Verse of the Day

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saints Simon & Jude, Apostles, superseding the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity


Saints Simon and Jude
The two Apostles went to evangelize Armenia and Persia, and they were murdered in the city of Suanir in 47, Anno Domini.

Saint Simon was also called Simon the Zealot, probably because he had been a member of the nationalist party of Zealots who refused to recognize any foreign yoke over Palestine. Zealots were those who had a especial zeal for the independence of the Palestine, that is, they did not want the Holy Land to fall into the hands of any pagans whatsoever. Since the Zealot cause had some good points – commendable in some aspects – it is understandable the Lord recruited one of His Apostles from its numbers.

The mother of Saint Jude was Mary Cleophas, a sister-in-law of the Virgin Mary, stood with her  by the Cross of Jesus on Calvary. His father was Cleophas [Clopas or Alpheo in Aramaic], a brother of Saint Joseph.  Therefore, he was the legal cousin of Jesus. Jude was one of those his fellow countrymen called a “brother” of the Son of the Carpenter, because it was a custom among the Jews at that time to call cousins brothers. He wrote an epistle to combat the Gnostic heresy, which was just beginning to appear.

Propers
The Propers for today are found on Page 254-255, with the Collect first:

Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles. [October 28.]

The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect for the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity which is also read can be found on page 218:
Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

G
 RANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faith- ful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet
mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle for today which comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the Second Chapter beginning at the Nineteenth Verse:

N
OW therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Hap Arnold read the Holy Gospel for the day which comes from the the Gospel according to Saint John, the Fifteenth Chapter beginning at the Seventeeth Verse:

T
HESE things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me be- fore it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have perse- cuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Sermon – Rev Deacon Jack Arnold – Time and Action

Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles. [October 28.]

The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

G
 RANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect says that we must have the Lord’s pardon and peace, but we have to ask for it before we have it. If we don’t ask for it, we don’t get. Like the old Cowboy saying “If You Don’t Work, You Don’t Eat.”, which the basics of is covered in another letter of Paul’s to Timothy. In this case it is “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.”, so we ask Him that we might have the willingness to ask and receive His pardon and peace.

In the Epistle, St. Paul exhorts us to act, following Christ as the “Chief Cornerstone”, or the Head Bishop of the Church, with us following under His Orders, as he is our Commanding General.  And he tells us that we must not only think like Christians, but the key word is Act. If we do not act upon our thoughts and words, then how are we any better than those who went before the Christians, like the Jews of old, who said one thing and clearly did another. And in his message, and understanding it, with the Gospel’s message also that we, no matter how tough it may be to do it sometimes, we must follow His will rather than ours, and we may not be loved or liked by the world for it.

Which brings us to the point of the Gospel, in which Christ warns the Apostles that this won’t be an easy milk-run, rather that it will turn dangerous and that they have to face the choice between the World and life on Earth, or death and Life in Christ and God eternally. He tells them that they will face many persecutions for His sake, and that they will be rewarded in time, for their trials and tribulations that the suffer in His name.

Christ also explains had he not come and talked to the evildoers, they would freely be able to deceive us, but now that He has come and revealed them for who they truly are, they will not be able to hide in their wickedness, as they persecute mercilessly His flock, which he had warned them about earlier in His Gospel.  His point is, though they may persecute you, their evilness will shine through their falsified, nice demeanor that they show the world, and yet, when they act with malice in their hearts, their evilness shall come out through their actions and deeds. In our words and deeds, our goodness must shine through our actions and deeds, to counter act our badness that also comes out through words and deeds.

The Collect’s prayer the Collect, Epistle and Gospel tie together, laying out, detailing and reinforcing the same message, ultimately.  We have to ready and willing to accept the fact we will be persecuted, and we must use the help that God provides, by asking for it, and that in the end that Good will triumph over Evil, with the wickedoers deeds of malice showing through their supposedly kind exterior. In these days of trials and tribulations, we must follow this three step process that I have at the end of my sermon, Be of God, Live of God and Act of God most especially.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Bishop Ogles’ Sermon
We are oft fortunate to get copies of Bishop Jerry’s sermon notes.  Today is one of those Sundays.  Today’s sermon starts off with the collect, and like always, it will give you a lot to consider in your heart.

Sermon Notes
Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles
Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity
28 October 2012, Anno Domini

Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles. [October 28.]

