Follow by Email

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, September 28, 2014

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity


On Point
Someone asked, where do the quotes come from?  The answer is from the people who uttered them.  But, how did you find them?  Oh, that.  Some from Bishop Jerry, many from Rev Bryan Dabney, a few from other places, some from Rev Geordie Menzies-Grierson, but overall mostly from Bryan.  He always has some great ones to share.  On to the On Point quotes –

On how to rehearse for death and how to diminish fear.
17 June 1963

Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hair- shirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.

Remember, though we struggle against things because w
e are afraid of them, it is often the other way round—we get afraid be- cause we struggle. Are you struggling, resisting? Don’t you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’

Of course, this may not be the end. Then make it a good rehearsal.

Yours (and like you a tired traveller near the journey’s end) Jack
The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III

Timing
It is a poor thing to strike our colours to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up “our own” when it is no longer worth keeping. If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him.
Jack Lewis
The Problem of Pain

As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."
James Madison
National Gazette Essay, 1792
The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
Psalm 34:22

I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Isaiah 42:8

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
St. Mark 10:9

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
II Corinthians 5:17

Those that bind up their happiness in the favor of men make themselves an easy prey to the temptations of Satan.
Matthew Henry
17th and 18th century English pastor and author

Thousands of ordained men in the present day know nothing whatever of Christ, except his name. They have not entered the door themselves, and they are unable to show it to others. Well would it be for Christendom if it were more widely known, and more seriously considered! Unconverted ministers are the dry-rot of the Church. When the blind lead the blind both must fall in the ditch. If we know the value of a man’s ministry, we must never fail to ask, Where is the Lamb? Where is the door? Does he bring forth Christ, and give Him his rightful place?
JC Ryle
19th century Anglican bishop and author

The easiest way to incorporate a teaching into a religious system is to surround it with tradition. In the case of Judaism, Scripture cites the tradition of the elders. In the case of Christendom, traditions originated with the early “church fathers.” In both cases, men brought in false doctrines by establishing traditions. Once a tradition has been established, it becomes dogma— considered to have equal or even greater authority than the very Word of God.
Fred Coulter
20th and 21st century American pastor, teacher and author
How the Christian World has been deceived, www.churchathome.com

Regardless of the particular problem facing Americans today, too often the first question asked is, “When is the government going to save us?” At the most fundamental level, this question is a socialist response to private concerns. Free men in a free society do not look to government for solutions to private matters. Why? Because government is not God; it cannot “give” to one unless it first takes away from another. The “taking” mechanism of big government is that characteristic which tramples upon the liberty of its citizens. We do not live in a free society when the government can take our property in the form of taxes and give it to others.
Al Benson, Jr. and Walter Donald Kennedy
20th and 21st century American political commentators and authors
Lincoln’s Marxists, p. 48

Propers
The Propers for today are found on Page 210-211, with the Collect first:

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

K
EEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Epistle came from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, the Sixth Chapter, beginning at the Eleventh Verse. Paul continues to warn us of the conflict in our lives between the things valued here on earth and those valued by the forces of heaven (God).  Writing to the Gentiles in Galatia, using to the rite of circumcision as a symbol for all of The Law, he warns, “As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.”  Those who are every eager to have you follow “The Law” themselves fail to follow its intent.  Paul goes on to say that Jesus’ new covenant transcends The Law and The Law no longer has hold over man.  For in Jesus there is salvation, may “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

Y
E see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Today’s Holy Gospel was written in the Sixth Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, beginning at the Twenty-Fourth Verse. Jesus tells us, “No man can serve two masters …Ye cannot serve God and mammon[1].”  There is only one first place, only one can be in that place.  We either place God in first place or we put something else there.  If we wish riches in this world as the most important thing in our life, we place the things of this world in first place.  If we follow our Lord Jesus and His instruction, we place God in that first place.  But, what of this world?  “Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they?”  Jesus tells us not to worry, for worry is of no positive value.  When faced with a problem, we must do our best, not merely claim to do our best, and trust in God.  For, “which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life?” God knows we have need of the things of this world while we are in it, he knows we worry about, “What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?”  If we first seek “His kingdom, and His righteousness” He will take care of all our necessities.  But we must do as He asks, not merely say we are doing so.  If you follow God’s directions, you will be wealthy beyond description.  While you will never be “Bill Gates” rich, you will never lack what you need on this earth or in the world to come.

