Follow by Email

Who are we?

The center of the Traditional Anglican Communion; adhering to the Holy Bible (KJV) in all matters of Faith and Doctrine, a strict reliance on the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, The two Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, the Two Creeds, and the Homilies and formularies of the Reformation Church of England.

Verse of the Day

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Shadows of Sodom Revisited – 31 January 2019, Anno Domini


Some few years back, I wrote a News Release entitled "Shadows of Sodom." In response to inquiries of interested Christians, I have written a follow up to coincide with the disgraceful and ungodly increasing prevalence of the atrocity of abortion – even after the birth of the child. Of course, abortion is what it has always been – outright murder!

Shadows of Sodom Revisited
The specious argument is being made, not unlike that of the French Revolution, that liberte', equalite', and fraternite' are the ruling elements of the social order. Alexis de Tocqueville, in his awesome work, , soundly discounts this hypothesis on historical, moral, and legal grounds. The wisdom of the ancients of civilization is impugned by such nonsense that homosexual marriage is anything to be accepted in decent society. Even apart from the strong religious condemnation of the practice, the law of nature itself soundly rejects the idea.

            The French Revolution was not only a war against the excesses of the Crown, but against God and the Church as well. The very popular event of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, was a precursor of the lawlessness to come since the Bastille was a prison containing many desperate criminals - not simply political prisoners. 

            No respectable or faithful Christian, church member or not, can espouse the virtues of equality over the law of God. We are faced with that old admonition found in Jeremiah the prophet:  Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein(Jer 6:16)

            While it is true that the Declaration of Independence advances the principle that "all men are created equal," that document does not take precedence over the Law of God clearly defined. The Founding Fathers did not intend to suggest that all are forever equal in the sight of God, simply that under the terms of established law, all are BORN with equal access to their God-given rights. Murderers, adulterers, thieves, liars, and swindlers were all born, alike, equal under the terms of civil law, but they do not remain so once their crimes are exposed. Murder is a crime resulting from an INTENTIONAL act of disobedience to the state law. Homosexuality is an act of INTENTIONAL disobedience to the Law of God.. Even though many are born with a proclivity to steal, murder, or lie; such a crime is not a concern of the civil authorities until the act is consummated. The same is true in the case of homosexuality, or paedophilia, too - the proclivity does not become a sin unless acted upon by the individual. We are all born with an inclination to sin. so is the homosexual. It is a part and parcel of our carnal natures. But only when we conceive the act of sin in our minds and act upon it does it become a sin answerable to God.

            A civil society cannot claim to be a Godly society if it embraces the filth of sins such as homosexuality - and even by denigrating the holy institution of marriage to the scum level of homosexual unions. We may enact national laws that approve of our own sinful ways, but this is in no way pleasing to God. He will judge such a nation with the harshness described in Leviticus 18.

            A growing atrocity in American society is that of the murder of innocents in their mother’s womb, and now, even after birth – not for the reason of quality of life for the child, but convenience of the forsaking mother.

            At the sum balance, the question is this: Who shall we obey - God or Mammon? Perhaps the same question was asked in the dark streets of Sodom before it was destroyed by the wrath of God. 

            Our abominable sins have now been enshrined in our national laws, and each citizen now bears a responsibility for that sin. The bells of the National Cathedral and other churches in our nations very capital sounded with exuberance as the Supreme Court issued its defiant order that is so very dishonoring to God. Remember the strong denunciation of this filthy and carnal sin in Romans 1: 

B
ECAUSEthat, 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. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  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. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 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. 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: 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. 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; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 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.

For those self-professing Christians who accept sin in the name of ‘tolerance,' perhaps the last verse of this chapter is most applicable: 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.

            As the 17thcentury Anglican priest, John Donne, has written, perhaps we should not "send to know for whom the bells toll - they toll for thee!"