The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

G
 RANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faith- ful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet
mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.  18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. (John 15:16-27)
            The world, if you listen to its claims, is full of love. Men love sensual beauty, comfort, food, drink, a good time, money, etc, but is this real love? What happens to the love professed for money when there is no more time, or money? Even the love a wicked man has for his child perishes with the fires of Hell. So what is the essence of real love?
            Real love is directed outward, not inward. It does not base itself on lust, on pride, or upon the temporary values. Real love, as defined in Holy Writ, is eternal. Real love is bounteous for, the more given, the greater the reservoir thereof. So Christ gives us a direct order, or commandment - These things I command you, that ye love one another.  LOVE ONE ANOTHER, as I have loved you, Jesus commands in another place. That is more love than we are capable of either giving or comprehending, so how can the Christian obey this Commandment? He obeys by, first loving God with all his heart, with all his mind, and with all his strength. If he does so, the second part will be easy. He will love his neighbor, as does Christ, as himself. The love of God among Christian people should be very much like a bicycle wheel. The Church is the outer rim. The spokes are the love we profess, and the center (or axle) is Christ who is the center of all of our Love. Those spokes, too, draw ever nearer to one another as they draw nearer to Christ.
            An example of Christian love is given by Dr. J. Hamilton:  When a rose bud is formed, if the soil is soft, and the sky is genial, it is not long before it bursts; for the life within is so abundant, that it can no longer contain it all, but in blossomed brightness and swimming fragrance it must needs let forth its joy, and gladden all the air. And if, when thus ripe, it refused to expand, it would quickly rot at heart, and die. And Christian love is just piety with its petals fully spread, developing itself, and making it a happier world. The religion which fancies that it loves God, when it never evinces love to its brother, is not piety, but a poor mildewed theology, a dogma with a worm in the heart.
            18.If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Can the whole world hate you? Believe it or not, the world can, and does, hate you. It hates you because you are not one of its own. Christians, remember, are not of this world. It is the same thing as hating all of the people of China simply because their government is Communist except, in our case, we are hated because our Sovereign is righteous. The world does not like to surrender its elusive and doubtful treasures; but neither does it wish to come into a kingdom whose judiciary is based on love. The world prefers to keep its power to crush the weak, and elevate the wicked.
            20.Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also If our King is viewed as the greatest enemy of the world, why would the world love His subjects. In the ancient annals of wars and government, when the King's Palace was taken by the enemy, all who occupied the Palace were alike tormented and slain. The vulgar and reprobate of the world literally hate righteousness and justice. Because you belong to the Righteous Christ, they hate you and seek your annihilation.
           21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. Had these of the world known God, they would have at least feared to do such evil; but they do not know God, nor do they desire to know Him. Had God's Word not clearly been proclaimed to the world through the Gospel of Christ, these wicked ones would have at least the excuse of ignorance. But they are now devoid of any covering for their sins since they have rejected the Redeemer and Savior. The Prodigal's Robe have they not taken to cover their filthy sins.
            23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. Remember that historic feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. The father of both clans was hated by the other, they therefore sought to kill his children.
            24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. Had Christ not proven with many wonderful words and works His Person, the world would yet have excuse for their lack of faith. But He did come and healed the lame and diseased. Restore sight to the blind. Raised the dead again.
            25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. This is the most hurtful realization of all concerning the world's hate. It is groundless and without a cause. Christ came onlyu to comfort, save, enlighten…yet, they hated Him for it. And they will hate you and me as well.
            26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: The Comforter does not come toi turn the world's hate for us into Love, but to give us comfort in spite of the world's hate. He encourages, fortifies, inspires, and helps us to carry on despite the many obstacles and pitfalls along the way. You will recall that the Angels comforted Christ in the Garden before His Passion, yet, His great mission remained as a Sacrifice, written in Red, upon the portals of Heaven itself.
            27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. From the beginning at which we came to know Christ, we shall bear witness of Him – not out of compulsion, but out of Love and Duty.
            Today we honor and remember St Stephen, the first martyr, and St Simon. St Stephen died proclaiming the Gospel of His Lord. At the moment of his death, he asked forgiveness upon those ignorant men – one being Saul (later Saint Paul) – who were stoning his life from him. Can you sacrifice only your pride and self-dignity today for Christ? You are not asked, today, to submit to stoning, but you can at least stand together with the people of God and boldly proclaim righteousness to the four quarters of the world. They may not heed you, but at least they will have no excuse in ignorance of the Truth.

