Verse of the Day

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fourth Sunday after Easter

On Point
Someone asked, where do the quotes come from?  The answer is from the people who uttered them.  But, how did you find them?  Oh, that.  Mostly from Rev Bryan Dabney, a few from other place, but mostly from Bryan.  He always has a few great ones to share.  So, on to the On Point quotes -

If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.   Job 9:20-21

O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.    Hosea 13:9-11

And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.    St. Matthew 19:17

And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.    St. Luke 20:25

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us , who can be against us?   Romans 8:31

Let us never measure our religion by that of others, and think we are doing enough if we have gone beyond our neighbors. This is another snare of the devil. Let us mind our own business...At our very best we are far worse than we ought to be. There will always be room for improvement in us. We shall be debtors to Christ’s mercy and grace to the very last. Then let us leave off looking at others and comparing ourselves with others. We shall find enough to do if we look at our own hearts.
.JC Ryle
19th century Anglican bishop and author (Holiness, p. 122).

To be satisfied with one’s lot is better than to desire something which one is not fitted to receive.
6th century BC Greek philosopher and author.

The overwhelming majority of American citizens are very much like the Colonial citizens of the 1760s and 1770s; they wish merely to be left alone to live their lives without government interference. We have no desire to initiate conflict, and will avoid it if at all possible. We have always been slow to anger. Even on April 19, 1775, it took the British massacre of Parker’s dispersing militia on Lexington Green and the British assault on the Acton Minutemen at Concord’s North Bridge and the British forming up to launch a third unprovoked attack on Colonials following the column before the citizenry committed to taking the fight to General Gage’s gun-grabbing forces, triggering the bloody war that led to our Republic. I personally do not expect the next revolution to break out in this nation until the government itself once again launches an unprovoked attack on the liberty of the People, but many thousands of Americans feel that the actions of this Administration, this polimedia, are already waging that war against the citizenry. It only takes the breaching of the peace by either side—a present-day Waco, or perhaps a single assassination of an anti-Liberty politician or media figure—to let slip a cascade of actions and retaliations that will lead to a slide into anarchy.
Bob Owens
21st  century American commentator (Bloody Calculus, 4-4-13).

America’s financial and social systems only function today because of one thing— government spending. The government is ‘officially’ indebted in the amount of $16 trillion. Unofficially, the number is closer to $120 trillion. These massive liabilities have been accrued mainly through entitlement programs and state welfare.  These programs are the only thing keeping the illusion of a normal economy alive.  The lesson here is that no one, not even the government, has the ability to ‘spend their way out of debt.’ And no one, including central bankers, has the ability to cure economic collapse by printing money out of thin air. But the bankers already know this... In the end, the madness of debt spending is going to annihilate this country anyway. Fiat printing and infinite QE will eventually result in the dumping of our currency as the world reserve, causing devaluation and hyperstagflation. There is no silver bullet solution. There will be a struggle, and there will be a consequence. It is unavoidable. All we have to decide now is how we will respond when the inevitable disaster comes.
Brandon Smith
21st  century American commentator
(Waking Dreams End Unpleasantly, 26 February 2013).

Each Sunday there are Propers: special prayers and readings from the Bible.  There is a Collect for the Day; that is a single thought prayer, most written either before the re-founding of the Church of England in the 1540s or written by Bishop Thomas Cranmer, the first Archbishop of Canterbury after the re-founding. 

The Collect for the Day is to be read on Sunday and during Morning and Evening Prayer until the next Sunday. The Epistle is normally a reading from one of the various Epistles, or letters, in the New Testament.  The Gospel is a reading from one of the Holy Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  The Collect is said by the minister as a prayer, the Epistle can be read by either a designated reader (as we do in our church) or by one of the ministers and the Holy Gospel, which during the church service is read by an ordained minister.

The propers are the same each year, except if a Red Letter Feast, that is one with propers in the prayerbook, falls on a Sunday, then those propers are to be read instead, except in a White Season, where it is put off.  Red Letter Feasts, so called because in the Altar Prayerbooks the titles are in red, are special days.  Most of the Red Letter Feasts are dedicated to early saints instrumental in the development of the church, others to special events.  Some days are particularly special and the Collect for that day is to be used for an octave (eight days) or an entire season, like Advent or Lent.

