, I look at them, pretending to listen.


How, then? How do I show this sort of love to others? It starts when we see how much Jesus loved us. It starts there on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It starts when we see a sea of sins covered by Jesus’ love for us. Years ago I worked at a summer camp. And there at that camp I got to see teenagers interacting with other teenagers. I remember seeing a young man go over to a pretty young girl by the beach. And he wanted to strike up a conversation with her. So what did he do? He made fun of her. Because that worked out fine with all of his guy friends. It didn’t work out well with her. What he did was not very loving at all. So also, I remember a young woman. She had eaten her meal and she was still hungry. She went to her counselor and asked if she could have some more food. And there was a kind, generous young man at that table. Even though he was very hungry, he offered to give her his french fries—his cherished french fries. She got this disgusted look on her face and said, “Yuck, that has your germs all over it.” That was not the most loving way of handling the situation.


I remember those events so many years ago for one simple reason: I remembered myself in them. I remembered the times in my teens when, without thinking and without caring I said words I could not take back. And I remember how my Savior was there to forgive those sins day by day. How patient he was with me! How unwavering and unswerving his love was for me! And it is that love toward me that moved me to be there for those teenagers at camp, to reach out toward them with the same love that Jesus showed toward me.


So, Peter tells us that the end of all is near. And if today were your last day, there would be no better way of spending your day than loving others. But as these words travel on, Peter gives us another invitation: 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:10–11 NIV11-GKE)


The end of all is near. We have the invitation to love others. But here in these word we also then have the invitation to serve others. In a gracious, undeserved way God has given to each of us at least a gift.2 And many of us, if we looked at our lives and our abilities, we could find many examples of gifts God has given to us. And since the end of all is near, how does God invite us to live? He invites us to use those gifts to serve others. What does that look like? It’s the older brother helping the younger sister with the homework. It’s the daughter putting away the dishes in the dishwasher. It’s you picking up the garbage that blew over onto your neighbor’s lawn. This kind of an interesting picture, isn’t it? The end of all is near? Where’s the bucket list? Where’s the mountain to climb or the ocean to plummet down into? Notice what the wise and sober action to take is: loving others.


But, my dear friends there are traps that we can fall into as we serve others. First, we can envy the gifts of others, wishing,
“if only I had that gift, not the gift God gave me.” Second, we can serve in such a way that we need need thanks when we serve others. Jesus says: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NIV11-GKE) Notice how Jesus speaks. He does not say, “glorify you”; instead, he says, “glorify your Father in heaven.”


These are the traps we can fall into. And when we do, these are sins we repent of. And gently and unfailingly, our Savior, Jesus forgives our sins. And he sends us our once again to thank him by serving others. And that, right there, is an amazing thought. Our Triune God made all and owns it all. What good act could I perform that would get his attention and make him pleased with me? The answer to that is found first in your forgiveness. God does not see you as one who needs to earn his attention and devotion. No, you already have it. Sunday after Sunday you say, “Our Father” not so that you might wear him down into being your dear Father in heaven. No you say those words as baptized children of God who already have his attention and devotion. And second, if we ask the question, “what would God be pleased with,” we do not need to look to the sky above or the lakes below. All we need to do is open our bibles. For yes, it’s true that we look to the 10 commandments to show us our sin. But to our new person inside of us they are a different tool entirely. If we want to thank our Lord and praise him—If we want to know kind of service the Lord cherishes and rejoices in, then children listen to your parents, Parents love your children, help others protect and care for their bodies, take care of the property of others, defend the reputation of others. The end of all is near. How then will you live? There is no need to climb the highest mountains or plumb the lowest depths. There isn’t even any need for a bucket list. The wise, sober way of living, knowing that today could very well be our last, is to reach out and love others and to serve others. What do we say to all of this? Peter’s final words are a beautiful way of saying , “amen:” “To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11 NIV11-GKE)



1ⲁⲅⲁⲡⲏⲛ” (1 Peter 4:8 GNT-ALEX)

2 “ⲭⲁⲣⲓⲥⲙⲁ” (1 Peter 4:10 GNT-ALEX)