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hymns of the Church – We would be Building– 29 January 2019, Anno Domini


A
NDJesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these(Mark 12:29-31)

          This is an additional Hymn devotion for this week. It is a hymn that has been occupying my thoughts over the past several days and I wanted to write on it before the memory fades. The hymn was writing for a Youth Conference by Purd E. Deitz, Reformed minister in 1935. At the time of writing, Purd was professor at Eden Theological Seminary. The tune is one of the most beautiful ever written, FINLANDIA,  by Jean Sibelius in 1899, which he conducted at the Norfolk Music Festival in Connecticut in 1914. There are more kinds of walls than those simply made of concrete, steel, or wood. The most critical wall to the Christian is that which must separate him/her from the world. It can be the most porous of walls; but it can also be the most solid if truth is held in high regard. Truth is the surest of all walls to keep one in holy living and service. 

We would be Building

We would be building; temples still undone
O’er crumbling walls their crosses scarcely lift,
Waiting till love can raise the broken stone,
And hearts creative bridge the human rift;
We would be building; Master, let Thy plan
Reveal the life that God would give to man.

Teach us to build; upon the solid rock
We set the dream that hardens into deed,
Ribbed with the steel that time and change doth mock,
Th’unfailing purpose of our noblest creed;
Teach us to build; O Master, lend us sight
To see the towers gleaming in the light.

O keep us building, Master; may our hands
Ne’er falter when the dream is in our hearts,
When to our ears there come divine commands
And all the pride of sinful will departs;
We build with Thee; O grant enduring worth
Until the heav’enly Kingdom comes on earth.
Amen.

          We would be building; temples still undone O’er crumbling walls their crosses scarcely lift,Waiting till love can raise the broken stone, And hearts creative bridge the human rift; We would be building; Master, let Thy plan Reveal the life that God would give to man.There is much in the secular news media today about walls. Some whose morals are lacking in almost every respect have claimed walls are ‘immoral’. Of course, we know that immorality cannot be assigned to inanimate objects. Walls are mentioned throughout the Holy Scriptures in connection with the protection of God’s Church and people. As this first stanza intimates, our walls of faith and truth are still unfinished and in the process of building. We will not be finished with that building until the Lord comes for His Elect. The cement that holds our Wall of Faith firm is LOVE. Love will withstand every challenge. One truth that is veiled in this stanza is the bridge of passage through that Wall of Faith. The wall of the Church is not different from that of a Castle. It does not constitute a a prison for those within. They are free to depart and return as the inhabitants please; however, those without are not free to enter without a qualifying visa of Faith. The Church is like a ship in the sea. It is made to navigate the sea – to travel therein. As long as the ship is upright in the sea, it serves its purpose. But what if the sea gets into the ship – tragedy follows. This latter circumstance is the state of the modern churches of America. Instead of going out into the world to improve its sense of love by salt and light, the church has admitted the world through its walls without the visa of Faith, and the church is ruined just as would be wholesale immigration for nations.

            Teach us to build; upon the solid rock We set the dream that hardens into deed, Ribbed with the steel that time and change doth mock, Th’unfailing purpose of our noblest creed; Teach us to build; O Master, lend us sight To see the towers gleaming in the light.The greatest Teacher is not a seminary instructor, or even a preacher in the pulpit – the greatest Teacher is God by means of the Holy Scriptures and the reading of the Bible. Prosperity in the Gospel (spiritual, not material) requires a wall for protection. God has prospered us with His Word, and we must safeguard it against those who would print phony and corrupt counterfeits of His Word. The book publishers have proliferated various versions of modern Bibles that cleverly disguise the sense and meaning of the Word, and even assail the Person and dignity of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. The only wall of protection against such heretical vandals is Truth unadulterated. God will have us build our walls and temples upon that Solid Rock that followed the Children of Israel in the Wilderness. (see 1 Cor 10:4) Every building is preceded by a vision or a dream (a plan). Our first vision of our duty to God was far more blessed than our first labors to enact the vision; but God led us along and we improved upon our failures as we grew in sanctification. The tall towers are brightly beaming on the forward horizon, and we must ‘continue the march’ to draw nearer day by day to the Source of those heavenly beams.

