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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, January 31, 2016

Sermon Notes - Sexagesima - Saint Andrews Anglican Church - 31 January 2016, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)

What is Sexagesima Sunday?  See the explanation at the end!
If you enjoy this,
the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

The Sunday called Sexagesima, or the
second Sunday before Lent.
The Collect.

 LORD God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.  (Mark 4 )

These verses, taken in isolation, may not open to us as fully as is made possible by reading the full context in which they occurred. In order to know which direction a stationary train will be moving, we need to see on which end is the locomotive, and which the caboose – merely observing the middle cars alone will not fully enlighten. So we need to read the preceding account to fully grasp the present.

The Occasion
 1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.      4 And he must needs go through Samaria. 5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

The Purpose
7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

            We read these lines as if this meeting occurred by simple chance, but it did not.

 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (Ephesians 1)

            With God, nothing happens by chance … all is predestined and foreordained before of God. The last thing this woman expected was to find a Jewish man at the well, for Jews avoided the Samaritans as they would a leper.

The Process

A The Woman
She wanted to avoid the stares and gossip of other more reputable women (for she was one of ill-repute) comes to the well in the heat of the day. It was customary to come to draw water during the cool evening hours, but she comes at noon. She expects no company. She does not have the least suspicion that great changes are about to happen in her heart and in her life.

9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans

B The intriguing proposition 
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

            Do you know to whom you address your inquiry, madam?

C The furtive response
11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12  Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
            Not being a Bible scholar, the woman latches onto her only known Bible knowledge to respond to the Author of the Bible itself. She remembers the account of Jacob. She knows he was the greatest of the ancestors of the Samaritans (or at least believes this to be true).  But her mind and heart is set upon the water located some scores of feet down in a hole in the ground. She has no knowledge of the Water of which Christ speaks. The Fountain of Living Waters is beyond the present vision of this woman, but Jesus draws her closer that she might, at last, see. Christ tickles her curiosity and draws her interst more deeply into His own being:

13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

           This woman, a castoff of society, has never heard of this beautiful and perpetually satisfying Water.

Christ, the greatest of Fishermen, has carefully set a loving hook in the woman’s heart: He then makes a seemingly unknowing appeal by asking:

16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

            Do you believe that Jesus did not know all about this woman – her life, her sin, he need for salvation?

The woman responds with a technical truth, but a spiritual lie:

17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her,

Jesus knows of all the dirt we sweep under the carpet: He responds: Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

            The woman has failed in virtue and she knows it, but is surprised that Jesus – a total stranger – also knows it.

She is living in open adultery and has the equivalent of five husbands – for to sleep with a man is the same as being united in a marriage relationship.  But God condemns this kind of sexual relationship.

            The Rev SA Brooks beautifully describes the need of this woman in these words: The woman at the well, feeling about for light, was led to her own Scriptures, and in those Scriptures to a prophecy—a prophecy of a great Teacher who was to come—the Messias. The coming Teacher, she knew, would solve all her difficulties, and make her way quite clear. It is very beautiful, very comforting, very teaching, to watch this poor, earnest, baffled woman's soul, gathering itself at last till it centres upon Christ. She was in a great strait; where was the escape? Messias comes; He makes all things right. As the key fits into the lock, as the light matches to the eye, or as sweet music to the ear, so Christ is made for the soul, and the soul is made for Christ. Till nature has that filling it must be incomplete, and life must be restless till it settles on that one resting-place; and this that thirsting, confessing, enquiring mind was finding out, when God took her by the hand and led her, and put it into her heart to feel, "I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will teach us all things."

            So the woman relies on that little spiritual and biblical knowledge that she can foster:

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

            Now Jesus draws the hooked fish even closer to the Ark of Life:

21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

            The woman stills clings to her own limited knowledge of God: she struggles against the hook - 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

            Now this exchange between Christ and this fallen woman is not only for her own benefit, but also for our own benefit, and the benefit of her village, and for the benefit of countless millions of sinners count in the net of Satan.