Jesus tells us, “Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  We are not to worry, but to our best and let the morrow come as it will.  We are to do our best, not merely say we are doing our best.  For if we truly do our best, then that is all that can be done and there is no point in worrying.

Using an earlier phrase, Trust in God and Dread Naught.

N
O man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Bishop Ogles’ Sermon
We are oft fortunate to get copies of Bishop Jerry’s sermon notes.  Today is one of those Sundays.  Today’s sermon starts off with the collect, and like always, it will give you a lot to consider in your heart.

Sermon Notes
Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity
Saint Andrew’s
Anglican Orthodox Church
28 September 2014, Anno Domini


The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

K
EEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Epistle
Galatians vi. 11.

Y
E see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Gospel
Matthew 6:24-34

N
O man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

            Our Lord, in His Sermon on the Mount, teaches us that a believer cannot be divided in his faith. He cannot travel the righteous path that is Narrow, and leads up to Heaven, and the wicked path called the Broad Way that leads down to destruction, at the same time. There remains before us, just as in the days of Noah’s Ark, an open door. It is an invitation to salvation. Whosoever will may enter in by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? There is no place in the Church of God for duplicity. If we so much desire to retain our old free will, than we shall also retain the consequences of our sins; but, if we surrender our wills to Christ, and accept His will for our lives, then shall our lives (thought, word, and deed) be directed from on high and not from the depths of Hell.

            As pointed out in the Prayer of Collect, our righteousness is not our own, but belongs to Christ. He covers us with His righteousness else we would fall miserably short of the mark. He sustains us moment by moment in the way that we should go; yet, He knows our frail frames and, as the Good Samaritan, finds us, heals us, provides us transport, and lodges us in the fair harbors of His love as we fail and flounder on the Way. His love and care are a perpetual love and care; and those things that we overcome by faith are profitable to our salvation.

            Paul, in his Epistle to the Galatians for today, warns against any labors of the hand to achieve salvation. It is not the good work we do by our hands that make us worthy of the family of God, but the work that Christ did on the cross – to satisfy the terms of the law on our behalf – that is edifying and efficacious for our salvation. Men will attempt to convince us to do all sorts of works, and comply with all kinds of formulas, to EARN salvation; but it cannot be. There is only One Way – the way of the cross of Christ. He paid it all!

            Just prior to the text today from the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus has taught us how to give alms – how to do, as well, our works of good – in secret so that our reward will be in heaven and not seen upon earth for self-gratification. If our gifts are to Heaven, they shall not be seen openly upon the earth; and if they are made openly to be seen on earth, they shall not grace the walls of Heaven. Our Lord also, in verses 5-15 of this same chapter, teaches us how to pray. He also gives us the Lord’s Prayer that is to be prayed in communal worship (i.e. Our Father….), as well as private moments of devotion.  He gives us a rule for fasting so that we appear to the world not to fast. Our Father in Heaven knows every secret thing, and He cherishes those acts of righteousness that are performed for His own glory alone and not that of any man.

            So Jesus begins today by telling us that we cannot serve two masters. Since as masters has full authority over his subject, such a prospect of having two masters is logically impossible. 24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.God is not divided in His sovereignty – He is either the sovereign of our souls, or the flesh is that sovereign. It cannot be both ways. Our flesh is constantly warring to gain the ascendancy, but a firm reliance upon the sweet blessings and leading of the Holy Spirit will give the soul victory in the righteous Way. If we are obsessed with the false and dimming lights of the world, the greater and eternal Light of Heaven will be obscured just as it was to the Wise Men who were blinded to the Star of Bethlehem when they entered the dimly-lit gates of Jerusalem. Consider the matter logically: is it possible to go UP, and to go DOWN, at the same time? Is it possible to love God and His great enemy at once? Can you prize righteousness above all while harboring wicked thoughts in one’s heart?  Let our master be single, and let that Master be the sweet and loving Teacher of Galilee – the Lord Jesus Christ.

