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

Verse of the Day

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sermon Notes - Fourth Sunday in Lent - Saint Andrews Church - 31 March 2019, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)


The Fourth Sunday in Lent.
The Collect.

G
RANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

J
ESUS went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.  (John 6:1-14)

            In our regularly repeated Lord’s Prayer, we ask one blessing from our Lord – Our Daily Bread. We do not ask for bread tomorrow, or for bread to store up in warehouses; but only for that bread upon which we must subsist in the present day. Since God exists in the eternal NOW (the great I AM) we seek the spiritual bread of life upon which we may live eternally.  The Bread of Heaven, unlike that Manna of Moses’ day, is given from grace and not subject to storage. 

            In the Old Testament reading from Exodus 16:4-15, we are informed of that Manna given in the Wilderness. It was to be gathered each day and only enough for that one day (except the sixth day during which two day’s supply was gathered for the Sabbath following). Like Christ, that bread (manna) came down from Heaven. But we do have a lesson in this Old Testament reading on hoarding. The Bread of Heaven cannot be hoarded. We cannot live a commendably spiritual life today and binge on sin the next. 

            We find a multitude of thousands who have sought our Lord’s presence on the mountain slopes of the Sea of Galilee. By number, men alone counting up to 5,000 plus women and children. Many have followed Him there out of a heartfelt need, many out of curiosity, and many out of a desire for some personal benefit of Him. Nothing has changed in the heart of man since that day. Many in our church today are here out of a need to replenish the human heart in truth. Others are here to satisfy mundane desires for acceptance and maybe even entertainment. Some are here to make business contacts or add to social status. NOTHING has changed!

            But of all this multitude, there is a common condition they all share – they are all hungry for SOMETHING! And there remains another common hunger which is for physical bread for the body. Christ will serve them BOTH! His feeding of the 5,000 plus provide lessons of both spiritual and physical import to us. 

            Though there were 5,000 adult men present, plus the disciples, none had considered provender for the day. There was only five loaves of bread and two fishes among the multitude – and these were in the possession of a young boy. Of course, those provisions were no match for the great number requiring rations. But God can use the small things of the human frame to provide great things in its spiritual fulfillment. Most men would have held the bread and fishes close to their breast in the face of thousands of hungry mouths, but not this young lad. He had a pure heart and a generous spirit (common to many young people unspoiled by the world). He was willing to share that small deposit with an enormous multitude. In the human sense, these were not even worthy of mention for such a number; but not with our Lord! He can take the smallest provision, from the most physically insignificant source, and multiply it according to the infinite scale of Heaven.

1.       So, the first lesson we learn from this occasion is that all men are hungry and without means to satisfy their hunger, and, secondly, the smallest child present can be a greater benefit than a multitude of grown men. We learn that charity outweighs selfish greed and personal want.

2.       We learn that our faith may be tested by our Lord. He may ask a question of us to both get our attention and reveal our inadequacy of faith and ability. “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”  He never asks a question for which He has no answer, being all truth. This opens the eyes of His disciples to their hopeless challenge. How will THEY satisfy such an awesome need? Of course, the answer is that it cannot be done from a human perspective. 

3.       We learn that a little faith can open the heart to greater promise. See the human dilemma in Philip’s comment that the cost would be more than the company could possibly afford. But in Andrew’s response is a tiny grain of faith that will build into bushels of bread and fish: “Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” Trying to not sound too ridiculous in his comment, Andrew asked, but “what are they among so many.” But deep in his heart, Andrew knew that the Lord could always provide shocking surprises out of impossible measures. 

4.       There is a great point here made by Christ – never question the power of Heaven to make suffice with meager provisions. Our Lord did not even comment on the smallness of the boy’s offering. He immediately said: “Make the men sit down.” Herein are other points for our learning: first, the work of the Lord must be done in order; secondly, our labors are not required to gain the graces and blessings of Heaven. The multitude were seated while the servants of the Lord shared the bread which the Lord had multiplied.  Furthermore, the Lord gives His servants a hand in performing His works of charity among those who are not believers. 

5.       The Lord never eats, or serves his meals, without first returning thanks to His Father in Heaven. I am always inspired to see families return thanks over their meals even in public places. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples.” Notice also that the ministers of God are never the source of blessings. All blessings come from God, and His ministers are sometimes privileged to pass those blessings to the people. (From Christ to His ministers to the people).