The Propers for today are found on Page 174-175, with the Collect first:

The Fourth Sunday after Easter.
The Collect.

 ALMIGHTY God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Dru Arnold read this morning’s Epistle, which came from the First Chapter of the Epistle of Saint James beginning at the Seventeenth Verse. James tells us we are the pinnacle of God’s creation, destined to be the stewards of His world.  This position has its privileges, but even more important it has its responsibilities.  Most of the time, we seem to concentrate on what we like, the privileges, and forget about those responsibilities which require work, putting off instant gratification, persistence and sometimes courage.  As Saint Paul so often tells us, we must become new people, putting aside our old ways, considerate of what we should do and let ourselves become open to His Word:

VERY good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Hap Arnold read today’s Holy Gospel came from the Sixteenth Chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John beginning at the Fifth Verse.

You must recognize we are imperfect creatures with free will.  For us to do God’s Will, not ours, we need help.  We need that bit of good leaven, which will let our hearts rise to the occasion.  We need the Holy Ghost in our hearts and souls.  Listen as John tells us:

ESUS said unto his disciples, Now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Sermon – Reverend Deacon Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, until we get to Rogation Sunday.  This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ.

Consider these words from the Collect:

who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found

The very first phrase is critical to understanding our relationship with the world.  We want to follow our own hearts and they will lead us down the path to Donkey Island and eventually the pit.  This explains the “unruly wills and affections of sinful men.”  Our natural wills and affections are towards sinful things and not that of God. God’s commandments to us are to re-shape our affections from things of mammon, to things of eternity. We have one hope; that we will listen to the instruction God freely offers us.  If we will just do what He asks we will find true joy.  Our life will be better when we follow His directions and if we will allow God to rule us and desire His help, we will be able to attain the state of happiness we will then deserve. He knows what is right and what is wrong for us. He does not want us to lead Puritanical lives with no fun allowed whatsoever, but we must have fun the right way and not the wrong way. We need God’s help (this is one of the places the Holy Ghost comes in) to be able to want for ourselves that which He Wants for us.  If we can desire what He Wants, our ability to follow His Instructions will be much enhanced.

We are God’s creatures, first among all His Creation with all the privileges (which we like) and all the responsibility (which we are not so keen on) which come with that status.  All good comes from God, who is always with us; always the same; a true bearing in world in a constant state of flux.  His Word is refreshing constant, in this world where things are changing every few years it seems, but His Word will never change. It’s meaning never changes, as God never changes. We need to listen to not only Him, but those around us, think before we speak, think more before we act in haste.  We must put ourselves to good and separate ourselves from evil and superfluity of naughtiness so we can hear His Word, which will save our souls.

So, how can we hear?

When Jesus got ready to leave this world for His, He told the disciples that He would send them the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, to keep them in Him and to help them understand what they had so far been unable to truly grasp.  Unless we allow the Holy Ghost to enter into our hearts, we will never truly understand that which is from God.  We must allow the Holy Ghost to enter in to our hearts and souls so we can understand what God has for us.  It is that simple.  Open your heart, pray for God to send Him into that open heart.

For with the Holy Ghost’s help, you can hear, understand and act on The Word.

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

Rev Roger Jessup – Saint Joseph of Arimathea Anglican Orthodox Church
Today we are blessed to have a great piece by Rev Roger Jessup, of St Joseph of Arimathea Anglican Orthodox Church, Chesterfield, VA.  For those of you who have heard Rev Roger speak and preach, you can hear his wonderful melodious voice in this writing, for those who have not, you have missed a treat.  On the other hand, you will read it about three times faster than Roger said it.

Antinomian[1] Ignorance

A prayer we often pray in agreement is to be delivered from contempt of thy Holy Word and commandments.

Many church groupings in our day live in that sin and do not pray to be delivered. 

Every sermon recorded in the New Testament is either taken from the Old Testament or from the now partially corrupted books found between the Old and New Testaments.  Unfortunately for their eternal destiny, many professed Christians today believe that they can remain willfully ignorant of God's Holy Word and Commandment and not be judged of God.

