Verse of the Day

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity

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.  Most are from Rev Bryan Dabney, a few from other places, but overall mostly from Bryan.  He always has a few great ones to share.  Today, we have a couple from Rev. Geordie Menzies-Grierson.  On to the On Point quotes –

Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth!
Lew Valkenaar

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for a bird to learn to fly while remaining an egg.

We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
CS Lewis
Mere Christianity

Christ and ritualism are opposed to each other, as light is to darkness. The cross and crucifix cannot agree. Either ritualism will banish Christ or Christ will banish ritualism.

Horatius Bonar

We have need of our judgments, and we must try the Spirits of those who profess to be sent of God. There are men of great gifts who are "false prophets." These affect the look, language and spirit of God’s people, while really they long to devour souls, even as wolves thirst for the blood of sheep. "Sheep’s clothing" is all very fine, but we must look beneath it and spy out the wolves. A man is what he is inwardly. We had need beware. This precept is timely at this hour. We must be careful, not only about our way, but about our leaders. They come to us; they come as prophets; they come with every outward commendation; but they are very Balaams, and will surely curse those they pretend to bless.

I would not have you exchange the gold of individual Christianity for the base metal of Christian Socialism.
Rev Charles Haddon Spurgeon[1]

What happened to the Soviet Empire, the British Empire and all the empires throughout history is beginning to happen to America. It is simply a historical rule to which the American Empire is also subject. Obama has hastened the pace of this process but he did not create it...The very fact that the majority of Americans so enthusiastically voted for the man whose entire being symbolizes the complete opposite of the values that brought about the establishment of the United States, indicates the deep rot that has spread through American society. The inevitable economic collapse that Obama is inflicting upon America is nothing more than a symptom of the moral rot. Significant sections of the American population are still motivated by the values of America's founding fathers. But they have no real ability to stop the crumbling of their society.
Moshe Feiglin
20th and 21st century Israeli statesman and author

One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils of this world can be cured by legislation.
Thomas B. Reed
19th century American politician

Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
Isaiah 35:4
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
Acts 15:18
The Propers for today are found on Page 199-200, with the Collect first:

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

 GOD, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle, which came from Paul’s letter to the Romans, the Eighth Chapter, beginning at the Twelfth Verse. Paul tells us to live out our lives as Jesus instructed us to.  If we live as we want, we die and are gone.  If we live as Jesus commanded, we will live through to eternity.  Life is not about here, it is about doing well enough here so we can get there.  If we want the fruits of the heirship we have been given, we must live the part:

RETHREN, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Hap Arnold read today’s Holy Gospel, which started in the Seventh Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, beginning at the Fifteenth Verse.  Matthew records the warning that so few heed. Many leaders talk a good line, but how do they actually act, particularly in private?  For it is private when none are looking that we are revealed.  If you want to get to heaven, you have to act the part, not just talk about it.

EWARE of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Sermon – Reverend Deacon Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Today’s sermon tied the Epistle and Gospel together talked, as is oft the case, of the need for action, not simply diction, the general content is in forewords above.

Consider the words from the Collect, wherein we ask God who … ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; … to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us …

We must understand in our hearts that God does indeed “ordereth all things” here as well as in heaven.  Once we understand that, then we can ask Him to keep us away from those things hurtful to us and incline our hearts towards those things that are good for us.  This is one of the many things for which we need the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in our hearts.  Without His Help, we cannot recognize the help we need.  We tend to think of ourselves as perfectable by our own work, without the need to depend on others (Him).  The problem is, it does not work.  On the other hand, if we look to God for help, for guidance, for direction, for strength, for structure, for the ability to persevere, there is nothing that must be done that cannot be done.  In other words, on our own we cannot do anything that works, but with God’s help, we can do things that work! God asks only that we do our very best.  By the way, do not confuse saying you are doing your best with actually doing it. There is a difference between words and actions!