6.     A great concluding lesson is the fact of, not only stewardship, but the inviolability of the Kingdom of God. “When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.Therefore they gathered themtogether, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.” John 6:12-13 (KJV) We are expected to responsibly manage the resources God has placed in our hands. In the economy of Heaven, NOTHING is wasted. Those whose souls are made NEW in Christ shall not perish – EVER! All will remain in the Twelve Baskets (the fullness of Israel). Those souls whom the Father places into the hands of His only Begotten Son shall never perish.

There is the beginning of a final lesson given in the following few verses of this chapter – the will of God is often misunderstood by an unbiblical interpretation. Seeing the power of God to provide free physical food by miraculous means, the men decided to force Christ to become their worldly (not Heavenly) king. So, He retired to the mountain for rest and prayer alone while His disciples departed across the Sea of Galilee – and into a great storm. From the mountain height, our Lord doubtlessly watched as His disciples fought powerlessly against the angry billows and tearing winds. Even after such an astounding miracle of feeding an immense multitude, the disciples had not thought to call upon the powers of Heaven to save themselves. When they saw Jesus walking on the stormy sea, they believed Him to be a ghost. We, too, often perceive the presence of our Lord in our moments of turmoil as a ghost and not the reality of His Person and help. 


            In our great need and want, we may be hungry for physical nourishment, or for spiritual Manna; but we must realize that our Lord can, and will, provide all our needs “according to riches of His grace.” We should seek His face even as did the multitudes by the Sea of Galilee.

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Sermon – Reverend Hap Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

Consider these words from the Collect:

… we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved …

In the Collect, as is often to the case we acknowledge to God we have fallen way short of our goals He set for us. We are also acknowledging we deserve to be punished for our failures; by His Grace we are relieved of that punishment. Jesus accomplished that relieving by laying down His Life that we might be free of eternal damnation. 
                                                                                        
In order for us to enter heaven, we have to be accounted as perfect.  Most of us know we are so far away from perfect, it would not seem to be possible. 

How then can we get into heaven, if not by our own means?

Death is oft referred to as the “Final Accounting.” As as businessman, I can tell you things are sometimes be accounted as what they are not, legally, too!  

At that final judgment day, if we stay the course and follow God’s guidance, we can be accounted as perfect through the Grace of God’s Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Paul is right on point when he talks about the two sons of Abraham, one of the bond, one of the free.   Being adopted into the freewoman’s family requires us to follow Him and His guidance. This gift of eternal life is not free. It was paid for by Jesus’ death on the Cross and it requires us to actively following and working for Him here on earth.

The son of the bondwoman represents our state before Christ and those who refuse to follow Him.  They are stuck in bondage to their own sins and to Satan and will never truly be free. They are in essence slaves of their own will. We have free will, let us exercise it in the way God intended, to follow the path of righteousness towards Him.

The two are representative of the two covenants with God, the bond under The Law and the free under The New Covenant.  

The people of old are The People of The Law. Six Hundred Thirteen Laws each of which they were to follow.  They really did not  attempt to follow them, rather not to break them., A very complex and even more difficult life to live, to comply and uphold those laws and failing. We still fail miserably at times, but we only have two laws, which we will hear about in a second. They are still hard to uphold, but if we manage to, easier to remember.  The big thing to remember about the 613 laws is that they could not accomplish what Christ accomplished in His Sacrifice and establishing the New Covenant. The Holy Ghost helps us along the journey to this goal, to bring us to that eternal life.

The New Covenant is so much less complex than the Old Covenant.  It is much easier to remember the ways of the New Covenant than the Old Covenant. However, the Old Covenant had to come first to get people’s hearts ready to follow the New Covenant.  For the New Covenant could not be introduced, or in other words, Jesus could not come to Earth until the people were ready for His Teachings. The Old Covenant was a stepping stone to the New Covenant.

Remember this from Holy Communion:

Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith:

T
HOU shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Under the New Covenant, we have only two laws with which we must comply.  But, there is a catch.  We are not to just avoid breaking those two laws, we must actually live them in our hearts, souls, minds AND bodies.  We must actualize them. It is the common theme of Action not just Diction, that appears in sermons past here. The only way in which we can follow these two laws is we have to put them into practice in our day to day lives, which requires Action and not just Diction. 

That is way harder.  We are imperfect creatures with free will; a combination doomed to failure.

True, but we have the ultimate Get out of Jail Free card – Jesus Christ the righteous and He is the propitiation for our sins! Remember that?  He accounts us as perfect at our final accounting!