Bishop Dennis Campbell’s Sermon
Bishop Dennis is a brilliant speaker.  He is able to take biblical precepts and make them perfectly understandable, even to me.  Oft he provides the text of his sermons and I take the utmost pleasure in passing them on:

God and a Quiet Mind
Psalm 76, Ephesians 6:10-20, John 4:46-54
Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity
October 28, 2012
                                                  
People who worship with us immediately notice the difference between our worship and the worship in other churches.  If they will make the effort, they may learn why we are different.  We are not trying to organize exciting worship events based on current trends in music and theology.  We are not trying to entertain people or make them feel good about being here because that is not the purpose of worship.  Our worship is quiet, reflective, contemplative and meditative.  We believe it is more important to speak the truth than to get people excited.  We believe it is the Holy Spirit, rather than a rock and roll beat in the music or the intensity in the speaker's voice, that moves souls, and we are more concerned about moving souls than moving emotions.

We do not worship this way because it suits our taste.  We believe worship is far too important to be shaped by our personal preferences.  We worship this way because we believe it is the way God wants to be worshiped, the way the Bible teaches us to worship.  Likewise, I do not say these things to belittle anyone else.  I say them because we need to be reminded of them often, lest we begin to desire the sensuality and excitement of other worship styles, or attempt to pattern our worship after them.

We believe there is a time and place for exuberance.  We also believe the Sunday worship of God should be characterized by reverence, and a kind of holy quietness before God.  Therefore let us quiet our hearts and minds, and be still in God's presence as we worship the Living God.

The very thought of quietness is counter to the hectic activity and constant stimulation which characterize our media saturated culture.  So to pray, as we do in the Collect for the Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, that God would enable us to serve Him with a quiet mind, may seem odd to people today.  A quiet mind is a mind free of hectic activities and distractions.  A quiet mind is possessed by a sense of holy stillness before God, a stillness that is encouraged in us by passages like Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God."  Rather than rushing from one hectic activity to another, or one amusement or stimulation to another, the quiet mind can take time to be still and listen for the still small voice of God.

But more than mere stillness, a quiet mind is a mind at peace through trust in God.  This is what we are trying to emphasize in our Bible readings this morning.  The quiet mind does not tremble in fear before the battles of temptation, the opposition of the world, the natural and figurative storms of life, or even the supernatural minions of evil.  True, we wrestle against the powers and rulers of darkness, and against spiritual wickedness in high places, but our minds are at peace because we know we are able to withstand in the evil day.  We are dressed in the full armour of God.  We stand on the Gospel of peace.  We wear the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of the righteousness of Christ.  We carry the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit.  We stand watch in prayer, so we are not taken by a surprise attack.  Our minds are at peace because we are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, and nothing can defeat Him or separate us from His everlasting love.

The nobleman in John 4 received a quiet mind.  He apparently traveled for at least two days to find Jesus, and his mind was not quiet then.  His mind was in anguish.  His son was dying.  A part of his life was dying.  A person he loved more than he loved himself was dying, and his mind was frantic with fear and despair, so he went to Jesus.  When will we learn to go to Jesus with our troubles?  When will we learn to seek peace in Him rather than trinkets and distractions?  When will we learn to trust and believe that God works all things work together for our good, if we love Him and are called, according to His purpose?  This man came to Jesus in despair, but left in peace, because He trusted the word of the Lord.

Psalm 76 is about a collective quiet mind in the people of God.  He is known in Judah and Israel. His Tabernacle is in the City of Peace, Jeru Shalom.  We know Jerusalem has not always been a place of peace.  It has been, and continues to be a battleground.  But at the time of the writing of Psalm 76 it dwells in peace, why? Because God has broken the arrow, the shield, the sword, and the battle.  It dwells in peace because God has defeated its enemies and established it in peace.  At His rebuke that the chariot and the horse, the dreaded war machines of invading armies, are fallen.  God protects the city, therefore His people dwell in peace and serve Him with a quiet mind.

Psalm 76. Notus in Jud├Ža.

I
N Judah is God known; * his Name is great in Israel.
2 At Salem is his tabernacle, * and his dwelling in Sion. 3 There brake he the arrows of the bow, * the shield, the sword, and the battle.
4 Thou art glorious in might, * when thou comest from the hills of the robbers.
5 The proud are robbed, they have slept their sleep; * and all the men whose hands were mighty have found nothing.
6 At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, * both the chariot and horse are fallen.
7 Thou, even thou art to be feared; * and who may stand in thy sight when thou art angry?
8 Thou didst cause thy judgment to be heard from heaven; * the earth trembled, and was still,
9 When God arose to judgment, * and to help all the meek upon earth.
10 The fierceness of man shall turn to thy praise; * and the fierceness of them shalt thou refrain.
11 Promise unto the Lord your God, and keep it, all ye that are round about him; * bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.
12 He shall refrain the spirit of princes, * and is wonderful among the kings of the earth.