Our Lord himself told us: "Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." {St. Matt. 5:18 & St. Luke}: "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail."

This is not to say that certain rites specific to Messiah did not find fulfillment in the work of Jesus. There is no longer the need of animal sacrifice to cover our sins.  Our sins are removed by a lively faith in the shed blood of Jesus.  In the Epistle to the Hebrew Church we are warned:  that failure to accept that sacrifice leads to endless loss.  Our names can be removed from the Book of Life; by not seeking and accepting that sacrifice 'once offered'  {Hebrews 10:26 + 27}.

It was my privilege to know a number of Christians who loved the word of God. They did not moan that it was impossible to understand the only literal translation of the received text thus far to make it into the English Language; but they invested not only in a Bible but also in an unabridged dictionary.  Why go to such trouble?  "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." {Psalm 119:11}.  Daily they read their Bibles and then were still before God-meditating on the scripture.  Instead of arguing with others they prayed for the Holy Ghost to change and strengthen them that might not sin against the LORD. These people were from many different theological back­ grounds; yet, they had something more in common.  They each could testify that the Cross of Jesus the Christ was personal to them.  No one had to beg them to come to church, to dress with decorum, or to show mercy to the less fortunate.

God has been quite specific in setting forth those things he finds acceptable; and in setting forth those things which he hates.  He invites us to accept mercy and grace to be in fact-not in name only-the elect people of God.  Grace is not only imputed when we believe; but through prevailing prayer Grace is imparted . This impartation of Grace is why many Christians were blameless; never perfect as God is perfect; but a holy people of faith manifested in works of love, righteousness, and character.

A religion that does not seek to transform us into the mind of Christ, might be a seemingly stress free way to live; but will it do when you are dying?  In the article of death, will you see Jesus or will you be afraid (Heb. 10:26-27)?

Seek to know the word of God as set forth in the Received Text (Textus Receptus), those manuscripts which agree with each other and were translated into the King James Version.  Do not be lazy for your soul may well be at issue.  Many of the Books called Holy Bible contain grave error.  Their defenders are quick to say these are the oldest manuscripts. They survived because they were rejected by the early undivided church; the manuscripts of the Received Text were handled daily and worn out by use; then hand copied over many times. Thousands of them exist and agree with each other although many are only fragments. If God enables I hope to look at many neglected teachings in future articles.
Rev Roger
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
Fourth Sunday after Easter
28 April 2013, Anno Domini

The Fourth Sunday after Easter.
The Collect.

 ALMIGHTY God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

44  Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. 46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. (John 12:44-50)

            We have often referred to Christ as the Light of the World and all that the Light means. A Light reveals the true path of security and righteousness. That is what Christ did for us, and He made it possible for us to have the scales removed from our eyes and hearts that we might be benefitted by that Light which He is. The Way itself is a Way laid out by God the Father. All that Christ did or said was in conformity to that commandment given Him by His Father in Heaven. His death and resurrection made the path available to us, as well.

            It would be impossible to believe on Christ and omit the Father. That which the Father is, so is Christ; and that which Christ is, so is the Father. The Triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are truly One in Mind and Purpose. It would not be possible for Christ to act in a manner, or speak in a style, that was not in complete agreement with the Mind of God the Father. We believe in God the Father because we have believed on His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ – “… like Father, like Son!” He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. There is no line of separation, either in Power or Majesty, between God the Father and God the Son. Of no other man could this be said without blasphemy.

            We are called Christians because we are, presumably, the children of God in Christ. Just as there are many who are not Israel who are of Israel, so it is true that there is a very large percentage who call themselves Christians but do not approach the qualifications to be so called. 45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. Do you KNOW God the Father? If so, are you bound to His Will by those iron-bars of love that compel obedience to His Commandments and reverence for His only Begotten Son? Jesus was so closely bound in love to the Father that He was precisely like the Father. There could not be daylight between His Will and that of the Father. When folks saw Christ, whether they knew it or not, they were seeing the selfsame likeness of the Father. This presents to us a great question: When people see us, are we so close in Mind and Purpose with that of Christ that they see Jesus? I read a touching illustration of a poor little boy who was standing before a storefront window admiring a pair of shoes. It was winter, and the boy had only wrappings for shoes. A kind lady saw the boy and invited him into the store. She bought him a new pair of shoes along with socks and gloves (it was winter time). When she bade the boy Godspeed and began to leave, he called out behind her: “Say, Ma’am, are you the wife of Jesus?” Should we not all behave in such a way that innocent little minds will think that we are very much like Jesus?