            Are we anxious of tomorrow? Who owns tomorrow? Is it not God Almighty? If He is your Lord, you need not worry of provisions for the day.  He has furnished our abode for our comfort and shelter, He has prepared the Bread of Heaven for our sustenance, and He has woven a white and silken Robe for our covering. What profit is in worrying? Will simple worry change any outcome in the slightest? Our Lord was driven into the Wilderness to suffer the trials and temptations of the devil. He went without food that we might be fed. He went without drink that we might have the full cup of His blessings. He vanquished the Devil in the Wilderness of this world. Why do we linger in longing looks back to that Wilderness of sin? 25 “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Is there not bread enough, and to spare, in my Father’s House? (Prodigal Son)  We have been invited to a sumptuous dinner at the House of the King. Shall we bring with us our stale and molding bread of the earth when He has prepared the finest cuisine of Heaven? Shall we lug along our waters from the poison fountain when He has provided the pure Water of Life for our health? Perish the thought!

            Jesus invites our attention to the provision God has made in nature for every creature thereof. Does He not provide for them? What is the source of nourishment to the young calf, the baby lamb, the frail, newborn pony? He has provided a means in nature for each of these to prosper in health and nutrition. It is an unbroken source of plenty. 26 “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” I often wonder where the sparrow goes when the clouds burst open in a deluge. They return in joy to the trees after the rain. Where did they hide from the tempest? They depended upon the protection and care of God unseen to our eyes. They do not worry about harvest and sowing, yet they prosper according to God’s perfect plan. A sparrow is of much less value to God than the crowning achievement of His Creation – Man. So why do we worry so that the provision will fail, and we shall perish for want of food, clothing, or shelter?

            We are created in the image of God. Why should we mar that image by tattooing our persons or, more importantly, our souls, with deviant marks and vulgar signs? Can we make ourselves larger than God has made us? Perhaps so if you consider immoderate diet and obesity to be growth. But God has made us to be like unto our Maker. Our only growth can take place when we grow more like Him by surrendering our free wills and taking upon ourselves the Mind and Will that is Christ’s. 27  “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”  Rather than enlarge ourselves by effort, we grow smaller. Only when we allow God to grow our hearts, minds and bodies may we grow in love and grace.

            Our world today is filled with stress and anxiety. Men’s hearts fail them for looking for the things coming upon the earth. Reason teaches us that 95% of those things that occupy our anxious minds in worry never come to pass. So the worry was only a ruse of the devil to distract our hearts and to shorten our lives. 28 “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

            Lilies are beautiful beyond measure, yet, despite our art, the only lilies we can create are unloving ones. But God clothes them, not only with beauty, but with exuberant life! A dead body can be decorated with silken robes to no avail for it remains dead. But God clothes the Lily better than Solomon was able to clothe himself, and the life God gave the Lily is an innate characteristic of His grace to the smallest of creatures. The grass is giving raiment suitable for its living, yet, it has only a short span to run, and is trodden under foot, withers, and is blown away by the wind. Do you worry that the same God who provides for the sparrow, the Lily, and the grass of the fields cannot provide for you whose value far exceeds all these? The soul of man is eternal whether destined for Heaven or Hell, whereas sparrows, grass, and lilies exist only for the present as robes of beauty to cover the earth. Is our faith so small that we cannot acknowledge the care of God sufficient for our preservation?

            So what counsel does our Lord provide for our frailty and doubts? 31 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.If the Christian son or daughter goes about worrying, just as do those who do not know God, of what advantage is there to being a son or daughter of God. Does a prince or princess concern themselves for their basic provisions in life? Is our Father, and King of Kings, not able to supply all things according to His “riches in glory?” Do we believe that God is unable to see our need? Perhaps we see only our DESIRES, but God sees our NEED!

