In Luke 21:29-33, Jesus told a parable about a fig tree. Just as the appearance of leaves on the tree signals the imminent approach of summer, so the events Jesus described in the previous paragraph (Luke 21:25-28) will signal his imminent return to the earth. He finished the parable with an explanation that makes his point unmistakable: these promises are certain because his word can never fail.
The hymns for this service express the believer’s joyous expectation that Jesus will return just as he promised. We will conclude with a “strong” declaration of our faith in the abiding power of God’s word.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship: O Rejoice, Ye Christians, Loudly
Bach BMV 40
Hymn 51 Jesus Shall Reign
Note: Isaac Watts summons us to praise as we anticipate Jesus’ return and universal rule: “Let every creature rise and bring honor and glory to our King.”
Scripture Reading Psalm 119:89-112
Note: The sermon text stresses the abiding authority of God’s word. What God says is absolutely true and his words secure our hope in this life and the life to come. Psalm 119 is a song about God’s word. It is the longest chapter in the Bible with 22 stanzas (one stanza for each of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet). Each stanza has eight verses, and each verse of the stanza begins with the same Hebrew letter. Every verse refers to God’s word, though using a variety of terms. We will read three stanzas that express the believer’s confidence in what God has said.
Hymn Insert Lamb of God, You Now Are Seated
Note: The hymn writer, James Deck, wrote of his youth, “I hoped there were no God,” yet his mother’s training pursued after him. “She read to me of Jesus, Of all his grace and love.” Forsaking all, he set his heart to follow God “at any cost.” Later, his son testified this determination was “a trust never disappointed.” The Second Coming of Christ was a frequent theme in his songs.
We will sing this hymn to the familiar tune: BEACH SPRING.
Hymn 185 (1, 3-5) Hail to the Lord’s Anointed
Note: James Montgomery’s hymn helps us imagine the return of Christ. Present on that day to witness the event, we greet him with adoration and praise as he begins his reign.
Please note the word “succor” in the fourth verse. It is an old word that means “help” or “comfort.”
Message: Fig Trees, Faith, and the Word of God
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn Insert Thy Strong Word
Notes: We declare our confidence in God’s “strong word” in response to Jesus’ teaching in verse 33. God accomplishes all his purposes by his mighty word and his word never fails.
Prayer Response: David Snoeberger
Benediction: John Miles