There are 66 books in the Bible, of those 27 are in the New Testament, of those Saint Paul wrote 13, almost half!  More than anyone.  Paul gives much of the guidance and direction we call The Word of God.  Yet, his message is very simple.  People claim to find it hard to grasp, which mostly means they don’t want to hear it.  If they truly did want to hear it, they would not offer up those excuses! Today, Paul tells us, much like last week, that if we are of this world, we die of this world.  Yet if we will accept our adoption by God, we will be entitled to call Him Abba, or Daddy.  For, if we are His children, then we gain His Birthright and all that results from that status.  While we may have some cause for suffering here on earth, the resultant glory will all be well worth it.  The problem with this is that while we are all willing to suffer (just not today) we are so often not willing to put off what we want to do now for what God wants us to do.  We justify doing what we want, while ignoring what God clearly told us He Wants.  We look for people who claim authority who will tell us what we want to hear.  Once again, it is what we want, not what He Wants.

That leads right in to the point Jesus said in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew when He Tells us to take great care in who we choose to follow.  Scripture has been given to provide an unchanging standard against which we should judge the words and actions of those who would lead us towards God.  Jesus tells us to listen to those who preach of the Gospel and discard the words of those whose teachings are not congruent with The Word.  For, it is by their actions can you judge their teaching.  To quote President Reagan, “Trust, but verify.”  Does what the person say match with The Word.  We all have Bibles, most the Authorized Version.  Does what the person preach match what God has said?  Does their life live that talk? We do not want to follow people that produce evil, corrupted fruit, but good and plentiful and delicious fruit!

Actually, that brings us to another point, does the Bible you use match the real Word of God.  It is not the grammar or style that count, but the facts, the points, the real message of Scripture.  The Authorized Version comes from the Received Text and is reliable.  Make certain the version you use loses nothing in the translation.

So once you let the Holy Ghost into your heart, then take the direction He Offers, read and understand Scripture, you will know what you are supposed to do.  Then, you need to actually act on that knowledge.

This morning I was reminded today marks the 69th Anniversary of the landings on Guam to liberate it from the hellish occupation of the Japanese.  Sixty-nine years ago at 0828 the 3rd Marine Divison hit the beach at Asan, near Agaña, while the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade hit Agat beach to the South. These points were North and South of the Orote Peninsula, where the Japanese had established an airfield, a key objective of retaking Guam. Under heavy resistance, these two units linked up to retake the Peninsula, then retaking first the south part of the island, before heading north to finish off the resistance at the north end of the island. Finally, the island of Guam was declared secure on 10 August 1944, marking the end of about two weeks of fierce and bloody hiding. Of course, there were some stragglers, as for example, Sgt. Yokoi, who surrendered in 1972, but this marked an end to the Japanese's presence on Guam.

We remember these men today and we should not forget their struggle for our freedom, nor should we be so willing to give it up today. As long as I live, I will remember these men and many of their brethren, who fought in the Pacific and in Europe in World War II, along with all others who served our country and gave their lives. Today, I remember in particular the struggles of those men who fought on Guam. I have been very fortunate to visit this island not just once, but twice, to visit the wonderful Thomas family, who showed me around to the various battle sites.

When I stepped foot on the area around Asan Beach, I felt a strange feeling, as if I was not alone. I knew that a few feet away from me where the Thomas family, but I felt a rather peaceful, yet sad feeling when I looked towards the actual invasion beach, knowing that men had spilled the blood so that I and my descendants would be free. I looked up towards the ridge line of Fonte Ridge, and only could imagine the horrors of the battle that day, of the chaos of fire, screaming and dying men, men giving their all for our country.  The battle of Guam cost our country 1,747 patriots lives, with another 6,053 wounded.  As I sat there, I resolved, they should not die in vain. As long as we believe in our country, it shall not perish from the earth.

Action counts.  For by their actions ye shall know them. 

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

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

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

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
Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Saint Andrew’s
Anglican Orthodox Church
21 July 2013, Anno Domini

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

 GOD, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

            The ancient Lectionary takes us to the question of inheritance as the children of God, and also the KIND of children we should be in the production of fruit. The epistle teaches us, in no uncertain terms, that there are no people more chosen of God than those who have been adopted, through the blood of Christ, into His family as sons and daughters. Of course, in following Christ, we must not follow Him all the way to Bethany and then stop short of Calvary. We must take up our crosses daily and follow Him all of the way down the Via Dolorosa – the Way of Suffering – if necessary.