          O keep us building, Master; may our hands Ne’er falter when the dream is in our hearts, When to our ears there come divine commands And all the pride of sinful will departs; We build with Thee; O grant enduring worth Until the heav’enly Kingdom comes on earth. Amen.We build walls to shelter our families, to protect our schools and offices, and our churches. Yet we fail to guard our borders against invading drug dealers and illegals – leaving our children to be prospective victims in their own country. The same is true of churches. The walls of protection for a church are those that are Truth. We should not allow false prophets and spiritual charlatans to enter in unless we have grown weary of truth and love. 

The walls of churches in America, like the walls of our borders, have broken down through reckless and careless neglect. Every imaginable sin has now received the stamp of approval of many of our mainline churches so that abortion and homosexual marriage have gained a false dignity while they remain murder and abomination. The doctrinal stand of the ancient church has been eroded and dismissed as archaic when truth can never be archaic. As Job has written: 15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: 16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, 17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? 18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: 19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? 20 They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it. 21 Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.  (Job 4:15-21)

Two stark reasons come to mind when I observe the profligacy of sin in our nation – even in churches: 

1.    The foundations of faith are eroded – If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? Psalms 11:3 (KJV) The foundations of our faith have been eroded and nearly destroyed. The Foundation is Biblical Faith. 

The other stark reason: 

2.    Our people lack knowledge and wisdom for their lives – My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. Hosea 4:6 (KJV) Without walls, a home is not a home. Without borders a nation is not a nation, and without spiritual walls, a church is not a church. The walls need mending. Ask your average Harvard student who the President of the US was during the Second World War.


The foundations of American Christianity need solid foundation: Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.(Matt 7:24-27)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Hymns of the Church – Living Hope – 29 January 2019, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)


 (written in response to the request of a young lady named, Sue Ellen)

F
ORmen verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed itby an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which HOPE WE HAVE AS AN ANCHOR TO THE SOUL, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.  (Heb 6:16-20)

            Today’s devotion relates more to a spiritual song more than it does a hymn. Though it does not specifically make reference to a precise Bible verse, as a classical hymn would do, it nonetheless alludes to beautiful promises related in Holy Scripture with sentimental devotion. Therefore, I would relegate this song to that referred to in Ephesians 5:19 as a ‘spiritual song’ intended to lift our spirits with hope and joy: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph 5:18-20 (KJV) We may wisely deduce many great spiritual truths if we use eyes and ears of spiritual discernment in studying this song.

Living Hope
Songwriters: Phil Wickham / Brian Mark Johnson
Living Hope lyrics © Essential Music

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I'm Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus, Yours is the victory, whoa!

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Jesus Christ, my living hope
Oh God, You are my living hope

How great the chasm that lay between us How high the mountain I could not climb In desperation, I turned to heaven And spoke Your name into the night Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness Tore through the shadows of my soul The work is finished, the end is written Jesus Christ, my living hope. This stanza pays tribute to the God that is Higher than I. A peasant does not bargain with a Sovereign over matters of justice, and we do not bargain with God over our sins. He is Sovereign over all, and our salvation is granted as a matter of free grace. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. Romans 5:15 (KJV) We must recognize that the Mountain of the Lord cannot be scaled by one whose burden of sin disqualifies him for the climbing; however, there were two Mountains of the Lord named in Scripture at which Moses talked with the Lord – and these two are related. Mt. Sinai is the Mountain of the Law, and Mount Horeb is the Mountain of Mercy. In actuality, these two are the same.. The Rock of Living Waters was struck by Moses at Mount Hored. By the Law, we are not entitled to climb the heights of Sinai; but by virtue of Mercy and Grace, we are enabled to make our petitions directly to God through our Advocate – the Lord Jesus Christ. We not only confer with the Lord during long, dark nights of the soul, but we are even given songs of praise to Him: I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search(Psalm 77:6)The Light of Christ shines through the darkest corridors of our earthly walk and gives the sure hope of redemption to all who believe. Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night. (Job 35:10) Woe, He is right beside thee.