The focal point of the Psalm is verse 11.  It is the conclusion.  The first ten verses recount the gracious actions of God, but verse 11 shows the natural response of those who receive and recognize God's grace: "Promise unto the Lord your God, and keep it."  When you became a Christian you made vows and promises to God, just as He made vows and promises to you.  He promised to forgive your sins, and fill you with His Spirit, to guide you with His Holy Bible, to watch over you, love you, and bring you at last to His home of everlasting peace.  You promised to turn from sin and begin a life-long process of living more and more according to His law of love, and less and less for the things of sin and self.  It is not easy to keep your promise.  Living for Christ is the, most difficult, most trying, most exasperating, most humiliating thing you can do.  At the same time it is the most fulfilling, the happiest, most exalting, most noble thing to which a human being can aspire.  It only is the way of life.  Therefore, in spite of the challenges and opposition of the world, the flesh, and the devil, there is a peace in our hearts that the world cannot give nor take away.  We can serve God with a quiet mind.

From the Jerusalem of about 900 BC, when this Psalm may have been written, let us look ahead to the city in about the year 33 AD.  The city is in turmoil.  A vast, angry mob is torturing a Man to death on a cross.  It is not a peaceful scene, yet it is the way our peace with God is secured forever.  On the cross the Lamb of God is taking away our sins and making our peace with God.  By His grace "The fierceness of man" is turned to God's praise (vs.10).  Everything His enemies do is used by Him to His own glory and our salvation.  Christianity did not die on the cross; it was born there.  It is because of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross that we can serve God with a quiet mind.  We have no need to fear life, or death, or even hell itself. He gave His life for our souls.  We can serve Him with a quiet mind.

Therefore, let your mind be at ease.  Let you mind be at rest.  Let a holy quiet descend upon you and let it dwell in you forever.  God has overcome the world.  He has given you the armour of God that you may stand in Him in this life.  He has given you the promise of life in paradise with Him forever.  He has accomplished the forgiveness of your sins and your peace with God. Serve Him with a quiet mind.

+Dennis Campbell

Bishop, Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Powhatan, Virginia
www.HolyTrinityAnglicanOrthodoxChurch.org
www.lifeinthescriptures.blogspot.com

Rev Bryan Dabney of Saint John’s Sunday Sermon
We are fortunate to have Bryan’s Sunday Sermon.  If you want people to come to The Truth, you have to speak the truth, expouse the truth and live the truth.    This is really a good piece and I commend it to your careful reading.

The Sermon – The Saints of God

This Thursday will be the feast of All Saints wherein we honor the memory of those whose works advanced the gospel message throughout the world. Now some may ask,”Who can be rightly called a saint?” Our answer should be clear and straightforward: “Anyone who loves the Godhead and is obedient to his will is a saint.” In light of that response, it should be apparent that the saints of God also come in a variety of packages— young and old, rich and poor— and can be found in every corner of the world where the light of the gospel has been proclaimed and accepted.

With that in mind, let us turn in our bibles to chapter 7 of Revelation where the apostle John saw a multitude standing before the throne of God dressed in white robes and bearing palm branches. While the apostle was informed that such were those who had come out of the great tribulation, we know from our reading of Scripture that all who are born-again by means of his most holy Spirit will likewise be vested in the same before God (7:9-17). Ergo, all so described are saints of the most high God (Daniel 7:18, 27).

Now one might assume that the simple bible way of explaining the specifics of this issue would suffice. But such would be a mistake because there are churches that have a longstanding set of rubrics governing the topic of sainthood. In spite of human tradition, it would behoove us to examine the basic biblical characteristics for being called a saint. For only by letting God speak for himself can we properly discern the facts of the matter.