            Our sermon text is taken from the Gospel lesson in Matthew 7, beginning at the 15th verse. In this passage we discover the strong similes and metaphors of false prophets being like wolves in sheep’s clothing; and of trees that bring forth the fruits of their natures, and some that must be cut down for failure to produce fruit. And our text concludes with a dire warning to those who proliferate in the Christian community today – hypocrites!  We will address the text in three parts:

1.     False Prophets – who are they and how shall we recognize them; 
2.     The trees of good and bad fruit – how shall we distinguish them;
3.     Hypocrites – who are they and how to know them.

False Prophets
In our text we read: BEWARE of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. First of all, what is a prophet, and how shall we know them?, "And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:21-22) So, do you believe that prophets of the Lord are similar to fortune-tellers in forecasting future events? Not at all, but a prophet of the Lord will say those things that the Lord has spoken in the Spirit. The prophet of today will not speak a word contrary to those uttered by the prophets of old, for God does not change. Any who know and believe the Word of God are prophets of sorts. How can that be? Because the Holy Word of God tells us what God’s judgment is against all kinds of sin. If we judge by God’s perfect standard of righteousness, we can conclude, as a prophet, the mode of God in dealing with such sin. A prophet speaks, preaches, and teaches the will of God as recorded in Holy Scripture – and nothing beyond what God has uttered in Holy Scripture.

            We are to confirm every word spoken from the pulpit by Holy Scripture to see if these things be true. I can assure you with every bone of my body that I will never intentionally teach something contrary to the Word of God INTENTIONALLY; however, I am a mortal man, and mortal men are subject to errors of judgment and understanding. Therefore, a well versed and informed Christian must test all things spoken by me, or any other clergyman, by that Plumb Line of God’s Word. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  (1 Thess 5:21) A true Christian will study the Scriptures diligently, in fact, so well that he will be able to recognize errors and inconsistencies in doctrine being preached. He will therefore not suffer deceit. The false prophet speaks smoothly and convincingly. He ACTS like a loving Christian, and he may even use the Word of God, but wrongly to achieve some deceitful purpose. He will emphasize the offering plate far more than the cross of Jesus. He may have a wonderful smile to hide hideous and sharp teeth beneath. The false prophet is a minister of the devil and, like his mentor, is a ravening wolf. He doesn’t kill just to eat, but out of sport. America has a disproportionately large number of such scoundrels let loose in our pulpits today. BEWARE, friends.

The trees of good and bad fruit – how shall we distinguish them
We are told to use sight and taste. If it looks like an orange, it tastes like an orange, then it MUST be an orange. Oranges do not grow on apple trees. The kind of tree determines the fruit. The kind of heart determines the soul of a Christian, or an imposter. The fruit described relates to our works as sons and daughters of God. Are our works worthy of the title, Christian? We have misapplied grace and faith to the exclusion of good works in our day. Surely, we know that works are not the means of our salvation; but just as surely we should also know that our salvation should be evidenced by works worthy of the Name of Christ. “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance.” (Luke 3:8a)  “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18) There has been a growing error being taught over the last several decades that all a sinner needs to do is “call upon the name of the Lord” and that ends the struggle. While it is true that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, it is not true that a mere utterance of that phrase will suffice. The utterance must be a genuine and sincere confession of faith from the heart and not the head. It must be followed with evidence of salvation. A new man must be in evidence following the confession.

God gave us ‘hands’ for a reason. The head is our legislative branch, the hands our executive branch, and the heart our judicial branch to determine right and wrong. It is the hands that produce fruit. They cultivate, plant the trees, and care for the trees. At due season, they harvest the fruit. In the ancient Holy Land, trees were taxed – not the fruit of the trees; therefore, the lord of the vineyard will cut down a tree that does not produce in order to save revenue. The economy of Heaven is not unlike the same. If we produce no fruit, of what earthly good are we? The mind conceives a good project to perform. If it is in conformance to that Mind which was in Christ, the Judicial Branch – the Heart – will uphold that decision of the Legislative Branch. It is then that the Executive Branch (hands) completes the good work willed by the head.  If our hands are idle, we had best find productive labor for them in short order; else we starve or shall be cut off.  Faith is the electrical impulses that connect the three branches across the synapses of Wisdom, Love, and Action.