            We need not concern ourselves with any worldly concerns if we place God first in all our thoughts, words, and deeds. If our priority in all things is God and His will, we will have no time left for worry and vain pursuits. Our Lord gives solution to all our problems with His concluding counsel for today’s text:

33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” To those of you who timidly subordinate your duties to God to your perceived obligations to the state and society, Jesus draws a clear line in the sand: We do not seek to please governments or society in politically correct philosophies, but GOD! His will is paramount over every earthly power be it the US Government, or any other government. We observe a hierarchy of government from God above every other government. In America, we have local, state and Federal laws. Does not the ultimate power predominate in law? And even in the Federal Government, we have a separation of powers that must be observed so that not entity has absolute power even at the Federal head. But God is the ultimate Law-Giver. His law takes precedence above every law of man. Too many believers today have bought into the lie of a separation of church and state. What does that mean? Does it mean that religious morality cannot influence the state, or even be mentioned in reference to it; or that the state can dictate every detail of religious faith. If the Christian faith is not the basis of government, then the government will intrude and be the arbiter of the Christian faith…simple as that! God will provide ALL that we need as long as we acknowledge Him above and beyond every other consideration.

There is great evil in our present day. We must address the enemy at hand rather than occupy ourselves with contemplated enemies that may arise tomorrow. The world is WICKED today. The only day we are assured in this life is TODAY. Go forth to battle that enemy of our souls that presents itself at the leading edge of battle and worry not of the enemy’s reinforcement for tomorrow. If we win the current battle, there will be no wickedness to reinforce. Fight today, and take in hand the new threat as it presents itself. God is with the valiant and true servant to fight his battles for him. Stand with God and no lesser power can approach. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

What are your priorities for today? Are your first awakening thoughts devoted to God and in seeking His will for you TODAY? Or do you give space in your heart to needless worries that steal the space in your heart that should be reserved to God? Do you seek after righteousness and let the results fall where they will? If you place your trust in the only One who can order not only your life, but your soul, you will be in good Hands for certain. Do not make your intentions of righteousness dependent upon tomorrow’s events. Do what is right, and God will see to the rest! He is the great Captain of your soul, not society, not Mammon, and not government. When you approach the White Throne at the conclusion of all time, will you concern yourself with rulings of the Supreme Court, or acts of Congress? You may trust me – they shall not present themselves at that Holy place.

Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and talked, as is oft the case, of the need for action, not simply diction.

Consider the words of the Collect, “… Keep … thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and … keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation …”

When the Collect talks about the church, it is not talking about buildings; it is talking about us.  Each of us; all of us.  We need God’s Mercy and Grace to keep us from desiring those things that are bad for us and help us to see we really want those things that are good for us.

Speaking of things, just like the Jewish based Christians of Paul’s time, it often seems like everyone has secret rituals, handshakes or hoops they want you to jump through to be really IN.  Paul reminds us all fall short, and special fancy diets, days or outfits do not change us or make us more special then the next person. As Paul says, we all have fallen short.  It is only by the Grace of God through our Lord Jesus that we find real salvation.  Our salvation is not based on the ritual, the handshake or even the slice of the circumcision scalpel.

Our salvation comes one way, by the Grace of God through our Lord Jesus.  It is not through us to decide the salvation, but by God through His Son, who died for our sins. We are not Cramerians, nor are we Calvinists or Lutherans, but we are Christians as our primary identity, who like the ideas of Cramner, et al. We should never be identified as followers of man but of Christ and God. When one becomes a follower of man, he ends up following the devil in a fashion, for if we serve ourselves, or follow ourselves, we tend up to end up in death, but if we follow Him, we have the gift of life as St. Paul explains “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 KJV)

That brings us to Saint Matthew’s point, one cannot serve two masters.  Like that bad pun, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  You cannot travel both paths.  We must choose who we will serve: God or the world.  If we chose God, that does not mean that we turn our back on the world around us, but rather that we interface with the world using the Rules of Engagement given to us by our Lord.  We prioritize our actions with Him first.  Our family motto; God • Honor • Country • Family is an example of this prioritization.  First things first.  Build from the inside out and the bottom up.  Do not mistake this motto for perfection, we have erred and strayed from our ways like every lost sheep, probably farther than most.  But we know which way is The Way and keep correcting back on course.  We use the Scriptures as our navigational aid and the Holy Ghost as our navigator, and with the combination of both, we will get to where we want to be.

