The Propers for today are found on Page 204-205, with the Collect first:
The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity.
GOD, who declarest thy almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ryan Hopkins read the Epistle, which came from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, the Fifteenth Chapter beginning at the First Verse. Paul tells us he is delivering the message he received, the Good News of the Saving Grace of God through Jesus. He recounts the death and resurrection of Jesus; noting the various witnesses to the resurrection, including himself. He goes on to say, if he, who he categorizes as the least of the apostles, not even meet to be called an apostle due to his persecution of the Church of God, can be forgiven and work the Work of God, who cannot?
rethern, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.”
Deacon Striker Jack Arnold read today’s Holy Gospel which started in the Eighteenth Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke, beginning at the Ninth Verse. Jesus tells a parable to an audience which apparently consisted of some self-righteous people, which likely fits each of us. The parable is that of a Pharisee and a publican both of whom pray in the temple. While the Pharisee might well have been a “better” man than the publican, he clearly was not the man he thought he was, for he “prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” Quite the holy fellow. The publican, quite aware of how much he fell shot of God’s perfection stood “afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus told his audience, “this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” None of us is truly good, we can only strive to be better and look to our Lord to help us. Only through Christ will we be accounted as just before God.
esus spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Sermon – Time and Action
Today’s sermon tied the Epistle and Gospel together and is mainly contained in the forewords above. We are each grievous sinners, some worse than others, none better. Yet, we come before God all equal. In equally big trouble, some more, none less. It is only through faith we are saved.
Our faith? Partly, but not mainly.
We are saved by the perfect faith of Christ, our only mediator and advocate before the Father. The perfect faith of Christ allowed a single sacrifice to be made at one time, to right the account the sins of all mankind for all time. This is the faith that saves us and our faith in Him allows Him to operate in us. One of Paul’s points in today’s Gospel was that if he, the previous Chief Persecutor of the church could be saved by Jesus’ that option was available to each of us. All we need to do is repent and follow. Thus, we need to Lead, Follow or Get out of the Way towards Christ and God’s grace.
Bishop Ogles’ message for today
Today’s work from Bishop Jerry is on the Holy Gospel for this Sunday evening fro, the lectionary. It is very interesting. I cannot commend it to you enough.
Devotion for 11th Sunday after Trinity 4 Sept 2011 Anno Domini
"38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:40 Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." (Mark 12:38-44)
I have chosen for the devotion today the Gospel for Evening from the Lectionary. Though there are only seven verses in this Gospel Reading today, it will be difficult to cover the preponderance of meaning therein within the scope of a daily devotion; nevertheless, let us take as complete perusal of the grandeur of the landscape there as time will permit.
It is important to take note of the setting in which these last verses occur prior to seeking a better understanding of them. Jesus has just finished cleansing the Temple of money changes and merchants in the chapter immediately preceding. He has castigated the chief priest, elders and scribes for their lack of understanding and their hypocrisy. A very complete account of his confrontation with these faithless wonders is given in Matthew 23:1-39. Please bear in mind that Christ used the utmost tenderness in dealing with the desperate sinner, but brooked no patience for these prodigious hypocrites!
"And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces," This indicates a continuation in His teaching reflected here, and in the previous chapter as well as Matthew 23. His Doctrine is quite a righteous contrast to the wicked and legalistic doctrine of the Pharisees. Their doctrine is fraught with manmade tradition and egregious departures from the Word of God as given in the Law and the Prophets. Jesus referred to this doctrine once as the "leaven of the Pharisees." Leaven always represents sin. This is why we use unleavened bread in Communion, for the thing represented should be symbolized in the nature of that which symbolizes. "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." (Matt 16:6) The disciples misunderstood this remark by believing he referred to their failure to bring bread. "O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." (Matt 16:8-12) Just as many popular ministers of today who propagate lies for money, these culprits were teaching false doctrine for personal gain. This was one of those issues which attracted the attention of the courageous Martin Luther when he realized the thievery of the Roman clerics in selling indulgences for lucre.