There are two choices, two covenants, we can choose either to be enslaved to sin and Satan; or to be free under God and Jesus. These are the two sides of which Paul speaks. We can be either enslaved to sin or we can be truly free and under God.  The two choices boil down to either eternal slavery or eternal freedom. I know which side I want to be on, do you?

We always have a choice, it is upon us to choose and decide. Nobody else can make that critical choice.  This brings to mind a quote from Lord of the RingsAll we have to do is decide what to do in the time that we are given. We must pick a side; in this spiritual war here is no middle ground. 

We cannot stand with one foot on the  side of slavery and one on the free. We cannot be fence sitters, we must have our feet planted on one side.  From rational viewpoint, there is only one side to pick, and that is the side of freedom, of the New Testament offered to us by Christ himself. As people of The New Covenant, the original and real New Deal, we have only to live those two laws or rules; To love the Lord with all our hearts and to love our neighbor.  Those are much harder to comply with, however, if we seek God’s guidance out and follow it, then all will be well with our souls. 

Now, think about the Gospel.  When we need help, how about instead of worrying all the time, we substitute it with action?  Trust God will give us what we need.  And, then act based on what we can and should do, not what we want to do.  Actions gets results.   These results may or not be obvious right away, but they will be soon enough. A hard principle to follow; but in the end, it is the easiest way and worth the struggle to trust God instead of worrying and or doing what we want to do. 

Action will always benefit our spiritual state compared to inaction. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are compelled to act upon our faith. Perhaps not what we want right at the time, but certainly what we need then and in the eternal future.  In the middle of nowhere, two thousand years from the nearest McDonalds, the disciples looked to Jesus to fill the needs of their congregation. Jesus took what they had and gave them what they needed; “for he himself knew what he would do.”  He actedto help them.  Do ye likewise:

ACT

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Friday, March 29, 2019

My Well Beloved Hath a Vineyard – 29 March 2019, Anno Domini


N
OW will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:  And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes (Isaiah 5:1-2)

A
ND he began to speak.unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.   And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.  And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded himin the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.  And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. Having yet therefore one son, his well beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.  But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast himout of the vineyard.  What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. 10  And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: 11 This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 12  And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.  (Mark 12:1-12)

            From ancient days to today, the Word of God has stood immutable and unchanging in its application. That which was written of Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel are just as applicable to us today as when they were first uttered by the mouth of God. All that has preceded us in biblical history has been intended as historical example and legal obligation to us today. There is an antinomian heresy rampant in modern churches that denies that the very Commandments of God are no longer applicable to us today. Some churches even call themselves ‘New Testament’ churches discounting any value to them of the Old Testament. Others do essentially the same by claiming themselves to be ‘Holy Spirit’ churches implying that the Holy Spirit only moved in the New Testament era. These are heretical views of God’s Word and a false concept of the Holy spirit.

            The Laws of God are even MORE compelling to us today than when first written on Tables of Stone. Their compulsion then was more of a legal nature; today of a greater spiritual impact, but all to the same end of the betterment of our lives. We no longer live UNDER the Law, but BY the Law. 

            In the Old Testament, the Law was a curse. In fact, the last word of the Old Testament (if you have a real Bile) is CURSE. Why was it so? Because men believed not the promise of a coming Redeemer made to Abraham and felt that their salvation rose or fell upon the perfect keeping of the enumerated Laws of God. 

            God has been building His Church (Vineyard) from the very beginning at the Garden at Eden. The promise He made to Eve “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15 ) was precursor to the fuller promise made to Abraham.  God always reveals His promises in measured graduation for our comprehension. The early people of God could never have comprehended the full meaning of the cross without a gradual subjection to God’s revelation.

            That Vineyard to which Isaiah makes reference is the Church, and Bride of His Beloved Son, Jesus. A Vineyard is designed to produce life, and in the greater sense, REPRODUCES life. If there was no living thing to care for the Vineyard, it could produce nothing. This accords fully with the natural law. The 2ndLaw of Thermodynamics (simplified) reveals that all structures tend to devolve into less organized states when left without tending (entropy). This is true of a garden as well. Leave this year’s garden unattended for the coming year and see the results! Underlying human labors to produce food for the family is the overriding sentiment of LOVE. The key to understanding how man can keep God’s Commandments is summarized in that four-letter word – LOVE. “love covereth all sins.”Proverbs 10:12  Love will never intentionally harm or violate the object of its obsession. Love enables us to keep God’s Law – not out of outward action, but inward spiritual intent. We do not keep those laws written on Tables of Stone, but in the secret chambers of our hearts. “ Forasmuch as ye aremanifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”  (2 Corinthians 3:3)

Even the secular law excuses violations of law that are unintentional and unpreventable.