In the Museum of Amsterdam hangs a painting of several old Dutch Burgomasters who had distinguished themselves by some notable service to the people and community. In each of the paintings, there may be as many as a dozen faces and, though the canvas is a bit crowded for space, the hands are also depicted in every case. All one sees are heads and hands. In spite of a lack of space, the artist was very careful to include the hands with different gestures of each and in detail as complete as eyes and noses of the heads. I believe the point of the artist is to depict the full character of the men honored. The heads alone did not reveal complete character – what they thought, what they saw, what they felt; but the addition of hands depicted that the good works of these men followed the good thoughts that they conceived. The same is true of the Christian who has taken on the Mind that was in Christ.

            There is a wonderful discussion of the head-only Christian in the classical work, The Choir Invisible, by James Allen Lane:

Some time, wandering in a thinned wood, you may have happened upon an old vine, the seed of which had long ago been dropped and had sprouted in an open spot where there was no timber. Every May, in response to Nature's joyful bidding that it yet shall rise, the vine has loosed the thousand tendrils of its hope, those long, green, delicate fingers searching the empty air. Every December you may see these turned stiff and brown, and wound about themselves like spirals or knotted like the claw of a frozen bird. Year after year the vine has grown only at the head, remaining empty-handed ; and the head itself, not being lifted always higher by anything the hands have seized, has but moved hither and thither, back and forth, like the head of a wounded snake in a path. Thus every summer you may see the vine, fallen back and coiled upon itself, and piled up before you like a low green mound, its own tomb; in winter a black heap, its own ruins. So, it often is with the poorest, who live on at the head, remaining empty-handed ; fallen in and coiled back upon themselves, their own inescapable tombs, their own unavertible ruins.

            Our hands must follow the good will of the mind in finding good works upon which to light and to grasp in order to bear fruit pleasing to the Lord of the Vineyard.

Hypocrites – who are they and how to know them
First of all, let us get our vocabulary understood. What is the meaning of hypocrite? The word is derived from the Greek text - (hupokrinomai); an actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. (figurative) a dissembler (“hypocrite”):- hypocrite. (Strong’s) Those who are constantly performing great things and seem to be very godly often harbor a vacuum for faith. All of the good works, good acting, and posing of the hypocrite will gain no favor at all in Heaven. Good works do not exist apart from faith. The hypocrite that says all of the right things and lives like the world is only an actor. By the same token, every man that shoulders a weapon and wears an impeccable uniform is not necessarily a soldier. We see churches in America that are supposedly ‘filled with the Holy Ghost.” They make a great show of ‘supposed’ spiritual gifts and demonstrations.  The worship is not peaceful, but exhausting. Many of the same people who were so moved by the Holy Spirit on Sunday morning are seen to be moved by the spirit of the bar on Monday.  What is wrong with this picture? First, their worship is not reverent and worthy of the Church. Secondly, their hearts were only ‘acting’ as hypocrites in being shallow on faith and big on appearances. How is your heart, friend?
            May we be a people wary of false prophets and so thoroughly knowledgeable of the Word of God that it will be quite difficult to deceive us.

            Let us be careful of wandering too far from our protecting Shepherd and into the mountain crevices where wolves lurk. Be careful that the church you attend is one that places Christ at its heart and center – a Church that is reverent in worship and true to Scripture in its teaching and doctrine.

            Let us be sure that the works of our hands represent the thoughts of our hearts and not become stale salt that has been in the shaker so long that form clumps that cannot be applied properly. Are we thus?

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:

Christians Live
Psalm 127, Zechariah 4:1-10, Galatians 3:24-29
July 21, 2013
Eighth Sunday after Trinity

To say, Christians live,” is to shock most of the people we know today.  They have been taught Christianity is bondage, a living death of sorrow, self-denial, and delusion.  They think we pass over all the really fun things in life, by which they mean the indulgence of our own lust and greed, to live in the sad illusion of a better life beyond this world.  Many blame Christianity for all the ills of the world.  Slavery, genocide, poverty, prejudice, racism, oppression, and pollution, they say, are all the fault of Bible thumping Christians and the culture we have built.