Prioritization can be as a simple as coming home early on Saturday night so that you get a good night’s sleep and are ready for the Sunday church service.  It can be as complex as leaving a job that interferes with your honoring God, Country or Family.  First things first.

Through out the Bible we are exhorted to respect God, be honorable, work hard and take care of our families.  If we do these things, following God’s Will, our fiscal standing here on earth will be sound.  Follow these precepts, you will never be lacking, but you will never be inordinately wealthy, “Bill Gates rich” so to speak.  For to do that requires reprioritization to wealth in the first place.  Replacing allegiance to God with allegiance to wealth is a one way ticket to a destination you don’t want. And besides that, wealth does not bring happiness, but putting God first in your life does bring the result of happiness, so it is far better to put God first in your life, than putting wealth first in your life.

The last part of this reading is the one we often have the most trouble with.   We are far too ready to borrow trouble from tomorrow.  Every day, I pray at least twice for help with this.  It is getting better; I am confident on one thoughtful level that no good comes of worry, yet I have such a hard time acting on that thought. It is harder for some of us than others, especially those who frequently worry. What we need to do is to stop our worrying, pray to God and trust He will help us come up with a plan to deal with whatever we are worrying about.

God wants you to be happy; He knows what will make you happy.  God does not mind if you have fun along the way, but never pursue fun confusing it with happiness.  In the end, you won’t find either.

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Roy Morales-Kuhn, Bishop and Pastor - St. Paul's Anglican Church - Anglican Orthodox Church
Bishop Roy is pastor of the biggest AOC parish West of the Mississippi and is in charge of the Diocese of the Epiphany. 

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity
28 September 2014
Psalm 49 • Deut. 7:6-13 • Gal. 2:15-20
The Promise

Promises.

How often do we make a promise and then not honor it?  As humans we have a tendency to dole out promises to placate others, fully intending to keep them, but failing in the long run to hold to those promises.  Human frailty?  A human inability to do good?

The great thing about the promises that God gives us is that he keeps them.

When we look at the promises written in this passage from Deuteronomy we see a very strong parallel to today.  Let me explain.   When one is chosen or set apart from a group, in this case from the human race, it was done as a message to the rest of mankind.    The concept of being set aside or chosen can also be explained as ‘sanctified’.   Let us look at a few ideas that are forming in this passage from Deuteronomy.

6 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

1.) ‘...the Lord thy God has chosen thee to be a special people unto himself...’

This same statement can be made of believers.  We are a special people unto the God through the Lord Jesus Christ.  In verse seven we read that we were chosen because we are few, not the greatest in number.   Think of Gideon, think of David as he approaches Goliath, think of Jesus and the twelve in each case ‘small in number’ and yet great things would come from what each did over time.   

8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

2.) What is the parallel here in verse eight?   We are in bondage to sin, God brings us out of bondage, out of Egypt, redeems us by his Son Jesus Christ.  God is keeping his promise made to Adam and Eve after the Fall.  Genesis chapter 3:14-15.  In spite of the Fall, God will eventually, in his time, provide a way of salvation.  That way will be foreshadowed all through out the Old Testament by signs and symbols.  The blood sacrifices, the Passover Feast, the stories of Ruth, Esther; the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the minor prophets; all point to the coming Redeemer, Jesus Christ.   In verse nine we see that those who love God and keep his commandments, he (God) will be faithful to a thousand generations. {think innumerable}.

10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.
12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:
13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

3.)  What is implied by these last couple of verses?   IF YOU DO NOT KEEP the statutes, commandments and judgments....God will not bless them.   Strong stuff?  Yes. Are we as a nation at this point in our history.  Quite possibly so.  As a nation we have abandoned the precepts and godly laws that produced a civic society.  As a nation we have turned to the SELF as the final arbiter of all that is good or evil.  “...good becomes evil and evil becomes good...”

