Who are we?

The center of the Traditional Anglican Communion; adhering to the Holy Bible (KJV) in all matters of Faith and Doctrine, a strict reliance on the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, The two Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, the Two Creeds, and the Homilies and formularies of the Reformation Church of England.

Verse of the Day

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sermon Notes - Septuagesima - 17 February 2019, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord) - St. Andrews Anglican Church


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NDseeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,  3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.   13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt 5:1-16)

The lectionary text begins today with blessings on those who love the Lord, but let us also remember that curses fall upon those who do not.

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EHOLD, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. (Deut 11)

In the spiritual world, as well as in physical nature, there can be no positive without a negative. There can be no flow of fluids without a vacuum, or a plus without a minus – no light without contrasting darkness, or no high without a low.

But in today’s passage, Christ is telling us who receives His blessings and, by omission, who will not.

Note the appeal to meekness, a quality of character that seems to be gravely absent from today’s man.

The passages read today fit perfectly together, and the ancient church meant it to be so in its development of the lection of daily scripture readings.

13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

This is an interesting statement when we consider that God made all things including every element  and compound which they comprise.

Purpose of salt
Salt preserves, adds a quality of flavor, healing properties, has value especially when scarce.

Salt makes life possible and creates thirst.Salt a chemical compound:  NaCl (sodium chloride) Sodium a yellowish metal never found in a pure state in nature. If not joined with chlorine, it will be joined to some other element of the earth such as hydrogen, potassium, carbon, etc. But never pure in itself.  

Sodium is much like we humans. We are all possessed of a sinful nature and can do no good apart from Christ. Another characteristic of sodium is this: it is poison if consumed alone.

The other element in the compound formula for salt is chlorine. Chlorine is an invisible gas that is also deadly.

Chlorine is so deadly it was used as a chemical weapon during World War I. God is deadly to those who forsake Him.

But look: when we join this deadly gas to another deadly poison called sodium, we get a compound that is essential to life. Man cannot live without a percentage of salt in his body.

When sinful man (sodium)  is joined to the deadly element (chlorine) an essential for life and health is created.

When lost man is joined to God, eternal life is imparted by the union.

Moreover, if we look at table salt through a microscope, we see that it is pure white, and forms perfect cubes.

Even if you crush a cube of salt, it will break down into many smaller cubes.

When crushed by slander and persecution, the Christian maintains his integrity in God.

What about Light? What does Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity say about the nature of Light? 

Travels in a straight line

Travels at absolute speed regardless of frame of reference (186,00 miles per second)

Can not be defined, only described

Light cannot be seen. It has no weight. It scatters the darkness for darkness cannot abide even a candle light.

Look at how Christ describes those who love Him:

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

But wait! Look at how Christ describes Himself:

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Does Jesus here contradict Himself? Matt 5:14 vs John 8:12? Why not?

WE reflect the Light of God just as the Moon reflects the Light of the Sun. If a large object passes between the moon and sun, we observe an eclipse. The same with the light we receive from Christ: if the world and her attractions come between us and God, our light is darkened.

Purpose of Light
Light reveals Truth and scatter error as described below:

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The Psalms reading for today was from Psalms 1 – six small, but powerful verses;
Psalms 1:

The Joy of the Godly
     1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 

The unGodly shall perish!

     4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. 

God is not referring to an abject sinful nature in verses 1 thru 3, but a direction that sin takes us. We start with minor indiscretions and end up sitting and making our fires with the ungodly. Just as did Lot, the nephew of Abraham.

Lot was a keeper of sheep. His herd grew so large that they began to trespass onto the pasturelands belonging to Abraham. So Abraham made a peaceful solution:

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S not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.  10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly. (Gen 13)

Lot pitched his tent only TOWARD Sodom, but wound up sitting as a judge in its gates – a city destroyed by God for its wickedness of homosexuality..

     1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Eve stopped before the devil’s tree, she listened, she partook of its evil.

David failed in his duty to accompany his army. He could not sleep. He arose and walked on the roof. He gazed down to the home of one he knew to be a beautiful woman and saw her bathing.  Perhaps this was not his first glimpse of Bathsheba. This led to adultery and murder.

Sin takes us in the wrong direction! But those who do not fall for its temptations are blessed as a green tree whose roots are anchored by the rivers of waters. Always alive and living from the Water of Life which is God’s Holy Word.

But the ungodly count for nothing!