            Under the terms of the Law, we were redeemed. Our Lord satisfied the terms of God’s justice when He died in our stead and for our sins on the cross. This satisfaction of blood redemption began in the Garden east at Eden when an God sacrificed an animal to make a covering for Adam and Eve. The animal was totally innocent of any sin and was the first death upon earth. But this sad event foreshadowed a greater and perfect sacrifice which would come some 4,000 years hence outside the gates of Jerusalem.

            The certain man who planted a Vineyard was God Almighty. When He planted His Vineyard, no man could fully understand what the nature of the fruit might be. The seed had to germinate in the darkness of the earth before bursting forth into effulgent light. This is true of prophecy as well. God gives us shadows and types by which the one who loves and studies His Word deeply can appreciate greater meaning that is available to all if they love that Word. 

            God also set a hedge about His Vineyard. That Hedge can represent a love for His Law. Those who do not love the Law and Word of the Lord will not feel comfortable in a church that exercises Godly discipline. 

            The place for the winefat was Calvary’s Cross. The tower He built was to benefit our wider understanding of His Word. The prophets were sent to gives us the long-view of His Word. It also was to guard against evil men who would invade and steal the fruit.
            And who do you believe is the husbandmen? Why, it is you and I. We are the keepers of the vineyard.  We serve under the constraints of God’s Word and under those appointed as the under-shepherds thereof. 

            When Adam and Eve offended against God’s Commandment (only ONE which they could not keep), He no longer fellowshipped with them regularly. He withdrew His Paradise to the New Jerusalem and dismissed the disobedient couple – “and went into a far country.” 

            Men often begin to serve God in remembering the purpose and object of the true Church, but, in time, become preoccupied by the institution itself and forget that its purpose is not size or prominence, but to do the will of the Lord. Instead of belonging to God, they believe the Church belongs to them. This was the state of the Old Testament Church when our Lord came in His ministry. The Scribes, Pharisees, and religious Rulers consider the Temple and all things appertaining thereto to be of their own domain. The Truth and Spirit of God was no longer elevated. God sent many prophets to reveal the error of this state of affairs, but the rulers of the Vineyard treated them with contempt and rejected them. He repeatedly sent men of faith to warn the keepers of the Vineyard, but they treated them brutally and even killed some of them. 

            The owner of the Vineyard (God the Father) decided to send His only Begotten Son. Do not make the mistake of thinking that God did not have absolute foreknowledge of how this only Begotten would be treated and murdered by these culprits – He DID have! He is speaking according to human reason here in this parable. “Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.” He is speaking in the only terms we can understand – HUMAN.  Read the result: “But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast himout of the vineyard.  What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.” There are important points for us here. Notice that the husbandmen (Pharisees and Jewish Rulers) knew precisely that the Son was the Heir of the Vineyard. It was for this very reason that they felt they must destroy Him. Their cozy little arrangement in running the Vineyard without the owner (as a modern church is run without her Lord) was threatened by the appearance of the Heir of the Vineyard. Kill Him and the Vineyard will be all theirs they believed. 

            How do you suppose God viewed their brutal contempt for His Son? Was their vanity not dealt with in the destruction of their old Jerusalem some thirty years later? Were they not scattered abroad living in constant fear? The keeping of the Vineyard was taken away from these husbandmen and given to a people bearing the fruits of the kingdom. God’s Church is built – not upon the pebble which was Peter, or of men, but of the Rock which was Christ. He is the Stone the builders rejected. “10  And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: 11  This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?” Having said these truths, the wicked husbandmen attempted to lay hold upon the Beloved son to destroy Him. But ‘political concerns’ got in their way. They were cowards hiding behind their robes. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Cleansing the Temple, The Unfruitful Fig Tree – 28 March 2019, Anno Domin


A
NDon the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. 15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. 17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. 18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. 19 And when even was come, he went out of the city. 20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses(Mark 11:12-26)

            Jesus said to Peter in our text today, Have Faith in God! This is one of those very simple principles that requires a very profound application. If we are One in Christ, and Christ is One in the Father, then we are also One with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Our Faith must reflect that assurance we have in God of answered prayer. Do men have a true faith today? It is certain that most do not, but what is much more appalling is the fact that most of the clergy as well have little or no faith. Then why do they preach? you may ask. I believe it is because many chose preaching as a profession out of a vain desire for power, prestige, and, of course, every morsel of grain they can glean from the threshing floor of the Church. The salient point here is that most preachers chose the profession, but were not chosen by God for it.  Hear our Lord's counsel: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)