Christ tells us that these false teachers love to wear fancy garments adorned with intricate embroidered hems and collars. They loved to be honored publicly. "And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts." The overriding point is simply this: they considered themselves better and more holy than all others. Do you believe that God hears the prayers of a bishop or priest with greater urgency than those uttered by a little child – a little child whose angel regards the face of God always? "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt 18:10) Spiritual arrogance is the worst form of hypocrisy. These men loved to make long and fancy prayers for the sake of public acclaim: "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) This verse from Matthew is also echoed here in our text today: "Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation." You will see that their motive is to consume what little property the widows and poor of the church have without compassion or love. The new versions (based on poor manuscript evidence) exclude Matthew 23:14 as well as many, many other verses of the Bible in face of God's warning given at Revelations 22:18-19. I wonder why the copyrighters of new bibles would exclude such a verse, or call into question whether the "woman taken in adultery" ever happened. We have them with us today! These two verses from Matthew 23:14 and Mark 12:40 set the scene for the following events recorded.
"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much." Please do not assume that God does not see all that we do – not only how much we give in tithes and offerings. It is true that He takes note of our actions but, more importantly, He takes note of the desires and thoughts of our hearts. It is the heart motive whereby we are known by God. The particular receptacle for these offerings was for the receipt of support for maintenance and upkeep of the Temple. The wealthy gave very much and no doubt ensured that this was obvious to all around. They would have been embarrassed for their station in life to offer two mites, so they protected their pride in giving much, but not so much that there lifestyle was cramped in any way.
"And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing." This poor widow was not counted among those "rich who cast in much." Those others did not attract the particular attention of Christ that this poor widow did. She is a particular person – a CERTAIN widow! Christ looked into the hearts of the rich and found nothing worthy of note, but in looking into the riches of the heart of a certain poor widow, He saw a life of hardship but a heart of tender love. He saw many oppressions wrought by the world against one helpless to withstand, but one whose strength of character was molded and made strong for God under these oppressions. He saw the want of her children, and the sacrifices she alone could make for them. He saw the Silver Cord loosed at the decease of the darling of her youth. And Christ also saw the great wealth represented in her two mites. These two mites may have given her one extra morsel of food at supper time, but she gave it to God. She gave ALL that she had which amounted to a tremendous offering in the eyes of the One whose knowledge of her gift mattered. How much of your time, your treasure, and your compassion have you given this day to one less able to provide for their needs? To give to widows and orphans is a direct gift to Christ, did you know?
Jesus would have us learn from the poor widow else He would not have raised the issue. He told His disciples, for He wanted them to learn as well: "And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury." Please observe that Jesus is not condemning the offering of the rich ones, but extolling the virtues of the widow whom His great Heart loves! Her two mites will gain a great deposit in heaven, and that is where it was directly deposited. This poor widow gave out of a FULL heart and an EMPTY purse. My heart is blessed to remember her and I love her without having seen her. It is estimated that if the widow's mite had been deposited at the "First National Bank, Jerusalem" to draw four percent interest semi-annually, the fund today would total $4,800,000,000,000,000,000,000. This figure represents more spendable cash than exists in all the world today. Her two mites, gaining a better interest rate in heaven, have gained for her more than the whole world. Jesus saw her treasure in heaven!
I have heard some careless and faithless speculators surmise that the widow cast in two mites because she simply had no smaller coinage. How preposterous and denying of the clear words of Christ! "For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." Christ knew what the widow had, and what she did not have, so He tells us that she cast in all her living. What remarkable treasure can be had in two mites! The value of the two mites was not in the monetary value of the metal, but the virtue and love from which they were given!
I will conclude by borrowing the closing of my Lenten Devotion for April 6, 2011: "The Words of Christ best informs us of how we should invest our treasure: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matt 6:19-21)
When you get to Heaven, will you have riches on deposit?
Bishop Dennis Campbell
Today’s Sunday Report has a guest sermon by Bishop R. Dennis Campbell. As you may have noticed, we often publish Bishop Jerry and Bishop Dennis sermons and notes. This is because no one I have ever heard does as fine a job at expressing biblical concepts in terms we can understand. Today is one of those times!