     4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. 

Young people of St. Andrews – you are ALL young to me – remember the counsel of God. Flee from sin at its first manifestation, and you will be like that tree whose leaves are always green and fruitful. Your roots shall suck up daily the Water of Life provided by God’s Word.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Hem of His Garment– 15 February 2019, Anno Domini

 
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NDa woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. (Luke 8:43-48)

            Traveling the cities of Galilee in this text, the Lord preached the Word as a sower widely broadcasting his seed. As is always the case, the Word of God is efficacious to the soul, and powerful in the healing of the body. Many people were healed during this circuit of preaching and visitation.

            You may remember these words taken from the Invitation to the Lord’s Supper of the Communion Service: “Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, devoutly kneeling.” We recognize the spiritual Presence of the Lord at His Table of Communion. His spiritual Presence is stronger than any physical Presence could be because His Spirit can be right beside, and in, every individual worshipper at the Table. Our Lord is a Lord who is always near those who call upon Him in faith and trust. “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)  and, “ Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10:19-22)

            Being near to Christ is the comfort of the saints. Even in moments when faith may fail, as with the two men on the Emmaus Road, He is with us. He knows our doubts and pains, and, if we are persevering, He will open our eyes to His Presence and Love. He is the Lord whose TOUCH is a Balm. When we reach out in desperation to touch Him, it may happen that He will touch us in a more profound measure.

            The lead text today recounts the story of a chronically ill woman who had been afflicted with an issue of blood for twelve long years. It is perhaps true that her hopes and dreams for a happy family life were shattered by this affliction. Moreover, this poor lady had spent all her life’s savings on doctors whose cures not only failed to give relief, but the woman’s condition only grew worse. Such are the clouds that return after the rain in the common fare of life. 

The Setting
            Our Lord had been traveling a circuit of towns and cities in Galilee when He arrived at this venue. Every place He had visited saw many souls healed of leprosy, blindness, lameness, and many other ailments. Word had traveled like wildfire. Herod’s spies had also reported all – so even the Jewish rulers were keeping a close account on the travels and actions of our Lord. Throngs of people, some curious, some desiring healing favors, and some out of genuine love and loyalty crowded about our Lord as He moved down the dusty street of the city.

The Particular Event(of the Woman)
The woman who is the subject of the text had heard of all that Jesus had done in working miracles of healing. Owing to her illness, travel of any distance at all was tortuous. She spent many lonely hours suffering alone. But, now, there was a new hope in the air. She had heard rumors on the street of Jesus and how He healed simply by the touch of His hand, or the Word of His mouth. Slowly, a growing hope began to materialize in her oppressed heart – “What if I could come near to Jesus? I am unworthy to make any open request of such a Lord as He but, surely, a mere touch of His garment would suffice to heal me!” 

As she dwelt on these hopes and dreams, she heard murmurs from the street below about this Jesus who, it was rumored, was headed for her very neighborhood. By the way, this was not by unforeseen accident. Our Lord had been aware of this woman’s ailment throughout the entire twelve years of her affliction. Her condition was reserved for a testimony to us, and to countless others, of the miraculous works and compassion of a Lord who has been called in bygone days, “Beerlahairoi – the Lord who seest me!” Well, He is still the Lord who seest me, and all who believe, regardless our place or predicament.

Great kings and princes who grant favors do not fail of crowds of petitioners seeking relief of an abundance of problems. But our Lord Jesus surpassed these figures in grandeur, for He could offer healings which they could not do. So, as our Lord came down the narrow street near the woman’s house, there were throngs of people around Him, so much so that any open approach to Him would have been impossible. Here is the way Mark describes the occasion: And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague(Mark 5:25-29)

There is a separate lesson for us in considering the ‘press’ of humanity about our Lord Jesus. Many knew Him to be their Master and Lord, yet they were unwilling to make way for a poor distraught woman to approach for healing. In churches today, many are so proud and boastful of their ‘positions’ in the church that they crowd out the humble seeker who is trying to draw near, by faith, to Christ.

