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, November 19, 2017

AOC Sunday Report - Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity


The entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

Happy Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity!

The AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

There are really great sermons from Bishops Jerry, Roy and Dennis; as well as from Revs Jack and Bryan.  Each is quite a bit different, though for a change they all cover the same Scripture.  I guarantee they will not bore you.

There are a lot of people who need your prayers.  Start with Zachary and move on.

This coming week is Thanksgiving.  Stop for a minute and think about to whom thanks is due.  It is not due to a turkey, no matter how comical, it is not due to a cornucopia, no matter how lovely.  It is not about silly pilgrim costumes.  That thanksgiving is due God!  It is about the same thing the pilgrims gave thanks for, a loving God who put us in this land of freedom so dearly paid for.  It is for our country, our family and our friends.  It is for the grace given us.

Have an epically enjoyable week.

Godspeed, 

Hap
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, CA

Sermon Notes - Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity - Saint Andrew’s Anglican Orthodox Church - 19 November 2017, Anno Domini

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!


The Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity
The Collect.


O
 God, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness; Be ready we beseech thee to hear the devout prayers of the Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Epistle

B
rethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed unto the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself.  (Philippians 3: 17-21)

The Gospel

T
hen went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me
the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Cæsar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way. (Matt 22:15-22)

The Collect prays we ask out of faith that such petitions might be granted. But is it possible to ask out of greed or jealousy as did the Pharisees and Herodians in our Gospel today?  Whether they knew it or not, their prayers of deception were made to God (God the Son). The Herodians were those who supported the Roman puppet king, Herod. But the Pharisees were vehemently opposed to Roman rule. How could these two be allied against Christ. I believe it is because both considered Christ a greater threat to the Roman rule (Herodians), or the religious life (Pharisees) of Israel. Both wanted, above all else to preserve their power over the people. But Christ came as the great Liberator. This, they could not bear - and neither can the larger religious institutions, or governmental powers, tolerate Christ today.
            
            As our Epistle so well points out, we have our citizenship in heaven, not in the dirty and political premises of this world. Our motives should never be centered on material prosperity, but spiritual enlightenment. 
            
            We read how those wicked men of the Pharisees conspire with their mortal enemies, the Herodians, to entangle Christ in His words and ministry. 
            
            Strange how enemies can unite against One they consider of greater threat. They fear that One who speaks truth cannot be bested by those whose works are fleshly.
             
            They fear their little positions of authority and seek to murder Him to whom ALL truth and authority belongs.
            It is a deaf EAR they turn to the Gospel of Christ. They only seek something of which to charge Him or of which to complain. They have witnessed more of His miracles of healing, restoration to life, and acts of mercy than most of His own disciples, yet, they fail to believe – WHY? 
            
            It is because they refuse to believe!
            
            Such contentious ones have not the Mind and love of Christ in their hearts. 
            
            True love and mercy are not divisible. That Love of Christ which we have received is authenticated by that same love and compassion we show to one another. 

            Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5)

            Where the love of Christ is, there can be no division. Christ is not divided against Himself! His Mind is also constant – the same yesterday, today, and forever.

            They cunningly say to JesusMaster, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

            Like good politicians, these men will use deception, or even flattery,  to ensnare a good man.

            We pay tribute today in the form of taxes. Taxes are essential to provide those limited government services necessary to ensure defense, order and a suitable environment for trade.  It is something we owe Caesar  if we are to live within the borders of his dominion.

            If Christ insists that we pay tribute to Caesar, He will have lost the support of the people. But if He says that we should NOT, He incurs the wrath of Rome.
            So how does Christ respond to these scoundrels?

            But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
            
Christ never hesitated to call a spade a spade.
            
He was not very politically correct was He?
            
            He then says: 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscriptionIn Rome, Caesar’s money, inscribed with his image, was the coin of the realm. In England, it is the image of the Queen. In Denmark, it is the image of the King. In America, it may be George Washington, or Ben Franklin, or another of the Founding Fathers. The coin of the realm in worldly governments bears the image of the worldly ruler; however, are we not citizens of another kingdom. In the Kingdom of God, the coin of the realm bears the image of our Lord Jesus Christ – His visage and likeness. Do we bear a dual citizenship? Though we must remain IN the world, we are not to be part and party to it.
            
            Ships are wonderful vessels constructed for the purpose of bearing great burdens of merchandise across the sea. They are, in fact, made to be in the sea. As long as they travel in the sea, all is well. But when the sea gets into the ship, tragedy stands at the door. Ships are like the church. The Church is made to season the world and to be a sweet savor to it; but when the world gets into the Church, it will lose its savor.

            21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
            
The image and superscription of God: The Christian disciple is as silver, purified seven times by the Refiner. He assumes the image and likeness of His Lord. The silver coin, once tamped by the authority of government, assumes the value that the authority assigns by his stamp. So, too, does the Christian assume the authority to teach the Word to all who will listen. The authority does not reside in the coin, or in the disciple, but the authorizing power. The value assigned to the coinage of Heaven is the outpoured blood of our Lord.
            
            American coinage is the only in the world that has consistently appealed to the trust of God in its mintage. In God We Trust! In America, we the people are Caesar. 
            
             We set our rulers up, and we take them down by our exercise of the franchise. We can blame no one for the ungodliness of our rulers…. but ourselves. We will always get precisely the kind of ruler we deserve! 

