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

Friday, July 20, 2018

Clouds - a Devotion for 20 July 2018, Anno Domini

HE LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and THE CLOUDS ARE THE DUST OF HIS FEET.   (Nahum 1:3)

            When yet very young, and still young enough to believe in visual miracles, I used to lie down among the sage brush in a field adjoining my home and watch the snowy clouds gradually change and drift across the heavens. I could imagine every sort of creature depicted in those clouds and believed that through some wondrous and mysterious power those images were actually real and alive for the brief moments of their forming. There were wolves, and bears, and Indian warriors, and fairies, and great kings, and, I believe, the only real face I saw was that of God Himself. It is good that we grasp all of the miracles we can see as children ere the boredom of adulthood blinds our eyes to the miraculous. But I do believe those miracles still exist by the favor of God.

            In my innocence, I imagined those same clouds I was beholding from that sage field were the same being seen at that very moment in India, China, Japan, England, and Persia. That may have been my only misconception, for what I saw was as real as a wild honey-suckle that could be felt, and whose fragrance could be sensed.

            If we shed our doubts and skepticism just for as moment, we may again be able to see such marvelous mysteries in the clouds. Though some may be part imagination, not all are such. For example, we see great mountains in the clouds on a day when storms are brewing. The white puffy clouds of autumn begin to grow together and mount on high to form cumulous clouds of great height – especially if they form cumulo-nimbus clouds reaching several thousands of feet into heaven. We may see the plains of Nebraska when viewing stratus clouds that may form horizontal lines on the horizon. We also may observe artwork far superior to Raphael or Michelangelo for vibrant colors and distinctive definition at the morning sunrise. 

            Throughout mankind’s history, clouds have often been misidentified as bearers of depression or sorrow, and sometimes they are; however, without clouds, we could grow no crops. There would be no rain for the harvest. Clouds are essential to life. So when the clouds build on the horizon, we should know that God sends blessings to us in the form of rain. And when the stormy winds beat upon the windows, they are doing so to clean them so that we can look out, by and by, and see the silver lining that has formed from a previous storm cloud. It is the promise that joy always follows in the wake of sorrow. weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning(Psalm 30:5)When the stormy blasts increase, remember, too, that God is in the midst of the storm: And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind(Psalm 18:10)

            As the storm subsides and the rain gradually ceases, we look toward the heavens to see God’s Word firmly displayed there in the form of a beautifully colored rainbow. It is a symbol of God’s covenant that the rains and floods will not continue forever. There will always be an end of the storm before life is destroyed upon the earth. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.  (Gen 9:13-16)

            Remember that is was a Pillar of Cloud by Day and a Pillar of Fire by Night that protected the Children of Israel from Pharoah’s army. It both led, and followed the Children across the Red Sea; and continued to lead in the Wilderness. That Pillar of Cloud dwelt upon the Tabernacle of the Lord, and was evidence of His Presence with the people. And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.  (Ex 16:10)

            Though the clear blue sky and sunny day may evidence His grace and mercy, the clouds symbolize His great power:  Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds(Psalm 68:34)

His grace is as the cloud giving dew which distills silently and imperceptibly: By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. (Prov 3:20)

The testimony of the Lord is shouted from the cloud. Remember on the Mount of Transfiguration when a cloud descended over the three witnesses – the Lord, Moses, and Elias (for all truth is established in the mouth of three witnesses). While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him(Matt 17:5)

Clouds sometime hide our understanding of reality. There are spiritual clouds that blind our eyes to truth. But those clouds of God mentioned above REVEAL truth to our understanding through the agency of the Holy Ghost. It is not wise to delve into clouds of uncertainty when studying God’s Word. Those things that are clearly seen therein are plenty sufficient for us to know. As we grow in knowledge and understanding, God may clear those clouds from our vision that we might see clearly. A babe in Christ needs to be fed the milk of God’s Word by an elder Christian well-learned in handling the Word of God. The time will come when meat replaces the milk with understanding and wisdom. An airplane pilot dares not fly into a cloud unaided by advice of radar technicians on the ground, or airborne radar on his instrument panel. We need help to see things that are cloudy of God’s Word, too. That is the purpose of the Holy Ghost – not to reveal new truth, but to open our eyes to ancient truth of God’s Word.

