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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, February 28, 2019

No Quarter (El Degüello) – 28 February 2019, Anno Domi


B

Esober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world(1 Peter 5:8-9)

            We are counseled in Scripture to know that there will be no end to wars on earth as long as the seasons wax and wane.6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved(Matt 24:6-13)

            There prevails a popular sentiment in the western countries, especially today, that no offense can justify general war. We would prefer to indulge in limited ‘police’ actions rather than mobilize the full resources of the nation and her allies for general war. As a result of this flawed mentality, we are constantly engaging in limited wars around the globe. Instead of investing the enemy at points of his greater concentration, we meet him on the far reaches of his perimeter, and never come to an unconditional victory. Such policies feed the coffers of bankers and investors quite well, but it also assures a continuous conflict at diverse points of our frontiers.

As John Stuart Mill has said: "War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." 

            War is so pervasive and engrained in the minds of mankind that one must resort to arms to protect life and property. The time may come when governments cannot be relied upon for that protection and we will find ourselves at the primitive stage of history in which protection must be borne by the individual families.

            This worldly system will even end in an all-out general war waged against the Elect of God. 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Rev 20:7-10)Notice there will be very few Elect at this last battle. The saints will be garrisoned behind the walls of only a camp, while the armies of the wicked are gathered from the four-quarters of the earth to do battle. But all of the armies of the world are no match for the artillery batteries of Heaven. God will be the Victor in this last war. 

            You may be wondering what all of this discussion of war has to do with the Christian religion – it has all things to do with faith and life. The resources of our Army are not vested in heavy ordnance and small arms; but rather in the Sword of the Word of God and the Armour of Faith and Courage: 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Eph 6:10-18)

             The enemy we face is deployed in force across the landscape of the earth. The Prince of Darkness is their Commander, and he is totally devoid of pity, honor, or reason. His pawns are made up of a diverse collection of like-minded culprits from the ranks of drunks, the ambitious, politicians, rapists, plunderers, cutthroats, bankers, the military elite in some cases, and the most perverse of all humanity. Unfortunately, the most dangerous offenders who obey this Prince are imposters posing as clergy. The latter have not stood in defense of moral righteousness or the written Word of God. They have capitulated to the Wicked One at all points such as Constitutionally protected prayer in school, the Bible in public places, abortion, and the undermining of the family and Godly marriage. Had the churches stood up in righteous indignation when a decadent gathering of Supreme Court justices ruled school prayer (a matter that had been Constitutionally protected from the first days of our Republic) no longer Constitutional, the outcome would have definitely been different. The silence of the churches was profound! 

            A friend of mine raised the presumed issue of separation of Church and state and was shocked when I informed him that no such separation was provided in the US Constitution. The Amendment upon which the Imposters of the Bench founded their false decision was the very First Amendment (sometimes referred to as the ‘Establishment Clause’). You will search in vain for any part of that Amendment to prohibit prayer at any place or any time. In fact, you will find just the opposite: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” There is only one branch of government entrusted with making law, and that is the Legislative Branch, or Congress. Any law derived from any other source, except the Constitution, is invalid. If the Court insist that it is against the law to pray in school, who made that law? The Amendment quoted says otherwise: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Moreover, there is no provision in the Constitution that allows the murder of innocents in their mother’s wombs. These laws are contrived and not constitutional.

            The enemy we face is very powerful, and of great cunning. He lied to Eve in the Garden by first misquoting Scripture, and then refuting it. Unlike humankind, that Prince of the Power of the Air never sleeps or takes vacation. He continually is plotting the destruction of all who are not protected by the Blood of Christ. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world(1 Peter 5:8-9)While many professing to be the ministers of God plot and scheme for finer buildings and greater monetary benefits, Satan plots their ruin and that of their deceived followers. 