They are wrong, of course.  Any one can see that such things are the complete opposite of what the Bible teaches.  And any one can see that such things have been a part of the human experience in all times and places.  And any one can see that the teachings of the Bible, lived and practiced in everyday life would have enabled humanity to avoid the wars, oppression, poverty, abuse, and grief that stain the pages of our history books, and our own personal lives.  So, it is not Christianity that has caused our problems; it is the lack of Christianity that has caused our misery.  But the enemies of Christianity are neither bothered nor informed by truth and facts.  They have an agenda, and to accomplish it, Christianity must go.  So they willingly and gladly accept the lie that Christianity is oppressive, and its demise will make the world a better place.

When I say Christians live, I mean the Christian life is the only life worth living.  Everything else is despair and ruin, but Christianity is hope.  Only Christianity has hope for man.  We believe man can change, or, at least, be changed.  We believe man can live for something higher than the satisfaction of his lusts and conceits.  We believe that is basically what all people live for.  We believe that is the natural tendency of all people, and that it is the reason for most of our unhappiness and abuse of others.  The Bible calls this tendency, “sin.”  It calls the actions and attitude that come out of this tendency “sins.”  So sin is the tendency; sins are the result.

The basic view of those who want to destroy Christianity is that our lusts and conceits should be indulged.  Christianity is bad, they say, because it tells us our natural desires should be controlled, and that we should live in a way that brings our natural inclinations under the control of God. Thus, they claim, Christianity is bad because it inhibits your rights and freedoms.

There are many reasons why people attack Christianity.  They may have financial interests in sin.  They may want to profit from human greed by selling people things we don’t need, and may even be detrimental to us.  They may want to gain power over us by promising more crumbs from their table if we do their bidding.  They may be happy to see the poor and working classes waste their lives on sex, drugs, and rock and roll, while the ruling classes increase their own power, security and wealth.  Where is the hope in this?  There is none.  But Christianity teaches that man can change.  He can learn and do right, by the grace of God.  And he can make life better for himself and others.

Christians are the ones who look for Divine hope in this world.  We are the ones who believe in a loving God, who has a plan and purpose for this world, and who is going to bring His plan to completion.  We are the ones who believe God Himself is going to overcome evil and establish righteousness and peace on this earth.  We are the ones who believe He is working in people now, converting people to His ways teaching them His love, and building a community of peace.

But, I have not quite stated the point of the sermon yet.  I have been circling it, building up to it, because it is very simple and easy to miss if we are not prepared to hear it.  So here it is; the more faithfully and fully we live the way the Bible teaches us to live, the fuller, better, and happier life will be.  The further we depart from the Bible’ teaching, the more miserable, hopeless, and despondent life will be.  This is because we are made for God and can only be happy in Him.  Remember the words of St. Augustine; “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O God, and our heart are restless until we find our rest in Thee.” Christ’s words in Matthew 10:39 apply to this very well.  Talking to His disciples about the persecution and death some of them would face for following Him, He said, “He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  In other words, it is not in preserving your life to live in comfort according to the world’s definition that we will find real life.  We will find real life only when we follow Christ, only when we live by His teaching, only when we willingly subjugate our desires to His.

I close with these wise words from Psalm 127.  Their relevance to our subject will be evident. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.”
+Dennis Campbell

Bishop, Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Powhatan, Virginia
Rev Rick Reid of Saint Peter’s Sunday Sermon
We are happy to have a sermon from Reverend Rick Reid, minister of Saint Peter’s, whose congregation is right at the Worldwide Headquarters of the Anglican Orthodox Church.  Rev Rick has all the resources and challenges right at hand.  I think you will enjoy this sermon.

Jesus Warned - Beware of False Prophets
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus warned, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”  You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them” Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 7:15-21).

Jesus warns about those who come to you, inviting you, or trying to persuade you to join with them, in their worship services.

Many groups go door to door and approach people in various ways to have them join their Church or organization. There is basically, nothing wrong with going door to door; even the apostles did it at times. Their goal is to make disciples of as many as possible.