The glory of the Cloud is well illustrated in my concluding reference to this devotion – the Cloud which received Christ at His Ascension. It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earthAnd when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:7-11)

            Here is one lingering and glorious thought for you to feast your hearts upon. When Christ returns, He will likewise return in a cloud: And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory(Mark 13:26)

            Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.  (Rev 1:7)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Rich Young Ruler- a Devotion for 19 July 2018, Anno Domini

Matthew 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-31, Luke 18:18-30

NDwhen he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there isnone good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. (Mark 10:25-27)

Seeking God 
Seeking God is the equivalent of seeking eternal life, for God is Eternal. This young man was seeking the means of eternal life. There are many books that have been written on this subject, and some at great personal monetary profit for the authors; but there is only one book that has the perfect answer to that search, without error or equivocation – the Holy Bible. 

In this short text we find a rich young ruler (see Luke 18:18) comes to Jesus seeking the means of salvation.  . . . . there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?Let us first examine what things this young man did in the right way. 
1.      He came to Christ. There is no other name under Heaven whereby we may be saved.
2.    He came running. This is the manner in which all sinners must approach Christ – no delay, but immediately upon the drawing of the Holy Ghost.
3.      He knelt down before the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord requires worship. There is no other way.

In what was the young man in error in his approach?
1.      He referred to our Lord as good teacher (Master) instead of by His proper title of LORD.
2.      He asked the wrong question:  . what shall I DO that I may inherit eternal life? There are no works we can do to inherit eternal life. Believing faith is a function of free grace.
3.      He told the Lord that he had kept the Commandments from his youth. No one has kept the Commandments from his youth. As our Lord will reveal, this young man had not even kept the very first Commandment without which we can keep none others. 

Jesus had gone forth into the WAY – in fact, He IS the Way! This young man comes and kneels before Him with his question. But Jesus, as was His often response, answers with another question of rhetorical nature (I say rhetorical because our Lord does not wait for an answer – it is obvious): Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Jesus does not wait for an answer because He already knows the answer. Our Lord is not saying that He Himself is not righteous, but that He is also God – this the young man does not know obviously. Either Jesus is a good teacher, or He is the Good Lord! Jesus is fathoming the depth of this boy’s understanding to reveal to him his precarious spiritual condition.

Our Lord then enumerates the Commandments of the Second Table of the Law – those which outline our duties to others. He names six, but the last Commandment He mentions is the fifth which is a transition Commandment between our duties to God and those we owe our earthly parents. The point is this: God is also our Father, so this Commandment divides the Table of the Law between our duty to God (first four + plus fifth one) and our duty to our fellow man (last five + fifth). Jesus is leading the young man to a sober realization of his lost condition. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 

The young man believes himself to be righteous, but our personal opinions count for nothing compared to the Word of God. Master, all these have I observed from my youth.This youth is likely a very morally upright person of tender years. His ignorance of his lack of faith and righteousness appeals to the tender heart of our Lord. Then Jesus beholding him loved him. Just because our God may love His creatures does not mean that they are accepted in the Kingdom of God. They must respond to that love offered by the Lord. If we love not the Lord, we will not be identified among the called and chosen. Love is the evidence of our calling and election.

