Prayers & Readings for Reflection — Kingdomtide 20

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Prayer #1 — Collect for the 20th Sunday in Kingdomtide (BCP 235):

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer #2 — Noonday: Of the Reign of Christ (BCP 254):

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord
of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer #3 — Of Saint Simon and Saint Jude – October 28 (BCP 245):

O God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer #4 — “Spirit of Faith, Come Down” (Charles Wesley):

1. Spirit of faith, come down,
reveal the things of God,
and make to us the Godhead known,
and witness with the blood.
‘Tis thine the blood to apply
and give us eyes to see,
who did for every sinner die
hath surely died for me.

2. No one can truly say
that Jesus is the Lord,
unless thou take the veil away
and breathe the living Word.
Then, only then, we feel
our interest in his blood,
and cry with joy unspeakable,
“Thou art my Lord, my God!”

3. O that the word might know
the all atoning Lamb!
Spirit of faith, descend and show
the virtue of his name;
the grace which all may find,
the saving power, impart,
and testify to humankind,
and speak in every heart.

4. Inspire the living faith
(which whosoe’er receive,
the witness in themselves they have
and consciously believe),
the faith that conquers all,
and doth the mountain move,
and saves whoe’er on Jesus call,
and perfects them in love. (from
http://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/Global-Praise-/Charles-Wesley-Hymns/Spirit-of-Faith-Come-Down)

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DAILY READINGS FOR REFLECTION — John Wesley, “The Great Assize” (Sermon 15).

DAY 1:

“We shall all stand before the judgement-seat of Christ.” Rom. 14:10

(i.2) But, as awful as this solemnity is, one far more awful is at hand. For yet a little while, and “we shall all stand before the judgement-seat of Christ.” “For, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” And in that day, “every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

(i.3) Had all men a deep sense of this, how effectually would it secure the interests of society! For what more forcible motive can be conceived to the practice of genuine morality to a steady pursuit of solid virtue an uniform walking in justice, mercy, and truth What could strengthen our hands in all that is good, and deter us from all evil, like a strong conviction of this, “The Judge standeth at the door;” and we are shortly to stand before him

(i.4) It may not therefore be improper, or unsuitable to the design of the present assembly, to consider, —

I. The chief circumstances which will precede our standing before the judgement-seat of Christ;

II. The judgement itself; and,

III. A few of the circumstances which will follow it.

DAY 2:

(I.2) At the same time, “the Son of Man shall send forth his angels” over all the earth; “and they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24:31). And the Lord himself shall come with clouds, in his own glory, and the glory of his Father, with ten thousand of his saints, even myriads of angels, and shall sit upon the throne of his glory. “And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, and shall set the sheep,” the good, “on his right hand, and the goats,” the wicked, “upon the left” (Matt. 25:31, etc.). Concerning this general assembly it is, that the beloved disciple speaks thus: “I saw the dead,” all that had been dead, “small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened” (a figurative expression, plainly referring to the manner of proceeding among men), “and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Rev. 20:12). 3

DAY 3:

(II.) These are the chief circumstances which are recorded in the oracles of God, as preceding the general judgement. We are, secondly, to consider the judgement itself, so far as it hath pleased God to reveal it.

(II.1) The person by whom God will judge the world, is his only-begotten Son, whose “goings forth are from everlasting;” “who is God over all, blessed for ever.” Unto him, being “the outbeaming of his Father’s glory, the express image of his person” (Heb. 1:3), the Father “hath committed all judgement, because he is the Son of Man” (John 5:22, 27); because, though he was “in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet he emptied himself, taking upon him the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6, 7); yea, because, “being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself” yet farther, “becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him,” even in his human nature, and “ordained him,” as Man, to try the children of men, “to be the Judge both of the quick and the dead;” both of those who shall be found alive at his coming, and of those who were before gathered to their fathers. 4

(II.2) The time, termed by the prophet, “the great and the terrible day,” is usually, in Scripture, styled the day of the Lord. The space from the creation of man upon the earth, to the end of all things, is the day of the sons of men; the time that is now passing over us is properly our day; when this is ended, the day of the Lord will begin. But who can say how long it will continue “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:8). And from this very expression, some of the ancient fathers drew that inference, that, what is commonly called the day of judgement would be indeed a thousand years: and it seems they did not go beyond the truth; nay, probably they did not come up to it. For, if we consider the number of persons who are to be judged, and of actions which are to be inquired into, it does not appear that a thousand years will suffice for the transactions of that day; so that it may not improbably comprise several thousand years. But God shall reveal this also in its season. 5

DAY 4:

(II.5) And every man shall there “give an account of his own works;” yea, a full and true account of all that he ever did while in the body, whether it was good or evil. O what a scene will then be disclosed, in the sight of angels and men! — while not the fabled Rhadamanthus, but the Lord God Almighty, who knoweth all things in heaven and in earth, —

Castigatque, auditque dolos; subigitque fateri Quae quis apud superos, furto laetatus inani, Distulit in seram commissa piacula mortem.

[O’er these drear realms stern Rhadamanthus reigns, Detects each artful villain, and constrains To own the crimes long veil’d from human sight: In vain! Now all stand forth in hated light.]