How God Shows Greatness
Eleventh Sunday after Trinity
4 September 2011
"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness"(Ps. 48:1). "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork" (Ps. 19:1). These verses from the Psalms remind us again of the grandeur and wonder of God. He created all things, and they exist for His pleasure and His purpose. He is not simply "out there," He is actively involved in His creation, so much that it is correct to say He is everywhere in it. He permeates it. His power sustains it. His decrees order the movement of the galaxies and of atoms and sub-atomic particles. He knows the number of the hairs on your head, and the number of the days of your life. This does not mean He and the creation are one and the same. It is incorrect to say He exists in the creation. It is correct to say the creation exists in Him. He is in it, and He fills it, yet He is distinct from it, so that it is not Him and He is not it. He is far more vast and complex than it. He is eternal in His being, and He is infinite in His being. The creation is finite in both, and though the universe appears vast and unfathomable to us, to God it is as a smudge of dust on His finger.
I say all of this to remind us again of the Great Being we have gathered to worship this morning. I think we often think of God in terms that are too small, and that we forget about His infinite being and power, and that we forget that this One, Infinite Being who dwells in eternity, is also infinite in holiness, and justice, and wisdom, and power. And when we forget this, we have a tendency to treat Him casually. We have a tendency to think of Him as being like us, and as being more like our good buddy in the sky or the "man upstairs" than as the Great High God who holds our being in His hand, and is able to cast us into Hell, and who is as infinite in holiness and goodness as He is in His being. If we could but glimpse the train of His robe we would be filled with such awe we would immediately cease the casual silliness that passes for faith and worship today, and we would fall on our faces in reverence and fear.
And yet, we have seen much more of Him than the train of His robe. He, Himself came to us and showed Himself to us. He did not reveal Himself in all of His power and glory. We could not see that and live. He showed Himself by becoming one of us, and by living among us, and facing life and sorrow, and joy, and temptation, and death, just as we have to do, for He became a real man.
For what purpose did Jesus come to earth, and teach us about God, and die on the cross? It was not to crush us under His feet. It was not to tread us in the winepress of the fierceness of His wrath. He will come back in judgment one day, and that will be a fearful day but that is not why He was born in Bethlehem and walked that long road to Golgotha. He came not to take life, but to give life. "I am come that they [His people] might have life," He said in John 10:10. "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever believth in me shall never die," He said in John 11:25 and 26. In Matthew 20:28 He said He, the Son of Man, came to give His life as a ransom for many. You and I could quote many other verses on this theme, but we have mentioned enough to make the point I am trying to make this morning: Jesus Christ came to show mercy. Jesus Christ came to save.
Imagine the vastness of this universe, so vast that, to us, it seems almost infinite. Imagine the complexity of this universe, or even of one single living cell. And all of this is nothing compared to God. Yet, when He chose to come to earth and give the fullest revelation of Himself we can receive as mere human beings, and when He chose to reveal that most important attribute of Himself, as far as His relationship to us is concerned, He chose to reveal His mercy. How absolutely stunning. It is too much for words.
This does not mean He overlooks our sin, or that He is not offended and angered by our sin. It does not mean He will not punish sinners. It does mean He delights in showing mercy, and every sinner who truly repents and unfeignedly believes His holy Gospel, is welcomed into His presence with true joy and love, forever. From the woman taken in adultery, to the Pharisee Saul who persecuted the Church, to the publican praying in the Temple to every person hearing or reading this sermon, all who trust in Jesus Christ will find God to be full of mercy, the Father of all mercies, who declares His almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity.
lmighty God, who declarest thy almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandment, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of they heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 Pharisee - One of a sect or party among the Jews, noted for a strict and formal observance of rites and ceremonies and of the traditions of the elders, and whose pretensions to superior sanctity led them to separate themselves from the other Jews.
 Publican 1. (Rom. Antiq.) A farmer of the taxes and public revenues; hence, a collector of toll or tribute. The inferior officers of this class were often oppressive in their exactions, and were regarded with great detestation.
Literally a Publican is one who farmed the taxes (e. g., Zacchaeus, Luke 19: 2) to be levied from a town or district, and thus undertook to pay to the supreme government a certain amount. In order to collect the taxes, the publicans employed subordinates (5: 27; 15: 1; 18: 10), who, for their own ends, were often guilty of extortion and peculation (defrauding the public by appropriating to one's own use the money or goods intrusted to one's care for management or disbursement; embezzlement). In New Testament times these taxes were paid to the Romans, and hence were regarded by the Jews as a very heavy burden, and hence also the collectors of taxes, who were frequently Jews, were hated, and were usually spoken of in very opprobrious terms. Jesus was accused of being a "friend of publicans and sinners" (Luke 7: 34).