 Our Lord will now bare the empty heart of the young man to his lost condition. Jesus knows his heart, and He knows that this young man does not keep the first Commandment: I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  (Ex 20:2-3)The Lord knows the heart of man. He knows this young man’s heart in every detail. This young man has another god that comes between him and the Father in Heaven. That god is wealth. Jesus says to the young man: One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.Jesus is not saying that there is an inherent evil in wealth. God said in another place, The love of money is the root of all evil(1 Tim 6:10)   Money cannot be evil. It is simply a medium of exchange and inanimate. It is the LOVE of money that brings the curse back to the soul. This young man loves his money. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

            The young man came to the Lord seeking authentication of his righteousness, but left grieving because, though he would have treasured salvation, he treasured his possessions more. He could not bring himself to sell his prized possessions and give to the poor. He did not want to bear a cross of hurt and deprivation. He did not want to follow Jesus in the WAY. He came to Christ in the WAY, but turned back from following Him in the WAY at this last counsel of the Lord.

            As the young man went back into spiritual darkness, the Lord said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!He did not say rich people cannot enter the Kingdom of God, but that it was a greater challenge for them. Riches have a way of taking over a man’s soul unless he is wise in using his wealth in the right way, and in putting God (and His people) above his wealth.

            Man is often shocked that men of renown and wealth may not be as righteous as the poor farmer man in the wheat field hoeing away for his dailey bread. Wealth seems to convey a better class of person, but that is almost opposite the facts. There are wealthy men and women who have expended great fortunes sending missionaries to preach the Gospel, but that is not the rule. Many horde their wealth and live lavishly themselves. 
Even the disciples were surprised at the words of our Lord on riches: And the disciples were astonished at his words.But our Lord answered, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.WE must TRUST in God – not riches, or our own righteousness.

 I have read of a gate on the eastern wall of Jerusalem (I know not if a fact) called the ‘Eye of the Needle’.  When merchants approached this gate from the east, it was not tall enough for their heavily burdened camels to pass through without lowering the camels to their knees, removing the burdens, and then allowing the camel to pass through. It is a good illustration regardless, for to enter heaven, we must do so without our earthly burdens of sin. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. 

            If we follow Christ in the WAY, we shall be accounted righteous for His sake and not our own, for WITH God all things are possible. Without God, rich or poor, nothing is possible!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hymns of the Church – Leaning on the Everlasting Arms– 17 July 2018, Anno Domini(In the Year of our Lord

HEeternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deut 33:27)

            God minces no words in relating His Power and His willingness to care for those who belong to Him. This clause of Verse 27 above is terse, simple, and yet full of promise and power. Such strong and simple verses, when combined with God-honoring music, constitute an invincible testimony to those whose very being is centered in God. He will never fail to care for His own; after all, do we not have the promise of the One who bled and died for us: I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee(Heb 13:5)If we COME to Him, He will NEVER LEAVE us or FORSAKE us.  Never is Eternity! We depend upon God's loving care and Providence every day of our lives - more truly, every second. Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.  (Psalm 55:22)His hand sustains our lives moment by moment. God saw in the eternal vapors of the past that no man could be with Him except there be a Savior - and God provided Himself a Lamb for the sacrifice. (Genesis 22:8)And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance forclothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke(Isaiah 59:16-17)This speaks of the Coming of Christ as Redeemer. 

            The words of our hymn today (Leaning on the Everlasting Arms) remind us that in our most desperate sorrows and weakness, we shall not fall from God's protective arms. He keeps them outstretched always to defend us from any fall. And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders.(Deut 26:8)

            Just a few miles south of Chatsworth, Georgia, where my grandmother lived, there is a small rural community of 673 souls named White, Georgia. About four miles north of this sleepy little village is, hidden by a railway overpass from view from the road, an old Methodist Church called Pine Log United Methodist Church. The church was constructed sometime before 1850.  This old church has experienced some vivid testimonies of the work of God in years past. In 1877, an evangelist was conducting revival there. On the last night of the revival, the preacher said, O Lord, I have preached my heart out to these people to no avail. I have besought with pleadings. I have invoked the power of the Holy Ghost, but to no result.. If you will, Lord, reach down your mighty hand and shake this church to its foundations. Suddenly, there was an earthquake that did, indeed, shake the church to its foundations. Reports claim that all attendees were on their knees praying to the Lord for their salvation.....including the preacher.  I have a photo of a large stone out front commemorating this event.