Nor will all the actions alone of every child of man be then brought to open view, but all their words; seeing “every idle word which men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement” (Matt. 12:36, 37); so that “by thy words,” as well as works, “thou shalt be justified; and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Will not God then bring to light every circumstance also that accompanied every word or action, and if not altered the nature, yet lessened or increased the goodness or badness, of them And how easy is this to him who is “about our bed, and about our path, and spieth out all our ways!” We know “the darkness is no darkness to him, but the night shineth as the day.” 8

(II.6) Yea, he will bring to light, not the hidden works of darkness only, but the very thoughts and intents of the heart. And what marvel For he “searcheth the reins, and understandeth all our thoughts.” “All things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” “Hell and destruction are before him without a covering. How much more the hearts of the children of men!”

(II.7) And in that day shall be discovered every inward working of every human soul; every appetite, passion, inclination, affection, with the various combinations of them, with every temper and disposition that constitute the whole complex character of each individual. So shall it be clearly and infallibly seen, who was righteous, and who unrighteous; and in what degree every action, or person, or character was either good or evil.

DAY 5:

(II.8) “Then the King will say to them upon his right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father. For I was hungry, and ye gave Me meat; thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed me.” In like manner, all the good they did upon earth will be recited before men and angels; whatsoever they had done, either in word or deed, in the name, or for the sake, of the Lord Jesus. All their good desires, intentions, thoughts, all their holy dispositions, will also be then remembered; and it will appear, that though they were unknown or forgotten among men, yet God noted them in his book. All their sufferings likewise for the name of Jesus, and for the testimony of a good conscience, will be displayed unto their praise from the righteous Judge, their honor before saints and angels, and the increase of that “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

(II.9) But will their evil deeds too (since, if we take in his whole life, there is not a man on earth who liveth and sinneth, not), will these be remembered in that day, and mentioned in the great congregation Many believe they will not; and ask, “Would not this imply, that their sufferings were not at an end, even when life ended — seeing they would still have sorrow, and shame, and confusion of face to endure.” They ask farther, “How can this be reconciled with God’s declaration by the Prophet, — `If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all My statutes, and do that which is lawful and right; all his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be once mentioned unto him’ (Ezek. 18:21, 22). How is it consistent with the promise which God has made to all who accept of the gospel covenant, `I will forgive their iniquities, and remember their sin no more’ (Jer. 31:34) Or, as the Apostle expresses it, `I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more'” (Heb. 8:12).

DAY 6:

(II.10) It may be answered, It is apparently and absolutely necessary, for the full display of the glory of God; for the clear and perfect manifestation of his wisdom, justice, power, and mercy, toward the heirs of salvation; that all the circumstances of their life should be placed in open view, together with all their tempers, and all the desires, thoughts, and intents of their hearts: otherwise, how would it appear out of what a depth of sin and misery the grace of God had delivered them And, indeed, if the whole lives of all the children of men were not manifestly discovered, the whole amazing contexture of divine providence could not be manifested; nor should we yet be able, in a thousand instances, “to justify the ways of God to man.” Unless our Lord’s words were fulfilled in their utmost sense, without any restriction or limitation,” There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; or hid, that shall not be known” (Matt. 10: 26); abundance of God’s dispensations under the sun would still appear without their reasons. And then only when God hath brought to light all the hidden things of darkness, whosoever were the actors therein, will it be seen that wise and good were all his ways; that he saw through the thick cloud, and governed all things by the wise counsel of his own will; that nothing was left to chance or the caprice of men, but God disposed all strongly and sweetly, and wrought all into one connected chain of justice, mercy, and truth. 9

DAY 7:

(II.11) And in the discovery of the divine perfections, the righteous will rejoice with joy unspeakable; far from feeling any painful sorrow or shame, for any of those past transgressions which were long since blotted out as a cloud, washed away by the blood of the Lamb. It will be abundantly sufficient for them, that all the transgressions which they had committed shall not be once mentioned unto them to their disadvantaged that their sins, and transgressions, and iniquities shall be remembered no more to their condemnation. This is the plain meaning of the promise; and this all the children of God shall find true, to their everlasting comfort.

(II.12) After the righteous are judged, the King will turn to them upon his left hand; and they shall also be judged, every man according to his works. But not only their outward works will be brought into the account, but all the evil words which they have ever spoken; yea, all the evil desires, affections, tempers, which have, or have had, a place in their souls; and all the evil thoughts or designs which were ever cherished in their hearts. The joyful sentence of acquittal will then be pronounced Upon those upon the right hand; the dreadful sentence of condemnation upon those on the left; both of which must remain fixed and unmovable as the throne of God.” (from John Wesley, “The Great Assize” [Sermon 15], Intro.2-4, I.2, and II.1-2, 5-12).

**- Edited by Clem P. Guthro, Senior Reference Librarian, Berntsen Resource Center at Northwestern College (St. Paul, MN), with minor corrections by Ryan Danker and George Lyons, Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, ID) for the Wesley Center for Applied Theology.

Copyright 1999 by the Wesley Center for Applied Theology. Text may be freely used for personal or scholarly purposes or mirrored on other web sites, provided this notice is left intact. Any use of this material for commercial purposes of any kind is strictly forbidden without the express permission of the Wesley Center at Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, ID 83686. Contact the Webmaster for permission.

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