To begin with, fervent praying is a mark of a godly saint. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave us some specific instructions about praying (see St. Matthew 6:5-15). The Rev. E. M. Bounds pointed out that faith and prayer are supremely important to the believing Christian. He associated true faith with an active prayer life. The author emphasized the need to pray daily for daily needs of the present. “When we pray, give us this day our daily bread, we are...shutting tomorrow out of our prayer. We do not live in tomorrow but in today. We do not seek tomorrow’s grace or tomorrow’s bread. They thrive best, and get the most out of life, who live in the living present...Victory today is the assurance of victory tomorrow. Our prayers need to be focused on today.” Bounds identified the two principal foes of our faith as being doubt and fear because they will interrupt our prayer life and limit the power of God to work therein owing to our lack of faith. According to Bounds, “A simple, confiding faith, living day by day and casting its burden on the Lord each hour of the day will dissipate fear, drive away misgiving and deliver from doubt... Faith grows by reading and meditating upon the Word of God. Most, and best of all, faith thrives in an atmosphere of prayer.”

Now consider what the Rev. Bounds urged Christians to do in God’s service. They ought to: 1) trust in God for his provision; 2) earnestly desire of him that he provide for a particular need or want which is within his will for us; 3) show fervency or strength in praying; 4) be persistent in our praying; 5) understand that our praying affects our conduct and character; 6) be obedient to the will of God; 7) be vigilant in prayer; and 8) read the Scriptures because in them we have a record of the prayer life and successes of those notable mentioned personalities whom God called as his followers. As he noted in his famous book on Prayer, “The Word of God is made effectual and operative by the process and practice of prayer;” for, “When prayer is a stranger [in God’s house], then it ceases to be God’s house at all.”

Secondly, it should apparent to all that a saint is a person who trusts in the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ. A faithful and true Christian has accepted without equivocation the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross, and has confessed his or her sins to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. That acceptance of his undeserved favor, or grace, sets such a person apart from those who believe that they have to earn their salvation through works (see Ephesians 2:1-22).

Thirdly, a saint is one who is sealed of God. Consider the following passages:

Now he which stablished us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. II Corinthians 1:21, 22

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world... In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.  Ephesians 1:3, 4, 13

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  Ephesians 4:30

God has sealed all who are his via the workings of the Holy Spirit. As a result, these believers have been set apart as his saints and are co-heirs with Christ in his kingdom. In the future, the Antichrist will mark those who come into his fold, but there will be a terrible penalty for those who accept such. For to receive the mark of the Beast is to receive an everlasting sentence of damnation which cannot be undone. Therefore a godly saint will avoid all marks of the world, the flesh and the devil, keeping himself, or herself, solely unto the Lord who bought him (see I Corinthians 6:19, 20; I Thessalonians 5:22).

Fourthly, a saint will minister to others as part of his or her Christian witness (see Hebrews 6:10) via his keeping of God’s word (see St. Jude 3) and seeking God’s perfect will for himself (see Romans 12:2). He must be prepared to judge righteously those around him within the body of Christ: which requires godly discernment (see I Corinthians 6:1, 2). He will seek the whole counsel of God by reading the Scriptures just as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). In these and other ways, a godly saint will be able to effectively minister to those around him.

Finally, a saint will trust in God’s provision as he has promised not to forsake us in this life (see Psalm 37:28). In providing for his own, God will gather us and keep us because he counts us as precious to him (see Psalm 50:5; I Samuel 2:9; Psalm 116:15). Our Lord Jesus Christ will continue to intercede for us (Romans 8:27-30) until that day when he comes to bring us to our eternal home in the kingdom which he has prepared for all his saints (St. Matthew 25:34).

And so there can be little doubt that every person who has been so called and so empowered by God may safely be called a saint. You do not need a certificate from some earthly body to affirm your bona fides with the Lord for such would be merely a confirmation of an already known fact. God inscribed the names of his saints in his Book of Life the moment they were regenerated by the power of the Holy Ghost. The Bible tells us that he knew us before the foundations of the world were laid, and has endowed each of us with gifts and duties on his behalf. And because God’s love for us has been manifested to us in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, let us therefore live in obedience to his will, and purpose in our hearts to daily keep our eyes fixed upon him, awaiting his appearing when our citizenship in his kingdom will be made manifest. And so, in answer to our initial question regarding who is a saint? we should understand that every regenerated person in Christ Jesus today is just as much a saint as any from antiquity, and you have God’s word written which confirms it (Ephesians 1:3-14).

Let us pray,
F
ather, we beseech thee to bless us, thy saints, in this mortal life; that through our witness, those who are as yet unsaved might come to a saving knowledge of thy dear Son, Jesus Christ; for this we ask in his most precious name of him. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

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