            There was a second stone that commemorated another event that occurred about twelve years later (1889). AJ Showalter, A Dalton (Georgia) businessman and lay minister was preaching another revival at Pine Log Church. He had just come from a revival in Alabama.  While at Pine Log, he received the sad news that the wives of two men of his previous engagement had tragically died. While writing his condolence letter to comfort the two men, this verse came to mind:  The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.It occurred to him that this would be an excellent theme for a hymn. He immediately sat down and wrote the music and the refrain for this wonderful hymn. He then sent it to a famous old friend. Dr. Elisha Hoffman, in Philadelphia to add lyrics and to publish which this famous hymn writer did. I am told that this hymn went around the world in just a short few months without the aid of telephone or radio. It is the only hymn that Showalter wrote, I believe. His old Office Supply business is still at the old location in Dalton, Georgia, but is now called Dalton Office Supply.  I went there with my father often while growing up.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

            There is no greater joy or peace than that which comes from the certain knowledge that God is our refuge and strength. We are not left alone to battle the Dark Angel. God is with us with His mighty outstretched Arm. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus(Phil 4:7)

            Where is the Straight Way and the Narrow Way? It is illumined more and more to those who believe and seek Him: O how bright the path grows from day to day, and we have NOTHING to fear as Christ is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brotherWhat have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms; I have blessed peace with my Lord so near

            There has never been a people more zealously protected and cherished than those of God.  Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.  (Psalm 17:8)The apple of God's eye is that little image that each of us make as a reflection in the very center of the pupil of His eye as He watches over us. He ismy refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust(Psalm 91:2)If we place not our trust in God, who is left to trust? In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge(Prov 14:26)The baby that awakes, terrified, in the dark of night is quickly consoled by his mother's strong arms. The bleating lamb, lost on the mountain ledge, is quickly comforted by the Shepherds strong staff of rescue. God is always near you. Need you fear any gloom of night, or mountain storm? How can a baby not love its mother? How can a lamb not trust its shepherd? How can a Christian not love and trust His Lord and Shepherd even if the foundations of the earth are loosed?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sermon Notes - Seventh Sunday after Trinity - Saint Andrew’s Anglican Orthodox Church - 15 July 2018, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)

The Seventh Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

ORDof all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

ORtherein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their
imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:17-32)

NOTE: The subject of this sermon covers what would be termed a ‘sorry situation’ in the foothills of the Blue Ridge at the time of my birth there; but I feel the necessity to preach on it and to add as well the missing verses not included in the lectionary since they are essential to convey the depth of meaning to my young people of St. Andrews. These verses were likely omitted out of a modesty that restrained speaking of such matter at the publication of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer Lectionary. The ancient commentators up to Henry and Ryle had little to say on the subject since it was unheard of among citizens of a Christian nation at their time. In fact, I will quote here and excerpt from Jamieson-Faucett- Brown Commentary concerning these missing verses of the lectionary (vs 23-27): 

Professing merely to worship the Creator by means of the creature, they soon came to lose sight of the Creator in the creature. How aggravated is the guilt of the Church of Rome, which, under the same flimsy pretext, does shamelessly what the heathen are here condemned for doing, and with light which the heathen never had! who is blessed for ever! Amen -- By this doxology the apostle instinctively relieves the horror which the penning of such things excited within his breast; an example to such as are called to expose like dishonor done to the blessed God.