In our current society things that were once considered shameful are now considered normal. What at one time would have been considered a sin is now considered a choice.

Will we as a nation pay for turning our backs on God?  Yes we will. Read about the judgments that befell Israel and later Jerusalem when they turned their backs to God.

The Jewish people as a whole, turned their backs upon the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The holy city of Jerusalem would be destroyed before the generation that rejected Christ the Messiah and Redeemer.  In the year A.D. 70 the Roman general Titus lay siege to Jerusalem. His army destroyed the city, all Jews were banned from living in the city while Rome was in control.

All things sacred to the Jewish people was destroyed in that horrible time. Many died in the rebellion and war that followed.  Rome would be triumphant.   Is the United States fated for the same?   Have we successfully scrubbed our heritage of any vestiges of Judeo-Christian roots?

Folks, we still have time.

As a group of believers we do have an opportunity to blunt the coming wrath of God.  How?  We first off need to pray for the right direction of our leaders and nation.  We next need to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Jesus.    The promise that God has given us by sending his Son to die in our stead, to die for us and to show us by rising again that we too will live.   We know that man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ.   We are dead to the law in order for us to live unto God. 

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

See how the promise of God comes full circle.  God promises to keep us.  He promises to bless us.  He promises to save us(from ourselves).

As a people of faith we need to seek a revival of those things which are good, faithful, just and in keeping with the Word of God.   We need to seek a cleansing of the spirit of this nation.   Will all be saved?  No.  At any given time in the annals of the Old and New Testament, there was never a large number of truly saved, there was a faithful remnant.  A people who prayed, who lived their lives according to their faith, a faith, “...once delivered from the Lord...” 

Let us read again that portion of Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

May God give us the strength to keep the faith, the knowledge to share the faith, the promise to live by the faith of the Son of God.

Prayer is nothing but the promise reversed, or God’s Word formed into an argument, and retorted by faith upon God again…Furnish thyself with arguments from the promises to enforce thy prayers.  WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679)

Let us pray:

W
E humbly beseech thee, O Father, mercifully to look upon our infirmities; and, for the glory of thy Name, turn from us all those evils that we most justly have deserved; and grant, that in all our troubles we may put our whole trust and confidence in thy mercy, and evermore serve thee in holiness and pureness of living, to thy honour and glory; through our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord.      Amen.

O
 GOD, whose nature and property is ever to have mercy and to forgive; Receive our humble petitions; and though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sins, yet let the pitifulness of thy great mercy loose us; for the honour of Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

T
HE Lord bless us, and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, both now and evermore. Amen.

Rev Bryan Dabney of Saint John’s Sunday Sermon
We are fortunate to have Bryan’s Sunday Sermon.  If you want people to come to The Truth, you have to speak the truth, expouse the truth and live the truth.    This is really a good piece and I commend it to your careful reading.

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

In today’s Gospel (St. Matthew 6:24) our Lord said, No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Our Lord was not talking about just “wealth”, we know that anything which attempts to take the place of the Godhead in our lives is a potential master seeking to dethrone the true Master of our souls. In St. Paul’s time there were those unregenerate amongst the Jews who tried to impose an unnecessary adherence to Judaism upon the newly-formed community of Galatian Christians. In response to what he had been told of the matter, he penned the following (3:21-29) ... the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under the schoolmaster... For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ... And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. The apostle concluded his epistle with these words: And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy and upon the Israel of God.

The Rev. Matthew Henry once noted that the apostle was pronouncing a blessing upon both Gentile and Jew who adhered to the doctrine of the gospel and were thus spiritual heirs of Abraham. It ought to be clearly understood from our reading of Scripture that God has created through Jesus Christ only one path to salvation. We should disabuse ourselves of the notion that there are, as the New Agers claim, many paths to God. Do not be tricked into believing that line of hokum for it was just such a warning which St. Paul sent to the Galatians. The requirements of the law have been fulfilled by the one Rabbi, Master and Saviour who came to free us from this body of sin and death.