            The Way is already laid out from Eternity Past. But who shall be blessed to find that Way in a sin-darkened world? 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matt 7:13-14) Forgive me if I quote these verses too often, but the meaning is so crucial to our understanding that they must be emblazoned in blood on our hearts and minds. That Road that leads DOWN to destruction owes its ease and comfort to its downward plane. It is wide and filled with far greater numbers than the Narrow Way that leads up life eternal. Why would anyone desire to belong to a small and struggling conglomeration of churches called the AOC? They travel a difficult incline, and the Way they travel is considered, by the more sophisticated of the churches, as Narrow-Minded. Yes, we are Narrow Minded, and I pray that we can keep that Narrow focus on our Lord and savior and not opulent buildings, salaries, and prestige. Those are reserved for the Broad Way that leads down.

            But the world is dark and gloomy. How can we find the Way that leads to life eternal? 46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. Jesus came to us in love, and only to those in whom His love is finally reciprocated. He comes as a Light to SHOW us the Way. Those who reject the Light need no judge, for the darkness itself is an overwhelming judgment and relegates their eternity to the fires of Hell. Oh, sorry, Mr. Episcopalian and Mr. Joel Osteen follower – I forgot that the word Hell is a no-no. It makes people unhappy (Osteen). If we are lost in sin, no one can do us a better favor than to teach us of our depravity before God that leads to a remorseful unhappiness that can only be resolved by a direct fleeing to the Throne of Grace. If we have the Light of Christ to illumine our dark souls, then we will see the Way and will follow it.

            Does God judge a man and condemn him to Hell? God’s judgment is His Word. It is the Word that will judge us. God has very fairly and openly taught us of His Will in His Word. If we reject that counsel, we have chosen to make our beds in Hell. It was OUR decision! 47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The world was already lost when Christ came. He simply came bearing the fruits and wisdom of salvation. He came teaching us of the Way, and the Truth and the Life. If we choose to ignore that truth, we simply remain in our lost and damned condition. Even if the world, in its fallen state, were allowed to enter Heaven, it would be the most miserable of all conditions. The world could not obey and reverence the Lord who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. They would still love their sins, and there would again follow war in Heaven.  That war has already been fought and Satan was cast down along with his errant angels.

            Isn’t it a sad state of affairs when you decide to invest in an enterprise against the anguished pleadings of your friends, and then lose all in the gamble? Your friends would have every right to say, “I told you so!” Jesus has, indeed, told us so. 48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. When we label an openly homosexual practitioner as a profligate sinner, whose judgment is that? It is the judgment of the Word of God and not our own judgment. God’s Word is a two edged sword to either convict of sin for the purpose of salvation, or to condemn of sin for the purpose of legal damnation.

            Jesus came as an Emissary of Heaven. There were moments when He was so tired He could hardly lift another foot, yet He kept going from before sunrise until after sunset in teaching and preaching – souls were at stake! He was often thirsty and hungry, wet and cold, yet He kept going for us – all the way to Calvary’s crown. As an Emissary and Likeness of the Father, He came with all of the Authority of Heaven. Emissaries do not make treaties and agreements out of their own imaginations, but in accordance with the Will of the governing authority. In Christ’s case, that governing Authority was God the Father. 49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. What commandment did God give to His Son that seemed different from the Ten given at Sinai? A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another (John 13:34) What function does this valuable essence of love offer? It writes all of the other Commandments upon our hearts in the red blood of love so that it is love that compels our obedience and not fear. 2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly 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 Cor 3:2-3) Did you catch that brilliant ray of streaming truth, friends? When the world looks at us, they should see the Word of God written upon our hearts. We are the letters (epistles) of God written. No longer written with an iron pen on Tables of Stone, but God’s Law is written with the ink of Love on the fleshy Tables of our Hearts. I love God’s Word, don’t you?