Verses 26,27. For this cause God gave them up -- for even their women -- that sex whose priceless jewel and fairest ornament is modesty, and which, when that is once lost, not only becomes more shameless than the other sex, but lives henceforth only to drag the other sex down to its level. did change, &c. -- The practices here referred to, though too abundantly attested by classic authors, cannot be further illustrated, without trenching on things which "ought not to be named among us as become the saints." But observe how vice is here seen consuming and exhausting itself. When the passions, scourged by violent and continued indulgence in natural vices, became impotent to yield the craved enjoyment, resort was had to artificial stimulants by the practice of unnatural and monstrous vices. How early these were in full career, in the history of the world, the case of Sodom affectingly shows; and because of such abominations, centuries after that, the land of Canaan "spued out" its old inhabitants. Long before this chapter was penned, the Lesbians and others throughout refined Greece had been luxuriating in such debasements; and as for the Romans, TACITUS, speaking of the emperor Tiberius, tells us that new words had then to be coined to express the newly invented stimulants to jaded passion. No wonder that, thus sick and dying as was this poor humanity of ours under the highest earthly culture, its many-voiced cry for the balm in Gilead, and the Physician there, "Come over and help us," pierced the hearts of the missionaries of the Cross, and made them "not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!

Notes for Verse 27 Verse 27. and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet -- alluding to the many physical and moral ways in which, under the righteous government of God, vice was made self-avenging.
   Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
During my lifetime, the moral underpinnings of America have been rotted away by wicked men who have taken control of our public schools, social clubs, seminaries, churches and halls of government; and who have no regard at all for moral righteousness, but rather are pursuing a Fabian philosophy that aims at destroying the republican institutions of a nation in order to build it up again with an amoral adherence to globalist doctrine that seeks a drastic reduction in the world’s population through wars, famine, drugs, crime, homosexuality, and abortion among others.

Standing in direct opposition to these evil doers is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. As long as the true Gospel is preached, the plans of these globalists cannot be fully implemented. It is for this reason that even the mention of the Name of Jesus Christ in any forum is so hateful to these social engineers from Marx to Dewey.

I apologize for the need to preach on the topic of homosexuality today, but it is a sin of our day and must be confronted. It is a sorrowful thing to me young ears must be made aware of this terrible abomination at such a tender age.

All civilizations from antiquity have rejected the horrendous sin of homosexuality as a filthy and perverse practice. The United States is the first industrialized nation to openly give dignity of law to the ungodly sin of homosexual and lesbian marriage. Though our children in public schools are being encouraged to either accept, or even indulge, in such a filthy practice, the average life span of 43 years for the practicing homosexual is never mentioned. The morals of our youth are being gradually dissipated. 

            From the very beginning of Creation, Satan’s design has been to mar and destroy that which God has made. He has been quite successful at engineering many different facets of a plan to eliminate the man and woman which God placed in the Garden. His initial phase would be to undermine all moral restraint among youth. Second to decrease the world population to as low a figure as can be accomplished through those sinful practices mentioned earlier such as wars, drugs, famine, abortion, and homosexual marriage. After all, how many of us would be here today if our parents were homosexual, and how many wonderful children are missing from our presents owing to the murder of small innocents in their mother’s womb?

Let us begin by examining God’s will for man given in Genesis:

NDGod said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.  (Gen 1:26-28)

            The wording here is extraordinary since God (Elohim) makes reference to Himself in the plural. Elohim is the word for God, and it is given in the irregular Hebrew term meaning a plural-singular. This is the wholeness of the Trinity that speaks here. “Let us..” Note also God created man in His own image – Male and Female! We have a body, soul and spirit. So does God. He was manifested in the flesh by way of His only Begotten Son, Jesus. The soul of man is that which is eternal – either in Heaven or Hell – and symbolizes God. The spirit is like the Holy Spirit that guides our consciences and gives light to our understanding. But in mankind, these are fallen entities due to Adam’s Fall at Eden.

Genesis 28 is an early exposition of the institution of marriage – more fully revealed in Genesis 2:21-25. Biblical marriage is only between one man and one woman. Anything else is a perversion. It prefigures the marriage that exists between Christ and the Church (which is the Body of Christ on earth). “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.(Rev 21:1-2)

            Just as men and women born physically into this world are intended to multiply and bring forth children, so are those who are born anew in the Kingdom of God to reproduce and bring forth disciples.

            The Word of God minces no words in plainly condemning the abomination of homosexuality and the consequences:  Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination (Lev 18:22)  Webster’s dictionary tells us that an abomination is something that is both disgusting and filthy.