Nevertheless, Satan has created other masters that are meant to lure us from the strait and narrow path of our Christian walk. It should be understood at the outset that, in the time of this mortal life, you can expect to be troubled by the devil and his minions. We are daily faced with his inventive and insidious lures, particularly those twin menaces of doubt and worry. The devil uses these to elevate our troubles and accentuate our fears. If the devil can get us to think that our problems are too big for God, then such will impair our communion with the Godhead and will keep us from realizing our true calling into his service. Examine the words of our Lord in our gospel lesson when he said, Take no thought of your life...for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you... Doubt by its very nature causes us to hold our hands up and keep God at a distance. We look at what his word says and then the devil provides us with editorial comments such as, “Oh, that is not what it really means;” or, “Do you really believe that?” or, “That is impossible;” or, “God does not care about

Worry masters us, particularly if we hold the notion of our sovereign ability as captains of our lives. The devil encourages us to adopt this attitude so he can load us down with the cares and concerns of this life, and foolishly we assume them in the mistaken belief that we are in control. If you are a regenerate person, you should know that God is sovereign over all aspects of your life. If he is not, and you think that you have control, you will have worries “to beat the band” as the old folks would say.

Most of us were been brought up to be independent, career-oriented persons. We were taught to be diligent in our particular occupations in order provide for ourselves and our families. That is the natural and normative understanding of maturity. But many have not been taught to understand that God is the sovereign ruler of the whole of Creation. And if he is LORD over all things, that includes our lives as well. There is an old joke about a man who was busy trying to find a parking place in a large city. He had driven around the block a number of times and then in his frustration, he called out to God to help him. Just then, a parking spot opened up right in front of the place he wanted to enter. He then lifted his eyes up to heaven and said, “Thanks, LORD, but I already found one myself.” Clearly, that man had called on God for help, but when it came, he would not give God the credit. He must not have thought that God was really listening to him, or that he had just gotten a lucky break as it were; but it certainly was not of God. Or, have you ever done something good for another and he or she took credit for it themselves? The devil enjoys seeing human beings elevating their own efforts over that of God.

Our challenge as born-again believers is to reject the notion that we are sovereign and live in accordance with God’s word and commandment. In Christ Jesus we have died to this world and are reborn as new people. Our bodies are therefore vessels of the Holy Spirit. We understand that we have been bought with a price and that we no longer belong to ourselves. Consider the Lord’s Prayer which many often recite without much thought: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven... Think on that last phrase for it is pregnant with the Christian ethos. We do not say our will be done but his will. And, we do not say our kingdom come but his kingdom that we seek. If we are not living for him and him alone then we have not been born again of the Holy Ghost. If he is Lord, he is Lord over all our life and not just an hour or so on Sunday or on Wednesday evening.

Those who would not have the Godhead as their sovereign LORD and Master will have Satan as their default ruler. There are no shades of gray in God’s way of thinking. Either you are saved, or you are not. If you are saved, God is your LORD and Master. The New Age, All-Inclusive, Laodicean versions of the Christian faith have been fabricated by our adversary for the purpose of leading humanity away from the truth of God’s word written. Do not become a casualty in this great spiritual war which is raging all around us. Put your faith in God and in his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who died on that rude cross so that all who believe on him might live with him forever. Lean on his breast as the beloved apostle, St. John did at the Last Supper and was comforted beyond measure. Rely on his word and commandment as opposed to relying on your own understanding. And trust in him, as the 23rd Psalm so states, to lead you through the valley of the shadow of death into green pastures and by the still waters. God will do those things for us, and so much more, if we will follow his word written: being born again by means of the Holy Ghost in full acceptance of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ as the only way, truth and life. Anything less will avail us nothing of God’s blessings nor of his kingdom.

Let us pray,

F
ather, make of us a people who, being born again of the Holy Ghost, will seek after thee and accept thy sovereign will over all aspects of our lives; for this we ask in the name of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+



[1] Mammon - a Chaldee or Syriac word meaning "wealth" or "riches" (Luke 16:9-11); also, by personification, the god of riches (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:9-11).
1: wealth regarded as an evil influence
2: (New Testament) a personification of wealth and avarice as an evil spirit.