            50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. Which single commandment leads to life everlasting? It is the same Commandment called ‘NEW’ given by Christ in John 13:34 above. Love is the one essence that survives death and is victor over ever hateful thing. Christ Himself is LOVE personified. He is our Ark against the coming calamity just as the Ark of Noah was for those eight souls spared from the ravages of the Deluge. Look with me, in conclusion of today’s sermon, at these beautiful truths given in Romans:

 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:36-39) This tells us that the Holy LOVE of which Christ spoke survives every challenge – even death!

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:

The Resurrection of You
Psalm 116, Job 19:21-27, John 12:44-50
Fourth Sunday after Easter
April 28, 2013

The future is a dim and shadowy thing to us.  Even Biblical references to it are often given in symbolism that is hard to understand.  But some of the major future events are given in plain and bold language.  One, for example, is the Return of Christ.  It is stated in our reading from John this morning, for when Christ refers to "the last day," He means the time after His Second Coming, when all shall stand before God to give an account of our lives.  Other verses are clearer.  "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come again,"  says Acts 1:11.  He is "the Lord, which is, and was, and which is to come, says Revelation 1:8."  "Behold, I come" says Christ Himself in Revelation 21:12.  The Return of Christ is so clearly stated in Scripture it is one of the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith.  Thus we affirm it every Sunday, in the Nicene Creed, "He shall come again with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead," or in the Apostles' Creed, "From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead."  A second future event, stated with equal clarity and boldness, is the resurrection of the dead.  Not only is Christ raised from the dead, but you and I, and all people will also be raised.  It is in that resurrected state that our Lord says in John 12:48 people will be judged on the last day.  1 Thessalonians 4:16 tells us "the dead in Christ shall rise first."  Job 19:26 says, though worms destroy my body "yet in my flesh shall I see God."  Here again is such a foundational element of Biblical faith that God's Church has felt constrained to affirm it every Sunday for two thousand years. "I believe... in the resurrection of the body," "I look for the resurrection of the dead: And the life of the world to come."  So, as we near the end of the Easter season, I want to speak this morning about your resurrection.

Those who belong to Christ actually have two resurrections.  The first is a resurrection of the spirit within us.  Romans 6:23 tells us "the wages of sin is death."  This death is twofold.  First it is the lake of fire found in Revelation 21:8, which is to live forever in the condition of dying a horrible death.  Second, it is a spiritual separation from God here and now in this life.  Thus Ephesians 2:1, telling Christians about our spiritual condition before we were rescued by Christ, says we were "dead in trespasses and sins."  Ephesians 2:12 explains this death in terrifying terms.  It is to be "without Christ... strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world."  This is the natural condition of all sinners, and, Romans 3:23 states what we all know to be true, "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

So, the Christian's first resurrection is to be raised from the condition of spiritual death to a condition of spiritual life.  Ephesians 2:1 calls this being quickened, meaning, made alive: "you hath He quickened, who were dead in your trespasses and sins."  In other places the Bible calls it being "born again" as in John. 3:3, or "regeneration" as in Titus 3:5; "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."  One of my favourite passages on this subject is Romans 6:4: "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."  So your first resurrection, if you are a Christian, is that resurrection from the grave and death of sin, to life in Jesus Christ.  We actually prayed for this today in the Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Easter; "Grant unto thy people, that ... our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

The second resurrection is the physical resurrection of our bodies.  This is somewhat puzzling to many.  How can a physical body that has long since been destroyed be put back together and raised again?  It becomes especially complicated when we think that, over the millennia of time, the elements and chemicals of earth may actually become parts of many human bodies.  How can God raise up two bodies of the same material?  My answer is, that's God's problem, and I'm sure the One who could be in Heaven, and, at the same time, living on earth in a human body, can raise us up and put us back together again if He wants to.  I am confident, therefore, that as Job said, "though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God"  (Job 19:26).