But what is the punishment for such sin?

Eshall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any STRANGER TTHAT SOJOURNETH among you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. 29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. (Lev 18:26-29)NOTE: Even the sojourner in our country must be forbidden to exercise this lifestyle. Additionally, the punishment is given again in Leviticus. 13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them (Lev 20:13)

            Remember the origin of the term ‘sodomy.’ It comes from the name of one of the five cities destroyed by fire and brimstone for the sin of sodomy – the city is SODOM! An account given of its destruction follows:

UTbefore they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.     (Gen 19:4-5)

            For our benefit and warning, God mentions the fall of Sodom again in the New Testament: Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.   (Jude 1:7)

Homosexuality is not a regular sin as is lying or stealing. God calls it an abomination – a most cardinal of sins. It is a sin that makes desolate the race that God created: “15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:  (Matt 24:15)Homosexual ministers and even bishop already are standing in the pulpits in America and England. 

Romans 1 reminds us we are not even to take pleasure in those that practice such things particularly, I believe, in entertainment programs. Today’s humor may be tomorrow’s curse.

How should the church view a man or woman who enters the church sanctuary as a practicing homosexual? I do not believe we should shun such sinners, for we were all lost in sin ere being called and chosen of God. We should treat them with love and respect, teaching them tactfully and compassionately of the errors of their sin. This accords favorably with the counsel given by Paul:

NOWye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.   (1 Cor 6:9-11)

            Some of us were thieves, liars, adulterers, drunkards, extortioners, and, yes, even homosexuals, before our eyes and hearts were opened by the intercession of the Holy Ghost.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Bible, God’s Word to Man - a Devotion for 13 July 2018, Anno Domini

HEwords of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
(Psalm 12:5-7)
ORall flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
(1 Peter 1:24-25)

            We should never be deceived by the profusion of man-made bibles being commercially pushed upon us in our day by book publishers and even denominations. The NIV, the ESV, and the RSV are all productions of deception made not only for profit, but for deliberate deception to bring the Church under the globalist agenda of one-world church. That church will be one devoid of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and only Begotten Son of God. If Christ can be omitted from our worship and doctrine, anything goes insofar as union with every depraved religion on the face of the earth; because Jesus keeps getting in the way of the one-world religion.

            I have excerpted the first lesson from the work, BIBLE LITERATURE, An Introductory View of the Bible and its Books for the General Reader, And Sixth Grade Text-Book for Schools and Colleges, by JOHN A. W. HAAS, DD – a Lutheran publication of 1906. Such teaching of the Bible was perfectly acceptable at a time nearer the days of the Founders when men yet remembered the intentions of those great men who heard the leading of God in our Founding. Below is the introductory chapter of the book -  reformatted for Word, and Bible verses added as supporting documentation:

The Bible, God's Word to man, records revelation and its history. It is itself, as such record, also revelation. A light unto our feet, it directs ; quick and powerful, it discerns our very thoughts to show us our sins. It is the power of God unto salvation, as we search it to find Christ, of whom it everywhere testifies.

This wonderful Book of books is a whole library of literature. It contains stately prose and forceful poetry. Simple stories and annals of history, plain narratives and descriptions of dramatic power, lyrics and orations are found in it. The literature of a nation, covering thousands of years, has come to classic expression within its covers. The record of the rise of Christianity, the faith of faiths, is preserved in memoirs and letters, written within the space of about fifty years.

But despite this diversity of the books of the Bible, and their difference in time, style, character and language, there is a wonderful unity, which makes the Bible one Book. The Old Testament is the truth in development and preparation for the New Testament. The New Testament is the book of fulfillment in Christ. But the Old Testament agrees in purpose and aim with the highest thought of the New Testament.

This unity is due to the divine Spirit, who moved the holy men of God to write, and who, in the progress of the history of Israel, shows the need and, with increasing light, the coming of the great Saviour.