            The matter of FAITH underlies this entire passage. Faith is evidenced by good works and love; by purity of worship with nothing of the world mixed in. The very beginning two verses set the meaning of the passages that follow.  And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 

Lesson of the Fig Tree
            Jesus is hungry today, as then, to find faith in those who call upon His Name and are called by it. Jesus sees the fig tree afar off, just as He sees those who claim faith but are devoid of it, afar off. The tree should be expected to have an abundance of fruit. Why? Because it is covered in green leaves! But isn't it possible that the figs could come after the leaves are matured? No, it is not possible since figs appear either BEFORE, or simultaneously, with the leaves. The tree is healthy and has rich foliage - but no fruit. This describes the faith-claiming Christian today whose vocabulary is full of words describing their great faith, but the fruits that should attend faith is missing. The churches today are filled with many who appear as Christian but are simply covered with the green leaves of false profession. Miters and fine robes adorn clergy who possess not the slightest elementary faith of a professing Christian. The false signs of faith claimed as gifts of the Spiritare no different from the leaves of the fig tree that bears no fruit. 

            What happens to those of false profession who bear no fruit? They wither and die - even more dead than the doornail that they were before they even adorned themselves with the leaves of false profession. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it..... And when even was come, he went out of the city. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.Thus, our Lord commands Peter to Have Faith in God! because faith begets fruit and works worthy of the Master. Hear how the 'Hall of Faith' given in Hebrews describes faith: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appearBy faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh(Heb 11:1-4)

Cleansing the Temple
            The bright green branches of our contrived faith must undergo a house-cleaning. We need to rid our hearts of all that is contrary to the testimony of a convicted Christian - pride, arrogance, greed, lust, etc. If we are going to appear faithful, we must bear the fruits of faith and more than the mere appearance of it. Even the outer courts of our hearts must reflect that faith and love of Christ.

           And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.Make no mistake - this was not the Temple proper (Holy Place and Holiest of Holies). This was the outer court referred to as the Court of the Gentiles. The Jewish leaders allowed sacrificial animals to be sold there as well as other commercial endeavors. Some biblical scholars believe this was deliberate to demonstrate their disdain for the Gentile peoples. But every corner and inch of the House of God is Holy. There are no compartments for lesser men and women of faith. What of churches that have frequent 'Yard Sales' and 'Car Washes' raising money. This is an admission that either the offerings of the people are insufficient to maintain the House of Worship, or that there are supposed needs that exceed the expedient of worship (filthy lucre comes to mind). 

            Jesus cleansed the House of God of the riff raff and slimy, greedy peddlers from the Holy Ground of the Temple. Will His approach be different in dealing with the jaded mansions of our day that pose as churches whose pastor and staff are made wealthy on the backs of many widows? Perhaps there is a reason that most modern and corrupted versions of the Bible omit this verse from Matthew: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation(Matt 23:14)

How did the religious leaders react to the cleansing of the Temple?
           And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.Certainly, they considered how they might destroy Jesus. Do not doubt it - they KNEW who He was, but placed their power, prestige, and lifestyle ahead of the Son of God. Many today place a higher premium on social concerns and public opinion ahead of what is just and right in both religion and politics. 

            Jesus began His lesson with the leave-endowed fig tree. There were other trees there with leaves, but they did not presume to bear figs - only the fig tree did so. Perhaps those other trees with leaves and no fruit represented the Gentiles who would surely bear fruit when watered with the mercies and salvation of our L:ord. 

This Mountain
            For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.Our Lord began this engagement with a lesson on Fig Trees, and now ends with a reference to a mountain - but WHICH mountain?  this mountain- that is the Mount upon which the Temple is constructed. This the apostles did accomplish when the Temple was set aside due to the doing away of Temple sacrifices when Christ became our Passover Sacrifice. Perhaps the mountainous temples of vain-glory we see in churches today may also suffer the same fate at His Coming.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus(Rev. 22:20)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

King David as a Type of Christ – 27 March 2019, Anno Domini


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NDSalmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, 22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David(Ruth 4:21-22)

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NDthe LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. 2 And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD. 3 And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee. 4 And Samuel did that which the LORD spake, and came to Bethlehem….. (1 Sam 16:1-4)