 Who could imagine so great a mercy? What heart could fathom such boundless grace? The God of ages stepped down from glory To wear my sin and bear my shame The cross has spoken, I am forgiven The King of kings calls me His own Beautiful Savior, I'm Yours forever Jesus Christ, my living hope. In truth, the mercy of God toward the sinner is far beyond our finding out. It makes no sense in the human manner of reasoning. Why would the great Sovereign of the Universe send His only Begotten Son to die in the stead of those His enemies who hate Him? That grace is enshrined in a great peace of the soul that eludes the blind and lost: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus(Phil 4:7)Jesus bore our shame, humility, and suffering on the cross – a penalty that was rightfully ours; yet, the completely innocent and unblemished One suffered for all who should rightfully have borne the penalty. But let us not forget that we, too, have a cross to bear in following our Lord. We must also suffer death of self, self-sacrifice, deference to others, and suffer even false accusations just as our Lord has done for us. Though our Lord was not of any particular exception in physical beauty to all of mankind, He was like that Tabernacle of the Wilderness whose walls were adorned with silken drapes, colored wools, and even gold plating. The Tabernacle was beautiful when viewed from its interior; but outside, it was covered with uncomely goat hair. Christ is Beautiful for the Beauty of His Heart – His sacrifice, and His redemption for us. For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.(Isaiah 53:2-3)

 Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me You have broken every chain There's salvation in Your name Jesus Christ, my living hope Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me You have broken every chain There's salvation in Your name Jesus Christ, my living hope. Hallelujah (Alleluia) means ‘Praise Ye the Lord’ and that is the bounden duty of the Elect. There is no true death to those who are the saved of the Lord. I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this(John 11:25-26)There are two profound truths in this quoted text: 

1) All who leave this earthly life in faith do not truly die, but live on; 
2) We must believe while we yet live for there is no salvation in the grave. 

So, death has no grip on the Elect of God – O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ(1 Cor 15:55-57)

 Then came the morning that sealed the promise Your buried body began to breathe Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion Declared the grave has no claim on me Then came the morning that sealed the promise Your buried body began to breathe Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion Declared the grave has no claim on me Jesus, Yours is the victory, whoa!That early morning referred to was the same at which the blessed Mary Magdalene came to the tomb while it was yet dark and wept without. She came seeking only the dead body of her beloved Savior, but instead found the living Lord. Blinded by profuse tears, she mistook Him for the Gardener until He spoke her name with the same force with which He had called her brother, Lazarus, from the stone-cold tomb. That morning changed EVERYTHING FOR HER AND FOR US! Because the Resurrection of our Lord defeated death and Hell, so are we privileged to be granted the same blessing by way of the free grace offered in Christ.

 Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me You have broken every chain There's salvation in Your name Jesus Christ, my living hope Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me You have broken every chain There's salvation in Your name Jesus Christ, my living hope Jesus Christ, my living hope Oh God, You are my living hope. We were bound with those same heavy chains of restraint dictated by our sins (much as Dickens’ Marley) until Christ broke those chains and set us free. Remember poor Lazarus, when called forth from the tomb bound hand to foot in grave clothes? These are tightly wound about the body even still today in the Middle East. What did Christ command concerning these restraining wraps? Loose him, and let him go(John 11:44)He has done the same for those of faith. When we claim to believe in the Name of Jesus Christ, that declaration must be more than empty words – it must reflect a deep and impassioned heart-felt belief that Jesus is Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and Sovereign of our souls – and that declared acceptance must rule your life henceforth.

I
 WILLlift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  (Psalm 121:1-2)

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sermon Notes - Third Sunday after The Epiphany - 27 January 2019, Anno Domini (in the Year of Our Lord)



The Third Sunday after The Epiphany.
The Collect.