            It is high time for men and women of the Church to stand up and resist the evil. We have not yet resisted to the shedding of blood, have we? Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin(Heb 12:)Courage is the stark character of the believer. We are not to be anemic wimps, but men and women of courage and conviction: 13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong(1 Cor 16:13)

            In the Garden, Satan resolved to destroy the man and woman that God had made. He would attempt to do so by subterfuge and outright lies. His frontal assault seldom is effective for it usually emboldens the Church, so Satan has sent his vicigerents into the church posing as ministers and laypersons. He has introduced new and strange Bibles that repeat the same deceitful lies of the Serpent of the Tree. He has attempted to undermine the dignity and purpose of Holy Matrimony in order to offend God and to reduce the proliferation of man upon the earth. He has promoted the murder of babies before their birth while his own sinful souls reproduce like mushrooms after a spring rain. He takes no quarter in his striving. His only intent is to murder the prisoners that he takes. He sounds the same notes of Santa Anna outside the walls of the Alamo – the El Degüello, which signifies ‘NO QUARTER’ to the captured. He flies the same red flag as Santa Anna flew from the steeple of the Church of San Fernando – RED. His color is RED for he is the same red dragon of Revelations: And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads(Rev 12:3)And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him(Rev 12:9)  The Sword of the Lord has drawn a line in the sand of this world even more starkly than  that of Colonel Travis at the Alamo. On which side of that line do you stand?

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

An Old Testament Parable for the Day – 27 February 2019, Anno Domini


T
HE trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. 9 But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 10 And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. 11 But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? 12 Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. 13 And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 14 Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. 15 And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon(Judges 9:8-15)

            The Lord God led His people out of the hard bondage of Egypt, across the dry bed of the Red Sea, and dwelt in their midst in the Tabernacle for the forty years of their wandering in the Wilderness. At last, they viewed the Promised land beyond Jordan Waters. Only those who were born in the Wilderness were allowed to cross over, except for Joshua and Caleb whose faith never faltered in the Wilderness Journey. Now the Lord chose Joshua to lead Israel into that Land of Promise and held back Jordan Waters so that the multitudes crossed over on dry land once more. 

            All those years in the Wilderness, God had led the Children of Israel and had been their Sovereign Lord despite their murmuring. Now, in the Land of Promise, the people apostatized against God once again. God sent the Midianites against them to aggravate their peace, steal their wheat, and take many young captives. The people then realized their wickedness and cried out to God – one of those few times that they turned to Him in Canaan as their King. God heard their disparaging cry and sent them a young prophet/farmer to lead the armies of Israel. The story is long, but you can read the details from Judges chapters six through eight.  In the end, Gideon’s three hundred men killed more than 120,000 among the Midianites and their ally, the Amalekites. 

            Gideon was a righteous man who shunned greater responsibility. When the people of Israel asked him to be their king, he declined, And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you(Judges 8:23). Gideon made one grievous error: he had an ephod erected to his glory outside the gate of Ophrah. Instead of taking Gideon’s counsel to heart and accepting the Lord as their Ruler, they did what many nations blessed of the Lord have done (including our own blessed America) and rejected the Lord to rule over them and chose dishonorable men who were an offense to the eyes of the Lord God.

            For the interim period of rejection of the Lord as Ruler, we read that they had NO king in Israel – every man did that which was right in his own sight. This leads to hedonism and resembles closely nihilism. Remember the concluding verse of Judges: In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.(Judges 21:25)

            And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. 34 And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: 35 Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel.  (Judges 8:33-35)

            After the rejected rulership of the Lord, the people turned to the vilest and lowliest men of wicked character and disposition to serve as their ruler. That is where our parable begins. IN order to gain the rulership, Abimelech, a son of Gideon (or Jerubbaal) murdered all of the other sons of Gideon except the youngest son, Jotham, who hid from the terror. It was this circumstance that led to Jotham’s proclamation from Mt. Gerizim overlooking Shechem (Sychar in the New Testament of Jacob’s Well). 

            The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.The trees in this parable represents people and tribes much as states and races of people in America). The Olive Tree is of particular interest here since it is a noble tree of peace and of bountiful fruit. It is also one of the few fruit-bearing trees that remains green all year round. This would seem a fitting tree, if any were suitable, to rule over the other trees. But it is not in the nature of such a bountiful tree to seek power over others. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?The main desire of the Olive Tree was to serve both God and man in accordance with the Two Great Commandments of our Lord. The Olive Tree is often compared to the Church by nature.