The woman reckons on her possibilities and determines to penetrate the crowd at the lowest level. Pushing and bustling with those between her and the Lord, she finally is close enough to crawl among the dusty feet of the crowd for a near enough vantage point to reach out and touch – not Jesus – but only the hem of His garment. This she does and suddenly, a shiver went through her body! Blood rushed to her face as she blushed with joy. There was no question in the woman’s mind that she had been totally and miraculously healed. She looked at her formerly pale hands and beheld the rosy color of healthy skin and blood tone. She forgot her place. She was overcome with joy! In Alabama, a term that might describe the occasion might be, “She was beside herself!” But now a new dread comes over the woman’s soul as the Master turns about and asks  “Who touched me?”  The woman fears her audacity may have provoked anger. All present denied touching the Lord including Peter. Many of those among the throng had touched Jesus in the bustle, but it was in a different way. This touch was different for it came out of desperate faith. 

Jesus is the reservoir of Life and Love. When the woman touched Him, He felt healing virtue pass from that endless reservoir. In fact, He already knew who touched Him, but He chooses for us to know the magnitude of the touch and the occasion brought on by this joyous touch. You will remember the Centurion whose servant was sick unto death whom the Lord healed from a distance without seeing. The touch of His garment was not what healed the woman – it was the touch of His Heart by the woman’s faith. “And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.” In truth, it was not the woman who touched Jesus, but Jesus who touched the woman with healing power. “And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.  There was no healthier woman in all of Galilee who left the presence of the Lord that day. Not only was her issue of blood dried up, she was made whole in both body and soul. That is the way the Lord heals. He left that scene full of joy and love.

The love and power of God knows no geographical bounds. Neither does that faith that rises to believing faith. That God,  who sees us, can behold us from the infinite distance of Heaven, and yet be right beside us at the same time. He spoke the earth, and all that is in it, into being from the distant pavilions of Heaven. He sees us in our wilderness moments, as well as in our triumphant moments when faith is affirmed miraculously by answered prayer.

Are you lonely? Is there no one to give you solace or comfort? Is your room dark with sorrow? Crawl out of that sad place and follow the Lord. You may, perchance, touch His garment, but more importantly, be touched by His love and healing compassion. Misery is a choice. We can be miserable apart from Jesus, or we can be joyful in the midst of the storm with our Lord abating the wind and waves as He teaches us to walk on the turbulent waters.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Captain of the Lord’s Host – 14 February 2019, Anno Domini


A
NDthe children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. 11 And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. 12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. 13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? 15 And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so(Josh 5:10-15)

            I give it as my considered opinion that this appearance of the “Captain of the Lord’s Host” was none other than the pre-Incarnate Christ! I have heard men preach that this mysterious figure was an angel sent by God – perhaps even the Archangel Michael; however, let it be known no angel of the Lord would accept worship of man. 

            Consider the time of His appearance. Israel had just crossed over the Jordan Waters on dry ground. They were encamped at Gilgal beside Jericho which was occupied by the Amorites, and they had just had all their men of war circumcised. This was necessary because all the men of war who had made the Red Sea crossing had died in the Wilderness owing to their faithlessness. Those younger men born in the Wilderness were not yet circumcised; so, they were now circumcised into Israel prior to the major battle of Jericho which was impending.

            Jericho was a heavily fortified city protected by massive stone walls. For an army to attack against a fortified enemy is almost always catastrophic; but not when the Field Commander is the Lord! 

            You can imagine the thoughts of Joshua as he surveyed the open ground separating Israel from those stone walls. He had faith in God. He believed that God, who had provided every need in the Wilderness desert, would give the Children of Israel the victory; but, still, human eyes must have viewed the enemy walls of Jericho as quite formidable. 

            As Joshua (which, by the way, is the Hebrew name for Jesus) walked about the perimeter of the prospective battlefield, he must have been trying to materialize his battle plan of attack against that fortress. But when God sends His people into a Holy Battle, He will provide, not only the plan, but the means, of victory. 

            Joshua hesitated at some point on the perimeter of Jericho, and his attention was attracted by a lone figure standing nearby with drawn sword, “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand.” I need not describe the surprise and shock of finding a stranger nearby with drawn sword to any combat veteran reading this devotion – especially when near a presumed battlefield. The text tells us that Joshua went unto him. I do not believe that was a casual walking up to the stranger, but a cautious approach by Joshua. He may even have been a bit bowed-up in his approach. “Friend or Foe?” is the transmitted message to a suspected enemy in the arena of modern war, but Joshua framed his inquiry slightly different, “Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” If one is positioned on a sensitive spot on a battlefield, it seems humanly logical to inquire if that subject is for us, or for our enemies. 