A
LMIGHTYand everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A
ND the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 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. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.  (John 2:1-11)


            I consider the lectionary texts today to be of paramount importance. They represent the beginning of the ministry of Jesus at Cana. The ancient Prayer of Collect opens with a petition for the provision of safety and necessity from the Hand of the Lord.  It further appeals for mercies on our common frailty in life. If we remembered to pray this prayer first each morning, it would suffice for our daily bread. Whether by profound miracle, or by the common miracles of God’s nature, our daily needs are all provided by the right hand of God.

The following selection from the day’s Epistle has profound meaning for the Christian professor: 17 “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Some hearers today will not know, or remember, the term ‘hickory stick’ due to the fact that its memory has not been indelibly etched on the hide of their legs, but I remember! It was the punishment of choice in the mountain country in which I was raised. The mention of it would strike terror into the hearts of its victims. If I, or my sisters, or brother, misbehaved, we could expect mother or father to go outside and break a thin, limber limb from the hickory tree. This became a sort of whip that was used to evoke repentance for deeds of disobedience. It was not possible to outrun the persistent lashing of the ‘hickory stick.’ Once after an argument with my younger brother of five years of age, I told my mother on him for some secret misdeed. Mother said, “Jerry, go outside and find me a hickory stick.” Gleeful at the opportunity for maximum revenge, I sought out the prickliest limb I could find, and adorned with especially hateful spurs. When I handed the branch to my mother, she took one look at the dreadful instrument of torture and said, “OK, Jerry, YOU are FIRST!” I will never forget that lesson of willful revenge on my part. I believe God teaches us the same lesson. “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.” (Prov 24:17-18)

            Now we come to the glorious Gospel, so full of Light and Hidden Manna for the early riser – for Manna comes with the mist of the morning. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek theemy soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” (Psalm 63:1-2)

            I have heard men argue that marriage was not so much of importance to God for Jesus was not married. While it is true that our Lord did not marry during His ministry, His entire ministry involved His betrothal to His Bride, the Church!

            The text describes a marriage celebration in Cana of Galilee to which Jesus and His disciples have been invited. The event is heralded as Jesus’ first miracle among a host of miracles. Of course, the text is referring to those profound suspensions of natural law that Jesus evoked by the power of His Word. But we must not forget that the pre-Incarnate Christ was the agent of First Cause in the Creation of the world, the heavenly bodies, and all life. (John 1:1-03)The changing of the elements of pure water into wind demonstrates our Lord’s eternal sovereignty over the Creation which He has made. It was sensational and stunning to man who deals more commonly in the physical realities of life; however, I will suggest that this is the second recorded miracle of the Gospel of John. In fact, I will claim that all of the life of Jesus was an ongoing miracle of eternal proportions. Remember Nathaniel in the first chapter of John? “Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.” (John 1:47-50)

Please observe the Hidden Miracle here is one of the Spirit and not of the elements of the physical world. It is this miracle that supersedes all others.  So what is the profundity of this miracle? ‘And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’  Unless God first reveals Himself they will never understand the truths of the Creed or His Word. First of all, it is a miracle that God loves us. Secondly, that He deigns to reveal Himself to us by way of His Word and the natural world. An anonymous love letter, addressed to no one in particular, may be beautiful for thought and prose, but it bears little meaning unless revealed to its intended beloved. The most difficult challenge to the modern Christian is to see that God’s personality and truth are just as clearly intended for his heart as it was for the hearers two or three thousand years ago. Only God can bring that revelation to the heart.

            In reading the Gospel text, we see those who are followers (disciples) of Christ share in the courtesies to which He is invited. They were ALSO invited to attend this, presumable, friends and family event. If we are in Christ, we are accounted a part of His family and circle of friends. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:15) Christ is all in all to us. He is first, a Friend; but more than a Friend, He is our elder Brother in the family of God; and more than a Brother, He is our Lord and Sovereign. He is a “Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)If He is the second Adam (which clearly He is), He becomes literally the Father of all who are quickened in the Spirit to eternal life. 