Look at the impressions the disciples have of this encounter:  27 And upon this came
his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest
thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

They did not understand, but they knew Christ well enough not to question His intent. Here He is talking with a woman whose very appearance revealed that she was not a righteous and faithful wife to any man.

D The Catch
            Knowing Christ changes things. The woman who was embarrassed to come with other women to the well, is now going into the city shouting to all who will listen the greatness of Christ!

The steady love and purpose of Christ has drawn the hesitant fish to safe harbor: 28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him

The testimony of one, even one of ill repute, can have dramatic results. Sometimes, we are so overcome with joy that we are not hungry for the food of this world. We can only think upon that Bread that comes down from Heaven – the spiritual food of Christ!

E The Effect!
            Now we can read the sermon text with understanding can’t we?

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

F The results of a single soul’s salvation!
 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

So may you believe!

What is Sexagesima?
Sexagesima, or, in full, Sexagesima Sunday, is the name for the second Sunday before Ash Wednesday in the Catholic (Universal or Whole) Church Calendar. 

The name "Sexagesima" is derived from the Latin sexagesimus, meaning "sixtieth," and appears to be a back-formation of Quinquagesima, the term formerly used to denote the last Sunday before Lent (the latter name alluding to the fact that there are fifty days between that Sunday and Easter, if one counts both days themselves in the total). Through the same process, the Sunday before Sexagesima Sunday is known as Septuagesima Sunday, and marks the start of the Pre-Lenten Season, which eventually became the time for carnival celebrations throughout Europe, this custom being later exported to places settled and/or colonized by Europeans. While Quinquagesima (50th day) is mathematically correct (allowing for the inclusive counting), Sexagesima and Septuagesima are only approximations (the exact number of days is 57 and 64 respectively). The earliest Sexagesima can occur is January 25 and the latest is February 28 (or February 29 in a leap year). 

The 17-day period beginning on Septuagesima Sunday spanning Sexuagesima and Quinquagesima Sundays was intended to be observed as a preparation for the season of Lent, which is itself a period of spiritual preparation (for Easter). In many countries, however, Septuagesima Sunday marks the start of the carnival season, culminating on Shrove Tuesday, more commonly known as Mardi Gras.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Beethoven’s Best Wine saved for Last - 30 January 2016, Anno Domini

Symphony No. 9 - Ludwig van Beethoven

So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters     Book of Job, Chapter 42

             It's a hymn of thanksgiving to God, for sparing me to finish my work. After the pianissimo, the canon resumes. First violin takes the theme. Viola, C to A. It's growing, gaining strength. Second violin, C to A, an octave higher. Then the struggle. First violin, C, up an octave, and then up to G. And the cello, down. Pulled down. Half notes, F, E, D. Pulled constantly down. And then, a voice, a single frail voice emerges, soaring above the sound. The striving continues, moving below the surface. Crescendo. First violin longing, pleading to God. And then, God answers. The clouds open. Loving hands reach down. We're raised up into heaven. Cello remains earthbound, but the other voices soar suspended, for an instant in which you can live forever. Earth does not exist. Time is timeless. And the hands that lifted you caress your face, mold them to the face of God. And you are at one. You are at peace. You're finally free Ludwig van Beethoven (describing his Song of Thanks to God)

            The great composer, Ludwig v. Beethoven, is possibly the greatest musical composer of all time (excepting my favorite Baruch composer, J.S. Bach). Yet, he met with many hardships and misfortunes in his lifetime that would have devastated one of lesser metal. The period between 1814 and 1824 were years of professional famine for Beethoven. Having lost the one gift that makes the joy of music so ebullient - his hearing - the man of joyful music also lost many of his friends as his financial fortunes took a serious plunge.

Ten years past between his last symphony, the Eighth, and his memorable Ninth Symphony in D minor. Imagine the despair of Beethoven as he attempted to write this masterpiece from 'imagined sound' since he was deaf.