When does this physical resurrection occur?  Martha gives the answer in John 11:24.  Speaking to Christ about Lazarus, she says, " I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Revelation 20:12 confirms this.  After the defeat of Satan, after the millennial reign, at the last day the dead are raised to stand before God.  And when is the last day?  It is the day Christ returns.  On that day "the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

What will the resurrected body be like?  The Bible give us some clues.  Philippians 4:20-21 says it will "be fashioned like unto his glorious body."  Our resurrected body will be like Christ's resurrected body.  So it will be a real body as Christ's is.  It will be recognisable.  We will recognise each other as the disciples were able to recognise Christ.  It will not be susceptible to age, disease, or death.  Finally, it will be able to stand in the presence of God.  God told Moses no man could see Him and live.  That was in our Friday morning reading in Exodus 33.  But our glorified, resurrected bodies will be made to be in the immediate presence of God. "So shall we ever be with the Lord."

The physical resurrection of our bodies is part of that blessed hope that belongs to every Christian.  There is much more to life than what we see with our physical eyes now.  There is a world beyond this world which we can only see with the eyes of faith.  But one day our physical eyes will see it.  One day our feet will walk on its streets.  One day our knees will bow in the immediate presence of God.  One day, in our flesh, shall we see God.
+Dennis Campbell

Bishop, Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Powhatan, Virginia

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.

Fourth Sunday after Easter

Some years back, I was involved in a discussion group on matters of faith where one of the participants espoused the false notions that there was no true religion, and that there were many ways to God. While it is quite understandable to hear such pronouncements from various pagan practitioners; it is rather disheartening to hear such from those who profess to be Christians. These souls actually believe that they, as well as the vast host of the unregenerated, will one day gain admission through “the Pearly Gates” simply because, as an Episcopal deacon once pronounced in a sermon, “We're all covered”. In truth, they are delusional. You will not gain admission into God’s kingdom simply because you said the right prayers or the right creed. And you most certainly will not gain access to God’s heavenly precincts on your own merits and deservings. The only way for anyone to gain salvation from death, hell and the grave is through a true and lively faith in Jesus Christ as one’s personal Saviour and Lord, and by living one’s life in obedience to his will.

In our gospel lesson (St. John 16:5-14), our Lord promised the disciples that he would send the Holy Ghost the Comforter to reprove the world of sin (v.8). To reprove a thing means to call attention to it in the form of a rebuke. It means identifying sin as anything— thought, word, or deed— as objectionable to God. Sin cannot hide from the light of God’s Spirit as he will make it manifest and open— shed of its disguise— for all to see.

The Holy Ghost also directs us in the use of God's word written. For within its sacred pages, we have been supplied with examples for our edification (v.13). Consider the following passages for they reveal both the error as well as the consequence for sin:
In Numbers 25:1-9, the Hebrews turned away from the Lord God to worship the Moabite gods at Peor and were punished with a plague.

In Judges 2:11-15, it is noted that following the death of Joshua, the Israelites did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the gods of the Canaanites, Ammonites and Moabites. Because of this, God gave them over to those people to punish them until such time as they repented and called again upon his name.

In I Kings 16:28-33 and 17:1, we find Ahab, king of Israel, worshiping and serving Baal and Astarte which resulted in a curse on his kingdom as well as upon himself and his entire dynasty.

In II Kings 21:13, 15, Manasseh, king of Judah, rebuilt the high places where foreign deities were worshiped and built altars for all the hosts of heaven in the house of the LORD. Because of this, the Lord God promised: I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down...because they have done that which was evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.

Several of the prophets spoke against the idolatry of the children of Israel. In Isaiah 44:9-20, the prophet penned a scathing piece concerning the utter futility of idol worship. He detailed how a man fashioned a deity from the trunk of a tree. The prophet— in a clearly mocking tone— observed how an idolater used part of the wood to warm his home and cook his food, while with the other portion he made a god to bow before. Isaiah saw, first hand, how the people of Judah had been redeemed from the hand of the Assyrians by the LORD under King Hezekiah, as well has how quickly they turned their backs on him. He called the people to return to a proper worship of the LORD, but his pronouncements fell on deaf ears— just as the LORD had told him (Isaiah 6:9-13).

The prophet Jeremiah also saw the evil of the children of Israel. Speaking under the influence of the Holy Ghost he said, I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands (1:16).