JESUS CARES FOR THE COMMON NEEDS OF ALL HUMANITY:
            So the marriage celebration at Cana reveals the Glory of His All-Sufficient Grace to us in all conditions, big and small, of our lives. It places an exclamation mark on the Institution which was God’s first in the Garden at Eden. Marriage is so illustrative of the union that exists between Christ and His Church that Jesus uses the occasion to demonstrate its importance by performing His first material miracle. I love the beauty and reverence provided in the Book o9f Common Prayer for the Solemnization of Matrimony that reflects this truth: 


D
EARLYbeloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. If any man can show just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

            3 “And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.” The Greek term used here for ‘wanted’ is: uJsterevw  (Hustereo) which means to fall behind or lack an essential something for a particular need. The need may not be a profound necessity, but it is a necessity for the conditions of the present moment – in this case, wine, the lack of which would have been a signal embarrassment to the family of the couple getting married. To the consternation of many of our Baptist brethren, this wine is not unfermented grape juice, but the real deal. The warmth and comfort of the fruit of the vine is illustrative of the same which is granted, in a more marked degree, by the Holy Ghost. But the issue of wine is not the focus of this event, but the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ in His role as Creator and Sovereign over all powers – even His natural law. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

JESUS DESIRES US TO COME IN PRAYER TO HIM FOR ALL OUR NEEDS:       
Another interesting point in this comment of Mary to her Son is the familiarity which family associations breed. When we are part of the family of Christ, we can approach Him with even mundane requests. Our every ‘want’ may not be always supplied, but we have the privilege to seek it out and understand His will in the matter. You will observe Mary did not make ANY overt request but only expressed a need. He knows our every need and will supply according to His will. If we express our need in prayer, He will be more acutely keen to satisfy that need if He deems it beneficial to us.

            The miracles of Jesus are not to be regarded as the most prominent proof of His Lordship, but as secondary revelations of His power and grace. The greater revelation is in His revealing Himself to us as He did to Nathaniel, to Nicodemus, and to Peter. The modern church that seeks signs and wonders is not a church of faith and holiness: “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.”  (Matt 12:39-41) Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the whale. Jesus was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. But Jonah came up from the whale’s belly, and Christ was the first born of all the family of God in His resurrection. Is this not enough iron on which to hang our faith? Why do we insist on God constantly proving Himself? Should the case not be reversed?


THE KEY TO GAINING THE BEST FROM THE MASTER’S HAND IS OBEDIENCE:
            4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet comeHis mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Jesus’ response is not unimportant to us. He seems to hesitate in His response to His mother, but she perseveres and counts her prayer as already answered.  She knows the nature of her Son to provide all necessary wants. So she says to the servants (as well as to you and me): “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Has the modern church done this? Have you done this in your personal walk of faith? Remember, ‘WHATSOEVER’ covers every Word of Scripture revealed to us. Of course, the greatest ‘WHATSOEVER’ that Jesus has commanded is that we “Love one another.” “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35) How many Christians fail of this commandment? How many churches?

            Notice that Jesus commands authority – even among those who may not know Him. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.  No one had ever issued such an unbelievable command to these servants before, yet they obeyed immediately and without question. When Christ calls us into unknown paths, we do not stammer and falter, but rise immediately in obedience. If we hesitate, He may send His “Hounds of Heaven” on our trail until we do obey.


OBEDIENCE RESULTS IN THE BEST ALWAYS BEING AHEAD:
            Do you truly LOVE God? Love possesses a sacrificial quality. It foregoes self and exalts the object of its affection. We have no means of loving the unlovely, but Christ is LOVELY. In fact, “we love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) If we obey and keep His Commandments, we shall always have the best to which to look forward. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”(1 Cor 2:9-10)Who are we to enjoy such blessings! Do you desire the BEST, or do you prefer the sordid leftovers of the world?  “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land(Isaiah 1:19)

            This great truth is made certain in these verses: 9  “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, 10 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.”  This is absolutely true. The world sets forth its shiniest and best false pleasures before us first of all, but the blessings and benefits of God are ever increasing in splendor and beauty.

            Regardless of the victories and reverses of your life heretofore, the Lord can make those victories and benefits pale in comparison to what He has to offer those who love Him and are obedient to His Word.