            And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. Now here is a tree that might seem even more receptive than the Olive Tree. It is not a stately tree, but is usually bushy and very leafy. It provides fruit for man and even beasts such as birds and squirrels. It cannot be proud of its appearance, so maybe a grasp at power could lend prestige to an otherwise unremarkable (in appearance) tree. Yet the Fig Tree has a purpose given by God to benefit others. It will not be dissuaded from its original purpose. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Each of us as Christians have a calling in God. It is of the utmost importance that we serve in that calling to the rejection of any other worldly considerations – including political and social.

            Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. It seems that the trees keep seeking out trees that are lower and lower to the earth. The Olive Tree may grow to a height of forty feet, but the Fig Tree does not usually exceed thirty feet in height. Like the Olive Tree, the Fig Tree is aware of its calling in God to provide a delicious benefit in its sweet fruit:  But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Good fruit-bearing trees never seek to be exalted above that purpose for which God created them. The same is true of good men and women who know their calling in God and will not forfeit that calling regardless the worldly temptations. 

            If the trees could not get another tree of equal stature to rule over them, they will lower their sights to a less prominent (in size) bush, but certainly not less in importance – The Vine! “Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.” When men (and trees) begin to opt for any Sovereign to rule over them other than God, they continually look lower and lower to find them. I hope this sounds familiar to those who would vote for some of the low-life scoundrels the American people have elected to public office over the past several decades. What did the Vine answer? And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? The Vine, of all trees, knows its great calling in God. Its fruit serves to symbolize the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ shed for us. Its wine is a type of the warming and exhilarating witness of the Holy Ghost to us. So, none of the fruit bearing trees will desert their calling in God.

            How much lower can these erring trees look to find a ruler fitting for themselves? Instead of looking down, they should be looking UP. But looking DOWN seems the last resort for these trees and for the masses of people who seek government to be their god instead of the Lord God!

            Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. Of what worth is the bramble? It is a thorny scrub bush that chokes out other plants. It cares only for itself. It hurts man or beast who tries to pass through its prickly branches. If it gives up anything of worth (they are good only for burning), the beneficiary will have paid a heavy cost in wounds and scratches. But how did this low-life shrub answer to the trees? And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come andput your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.  How low must the trust be when placed in the shadow of the bramble. Its leaves are puny, and its shadow low to the ground. This bramble will demand worship, as do all socialist dictators, and will put its subjects very LOW! If obedience is not total, it will destroy the most stately of trees among it – the Cedars of Lebanon. These cedars are the same used by Solomon in the building of the Temple. 

            If we examine the ashes of great empires that have preceded us, we will find that they all perished by rejecting their purpose and calling in God and opted for the lowest among them to become their king. Look to South America (Venezuela), Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Persia (Iran), Rome, Greece, or look to the destabilizing  policies of our preceding administrations in dividing our people and enacting socialist  and enslaving legislation. Remember our calling in God both as a nation, and as Christians, and do not veer from it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hymns of the Church – Marvelous Grace of our loving Lord– 26 February 2019, Anno Domini(In the Year of our Lord)


B
EINGjustified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26)

A
NDnot as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:16-17)

            This is a hymn intended to teach us to believe the greater weight of grace in God’s economy over the terror of our sins which, unforgiven, would lead to our damnation. The author, Julia H. Johnston, wrote this hymn in 1911. Though she authored over 500 hymns, this is the one that has been included in most major hymnals. Mrs. Johnston taught Sunday School at her church (Presbyterian) for more than forty years and died in 1919. The soothing tune is MOODY composed by Daniel B. Towner in 1911 and who also died in the same year as the author, Johnston, in 1919.

Marvelous Grace of our loving Lord

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured,
there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Refrain:
Grace, grace, God's grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
grace, grace, God's grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin!

