Thursday, May 5, 2016
Ascension Day 2016 – 5 May 2016, Anno Domini
Bishop's Letter - Jerry L. Ogles, Presiding Bishop Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. (John 15:26-27)
1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them (John 16:1-4a)
Remember these events of the day Christ ascended to the Father:
44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem , until ye be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany , and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. (Luke 24:44-53)
Can a physical body exist in more than one place at a time? Jesus must return to the Father in order that the whole world might receive the witness of the Comforter – the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a spirit and may be in all places at all times. Do not offend the Holy Spirit, who is always with you, by vile and sinful living. We have the very serious warning against bringing the Holy Spirit into an environment which is unholy:
27 No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. 28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: (Mark 3:27-29)
Jesus made this observation as a result of the scribes and Pharisees claiming that Christ worked miracles through the spirit of Beelzebub. Beelzebub is a demon spirit. The Holy Spirit must not be offended in this hateful manner. All that we do in the presumed privacy of a dark room are performed in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Consider the Holy Spirit to be similar to your loving mother. Would you do some of the things you do in her presence – Vulgar language, sex, drinking, smoking, cursing?
Would you allow your friends to use vile language in the presence of your mother who bore you? Do you honor your father and your mother enough? Do you honor the Holy Spirit who lives in your heart?
And what of your heart? Who is its guardian? Who dwells there?
No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
Before you invited Christ into your heart, who was its Ruler? Satan, himself. Satan was the Strong Man of your heart. But Christ is stronger. Invite Jesus Christ into your heart, and He will bind Satan and clean up the entire house. Can we clean up our hearts? No, we must invite Christ to do so. And He will!
The world, or, in reality, every one's own heart, is—we have the authority of Christ to say it—"a house" or a palace, which Satan, as a strong man, holds and keeps. So long as the strong man holds his palace on an undisputed tenure, it is all quiet; his goods are in peace. But when Christ, who is represented as the stronger One, comes, there is warfare—warfare to the death; and thus warfare in the breast is the first, and for a long while the only, token for good. There are three stages, then, which we will examine in order:
I First, "the strong man armed keepeth his palace." The strong one—none know how strong, but those who try to escape and break off his tyranny—so strong, that his strength is unseen, while in stillness and in silence he holds his own; so strong that the greatest determination of the most strong-minded man, unaided, trying to break any one of those many bonds, would be as if he were to try to uproot a mountain. A prison is a strong fortress. One man cannot break it’s bars. But when a mighty Army comes, it shall yield to the overwhelming power of strength.
II But the stronger comes, and now the fighting begins. Unknown to you, the stronger is binding the strong one. Heavy blasts blew, bitter winds came, and severe discipline and desolating bereavements fell upon you; but they were never meant to hurt you; they were to kill the strong one, the power of evil that is in you.
III Now mark the spoil. He will bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house. The habit of sin broken, the power of sin reduced, the love of sin destroyed—the soul is emancipated; and now Christ is free to claim His own property, which His own blood has purchased, and His own right hand has rescued. Has He not a right? Are not all the spoils His? So once, two thousand years ago, when He had gained the victory over the whole world by His death, and when He had led captivity captive "up to the highest heaven," He took His seat before the throne, and distributed to men, from His royal greatness, the good things which, by that death, He had redeemed from Satan's grasp. Then, the outpourings of the day of Pentecost—then the largesse’s of pardon, life, grace, joy, wisdom, service, love, heaven, which from His throne He is always pouring upon men. He had bound the strong man on Calvary . He had restored the property to the lawful owner, and then He ascended into the heaven of heavens, and "divided the spoils."
Life is affected by two different forces. I. The strong enemy – Satan. II. The strong friend – Christ! Man must be under one or other of these forces, the enemy or the friend. Those who continue under the devil will share the ruin to which he is doomed. “When Satan's head is bruised, all who are in Satan's empire will be crushed.” ~ Dr. Parker We can belong to only one of two families – that of Heaven, or that of Hell. The day is coming when some of you will be persecuted for your faith. But that is OK. It means that you belong to Christ. 1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (John 15 ) Who murders innocent victims today believing they do God a service? Have you witnessed the throat cuttings of the moslem fanatics in the Middle East ? They bind their victims, who have done nothing wrong, and cut their throats while singing, “Allah Ahk-Bar!” – “God is Great!” So you can be sure the day is coming when many shall die for Christ. Today, we have a moslem president who has tried to claim that America is not a Christian nation. Do you believe him? He refuses to refer to the Islamic extremists as “radical moslems”. But they are so. Have you been kicked out of a church for your faith? I have been. So will you if you stand on biblical doctrine. Why do the evil rage? Because they do not know God. Why? Because we have not told them of Him and given evidence in our own lives of Him! Christ has ascended to the Father where He prepares a place for us. We must wait our days here on earth and also build our place upon a solid foundation. Hear the words Christ uses to describe our building and living: 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall thereof. (Matthew 7)
What kind of foundation are you building your lives upon? The Rock of Christ, or the Sand of Satan?