These are, of course, only a few of the numerous examples found within the pages of Scripture. But lest you think “that was then, this is now”, beware! The Christian Church also has a checkered past of heresies and intermural squabbles. Within the New Testament we find the following:

St. Paul (in Acts 20:28-31), warned the Ephesians elders to: Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers...for I know this, that after my departing, shall grievous wolves enter among you...also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Again in Galatians (1:6-9), the apostle warned: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him who called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another; but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed... if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

He also advised the Colossians (2:8), Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
And to the youthful Timothy (II St. Timothy 4:2-4) he wrote:Preach the word! Be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

St. Peter noted in his second epistle (2:1): But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them.

Several years ago, I read a position paper by one benighted soul who wrote, “God is like an ocean who washes up on different shores in different forms.” If that were even remotely true, then God would have not commanded the children of Israel to avoid the religious practices of the various nations surrounding them. Remember, the Holy Ghost guides us into all truth, so such an idea did not come from on high, but from our adversary who had succeeded in leading that poor soul away from God.

God’s works are apparent to all who would but open their eyes to behold them. Some are easily understood while others are amazingly complex and mysterious. As he informed Isaiah (55:8), his ways are not like ours, neither are his thoughts like our thoughts. Yet, God would not have us ignorant as he has given us his word written to serve as a light unto our path and a lamp unto our feet. Within its pages, the truth about God and ourselves is clearly set forth. Ergo, all who are of his elect and beloved, as St. John noted in his first epistle (2:3), will heed the words of Scripture.

God revealed himself to the Hebrews in the wilderness via the works of Moses and Joshua. He gave his promise of redemption through the prophets, and he confirmed said promises through the miracles and teachings of his only begotten Son. Needless to say, the world was not satisfied. Truth be known, the world will never be satisfied because its master will not permit such, and therein lies the rub. Consider the following questions: Are you a child of God, or are you a child of the god of this world? Do you hear and heed the gospel message, or do you turn to pagan teachings and practices for relief? Do you believe God has sent the Comforter into the world to reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment? or, Do you deny the judgment of God in favor of a more inclusive approach to salvation?

All who are of God will heed the urging of Holy Ghost and will turn from their wickedness and live. God’s Spirit is not to be taken lightly, nor his work and standing as a principal figure in the Godhead diminished. We should bear in mind that true Christians are Trinitarian in their belief. A true Christian accepts the mystery of the triune nature of God. True Christians understand that the workings of the Holy Ghost are for their edification. They will not quench the Spirit of God but keep their vessels— their bodies— as clean and swept as they can for they know who resides within them.

We have been called of God to embrace the Saviour. We have been summoned to the marriage feast of the Lamb. Our attendance at that long-called for gathering of the saints can only be realized through our acceptance of him who is our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. He has called us to obedience, and in that obedience we have come to worship the Godhead looking for and praying for the coming of that day when he returns. May God grant you his peace and blessing in believing on his only begotten Son.
Let us pray,

ather, help us at all times to love those things which thou lovest and to seek those things which are above where you sit; for this we ask in the name of him who now sits at your right hand interceding for us, even our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

[1] Antinomianism in Christianity is the belief that under the gospel dispensation of grace, moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation. Antinomianism and one protestant doctrine of sola fide (justification through faith alone) are historically related. Commonly seen as the theological opposite to antinomianism is the notion that obedience to a code of religious law earns salvation, such as Legalism or Works righteousness or Judaizing.

The term "antinomianism" emerged soon after the Protestant Reformation (c.1517) and has historically been used mainly as a pejorative against Christian thinkers or sects who carried their belief in justification by faith further than was customary.  Examples are Martin Luther's critique of antinomianism and the Antinomian Controversy of the 17th century Massachusetts Bay Colony. Although the term is 16th century, the topic has its roots in Christian views on the old covenant extending back to the 1st century. It can also be extended to any individual who rejects a socially established morality.  However, few groups, outside of anarchism such as Christian anarchism or Jewish anarchism, explicitly call themselves "antinomian".

Methodist commentator Adam Clarke said, "The Gospel proclaims liberty from the ceremonial law: but binds you still faster under the moral law. To be freed from the ceremonial law is the Gospel liberty; to pretend freedom from the moral law is Antinomianism."

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