            In my hymn devotion for yesterday concerning Handel’s Coronation Hymn #1, I referenced how King David commanded that his son, Solomon, would travel to the city of Gihon to be crowned king riding on David’s own mule. Observing that Christ, in the legal sense, is considered the Son of David and the inheritor of his throne, and all thrones of this world, should it surprise any that He rode into Jerusalem to become King of Kings and Lord of Lords riding on a colt of a mule?  Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring themunto me. And if any mansay ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon(Matthew 21:2-)

            Does this not sound astonishingly like that order of David to Nathan the Prophet?  The king (David) also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon  (1 Kings 1:33-34)

            David was, in so many ways, typical of Christ in his identifying characteristics that we shall be limited on making long expository commentary and lean more firmly upon specific Scripture texts and points to conserve space and meaning. Just as Ishmael was not the intended Seed of Promise from Abraham, but Isaac, neither was the first King of Israel, Saul, in the true line of that Seed, but David. The seed-line would pass through Jesse to David who would typify that coming King of Kings in Jesus Christ. Let’s examine the early calling and background, first, of David for its relationship to that of Christ.

            Both David and Jesus had their nativity in Bethlehem (Heb: the House of Bread and Praise). …I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. 2 And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD. 3 And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee. 4 And Samuel did that which the LORD spake, and came to Bethlehem…(1 Samuel 16:1-4)Bethlehem is called the City of David in Scripture. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) (Luke 2:4, and many other passages)

            Both David and Jesus came through the genealogical line of Jesse. 22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. Both genealogies in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke record this fact. We see Paul make reference to the fact of Christ as coming from the root of Jesse: And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. (Romans 15:12) There are many other references in Scripture to confirm this fact, but I forego the mention for sake of brevity.

            David was King of Israel whose beginning was under humble circumstances. David was a shepherd boy at the time of his anointing. Jesus Christ was King of Kings and had his nativity in humble surroundings. David was a shepherd boy while Christ was the Good Shepherd and Shepherd King. (John 10:11 & Psalm 23) 

            David was, except in his adulterous affair that led to murder of Uriah, a man after God’s own heart. And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus (Acts 13:22-23)Of course, Jesus was not only a man after God’s own heart, but Jesus actually had the Heart of God

            David was a prophet and king: Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne (Acts 2:29-30)Jesus was prophet and king:  Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? "And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people(Luke 24:19)Jesus IS King of Kings: That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.(1 Tim 6:14-15, and others)

            David began his reign as anointed king at age thirty. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years(2 Sam 5:4)Jesus was thirty years old when baptized and anointed by the Holy Spirit to begin His ministry.  Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.  And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph(Luke 3:21-23)

            David surrounded himself with mighty men: These be the names of the mighty men whom David had – then follows a list of courageous men and their exploits. (2 Sam 23:8) The Lord also surrounded Himself with mighty men of courage – the Apostles. 

            David was confronted with many enemies, some openly so, and other secret enemies who were capable of betrayal.  Even David’s own son (Absalom) rebelled against his father to destroy him. And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left(2 Sam 13:30)Absalom later waged a full scale revolt against his father as recounted in 2 Samuel. Jesus also faced many enemies, both public and secret. In fact, Jesus’ own bosom friend and table guest betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver.  I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me(John 13:18) Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me (Psalm 41:9)

            David was sought after in his youth by King Saul to destroy him. Jesus, too, in His youth was sought by King Herod to destroy Him. David was king of fleshly Israel of the Hebrew nation. Christ is King of the true and spiritual Seed of Israel forever – both Jews and Gentiles.

            The Psalms of David contain David’s words, but mysteriously also do they contain the Words of Christ. The Messianic Psalms have direct applicability to Christ. Psalms 22 is such a Messianic Psalm that describes, in its first half, the sufferings of Christ on the cross; and in its second half, the glory of His resurrection.

            We cannot help but be amazed at these signs and characteristics that an omniscient God has placed in the particular persons of His own choosing in antiquity to point to that coming glorious Son of God who would fulfill the reality of promises made to the Fathers. Do you believe these to have happened by coincidence of nature? Can you not point to many seeming ‘accidents of life’ wherein you can know that it was God’s Hand all along that was your Guide and Mainstay? We may all say with the Maiden of the Wilderness, HAGARAnd she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi (Heb: well of the Living One who seest me); behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered(Gen 16:13-14)Do you not know that there is the Living One that seest YOU, too, even in the Wilderness of Life?