The New Testament contains the picture of the Savior. The four gospels are the historical Memoirs of Jesus. The Acts report the beginnings of the history of the Church. In the epistles are unfolded the doctrines of the life of the Christian. The Apocalypse is the prophetic outlook of the Church.

Historically, and in order to note the development of revelation, the Old Testament ought to precede. The New Testament, however, lies nearer to our Christian life and presents the centre and aim of all revelation in Christ Jesus. When we know this aim, we can see more clearly the Old Testament approach to it.

Practical Lessons
1. The Bible is God's clear and powerful word to man. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.(Psalm 119:130)

2. It was written in various forms by holy men. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost(2 Peter 1:21)

3. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, it is one. (2 Peter 1:21)

4. Christ is the centre of it. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

5. He is proclaimed in history, doctrine and prophecy. O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  (Luke 24:25-27)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Death and Life of Christ - a Devotion for 12 July 2018, Anno Domini

            We are told in the Gospel of Saint John, Chapter 10, our Lord Jesus Christ is the DOOR – but DOOR to what? He is the DOOR to eternal life just as surely as the door of the Ark of Noah was the door to the natural life of all living. The fact is, only 8 souls entered that door. That was a great minority of the thousands and millions then living. In order to pass through that DOOR of the Lord, we must come to that DOOR. We must be recognized by the KEEPER of the DOOR (Christ). There is no other way than that Way, Truth and Life which He is.

            Christ found it an absolute necessity, in order redeem us, to make that DOOR available to us at the cost of a great Sacrifice. Noah labored for 100 years in the building of the Ark amid scorn and ridicule of the lost multitudes. Christ labored amid the same scorn and ridicule of the Jewish rulers, Scribes, and Pharisees prior to His passion on Golgotha. The door of Noah’s Ark opened the way to a temporal life of finite duration in the new world. The DOOR of Christ opens the door for all elect into the Kingdom of God with eternal duration.  While Noah suffered solitude and the winds of the unknown for more than one year aboard the Ark, our Lord suffered 40 days in the Wilderness in far greater want than Noah ever experienced. He suffered the years of His ministry healing the desperately sick and afflicted, raising the dead, restoring sight, and restoring the leper. He at last suffered a awful torture and beating at the hands of the Romans by being stripped, beaten with a cat-of-nine-tails to near death, had a crown of thorns averaging more than one inch each in length, carried a heavy and rough-cut cross of wood from the court of Pontius Pilate to the Hill beyond the gates of Jerusalem to the hill of Mt. Calvary. He suffered, through the heat of the day, thirst, hunger, unbelievable pain, shame at all who ogled His nakedness, and the sundry miseries of one who suffers from an ability to freely breathe in oxygen to sustain life without stiffening his feet and nail-pierced hands in order to make sufficient space for the expansion of His lungs. He finally gave up the ghost as a result of congestive heart failure. His side was pierced by a Roman lance, and He was buried in a buried tomb. He did all of that for you and me. 

            Through all of these events, and not only these but those from the eternities from before the foundation of the world He continued all the while to be the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. He has eternally been so, is now, and forever shall be. That WAY took Jesus through His ministry to the cross, through the events of crucifixion, to the grave, to resurrection, and finally to the ascension. He is THE WAY for us. We have a course set before us. It may take us through many sufferings and hardships. It may result in our being ridiculed for our faith. It may result in our suffering the rejection of friends and family. It may even lead to our suffering death by beheadings, burnings, and deprivation by the evil demons of Satan abroad in our world today even under the guise of some satanic or false religion. We must take up our cross daily and follow Christ – wherever those footprints lead us. We will have peace and joy in our hearts in spite of the external hardships we may face because we have an assurance from Him that He is with us always.

            Christ suffered for sins once, the Righteous for the unrighteous.  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God(1 Peter 1:18-21)

            Our Lord left to us His last Will and Testament. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom(Matt 26:28-29)A Will is not effective until the death of the one who executes a Will.  So, Jesus died in order that His called and chosen could inherit that eternal life that He has made available to us through His death. But not only His death, but also His resurrection and ascension. His elect shall enjoy those privileges by right of the children’s inheritance.