It is what they teach about God and Christ that matters. But what is wrong about this is that they are more interested in having you become a member of their Church or organization, than leading you to Christ, in doing so their members are not part of the body of Christ.

Now, Jesus is not telling us we will know someone's false or true prophecy from their fruit, but will know them by their fruit. Jesus used two illustrations of the believers to unbelievers, one was sheep and goats, the other was sheep and wolves.                                          Matt 10:16:

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. The disciples were sent out as sheep, those who followed the shepherd, and Jesus admonishes them to have wisdom, .be as crafty as the devil is, as you are sent out in the world.

17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; Jesus told them: Know that you are among enemies that would like to you cut you to pieces, but don't act like the devil, don't return evil for evil,… but be as harmless as doves. The dove was the form the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus at his baptism. It came upon him gently, and stayed with him throughout His ministry.
Jesus never imposed or pushed people to join anything, He gave them the truth and a choice to follow Him. He beckoned them; he drew them, but never forced, or pushed them into following Him.

He also said in the book of Acts 20:29-30:  "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves."

Wolves are the enemy of sheep; they eat sheep, and will eventually devour the flock if left unchecked.

Jesus warns about those coming from within the church that would actually tear it apart. This would be done by false teaching. Since they are in the Church, they would teach from the bible but then distort its message.

As Paul states in his second letter to the Corinthians 2 Cor.11:13-15 They are false apostles and messengers looking like those who teach righteousness. They may look good on the outside but the love of Christ is not there on the inside and their message will always be with scripture, but with a distorted meaning. Their focus will be their own agendas, not the will of God.

In Matthew’s gospel Jesus tells us. 13:23:   23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Fruit is something that comes out naturally. All trees bear the same kind of fruit of the seed they came from. An orange tree will bear oranges not apples. A cherry tree yields cherries, not peaches.

Fruit is a natural production of the source it is connected to. It comes out naturally, and it comes out in its season at various degrees.

Spiritually, fruit is the Holy Spirits at work in our lives showing the change that Christ has made.

Many say we have good fruit therefore God is with us. Again fruit is relative to the life of the tree itself. The tree must have Christ as its source… for the Holy Spirit to be at work. It must have Christ…. to have real fruit.

As Jesus stated in St. John’s gospel: John 15:8:  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Jesus is saying: By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." We are chosen to bear fruit all our days.

Again in St. John’s Gospel Jesus said: 15:4-6

 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me… ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Christ is our life line. His teachings and His person. As we abide in his word the fruit of the Spirit, the life of Christ comes out naturally.

 Our position is to abide in Him; His promise is that He will abide in us. This is why a church with false doctrine cannot have good fruit, because they are not abiding in His word alone, but in other men's words. They depend on their good works, for, or to maintain salvation. They don't teach the bible or salvation through the blood of Christ.
In St. John’s Gospel: (John 8:31-32), Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

 Churches or individuals who add their own message, or add books to lead people away from Christ’s true word, are truly false prophets, and we will know them by their fruits.

May we always be a church overflowing with fruit, and may each of us here this morning bear fruit, to the glory of God.

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.

Eighth Sunday after Trinity

In our gospel lesson today, we read a portion of the Sermon on the Mount where our Lord admonished his listeners to, Beware false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits (St. Matthew 7:15-20). The meaning here is unmistakable. If we are to avoid deception, then we ought to be on the look out for those who merely mask themselves as being of the household of faith rather than true members of the same. But the unregenerate and the unlearned have learned a thing or two from Scripture, more particularly that our Lord has instructed Christians to, Judge not, that ye be not judged (7:1). They have settled on this latter verse as the controlling principle for the interpretation of the verses which follow, and globally, regarding all behavior. So how then does a regenerate person reconcile these verses?