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
threaten the soul with infinite loss;
grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
(Refrain)

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
brighter than snow you may be today.
(Refrain)

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see his face,
will you this moment his grace receive?
(Refrain)

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt! Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured, there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.Perhaps the greatest doubt of the recently confirmed Christian is to question how God’s grace could be of such magnitude as to cover his profusion of sins; but it IS! It is of such magnitude as to be marvelous in our eyes. WE scarcely can comprehend that God chose us for the greatest of all elections in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; and it was ALL of grace and of no merit on our part. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light(1 Peter 2:9)WE are CHOSEN in Christ! That overpowering Grace was freely granted to us but came at the most precious cost to the Father in sending His Son to die as a propitiation for our sins.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold, threaten the soul with infinite loss; grace that is greater, yes, grace untold, points to the refuge, the mighty cross.There is no cessation of the waves of the restless sea. That infinite depth and mass of waters is much like our sins – they are overwhelming and not capable of being remitted by our best efforts and intentions. The cross stands erect at infinite reach above the waves – in fact, all the way to the Gates of Splendor. Why is the cross of such critical importance? Because the sin-sick petitioner can look to the cross for the only cure for his deadly disease. 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  (John 3:13-15)Note that none have ascended up to heaven but the One (our Lord) who came DOWN. So, forget your money-grubbing fables about someone dying, going to heaven, and coming back. 

When the Children of Israel were grumbling and disobedient in the Wilderness, God sent fiery snakes among them. These were deadly (and still are in the sandy soils of the desert). But God provided a means of survival for the Children when they sought relief. He commanded Moses to affix a brazen serpent to a pole and raise it in the midst of the camp of the Israelites. Whenever one was bitten by the fiery snake, he need only look to the brazen serpent on the pole. Christ became our brazen serpent to heal us of the deadly disease of sin when we look to His redeeming sacrifice.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide. What can avail to wash it away? Look! There is flowing a crimson tide, brighter than snow you may be today.Sin, like leprosy, may be hidden for a time; however, it is insidious in its growth and effect. Just as with leprosy, there comes a time when the foul odor and ugliness of sin is abundantly clear to all who chance to meet us. It is a stain on our garments that grows with the stench of the pig sty. Like the Prodigal Son, our Lord has purchased for us a pure White Robe to cover our sins. We are accounted justified in complete sum. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow(Psalm 51:7)Hyssop is a purgative that first cleanses the inside of the body. Washing will follow of the outside. Whiter than snow? How so? Because every snow flake has a speck of impurity around which its crystals coalesced in the upper atmosphere. But we will not have a single speck of unrighteousness attributed to the Elect – thus, we are whiter than snow.

            Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe! You that are longing to see his face, will you this moment his grace receive?As the shepherd knows his sheep by name, so does the Lord know those whom He has chosen to be recipients of grace. What must one do to earn that grace? NOTHING! Grace is freely given, and freely received. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 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. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.  (Romans 5:14-16)

            REFRAIN:Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God's grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!The refrain summarizes the entire hymn. Grace out-measures our sins so far that the reckoning cannot be made. The ocean seems boundless and infinite to our mortal souls. If the oceans represented our sins, look to the heavens which are greater by far in extent than our seas. The good old hymn, THE LOVE OF GODsays it all: The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell, It goes beyond the highest star, And reaches to the lowest hell - The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win, His erring child He reconciled, And pardoned from his sin.Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made - Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry, Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sermon Notes - Sexagesima - Saint Andrews Anglican Church 24 February 2019, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)


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

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

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

          
  I was raised in the days of World War II and years following. We still had wells of water in those days – some wells were less refreshing than others. Our well was in rural north Georgia before we moved to the ‘civilized’ world of the town. Our water had two qualities that stood out among all others; the water was sweet, and it was cold in the heat of the summer months. The water was cold and sweet because our well was a very deep one that searched out the deeper veins of the springs that God had placed at such depth. In that characteristic, wells are like God’s Word – one must dig deeper and deeper to hit the refreshing veins of Living Water.