            22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way The Words of God confuse the learned and the deceitful. In His mouth there is no deceit nor shadow of turning.
            
            Are we citizens of God’s Kingdom?
            
            Are we stamped with His image of ownership and authority? 
            
What must we render unto God to receive that title of coinage of the realm? All of our selves – our being and our daily currency should reflect His Image just as the coin of the nation represents the image and authority of that nation.
            

            When men know you, may they also know Christ through you. I pray that the stamp of Christ is apparent upon all who are within range of my voice today.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Revelations Part Twenty – 17 November 2017, Anno Domini

If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!

Revelation Chapter 8: Verse 1 thru 6, The 7th Seal

A
nd when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.  (Rev 8:1-6)

            If the first six days of Creation involved the physical Creation of the Universe and all life, the Seventh Day belonged to the Lord. He is the Lord of the Sabbath. Likewise, the first six seals make reference to those things coming in judgment that originate upon the earth. The Seventh Seal records events more especially originating from on high in Heaven. And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. Of course, all judgments originated and follow from our heavenly High Command, but these that follow are particularly so.

            The opening of the Seventh Seal begins with a silent rest in Heaven of thirty minutes. For such a period of silence to begin immediately upon the opening of the Seventh Seal signifies the crucial importance of the events that follow. Divine Perfection is symbolized with that number seven just as in the Seven Days of Creation, the Rainbow, the musical Scale, and here, in the seventh Seal. This is a moment for total concentration in Heaven and earth for that which is about to be revealed. Your attention is commanded at the sound of every Trumpet just as those bugle calls to an army in the field.

            We have already discussed the Seven Angels of God who stand over the Seven Churches. The Old Testament Hebrew writers believed that there were seven Archangels. Two are overtly identified by name in Holy Scripture – the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. The non-canonical Book of Tobit (considered useful for historical context) names a third Archangel – Raphael, in Tobit 12:15. I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.

            In Jewish apocalyptic literature of the post-exilic period, names are given for the Seven Archangels, or Princes:

  1. Suruel
  2. Raphael
  3. Raquel
  4. Michael
  5. Gabriel
  6. Remiel
  7. Uriel
(see the apocryphal books of Tobit 12:15, 1 Enoch 20:1-7, 9:1, and 40:9)

Remember, these books are not accepted as Scripture, but solely as historical works. The Angel of the Presence of the Lord is not included among these created beings. He is referred to in Isaiah below: 

 7 I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. 8 For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. 9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. (Isaiah 63:7-9)

            Another Angel of His Presence is mentioned in Joshua: 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 5:13-15) Why would we consider this Captain of the Host to be the Angel of the Presence of the Lord? 

            When Joshua inquired of His identity, the Personage responded, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. How did Joshua respond to this comment? Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? This is a profound expression of reverence owed only to God. Joshua worship this Figure – men do not worship Angels. This is the same Personage (our Lord Jesus Christ) as John describes in Rev 1:11-20. 

            Later in Revelation, John attempts to worship an Angel (perhaps believing him to be God) and is rebuked gently: 8 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. 9 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 22:8-9) We bend the knee and worship ONLY God as His Elect people.

            Here follows an important reflection on the worship foreshadowed in the Old Testament Tabernacle: 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. Only One has the authority today to intercede on our behalf – the Lord Jesus Christ. This Angel is separate from the other seven and is by every definition of much greater Presence.

You will remember that the High Priest alone was allowed to enter the Holy Place to offer up the prayers of the people. In approaching the veil (behind which was the Holy of Holies and the Ark of God and Mercy Seat), the High Priest passed between the seven candlesticks which represented the Light of Christ and His churches, and the Shewbread Table which held the unleavened Bread representing the blessed Redeemers sinless offering for us. Before the Veil of the Holy of Holies stood the Table of Incense where also was observed the sprinkling of blood representing the cleansing of our sins by that same sprinkling of blood of the Lord Jesus Christ symbolized in Holy Baptism. Here the High Priest offered up the prayers of the people illustrated in the rising smoke and sweet savor of the incense burned on the Altar of Incense. In this text, just as the High Priest stood in the figurative place of Christ, so does the Angel stand in the figurative place of the same, and is His excellent Type. The Angel is given much incense since he will symbolically offer up the prayers of ALL of the Saints of God – that includes you and me. The prayers of God’s people ALWAYS end in the hands of God. Only this Personage is able to make intercession for us, and we are reminded of the necessity to pray aright – in the Name of Jesus Christ for only He is able to lift them to God the Father.

The Priest could not stand before this Altar of Incense unless he had first made an atonement for sin. Our Lord, as our High Priest today, has made that final offering once-and-for-all for an atonement.

            And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.  What meaning may we glean from this latter passage? This fire of condemnation cast down upon the earth is not for the sin of Adam, for God’s people have been absolved of that sin by the blood of Christ. This is the fire of the approaching Last Day cast down to burn with fervent heat the elements of the world, and to destroy all who have rejected that salvation purchased by Christ, and who have taken lightly the prayers of the Altar offered up. This glimpse of a future fiery end does not come with a gradual warning, but all at once with the thrust of the Great Angels censor! But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)


            Here follows the benediction to these events and an introduction of other profound events to follow: And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. When we read these words, we are witnessing a revelation to us from Heaven. Do we take this to heart that we must hear with clear and understanding ears the trumpet calls of the Seven Angels.