To begin with, one is more likely to hear the latter verse rather than the former being parroted about by the unregenerate in an effort to check the evangelism and reproofs of regenerated Christians. That has been and remains a principal component of their modus operandi. They have twisted the sacred words of judge not into a Gordian’s Knot of false piety in order to protect their wicked ways. They also have employed those words as a sort of magical incantation against anyone who would call into question their ungodly lifestyle choices. Such may work against a novice or carnal Christian, but not against one who is schooled in the truth of God’s word. St. Paul reminded the Corinthians in his first epistle to, put away from among yourselves that wicked person (5:9-13). Now how could a church body comply with the apostle’s command if they are forbidden to judge?

Still, the point of judging is to admonish others to turn from their sins, their heresies, or other ungodly acts. The Greek word krino— which has been translated as judge— means “to decide, to distinguish, and by implication, to try, condemn, or to punish.” It has a largely legal connotation forasmuch as a judge is one who makes decisions or judgments about the matters that have been brought before him. As Christians, we have been called to make righteous judgments (St. John 7:24). We have been called to discern between the godly and the ungodly. And, we have been called to witness against all ungodliness within the body Christ and admonish with all longsuffering of doctrine those who are in way of the wicked that they might repent and be saved (Ephesians 5:11; II St. Timothy 4:2).

But before we ever think to point out the deficiencies in others, we need to judge ourselves. The apostle Paul reminds us of the necessity for self-judgment concerning our partaking of the Holy Communion when wrote, But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation (condemnation) to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (have died). For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world (I Corinthians 10:28-32).

Self-judgment requires us to confess to God our ills of thought, word and deed. That is why the early church fathers set the confession before the taking of the communion. God expects us to examine ourselves and come clean before him. He also expects us to be self-disciplined. Confession of sin ought to be an on-the- spot event. Nevertheless, we ought to do so at least twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. That is why the Book of Common Prayer has a General Confession placed in both daily orders of worship as well as in the Order for the Holy Communion. Without a proper confession to God in Christ, we leave ourselves open to chastening by the LORD for that is what he will do if we will not recognize our sins and seek his forgiveness on their account. He will bring us to our knees if we will not go there of our own volition. Psalm 51 speaks of what God desires from us in self-judgment and confession before him: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (v.17).

While God desires us to judge in righteousness, Satan desires that we judge not at all. He will seek to undermine our efforts as witnesses of God by attempting to lure us into sin via our love for, and/or associations with, relatives and friends who do not adhere to God’s word written. St. Paul explained it this way in his second epistle to the Corinthians, Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness (6:14)? And such is in agreement with the admonishment of our Lord who said, Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household (St. Matthew 10:34-36). Regenerated people have been called of God to resist evil, and not simply acquiesce to it on account of our friends and relatives. Whom shall we obey? God or man (Acts 4:19, 20; 5:29)? The devil likes churches where his minions are left to their own devices by pastors and congregants who have been schooled in the false assumption of judge not.

If for whatever reason we do not give in to sin, then Satan will instigate attacks on us by those who are under his sway which may even include our friends and family members. The Devil will spare no expense in keeping a true Christian witness from being heard and accepted, and in that cause he will use, if he can, even those closest to us to minimize our effectiveness. Thus, they will become the stones for his sling, and the arrows for his bow. With that in mind, we should have about us our spiritual armor, and we ought to study and inwardly digest God’s word written. For if we are to be successful in contending for the faith which was once delivered unto saints (St. Jude 3), then we must be well acquainted with the scriptures. Once we have learned, then we will have the confidence and the humility to successfully engage in spiritual warfare against our adversary. As St. Paul once observed, And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to acknowledging the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (II St. Timothy 2:24-26).

Now it is often difficult for many to witness correctly to others because their pride will often transform their duty to judge from something that is godly into something that is the polar opposite. This can happen when one drifts into vitriol, debate and diatribe at the apparent reluctance of the unregenerate to receive that person’s witness. Righteous anger toward the wickedness we perceive in others does not permit us to sin on behalf of the Lord we serve. We must remember to keep our heads, our hearts and our lips under control. The Devil would like nothing better than for us to blow up at others, or treat them with hateful anger. We should admonish the unregenerate concerning their sinful lives and understand that they are being manipulated by the forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:10). God does not approve of a sinner in his unregenerated state because God hates sin and such has been set forth in both the Old and New Testaments. But the beauty of our testimony to the unregenerate is this: that God will love and bless all who turn from sin in the name of his only begotten Son. And so, we should not be the least bit surprised to learn that the Devil will seek to stymie our efforts to convert those to whom we are witnessing. We must resist his attacks and identify his subterfuges in all godly confidence knowing that we hold the truth, and that the lies with which he has enveloped those poor benighted souls can only be lifted by the power of the gospel of our Lord.