            Sometimes, I want to revisit that old well of my grandmother’s in Dawnville, Georgia, to taste that cool refreshing water. It is not simply the water that I desire, but the simpler and more innocent days that existed in that country then. I am not alone in this sentiment. We see that David experienced the same: 14 And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate! 16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD. 17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men. (2 Sam 23:14-17)

            In our Gospel text today, we find our Lord Jesus Christ resting by such a well of water that is still common in the Middle East. Every adobe village has a well outside the gate where the women gather at sundown to draw water, either by a bucket let down into the well, or else walk down a corridor to an open stream that has been dug out for them. I have witnessed these women many times sauntering around those wells with animated talk (and most likely, gossip).

            In the prelude to today’s text, we find that it was no accident that our Lord met this woman of less that stellar repute at Jacob’s Well. In fact, it had been decided in eternity past that He would have this appointment in Samaria: “And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.” John 4:4-5 (KJV) The Lord had a reason for making this more tiresome journey through the rough country of Samaria, and that reason was for this Woman at the Well, and the many villagers who came to believe on Him through her testimony and their own personal witness to His teaching. He searches out diamonds among the rough, unhewn stones of the world. The great Christian professor and author, Dr. James Stalker of Scotland, illustrates fittingly the woman who met our Lord at the Well that day in Imago Christi:

Discovery of the African Diamond Mines
I have heard that one of the diamond fields of South Africa was discovered in this wise. A traveler, one day, entered the valley and drew near to a settler's door, at which a boy was amusing himself by throwing stones. One of these stones fell at the stranger's feet, who picked it up, and was in the act of laughingly returning it, when something flashed from it which stopped his hand and made his heart beat fast. It was a diamond. The child was playing with it as a common stone; the peasant's foot had spurned it; the cart wheel had crushed it, till the man who knew saw it and recognized its value. " The story often comes to my mind when I am thinking of the soul. Was it not the same careless treatment the soul was receiving when Jesus arrived in the world and discovered that soul ... In every child of Adam whom He called He perceived the diamond. The rags of the beggar could not hide it from His eyes nor the black skin of the savage, nor even the crimes of the evil doer.

            There are several spiritually significant points to our Lord’s resting by Jacob’s Well outside Sychar. The first is the request the Lord made of the woman: “Give me to drink.” vs 4:7 The woman was astonished at this request from a stranger of the Jews.. Why? It is because the Jews considered the Samaritan’s to be a fallen race of people and unclean. No self-respecting Jew would drink from a dipper from which Samaritans drank. There is something else significant about our Lord’s request for water: He did not need to request such a favor as He could have spoken the water into existence as He had spoken the water in the jars to be changed into wine at Cana of Galilee; but the Lord knows that we learn by all our senses.. Experiential learning may often trump that which comes by way of hearing only. He gives us a hand in serving, and He does not judge our persons by race or reputation. His mission is to change souls from lost to found as much as to change water into wine. 

            There were several astonishing truths that the Lord taught the woman in the brief encounter by the Well.

1.     That He was the promised Messiah; “I am He who am speaking to thee."
2.     That He was Himself God: By revealing to the Samaritan woman the hidden secrets of her conscience, He manifested His omniscience.
3.     That He is full of grace and truth:  The living water which Jesus gives is His divine doctrine and grace – not the water to be found 80 feet below the ground in that well at Sychar.  His doctrine and grace give supernatural and eternal life to the soul, which, without grace, is dead and in a state of mortal sin. The human soul thirsts for truth and happiness, and our Lord satisfies this thirst by His doctrine and grace.
4.     That His Love abounds to sinners: In spite of His exhaustive travels, He took time to linger by Jacob’s Well to save the soul of a woman of whom even her own people had little regard. 
5.     That the coming to terms with the Lord of a single sinner may lead to the salvation of multitudes.
6.     That the world will be surprised at our love and concern for fallen man: “And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?” John 4:27 (KJV) She was not, in the mind of the disciples, a woman worthy of the Master’s company. Little did they realize that neither were they, or any others.
7.        
The disciples prevailed upon the Lord to eat, but He surprised them yet again: I have meat to eat that ye know not of The wisdom of God does not make sense to the world. We seldom can comprehend the beauty that transcends the divine laws and principles of Heaven. Do you remember when you were very young that you became so engrossed in playing games outdoors with your friends that you literally forgot to eat. Mom would come to the door more than once and call you to the supper table – and with each call, her voice grew more emphatic. What was this meat that the Lord had to eat which the disciples knew not of? It was that joy of the Shepherd who searches out His lost sheep (it was His even if lost) and returns rejoicing. That was the bread of the Lord upon which His soul and Spirit thrived!