            But with God, it is never a condition in His Providence to be on one man, or another’s, side. God has One side, and that is all. Our object should always be directed to being on the Lord’s side instead of trying to vainly convince the Lord to be on OUR side. How did the Captain of the Host of the Lord respond?

 “And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.” In other words, this Captain of the Host of the Lord responded with a negative – “Nay; but as Captain of the Host of the Lord am I now come.” I hope you detect the subtilty in this response. God is not on Joshua’s side, or the Amorites; but God is always on the RIGHT side (which is His own side) regardless the mix of humanity on the Line of Battle.

How did Joshua respond to this declaration by the Stranger on the Field? How would you have responded?

He worshipped this Being as Divine. “And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship,” Men of God do not worship angels, but God only. In fact, whenever an angel has appeared to men who tried to worship them in Scripture, the angels have always forbade it. You may recall when an angel appeared unto John the Revelator and John fell down to worship him? “These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.”  (Rev 22:6-9) 

So this Stranger with sword drawn could not have been God the Father, for the Stranger made reference to His position as Captain of the Host of the Lord, meaning acting on behalf of the Lord of Host. You will note that Joshua only asked two questions – the first of inquiry of identity; the second, once he recognized this to be the Lord, “What are your Counsels for me?” or “ What saith my lord unto his servant?”  

Then comes the next line of the text to seal the divinity of the Stranger! “And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.”  You will observe that Joshua had no doubt of the Holy Ground upon which he stood. Like Moses before the Burning Bush, Joshua removed his shoes.

What might we learn from this engagement of Joshua with the Captain of the Host of the Lord? 

1.      We learn that there is no invincible enemy before the Captain of the Host of the Lord. God is Almighty and All-Powerful!
2.      We do not presume to have God take our side in battle.
3.      When we are on the Lord’s side, He is the Captain  and God of War whose victory is certain.
4.      Do not presume to think that you stand alone before an enemy when that enemy is also an enemy of God and His people. 
5.      When in the presence of God (such as Holy Worship Services) we are to reverence the Lord. We are on Holy Ground.
6.      We do not worship angels which are also creatures made by God, but God only. Our God is a God of Battles – He is not some wimpy, anything-goes kind of God. He means business, and all that He commands must be taken seriously by His people. Though the Lord is slow to anger, and may delay His intercessions in the affairs of men, there comes a time when His mighty acts are forthcoming to the dismay of the wicked: “The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”  Isaiah 42:13-16 (KJV) Though a Lord of Battles, He is also of great compassion to His own.

Yes, the Lord of Host is the God of all Battles. The word ‘Host’ is a military term for armies. Though God is a God of Battles, those battles are not all relegated to the battlefield. Many battles take place in the heart, in the mind, in politics, in society, and, chiefly, in the Church; for if the foundation be destroyed (which is the salt and light of God to the world) what can the righteous do? We are all soldiers of God’s Army – in physical battle, in spiritual battle, in intellectual battle, in social battle, and, yes, in political battles. It is the character of the citizens of a nation that dictates the character of the nation expressed in its outward political ideologies. 


Where do you stand in the ranks of that Army – there can be no conscientious objectors.

Postscript: In case you missed it in the news, those stone walls of Jericho came tumbling and response still in the very ground on which they tumbled.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Two Seeds– 13 February 2019, Anno Domini


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NOTHER parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn(Matt 13:24-30)

            We will consider the Gospel Text for this past Fifth Sunday after Epiphany as our foundational path for today’s devotion, but also expand beyond to other related fields of biblical truth. I would like to introduce this devotion with a quote from Dr. David Gregg in 1879:

            Resurrection of Seeds. — I hear the resurrection cry rising from the thousand growing seeds. There are eighty thousand kinds of plants with their millions and millions of seeds; and each seed contains the doctrine of a resurrection and a future life. Each seed has its individuality, and God never mistakes one seed for another. In the resurrection of seeds he never gives one seed the body which belongs to another. A seed may be wrapped away for a thousand years in the cerements of the Egyptian mummy, but a thousand years cannot hinder its resurrection God preserves its life and its identity, and when planted gives it a resurrection and gives it its own body. If God thus clothes the grass of the field, will he not clothe you, O man ? '' 

            I can see the glowing truth of Dr. Gregg’s illustration and analysis of the manner in which God has endowed each soul, and each seed, as a perfectly distinct individual with whom He is intimately familiar. He made us, and every other thing that exists; so, He should know us well.