            The Ninth Symphony finally was completed and premiered in 1824, not long before its creator's death. On the night of the premier, Beethoven stood apprehensively as he conducted the last movement - in fact, he did not even realize that the last note had played as he stood before the lectern and continued directing being several measures off due to his failure to hear.  At the concluding notes of the final movement, 'Ode to Joy', the composer stood in forsaken silence certain his masterpiece had failed. He could not hear the thunderous standing ovation of the audience behind him. Suddenly, contralto artist, Caroline Unger, recognizing Beethoven's bewilderment, gently turned the musical genius around so he could witness the joyful and over-flowing response of the audience. What overpowering joy must have entered his heart as he saw the awe-inspiring response. God had saved the best wine in Beethoven's life for last - and he gleefully took his bow.

            When the wine had failed at the marriage at Cana of Galilee, Jesus turned six, large, stone vessels full of water into wine. He then directed: Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. (John 2:8) Imagine the amazement of the governor of the feast when he tasted that fine wine! When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. (John 2:9-10)

            Just as Christ provided the best wine for the last at the marriage at Cana of Galilee, so God frequently saves the best wine for last in the lives of those whom He loves. Maybe He is saving YOUR best wine for last!

In the Ninth symphony, the deep emotion and great passion of this great composer is fully brought to light. It seems that he poured his heart and soul out among the notes of this great work.

            The Ninth Symphony is the last one written by Beethoven, but it stands out as the shining Sun among all other such works and has endured the centuries, and will doubtless remain forever, as long as the Sun rises and sets, as the crowning achievement in musical beauty, harmony and simple grandeur.

            The beauty of sound, technical merit, and popular appeal of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony remains today as one of the world’s greatest masterpieces and sets a high standard for any aspiring composer whose hopes and ambitions are to achieve the heights through that kind inspiration that God placed in the heart of Beethoven.

Jerry Ogles
Logos of St Andrews, Fall, 2001

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Hidden Door of Heaven – 29 January 2016, Anno Domini

The most precious possessions of people are always HIDDEN.

We hide our CASH, our JEWELRY, our CHILDREN, and our life's secrets.

Precious things are always HIDDEN.

Gold is never found lying around in common places, it must be searched out, labored for in mining, and safeguarded to the broker's deposit.

Cash is carried about on armored cars with armed guards in the locked bank compartment.

Diamonds must be mined and polished.

Rubies are hidden in fields of stone and dirt. All things precious are also rare.

Our souls are hidden from view deep in the privileged chambers of our hearts.

Psalm 51:
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

GOD hides His precious ones from the eye of evil:
They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.

God has hidden Truths that He has shared with those who know Him.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

A person of great wealth has no need to boast of it, it is proven in the way that he lives.

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price

Our real beings are hidden in the dark passages of our heart. Only those who are invited may approach.

The same is true of God.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna , and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

The purpose of a door is to keep secure and secret that which is inside. We answer the door when someone knocks.. If they are accepted, we receive them into the privacy of our home.

Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

Not just anyone may enter, only those who know and understands His voice.

The ARK that NOAH built had a DOOR. Only God could shut that door to the wicked outside.

Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church. The Church is the Bride. Please insure that we are not as the five hapless virgins who had no oli (Holy Spirit) in their lamps lest the door be shut in our face:

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

John 10
 1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them

So where is the Door and how do we find it?

8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Christ is nowhere to be found in the modern churches. He is outside, while the sinful hypocrites are within:

  To the Seven churches in Revelation He says:

 7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

What can we do to make this door open to us? We must give Christ the keys to the door of our hearts. Allow him free reign in our hearts. He will admit only good into the chambers of our hearts and not bad.

The Hidden Door is Christ!

He spoke in parables that those whose hearts were wicked would not understand, but His elect would understand.

Such truths even the angels in heaven have sought to know, yet we are privileged to be partakers thereof.

Matthew 13:
 Why speakest thou in parables?
 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Does Jesus dwell behind the Hidden Door of YOUR Heart?