The poor disciples were bewildered at His saying.  Who gave the Lord bread to eat they wondered. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.My wife often calls me in late afternoon to ask me to come home for dinner; however, I may be in the midst of writing something that I value more than my dinner concerning the truth of some biblical truth. I do not want to lose the joy of the moment until I get all reduced to writing. That does not come close to the bread for which our Lord craved; but it is as close as this mortal can come to understanding it. 

We think of harvests to come in each due season. Sure, there must be ground breaking, planting, weeding, watering, etc.; however, every season with God is harvest season. The tassels of the fruit-laden wheat is forever white and bowed down for reaping. The work of the harvester is never done while seed-time and harvest remain. Paul counsels us 1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  (2 Tim 4:1-4)

I am somewhat taken aback by Paul’s counsel above, for it seems that we have already come upon that day when the church itself will no longer abide sound doctrine, that teachers and preachers are sought out who will satisfy the itching ears of many for a ‘different and worldly’ Gospel. Maybe so, but not as long as there remains thousands of faithful to the Lord in the land. We might conduct ourselves as courageously as the naval gunners aboard the Battleship Bismarck whose crew continued firing their naval cannons into the sky as that great vessel began to list and go under the cold waters of the North Atlantic.


In what season of your Christian walk are you, my friend? You will note that, though Christ was resting beside the Well, His heart was active to reach the woman’s heart to reveal His Person; and is every season a time of harvest and refreshing, or perhaps a time of sharing as we rest beside the Wells of Living Water.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The First Transgression – 22 February 2019, Anno Domin


A
NDwhen the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons(Gen 3:6-7)

            There is never a reason to disobey God. Today we have Ten Commandments by which we know sin and error; but in the Garden at Eden, our first parents, Adam and Eve, were given only ONE commandment, and this one commandment they failed to obey. “16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17)This first transgression has brought the fatal blood disease of sin and death upon the progeny of those first two parents. None can escape the taint of sin.

            Adam was not deceived, but the woman, Eve, was deceived in the Garden. “14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Tim 2:14)It is a good thing to have a trusting heart, but it is a bad thing to put one’s trust in any other than God. (see Ps 118:8 & Acts 5:29).

            So, if Adam was not deceived, why did he partake of the forbidden fruit knowing he would surely die? I believe that Adam, being a type of Christ, ate of that fruit out of love for Eve. Adam is a type, though in the anti-type set, of Christ in that he is the father and progenitor of the human race. Christ is the firstborn of the heavenly race in the Kingdom of Heaven. Just as Christ was willing to die for His Bride, the Church, so was Adam willing to die for Eve his bride. But the main point of this is SIN has infected the entire human race, and indeed the world, through Adam’s Fall. 

            What was the fruit of the union of Adam and Eve? They had two sons – the first Cain, and the second Abel. The first man born upon the earth was a murderer of his own brother. Abel was a prophet, and was obedient to God in worship. “That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” (Luke 11:50-51)Abel knew that there could be no covering for sin without the shedding of blood. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb 9:22)You will recall that Abel brought a worthy sacrifice of his flock – a lamb; but Cain brought an offering of the product of his labors in the earth – a cursed source since the earth had been cursed by Adam’s sin. “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake.”(Gen 3:17)

            The stage is now set for the spiral into the abyss for which sin is most noted. Cain, in a rage of jealousy, murdered his brother in the field.