            We see a recurring juxtaposition in Scripture of certain elements as representing either good or bad. We will recall the two Trees of the Garden at Eden from which man had the choice of fruits – the Tree of Life (representing Christ), or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (representing Satan). I need not remind you of the painful truth of the tree from which Adam and Eve chose to partake. We see such contrasts between good and evil all the way from Genesis to the Book of Revelations.

            When we consider the birth of evil at Eden, we must consider the first birth to follow once our primitive parents were expelled – Cain! Cain was a murderer. The second son, Abel, was a prophet. When we read the account of the beginning of Cain’s sin, it may seem a small thing until we consider the results to which such sin may lead. Cain defied the Lord in bringing a worthy offering, for without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. (see Hebrews 9:22)  So Cain brought what he had resolved to be a suitable offering in spite of God’s command – the fruit of the ground. The earth had been cursed by Adam’s sin at Eden. God said to Adam:  . . . . cursed is the ground for thy sake . . . (Gen 3:17 (KJV)Cain’s disregard for the reverence due His Maker led to more wickedness in the murder of his only brother. And Cain murdered Abel out of a jealous rage because Abel had obeyed the Will of God in his sacrifice by sacrificing from his own flock. Some may consider Cain’s first sin of lower magnitude than his second, but that would be erroneous thinking. It is pride that lifts itself above obedience to God that spawns all other sins. David’s sin of adultery was of greater detriment to his soul than his second sin of murder because adultery was the parent of that murder.

            These first two sons are a foreshadow of two other sons with eternal meaning to our Faith – Adam, and the Lord Jesus Christ! For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (1 Cor 15:22-23)Adam is our natural and federal father in the flesh. We inherit his sinful nature and his sin-poisoned blood for which there is no natural cure; however, the elect of God have received eternal life through  the grace of adoption by way of  our Lord Jesus Christ who has redeemed us by the sacrifice of the cross:

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HEREFORE, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, WHO IS A FIGURE OF HIM WHO WAS TO COME. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:12-17)

The good and bad seed of Matthew 13:24-30 represents those who called according to God’s good pleasure in Christ as Savior; but note: all who merely claim Christ are not His at all!

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HENthe Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal(Matt 25:31-46)

             Now, in discussing the Two Seed in greater depth, we recognize that a seed carries its future life embedded in its kernel. The tiniest component of the seed is the very source of its life which activates all other features to cause the seed to produce the kind of vegetation it is intended to be by the Creator.

The Two Seed that are sewn in Matthew 13:24 are of a totally different nature. The wheat have no choice but to produce wheat fruit – so much so that when ripe for harvest, their tassels are so full of wheat that their heads bow before the Day Star. But the tares produce no fruit. They grow taller than the wheat and remain proudly erect. It is this feature, not observable while they are yet not fully mature, that distinguishes them to the harvester from the wheat.

Notice the good seed were sewn first. Later, the enemy comes along and sows bad seed among them. As the good seed sprout and seek the glorious sunlight, the bad seed will sprout just a bit later. The soil, for both seeds in this case, is good soil, prepared and cultivated for the sowing. This good soil represents the Church itself. How many churches have begun with a fervor to serve the Lord in reverent faith, but are later overtaken by rebels within who turn the bow of the church ship into strange and uncharted waters – waters that are alien to the purpose of the Lord’s Church? These rebels are the bad seed who exist in the church. When they come in at first, they appear no different from the plants of good seed that have sprouted, but they have been placed among the good seed by the enemy. In the end, they have no fruit and only crowd and deprive the good seed of nourishment of the Spirit. 

The churches are full of these bad seed today. These are the birds of Matthew 13:32 that have come to live in the branches of an over-grown church whose vision changed from glorifying the Lord to glorifying men. We should all know that the world is not going to flock to a Church that adheres strictly to the Word of God. So the bad seed of the churches suggest that we should admit the world into the church with its sensual music, its loud and irreverent preaching, and prayerless worship services. The context of Matthew 13 declares these bad seed. Look at the beginning of the same chapter 13 of Matthew at a different seed: Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the FOWLS came and devoured them up .  (Matt 13:3-4)What do these birds represent? Jesus tells us: When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the WICKED ONE, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (Matt 13:19)These are the same demons that come to live in the over-grown church of the Mustard Tree of Matthew 13:31-32. What kind of seed, or bird, are you?