See how comprehensive and eternally beneficial is the Way of Christ. His character and purpose, His coming and ministry, His death and resurrection – all are illustrated and prophesied in the Old Testament. He is the executive agent at Creation. He laid the foundations of the world, breathed life into our nostrils, and has prepared a Way for us. But that work began before the worlds were formed. He was sadly prefigured by the sorrowful death of beautiful and innocent creature in the Garden to cover the nakedness (sin) of Adam and Eve. 

            His role in our salvation was illustrated in all of the Tabernacle and Temple sacrifices of old. Even at the present day, He sits at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us. He is our ONLY intercessor. Neither the saints, nor Mary, nor and minister can intercede – He is the only One who is worthy and able to do so; and yet the fact that the Death of Christ is the ground of forgiveness, may be so certain to us as to be a great power in life." As we think of the work of Christ on the cross in the broad outline of its comprehensiveness, it may be grouped under the following seven points

            I submit a section from Pearls, Points and Parables by F.E. Marsh:

 (1) The Death of Christ is Generative in its Life. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit'.” (John 12:24). "The Son of Man must be lifted up" (John 3:13). His death was a necessity; hence, the meaning and force of His "must," for had He not gone down into the dust of death, He would not have been able to communicate to us His life. His death is our life.

 (2) The Death of Christ is Substitutive in its Work. Christ's own statement about the fact of His substitutionary work is conclusive and final. He says, in speaking of the great purpose for which He came into the world, that it was "to give His life a ransom for many(Matthew 20:28). Dean Alford says of these words, they are "a plain declaration of the sacrificial and vicarious nature of the death of our Lord." 

           (3) The Death of Christ is Protective in its Grace. "Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10). "We shall be saved from wrath through Him"(Romans 5:9). "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1 Thess 5:9-10)

In these verses there is an impending doom hanging over the sinner, which is averted through the action of Another. Mark the sentence, "Through our Lord Jesus Christ." The sense of the "through" is "by means of" Him. How? Because the stroke of Jehovah has fallen upon Him, as we read in Isa.53:8: "For the transgression of My people was the stroke upon Him" (margin).

          (4) The Death of Christ is Inductive in its Blessing. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)

He died to save us from hell and bring us to heaven ; but what is of even greater moment He died to bring us "to God;" Yet there is more than introduction, there is induction, namely, bringing us to God and making us His children. Christ, in bringing us to God, brings us into the relationship of children, with all its privileges and responsibilities, and a great deal more.

         (5) The Death of Christ is Formative in its Power. The Holy Spirit, in speaking of the believer being baptised into the death of Christ, speaks of it as that "Form of doctrine." “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” (Romans 6:17) The figure is that of a mould into which the metal runs and is shaped by it. The heart and life of the child of God are to be formed by the death of Christ. The death of the cross is to be the death of sin; and its munificent giving, its holy sacrifice, its Divine passion, its devoted service, its patient suffering, its self-effacement, and its God-glorifying spirit are to be ours.

6) The Death of Christ is Inspirative in its Motive. The apostle, in speaking of the power which moved him in his life's service for Christ, says "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:18-19)It was not love in a general sense which moved him, but the love as expressed in the death of His Lord. The fire which ignited his being was got from the altar of Christ's sacrifice.

 (7) The Death of Christ is Procurative in its claim. The price which the Lord paid in order that He might procure us for Himself was the shedding of His precious blood. The price of His purchase is the right by which He claims us for Himself. "Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's(1 Cor. 6:19, 20). The claim of His call upon the whole of our nature is based upon the purchased price He gave for us in His death. 

Sin has inoculated all mankind with its poison; but through identification with Christ's atonement, He, by the vitality of that death, transmits His life to us, and counteracts the virus. Our disease of sin requires a blood transfusion of the Blood of Christ