            The Lord asked three probing questions of Cain:

1.      Why art thou wroth?
2.      Where is Abel, thy brother?
3.      What has thou done?

There are people in the world who resent your joy and happiness as a Christian; i.e. the politically correct crowd that would stifle your prayers, your Bible reading, and your righteous living. They are infuriated at your invoking the name of the God in whom they claim they do not believe. Why would they be so outraged, as was Cain, simply because we worship aright if they do not believe that your God exists? In fact, deep within their souls is a conviction that God does, indeed, exist; but, if they acknowledge His existence, they realize they are faced with the dilemma of either accepting His sovereign rule, or else being damned in the fires of Hell. They do not want to accept His rule. Like Cain, they wish to do everything according to their own discretion and not God’s. 

 “WHAT HAS THOU DONE?” God never asks a question for which He does not already know the answer. In fact, there is no unanswered question with God – nothing is hidden from His knowledge!

No one, either, escapes the eyes of God Almighty. His eyes are especially upon His beloved people: “15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. 16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” (Psalm 34:15-16)But the wicked neither escape the notice or the hand of judgment of the Lord God. “. . . . they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” (Zech 4:10)Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth.”(Amos 9:8)

            Seeing that our primitive parents fell into the snare of sin by their failure to keep ONE law of God, what chance do you feel you have in keeping TEN, and that through a foundation of love of neighbor more than the love of self? Can we be so obedient that never a sinful act, a sinful thought, or a sinful wandering eye would ever disgrace our souls? If we could have kept the Commandments perfectly and without a single failure, we would not have needed a Redeemer. But we cannot, and we have not!

            So, when we have made our calling and election sure through the gift of grace of our Lord, can we then live a sinless life? No, we cannot. It is true that the sanctifying graces of the Holy Ghost will enrich our love for God and neighbor so that we live remarkably in greater obedience than before coming to the Throne of Mercy and Grace; but we sin yet, and often. 

            In the economy of God’s Kingdom, not even a sliver of sin can be accepted. He is a God of Love, but He is also a God of perfection and judgment. Two great truths may bewilder our minds to consider: 

1.     For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
2.     For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)

So what is our case before the bar of judgment when we are subpoenaed to stand before that great Bar of Justice? 

            For the benefit of drawing us out into the bright Light of God’s truth, I purposely left out a part of each of those stunning great truths listed: Those parts omitted  are: 1) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” (Romans 3:24-25)You will note the precise legal terminology of this second part of Truth #1 – ‘justified freely by His grace.’ What a difference that addendum means to us! We are not innocent, but we are accounted righteous by the purchase of Christ with His own blood. We are not righteous, but we are ACCOUNTED righteous by having the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. We did NOTHING to deserve that privilege – it is a free gift! What of that second great TRUTH? It is, by nature, the same as the first: “For the wages of sin isdeath; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23)Note the gift of God is eternal life (a totally free gift) but with a stipulation. What is it? That gift is granted in only ONE way – “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

            We all, in some way or another, bear the marks of Cain upon our stained souls, but God, in His Prescient Mind, made provision for our salvation by providing a means of redemption through the sacrifice of His only Begotten Son before the worlds were made. Adam and Eve were given the promise of that redemption in more ways than one. The foot of her seed (Jesus Christ) would one day crush the seed of the serpent’s head. The skins that the Lord used to cover the nakedness (sin) of Adam and Eve came from the death of an innocent animal – a foreshadow of the Lamb of God to be sacrificed some 4,000 years hence to cover our own sin and nakedness.

            Abraham was given that greatest of all promises of a coming Savior, and not seeing its fruition, yet believed. And many others through the annals of time have clung to that promise in belief even though many in Israel did not believe. The true children of Israel were not those who rejected the promised Messiah, but those few of all races who believed. Job, too, believed: “23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:23-27)

            Are you a child of God and of the family of Abraham, or do you belong to that other family headed by your father the devil, seeing there are only two families in all the world?