Please bear in mind that the godly purpose of judging has always been to warn sinners, not condemn them. If we will follow God’s precepts, our work will  bear fruit; if we do not, God will judge us at the last apart from our confession to him for our shortcomings in his service. We should desire that all who hear our witness will repent and turn unto God, but that will not happen if we are sullied by our own sinfulness, or our misguided attempts to witness to them.

As we watch for our Lord’s return, we know that we cannot be slackers in God’s service. Yes, you will hear the old saw, “It’ll be a long time before God returns.” Or you may hear, “There is plenty of time left to do as one chooses and then seek the forgiveness of God as the end of life draws nigh.” That kind of reasoning is seriously flawed because it runs counter to what the scriptures have stated concerning our Lord’s return. We have been told in no uncertain terms that God has not revealed that information to anyone. We may know the signs of the times, but we cannot know the day nor the hour. Our adversary, on the other hand, wants every mortal to believe that we have plenty of time so that he might keep as many souls as he can influence locked on a trajectory that will eventually carry them into everlasting perdition. How agreeable it all sounds: “You don’t have to make up your mind now. Just keep on doing the things that make you feel good in the flesh; and as you see your life coming to a close, then (if you must) call upon God.”

Unfortunately, the problem for many is set forth in the following interrogatory: “How many people know the time of their deaths?” People drop dead with little or no warning. So telling someone to just “live it up until you get to the end of your life, then seek God’s forgiveness and redemption ” is a terrible piece of advice. St. Paul makes it clear in II Corinthians 6:2b, ...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. As the Rev. Matthew Henry once observed, “The present time is the only proper season to accept of the grace that is offered... We know not what will be on the morrow, nor where we shall be, and we should remember that present seasons of grace are short and uncertain and cannot be recalled when they are past.” The Devil would have us believe that God is on an extended holiday and so have fun until he comes again. So much for the omnipresent nature of the Father, right? WRONG!

God Is Ever Present And Ever Watchful
Nothing Escapes His Eyes!

Please do not be fooled by the supposed wisdom of this world because you Page 9 of 10
will find it has a serpent’s hiss behind its words. As our Lord once said, God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth... for the Father seeketh such to worship him (St. John 4:24-23b). If we are going to seek after God’s will for us, then we must resist a carnal and unrestrained life. St. Paul noted in his epistle to the Romans, For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you... (8:5-9a). To avoid the carnal and live in the Spirit requires self-examination and self-judgment.

And so we have learned that rather than rejecting the concept of judgment, we ought to exercise such in a godly and righteous manner. If we know and understand the Scriptures, then we will win that victory over the world, the flesh and the devil and we will empower our witness to others so that they too might repent and be saved in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Let us pray,

ather, help us to properly judge ourselves; that by means of our confession we would be purged of our sins, and thus enabled to call upon others to end their wicked ways; for this we ask in the name of thy Son, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

[1] Charles Haddon (CH) Spurgeon (19 June 1834 – 31 January 1892) was a British Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is known as the "Prince of Preachers". He was a strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition, defending the Church in agreement with the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith understanding, and opposing the liberal and pragmatic theological tendencies in the Church of his day.

In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times each week at different places. Spurgeon was the pastor of the congregation of the New Park Street Chapel (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) in London for 38 years. He was part of several controversies with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and later had to leave the denomination.  In 1857, he started a charity organization which is now called Spurgeon's and works globally. He also founded Spurgeon's College, which was named after him posthumously.

Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, commentaries, books on prayer, devotionals, magazines, poetry, hymns and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. Spurgeon produced powerful sermons of penetrating thought and precise exposition. His oratory skills held his listeners spellbound in the Metropolitan Tabernacle and many Christians have discovered Spurgeon's messages to be among the best in Christian literature.

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